How to be a Tiger: Poems

How to be a Tiger: Poems

How to be a Tiger: Poems
George Szirtes

Otter-Barry Books Ltd

ISBN 9781910959206

"The tiger growls, its eyes ablaze, but we too have our tiger ways, we too can pad through the dark wood of the cosmic neighbourhood." Leap with hares, call out to the sun, run with the wind, pull silly faces with monkeys, watch out for the bear in the bathroom and meet a burping princess! A fantastic new collection for younger children from a prize-winning poet. These poems are perfect for curious young minds, ready for adventures.

Librarian's Book choice


Reviews

How to be a Tiger: Poems5/5

How to be a Tiger: Poems

George Szirtes

Review

Possibly better known as a translator of poetry, fiction and drama and as a poet for adults, George Szirtes was the worthy 2013 winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's Poetry Prize so the stakes are set high for his new collection. It does not disappoint. The title poem (heralded so well by Ellie Jenkin's cover illustration), calls out for children to engage physically: 'The scary tiger roars and roars, / it slinks through shadows on all fours / .... / Pretend this is the forest floor. / Pad, tiger, pad! Now children, ROAR!' (p.32). Equally satisfying is the rhythmic, nonsensical 'The Bear in the Bathroom' (p.34). It also includes direct enticements to the children: 'Let's pad quietly, pad-pad-pad... Let's play it safe. Let's hide in the shower'. There are poems here that could inspire the children's own writing. Take 'Moon Music' (p.19, with its steady repetition of 'is the moon' ('The song that the stars like to sing / is the moon.') Also rich in potential as a model, is a quartet of poems celebrate the different seasons: In the Park: Autumn / Winter / Spring / Summer (p.58 - 61). There are poems that play with language and poems about language. In the first category, 'Swing' (p. 14) playfully echoes the motion of a swing through layout and rhyme: The thing / about a swing / is the wing / and spring / of it as you cling... Flying on words' (p.47) directly addresses the child reader: 'As you grow taller / Your sentences grow and grow, / You're no longer satisfied with want, again, and no./' Towards the end of the anthology there's a section given over to poems that draw from traditional narratives. 'Rumpelstiltskin' (p.72) offers a list of Rumpeltstiltskin's brothers ('Dumplingstiltskin' etc). There is plenty of scope here for the children's own invented names. A rather protracted retelling of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' (p.74) is counterpointed by the pithy 'Sleeping Beauty' (p.81) 'Sleeping Beauty / (what a cutie!) / slept for a very long time / (far too long for this rhyme.) / Then came a prince. She's been awake since.' Fairy tale conventions are manipulated delightfully in 'The Princess and the Bad King' (p.68). Thoughtful and thought provoking, this anthology will be a welcome addition to any classroom's poetry collection. 96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, teaching consultant.

Reviewed by: Alison Kelly