Celebrating two smashing new Otter-Barry Books compilations of performance poets writing:
There’s a Crocodile in the House
Paul Cookson, illustrated by Liz Million
It’s great to see another book by performance poet Paul Cookson and it’s full of zany offerings to delight both adult readers aloud and primary school readers. Lots of the poems are absolute musts for classroom audience participation.
Take the very first poem that gives the book its title; it simply bounces along and with children chanting each line after you, it becomes a double bounce every time.
Then what about The Toilet Seat Has Teeth! What fun to have a whole class of 6/7 year olds yelling ‘OW!’ and bouncing up off their seats whenever you read that line, ( nine times by my reckoning).
This one seemed even more hilarious when I read it because the book arrived on the same day we’d had our new Japanese toilet installed. Now it may not have teeth but it does have all kinds of other interesting features.
As does Paul’s giggle-inducing book for not only is there a croc. but there are also such creatures as The T Rex That Rocks, The Warty Hog and The Porky Pine;
not forgetting the riot-rousing Bottoms! – “Bottoms that are twitching / Bottoms that are itching / Bottoms that are slipping / Bottoms that are tipping / Wobble Bottoms / Jelly bottoms / Wriggle bottoms / Smelly bottoms.’. How such a plethora of bottoms wriggled their way into Paul’s hilarious collection is his only to know.
What this erstwhile infant teacher, reviewer knows though is that your class will be reduced to hysterics, not to say any KS1 or nursery teacher that shares it.
I wouldn’t mind betting that Liz Millions had a good giggle creating the smashing illustrations for this cracking book.
The Magic of Mums
Justin Coe, illustrated by Steve Wells
With Mother’s Day coming up on 22 March, this is the ideal time to grab a copy of this super compilation celebrating The Magic of Mums, another terrific read aloud, and I’m pretty sure young readers will find their own particular special mother figure lurking somewhere within its covers: and to make life easier, Justin has penned a poem (or two or even three) for every letter of the alphabet.
So if you think your mum is let’s say, an Anxious Mum, there ‘s a poem ready and waiting; there’s also Action Mum and Adoptive Mum representing A.
Everyone knows how hard their mum works so there’s a One-Hundred- miles-an-Hour Mother as well as this special tribute to a Diamond Mum …
For me the Dad-Mum is also a true diamond: ‘ I know I do not have your mother’s magic. / I just cook the recipes / that keep her in our memories / and try to keep the house / as she would have it. // And because your mum / could never bear / to see you sad, / I do my best to love you / twice as much / for both of us / be both / your mum and dad.’
Not all the mums featured are of the human kind however; there’s Earth Mother, Queen-Bee Mum and the enormously moving Tree Mum too.
Steve Wells captures the spirit of every mum he’s illustrated (and that’s most of them) in his line drawings.
Altogether a super celebration of motherhood in all its shapes and forms for individual reading, or even better, reading aloud to that certain awesome mum, or perhaps Two Mums, for as a little girl narrator of Justin’s poem of that name says, ‘ I have two mums to love me / so there’s two mums I love.’