Review Blog

May 06 2013

Guinea pig town by Lorraine Marwood

cover image

Walker Books, 2013. ISBN 9781 922077 42 4
(Age: 7+) Warmly recommended. Poetry. Animal. Poet Lorraine Marwood has had several books of poems published, including the Star jumps, A note on the door, A ute picnic and Ratwhiskers and me, the latter being a verse novel set in the Gold Rush. Each of her books consists of short poems which are most accessible to middle primary students, eager to read and absorb a usually funny poem with a comment about society. In this selection, subtitled, 'and other animal poems', an array (50 plus) of funny, clever and sometimes poignant snapshots of animals in our homes, in our gardens, in the street is arranged in various groups which hint at the poems following. Marwood writes about poetry, for The Literature Base, a teacher's magazine which presents articles about literature to use in the classroom. She shows teachers a wide variety of poetic styles, and gives hints to teachers about teaching their students these poetic styles, often using some of her poems as examples.
In this book, as with her others, a wide variety of styles is used; haiku, rhyming verse, blank verse, prose poetry, lists, genre poems ect, encouraging the teacher and students to try for themselves. None is complicated or out of reach, but simply told with an eye for detail, using word images to create the idea behind the poem.
Watch out for A Woman, about a piglet being treated almost like a baby, or Ordinary magic, giving a small image of a dog at the sheep yards, or Sale Yard Time, which has every line starting with the same words, or the haiku, Billabong about frogs. Each poem is distinctly different and evocative of an image we see every day, but put into words which sing and beg to be read aloud.
Fran Knight

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