by Kevin McCann (Planta Press)
A lovely solo collection of poems enhanced by some lively illustrations by Moara Marques. The poetry is varied and interesting. Kevin McCann finds some charming and unusual phrases that bring his work alive. I love ‘honey-eyed cats’, ‘In certain high valleys’, ‘sarcastic pigeons’ and ‘Summer wakes yawnstreching’. The poems are a varied mixture of forms and feature different tones. It’s not all sweetness and light – Selchie is a clever précis of the sad marriage between man and seamaiden; Last Year’s Beach mourns the seabird victims of an oil spill; New School captures the angst of that lonely first day. I have only one criticism and that is the layout of the book – sometimes the poems appear cramped and it’s a shame one illustration is not next to its poem. Hopefully a reprint will sort this out. But, more importantly, children will love this collection.