LONGLIST REVIEW: Adder, Bluebell, Lobster

What do these words have in common- blackberry, hamster. leek and lark? They are all words which have been deleted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

These are the words with which Chrissie Gittins starts the introduction to her book of 'wild' poems, 'Adder, Bluebell, Lobster.' In this selection, she seeks to recapture some of the words- more than 100- that have been withdrawn from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Choosing 40 of these, she has created poems celebrating the wonderful animals, birds and plants these words name.

Arranged alphabetically, 'Adder, Bluebell, Lobster' is a brilliant collection of poems about the natural world. The book offers a variety of poetic forms and styles- some playful, some more serious. Although perfect for dipping in and out of and sharing for their own sake, there are also many which could be used for inspiring children to write their own.

Written as a Haiku, Catkin captures the beauty and elegance of these hanging, flowering spikes perfectly. I love writing Haiku with children as they emphasise the need for such careful word choices to create the perfect image in so few syllables. Working scientifically, children can closely observe and describe plants, seeds, flowers, creatures and select the best vocabulary to create Haiku of their own. 

'Willow' tells the story of the willow pattern plate in verse. Children could illustrate and develop their own narrative poems based on other stories- perhaps myths or legends linked to an area of history being studied. 

The idea behind the book could inspire children to look at other words which have been dropped from the dictionary and to create their own poems to celebrate these words- perhaps creating a class book to go alongside 'Adder, Bluebell, Lobster.'

Adder, Bluebell, Lobster by Chrissie Gittins, illustrated by Paul Bommer

Otter-Barry Books    ISBN:  978-1910959558