Poems Aloud by Joseph Coelho & Daniel Gray-Barnett


Published by Wide Eyed Editions, an imprint of the Quarto Group, 2020.

Poems Aloud is a collection of poems that have been written specifically for performance. There is poetry to perform alone and poems to perform as part of a group – either in chorus or by sharing out the parts. There’s also a wonderful poem called The Shockadile Crocodile! which invites audience participation.

The content of the poems will really appeal to children. There are poems about everyday objects, space rockets, robots, and animals. There are even two poems about slime. The poems are accompanied by bold, vibrant illustrations which fill the pages with colour and energy.

The anthology contains a wide variety of poems, including tongue twisters, riddles and action poems. There are narrative poems and funny poems. There are also lots of performance tips. We are told how words written in bold are intended to be emphasised when performed. Techniques such as crescendo and diminuendo are introduced and explained. I can see children having lots of fun performing the poem Turn the Radio Up which starts with a hiss of whispered static and gradually gets louder and louder until there’s roaring, clapping and foot stamping: “a wall of ear-splitting symphony”.

There are poems to whisper, poems to shout, poems to speed through and poems to savour. While most poems are upbeat and fun, there is one – This Bear – which is beautifully poignant. It’s about a bear who’s lived his life in captivity and has only ever “shuffled over rugged imagined mountains”. In the second half of the poem he finally takes his first steps towards freedom.

As well as enjoying Poems Aloud with your family, this collection of poems would be fantastic to explore in the classroom. Children across the key stages could have lots of fun performing the poems. They’d be great shared with the whole school in a class assembly.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 5+

I originally reviewed this book for the BooksforTopics website (click here for link). Thank you to Wide Eyed Editions and BooksforTopics for sending me this book to review.

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