Showing posts with label Poems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poems. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme?


To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? by Kristin Martin, illustrated by Joanne Knott (Glimmer Press) PB RRP $24.99 ISBN 978064846354

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Said to be one of South Australia’s ‘most skilful and inventive children’s poets’, Kristin Martin has assembled this collection of rhyming and non-rhyming poems with connections to the Australian curriculum in Science and English from Foundation to Year 7. The front cover gives a glimpse into the subject matter of Martin’s poems – nature – from dragonflies to swallows to frogs and more.

The book is divided into two sections – one for rhyming and one for non-rhyming poems. Here’s an example of a rhyming quartet from ‘Sparkly Treasure’: ‘I found a sparkly treasure/on the dusty path, today/I’m lucky that I found it/as we wandered on our way’. 

All the poems are simple and use simple language. While none of them employ clich├ęs, none of the images are remarkable. 

Many poems offer prosaic statements (from ‘Drought’ for example): ‘It’s hot and dry and dusty/ I wish that it would rain’. However, for a child who loves animals, weather and country, the poems are likely to spark an interest.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Cool Poems


Cool Poems by Kate O’Neil, illustrated by Christina Booth (Triple D Press) PB RRP $25 ISBN 780994349996

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Despite having written and published her poems for numerous years, this is Australian Kate O’Neil’s first solo collection. It is especially for students who enjoy words, who love rhythm and rhyme. The collection is divided into seven sections with subject headings ranging from ‘In Australia’ and ‘Speaking Your Mind’ to ‘Play’ and ‘Light and Dark’.

One of the first poems in the book under ‘Happy Living Things’ was a short free form  poem with a fine image that sticks in my mind. This is in ‘Slug’, where O’Neill writes, … ‘how is it that your/loathsome taper/makes this/exquisite/tracery of silver script...’. Beautiful! I urge you to get your hands on this book, so you can read poems like this with such memorable imagery. Another short poem in the same section is ‘To a Leech’, the first line of which reads, ‘You’re no prince in disguise’.

In the section, ‘In Australia’, there are poems about being barefooted, eating mangoes, climbing mountains, paragliding and cockatoos. Subject matter throughout the book is wide-ranging and includes school rules, blowflies, Cocky’s Joy, beating the blues and blind man’s bluff. Some poems, like ‘The Cynic Route’, ‘Gargoyle Guile’ and ‘Man and Moonshine’ are more suited to mature readers, but there are plenty of fun poems sure to be enjoyed by younger readers, such as the prima donna selection, ‘The Kid from Camdenville’, ‘Bare, Bare Black Sheep’ and ‘Classy Darcy’.

Happily, too, there’s a variety of poetic forms from rap to couplets, quatrains to free form. A few of the poems use the rhyming scheme of well-known poems. And, too, the poet uses speech within poems such as in ‘Bedtime Boogie’ and ‘Bedtime’.

Booth has done an excellent job of illustrating the collection with black and white line and wash pictures. Stand-outs are the gargoyle illustrating ‘Midnight Feast’ and the big-headed cat about to pounce on the unsuspecting bold mouse.

If you’re looking for a collection which will be rewarded by dipping into and reading fun, serious and thought-provoking poems for your reader aged 9 to 14, this book is highly recommended.


Friday, 31 July 2015

Silly Squid!

Silly Squid! by Janeen Brian, illustrated by Cheryll Johns (Koala Books)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-096-5

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Silly Squid is a picture book packed full of poems about Australian sea creatures. Inside its pages you get to meet all manner of characters which frolic in or under the waves. From the Leafy Sea Dragon to the Penguin to the Whale, these animals are explored in poetry and explained by prose fact which is written around the edges of each page.

The poems are fabulously fun. I did not trip over any awkward rhymes. Each one has a great rhythm, which makes reading them out loud a joy.  They all differ in form, length and tempo, which really make this collection sing. They are each individual and some of them short enough for young children to memorise.

Pitched perfectly at the preschool age, these humorous poems will entertain children and also teach them about undersea animals. The illustrations are bright and vibrant and based on the environment and colors of these sea creature’s homes. 

This is a great book for any young child who likes the sea, animals or poetry and would be a fun way to introduce poetry to those not yet indulging. A really great addition for any young person’s library!


Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Monster Sale

The Monster Sale: Poems by Brian Moses (Walker Books)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN 9781847803665
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Brian Moses’ interesting collection opens with the title poem, and continues with equally exciting and gut-wrenching things that children love to drool about. But the collection isn’t only about monsters and ghoulish things. It has a tremendous variety of extremely clever, word-bending poems about animals, inanimate objects and crazy things like hiccups and school poems.

Writing poetry for children is a challenge. For some it appears to come naturally, but when they appear easy that is when construction has been worked hard on.  Moses’ poems are witty, lively and interesting, and they are sure to encourage children to read poetry due to the clever use of words and sound.

There’s always a favourite in every collection, and the clever word play in Tyres ‘Do tyres get tired of the road?’ is an example of how words can be used and re-used in various contexts. A lot of that happens in this book.

The 43 poems in this creative list of rhyming and free verse are thought-provoking and entertaining, and certainly the stuff that children thirst after. Ideal for the 4-100 age group.