From magic carpets and wands to unicorns, potions, creams and lotions, Paul Cookson has brewed up a cauldron of fantastically magic poems from poets past and present: William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard, Valerie Bloom, Matt Goodfellow, Joshua Seigal, A.F. Harrold and more.
Every primary school in the land should buy a copy
Colin West is one of the best humorous versifiers there are. I have often tried to explain to myself why he isn’t better appreciated – why, for example, this book should come to us from Troubador Press (probably produced at the poet/illustrator’s personal expense) rather than from a mainstream children’s publisher. The explanation is depressingly obvious really, and need not be spelt out, but it has to do with the fact that he writes is in the Edward Lear tradition of English nonsense verse. Contemporary and in-your-face it is not.
Barmy Ballads is a new hardback collection of his self-illustrated poetry, introducing a wonderful array of crazy characters (West seems able to conjure these up on a whim). Meet a nutty knight, a naughty witch, a smelly pirate, a not-very-jolly jester, a child genius, a hungry giant, a clever donkey, an invisible mischief-maker and many more. There is also a full supporting cast, including a crafty wizard, a lovesick fisherman, a helpful octopus, a hip hop drummer, seven washerwomen, a gang of bank robbers, a fiery dragon or two, not to mention the Queen of Spain and the old kitchen sink!
Order direct from the poet by contacting him on Twitter @mooseandmouse
A riotous celebration of words and a modern take on cautionary tales – featuring advice on parrots, gravy, mathematics, castles (bouncy), spiders, vegetables (various), breakfast, cakes, and removing ducks from soup. The advice comes in many shapes. Poems come in many shapes. And so, it follows, poems of advice come in many shapes too. Sometimes they look you in the eye and say, ‘Do this! Don’t do that!’ Sometimes they sidle up beside you and whisper, ‘Have you ever thought about … ?’ Not everything in this book is necessarily good advice, and not all of it is sensible advice. (But if you take the bad or un-sensible advice and don’t follow it, then it may become useful advice in its own way.)
ACHUKA Book of the Day 3 Sep 2020
A glorious sequel to I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree – winner of Waterstones Children’s Gift of the Year 2018 and Red Magazine‘s Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year 2019
This richly illustrated treasury of 366 animal poems – one for every day of the year – ranges from unforgettable classics to contemporary works from around the world, including poetry in translation. The selected poems include work by Roger McGough, William Blake, Dick King-Smith, Ted Hughes, Grace Nichols, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson.
Britta Teckentrup’s illustrations evoker all the richness and wonder of the animal kingdom. The cloth binding, textured paper jacket, ribbon marker, and head and tail bands complete the ‘book-to-be-treasured’ feel.
“as beautifully brutal as it is heartfelt and devastating … the book evokes that sense of excitement, awkwardness and heartache of first love”
Joe and Imogen seem like the perfect couple – they’ve been in a relationship for years and are the envy of their friends at school. But after accidentally becoming involved in a tragic fatal accident, they become embroiled in a situation out of their control, and Joe and Imogen’s relationship becomes slowly unravelled until the truth is out there for all to see … Structured around a dramatic and tense court case, the reader becomes both judge and jury in a stunning and page-turning novel of uncovering secrets and lies – who can be believed?
Kate Clanchy has been teaching people to write poetry for more than twenty years. None of them was confident to start with, but a surprising number went to win prizes and all finished up with a poem they were proud of, one they could call their own.
Kate’s big secret is a simple: share other poems. She believes poetry is like singing or dancing and the best way to learn is to follow someone else. In this book, Kate shares the poems she has found provoke the richest responses, the exercises that help to shape those responses into new poems, and the advice that most often helps new writers build their own writing practice.
Perfect for budding poets and those who teach them.
ACHUKA Book of the Day 27 Aug 2020
“Milner’s illustrations – inky, smeared, surreal; then razor-sharp and chilling – swing nightmarishly between physical clarity and metaphoric obfuscation.” Ben Harris
Daphne is unbearably sad and adrift. She feels the painful loss of her father acutely and seeks solace both in the security of her local library and in the escape her phone screen provides by blocking out the world around her. As Daphne tries to make sense of what has happened, she recalls memories of shared times and stories past, and in facing the darkness she finds a way back from the tangle of fear and confusion to feel connected once more with her friends and family.
The Girl Who Became a Tree sees poet Joseph Coelho deploy a wide variety of forms with consummate skill, seamlessly weaving together the ancient legend of Daphne, who was turned into a tree to avoid the attentions of the god Apollo, and a contemporary story in which a latter-day Daphne seeks her own freedom.
The illustrator, Kate Milner, was winner of the 2018 Klaus Flugge Prize.
ACHUKA Book of the Day 4 Aug 2020
An effervescent debut collection from Laura Mucha, winner of the Caterpillar Poetry Prize in 2016 and the 2019 YorkMix Poems for Children. She is widely anthologised and is described as a ‘mesmerising performer’ of her own work.
The title poem is a departing note left by Cinderella left for her Ugly Sisters:
Leaving tonight, so good luck with the chores,
I’m dropping my apron and keys by the door.
Listen to extracts from the collection read by the poet on her website…
Follow Tania Rex, the illustrator, on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taniarex_illustration