Book reviews - poetry (page 2)

Children love to read poetry, and to have it read aloud to them. It is a wonderful way to extend their language skills and reading poetry can encourage them to write their own. I have also included some books of songs and nursery rhymes. Poems are perfect for bedtime reading too.

How Many Points for a Panda? By Hilda Offen

A new collection by acclaimed poet Hilda Offen. Illustrated with her own characterful line drawings, here are poems full of humour which express her compassionate view of the world, seen in scenes of family life and school as well as Hilda's reflections on history and the things she sees around her.


Wild in the Streets: 20 Poems of City Animals by Marilyn Singer

On each double page spread there is a poem along with some informative, non-fiction text which tells us all about the animal in the poem; this makes each poem so much more accessible as straight away we can find out more about the meaning behind it. Haiku, Reverso and Triolet are just a few of the 8 different poetry forms that are used throughout the book which is such a good way to introduce children to the various ways that poems are written and each form is described in detail at the back of the book. Beautifully illustrated showing cities and the animals that dwell in and around them from all over the world.

A Hurricane in my Head: Poems for When Your Phone Dies by Matt Abbott

This exceptional collection of poetry really picks up on themes that will resonate with today's young people. Honest and realistic, the pertinent thoughts will resonate long after reading, giving plenty to ponder over and excellent openings for classroom discussion. Friendship, bullying, technology and the life of a modern teenager are covered in many ways that promote thought and understanding, encouraging young people to reflect on many aspects of life. A remarkable collection from Matt Abbott, nationally acclaimed writer and performer, with poems that will make you want to become a poet and put your own words to paper much to the perplexity of any careers advisor!

Boom! Bellow!  Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices​ by Georgia Heard

Children will love to share this poetry book with its myriad of opportunities to make animal noises to enhance the telling of the poems. The poems are specifically written for two or more voices to explore the myriad sounds animals make, as so it's perfect for classroom use, to make for some really enjoyable interactive poetry lessons - and to give children ideas to emulate. Colour is used to show the different voices. The poems include all sorts of animals: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and even a crustacean! There are fascinating facts to learn too, through the included notes - how to estimate the temperature by counting a cricket's chirps and see how creatures make sounds at specific pitches and frequencies. Gorgeous illustrations by Aaron DeWitt complement the poems superbly, and the layout makes the pages very appealing. A lovely collection. Published by Highlights Press, May 2019, ISBN 978-1620915202.

Moonstruck: Poems about our Moon edited by Roger Stevens

The moon, with all the mystery and science attached to it, has long been a prime subject for poetry. This collection brings together a wide range of poems about the moon from both well-known and up-and-coming poets, including many of the National Poetry Day Ambassadors. This is an inspirational and beautifully illustrated anthology that will spark children's imaginations and celebrate our solar system, commemorating the 50th anniversary year of the moon landing in July 1969. Poets include both contemporary and classic. Illustrated by Ed Boxall.

Dragons of the Prime: Poems about Dinosaurs​ edited by Richard O'Brien

This anthology for children of 8+ tackles big questions about these amazing creatures. What would a baby diplodocus pray for, and just how big is a dinosaurs egg? The variety is excellent, with poems short and long, shape poems and attractive illustrations. There are poems about dinosaurs in their Jurassic heyday, poems about new discoveries and the latest scientific knowledge, and poems about the history of how humans have imagined these amazing beasts. And for those who aspire to write poetry but don't know where to start, there's a really good section on writing your own poems.This is a paperback not, as you might expect from the price, a hardback, which is a little disappointing. It's a great collection though, and enhanced by the inclusion ofscientific notes plus an interview with a paleontologist, which round the book out nicely.

Read to Your Baby Every Day edited by Rachel Williams

Sharing poems and nursery rhymes with babies is wonderful - it builds a strong bond and establishes happy memories. This book contains 30 classic nursery rhymes to share and all the old favourites are here, presented in an attractive cursive font. The illustrations are really stand-out with the use of a fascinating and effective technique - illustrator Chloe Giordano uses sewing thread and hand dyed fabrics to make her work and this produces an amazing 3D effect. Sharing nursery rhymes with children brings inestimable benefits and it's a key part of early childhood; the beautiful presentation sets this book apart. This is a beautiful book that will make a perfect gift for new parents.

Spaced Out: Space poems chosen by Brian Moses and James Carter​

Two popular poets have come together to choose some wonderful space poems from a wide range of poets, making for a lovely varied collection with something to appeal to everyone in both style and content. The poems are divided into sections which include looking up, science and space travel and alien life, so children can look for their favourites. With many forms to enjoy, including shape poems, free verse, rhymes, kennings and haikus, it's time for an adventure into space; a great way to accompany classroom work on space to give an added dimension. Throughout, there are lively illustrations to enhance enjoyment.

