Kids need great poetry. Poetry that catches them up in its rhythm and helps them see the world through fresh eyes. But finding it isn't easy. That's why I'm so excited about A Ute Picnic and Other Australian Poems, written by Lorraine Marwood and published by Walker Books (2010).
Marwood skilfully shows us her rural Australian world and brings it to life for us with rich vocabulary and sensory details. She obviously enjoys playing with and polishing language - her delight becomes our delight as we read of
curled against the daylight
waiting for the moon,
spinneret of shimmer
to guide the roping...
...a drama of
the sedate world
of manicured dairy farm
These poems will make kids grin, wonder, empathise and understand. They'll relish the excitement, the drama, and the satisfaction of life close to the earth. They'll giggle over images like "goanna, a skinny pram on early summer wheels" and with luck, race to create unique images in a poem of their own.
They'll read a poem like Eight Rules of Rodeo Riding and understand the boy's instinct to show off to his cousins or a poem like Black Saturday and experience too the devastation of bushfire. Like me, kids will remember worming the chooks, the
poultry farm birds
If you're looking for a Christmas gift that celebrates the real Australia and a love of language, look for A Ute Picnic. If you need a resource for your library that will enthuse kids about poetry, try A Ute Picnic. And if you want a book to send overseas, one that captures the essence of Australian country life, take my advice and grab this delightful book. I love it!