Book Title: Poems Aloud (available here)
Author: Joseph Coelho
Illustrator: Daniel Gray-Barnett
Publisher: Wide Eyed Edition
Publication Date: Feb 2020
Most Suitable For: KS1 & KS2
Reviewed By: Rachel Caddick
Poems Aloud is a collection of poems that have been written specifically for performance. There is poetry to perform alone and poems to perform as part of a group – either in chorus or by sharing out the parts. There’s also a wonderful poem called The Shockadile Crocodile! which invites audience participation. The content of the poems will really appeal to children. There are poems about everyday objects, space rockets, robots and animals. There are even two poems about slime. The poems are accompanied by bold, vibrant illustrations which fill the pages with colour and energy. The anthology contains a wide variety of poems, including tongue twisters, riddles and action poems. There are narrative poems and funny poems. There are also lots of performance tips. We are told how words written in bold are intended to be emphasised when performed. Techniques such as crescendo and diminuendo are introduced and explained. I can see children having lots of fun performing the poem Turn the Radio Up, which starts with a hiss of whispered static and gradually gets louder and louder until there’s roaring, clapping and foot stamping: “a wall of ear-splitting symphony”. There are poems to whisper, poems to shout, poems to speed through and poems to savor. While most poems are upbeat and fun, there is one – This Bear – which is beautifully poignant. It’s about a bear who’s lived his life in captivity and has only ever “shuffled over rugged imagined mountains”. In the second half of the poem, he finally takes his first steps towards freedom. This collection of poems would be fantastic to explore in the classroom. Children across the key stages could have lots of fun performing them, and they would be enjoyable for sharing with the whole school in a class assembly.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Rachel for reviewing it.
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