How to Be a Tiger
Digital version – browse, print or download
Can't see the preview?
How to print the digital edition of Books for Keeps: click on the digital edition (above) and look for the icon in the menu bar that resembles a newspaper article; this will open the edition in a PDF file - click on the printer icon in the top right of the screen to print.
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
Here’s another wonderful poetry collection from Otter-Barry Books. George Szirtes can take the plainest, simplest language and use it to make you see and feel the world anew. He begins with the joy and potential of having your own body: ‘It’s yours to wear and yours to be./And it comes free.’ He explores the sensations of running, climbing and swinging on a swing. There’s a poem about a child learning to speak that plays with the enticing pattern, sound and meaning of words and how they fit us into the world. There are poems about sunlight and moonlight and weather. And there’s a series of animal poems which begin with a poem of hilarious couplets warning of the dangers of eating with Apes and Monkeys. Sometimes Szirtes just riffs on a collision of sound and meaning, as in Oleg the Meerkat, who has a bow leg that’s better than no leg, or when he imagines Rumpelstiltskin’s brothers, who include Jumperstiltskin and Plumplipsstiltskin. Sometimes he goes for a mystery just out of reach as in the short poem November Hare: ‘As the cold squeezes in/it is where it’s been/though
t’s hard to know where.’ These are poems suitable for younger children than his previous award-winning collection In the Land of Giants but the demands of the audience have brought out the very best of the poet. In poems like Spelling Your Name and Money, the precision of language and how it can be made to resonate is remarkable. And what about this retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes when a sudden change of tense and viewpoint at the end turns our sympathies around? These are not just great poems for children. They are just great poems. Sometimes five stars seems a bit mean.