My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator)

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My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator)

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Buy My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator) at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Something charming to see - a truly worldwide selection of verse for the very young, even if I don't see them all becoming favourites.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 68 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Book
ISBN: 9781847806277

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I'm thinking that of all the kinds of books that have ability to surprise, high up on the list are poetry books. You can generally see the style, idea or genre of a novel from the cover, and beyond a few shocks and twists nothing changes. But take poetry on board, and there are surprises on each page – the concentrated form of the literature surely gives the author more chance to bedazzle, to pull the rug over the readers' eyes and to generally give something the audience didn't expect. And so it is with this book, for while Michael Rosen's introduction spoke to us of nursery rhymes, I had already flicked through and still was not expecting a spread of them. Even when he itemised the various kinds I didn't foresee finding them all on the pages, although that is what I got. Who would have thought that such a small, succinct and varied little volume would have that much capacity to surprise?

This book is at least proof that the nursery rhyme has travelled the world, and in these forms is in very rude and very varied health. There's a short narrative-styled poem about a donkey from Ireland, there's a musical, sing-song verse to bond with the very young over regarding play and fun that comes all the way from Iran, and a hilarious look at relationship problems from Denmark. You get ones that are lullabies, ones for playground song and chanting, and the French offering, which is for holding hands and doing all the actions. Here is something from an Aboriginal language, a Fijian verse to be done to the tune of 'Frere Jacques' and an introduction to Jamaican patois. The Samoan piece even teaches you some of that exotic tongue.

I will gloss a little over the illustrations – collage effect images, with newsprint, fabric and a lot more creating the designs – and say that the most appealing sight of the book is the original poem alongside the English text, and then three versions of it if it derived from Cyrillic or Persian alphabets. This is going to make very young eyes bulge at the diversity of the world, if they have any idea of where it is these poems come from. So while I didn't find favour with some of the pieces, this does serve as a geography and of course cultural primer, as well as a handy collection of weird and intriguing poems for those of the primary age. Liberally adapted and edited at times, these glimpses into the global village will only surprise, whatever the expectation.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The same publisher's own A is Amazing!: Poems about Feelings by Wendy Cooling and Piet Grobler is another great collection that borrows liberally from everywhere.

Buy My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator) at Amazon.co.uk


Buy My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Village: Rhymes from Around the World by Danielle Wright (editor) and Mique Moriuchi (illustrator) at Amazon.com.

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