A Dinosaur at the Bus Stop

A Dinosaur at the Bus Stop
Kate Wakening, illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon
Otter-Barry Books

Like her previous books of poems for children, Kate Wakeling’s new collection is full of musicality and playfulness: every one of the almost forty offerings cries out to be read aloud either to yourself, family members or school friends. As the subtitle says, there are ‘Poems to Have Fun With’. It’s certainly true of My Cold (which it’s suggested is read ‘aloud while pinching your nose’). Here’s how it begins; ‘I’ve got this cold / and it’s terrible. // First I had a tickle / in my throat. // Then came a trickle / of gunge / out of my left nostril.’

How many children will have thought of naming their toes, I wonder. They might after reading The Names I Give My Toes: 1. Tiny Tara / 2. Wilbur the Wonky / 3. Mr Medium /4. Fancy Fiona (who wishes she was a finger / 5) Big Angry Bob . The other five are also named and equally funky

I can’t see many people reading The Washing Machine Jive and doing as the author says ‘pull up a chair’ . I certainly couldn’t: rather I found myself needing to be on my feet moving around as I read: ’Your pyjamas are bopping, / your socks can’t stop hopping, / your T-shirts are wriggling, / and your pants? Yep, they’re jiggling.’

Much gentler is In the Quiet of the Trees, my favourite of all the poems herein and it describes beautifully the way I feel in a forest: “The forest is a special kind of still. // In the quiet of the trees, / I breathe deep as roots. // … and in the quiet of the trees / I become / a special kind of me.’ 

You’ll also find riddles on the theme of oceans and mini-beasts – great to inspire children to try writing their own. Also great for getting children writing is Eleven People on the Bus and there’s even a fart poem – a sensible one so we are told.

Eilidh Muldoon’s drawings augment but never detract from the inventiveness of the poems and will certainly appeal to young readers.

A book I strongly recommend adding to home bookshelves and Foundation Stage and KS1 class collections.

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