Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs

by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  265 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Charlesbridge
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Last Laughs, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Last Laughs

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 461)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Paul  Hankins
Faces of Death meets Wild Kingdom meets the playful urges of two of children's literature and poetry's biggest names.

The classic work and stylings of Edward Gorey are seemingly updated in this new collection of silly verse a word play from Jane Yolen and J. Patrick Lewis.

Fan's of Neil Gaiman and Gris Grisly will enjoy the short poems that describe the demise of many animals. The illustrator seems to have fun with the illustrations. Readers who look carefully can find animals described earlier i...more
Joella www.cinjoella.com
This would be a good book to add to a haunted, ghost, monster, Halloween display. AND it would also be an interesting addition to a school book talk about things that are underground (the dead are buried you see). The book is full of epitaph poems about animals. And some of them are just funny. My nephew who was 5 had me read it to him. (He picked it out of my book stack of things I brought home to write about.) And he didn’t quite get it. But my older nephew did. And thought some of these were...more
CH13_Rachel Arens
This is a hilarious, if macabre, book of poetry of "Animal Epitaphs." It provides a variety of possibilities for the way that animals might have died, using puns, word plays and other literary devices to make the short poems humorous, rather than disgusting or sad. As the introductory poem suggests: "Forget the hankies./Read the words/of bugs and fishes,/beasts and birds./They know it's not/all doom and gloom/that's written/once upon a tomb" (5). In addition to the engaging writing, the book als...more
Heidi
Oh my goodness. Some of these were so hilarious. Loved them. Many of them go hand-in-hand with the illustrations to complete the humor. Some illustrations were a bit on the ICK side for me, but should appeal to the 4th-6th grade kids (especially boys). The humor will probably be best for that age group, too. I got more from the book when I looked closer at the illustrations, for in a way there is a continuing story, and there are some things that add to the humor, ick, or they-didn't factors.

I c...more
Marika
Looking for a dark, grim, and absolutely hilarious book? Look no further! J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen have written a series of posthumous poems, each commemorating the demise of a different animal. Dark, detailed illustrations by Jeffery Stewart Timmins show moments before, during, or after each unpleasant death, sometimes combining elements from different poems into one fantastically funny illustration. Last Laughs is simply fabulous. Read one epitaph and you'll be hooked.
Alida
Sorry, it might be witty, but it is definitely NOT appropriate for children. I simply do not find funny the concept of laughing at the death of animals (or people) and having a child learn this kind of attitude, accidentally or not, is not my cup of tea. I was disappointed by Yolen.
Lynn
I loved this but wondered what kids would think. My 9-year-old grandsons picked it up unprompted and laughed and snorted their way through it which answered my question ;-) Great illustrations too.
Erin
Fantastic! These animal epitaphs are as humorous as they are dark. Great for school age kids. Here's one for you:

Good-bye to a Rowdy Rooster
Too cocky by far,
he head-butted a car.
Jenny
I like Lewis and I found this book quite humorous and clever. I am sure that some will find it offensive...after all these are animal epitaphs so the animals are all dead...and some die quite unpleasant deaths...but it tickled my funny bone. I think this would be a fun read around Halloween. The illustrations are dark, macabre, but match the poems and even expand the poems.

For example:

Ciao, Cow

This grave is peaceful,
The tombstone shaded,
But I'm not here--
I've been cream-ated.
Elaine
OK. So call me twisted (just a little). In a nut shell that's what this book is - - just a little twisted. So hilarious! Various animals/insects that have met their demise (in a typical fashion you might expect, a la bug on the windshield!)and now we get to read their oh-so-fitting epitaphs. The writing is full of plays on words, double entendres, etc. with hilarious effect. But really it's all about the funny yet almost gothic (think Tim Burton?) illustrations. Imagine ... a horse, looking rath...more
Amber
"Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs" is a children’s poetry book written by three authors, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen and Jeffrey Stuart Timmins. It is intended for children from ages 7-9 or primary readers (P). It is a bit morbid to say the least. Set in a graveyard of course, "Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs" is a poetry book written for young children about the demise of 30 animals. Technically, it can be considered a picturebook. The images are pretty graphic for this age range and this is another...more
Anthony
With simple rhyme, smirking puns, and slightly sadistic illustrations “Last Laughs” will make you laugh, let’s just hope that it isn’t your last.

The epitaph poems in this darkly humorous book are simple and pun-ny, and in general they were passable. Some were clever like Cooked Goose –

“He was Canada born
And Canada bred,
And here he lies –
Canada dead.”

Others, like Swan Song on the very next page, were not very impressive. –

“A simple song.
It wasn’t long.”

What makes this book of childishly dark poe...more
Laura Salas
It seems like only yesterday that I was sharing Jane Yolen and Pat Lewis’ Take Two: A Celebration of Twins. Well, they’re back and better than ever.

