Friday, 1 April 2016

2 very different reviews for the same book - 'A Great Big Cuddle"

1. Michael Rosen is a genius. I know it's hard to open this book and have an open mind and an open heart, but you must. You see lots of words on the pages and scan through looking for what makes it so good and wonder, Is it just a lot of words put together? What it is that makes them a 'thing'? Could I just jumble up some words and that would be the same? No. You couldn't. That's because it's easy to stop thinking like a child and really listening to how language sounds and feels. As adults we are often scanning quickly looking for information and often most the complex and informed things look effortless; this is the reason that I think I could be a surgeon, do a rumba or be an astronaut!

Keep the faith, this book is lyrical and magical and simple in it's complexity. It's not just for toddlers; it has taken hold of my very linguistically adept five-and-a-half-year-old and he has been clutching it since the weekend. Actually, my eight-year-old loves it too. It's been in and out of school twice and the teacher even stopped me this morning to say that she just has to buy a copy and can my son bring it in again tomorrow! Michael Rosen is fighting the good fight, immersing children in the poetry of language. He is keeping the creativity alive for children in an educational drought. It's all about the way it sounds in your mouth and the way your feet tap and the fact that you can't stop thinking about the rhythm all day long. Let's stop testing them and start inspiring them. Bravo Michael.


2. I was disappointed with this -fabulous, bold, colourful illustrations by Chris Riddell, sometimes covering a whole page. The "poems" however are just lots of silly, rhyming words -yes aimed at the very young, who need the rhythm and repetition of words and sounds - but they deserve better and especially from the esteemed former Laureate e.g "I've got a sausage, you've got a pie, I can't whistle and I don't know why........ moan,moan,moan,moan,moan,moan,moan,moan".