Watcher of the Skies: Poems About Space and Aliens

This anthology is very ambitious. Its central idea is very laudable, to link poetry about the universe with serious and reliable scientific information and then to extend this to ideas about writing poetry and other activities for children themselves. It contains over thirty poems by twenty-seven different poets.

The poems’ themes are hugely varied, from how to brush your teeth in space to Galileo to the Algonquin calendar of changing moons; from the scientifically factual and accurate to the fantastic.

The quality of the poems varies hugely; from beautiful, accomplished child-centred poems like Camellia Stafford’s ‘The Milky Way Disco’, to almost purely functional and factual verses.

There are lots of panels with useful information and sections with extra facts and suggestions for writing the children’s own poems at the end. Undoubtedly there is something here to interest, entertain and inform almost every child between about eight and twelve years of age. The challenge is to find it because the organisation principle is not clear. Division into sections would have helped considerably. The volume is illustrated throughout with quirky, lively, somewhat cluttered black and white illustrations.