This review was originally posted at [...] Please visit for more of our reviews.
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.
*We received a free copy of this book in exchange for our honest opinion.*