A is Amazing, Poems About Feelings

A is Amazing! Poems about Feelings contains 33 poems organized alphabetically by theme. Some of the themes are obvious, like the entry for ‘F’, which is ‘Friendly’ and contains the poem ‘Oath of Friendship’ by an anonymous Chinese poet; other themes are more obscure, for example the entry for ‘P’, ‘Puddle-wonderful’, which is ee cummings' sinister poem ‘in Just –’ . I particularly liked the four entries under ‘V’ for ‘Very Strange’, including Michael Rosen’s brilliant ‘GHEAUGHTEIGHPTOUGH Spells POTATO’.

Piet Grobler’s illustrations are a delight – beautifully colourful and full of charming detail to pore over.Teachers and librarians as well as parents will welcome the opportunity this book presents to initiate discussion about feelings, and children will enjoy dipping into it on their own. Wendy Cooling has put together an eclectic selection of poets, demonstrating the enduring appeal of poetry across genres, cultures and epochs. The entries for John Keats (1795-1821) and Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) are strikingly modern, and James Carter’s circular text ‘The Moon’ is an accessible example of a concrete poem.

The only criticism of the anthology is the lack of an index and the fact that the poets aren’t named in the contents list, so if you look at the biographies at the end of the book and want to go straight to one of the poets, there’s no way to do so other than by flicking. A minor quibble – this is a very attractive hardback, and would make a lovely gift.