Super Guppy from The Emma Press

This is a super collection of poems all about the things that form part of children's everyday lives. Have you ever had a pet? Or have you ever stopped to look at all of the small things in your home that make up your life? From wet socks to being tucked into bed at night, and strongly featuring one inspiring guppy fish with real staying power - Super Guppy stays close to home, but it's a home full of fun, jokes, and surprising adventure. This engaging collection will appeal to children who have questions about how the world works, and it will stimulate their thinking and curiosity. Suitable to be read with children aged 6+, and for children aged 8+ to read unaided. Usefully, and making the book good for school use, it comes with a number of writing prompts to inspire children to create their own poems.

Cherry Moon by Zaro Weil

Little poems, big ideas, mindful of nature. This is a gentle and meditative collection of poems; poems that make you stop, think and reflect. This poetry collection captures eye-popping moments, tender observations and thoughts and musings on the sheer joy of the natural world. Thought-provoking, sensitive and delightfully original, it poses big questions about life with poems and other small gatherings of words; encouraging children of every age (and adults too) to explore the power, joy, enchantment and sheer wonder of nature. The subdued limited-colour palette of the delicate illustrations by Junli Song complement the feel of the poems perfectly. They are soothing and relaxing and this would make a lovely bedtime read - poems, with their rhyme and rhythm, are perfect bedtime reads. A lovely way to raise children's consciousness of the world around them.

Perfectly Peculiar Pets by Elli Woollard

All manner of animals are here - and some would certainly make unusual pets! The poems are arranged alphabetically, from armadillo to zebra, with plenty of lovely creatures inbetween, from all around the world. It's a lovely collection of poems for younger children about pets which are just a little bit peculiar... There are fun-filled illustrations by Anja Borelzki, which show the animals in some unlikely situations - children will enjoy these. It's a perfect book for reading aloud, with something to appeal to everyone. At the end of the book, there are some really practical suggestions to encourage children to write their own poems.

Bicki Bucki (Bicki-Books) by The Emma Press

This is one of a set of six beautiful little books from The Emma Press. Bicki Bucki is a modern nursery rhyme. Janis Baltvilks and illustrator Reinis Petersons work together to tell the unusual story of a friendship between a small boy and a dinosaur which gets its tail stuck under a stone. It's the first in a collectible series of six much-loved children's poems by Latvian authors, translated into English for the first time. The series is curated by Ruta Briede and each poem has been carefully matched to a contemporary illustrator to bring the poem to life. The books are attractively presented, with colourful covers which are all very different, reflecting the feel of the poems inside. They have been cleverly done to make each feel different. The remaining five poems are: Calm Beasts, written by Herberts Dobre and illustrated by Gita Treice Topsy-Turvy Tasks, written by Maija Laukmane and illustrated by Sabine Moore The Door Wizard, written by Pēters Brūveris and illustrated by Paulis Liepa Ice Cream, written by Arnolds Auziņš and illustrated by Līva Piterāne Naughty Gnat, written by Valdis Grenkovs and illustrated by Zane Zlemeša It's a lovely set of books, beautifully illustrated and really out of the ordinary.

I am a Jigsaw: Puzzling poems to baffle your brain​ by Roger Stevens and others

This is such fun and it really makes you think. Full of clever conundrums, tricky teasers and puzzling poems, there's plenty here for eberyone to enjoy. Many of the poems are riddles, some short and relatively simple; others are much longer and providing plenty to ponder over. The great thing is that it makes writing poetry accessible - the nature of the poems is such that it will encourage children to try for themselves. This is encouraged by a whole section on how to write different types of puzzle poems, including kennings, riddles and puzzles - a real boon for teachers to use to inspire pupils.

Everyone's the Smartest by Contra Ulla Saar

This engrossing collection takes the familiar and makes something very special and thought-provoking of it. The poems are loosely themed around school, but manage to encompass a whole world of different experiences and places. There are 60 poems on all aspects of school life, with lively coloured illustrations on every page. There's a touch of magic, with plenty of the unexpected - what caused the school to flood? How do you keep the flag flying? How come ducks don't need to go to school? Quirky and unusual with lots of interesting back matter, this is a super collection.

