Diane Ackerman Animal Sense

ISBN 13: 9780375823848

Animal Sense

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9780375823848: Animal Sense
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A stapler with its tiny fangs
Cannot outwit orangutangs.
Rocks are very good at sitting,
but never walk or take up knitting.
Living things all feel and sense
their way through every happenstance. . . .

In this delightfully witty collection of poems, bestselling author Diane Ackerman shows how the senses shape and enrich
the experiences of all living beings. With enchanting illustrations by Peter Sís, Animal Sense is sure to capture the imagination of readers young and old.

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About the Author:

Diane Ackerman is the bestselling author of over 20 books of poetry and nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses, Cultivating Delight, and Deep Play, which was also illustrated by Peter Sís.
Peter Sís has written and illustrated numerous books for children, including Tibet: Through the Red Box and Starry Messenger, both of which received a Caldecott Honor.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

TOUCH

I

An alligator, for example,
has a skin chock-full of dimples
and puckers wrinkled like a blouse.
Do not invite one to your house.
He may grow cold and use his wiles
to con you with his fixed smiles.

Never lend him your best sweater,
though he may sing an operetta
about being cold-blooded, or perform
a hula dance just to keep warm.
He knows a blanket of tiny marsh flowers
will keep him toasty, or he can bask for hours
on the riverbank with one leg dangling
his tail in shade and his snout angling
up until he finds the perfect spot –
not too cold and not too hot.
I suppose he could carry the sun in a flask,
and he would if he could, but it's easier to bask,
11

Penguin babies,
on the other hand (or wing),
will cozy up to almost anything
summery and snug
preferring Mom's tummy,
but a human hand or rug
also feels yummy.

Frantic for a big, smothery
featherbed cuddle,
they sometimes wobble around
in a chilly muddle,
gawking everywhere
for their next of kin. '
'Hug me!'' they squawk.
I need wings to snooze in.''

Then while the antarctic night
blusters and blows
and rainbow-bright auroras glow,
the air plunges to 40 below.
But penguin babies keep warm
they peep songs of summer
and nuzzle in deep,
waltzing through their ice palace
on Mama's feet.
III

The real masters of touch
are not grabby monkeys
(who do love to clutch),
not turtles, who find a shell-scratch
sublime, not cockroaches,
whose belly-fingers can climb,
not snails (who have such
slimy sensitive feet),
not silky-pouched kangaroos,
mice, or jellyfish,
not leapsome gazelles
or lions acting kittenish,
not even animals
like squids that squish.

No, it's prairie dogs,
termites, anteaters. and such-
animals that dip for a living,
in darkness, through dirt,
and are constantly giving
pinches to some,
rubs and twealks to others.
That's why the star-nosed mole
(who always wears a glove on his nose)
feels everything overmuch
and has dirty cheeks
but a dainty sense of touch.

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Ackerman, Diane
Published by Knopf, NY (2003)
ISBN 10: 0375823840 ISBN 13: 9780375823848
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