Whizz Bang Orang-Utan by John Foster
|Whizz Bang Orang-Utan by John Foster|
|Genre: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A pleasant enough anthology of rhymes for the very young. Criticism of it amounts to it's not exceptional, but the bar has been set very highly by other poetry anthologies, including a companion book also compiled by John Foster. It's still worth a look.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: May 2010|
|External links: Author's website|
Subtitled rhymes for the very young, you know what you're getting with Whizz Bang Orang-Utan. It's a poetry anthology, with sweet poems about kids, what they get up to, and of course whizzing and banging orang-utans.
It's a companion book to John Foster's Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar. It's as beautifully produced, with a nice flow of themes throughout. Look through the list of poets and illustrators down there at the bottom and you'll be suitably impressed. All the signs are there for this to be another rave review, but I'm afraid it's not. Too few of the poems jumped off the page. With Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar and A To Z - The Best Children's Poetry From Agard To Zephaniah by Michael Rosen, Bookbag was hooked from the first page and devoured the lot. Here, everything's fine and pleasant enough, but it never really zips and excites.
There are lots of enjoyable poems. My favourites include Dennis Lee's There Was An Old Lady, which raises opportunities for children to play along and add new verses of their own, Hiawyn Oram's Em's Empty Egg, and Adrian Henri's The Dark. There's nothing specific to knock in any of the poems, but it all feels very safe. You want an anthology to blow you away. You want it to conjure up images, feeling, silliness and excitement, even when aimed at the very young. Most of the poets have done better. There weren't any poems that I actively disliked, but there were too few where I'd want to grab someone, anyone, and read the poem to them because I loved it.
So, yes, the criticism does boil down to it's not exceptional, which is, admittedly, hardly the fairest reasoning ever. If you're romping through any and all poetry anthologies you can, then it's worth picking up - there's very little crossover with similar books. If you're making your first foray into poetry anthologies for kids, there are better options.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
The aforementioned companion book Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar by John Foster is your best bet for further reading. It sets the bar incredibly highly and is spot on. Noisy Poems by Debi Gliori is a wonderful choice. Higglety Pigglety Pop! And Other First Poems by Harry Horse is also well worth a look.
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