I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree (333 pages) £25 from Nosy Crow, is a lavishly illustrated large format hardback. Fiona Waters has selected the poems, and it was not open submission. She chose the poems she wanted and asked for permission to use them. So I was really delighted to be asked for the use of my poem ‘Winter Morning’, which appears on the 8th of February, only three days after my eldest’s birthday, which seemed serendipitous, especially since my children inspired a lot of my poetry. This book is for children, but also appeals to adults; it’s an heirloom book of the sort grandparents might buy for their grandchildren to treasure. I love the fact it has a cloth spine and is very sturdy.
Fiona Waters has done a wonderful job in her selections, as she had the whole of literature to choose from. Poets I have always loved who are within these pages include: Emily Dickinson, Eleanor Farjeon, William Blake, Charles Causley, John Clare, Robert Frost, Jack Prelustsky, Theodore Roethke, Ted Hughes, William Shakespeare Walter de la Mare and Christina Rossetti, along side stars of the children’s poetry world, some of whom I count as friends, such as Jan Dean, Roget Stevens, Coral Rumble, Celia Warren, John Foster, Brian Moses, Alison Chisholm and David Greygoose (aka Dave Ward). Other living poets include Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy, Philip Gross, Gareth Owen. This is to give a brief overview of the 366 poems about nature, one for every day of the year. Anonymous (who to my way of thinking was likely to be female, the nameless women who made up poems to tell their children, which were then passed on orally) naturally features too, poems of folk wisdom about the cycle of life. Waters’ taste is impeccable.
The illustrations are by Frann Preston-Gannon, and they are wonderful, full of humour and brightness. The only way I can do justice to them is by including a few photographs. Every page is in full colour and on high quality paper.
The book has already enjoyed lots of attention. It was awarded Waterstones Children’s Gift of the Year 2018, was featured in The Independent as one of their Best New Poetry Books of 2018, and in The Guardian as one of their Best New Children’s Books, as well as in the i as one of their best gifts for 2-year-olds. It is widely available and The National Trust is stocking it in all their shops.
It is certainly a book to treasure, and I shall.