Things You Find in a Poet's Beard

LONGLISTED FOR THE NORTH SOMERSET TEACHERS' BOOK AWARD POETRY CATEGORY

This is a fantastic, fun collection of poems to read aloud and perform. A. F Harrold uses rhythm and rhyme and word play with immense skill, creating a treasury of poems that flow from the tongue. Children will delight in hearing them and performing them themselves.

Through performance of the poems children can experiment with tone, intonation and volume, considering the effects these have on the audience. Many of these poems are perfect for children to use in performance and to recite. ‘The Perils of Breakfast,’ is filled with humour and allows for exaggeration, questioning and drawing the listener in, as would, ‘If I woke up as a Beetle.’

There are many poems that encourage fun experimentation with words and will have the children giggling, such as ’Questions, Question’ and ‘Stephen Slowcoach’ which will both get children thinking ‘outside of the box’ in order to write their own. ‘A Poem For My Mum,’ uses repetition, personification and listing to create careful comparisons. This would be an excellent poem to innovate. Children could write a poem for someone or something else; maybe they don’t ‘miss’ them, perhaps they ‘love’ or ‘hate.’

Within the collection of poems is also a selection with beautiful imagery, vocabulary and poetic techniques to build atmosphere and create emphasis. The Flavour of the Night’ encourages use of the senses and using real things to describe impossible things:

‘It tastes of high clouds, of crisp cold, of twilight.’

Children would be able to easily use this style in their own poetry and alter it to include other senses. ‘Outside’,  ‘February’ and ‘Two Spring Poems’ show how detailed scenes can be painted for the reader with very limited words and through the use of simile, metaphor, personification and other writerly techniques.

Things You Find in a Poet’s Beard is a great selection of poems, a real gem to share, to perform and to enthuse children about poetry. The wonderfully quirky illustrations by Chris Riddell make it all the more special.  

Things You’ll Find in a Poet’s Beard by A. F. Harrold, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Burning Eye   ISBN: 978-1909136618