Review Blog

May 23 2019

Moon fish: Poems to make you laugh and think by Harry Laing

cover image

Ford Street Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925804256.
(Age: 5-11) Theme: Poetry. This is Harry Laing's second book of poems; he has performed the poems from his first collection, Shoctopus, at festivals and in schools around Australia. There are some exquisite illustrations in here that aren't fully appreciated at first glance; I think because there is so much variation in style it is a little overwhelming or confusing at first. But when you take each individual poem on its own merits there are some fantastic pieces and many would be great for reading aloud and performing. Illustrations by Shaun Tan, Lucia Masciullo and Mitch Vane are particular standouts. Sadly, there are quite a few illustrations that are disappointing or just don't seem to belong, especially when placed next to others of a very high calibre. There are some standout poems (Termite tales, Spider action, Creatures you wouldn't want to meet, Pet flea) and some that are relatable to the target audience (It's pizza! And Dog language) but the lack of consistency in both the text and the illustrations (if one element was more uniform it would help) makes the collection a little unfocused. In addition, some poems are trying to be a bit too hip to appeal to a young crowd (I'm an angry old lady), some are a bit too strange (The yumbie) and some won't be understood by the target age group (I'm Henry Lawson's moustache, TV Pug). While there are some impressive elements here, it doesn't seem to gel all that cohesively as a complete work.
Nicole Nelson

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