Review Blog

Feb 13 2014

Stars in jars: new and collected poems by Chrissie Gittins

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408196939.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Poetry. Humour. This lovely volume of short poems would suit classroom use as well as another book of poetry in the library. Gittins, often a poet in residence or speaker at schools in Britain, has four published books of poetry, each about all sorts of topics, most very funny.
Over one hundred poems deal with topics such as The British Museum Print Room, How to Make a Cup of Tea, Computer, The Ballet Teacher, The Fragrant Pirate, and so on. I loved the poem about the sloth, especially after reading The Advertiser with its article about the sloth in the Adelaide Zoo being the oldest in the world and Death in the Poetry Library with its image of the poet's words 'lapping along the corridor', or Dusk at the Botanical Gardens, Bath with its image of the half pancake moon, and remembering the tastes of summer in winter in Summer Pudding.
Many of the poems are just a joy to read alone or aloud with a group, and I can imagine these being read out in the classroom. Some are a little more serious, while some are wonderful models for children's writing. Here I am thinking of poems such as the group of limericks, or Sam, Sam, Quite Contrary, Suzannah the Tailwagger, The Hysterical Tulip or Riddle.
This infectious book would be ideal for leaving out for kids to pick up and read to themselves or their friends.
More information about Gittins can be found at her website.
Fran Knight

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