In his Authorgraph interview for Books for Keeps, Joshua Seigal explains how the ‘3 Rs’ – rhythm, rhyme and repetition – are key to hooking young children into poetry. It’s true, and he uses them all to excellent effect in his collection Yapping Away; indeed, the poems are so playful, gleefully heading off in unexpected directions, and so full of surprises, that it sometimes feels that it’s only the rhythm and the rhyme that is holding them on the page. It makes reading them both an exhilarating, liberating experience, and reassuring too. Did I Ever Tell You for example, seems to be straying dangerously into areas of true love, even passion, until the final line pulls us back to earth with laughter (the hitherto unnamed object of the poet’s passion revealed as pizza! Phew!). There is much delicious and entirely successful wordplay too, of the sort that will strike just the right note with its audience, alongside some very good shape poems which again play with expectations to keep readers in a state of happy surprise. And talking of surprises, although the book is subtitled Poems to Fill the World with Laughter, Seigal sneaks in the occasional hint of melancholy, if not sadness. Inside for example, hints at whispered depths, emotions readers won’t yet know; Drawing My Grandma is properly moving; and Sad, sharing a spread with Happy, will resonate with all sorts of readers. What is certain too is that the poems will inspire readers, individuals or whole classes, to pick up their pencils and start writing their own poetry. Aware of this, Seigal provides some very good poetry starters at the end of the collection, an added treat in a book that is full of them.