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A Passing on of Shells – 50 Fifty-word Poems

Authored by Simon Lamb
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Scallywag Press Ltd

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A Passing on of Shells is Simon Lamb’s debut collection of poems which contains fifty poems, with each poem comprising of…you’ve guessed it… fifty words. Whilst using precisely fifty words might sound restrictive, it has demonstrated the power of choosing well-considered words to make an impact.

Lamb has been free in his choice of topics and this collection includes poetry about beaches, shopping, witches, animals, and more, and ranges from free-verse, haikus, shape poems and rhyming couplets. His poetry displays playfulness and an imaginative use of vocabulary.

Each poem transports you to its own little world and many of them lend them self well to echo reading, readers theatre and spoken word. There are some lovely models in this book for haikus and rhyming couplets that could easily lead the children into writing their own.

As well as the words by Lamb, Chris Riddell’s illustrations are as you would expect: exceptional. They bring further beauty, humour or emotion to Lamb’s poetry and are a treat to behold.

The fact that each poem is only 50 words makes them very accessible and is a great addition to any bookshelf. This book would be well suited in any primary classroom from  Y2 upwards, as part of a daily read-aloud of poetry or as part of a library collection.

I’ve really enjoyed reading these poems and I hope you do too.