The Barefoot Book of Classic
illustrated by Jackie Morris with an introduction by Carol Ann Duffy
This book began with the idea of doing a 32 page book of nursery rhymes and somehow changed into a 128 page book of classic poems. Getting the content together was a challenge, like doing a huge jigsaw with infinite pieces, but also a great pleasure. Sitting and reading poetry is a good way to spend your working time and falling into bed with a head full of poems at the end of the day is a wonderful way to grow tired.
Things changed all the time as poems moved in and out of the content and some favourites were lost and new poems added. How Many Miles to Babylon was dropped after the size of the book was changed and the poem was dropped from the contents.
Some poems came in at the last minute, like Custard the Dragon, and I fought hard for Overheard on a Salt Marsh to be included, even threatening to howl outside the Barefoot offices until they allowed the poem into the book, but to no avail. Great sympathy for the goblin, who also did not get his own way.
The cover was difficult, with so many poems in the book various ideas have came and went. The poems range from Milton to Ted Hughes, poems about Lone Dogs, High Flight, Love, Loss, War and Rainbows, Spells for Sleeping and Bears. Hopefully it will be a book to treasure through life.
To see the cover being painted click here.
The book will hopefully be a doorway through into the world of poetry for children discovering poets for the first time and for those familiar with the poems to revisit them. What makes these poems classic is that they speak through time with a truth, a strength and integrity. They can be read and re read and still some new insight can be grasped, a new pleasure from the turn and roll of a phrase.
Reading Amulet to children during a presentation I began to grasp something of what the words mean, but only the very corner of it, having read the poem so many times. So much can be held in a few words.
Still want to do that 32 page book of nursery rhymes.
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