Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar by John Foster

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Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar by John Foster

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Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: An outstanding anthology of quirky poems, that makes you appreciate just how lovingly collated it's been. It's perfect for dipping into or reading as a whole. Every child should have this on their bookshelves.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 104 Date: February 2009
Publisher: OUP
ISBN: 978-0192755810

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I was recently subjected to a good 20 minutes of the rude version of Happy Birthday in Catalan, even though it was neither my birthday nor am I Catalan. I responded with the ol' squashed tomatoes and stew version that we all know and love, for a very restrained 15 minutes. Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar is packed full of such things. Kids love those sort of rhymes, and childish adults love 'em too. Whilst Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar isn't exactly rude, it does have a cheeky glint in its eye, a muddy splash on its new shoes, and gleeful laughter throughout.

John Foster has done a marvellous job of collating this poetry anthology. Seeing just how perfect every single choice is making the reader realise how ordinary so many other anthologies have been. There's a perfect flow from the first page to last, making it ideal for reading as a whole, or just picking up, flicking through, finding something good, and getting sucked in. It appears to just effortlessly work, but it's clearly not just a case of sticking a few favourites in a book.

Everyone knows and loves Michael Rosen, don't they? He's here in good measure. I'll resist the urge to just paste half the book, but I particularly enjoyed Colin West's Alphabet of Horrible Habits, Theresa Heine's My Brother, and Valerie Bloom's Water Everywhere. The full list of authors and illustrators can be seen at the end of the review.

As well as an anthology of poetry, it's also an anthology of illustrations. There's a real mix of styles, from classic gentle smiling children to Beano-style comic strips. Whilst all the illustrations are excellent in their own right, I do wish a couple of them had let their hair down a little more, to meld a little better with some of the quirkier poems. That's just nit-picking what is a stunning book, and should have a prominent place on every child's bookshelf. Buy it now. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Favourite Nursery Rhymes by Brian Wildsmith is another excellent anthology that every child should have. If the poetry bug grabs you, then you'll absolutely love A Kick In The Head: An Everyday Guide To Poetic Forms by Paul B Janeczko and Chris Raschka. For something Christmassy from Wildsmith, try A Christmas Journey by Brian Wildsmith.

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