Posted in Favourite Children's Poetry

Coral Rumble; My Favourite Poetry Books

Here is the second in the series where I’m asking children’s poets what their favourite poetry books are – they must choose one of their own, and they can if they wish choose a book of poems for adults, too. This week, it’s Coral Rumble!

I could list so many books, so I’ve decided to avoid listing any by my personal friends, as I wouldn’t be able to stop! (Not just because they’re my friends, but because they’re all ridiculously talented.) Instead, I’ve thought further afield and back in time; it’s been quite a journey!

I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree (Nosy Crow) Ed Fiona Waters

Hooray, hooray! In 2018 something unusual happened. A publisher spent a lot of money on producing a poetry book that was beautiful and inviting. With full colour illustrations throughout, the richness of text is matched by the extravagance of visual interpretation. What a breath of fresh air! Bravo Nosy Crow!

The Magic Box (Macmillan) Kit Wright

Okay, this might seem a blast from the past, but we’re only travelling back to 2010. Are there many schools where children have not been inspired to write their own version of the famous title poem? Playful language, a light touch, totally delightful.

Grandad’s Tree (Barefoot Books) Ed. Jill Bennett

First published in 2003, this book is bold in its treatment of sad subjects that children need to talk about. With poems from the likes of Grace Nichols, Berlie Doherty and Carl Sandburg, you know you’re in for a treat. ‘Always Remembering Eloise’ by Lindsay MacRae renders me speechless.

The Utter Nutters (Puffin) Brian Patten

I’m going to take you back a little further in time. In 1994 this fantastic collection of Brian’s poems delighted more visual learners, who responded to text and illustration working together. I remain still as fond of this innovative book based on the various wacky neighbours all living on one imagined street.

Something Big Has Been Here (HarperCollins) Jack Prelutsky

We’re still time travelling, this time back to 1990. I love Jack Prelutsky! He’s such a master of scansion; there are no untidy ends to tie. I want to skip through the pages of this book, not in the sense of haste, but in the sense of spirit.

When We Were Very Young (Methuen) A.A. Milne

First published in 1924! I’m not just being sentimental, I just love this book, containing classics like ‘Halfway Down’ and ‘Buckingham Palace’. It’s where my love of words started. On top of that, it’s full of wonderful illustrations by E.H. Shepherd!

And my own book?

Riding a Lion (Troika Books) Coral Rumble

Well, it’s kind of back to the future now, because this book doesn’t yet exist! I think most poets feel that their latest work is their best, and I’m very excited about this collection. Anyway, you can never start marketing too early!

Posted in Poetry Celebration/Anniversary

Poetry Zone – a Celebration of 20 years of Children’s Poetry!

Last night in London, in the setting of the CLPE‘s wonderful library, was the FABULOUS party to mark the 20th anniversary of PoetryZone, the website started by the wonderful poet Roger Stevens, and the publishing of the excellent book above by way of celebration.

PoetryZone has supported and encouraged many generations of children in their poetry by giving them arena to post their poems, see them published, and get feedback – it is a wonderful resource for young poets everywhere; it has had more than a MILLION visitors in its 20 years on the web!.

PoetryZone, a Celebration of 20 Years of Children’s Poetry, is published by Troika, and is chock-full of Roger’s favourite poems by a number of top children’s poets – and also some mind-blowing poems by some of the 30,000 children who have had their work published on the PoetryZone website.

The night was a happy mix of lovely children’s poets (a whole boatload of whom turned up to help celebrate and honour Roger) and poetry, with readings from the poets present, including me, Sue Hardy-Dawson, Laura Mucha, James Carter, Andrea Shavick, Trevor Parsons, Coral Rumble, Celia Warren, John Agard, and of course, Roger himself.

A very lovely evening indeed.

 

Yuck and Yum by Joshua Seigal and Neal Zetter

 

A feast of funny food poems, accompanied by some really very dodgy laugh-out-loud facts, except for the ones that are clearly true, such as 99.4% of children say they would prefer Brussel sprouts to chocolate if they had to choose one or the other for a snack.

These are read-out-loud poems, and having heard the one reproduced below performed by Neal, extremely effective and great fun.

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Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

 

What’s the longest fruit you’ve seen?

Found in milkshake, yoghurt and ice cream

When they’re on my plate I lick it clean

A tremendous taste

Too good to waste

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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You’ll slip upon their slimy skin

So put the peel into the bin

What word doesn’t stop after it begins?

Simply unending

I’m always bending my

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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You can mash them

You can squash them

You can squish them

You can gulp them

You can fry them

You can spread them

You can pound them

You can pulp them

When I ask what food you’ve had today

I’m hoping that you’re going to say

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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Monkeys eat them at the zoo

They’re yellow and black not orange and blue

Ideal in soup or in a stew

They’re versatile

Shaped like a smile

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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Buy them by the kilo, pound or bunch

Stick them in your sandwich box for lunch

They’re the ideal snack when it comes to the crunch

Travelling all the way from Jamaica

What fruit’s got a name that’s a record breaker?

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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Before you get some from the store

Shout out this poem’s title once more

Ba nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nana

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© Neal Zetter

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My favourite poem by Joshua Seigal is By Royal Appointment. I’m pretty sure she does like a certain dark brown spread for toast. Who doesn’t?

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Yuck and Yum, a Feast of Funny Food Poems by Joshua Seigal and Neal Zetter, Troika, is available here.