Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

If: A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility

If: A Treasury of Poems for Almost Every Possibility

Edited by Allie Esiri and Rachel Ke
Illustrator:  Natasha Law 
For ages 6 and up
Canongate UK, 2013   ISBN: 978-0857865571

Many people are under the impression that poetry has a limited appeal and a limited use in real life in the modern world. They believe that poems are for the classroom or occasionally one might read one aloud at a special event. In an effort to encourage children to “love, learn and even write poems,” the editors of this anthology created an app. The If Poems app gives children “poems to read or hear being read by well-known actors.” The IF Poems app was so successful that the editors ended up producing this remarkable anthology to compliment it.  Over the years people have written poems about all kinds of things and therefore there is a poem out there that is relevant to just about any situation. With this anthology in hand readers can dip into a selection of poems that will suit every mood and offer insights that are powerful or amusing.

   Growing up can be a painful process, one that is full of pitfalls, and many poets have written about this issue. This anthology begins by looking at poems about growing up. Some of them are amusing, such as Roger McGough’s The Leader. In this poem we meet someone who is eager to be a leader. When at last the coveted status is achieved the person wonders “OK what shall we do?” In Love Between Brothers and Sisters Isaac Watts encourages his readers to “let their anger cool” when they are upset with a sibling so that “Our hearts may all be love” when they “grow to riper age.”

   For those days when the world is looking dark and grim there are poems that focus upon Humor And Nonsense. Here you will find poems by Dr. Seuss, A.A. Milne, Roald Dahl, and others. Here you will encounter the words of Frog from Wind in the Willows, you will hear about Macavity the criminal cat, and you will learn all about the Jabberwocky, a creature with “eyes of flame,” sharp teeth and claws.

  If you are in the mood to hear a story, then the Tell Me a Tale poems will suit you to perfectly. The story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the description of that famous visit Saint Nicholas makes on Christmas Eve, and many others story poems can be found in this section. Some of the tales are humorous, while others have a dark tone that might even give readers the shivers.

   Other sections in this anthology include Magic, Friendship and Love, and Lessons for Life. Readers of all ages will enjoy dipping into this book to savor poetry treasures.