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A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home
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A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & the Animals That Call Them Home

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Under the desert's cracked and barren skin, spadefoot toads are waiting for rain. In the endless black of the deepest caves, blind fish find their way. Even in the frozen hearts of glaciers, ice worms by the billion flourish. In this fascinating look at fourteen animals who defy the odds by thriving in Earth's most dangerous places, renowned poet Marilyn Singer and celebra...more
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published August 22nd 2012 by Chronicle Books
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Paul  Hankins
A neat look--through verse--at those creatures we rarely see. Those that live in harsh, and sometimes unexpected, habitats. Singer explores these through a number of poetic forms that she shares in the back of this slim volume of poetry that reads like a cross-content area teacher's dream. The book contains end notes for each of the creatures referenced within.

What a neat stretch it would be for young people to take on their own poems based upon the research they are doing on any given subject....more
Amy Musser
Highly adaptable animal survivors are the focus of the 14 poems in this illustrated collection. Each poem highlights a specific animal, the seemingly inhospitable habitat they live in, and the unique ways they have adapted to their harsh homes. From penguins that live in warm weather to monkeys that huddle in the snow, from blind albino cave fish to vibrant pink flamingos who feed in salt flats, the poems in this book will have readers eager to learn more about the animals that live in the world...more
Abby Johnson
This book was a miss for me, at least from a nonfiction standpoint. I felt that the informative aspect would have been MUCH stronger if facts (even brief facts) had accompanied each spread, not been grouped together at the end notes, particularly for the briefer poems. The illustrations, too, varied widely in their quality (a particular least favorite was the insane-looking mountain goat) and for the most part served this informational text poorly. For some animals, like the spadefoot toads seen...more
I enjoyed the poems for the most part. The juxtaposition of the cold and hot for the first two poems was well done. My favorite was Frozen Solid. But some poems and the animals were a little too mysterious. I don't know all these animals and I doubt children would. Having to go to the end of the book to find out about spadefoot toads, for example, was a little frustrating. Joyce Sidman does a better job in her books of poetry and animal/plant facts by pairing the info on the same page as the poe...more
Joanna Thompson
1) “Twin Text” – This is Our House, Hyewon Yum, 2013.

2) Rationale: I selected this twin text because it will open up the discussion about where people live. This brief story walks us through the narrator’s mother’s life growing up in the house that the narrator grows up in as well. This book will allow for students to discuss the different homes and communities we live in. This will help us bridge the discussion about animal habitats, and how their homes are different from other animals just lik...more
A Strange Place to Call Home / Marylin Singer / 2012
Genre: non-fiction
Format: picture book
Plot Summary: Poems about fourteen animals who defy the odds by thriving in Earth's most dangerous places where they live.
Considerations: no red flags
Review Citation: Publishers Weekly, 8/13/2012, Vol. 259 Issue 33, p68, 1p
Selection Source: Ed Young, illustrator, bibliography
Recommended age: 6-9
Everything about this book is great! The facts about bizarre animal habitats are fascinating as are the cut paper illustrations. I also really appreciated Singer's explanation at the end of all of the poetry types represented throughout the book. I could see this book being used in so many different ways in the classroom.
Alethea A
I love the artwork, and the poems are not just entertaining--they are also informative! This would be a great tie-in with Planet Earth/Blue Planet video excerpts. The verses can also be used to teach poetry forms. I especially like the triolet "A Fish in the Air".
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: A STRANGE PLACE TO CALL HOME: THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS HABITATS & THE ANIMALS THAT CALL THEM HOME by Marilyn Singer and Ed Young, ill., Chronicle, August 2012, 44p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-0120-0

"Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round"
-- Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)

petroleum flies

of them are born
in carrion, water,
or soil. But not this crew. They hatch
in oil."

