Otter-Barry

National Poetry Day 2019

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What better way to celebrate National Poetry Day 2019 than with another look at our fabulous Poetry shortlist! We had a wonderful assembly today with lots of staff sharing their favourite poems- the children loved it and were really buzzing about poetry. The children will get their turn in another assembly where they can share their favourite poems if they would like to.

So here’s another look at each of the four poetry books on the 2019 shortlist- and our lovely pooches, Mungo and Lady. Each is perfect for using in school and will inspire lots of poetry fun and creation!

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A Year of Nature Poems by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kelly Louise Judd

Wide Eyed ISBN: 978-1786035820

This is a beautiful picture of nature through the year in poems.. Each of the twelve verses has a short introduction, commenting on the content. January’s poem is based on the legend of two murmurations of starlings which battle in the sky above the City of Cork. Others stem from personal memories- collecting tadpoles, of holidays, childhood games in the snow. Rich in imagery, the love of nature and its wonders shines through the collection which is complemented by Kelly Louise Judd’s lovely illustrations.

Any of these poems could be used as a starting point for work in the classroom, developing children’s responses to nature, encouraging them to explore the world around them and play with words.

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Perfectly Peculiar Pets by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Anja Boretzki

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1472958464

This is a fun, light-hearted alphabet of poems celebrating a collection of unexpected pets. From the aardvark bought in Amarillo to the mighty fine zebra, there is a marvellous menagerie of creatures in this book. The poems offer plenty of wordplay and poetic devices to enjoy, discuss and imitate. Many of these poems lend themselves brilliantly to performing as a class or individually. They have a tongue-twisery feel to them which children truly enjoy; ‘S for slugs’ or ‘M for Millipede’ are great examples of this! Being an unusual collection of creatures allows children to find out about some lesser known animals like the quokka or the toucan, the yak or the kookaburra. They could create their own poems about creatures they consider to be ‘perfectly peculiar pets’- what about the pink lesser fairy armadillo or the numbat?

At the back of the book is a treasure trove of tips for writing poems of your own, explaining ideas clearly. Illustrated throughout, this is a very enjoyable, varied collection of poems.

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A Kid in My Class Rachel Rooney illustrated by Chris Riddell

Otter-Barry Books ISBN: 978-1910959879

This is a wonderful collection of poems about all the different ‘types’ of children that might make up a class- even a few adults and the class hamster are included. The poems seem to be told from the perspective of classmates and vary in styles, length and tone. Some are funny, others poignant, but each offers much to discuss. The author’s note reminds us that ‘We’re likely to be a mixture of several of them- and more besides.’ and children are sure to recognise themselves and others in these poems. Each poem is accompanied by a pencil sketch of the child and a cartoon illustrating the character depicted in the verse.

Perfect for sharing and enjoying, the book also contains poems which could be used as models for the children’s own. ‘Fidget’ is written in kennings and it could be great fun for children to reflect on themselves in this way. ’Talking Hands’ is a beautiful poem describing a conversation between a hearing and non-hearing child. As each teacher knows and understands their class, choices about which poems to use and how to use them can be made. An invaluable collection!

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I Am a Jigsaw: Puzzling Poems to Baffle Your Brain by Roger Stevens,

illustrated by Spike Gerrell

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1472958198

A poetry book of two parts, ‘I Am a Jigsaw’ contains both a wonderful collection of ‘riddles in rhyme’ and advice on how to write puzzle poems. A wealth of different types of poems from a range of poets is included, many of which would be great fun to explore in class. ‘Find Me’ by Liz Brownlee, for example, is a great example of a traditional puzzle poem where the reader has to identify the letters needed to solve the puzzle. This would be an excellent model to use to inspire children to create their own examples. Catherine Benson’s ‘The Seashore’ leads the reader through a series of puzzles, each describing an element of the seaside- seaweed, a crab, a starfish… an excellent example of using descriptive language and choosing words carefully, this could produce some fabulous work in class, either as group or individual efforts. There are many examples to choose from in this invaluable selection!

The book has the additional benefit of part two which offers advice on how to write puzzle poems, acknowledging that for some this form sits ‘on the edge of what is and isn’t poetry’. This guidance is perfect for teacher, parent or child- anyone interested in having a go at penning a puzzle poem!

HAPPY POETRY DAY!

The Waggiest Tails- Poems Written by Dogs with help from Brian Moses and Roger Stevens

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Who doesn’t love a dog? Who doesn’t love these two amazing poets? Mix them together and you get a wonderful collection of poems about precious pooches which are full of personality, pathos and humour!

With the final of ‘Strictly’ on tonight, it would be rude not to mention ‘My Dancing Friends’! This poem introduces a whole range of breeds of dogs and the dances at which they shine. Lots of alliterative word play and ticklish rhymes make the poem great fun to read aloud! It could inspire poems about breeds of other animals and their favourite pursuits- cats and their crafts perhaps!

‘Rescue Dog’, on the other hand, is deeply moving. Exploring the former life of a rescue dog, it would be an excellent poem to use for an assembly or PSHE lesson encouraging empathy and understanding. This need for patience and support could equally apply to humans. Brian Moses offers hope for the rescued dog if time, space and warmth are given.

Using kennings, ‘What I Am’ is a wonderful exploration of the perfect canine companion! This format is great for having fun and exploring the essence of something. There is so much to discuss and enjoy here- and children love describing their pets, friends or family members using this style!

Full of wonderful illustrations, this is a fabulous, fun collection of poems with something for everyone!

The Waggiest Tails Brian Moses and Roger Stevens, illustrated by Ed Boxall

Otter-Barry ISBN: 978-1910959893

NSTBA 18: POETRY LONG LIST REMINDER!

All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Poetry Category Long List.

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Apes to Zebras ~ Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson & Roger Stevens (Bloomsbury)
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Alphamals- Ruth Symons and Graham Carter (Big Picture Press)
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Firecrackers    Zaro Weil and Jo Riddell (Troika)
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Tickling with Words-John Townsend (Book House)
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The Same Inside- Liz Brownlee, Roger Stevens & Matt Goodfellow (Macmillan)
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Chicken on the Roof- Matt Goodfellow and Hannah Asen (Otter-Barry)
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The World's Greatest Space Cadet- James Carter (Featherstone)
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Blast off- Carole Bromley and Catherine Benson (Doorstop Books)
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Little Lemur Laughing- Joshua Seigal (Bloomsbury)
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Message from the Moon- Hilda Offen (Troika )
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 Peace Lily- Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (Strauss House)
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Rising Stars New Young Voices in Poetry Various (Otter-Barry)
Which four of these fabulous books will make up the NSTBA18 shortlist?