Mandy Coe (ed), Let in the Stars: new poetry for children, Manchester Writing School/Manchester Metropolitan University Press, July 2014, 86pp., ISBN: 9781910029008
A collection of beautifully illustrated, inspiring poems for children, Let in the Stars, is the end result of a competition promoted by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duff and her team at the Manchester Writing School; attracting thousands of submissions world wide from which 30 were chosen from such places as Uganda, the USA, Australia, Canada, the UK. Encompassing a wide range of styles from story poems or those that rely on sound, to poems that play with language or explore everyday life, while others are observational and reflective.
For readers who like repetition and clever image-making with words and rhyme they might like to read Dragon, by Ashleigh Gill or perhaps you’d prefer to contemplate the meaning of Heather F Reid’s lol through the fun of language play. You might however decide to join your children beating the table and read aloud the rhythmic rhyme of Simon Chapman’s Come Rain. Older readers may find the poem and illustration for The Shape of Anne Frank’s Soul, by Louise Greig raises interesting philosophical ideas or find themselves laughing with pleasure at the wonderful imagery and sense of fun in I am going off to be a hill.
Although a short biography about each contributor, author and illustrator, would have added to this collection, this small anthology is certainly something to read and re-read, enjoying ‘words to chew and swish around one’s mouth.’ It may even encourage you to write your own. Highly recommended for children and adults.
reviewed by Mem Capp