New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy

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New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy

Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Carol Ann Duffy's poems about childhood are an absolute treasure. They speak eye to eye with children in a way that they'll love and adults will want to be a part of. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Faber and Faber
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0571219681

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Sometimes the title is all the introduction you need: Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy's New and Collected Poems for Children.

I'm a willing amateur when it comes to reading poetry. Many people are in the similar boat of being put off because they think it's a world they're not allowed to be in unless they fully understand it. They don't think they're allowed to just enjoy bits of it. So. Start them off young: share the silliness of Edward Lear or Spike Milligan, then when poetry doesn't seem quite so scary, let them enjoy Carol Ann Duffy.

I absolutely loved New and Collected Poems for Children. Carol Ann Duffy speaks with a voice that's clear, accessible, inclusive. It glints with the earthy mysticism of a David Almond, touches on the eye-to-eye honesty of a Jacqueline Wilson, and has the lyrical ear of a Michael Morpurgo. She never patronises her audience; she trusts them. This trust opens up Poems for Children to all ages: from young 'uns on knees going through lists of animals, confident readers discovering that even a school register can be poetry, to teens reading to themselves and finding their place in the world. World-weary reviewers and other haggard adults will delight in reminiscing, connecting and imagining - pretend the title is ...About Childhood rather than ...For Children if you must.

Things wot I liked: the mixture of empowerment and bleakness in The Childminders, the downright silliness of Haikow (moo x 17) and Venezia, and achieving the wide-eyed ambition of counting to a billion over 50 years in umm... Counting To A Billion. Every poem taps into an aspect of childhood, be it play, learning, friendship, lies, truth or fear (assuaged or stirred up).

There's also a lovely flow to Poems for Children, with a selection of loose threads connecting the individual poems. There's no rigid structure, just a beautiful winding path to follow or ignore. It allows you to dip in, flick through, or just devour in its entirety. If the poems weren't compiled as well as they have been, it would be a significantly less moving book (although, of course, they would still stand up in their own right).

Whoever you are, however old you are, you'll love Carol Ann Duffy's work. Highly recommended.

Once your interest in poetry has been sparked, you simply must read A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka. Although not poetry, books like Counting Stars by David Almond and Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl speak to and of childhood with unpatronising honesty.

Buy New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy New and Collected Poems for Children by Carol Ann Duffy at Amazon.com.


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