Roger McGough is a much-loved poets and these original animal poems show him at his best. The way in which he plays with words will appeal to all ages, for example Bookworms, Catapillow, Emus. However, a clever poem such as Grey Starling (Grace Darling) might need a little explaining to younger children. Whether it is the real Camel or the imaginary Teapet the poet is describing, these animals spring to life with their funny characteristics. Many of McGough’s followers will find his lines enjoyable to memorize.
McGough’s skill as an illustrator here complements his verse and, in the case of his first creation, Allivator, the art works with the pattern poetry to grab our attention. The drawings are fantastic and I particularly liked the charming Flamingo doing the Paso doble! The talented Petr Horáček illustrated the cover for this new edition and his style works well paired with McGough. Otter-Barry Books are known for their collections of poetry as well as their high-quality production and this volume is attractive in so many ways.
An Imaginary Menagerie is a collection which young people, parents, teachers and librarians will want to return to and dip into many times after the first reading. Badgers and Goodgers is one of the longer poems and probably my favourite in this collection. I was thinking about the origin of their white marks long after I closed the book!