Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish...

So, I went to my first 'school open day' this afternoon as we navigate the process of applying for a reception place for boy one. Can I just say, London schooling is a little bit crazy town?! Alas, despite my repeated declaration that I will remain chilled out about all this, I get to spend from now through April wondering exactly how the application forms and school ranking and competition for church places (it's just like Rev) and distance measuring will turn out! And breathe.

Let's change the subject . . . to kids' poetry! Ain't nothing more soothing than some rhyming couplets I say. It was an exciting day for all of us when boy one became ready for proper stories after the baby stage of his beloved (but, let's face it, predictable) 'That's not my...' books! We are extremely fortunate to have the Southbank Centre's Poetry Library right on our doorstep. Many (many) an afternoon have we ended up hanging out in its lovely children's corner. In addition to well known and deservedly much loved authors like Dr Seuss, Julia Donaldson and Quentin Blake, we have had the joy of discovering some lesser known but equally wonderful titles.

Rosie and the Rustlers by Roy Gerrard is a good old fashioned western with a strong lead woman (hurrah!) and melodic verse. A good opening is key when it comes to children's books (and for adults, come to think of it) and who could resist this first verse? 'Where the mountains meet the prairie, where the men are wild and hairy/There’s a little ranch where Rosie Jones is boss. It’s a place that’s neat and cozy, and the boys employed by Rosie/Work extremely hard, to stop her getting cross.' 

We also love The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. This is the story of how a group of shipwrecked circus animals work their way into the hearts of a small village. The author's note tells that the poem is actually inspired by the wreck of The Royal Tar in 1836 which sank off the coast of Maine carrying circus animals. The verses and illustrations are fabulous.

And last, but certainly not least, we would recommend The Hound from the Pound by Jessica Swaim which is a whimsical love story for dog lovers! Great fun. We bought it for our niece who has a big black poodle.

Looking for more titles? I stumbled upon this fun little blog with heaps of good picks!


BethB said...

Ooh top tips. Also look out for The Paperbag Princess (yay girls).

BethB said...

Ooh top tips. Also look out for The Paperbag Princess (yay girls).

Julie said...

Ah yes! Paperbag Princess (and everything Robert Munsch) was one of my favourites as a child :)