A Year of Nature Poems by Joseph Coelho

This is a beautifully produced book with a nostalgic and traditional feel that means it will appeal to all ages and never date. The poems show us how animals behave through the seasons, and describe the cycle of trees and plants, from the first blossoms of spring through to the stark winter wonderland in December. My favourite is March - I never knew daffodils came in so many forms! The poems are complemented by with folk art from Kelly Louise Judd which weaves its way around the poems superbly, giving plenty to look at. The book reflects the poet's love for nature and his desire to share that as widely as possible with poems that encourage contemplation about the world around us, and encourage us to slow down and think about the brief but telling introduction to each poem. A joyful celebration of nature.

I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Fiona Waters

This has to be one of the most beautiful books I have seen and it has definitely shot to the top of the list of my all-time favourite poetry books; a future classic. I love to encourage children to read poetry and this wonderful book should have a place in every family home. The title is from Windsong by Judith Nicholls: "I am the seed that grew the tree that gave the wood to make the page to fill the book with poetry." Whether you share a poem a day, or just dip into it, you will be well rewarded. The eclectic range of poets include John Agard, William Blake, Emily Bronte, Charles Causley, Walter de la Mare, Emily Dickinson, Carol Ann Duffy, Eleanor Farjeon, Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy, Roger McGough, Christina Rossetti, William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Updike, William Wordsworth and many, many more. The combination of superlatively stylish full page colour illustrations by Frann Preston-Gannon and a wonderfully curated collection of poems can't be bettered. The illustrations really set the scene and focus attention on the wonders of nature, and will appeal equally to adults and children. Excellent indexes make it easy to locate poems by poet, title, first line and month. Another success from the collaboration between Nosy Crow and the National Trust. I can't recommend it highly enough and it's the perfect gift.

Everyone's the Smartest by Contra Ulla Saar

School can be all sorts of things - it can be fun, it can be hard, it can be lonely or a place full of friendship - whatever aspect, you'll find a poem on this book that will fit. This collection of 60 poems encourages children to see and reflect on their own experiences, and often helps put them into perspective. It's down-to-earth yet with a child's eye sense of magic and mystery. From clever ducks who fly far away while children are stuck in school, to bathroom taps that are just one mistake away from turning the school into a great lake - this collection reminds its readers that there is the unusual everywhere. Delightful illustrations adorn every page of this lively look at school life. Originally written in Estonian, the book invludes lots of fascinating information about Estonia.

A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies

In this wonderful poetic celebration of the sea, we enjoy lovely poems whilst learning more about the oceans of the world and their shores. Children will be immersed in the book as they find out about limpets and elvers, stars and shoals, fishing and shipwrecks and much, much more associated with the sea. Children will be amazed and awed by what they learn and their appreciation for the oceans will be enhanced. The book is divided into four sections - Down by the shore, Journeys, Under the Sea and Wonders. The theme of the book is perfectly reflected in Emily Sutton's exquisite watercolours which capture all the wonders and beauty of the sea. This is a truly beautiful book which will be looked at and enjoyed over and over again, all the while opening children's eyes to the importance of looking after this precious resource. Beautifully produced too, to make a perfect gift.

I Bet I Can Make You Laugh: The Funniest Poems Around edited by Joshua Seigal

Indeed he can! Children won't be able to resist laughing aloud at the poems in this hilarious anthology... and nor will the adults who have the pleasure of sharing them by reading aloud. The wide range of contributors includes Lewis Carroll, Andy Seed and Alfred Noyes, as well as many lesser-known poets, and even children. There are also plenty of amusing poems from Joshua Seigal himself. The poems are divided into sections, including home, school, words and animals, so you can find one suitable for a specific occasion. There's plenty here to appeal to every type of humour; if your child thinks poetry is boring, change his or her mind with this collection!

She is Fierce edited by Ana Sampson

This is, according to the cover, 'Brave, bold and beautiful poems by women' - and the description can be equally applied to the poets themselves. The anthology includes 150 poems, divided into sections which include growing up, friendship, nature and endings. The rich variety includes classic poets and modern voices, aristicratic ladies to schoolgirls, but the theme remains constant - the power of women. Poets include Christina Rossetti, Dorothy Parker, Emily Dickinson, Wendy Cope, Maya Angelou and many, many more, giving a wonderful cross-section of women poets through a long periode of time. The short biographies of each poet give an insight into the background and character of the poets and provide a good incentive to learn more about particular favourites. This is a well thought-out, perceptive and engrossing anthology - one to dip into at any time and a perfect gift book.

