Tadpoles in the Torrens: Poetry for young readers, edited by Jude Aquilina
Wakefield Press, 2013. ISBN 9781743052464.
(Age: 6-12) Highly recommended. Poetry. A compilation of poems for primary school people, many already published in NSW's The School Magazine, or as songs, or sometimes in an anthology of the poet's work, these have not been readily available to readers in South Australia, and so this is a most welcome resource.
With poems from a wide variety of home-grown authors including Rory Harris, Christine Harris, Janeen Brian, John Malone, Max Fatchen and Phil Cummings, the poems presented here represent a wide variety of styles, and are funny and infectious. Several stood out for me. Mike Lucas's I lost my dog, I could not help but read out at breakfast, Jill McDougal's No school today, and Peter McFarlane's poignant Ash Wednesday all touched a chord as I read through the 68 poems. Many others begged to be read out loud, which I did to any passing audience including my dog, many had me return again and again, while many others had me drift into teacher mode and think about how I would use them in the classroom.
Representing a range of South Australia's poets, these poems will be well used in the classroom as read alouds, models for their own writing and just plain good fun. With local settings, Ash Wednesday, the River Torrens, seagulls on Adelaide Oval, the minutely described settings will have a broad appeal to readers in South Australia, as well as beyond.