Valerie Worth has been a poet (I am ashamed to admit) I have only gotten to know better through Sharon Creech. I don't know either one of them personally, but I have fallen in love with their poetry books. After I first read Sharon Creech's Love that Dog, I looked up every poet she had mentioned and re-educated myself. I know somewhere along the way, I was introduced to poets Valerie Worth, Walter Dean Myers, Robert Frost, and William Carlos Williams, but it wasn't until I revisited them as adults that I really appreciated them.
I really went swooning when I heard Sharon Creech recite "Love that Dog"--the poem--to a group of children's lit. buffs at the IRA conference several years ago.
Since then, I have read (actually listened to Scott Wolf read) Love That Dog with my fourth graders. We read poems from the aforementioned poets that are also poems that Jack reads in the book.
I bought All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth several years ago. When I saw Animal Poems by Valerie Worth, I pre-ordered it on Amazon a few months ago. It arrived in the mail a few weeks before I begin Love that Dog--a book I always savor for the end of the year.
Not only does it have Valerie Worth's brilliant, short poems and language I could only dream about writing, but it has Steve Jenkins' torn paper illustrations. It is packaged as a picture book, giving it even more kid-appeal. Steve Jenkins, known for his animal books that he writes and illustrates, makes Valerie Worth's worthy words come alive.
I did a little dance when I saw this book. It's another book that will make kids get excited about poetic language.