The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson

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The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson

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Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A surprisingly good collection of football poems for kids. Perfect for the eager anticipation that comes between the final whistle of the FA Cup Final and the kick-off of the World Cup.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: May 2010
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0330510868

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With the World Cup just around the corner, football is on everyone's lips. Paul Cookson, Poet in Residence at the National Football Museum, has compiled the best football poems for young children.

I'll admit I had fairly low expectations for The World At Our Feet. I was expecting a few not very good poems about football that didn't really get the juices flowing, but that might strike a chord with football-mad book-hating kids. I was pleasantly surprised to find it significantly better than that. From the moment I read Ruth Underhill's It's A Small World... Cup that highlights the dominance of Europe and South America, I was hooked. Throughout the anthology, there's a wonderful mix of kids playing in the park, dads shouting at refs, famous players, incidents like the World War I football match, lashings of 1966, and everything that makes football such a thrill.

Illustrations come courtesy of David Parkins, with plenty of cartoon silliness to keep the energy up. They don't detract from the poetry itself, but they are a welcome addition. I was slightly less keen on the caricatures of real footballers - not that there's anything wrong with them, just that it's a style that isn't entirely to my taste.

There's a great mix of poetry styles, with storytelling, silliness, playing with forms like acrostics and riddle poems. Nothing's shoehorned in or hammered home, but there are lots of things that will capture the imagination of kids. Whether they simply enjoy the poems as they are, or are inspired to write their own, it's all good. The biggest thumbs-up goes to Tim Hopkins, with The Art Of World Cup Football:

Brazil and Paraguay drew,
England and Germany coloured in.

I was roaring with laughter, and I fully intend to repeat the joke over and over and over throughout the World Cup.

The World At Our Feet could so easily have been a bit naff, but any young football fan will lap it up. Warmly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

For other superb football books, check out War Game by Michael Foreman and Billy the Kid by Michael Morpurgo. Football-mad reluctant readers will lap up The Kick Off by Dan Freedman and Action Replay by S W Parry.

Buy The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson at

Buy The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The World At Our Feet by Paul Cookson at


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