Cover image for Peacock and other poems
Peacock and other poems
Worth, Valerie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Physical Description:
40 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.1 2 Quiz: 32683 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3573.O697 P4 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3573.O697 P4 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



By the author of the Small Poems books

This new collection by Valerie Worth, conceived before her death, is sure to delight readers who know her celebrated Small Poems books, and will serve as a wonderful introduction for those first encountering her enchanting free verse. Accompanied by Natalie Babbitt's fine pencil drawings, "Peacock" is joined by twenty-six other elegant poems by Worth about things as various as pandas and steam engines and icicles, in which, like her earlier work, she "find[s] in ordinary things Blake's universe in a grain of sand" ( Booklist ).

Author Notes

Valerie Worth (1933 - 94) was the author of many books
for children, including the collection All the Small Poems and Fourteen More.

Natalie Babbitt illustrated five previous books by Ms. Worth and is the author of many of her own, including Tuck Everlasting . She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6. The publication of All the Small Poems and Fourteen More in 1994, the year of Worth's death, seemed to sum up and conclude her contribution to children's poetry. The present volume, a new collection of 26 poems (only 3 of them previously published) is very much in the tradition of Small Poems (1972) and its companion volumes and will delight those who admire Worth's work as well as those new to her verse. Typical in its pared-to-the-bone simplicity is the 16-word poem "milkweed": "The rough / Gray pod / Dries dead, / Splits wide, / And looses / A flight / Of little / Silken souls." Babbitt's precise pencil drawings accompany the poems, reflecting the words in a quiet and unassuming way while successfully meeting challenges such as depicting in black-and-white the many-colored light refracted by a prism or showing a hummingbird in flight. Despite their brevity, the poems create vivid word-pictures of subjects as varied as a lunchbox, a roller coaster, and an ocean. Clean and spare, the page design includes plenty of white space, as though offering room for the words and images to expand. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

This collection of 27 poems by the late Worth (1933-94) once again heralds the joy of words, the way they feel in the mouth, the way they look on the page. "Ice Cream" makes the perfect example: "Melting, it Softly fills The mouth With something Like the velvet Word vanilla." Re-imagining everyday encounters, she urges readers to consider each and take pleasure in the entire sensory experience. "October" captures the month's role as a threshold to the wintry days ahead: "Frost a Presence in The woods: A sound Of footfalls, One here, One there, As the leaves Step down." The titular poem becomes a wry caution against vanity, "He fans Out that Famous halo, Turns it About for All to see, Folds it Down and Saunters away, Trailing his Heavy burden Of beauty. (Meanwhile, His freckled Brown wife Rambles around Him, plain And free.)" Babbitt (paired with Worth for Poems and More Small Poems) characterizes the feathered duo with sketches that play up the male's upright posture, head cocked, one foot aloft, while the female examines the ground for food, toes firmly planted. Worth knows just how to pace a collection, tethering loftier subjects to earthbound images near and dear to her readers' passions, such as in "Crayons": "Their paper Torn, their Snapped sticks Worn down To grubby Stubs, they Still shed The colors of The rainbow." This poet will be missed. All ages. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-6-Readers who have been charmed by Worth's "small poems" (All the Small Poems and Fourteen More [Farrar, 1996], etc.) will be pleased to find that she conceived of another collection before her death. Her characteristic free verse, with short lines and spare, rhythmic language, describes animals and objects from icicles to umbrellas, onions to ice cream. Whether it's the "Snapped sticks Worn down To grubby Stubs-" in "crayons" or a "fish" "-looking Up from its tray Of snow with A dolorous eye," the images and moods conveyed through word and sound will captivate readers and encourage them to focus their own imaginative eyes. Babbitt's black-and-white spot drawings face each poem with quiet detail that draws readers into the words. There is a lot of short, descriptive free verse available for this audience these days, but Worth's is a cut above-it's accessible, but fresh and surprising, and clearly attuned to language. Her work gives children something to admire and aim for. Three poems here have appeared previously in anthologies, but the others are mostly new treasures. Browsing through this slim book, readers may feel that they've indeed fanned open a peacock's tail.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.