Friday, January 15, 2016

Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon

Joohee Yoon's hallucinogenic art is what makes Beastly Verse an outstanding collection of poetry for readers of all ages. All of the poems are about animals, and the beasts Yoon portrays are those of folklore and imagination. They wear clothes and cheshire-cat-smiles with nightmarish teeth. There are no black lines. Instead, borders overlap in a style that mimics traditional block printing, using transparent cyan, yellow and magenta inks.

Walter de la Mare, Christina Rosetti, William Blake, Ogden Nash, Lewis Carroll and DH Lawrence are among the authors included. The humour in their work is amplified by the playful images. If their poems had instead been combined with photographs of animals in the wild or in a zoo, they would have provoked a completely different response. Animals hold a place in our culture that is separate from their physical reality. They occupy a place of wonder, dream and metaphor. That is what Yoon has captured in this mesmerizing picture book.

Readalikes: Dark Emperor (Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen); In the Wild (David Elliott and Holly Meade); and the edition of Alice in Wonderland that's illustrated by Yayoi Kusama.

Check out more of Joohee Yoon's art on her website.

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