From one extreme (habitat) to another, A STRANGE PLACE TO CAL...more
"A Strange Place to Call Home: The World's Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals That Call Them Home" presents an interesting concept: relatively unknown animals and the challenging environments in which they live. I enjoyed the expanded information on each of the animals, as well as the explanations of the types of poetry that Marilyn Singer employed in each of the poems, which came at the end of the book. This information would be useful in the classroom. However,the poems themselves were ge...more
Jessica Tran
The book " A Strange Place To Call Home " by Marilyn Singer and drawn Ed Young, is about the strange places an animal calls their home. It is about how people think some animals have an easy lives but they don't. For example, urban foxes, they live in fields and quit forests, all though it may seem easy for them, it's in a really closed space, and they have to adapt to city living.Another strange place to live is in the water; you can't see and it's so dark. This book talks mainly about animals...more
No matter how unappealing a place may seem to each of us, there really is no place like home, and even the most inhospitable--to humans!--spot is a place where other creatures live. In these fourteen poems, the author describes fascinating living things, such as ice worms who somehow manage to live within a glacier and limpets that somehow endure the extremity of relentlessly pounding waves and the sun's heat and light during low tides. One poem, "City Living," even describes how some foxes have...more
Dec 04, 2012 Ed added it
Singer, M. (2012). A strange place to call home: The world’s most dangerous habitats & the animals that call them home. (Illus. by Young, E.). San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. 44 pp. ISBN 978-1-452-10120-0. (Hardcover); $16.99.

Filled with free verse, sonnets, cinquains, haiku, and other poetic forms, Singer takes us around the world exploring the world’s most inhospitable habitats. We have poems about tube worms living in the hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean. We caper with goats high...more
there's a good deal of science here, but the poetic license and artistic style offers a product that's a little more engaging to the luddites in the audience. Though poet Marilyn Singer's writing wends its way through a myriad of poetic styles (including haiku, sonnets and--my favorite--the villanelle), the details about animals as varied as ice worms and flamingos are still clear and precise, encouraging a inquisitive mind to rush to the encyclopedia or internet for more information.

While the...more
Through evocative poetry, this book explores habitats that you would never guess something could even survive in. But they do! There are creatures who live in places with no water, no warmth, little food. And those are the creatures that star in this book, each of them celebrated in verse. There are penguins, mountain goats, and camels, which may be the animals that came to mind. But Singer looks deeper than that and introduces unlikely creatures to readers, including petroleum flies that hatch...more
A Strange Place to Call Home by Marilyn Singer, illustrated Ed Young, is a collection of poems and illustrations about animals that live in harsh environments and have adapted to their conditions. The poetry forms include free verse, cinquain, haiku, villanelle, sonnet, and others that give young readers a brief look at the animals in their habitats from the Humboldt penguins that live in the warmer climates of Chile and Peru to the blind cave fish that live in the dark deep. Included in the poe...more
Wonderful poems featuring some of the hardiest creatures in our complex world, living in the harshest, most challenging environments. Singer uses a variety of poetic styles, from haiku to villanelle and free verse. Creatures such as flamingos living on salt flats, tube worms clustered near deep ocean vents, camels and mountain goats are marveled over and celebrated in skipping, swirling poems. None of the verses are too long or too hard to grasp, making it a delightful read for young and old. Th...more
Animals thrive in even the most unforgiving places on earth. Dangerous places where humans and most other animals would find it impossible to live. Renowned poet, Marylyn Singer and award-winning illustrator Ed Young introduce readers to fourteen fascinating creatures from all over the world who make their homes in treacherous habitats.

Blind cave fish are right at home in dark, wet caves. Beautiful pink Flamingos live in salty lakes, marshes and swamps. Mudskippers are strange fish living in man...more
Laura Salas
Terrific poems explore the weird habitats of particular animals. (I prefer the rhyming and/or poems in specific forms to the free verse ones.) Here's just one fun one!

A Fish in the Air

Welcome to this mangrove stand.
Go on, you're allowed to stare.
Here, fishes walk on mud and sand.
Welcome to this mangrove stand,
Not quite water, not quite land.
Here, fishes perch to breathe the air.
Welcome to this mangrove stand.
Go on, you're allowed to stare.

