A fair while ago, although it seems like yesterday, Colin West’s picture books were real favourites with my two children. His poems, found in anthologies, were a favourite with me, too.
Many years later, when I had also become a poet, we met on Facebook – where the author turns out to be every bit as charming and delightful as his work.
You can recognise a Colin West poem even if it is unattributed – probably one of the highest recommendations it is possible to give. They are by turns surreal, nonsensical, entertaining and hilarious, and all are clever and fun.
And the tradition carries on! His latest hysterical, historical book of ‘bonkers ballads’ is populated with mischievous miscreants, including a dispirited spook, a natty knight and a young King Cole. All the ballads make you laugh out loud, and the wonderful full-colour illustrations complement and conflate with the poems to make every page a masterpiece of humorous verse.
You don’t get colour illustrations in a book of modern poetry very often, particularly one guaranteed to tickle your tonsils all the way through.