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  • The Swamps of Sleethe
  • Written by Jack Prelutsky
    Illustrated by Jimmy Pickering
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780375846748
  • Our Price: $16.99
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The Swamps of Sleethe

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Poems From Beyond the Solar System

Written by Jack PrelutskyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Jimmy PickeringAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jimmy Pickering


List Price: $9.99


On Sale: February 16, 2011
Pages: 40 | ISBN: 978-0-375-98631-4
Published by : Knopf Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
The Swamps of Sleethe Cover

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Jack Prelutsky’s exploration of outer space is not for the faint of heart. No friendly little E.T.–type aliens await your arrival. There are many imaginative ways to perish in these darkly comedic cautionary verses about unexplored worlds so far beyond our solar system. The final poem is an environmental tour de force that packs a wallop. Here are poems the older reader will find great fun to memorize and rattle off to anyone who will listen! And there is a special bonus: anagrams for the kid who loves word puzzles.
Jack Prelutsky

About Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky - The Swamps of Sleethe
“I have always enjoyed playing with words, but I had no idea that I would be a writer. There was a time when I couldn’t stand poetry! . . . When I was a young man, I discovered poetry again and it changed my life.”—Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky has written more than 40 books of verse and has compiled a number of poetry anthologies. His anthology, The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury, includes 211 wonderful poems that represent the best the century has to offer.


For years, Jack Prelutsky’s inventive poems have inspired legions of children to fall in love with poetry. His outrageously silly poems have tickled even the most stubborn funny bones, while his darker verses have spooked countless late-night readers. His award-winning books include Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, and The Beauty of the Beast.

While attending a Bronx, New York, grade school, Prelutsky took piano and voice lessons and was a regular in school shows. Surprisingly, Prelutsky developed a healthy dislike for poetry due to a teacher who “left me with the
impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. I was told it was good for me, but I wasn’t convinced.”

In his early twenties, Prelutsky spent six months drawing imaginary animals in ink and watercolor. One evening, he wrote two dozen short poetry verses to accompany each drawing. A friend encouraged him to show them to an editor, who loved his poems (although not his artwork!) and urged him to keep writing. Prelutsky listened and he is still busy writing.

Jack Prelutsky lives on Mercer Island in Washington with his wife, Carolynn.


“A splendid collection.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“Teachers and librarians will want to use this millennial volume with Prelutsky’s Random House Book of Poetry for Children to introduce our best children’s poets and encourage children to write about their immediate experience.”—Booklist

“A generous collection with a distinctly upbeat tone, this gives a taste of the best poets writing for children over the last several decades. Lobel’s drawings imbue the whole with action and graphic images as inventive as the verse. Successfully geared to meet home, school, and library needs.”—Starred, Booklist


WINNER 2009 Kid's Indie Next List "Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers"
WINNER 2009 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Book
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



Day 1:
Surround students with the genius of Jack Prelutsky. Make all of his books available for the class to browse. Have the class check out the poet’s interactive Web site at www.jackprelutsky.com and get to know him as a friend.

Day 2: In Good Sports, Jack celebrates the joy of participating in sports boys and girls play. Have students read a few of the poems aloud. Discuss why the book’s title is so appropriate. Do you have to be a good athlete to be a good sport?

Day 3: Share with students the fabulous shape poems on pages 42–43 of The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury. Discuss how the physical layout of the poems works with the words. Challenge students to write and design their own shape poems. Create a bulletin board to display the creations.

Day 4: Read aloud Jack’s introduction to the “Nonsense!” section on page 168 of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. Then read it along with the class at a slower pace. Talk about the fun of the rhymes and the lively language. Why is it so much fun to be silly? Have students try their hand at a poem that might fit into the “Nonsense!” category.

Day 5: Have students write a poem congratulating Jack on being named our
nation’s first-ever Children’s Poet Laureate.

Day 1:
Introduce Jack Prelutsky’s Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme to the class. Copy one of the poemstarts on the board and see how many directions it can go in.

Day 2: Download the free poetry journals at www.randomhouse.com/teachers. There are original poemstarts by Jack Prelutsky that will get students’ creative energy flowing.

Day 3: Have students write their own poemstarts, and then trade papers with a partner and finish each other’s poems.

Day 4: Have students bring home a poemstart and complete the poem with a family member.

Day 5: Host a read-aloud hour where students can read their best poem from the classroom or from home that started with a poemstart.

Day 1:
Jack Prelutsky has selected poems for several acclaimed poetry anthologies. Lead a class discussion about the format of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. The anthology is divided into 14 sections and it includes a table of contents, as well as an index by author, title, first line, and subject. Why is order so important in an anthology?

Day 2: In his introductory letter in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, Jack talks about his target audience of elementary school students and how he chose poems based on what he knew about them. Discuss the concept of a target audience. What type of poems would students select for an anthology for their parents, their younger siblings, their teachers, etc.?

Day 3: Meilo So is the illustrator of three anthologies selected by Jack: The Beauty of the Beast, The 20th-Century Children’s Poetry Treasury, Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme. Have students take a look at her gorgeous art in the three books. How do the illustrations help the poems come to life?

Day 4-5: Now that students understand the concept of an anthology, put together a classroom poetry anthology. As a class decide on the target audience and a catchy title. Next have each student choose a poem that inspires him/her—the poems can be by published poets or by fellow students. Read the selected poems beforehand and decide on a list of categories for the anthology. Write the categories on the board and, as you read each poem aloud to the class, ask for volunteers to come up and write the poem name in the category it best fits into. Type up the anthology and ask for a few volunteers to illustrate the anthology. Depending on the age of your students, you may want to assign the table of contents and index to volunteers. Make copies for each student to bring home and share with their families.

Day 1:
Have students send a poem-a-gram to a friend in another class.

Day 2: Make a class recording of students reading their favorite poems or their original poems.

Day 3:
Host a poetry writing contest where the winner reads his or her poem over the loudspeaker for the whole school to hear.

Day 4: Invite family members in for tea or punch and have the students read a poem for their guests of honor.

Day 5: Set aside free time for the class to enjoy poetry. Students can write a poem, read a poem, share a poem with a friend, or illustrate a poem.

Sign up for the free Teachers @ Random e-mail newsletter and you will receive a poem a day for the month of April that you can share with students. Go to www.randomhouse.com/teachers to sign up.


20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury
HC: 978-0-679-89314-1

The Beauty of the Beast
HC: 978-0-679-87058-6
GLB: 978-0-679-97058-3

For Laughing Out Loud
HC: 978-0-394-82144-3

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme
HC: 978-0-375-82286-5
GLB: 978-0-375-92286-2

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young

HC: 978-0-394-97218-3

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children
HC: 978-0-394-85010-8
GLB: 978-0-394-95010-5

Good Sports
HC: 978-0-375-83700-5
GLB: 978-0-375-93700-2

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide

  • The Swamps of Sleethe by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Jimmy Pickering
  • March 10, 2009
  • Poetry; Juvenile Nonfiction - Poetry - Humorous
  • Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • $16.99
  • 9780375846748

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