And so to March, a month that brings us the springing of spring, and World Poetry Day, a global celebration of the joys of poetry. Happy Poems by Roger McGough seems to me to be the ideal collection to share with you. Boldly introducing young readers to the likes of William Blake and Alfred Tennyson, through to Carol Ann Duffy and the ever fabulous Benjamin Zephaniah, the bright, smiley cover promises an array of poems designed to bring sunshine to your kids’ reading.
The venerable Roger McGough is one of our best loved poets. A writer in possession of that enviable combination of wit and profundity, it’s lovely to see a handful of his own poems in the mix, my favourite being an ode to the ‘inky, spiralling comet’ of the humble apostrophe.
Grouped thematically, the poems cover school, friendship, animals, and many more of the elements of a young life. The mundane and glorious are often covered within the same poem, as in Four Ducks on a Pond, by William Allingham. Such an everyday sight, the ducks on the grassy bank, and yet this memory will remain.
‘ To remember for years-
To remember with tears.’
Sentimental verse has been chosen with a light touch, and well balanced with chuckle-out-loud poems. I loved The Bee’s Knees by George Szirtes, with its arresting imagery of ‘great hairy’ bee’s knees squatting in the flowers, then springing away, ‘all six knees pumping and shoving.’
This eclectic collection contains poetry to quietly consider and visualise, as well as verse for joyful performance. What wonderful images are conjured up in Stars, by Pie Corbett.
‘Stars are…beautiful freckles of hope…
Sequins on a first party dress…’
How powerful a mere handful of words can be. Imagine the playful and vivid poetry our kids could create with their very own handfuls of words.
World Poetry Day is on the 21st March.
Read it, speak it, write it.
Happy Poems by Roger McGough is published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 192 pages.