Reviews /

Weird, Wild and Wonderful

Authored by James Carter
Illustrated by Neal Layton
Published by OtterBarry Books

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Weird, Wild and Wonderful is a spectacular collection of old favourites and new classics from the pen of James Carter. Housed together in a new book, this collection of poems is perfect for classroom use or home reading. I always love reading the introduction to a collection by the poet as it offers insight into the hows, wheres and whys of the collection. James Carter explains, “I write because I absolutely love words”. This collection is a testament to his love of words.

His offbeat humour is evident in each titled section of the book, Weird, Wild and Wonderful. Weird has some cheeky poems, featuring one that will resonate with many parents and students, entitled, “What did you do at School today?”. We ask the question daily and get the “Nothing” in response. James completely gets this conversation and the poem is a hilarious ode to those evening conversations with a surprising twist! In the Wild section, the collection of animal poems will inspire children to enjoy nature and the wilds of the world. A particular favourite in this section is the shape poem, “The Elephant’s Ode to the Dung Beetle”. A funny new perspective to share with students. Catchy and fun, I can picture it being recited throughout classrooms in the UK. In the last, but not least, Wonderful part of the collection, the poems featured celebrate science, the universe, kindness and love. “School Library” is a joyous poem all about the wonders of the school library and the books housed within, “Your whole life changed by just one book!”

The superb use of vocabulary and varying styles of poetry will have teachers excited to share this collection.

The illustrations by Neal Layton are perfectly suited to James Carter’s poems; quirky, apt and stylish. This is one of those impressive, high-quality collections we need to share with our students. Brilliantly written and fun for all- this is one not to be missed.