LONG LIST REVIEW: Message from the Moon and other poems

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Divided into sections on different themes, 'Message from the Moon' is a lively collection of poems on various subjects. Ranging from the humorous to the profound, this book offers something for everyone.

The opening section, entitled 'Oh Really?', focuses on the fantastical. Here, imagination runs riot with Killer Caterpillars, dragons and a robber rabbit. The pair of poems called 'Alien 1' and 'Alien 2' are great fun and could easily be used to encourage children to write their own poems in pairs, exploring two sides of an argument. Historical settings- the monks at Lindisfarne and the Viking raiders, for example- or fictional ones- Birt and Etho or Shu (On Sudden Hill)- could be used, but more sensitive ideas about viewpoint and perspective could also be explored as a way of opening discussions about bullying etc. 

'Feathers and Fur', the next section, not surprisingly is about various animals and birds! 'Wild Geese' is perfect for enjoying and discussing whilst 'Fox' might encourage children to create their own poems to describe a creature which fascinates them, using kennings in their work. 

'Dream Time' contains the title poem of the book, 'Message from the Moon'. This would make a lovely performance piece for children to explore and develop in their chosen way. It contains some lovely images and language. 

The fourth section, 'Dawn to Dusk' starts with a poem about day break and ends with one about night time. In between these two are poems on a variety of other subjects! 'The Sea' would be a wonderful poem to perform and contains some lovely images which children would enjoy exploring. Hilda Offen's retelling of the Hansel and Gretel story, 'The Peppermint Path', is another that lends itself to performance. 

The book concludes with a section entitled 'Outside-In'. Here, the poems return to the light-hearted with haircuts, snails and telling fibs to your friends! Illustrated throughout by the poet, the lively line drawings are full of fun and add to the overall enjoyment of the poems. The book has much to recommend it for use in the classroom, but also for the individual to dip in and out of.

Message from the Moon and Other Poems   Hilda Offen

Troika Books        ISBN: 978-1909991439