From the Publisher
"Amazing things happen when giants write and illustrate for young people." Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Children will love the sounds of the rhythmic lines, and Briggs' scattering of small black-and-white drawings perfectly captures the tiny details in the words." Booklist
"Briggs's stellar ink, mostly realistic illustrations suffuse the sections for younger children, where animals and family are the subjects, and become sparer for longer narrative poems. An important addition to any . . . poetry collection." -School Library Journal
"Lucky are the children who receive this collection, for they will experience the world through the exquisitely tuned words of Ted Hughes." The Horn Book
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
From the end of the 1950s until his death in 1998, Ted Hughes wrote poetry for children, publishing a variety of books such as Meet My Folks!, What Is the Truth? A Farmyard Fable for the Young, and Season Songs. In recognition of his talent and body of work, he was appointed England's Poet Laureate in 1984. This particular collection of poetry draws from some of his works for younger readers/listeners, and progresses to some of his most sophisticated works. It is a testament to the change in the times and cultural evolution that many of the poems seem to be suitable for older readers even though the writing evokes a scene or situation that would most naturally be deemed appropriate for the younger set. Perhaps, ambitious parents and teachers could introduce this lyrical amalgam of observations of nature and humanity with an eye toward stretching today's youngsters as listenersprovoking thoughtful enjoyment of this master's creativity, compassion, and expressed joy in everyday life. Religious motifs play throughout a number of the poems with poignancy, but without superficial sentimentality. Many of today's students will find this collection a challenge, but with careful guidance, it may well be used to introduce a higher level of appreciation of the many faces of poetry. Over 200 black and white sketches from the talented Raymond Briggs help to bring an additional spark of life and humor to Hughes' workenhancing in places and supporting in other, but never detracting from the words themselves.
School Library Journal
Hughes penned more than 250 poems expressly for children, which were previously published in The Mermaid's Purse, The Cat and the Cuckoo, Season Songs , and others. Now they are gathered together in one book beginning with the volumes most suited for elementary-age children and progressing in complexity. Some of Hughes's witty and irreverent verses require sophisticated and patient readers because he includes creative grammar when he wants them to rhyme ("Far undergrounded, Moon-miners dumbfounded") and uses mixed cadences within a single poem that confound reading aloud without practice. Words more commonly used in England, "your telly's there," and "pans spitting by sixes" may slow some American children; however, the sheer variety of poetic styles will please many others. Briggs's stellar ink, mostly realistic illustrations suffuse the sections for younger children, where animals and family are the subjects, and become sparer for longer narrative poems. Although the audience may be somewhat limited, this is an important addition to any large poetry collection.
Kirsten CutlerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Amazing things happen on the page when giants write and illustrate for little people. This volume collects and arranges the poetry of Ted Hughes by subject and degree of complexity. Considerately edited, poems sit right next to Briggs's charcoal drawings, which wryly illustrate them. Subject matter of the verse-animals, "my folks," planets and the seasons-offers much to ponder for inquisitive minds and for teachers who wish to integrate poetry with their content area instruction. Hughes's love of monsters can connect to the work of Roald Dahl and allows for much imaginative-and literary-exploration. For educators, the word that best describes this collection is lagniappe. Young readers will find much to fall in love with, to read and re-read and to read aloud. A necessary antidote for today's youngster who might be missing out on an affirmation of youth and innocence as well as an experience of complex, playful lyrics composed by a master of word music. (Poetry. 8+)
Read an Excerpt
From Collected Poems for Children
Skunk's footfall plods padded
But like the thunder-crash
He makes the night woods nervous
And wears the lightning-flash -
From nose to tail a zigzag spark
As warning to us all
That thunderbolts are very like
The strokes he can let fall.
That cloudburst soak, that dazzling bang
Of stink he can let drop
Over you like a cloak of tar
Will bring you to a stop.
O Skunk! O King of Stinkards!
Only the Moon Knows
You are her prettiest, ugliest flower,
Her blackest, whitest rose!