Celebrating Australia by Lorraine Marwood

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Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781925081022
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Poetry, Celebration. Special days. Humour. Marwood's latest book of poetry, subtitled 'A year in poetry', lives up to that claim stupendously. Pared back lines dot the pages, making her poems readily accessible to readers who love to see big ideas distilled into few words. Australia Day is a 'waltzing good time', Valentine's Day, full of 'heart words', Anzac Day remembered with the heart wrenching 'Last post', while with Father's Day, the poet says 'I am out of words that pinpoint my Dad'. Each of Marwood's poems is short, to the point and succinct. Readers will love her work as they give a neat picture in such few words, encapsulating a moment that everyone will recognise and more often smile. Included in the poems concerning traditional celebrations are those celebrating the richness of our culture: St Patrick's Day, Ramadan, Bastille Day, Festival of Light, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Moon Festival.
In between the poems celebrating special days in the life of Australia, are general poems about birthdays, the arrival of a new baby, christening, wedding and the choice of a cake for a birthday party.
Each poem is fun to read aloud and would make a wonderful model with which to teach in the classroom, or encourage readers to read them out loud themselves, adding actions and costume to the readings. At the end of the book is a list of the special days with their dates, and a blurb about Marwood and her other books.
Fran Knight