The Noisy Classroom.

With a collection of poems, Ieva Flamingo explores perceptions of life, relationships and issues relevant to the students of a Latvian classroom. From finding one’s own identity within a group, to dealing with technology and debating character traits, the poems vary in tone and texture, from blank verse to internal rhyming schemes, to prose, some being filled with light-hearted observation and others quite poignant and heavy with enquiry, examination and even confusion. They effectively reflect the confusion of children facing new challenges on a daily basis.

The illustrations add an interactive dimension to the work, inviting readers to identify the various characters throughout the book, and that element of interactive continues into the ‘bonus bits’ section, where the reader is challenged to learn a new language, discuss the issues raised and to attempt their own creative writing, making this an excellent educational tome. Many of the verses are easy reading and clear in their context, while others employ personification and metaphor to challenge the reader to explore deeper emotion. The poems are clever and relevant, touching delicately on issues that are not always easy to discuss or even understand as a child. A most thought-provoking book.

With a recommended reading age of 8+, some of the verses will seem a tad vague or abstract to the lower end of that age group, but will doubtless prove inspirational and will generate debate with children in the 10-12 and 12-14 ranges. Font and presentation are clear and appropriate, and the illustrations are interesting and always relevant.