Friday 8 April 2022

Tomorrow Land: Poems to Make You Wonder

Tomorrow Land: Poems to Make You Wonder by Marg Gibbs and Kim Roberts (Self-Published, 2022) PB RRP $26.99 from ISBN 9780645130935

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

The cover and feeling of this collection of poems by two sisters is lush, thanks to illustrator Polina Merunka, while the inside coloured and black and white illustrations by Peter Roberts and Daisy van Ghert are attractive and varied, some employing the use of collage. And, too, the book is beautifully designed, with poems printed on white, yellow, green, black, and blue pages.

The cover and inside illustrations are an especially lovely introduction to the collection of poems which are listed under the headings, ‘Before’, ‘First’, ‘Next’, ‘Now’, ‘Always’, and ‘Last.’

In the introduction the writers ask, ‘Have you ever been to a far-away land in your imagination? Dreamed about the future? Explored time travel and mystery in books?’ These questions, they say, are addressed in their book which has themes based on time sequence and order. Some of the poems are written by Gibbs, some by Roberts, but each of them names the respective poet at the foot of each poem.

Subject matter is covered broadly, from fairies, mummies, dragons, giants, mermaids, to magic, and much more. In ‘The Hairies’ by M J Gibbs, one reads, ‘Once there were hairies, /sea creatures neath the weeds, /Tongues as strong and slippery, /They came from slimy seeds.’ This is a poem warning the reader of what lurks beneath the ocean where ‘bodies bulge and bellow/Like glistening silver sails.’ As with Roberts’ poems, there is little form experiment with the shape and type of Gibbs' poems. Most of the poems (except several haikus by Roberts) are rhyming and written in stanzas which should appeal to children who generally prefer these types of poems.

In ‘The Midnight Librarian’, Roberts explores what happens in the night-time life of a librarian: ‘When the school day is done/ The Librarian comes out to play/Everyone has gone home/While she’s been hiding away.’ There’s a book gone missing, so Billy B Brown and her neighbour Jack engage Flat Stanley in the task of (successfully) finding the book. In other poems, Roberts has titles such as ‘My Belly Button’, ‘Annoying Sounds’, ‘What if?’ and ‘The Boy Who Laughed His Head Off’ which give some kind of indication of what to expect in her poems.

No doubt readers aged 8+ years, who love the joy of language, use of imagination, and sensory imagery will enjoy exploring this collection of poems.

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