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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.

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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