A Kid in My Class by Rachel Rooney

This is a poetry collection that will resonate with young readers, as they will all recognise familiar characters who appear in the lively poems. As the poet so appositely comments, she thinks of the book as a class full of people rather than a book of poems, and that sums it up wonderfully. There's the eager student, the daydreamer, the accident-prone one, the average one, the shy child and, of course, the cool one... as well as many more. Each is so well described and the blue wash illustrations by Chris Riddell add a real charm to the book; the inclusion of a sketch of each child is a stroke of genuis. Every primary classroom should have a copy.

Crawly School For Bugs: Poems to Drive You Buggy by David L Harrison

This is a well presented book which uses shiny paper to give a really good visual impact - the amusing illustrations by Julie Bayless really stand out. Join the insect students and staff at the Crawly School for Bugs; THE school for hummers, diggers, leapers and creepers. The school motto is 'Never Eat A Friend At School!" Find out What We Learn in Bird Class, all about the Private Thoughts of a Praying Mantis in the Lunchroom, discover What's Left of Termite Class after the insects have been busy and many more amusing poems. Enjoy the humour in the illustrations too, as well as the intriguing details. Published by Boyd Mills Press, May 2018, ISBN 9781629792040.

Dark Sky Park: Poems from the Edge of Nature by Philip Gross

Explore the unexpected side of nature with these pomes which are an exciting and thought-provoking celebration of all that is extraordinary in the natural world. Discover boiling black smokers, icy glacier worms and microscopic moss piglets - it is a great way to interest children in the natural world and they will be amazed by the strangeness. The poems are complemented by fascinating information about the creatures featured. The illustrations by Jesse Hodgson are very varied in style, meaning they echo the theme of each poem illustrated to perfection. A stimulating collection that will, hopefully, encourage children to find out more.

Poetry for a Change: A National Poetry Day Anthology

National Poetry Day is an opportunity for everyone everywhere to read, share and enjoy poetry. This special anthology features poems by the National Poetry Day Ambassadors, a top team of fantastic poets who bring poetry alive all year round. It includes new poems by these poets and in addition, each poet has chosen a favourite poem to share, so there are classics by Chistina Rossetti, WB Yeats, Shakespeare and Keats among others. It's a great way to include a wide variety of poetry, by including contemporary poets along with classics. Each poet writes about themselves, what inspires their poetry, and why they chose their classic poem. This makes for fascinating reading and gives an excellent insight into what lies behind the poems we enjoy and their writers.

Fantastic Football Poems edited by John Foster

I love to encourage children to read poetry and this collection of fun football poems is perfect for sports fans - especially football fans, of course. The collection includes some of our best-loved contemporary poets, who know exactly what will appeal to children. Pacy, not too long, full of fun and humour, and packed with the excitement of the game - it's all here. Poets include Tony Bradman, Brian Moses and Paul Cookson.  Korky Paul's brilliant illustrations capture the individuality of each poem perfectly, bringing a great sense of variety to the book.

The Song of the Dodo by Hilda Offen

This collection of new poems is divided into themes - Never (the unlikely and impossible), That Was Then (things of the past), This is Now (things of the present) and Cloudland (wonderful flights of the imagination). The peoms are suitable for children of 5+ and have plenty to interest them. They read aloud superbly, with vivid use of language and flowing rhymes that are natural and unforced. The poet has illustrated her work with gorgeous line drawings that reflect the poems to perfection and integrate perfectly with the text, giving an attractive appearance to this lovely collection.

Yuck and Yum: A Feast of Funny Food Poems by Joshua Seigal and Neal Zetter

The authors of this food-based collection are celebrated performance poets, and so the poems are perfect to read aloud. It really does offer a foodie feast - as well as the poems, there is additional interest with fascinating dodgy food facts and recipe tips that children will love - and which will have them in fits of giggles. Scoular Anderson's lively illustrations are the perfect complement. The collection is guaranteed to appeal to children - and to increase their knowledge of food, as they learn and find out about all manner of foods from around the world.

THINKER: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield

Seven-year-old Jace is a poet - what is unusual is that his puppy Thinker is also a poet. But shhh - nobody must know that Thinker is a poet, so he has to keep very quiet when he's in public. But we can enjoy the poems (and Ehsan Abdollahi's gorgoeus illustrations) in this enjoyable collection which everything they do into lively verse, from going to the park and philosophising to playing ball. But then, it's Pets’ Day at school, and Thinker's secret comes out - and it turns out he's not the only talented pet. A lovely collection of poems based on a special friendship.

Breathe and be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems by Kate Coombs

Mindfulness is a popular topic at the moment, with advocates recommending it to calm children. The claim is that teaching mindfulness helps children learn to stay calm, regulate their emotions, and appreciate the world around us. With Breathe and Be, author Kate Coombs and illustrator Anna Emilia Laitinen team up to present a book of poetry and art for young readers to make mindfulness easy, natural, and beautiful. Created for readers aged 4-8, here is a book sure to delight parents and kids alike, blending lovingly illustrated nature imagery with elegant poetry about living with awareness and inner peace.

