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It’s National Poetry Day!

Today is National Poetry Day, and I’m pretty excited about it. I love poetry, from the dreaminess of the Romantics to the silliness of Spike Milligan and Edward Lear.

Children love poetry, too, particularly poems that rhyme. In fact, sometimes we have to gently encourage them not to always write a poem around the rhyme as it can sound a little forced! That was why last week’s read of Michael Rosen’s ‘Chocolate Cake’ was so great – the children learned that there are other ways of writing poetry and it can be just as effective! (The children are STILL begging me to read that book this week.)

However, rhyme is important in other ways. It helps children learn the rhythm and cadence of language and it’s also wonderful for helping with their prediction skills. Yesterday, I introduced our new Reception children to the delights of Peter Bently’s Dustbin Dad and, even though none of them had read it before, they accurately guessed the end rhymes much of the time (and had a great laugh in doing so).

Poems are a wonderful way to share emotions with children, too. Sadness, silliness, happiness and joy can be found everywhere in children’s poetry, as can wonder at the natural world and consolation when times are tough. Pop into our library and take a look at our poetry collection and tell me your favourites!

I’ll leave you now with some poems and excerpts to enjoy. Happy National Poetry Day!

A lovely, hilarious rhyming couplet from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Nursery Rhymes (Little Red, in case you didn’t know!)

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From Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech

And finally, one of my all-time favourites:

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Are dads really dustbins?

This week I had the pleasure of reading Dustbin Dad to Reception and Key Stage 1 pupils. They were especially keen on the book because it was written by Peter Bently, who visited our school on World Book Day.

picture courtesy of http://www.theworks.co.uk

What it’s about:

The moral in this hilarious story is: never leave food on your plates (or anywhere else visible) if you have a determined dad in the house. If you do, you might encounter all sorts of problems, as the dad in this book discovers when he greedily scours the house for anything remotely edible. Including the dubious vet-prescribed anti-wimp potion for the family’s scaredy-cat.

Our review

We are all huge fans of Peter Bently. His picture books went down a storm with all years and his Knightmare series has been permanently on loan, with children coming in every week to demand if they have been returned. There is a queue now forming for them! I think extra copies are in order…

Anyway, when I announced we were reading this book today, everyone gathered excitedly on the steps of our courtyard garden to hear the tale. Before starting, I asked the children if they knew what a Dustbin Dad was – and they did! It seems there are quite a few members of the species in houses in Oxford (at least), mopping up everyone’s leftovers, so the premise of this book was not new to these children. They did however, adore hearing all the yucky details of partly eaten sandwiches, pies, tomatoes, egg whites, etc that the titular character chomped on happily. And the sound effects of burping were particularly popular (and worryingly accurate). They liked identifying forthcoming rhymes (particularly one that rhymes with ‘tum’ – I will let your imagination work that out) and became totally enthralled with the impending disaster near the end of the book.

As soon as I had finished, they were already asking if they could borrow the book so I’d better get this on the system – quick!

We are hopefully going to draw or make our very own Dustbin Dads soon, so watch this space!