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Leah A, Ten silly poems by a ten year old (Review)

October 8, 2016

Leah A, Ten silly poems by a ten year oldPREFACE AND DISCLOSURE: As some of you know Son Gums is a primary school teacher. One of the programs he likes to run with his class is “the Passion Project”. Part of the theory behind this project is that kids don’t always get to do in class the things that really interest them so, over one 10-week term in the school-year, each student chooses a project s/he is passionate about to work on. Some time is allocated in class each week, and the rest is done at home. At the end of term, the students present what they’ve produced or created, which I understand can (and has) included games, computer programs, websites, artworks, live or animated films/videos, novels and cookbooks. This year, one girl wrote, illustrated and then published on Amazon a book of ten poems. I have bought and read the book and been given permission to write about it here.

NOW, THE FUN PART, THE BOOK: I titled my brief Amazon comment/review, “Edward Lear watch out”, because this gorgeous little (in size, not value) book reveals a lively, cheeky mind just like, I imagine, Edward Lear’s was. And like Edward Lear, Leah (hmm, I didn’t notice that homophone until now) is both writer and illustrator. Her ten silly poems are written in a variety of styles, including Lear’s favourite, the limerick.

The first two poems are not limericks, however, but 8-line rhyming couplets about her parents. They reminded me of when our children (one being, of course, Leah’s teacher) were growing up and showing an interest in writing. I decided then that I needed to let go of my ego and be prepared for my less endearing qualities to be revealed to all. Leah’s parents have clearly realised they must do the same, if they are to encourage her talent. Mum gets away with it this time, but Dad doesn’t come out quite so well:

You’re very handsome and oh so cool
Even though you sleep and drool.
(from “Dad”)

Lucky Mum eh?

Several of the poems are about animals and their adventures, usually involving food. “Lightning”, with its nicely controlled a-b-c-b rhyme, tells of the secret behind this horse’s speed (“All his speed and fastness/Was due to eating sauerkraut”)! Isaac the dog, on the other hand, finds that he needs to be a little careful about what he decides to “bite, bite, bite”. Like many of the poems, “Isaac” also uses the a-b-c-b rhyming pattern, but here Leah changes the form a little by ending most of the stanzas with the refrain “bite, bite, bite”. This use of a refrain comprising repeated words enhances the poem’s mood of silliness, but Leah also has the confidence to break the pattern in the middle of the poem, before taking it up again, to provide a needed change of pace. She’s not afraid, in other words, to mix it up a bit.

Leah A, Ten Silly Poems, hen imageMost of the poems are narrative, and tell humorous little stories, as you’d expect of the nonsense verse tradition within which Leah is writing. “Carolina Reaper”, for example, tells of a birthday girl who ignores the advice of a Mexican restaurant waiter, to her detriment, while the two delightful “Turbo Turtle” poems play with the commonly held assumption that turtles are slow.

Turbo Turtle, Turbo Turtle
How fast can you go?
Compared to me a cheetah
Is oh so very slow.
(from “Turbo Turtle”)

Occasionally the rhythm falters, but this is offset by the sure sense of story, the cheeky sense of humour, a clever use of language, not to mention the delightful illustrations. And anyhow, what can you expect when you have to write, illustrate and publish a book in ten weeks! Ten silly poems by a ten year old is not only an entertaining read but an impressive achievement. If you have a mind to support young authors, and you have a Kindle (or the Kindle app on your tablet), you might like to buy a copy for yourself at the Amazon link below. At AUD1.31, it’s a steal.

awwchallenge2016A, Leah
(Illus. by Leah A)
Ten silly poems by a ten year old
2016
26pp.
ASIN: B01LY4LZ1J

Available at Amazon (Kindle only) for the amazing price of AUD1.31

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. cateisgr8 permalink
    October 9, 2016 9:22 am

    What a wonderful book, and such funny, silly poems!

  2. October 9, 2016 10:56 am

    Just think, Sue, we might end up reviewing this girl’s work as an adult writer!

  3. Lithe lianas permalink
    October 9, 2016 3:35 pm

    What a delightful little book. I’m starting to feel that nothing will surprise me about Leah’s generation. Let’s hope there are many more teachers like Son Gums to encourage them.

    • October 9, 2016 4:17 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it too LL. And what a nice positive thing to say about the current young generation!

  4. Carolyn permalink
    October 9, 2016 4:54 pm

    What a catchy name is Turbo Turtle. It makes me want to see the ilustration.

    • October 9, 2016 6:51 pm

      The illustration is a hoot Carolyn. I wonder if you can buy the book in the US. I suspect for you it will cost the princely sum of USD1 (at least that’s what my guess is.)

  5. October 10, 2016 12:44 pm

    I cannot say how much I love the idea of a ‘passion project’. I wish they did this at my kids’ school. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

    And massive congratulations to Leah on her first book! May there be many more to follow.

    • October 10, 2016 4:08 pm

      Thanks Irma. It’s a wonderful project isn’t it? I hope Leah sees all the congratulations here because clearly she worked very hard on her project and produced something that’s great fun to read.

  6. October 11, 2016 2:38 am

    How delightful! And what an accomplishment. Not bad for a debut. Hopefully there is more writing and publishing in Leah’s future!

  7. October 11, 2016 12:46 pm

    What a lovely collection! And coincidentally, I saw the film “Paterson” at a film festival. It’s about a bus driver who writes poetry. One day he meets a 10 year old girl who write poetry and she reads one for him. Your poems here reminds me of that lovely scene in the movie.

    • October 11, 2016 4:29 pm

      Oh, I don’t know that film Arti. It sounds delightful.

      • October 12, 2016 2:00 am

        If you’ve time and are interested, it’s up at Ripples now. 🙂

        • October 12, 2016 7:54 am

          Yes, I saw it last night, Arti, and have the window open on my laptop. I read the beginning and then had to go off to yoga. Will read and comment today.

        • October 12, 2016 8:13 am

          O no rush, WG. I didn’t know you subscribed and that you got the notice whenever I had a new post. Sorry to be redundant. But just this poem thing is such a coincident. Take your time. 🙂

        • October 12, 2016 11:04 pm

          Thanks Arti, I’ve visited now. (Of course I’m subscribed to your blog – but I wouldn’t have known this connection if you hadn’t drawn it to my attention …

      • October 13, 2016 9:49 am

        Thanks for your comment, WG. I really appreciate your subscribing and ‘keeping any eye on what comes through’. Even though you don’t comment often, I treasure your views and astute opinion every time you do! 🙂

        • October 13, 2016 10:55 am

          Thanks Arti, and likewise. I’m so glad we’ve met each other cyber-ly!

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