Apes to Zebras: An A-Z of Shape Poems by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens

Shape poems are such fun and it's simply brilliant to see a whole book devoted to them. Children will love the animal theme too and it's great to see that the poems aren't limited to one per letter. Some unusual animals are included too - there's a quokka and a Xantu's murrelet, to introduce children to the unfamiliar. The range of shapes and other ways of setting out the poems used is huge and it really shows children how effective and versatile this form of poetry can be; it can really reflect the theme too  - I especially love the buzzing shape of the mosquito poem for example. This is an inspiring collection that really highlights how fascinating shape poems can be - and the imagination is your only limit when deciding how to set out your own poem. I love this book and hope it really enthuses children for poetry - it certainly deserves to.

The Waggiest Tails: Poems written by dogs with help from Brian Moses and Roger Stevens

I love sharing peotry with children and they are going to love this collection. I know I do! You don't have to be a dog lover either, although the poems will obviously have a special appeal to all who love dogs, and who will relish in the way their foibles are so funnily exposed. All the poems are written from the dog perspective, giving them a real insight/ Meet dogs of every imaginable kind, from huskies, born to run, to those big bad bruisers, the security dogs. Meet Bruno, the smallest dog on the farm, and Charlie, the dancing chihuahua. Find rescue dogs, helping dogs, yappy dogs, happy dogs - and the dog with the waggiest tail! A brilliant collection with so much to enjoy and relish.

Chicken on the Roof Poems by Matt Goodfellow

Mattgoodfellow is a performance poet and his energy and verve shine through in this collection - I would love to hear him performing them! The topics are wide-ranging and all very relevant to children - rock pools, hide and seek, I'm bored. Some short - two liners told with great effect - and others more subscantial; a great mix. A wonderful sense of humour pervades the poems, and adults will revel in that as they share these poems with children. "There's a chicken there's a chicken there's a chicken on the roof The only way she's coming down is chicken parachute!" What a picture that conjures up - and that;'s how to inspire children to read and write poetry.

Miss Winter's Demise and Other Crimes Against Poetry by Paul Minton

This is a quirky and unusual collection of poems, the first published by Paul Minton. Children will respond well to the eclectic colloection of topics which include strange things like a dog with too many legs, a boy who turns into a bird and even superheroes armed with the powers of bad breath and dandruff. There are rhymes about flying farm animals, extremely polite pirates and a newspaper especially for ghosts.  Each poem rhymes and concludes with a surprising twist or comic punchline. The lively illustrations will extend children's enjoyment, and stimulate the imagination. Fun, light-hearted poetry perfect to read aloud. It's a hilarious collection with lots of variety in style and length. A small point - I think the font is a little small for comfortable reading.

A Treasury of Songs; Book and CD Pack by Julia Donaldson

Well-loved for her wonderful stories for children, Julia Donaldson is also a gifted songwriter for children. A Treasury of Songs contains over twenty of her songs, including fun-filled action rhymes, Aesop's fables, and songs based on Julia Donaldson's best-loved picture books, from Room on the Broom to The Gruffalo. Fans of her books will love to read the songs as they enjoy the beautiful illustrations by the incomparable Axel Scheffler. To make the book even more enjoyable, it comes with a CD of all the songs performed to perfection by Julia herself. Anyone who has heard them on TV or radio or enjoyed one of Julia's live performances will recognise these, and the book will make a lovely gift for children who have attended a performance - and for all others too, of course. A beautiful book from a superlative pairing.

I'm Just No Good At Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris

It's almost impossible to categorise this book, but what stands out most is its wit and humour - and total difference from anything you will have ever seen before. There are lots of poems though, so that's why it's here... but it's far from being a standard poetry book. It's a wonderful blend of wit, wordplay and nonsense with visual and verbal tricks that give the reader a different perspective on the world, challenging pre-held convictions. Completely unique, there are surprises at every turn of the page, from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously mis-numbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking verse, to a poem that is 100% genuinely infinite. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for There Is a Tribe of Kids, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. A book that will really make you think, amaze you and provide hours of amusement.

