Juggling with Gerbils
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This issue’s cover is from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Monkey Puzzle. Written in rhyme, this agreeable story has butterfly helping little monkey to find his mum. Scheffler’s distinctive, entertaining and strongly characterised illustrations make good use of the page as little monkey meets lots of jungle inhabitants before being reunited with his mum. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for their help in producing this July cover.
How often can you open a book of children's poems at random and find a good poem again and again each time you flick the pages? Patten's new collection is glorious, his comic and serious sensibilities never miss a trick. There are poems about beasts birds and insects - vampire ducks, moths, cockroaches and a gloomy tortoise: 'A tortoise called Dorcas thought life ludicrous./ Carrying his own sarcophagus/ His life felt endlessly posthumous.' There are poems to make you think, to make you feel uncomfortable and to make you laugh. Modern life is given a new slant in poems like 'Bringing Up a Single Parent' and 'Scarce Rhymes'. Patten has never lost his child's eye view of the world where great thoughts, odd observations, fears and dreams can happen at any moment of the day or night. 'When I was little/ My mother wore earwings./ Each night/ She would creep to my bedroom window,/ Open it,/ And taking me gently in her arms/ Glide off into the night.' Do you see what I mean?