REVIEW: Michael Rosen’s A to Z

I’m getting in quick this year with some poetry, as I only read two poetry books during the whole of 2022.

Michael Rosen’s A to Z: The best children’s poetry from Agard to Zephaniah, also counts as an anthology, of which I read none last year. So ticks in two reading goal boxes already.

Published by Puffin Books in 2009, this is a brilliant book of poetry written with the younger generation in mind, but there’s no maximum age limit and it’s a really fun compilation to read.

There are all types of poetry in here from the funny to the poignant, traditional and modern styles, even poems that look like the subject matter – James Carter’s Tree and What You Can Do With A Football.

Most of the poems fill a page or less. Alan Ahlberg’s fabulous The Mighty Slide, which runs to seven pages, being one of the exceptions.

It’s all about a group of kids creating an enormous icy slide out of the snow on the school playground. And for people who think this is too childish for them to read, it is a lesson in how, without the need for words or instruction, children can just react to the moment and work together to create something wonderful. Carpe diem if you like. It’s a lesson most people forget as adults and could do with reminding of.

If you’re not sure about poetry, have some fun and try this for size. It would be great to read out loud with a child, grandchild, child you’ve borrowed just to read to. You have poems where a boy’s sister turns him into a frog (Richard Edwards), another about a teacher whose tongue is so long he can stick it up his nose (Paul Cookson), one called Okay, Brown Girl, Okay, which James Berry wrote in response to a letter from a young fan saying she was teased because of her colour and the brilliant Benjamin Zephaniah’s People Need People.

It’s a great introduction to children’s poetry. If you have a child to introduce to it, great, if not, just read it yourself and brighten your day.

Who says grown-ups can’t read kids books? Certainly not me.

2 responses to “REVIEW: Michael Rosen’s A to Z”

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