Fish Dream of Trees by Frantz Wittkamp (adapted by Roger McGough)

This is a collection of very short but very telling poems. It's a real gift to be able to condense so much into just four lines. These playful and easily accessible poems by Frantz Wittkamp have been adapted from German to English by Roger McGough with his trademark humour and wit. There are lions and tigers and mice galore, not to mention a whole host of other bizarre and loveable creatures in this fully colour illustrated collection of short poems; the wonderful illustrations by Axel Scheffler's bring the poems to life perfectly. Each four-line poem conjures a new scene or concept and their short length combined with the colourful detailed artwork makes this book ideal for introducing poetry to the very young. Three people's work has been superbly unified. It's a beautiful hardback book with gold foiling on the cover to make it extra special.

Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry from Otter-Barry Books

The publisher has linked with Pop Up Projects to bring new young poets together in an exciting collaboration sponsored by Arts Council England's Grant for the Arts programme. This anthology includes the work of young poets (25 and under) from diverse e backgrounds, all aged 25 and under. The poets are Ruth Awolola, Victoria Adukweibulley, Abigail Cook, Jay Hulme and Amina Jama. The poems are varied, and each poet showcases eight poems for 10-14 year olds. All the poets will take part in workshop projects with Pop Up's partner schools, culminating in a reading and writing festival. Continuing on the theme of developing young talent, the black and white illustrations are by final year students from Birmingham City University's illustration course. A super initiative and great to see these poets and illustrators brought to our attention.

80: Poems by Roger McGough

" The poems gathered round To wish him all the best He choose the nearest 80 and said 'thank ypu' to all the rest." 80 of Roger McGough's favourite poems have been brought together in this new collection, created to celebrate the poet's 80th birthday. The poems are varied in nature, some sad, some happy, some very brief, some quite long. These will amaze and delight children of all ages. They are illustrated by the poet's own line drawings. A lovely collection to celebrate a favourite poet.

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

This book whisked me straight back to my childhood. I loved these poems and read them over and over again. They capture a child's world to perfection and on re-reading the poems, although naturally some topics are dated, the wonder of childhood still shines through as fresh as ever. It's hard to believe that the book was published over 130 years ago, although poems such as The Lamplighter do give it away. It's the wonderful rhythm that flows through the poems that brings them alive - shown to perfection in one of my favourites 'From a Railway Carriage'.This beautiful hardback edition has been illustrated by Michael Foreman, with delicate colour and black and white illustrations which reflect the mood of the poems perfectly; the foreword is by Alexander McCall Smith. Every child should have a copy of this book!

Best-Loved Poems: A Treasury of Verse by Ana Sampson

This well-selected anthology includes classic poems from the likes of Tennyson, Marvell, Byron and Rossetti, alongside the more contemporary voices of Ayres, Larkin and Zephaniah. The collection is divided into themes to suit every mood; this will be popular with teachers looking for themed poems. Themes include Come Love With Me: Fantasies and Infatuations; The Great Hour of Destiny: Songs of War; The Family Face: Poems a About Family and Childhood. Each section has a fascinating introduction which gives us an insight into the selection. All sorts of poems are included, from magic voyages through antique lands to the wonders of nature and the roar of city life, from love and war to those poems we used to know by heart, this volume is a bold and beautiful array of the finest verse from some of our greatest poets. A really good cross-section of poems which covers a wide time period. There is much to love here.

The Rainmaker Danced by John Agard

John Agard is an award-winning poet whose accolades include the Queen's Medal and the Eleanor Farjeon Award. From nature and science to identity, prepare to be transported on a journey through past and present. This collection explores the wonders of the world, with superb use of language and clever and witty use of words. The illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura weave their way through the poems, making them even more appealing. A superb new collection.!

A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy

This is a beautiful book which will capture your attention right from the superbly illustrated front cover. Enjoy Irish favourites, both traditional and modern, such as ‘Brian O’Linn’ and ‘I’ll Tell Me Ma’, ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean’ and ‘Monday’s Child’. Poetry is always great to read aloud and children will especially enjoy silly rhymes like ‘Beans’, ‘Pardon Me’ and ‘On Top of Spaghetti’. The authors showcased include Oscar Wilde, Oliver St John Gogarty, James Joyce and many others. Each poem is individually illustrated in a style that suits each one, and the overall effect is a lively and vibrant book that will become a popular part of a child's library; once to return to over and over again.

A Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri

This eclectic collection of 366 poems bring us one to share on every day of the year; how about making a daily poem part of your family bedtime routine?. These poems are funny, thoughtful, inspiring, humbling, informative, quiet, loud, small, epic, peaceful, energetic, upbeat, motivating, and empowering! My only disappointment is that, after seeing the beautiful cover, I expected a more up-market presentation inside the book. However, despite that quibble, this is an excellent anthology which has been carefully thought out to provide plenty of topical material for each month, across a wide range of poets and periods, encompassing old favourites and new discoveries. It will prove a valuable resource for teachers, and a comprehensive anthology for home libraries.

