Although a small book, Dinosaurs and Dinner Ladies is packed with a variety of very engaging poems on a wide range of themes. There are poems about perennially popular topics such as dinosaurs including the eponymous ‘Dinosaurs and Dinner Ladies’. Several feature school life; from wondering what your teachers do in their spare time (stand on the chairs or jump down the stairs) or what’s in their shopping trolley (best not to look!) to what it’s like to struggle with reading. There are poems about fairness (‘Stickers’ is particularly perceptive) being a bully, being bullied and how that is something you never ever forget. There are poems about poetry itself, considering for example how a poem might be like a hamster – it is advisable not to dissect either of them! Some poems challenge the reader’s thinking on life, gender expectations, skin colour and disability. Poems such as ‘When I come home from work’ and ‘Noah’s Diary’ about the precious moments a father spends with his young children are very moving. Others are designed to make you laugh with illustrations which add to the humour.
As well as a range of themes a variety of forms are used including the narrative ‘Saga of 2M and The Lion’, list poetry, limericks, songs and haiku.
This debut collection from writer and performer Jon Dougherty has appeal for both children and adults and would be a great addition to a poetry library or classroom collection too.