Their new collaboration is Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs (Charlesbridge, 2012). If you have a somewhat morbid sense of humor (and most kids do), you will love this book! From a horse with (hay?) fever to an unfortunate kitty whose love for yarn led to her demise, these short, mostly-but-not-always rhyming poems will bring on a good laugh. Just don’t c...more
Barbara
Pun-filled and delightfully surprising, this collection of 31 poems from two talented writers is very funny and certainly not politically correct. Although I felt some guilt for laughing at the end of some of the animals, I also shook my head in glee and kept on chortling and reading as the poets killed off chickens, turkeys, horses, cows, a dog, a cat, and even smaller winged wonders such as moths and fireflies. Even the titles of the poems are clever. My favorites are "Firefly's Final Flight"...more
Sharlene
Not for the very young, as vocabulary and play on words makes it more difficult. Clever little poems/animal epitaphs. Funny for slightly older child (over 10?). I liked it. Example: "The last of a staggering stag... Win some. Lose some. Venison." The illustrations really add to the book.
Jillian
Darkly hilarious, and definitely for older kids. The pictures can be gruesome - no shying away from blood here! And the puns...oh, the puns are horrible, but you feel bad for laughing at them. (But not so bad that you don't start reading the entries aloud to the people around you.)
Alexis
Amazing,juvenile poetry boook intended for a intermediate audience. It is dark poetry book with illustrations to match the text. It is truly funny if you have a grim sense of humor. This book is by far one of the best poetry books ive read in a long time. The illustrations are a bit morbid but it truly adds to the comedy of the text. This book would be appealing to young readers because its funny, and rational to an extent. It answers some of the why questions children have about death. I would...more
Susie
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as Yolen and Lewis collaborated on this. I bet it would also be fun to see the "outtakes" of the poems that didn't make the final cut. It is such a relief to read something that is very clever and thought-provoking, if a bit morbid. I would love to have students create their own, complete with illustrations. This is good for a re-read, too, because you might miss things the first time. I loved the owl,
"Hit by a pellet
some other owl cast,
he asked, "Who?...more
Christopher Obert
This book of macabre poetry is fun and ghoulishly illustrated. It contains numerous poems on the demise of our beloved pets and animal companions. Each epitaph is short, bitter and to the point. It reminds me of the old horror books and records from in the Scholastic book flyers. Do you remember: “It wasn’t the cough that carried her off. It was the coffin they carried her off in!” This modern version is just as fun and just as colorful as the books we loved to read and memorize to tell to all o...more
Samantha
An interesting title to add to your kids poetry collection. Many animals pass away and the few words in their epitaphs reveal their demise. Funny, clever text is paired with grim digital illustrations in a deathly palette of grays, blacks, and dried blood.

The pictures can be graphic so this isn't one for a preschoolers eyes, but school-agers will love it. The subject/artwork brought to mind the Scary Stories by Schwartz. Overall, a fresh offering in the poetry collection that will win over some...more
Amy Carr
There are not many books that I flat out hate...but this one earned its "one" star! I found this book so offensive and horrible. The illustrations are incredibly graphic, bloody, and violent and the whole subject of the book depressing and insulting. The librarian at my children's elementary school even considered pulling it from the shelves because she wasn't certain she wanted children, especially in the lower grades, exposed to the images and thinking the subject matter of animals dying was f...more
Nikol Gordon
another great book read during lunch recess duty.
Natalie Mcadams
This wonderfully obscure title by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen is an eerie look at, well, animal deaths. However, the humor of the rhyming and the brilliant illustrations by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins make this a must read for ages 6+ (unless your preschooler is particularly into the macabre). The epitaph of the Horse, the Goose, and the Deer are my favorite illustrations and poems, but all of them are laugh worthy.
I cannot give enough praise to Jeffrey Stewart Timmins for these wonderful illus...more
Elaine
Cleverly funny.
Lyn
If you’re into dark humor, you’ll enjoy these macabre bits of poetry. Each poem is an epitaph for a different well-known animal. Most are short and punchy, just right for a tombstone. The longest is “For a Bear, Barely There.” My favorite was for an owl, “Owl Be Seeing You.” The illustrations are almost funnier than the puns.

I enjoyed this outlandish collection, but I don’t think this is a children’s book. Keep that in mind before taking it home, unread, to your child.
Treasure
Two revered, award-winning authors show their dark sides in this silly, gory book of poetry. The rather nasty illustrations pair well with ridiculous rhyming epitaphs telling how different animals met their grisly ends. Full of puns, gross outs, and some very dark humor, this book will be popular with older kids and younger kids with a dark streak. Ideal for Halloween and poetry units, this book is not for the faint of heart.
(Puget Sound Council review)
Angie
Last Laughs is gruesome and macabre and truly wonderful. The book is full of short epitaph poems for animals who have met an untimely end. The pictures are awesome but gross. I don't know if I will ever get the image of the newt or the horse out of my mind! It is very witty, but probably not suitable for all children. You should really know your audience to make sure they will not get upset by some of the images or poems.
Lacie Griffin
OK- I love this book. It is gross and not for young children, but it is a middle schooler's dream!

Ex:
Good-bye to a Rowdy Rooster

Too cocky by far,
he head-butted a car

This book is filled with the animal world meeting its demise. The illustrations give you an even closer look at the hideous deaths and many laughs will ensue. This book was written in ‘poor taste,’ but that is why I find it SO funny.
Felicia
Kind of Demented for kids :(
Guen
Guen marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery
  • Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
  • A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home
  • Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
  • UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
  • In the Sea
  • BookSpeak!: Poems about Books
  • I Am the Book
  • Wumbers
  • Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart
  • Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show
  • I, Too, Am America
  • The President's Stuck in the Bathtub: Poems About the Presidents
  • Step Gently Out
  • GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys
  • Infinity and Me
  • The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses
  • The Obstinate Pen
2360
J. Patrick Lewis is the current Children's Poet Laureate. He has written more than seventy children's books, including Once Upon a Tomb: Gravely Humorous Verses. J. Patrick Lewis lives in Ohio.
More about J. Patrick Lewis...
Please Bury Me in the Library National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of

Share This Book