Overheard in a Tower Block: Poems by Joseph Coelho

For those growing up in a big city, the veracity and vividness of these poems will really strike a familiar note; those who live outside big cities will gain a real insight into life in cities. Gazing at the stars from five storeys up, smelling the bins from five storeys below. Overheard arguments, overheard laughter. A disappearing father and a Mermaid-Queen mother; statues that sing for flesh and blood; bullies who kick you under the table; perfect red trainers... these are just some of the topics that make up this varied collection of poems. Award-winning poet Joseph Coelho's astonishing new collection is a powerful and moving poetic narrative about growing up in the city, excellently set off by Kate Milner's black and white drawings which capture the spirit of the poetry.


Frances Lincoln produce some lovely poetry books, always superbly presented and illustrated, and here is another excellent addition to their catalogue. In this celebration of our Earth, distinguished anthologist Wendy Cooling has chosen poems to make children look, think, and ask questions. It's a well-chosen collection with a wide variety of styles from poets including Grace Nicholls, Thomas Hardy, Benjamin Zephaniah, Alfred Lord Tennyson and other poets from all over the world Colourful but subtle watercolours by Piet Grobler reflect the theme of each poem perfectly and the lively pictures adorn each page giving the book a lovely feel of action and liveliness. A really good book for the home library and an inspiring collection for classroom use.

Tickling With Words: Creatures, Teachers and Cheesy Queasy Features by John Townsend

I love sharing poetry with children and this chunky hardback book with its colourful pages would make a perfect gift to encourage children to enjoy poetry. Packed with ridiculous rhymes and gut-busting gags all set in scenarios familiar to children, from Trick and Treat to school assemblies, these are perfect for reading aloud. The book is a great introduction to poetry as children cannot fail to respond to the humour and light-hearted approach. The poems are perfectly set off by Stef Murphy's colourful illustrations.

Where Zebras Go by Sue Hardy-Dawson

Join a talented poet in her first solo collection, celebrating the diversity of the animal kingdom. Get ready to join in the Poetry Olympics, question a snake, talk to a toad and learn 20 ways to avoid monsters and mythical beasts. Where Zebras Go will lead you leads you on a magical journey across the savannah, into fairytale realms, back into the playground and through the seasons,with a super variety of poems showing off many different styles. This diverse collection of poems makes excellent use of many different ways of presenting poetry, with a wide and varied vocabulary to enjoy. It will also inspire children by its variety of form.

How to be a Tiger by George Szirtes

This super collection of poems really extends the imagination with its highly enjoyable range and variety. Leap with hares, call out to the sun, run with the wind, pull silly faces with monkeys, watch out for the bear in the bathroom and meet a burping princess! A fantastic new collection for younger children from a prize-winning poet. These poems are perfect for curious young minds, ready for adventures, and they are ideal for sharing and reading aloud.

The World's Greatest Space Cadet by James Carter

We often overlook poetry when we are encouraging children to read, but poems can be a great way to develop reading skills - here we have a collection that is ideal to stimulate interest with its super variety of different forms of poetry. Join poet James Carter on a journey through space and time: meet everyone from a Viking warrior to a crazed cat - and travel from planet Earth to the very edges of the universe...This wonderful collection is the perfect way to get children interested in poetry.

A Rocketful of Space Poems by John Foster

A superb collection of poems from acclaimed poets to take young readers zooming around space. Fly into space, drive to the moon, meet an asteroid dog and a flurb blurp, and then play intergalactic Squibble-Ball. There are wizards and witches in space, as well as Peter Pluto’ s fast-food superstore – and the worst monster in the universe. Poets include Judith Nicholls, Paul Cookson and Liz Brownlee. Korky Paul's colourful and highly detailed illustrations are a delight. This would be a great book to support KS2 topic work, bringing a new dimension to learning about space.

A Treasury of Songs by Julia Donaldson

Well-loved for her wonderful stories for children, Julia Donaldson is also a gifted songwriter for children. A Treasury of Songs contains over twenty of her songs, including fun-filled action rhymes, Aesop's fables, and songs based on Julia Donaldson's best-loved picture books, from Room on the Broom to The Gruffalo. Fans of her books will love to read the songs as they enjoy the beautiful illustrations by the incomparable Axel Scheffler. To make the book even more enjoyable, it comes with a CD of all the songs performed to perfection by Julia herself. Anyone who has heard them on TV or radio or enjoyed one of Julia's live performances will recognise these, and the book will make a lovely gift for children who have attended a performance - and for all others too, of course. A beautiful book from a superlative pairing.

