ANIMALS IN PANTS by Suzy Levinson, illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an obsessive planner. I don’t do ANYTHING at the last minute. My much-more-spontaneous friends will attest that when they dare call me asking if I want to grab lunch or a go to a movie that same day, my typical response is: “Seriously? Have we met?!” (I realize this stems from my anxiety and I’m likely missing out on a lot of things because of my rigidity. Don’t worry, I’m working on it!)

Anywho! The reason I bring this up is because I was sitting at my desk a week ago, patting myself on my back because, knowing that the beginning of 2024 is going to be very busy for me, I’d managed to get ahead of a bunch of things – including already scheduling my January post for this blog. YAY ME! 

And then, I re-read the blog schedule for 2023 and realized I was supposed to post something for TODAY – DECEMBER 29th — and I didn’t have it on my calendar!!! AHHHHH!!! 

I typically like to do author interviews, but knew I didn’t have time for that, so I quickly scanned my bookshelves and my eyes immediately gravitated to one of my favorite books of 2023, the hilarious poetry collection, ANIMALS IN PANTS, written my amazing friend and critique partner, Suzy Levinson, illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell, and published by Cameron Kids. 

(Suzy has no idea I’m doing this. I stole her headshot from her website. Hi, Suzy!)

And so, without futher ado, I dedicate this post to…

FOUR REASONS I LOVE ANIMALS IN PANTS:

  1. It’s a bunch of poems about animals. Wearing pants. That’s it. That’s the schtick. There’s no message, no universal take-away, no lessons, no back matter teaching about poetic forms, no main character who wants-something-tries-three-times-fails-then-finally-finds a-solution-and-gets-what-they-want.  It’s just a book of poems that are freakin’ funny! And it is amazing. 

2. Suzy is just a brilliant poetPeriod. I am ridiculously long-winded and verbose (In case you couldn’t tell. lol), and so I absolutely love and appreciate Suzy’s ability to bring so much wit and wry humor using so few words. Some of her poems are insanely short, and yet she infuses them with bucket-loads of sass and sarcasm. One of my faves:

Yak Facts

According to yaks,

Pants aren’t pants.

They’re slacks.

3. The ART! It is just chef’s-kiss-awesome! I mean, take a look for yourself. The color scheme is so bright and the collage-effects are so cool (sorry, I’m not an artist, so not sure what that’s called, but I LOVE it!). The publisher could have totally gone cutesy with these illustrations, but instead went for artists who brought a groovy, swanky factor, which I think both enhances the hilarity of Suzy’s words and adds a level of sophistication to the whole book. It’s perfect.

4. It Exists. As someone who has tried to get her poetry collections published, I know how difficult it is to get the attention of U.S. editors. (If I hear “poetry is a hard sell” one more time…), so my hat goes off to anyone who has made it happen. Sorry, quick rant: I don’t know why, but from what I’ve seen, the UK and Australia seem to value poetry for kids so much more. The UK has a whole National Poetry Library that includes an entire children’s section with more than 4,000 picture books and poetry collections (I can’t wait to visit one day!). And Australia has The School Magazine, which goes out of its way to fill its pages with poetry and brings poetic joy to classrooms at all grade levels every single month. So, the mere fact that Suzy managed to get ANIMALS IN PANTS published is enough for me to love it. (And, I’m not allowed to give details, but I happen to know that Suzy has more collections in the pipeline coming soon! YAY FOR US!)

Whew! Okay, I think I pulled off my very first (and hopefully last) last-minute spontaneous blog post! I hope you’ll go out and check out at this incredible book. 

Happy New Year everyone!

Rebecca Gardyn Levington

Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme. She is the author of BRAINSTORM!, WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW, and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure, with six additional rhyming picture books forthcoming, including LITTLE DREIDEL LEARNS TO SPIN (Scholastic, 2024), WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW! (Capstone, 2025), I WILL ALWAYS BE… (HarperCollins, 2025), and FINDING FORGIVENESS: A Rosh Hashanah Story (FSG/Macmillan, 2025). Rebecca’s award-winning poems and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. She lives in Summit, New Jersey with her family. Find out more about Rebecca and sign up for her monthly newsletter where she answers subscriber questions and shares tips learned throughout her writing journey at www.RebeccaGardynLevington.com.

14 Comments:

  1. Yes! You did it! I love Suzy’s book and am happy to hear there is more on the way.

  2. It looks adorable and sounds hilarious! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you, Rebecca! It’s an even more fun post than usual thanks to your spontaneity! You chose the perfect book for it. Happy New Year!!!

  4. This looks so fun! Thanks! You did it! 🙂

  5. Good job. Thanks for being spontaneous.

  6. Ha–you are now a procrastinating, spontaneous pro! And Suzy is an amazing poet who has written an awesome collection!

  7. Well done! Love this book. What a great way to usher in 2024.

  8. Somehow I this this year so I’m super glad you missed your blog post plan! Can’t wait to get hold of this book!

  9. Sheri Delgado Preston

    Too funny! Can’t wait to read it:)

  10. Such fun poems! I love this one!

  11. HI, REBECCA! What an awesome surprise to see this fun article about ANIMALS IN PANTS! (Please feel free to write about me whenever you’re pressed for a topic, haha.) Here’s to many, many more poetry collections for kids!!!

  12. Congrats on a terrific last-minute spontaneous blog post, Rebecca! Suzy’s book is such fun to read and a joy to look at as well. Glad to know she has more coming soon.

  13. Such a creative book! Congratulations!

  14. When I supplied taught in the schools, I always brought a few poetry books with me as the kids loved hearing a poem or two in those odd minutes between the lesson plans left by their classroom teachers. This memory challenges me to add a poem or two into my classroom visits this year. So I’m going to order your book Suzy right now!

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