Scottish poet Simon Lamb’s sparkling debut collection of poetry, comprising fifty poems written in exactly fifty words, is a novel idea that will dazzle and delight. It is quite a feat to write a single poem in a specified number of words, so to do it fifty times over is impressive. And it never gets old as Lamb takes readers on fifty entertaining, captivating and poignant whirlwind adventures.
Poems are delivered in a dynamic assortment of witty rhymes, no rhymes at all, couplets, haikus, narrative and acrostic, each accompanied by the instantly recognisable and fantastic artwork of Chris Riddell who manages to capture the tone of each one perfectly. Many are humorous, some are sombre, a few are magical, several are touching, lots are playful and there are plenty to ponder over, all are interesting and deserve to be shared and read aloud. With not a wasted word, warmth, wit, charm and an acute awareness of the world radiate from the pages.
Topics are a hotch-potch of brilliance from the joys of childhood to family, food to animals, growing-up to magic, the seasons to the great outdoors…there really is something for everyone. And for teachers there are plenty of poetry techniques to unpick: metaphors, repetition, personification, word play, alliteration, etc.
Presented in beautiful hardback with an embossed cover and with pages of thick, off-white paper, this is a book to treasure and to read time and time again. Cherish it, and when the time comes, pass it on so someone else to enjoy - just like the hermit crab does with its shell (the poem from which the book takes its title and one of my personal favourites).
Would be a brilliant accompaniment to a poetry unit in school as it it is filled with creativity and imagination to inspire children to conjure up their own magical nuggets in just fifty words.
Recommended for 7+.
With huge thanks to Newsouth Books for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.