What Is Poetry?: The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems by Michael Rosen

The former Children's Laureate gives us his own personal take on poetry - what poems are, what they can do and the pleasure that comes from writing and reading poetry. I am really keen on encouraging children to read poetry, and this book is full of ways to inspire a love and understanding of poetry. The book starts out by analysing some well-known and varied poems, including 'How do I love Thee' 'Waltzing Matilda' and 'Ozymandias'. The book includes plenty of useful advice on writing and performing poems, as well as a wealth of technical information and tips. He looks at his own poems and explains how and why he wrote them. It's a fascinating insight into the world of a poet, and full of inspiring ideas to increase children's love for poetry.

I Am a Book by Roger Hargreaves

Best known, of course, for the Little Misses and the Mr Men, this lovely volume of (mostly) poetry shows another side of the author, but one that still reflects his wonderful sense of fun. Have you ever imagined what it might feel like to be a book? Or a pencil? An ocean? A pair of scissors? Or, even, a sausage? Well, Roger Hargreaves has - and it's hilarious! So many familiar things are the subject of his humour - a pillow, a greetings card, a snowflake, an egg... you will look at them all in a different light now. It's also a great way to stimulate and encourage children's own poetry.

The Moon Spun Round: W. B. Yeats for Children

You may think that W B Yeats' poetry is not an ideal match for children - but you'd be wrong, as this sumptuously illustrated book shows. The work included has been carefully selected, including, I am glad to say, my favourite, The Lake Isle of Innisfree. The book includes a cross-section of poems, stories, a letter from childhood, and an account of his daughter Anne’s memories of childhood; as such, it is an excellent collection to introduce to secondary age pupils studying the poet, as it shows a wider picture, and therefore offers a fuller understanding, than simply his poems. Including unpublished work, this gorgeous book draws on Yeats's preoccupation with magic, fairy lore, place, family and childhood; the stunning illustrations capture to perfection the mystical and magical tone that pervades the collection. A wonderful book.

Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by Michael Rosen

Every child should have a selection of poetry books to dip into - and what better than a new collection from former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen? This truly is a celebration of words - silly words, funny words, new words, old words - and a wonderful way to encourage children to use all sorts of words themselves, whether in poetry, in speech or in any form of writing. There are poems to make children think about the world around them - have you ever read a poem about metal covers on the pavement? The thing that makes this collection stand out, is the sheer variety - there are long poems and short ones, poems to make you think and laugh, silly rhymes, witty word plays and thought-provoking story poems. David Tazzyman reflects the variety in his illustrations - they are so varied, you'd think there were lots of different illustrators; and I mean that in a positive way. To cap it all, there's a CD read by the poet himself, so children can hear exactly what the poems are meant to sound like. A superb collection that will make a wonderful gift. There's an Activity Pack to go along with the book - thank you to Bloomsbury Books for this.

Classic Nursery Rhymes, foreword by Chris Riddell

This is a beautifully produced book first produced 100 years ago, and which would make a marvellous addition to any home library. The traditional cloth bound cover is embossed with silver, and the page edges are silver too. All the traditional favourites are here, including Curly Locks, Ride a Cock Horse, I Saw Three Ships and Old King Cole. There are plenty of less familiar rhymes too, such as I Love Sixpence and Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies. The illustrations are from the original, by Dorothy M Wheeler, Enid Blyton's illustrator. With their gentle colours and delicate pictures, they make a refreshing change from today's sometimes garish illustrations. A book to treasure.

I Don't Like Poetry by Joshua Seigal

How could anyone not like poetry when they have read the lively and engaging poems in this book? "I'm a lovely little poem. I'm snoozing in your book. I'm like a dainty dragonfly - Come and have a look." With poems on every topic from the power of books to the joys of fried chicken, this collection is packed with Joshua Seigal's subversive humour and insight into the world of children. Sometimes, when children say they don't like poetry, what they really mean is, they don't like writing poetry - hopefully, reading this book will change their minds!!

It's Not My Fault! by Roger Stevens

"It wasn't me-or was it He, My evil, evil, evil twin? I didn't mean to be so mean. There goes my evil twin again." Join poets Roger Stevens and Steven Withrow for this magical mixture of poems. Perfect to share with any child who has ever said "It's not my fault.", this is a lively collection of sometimes funny, sometimes serious poetry. The poems are very easy for children to relate to, covering everyday situations; some short, some longer, there's something here for everyone. Just remember though - whatever happens... it's not my fault!

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