BEAST FRIENDS FOREVER! Animal Lovers in Rhyme

BEAST FRIENDS FOREVER! Animal Lovers in Rhyme, is a wise and whimsical collection of poems by children’s author Robert Forbes about some unexpected and lovable imaginary friends. Legendary artist Ronald Searle, who did the drawings for Forbes’ first two books, is back and at the top of his form, with dazzling details and colors. Plus, in each picture is a mouse to be found, a delightful way to get the youngsters (and the young in spirit) involved. Readers will fast fall in love with these charming tales of beastly romance!

School Library Journal
“Children familiar with BEASTLY FEASTS! (2007) and LET’S HAVE A BITE! (2010) will cheer this third collaboration. Animal courtship is infused with quirky human characteristics and some sneaky social commentary. A small creature follows the action from page to page, and there are 17 punch-out stickers on the endpapers. These poems include a rich vocabulary of words …They will be fun to read aloud, multiple times.”

Publisher’s Weekly
“…gently mischievous poems should please those who love wordplay , the animal kingdom, and improbable romances…”

Kirkus Reviews
“…curiously wayward collection of animal love poetry.”

Midwest Book Review
“…a treasure trove of fun, highly recommended!”

Berger’s Book Reviews
“…playfully describes the antics of beasts in love.”

Mother’s Book Reviews
“…delectable verses about animals both rascally and sweet.”

NY Metro Parents
“…colorful characters…whimsical poems.”
“…poems will make you laugh and you’ll love the whimsical illustrations.”

Mother Daughter & Son Book Reviews
Follower Love Giveaway Hop: Two Books of Poetry All About Love
04 Feb 2013 by Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews

Our Prize

Ahhh… Valentine’s Day!! Love it or hate, it is a time-honoured tradition that has inspired some of the most memorable poetry from both classic and contemporary writers. For our prize, we are offering TWO winners (one from the United States and one from Canada) TWO books each that have one thing in common: they both contain collections of poetry all about l’amour. The first book is the newly-released collection of family-friendly poems, all featuring animals, by Robert L. Forbes (yes, of the famous Forbes family) entitled Beast Friends Forever: Animal Lovers in Rhyme. The second book is Leslie Pockell’s collection of the 100 Best Love Poems of all Time. Here’s a bit more about each book:

Beast Friends Forever by Robert L. Forbes
Title: Beast Friends Forever: Animal Lovers in Rhyme
Author: Robert L. Forbes
Illustrator: Ronald Searle
Publisher: Overlook Duckworth
Year: 2013
Pages: 80
Recommended Ages: 8+

Summary: The beasts are back! If you haven’t heard, the whole animal kingdom is roaring its approval for Beast Friends Forever, this collection of delectable verses about animals both rascally and sweet. With delicious poems by Robert Forbes and zany illustrations of each poem by master artist Ronald Searle, these wildly playful rhymes and charmingly intricate illustrations will keep readers seven to seventy coming back again and again. The anteater (who is not a cheater), a brave meerkat named Lee, Bugsie Seagull, and Dapper Don the fox feature along with many others in this timeless collection.

My thoughts: Beast Friends Forever! contains a quirky collection of poems ranging in length from a few lines to over 12 verses all featuring a kooky assortment of animal characters including elephants, camels, seagulls, peacocks, raccoons, and many more all humorously illustrated by the distinguished cartoonist Ronald Searle. Beast Friends Forever! is Robert Forbes’ third book of poetry for children featuring all kinds of beastly delights.

The poems included in this book are all about love, but they do range in how love is portrayed or presented. For example, “Elephant Eloquence” contains sweet verse:

The call of a young mister elephant
To us doesn’t seem very elegant;
But oh for young maiden elephants,
The sound is sweet-honeyed eloquence.

In some cases, such as in “Lancelot the Ocelot”, love does not turn out so well:

Lancelot the Ocelot is caged and doing time.
His romance turned to tragedy, ending in a crime.

And then there’s a bit of naughtiness such as in “The Python”:

My friend Monty is a naughty python
Who met his wife in a python pile-on
When she emerged she had his pant on
And he, blushing, had her nylon on.

I gave this book a quick read by myself prior to deciding whether I wanted to read it aloud to my children. Given that this book is all about love (the good, the bad, and the ugly), there were some themes (loves gone wrong, seduction, lovers, cruising bars) that I prefer not to have to explain to my children at this time. So, while the poems are a fun read and the illustrations are fantastic, some of the themes may be more appropriate for older children. It depends what you are comfortable discussing with your children. While my daughter decided not to provide a review of this book, she did enjoy flipping through the book and reading through some of the poems.

My Bottom Line: I really enjoyed reading this quirky and fun book of poetry but I would have reservations about recommending it for younger children due to the more mature themes covered in the book. This book would make a great coffee table book to be displayed around Valentine’s Day.