I immediately had to go online and find some pictures of...more
This book of poetry is about animals who live in the most extreme adverse conditions in our world. I thought the poems were interesting and the torn-paper illustrations added to the enjoyment of reading this book. I especially enjoyed the poems about the blind cave fish and flamingos and my favorite illustration was for the camel pages. I was even more impressed with this book when, at the end, I read descriptions of each animal and the different forms of poetry the poems were all written in. Wh...more
What to expect from this book: the illustrations are awesome but then again what do you expect when you have Ed Young as your illustrator. Next up the poetry is really fun the best part in the back is an explanation and of the different forms of poetry used the book and which poems use that form. And to top it off the science is interesting and so is the subject matter. Really how can you not love a book that gives poetry and science equal footing and I think will appeal to young readers with a...more
The Styling Librarian
A Strange Place to Call Home - The World's Most Dangerous Habitats & The Animals That Call Them Home by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Ed Young - What a powerhouse team! What a fantastic well-rounded book filled with gorgeous poems and illustrations and additional facts at the end of the book. A favorite style of mine... My favorite poem was about spadefoot toads called Dry As Dust. My son was quite excited that his favorite animal- mountain goats was in the book with the poem Top of the Wor...more
Feb 27, 2013 Joan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: science and poetry needs
Using a variety of poetry forms, Singer combines with Young for a striking book about the bizarre places that creatures can live. She also pays a nod to literary education by telling which poem is in which form. This was surprisingly educational (bugs live on petroleum? Ick! Another reason to abandon the product for our energy needs!) with many of the poems being quite beautiful. Youngs torn paper illustrations left me slightly perplexed at times but mostly were lovely and to the point of the po...more
Another beautiful children's book I picked up at the museum store. This one combines poetry, biology, and beautiful collage to talk about animals which live in strange and dangerous habitats. The scientific details about the animals are at the back of the book, but each page is a beautiful work of art with a poem. The poems are also in various forms, which the poet discusses at the close of the book. So it is also a way to teach about poetry. Science, poetry, art, all together. Very nice.
A collection of poetry about animals living in inhospitable places. The artwork by Ed Young is beautiful, though it doesn't always highlight the dangers or difficulties of each animal's habitat. The end of the book includes additional information about each animal as well as information about the various poetry forms that Singer uses.

A good addition to elementary school collections, particularly those in which poetry is regularly pulled into teaching content.
Marilyn Singer's various types of poems (all of which are defined at the back of the book) about animals living in extreme environments, are fascinating. Who knew there were flies that hatch in oil or fish that climb trees? More information about each animal is at the end of the book. Ed Young's paper collage illustrations are intriguing and beautiful. I'll share this book to show how you can present nonfiction information through creative writing.
Charlyn  Trussell
Dec 02, 2012 Charlyn Trussell rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gr. 3 and up
Marilyn Singer's poems, accompanied by Ed Young's collaged illustrations, feature creatures whose adaptations allow them to live in challenging and often unappealing habitats. Helpful endnotes provide more information about each animal. Along with the diversity of animals, Singer uses a variety of poetic forms from free verse to haiku and sonnets, making this book ideal for cross-curricular use in the classroom.
Cool illustrations and quick vignettes make this an easy read about an interesting topic. I think Ed Young is likely to get a Caldecott for his depictions of the various animals that live in dangerous habitats. This is a creepy topic, but far from traumatic and kids kindergarten and up will enjoy this. There's also some good back matter that supplements the verse, so it has appeal for older children as well.
Okay... maybe a 3.5
There are so many of Singer's poetry books that I do really enjoy... I liked this one, but for some reason some of the poems and art just didn't grab me. I loved the concept (animals in dangerous habitats) and I enjoyed learning the animals facts in the back, as well as the poem type explanations that were given. I did not see any resources for the notes listed.
Susannah Goldstein
I loved everything about this book but the actual execution. Such a great idea, but the book didn't work for me. The poems didn't reveal a lot of new information about their habitats or how they adapted, except for the fact that they lived somewhere unexpected. A lot of the poetry was forced, which made it feel gimmicky instead of fresh and different. I loved the art, though.
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Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds a B.A. in English from Queens and an M.A. in Communications from New York University.

In 1974, after teaching English in New York City hig...more
More about Marilyn Singer...
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