Review Blog

Sep 30 2014

The Billy That Died With Its Boots On by Stephen Whiteside

cover image

Walker Books, 2014. ISBN: 9781922077431.
Stephen Whiteside's collection of Australian rhyming poetry is simple and would probably appeal to junior to middle primary students. Broken into fifteen different sections, the Table of Contents lists themes such as Dinosaurs, Around the House, Birds and Beasts, At the Beach and the final one contains two 'especially for performance'. One could easily dip in and read a poem a day, all of those on a particular theme or the entire book in one sitting. Each section begins with a title page followed by a blank page and a liberal scattering of Lauren Merrrick's 'paper cutout' illustrations is peppered throughout.
Whilst I'm not convinced that children will actively seek out poetry collections for themselves, this is nonetheless a book I would recommend to teachers as a means of introducing their students to some contemporary Australian poetry. A number of poems would link in with the Australian Curriculum English as well as history, for example, the piece about Simpson and his Donkey, whilst others could be used as a model upon which students could base their own writing. My personal favourite from this book would have to be Mum's Abandoned Coffee Cups which are found, coffee untouched, all around the house. Sadly, I relate!
Jo Schenkel

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