The Best Children’s Poetry Books: How to Keep your kids happy

I have seen several recommended fiction lists, but no poetry ones, so here goes. And please, dear readers, add to my list in the comments box.

These are in no particular order:

1) Matt Simpson’s lavishly illustrated What the Wind Said is a delightful and charming collecton, which is divided into themes such as family, school, football and pets. The pages are glossy to resist sticky fingers. Simpson’s work has appeared in many anthologies and this is his second collection for children. Definitely one of the best books you could give your child, as the poems are crafted, accessible and fun. Simpson is good at rhyming poems and at making up funny names like Daisy Dittersdorf. Available from Greenwich Exchange

2) Allan Ahlberg Collected Poems, Puffin Books. These poems are Ahlberg’s own favourites from his five enormously popular collections. These poems hit all the right buttons because Ahlberg knows children inside out, having been a teacher for a long time, trying out these poems in the classroom. He is a master of rhythm and rhyme so these poems are great to read aloud. No children’s bookshelf is complete without something from this magical writer.

3) John Mole All the Frogs Salt Publishing. This is number 2 of Salt’s brand new Children’s Poetry Bookshelf. These books are dinky, so easy to slip into a pocket, whether of your car seat or your jacket. Some of these poems are based on Mole’s own childhood experiences, which should be interesting to today’s children, because of their differences as well as their similarities. Mole is also excessively good at word play, for example in ‘Fishy’: ‘Stop that trouty pouting/ and halibut some fun/ on salmon enchanted evening’. There’s a great little set about Peter Pan and Wendy, and some subversive nursery rhymes.


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