Wednesday 14 November 2012

A is Amazing

A is Amazing: Poems About Feelings edited by Wendy Cooling, illustrated by Piet Grobler (Walker Books)
HC RRP $29.95
ISBN 978-1-84780-255-2
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Poetry within pictures is always a great way to cultivate an interest in another word form in children. This excellent collection of 33 poems by 29 poets from around the globe is about feelings. It begins with the letter A and goes though the alphabet. Each letter represents a feeling, at times with two or more poems beginning with the same letter. There are varied styles but each one has a specific focus on the feeling. The illustrations, created with pencil and watercolours complement the text, bringing visual life to the words and a double experience to the reader.

In R for Rotten, the poem is titled, I’m in a Rotten Mood by Jack Prelutsky. The illustration shows a young girl sitting on a chair, arms crossed over her chest with a forlorn look on her face. Her dog is keeping away, but looks at her over his shoulder from across the room. The window is grey, and dark with shadows, matching the girl’s mood. It ends –‘I’m in a rotten mood today, a really rotten mood today, you’d better stay away from me, I’m just a lump of misery, I’m feeling absolutely rude - I’M IN A ROTTEN MOOD!’

Under V for Very Strange, there are four poems on a double page. The strangest one is GHEAUGHTEIGHPTOUGH spells potato by Michael Rosen. This set of poems concentrate on language and how letters create words in differing ways and through various turns of phrase. These are the types of surprises awaiting the reader: happy and sad, moody and mixed up, loneliness and joy, celebration and loss.

This anthology of poetry has been carefully collected with a deep understanding of human feelings by Wendy Cooling who is the founder of the Bookstart Programme, a national programme which gives free books to each child in the UK. She has been awarded the Eleanor Fargeon Award for a lifetime devoted to children’s literature. Poetry of every kind is ageless. Therefore this book is ideal for the 8 -108+ age group.


  1. Sounds fabulous. Love the cover. Xx

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Great children's poetry is the best poetry of all. It goes right to the heart of everything.

    Best, Vicki


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