Bonkers Ballads

Bonkers Ballads by Colin West (Matador)

I love this book, which is full of poems that tell stories, most of them silly and all of them funny and cleverly put together. Perhaps, with their wit and wisdom, a little reminiscent of AA Milne – whose verse children still adore today – these poems are suitably illustrated in glorious, colourful detail by the author. Several young readers in my family will be receiving this book for Christmas. And I’m sure they’ll love it, too. They’ll enjoy meeting Fiona the Fairy, who gets her comeuppance after playing one too many nasty tricks; and The Natty Knight Sir Nigel, whose obsession with his smart armour leads him to a similar fate. The Witch Who Was Pretty, although just as bad as the other characters, has the last laugh. Speaking of which, the last line of A Piggy’s Tale made me hoot – suffice to say the pig’s name is Francis and he learns to write and becomes a friend of Anne Hathaway! These days, many poems for children are short and to the point; they rarely involve turning a page. These poems are more substantial and they really are ballads. Highly recommended. TUC


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