11-year-old Sophie is an absolute bookworm and always has at least one, if not two or three, books on the go. One of the literary genres that she has never really taken to, though, is poetry - that's probably my fault because I'm the same ! - so when we received The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems to review, I was keen to see what she'd think, especially as she's started studying poetry at school and having to write her own.
It's a lovely, big, 128 page, hardback book that has gorgeous, highly-detailed and brightly-coloured illustrations that really bring the poems to life and make you want to dip in to see what weird and wonderful beings and places you will discover. The book is cleverly organised to follow the path of life, from birth through to old age, touching on all kinds of human experience from the wide-eyed wonder and adventure of childhood, the magnificence of the natural world and the animal kingdom, the mystery of love and the tragedy of war.
The illustrations have a timeless quality to them. The book really reminded me of a Treasury of Poetry book that I had as a child but Sophie didn't think they were old-fashioned or retro, when I asked her. She thought that they really helped imagine the sometimes complex imagery of the poems and really understand what was going on in each one.
The book has some incredibly well-known classics, including Rudyard Kipling's If, William Wordsworth's Daffodils (which starts with the immortal line I wandered lonely as a cloud) and Shakespeare's All The World's A Stage monologue from As You Like It that looks at the seven ages of man and that I remember studying for my A-levels ! There are also many other lesser known poems that are equally enjoyable to read, some of which are extremely simple so they are accessible to even the youngest readers. This is a book that would appeal to readers of all ages, including adults.
It's a lovely introduction to poetry, including some of the literary masterpieces that children will inevitably come across in English lessons at school at some point (or that grown-ups will remember studying!), and the glossy paper and beautiful pictures make it a book to share and treasure for many years to come.
star rating : 4.5/5
Disclosure : I received some books from Barefoot Books in order to write honest reviews.
Other reviews you may be interested in :