Quentin Blake, his exuberant, funny illustrations and childhood go pretty much hand in hand I think. I know my own first 10 years were full of his drawings (for example in many of Roald Dahl’s books), and now he is one of the illustrators most frequently found on the bookcases which M and J have taken over. However, I didn’t know until recently he was also a poet!
ALL JOIN IN (both written and illustrated by Quentin Black) is short collection of poems fantastic for reading out loud (and by out loud I really mean LOUDLY) with children. First of all there is the joyous, eponymous All Join In which opens:
When Sandra plays the trumpet
it makes a lovely sound
And Mervyn on his drum-kit
can be hear for
Stephanie is brilliant
when she plays her violin
But the very best of all is when
we ALL JOIN IN
Then there is a very mischievous peom, The Hooter Song, about well-meaning children (let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, shall we?) who like to use their (very) noisy instruments to cheer up or otherwise help anyone they perceive to be in need. Nice weather for ducks and Sliding capture quintessential joys of childhood, but my personal favourite is Sorting Out the Kitchen Pans, which opens:
We’re sorting out the Kitchen Pans
DING DONG BANG
Sorting out the Kitchen Pans
BING BONG CLANG
Sorting out the Kitchen Pans
TING BANG DONG
Soritng out the Kitchen Pans
CLANG DING BONG
Although not the most nuanced of poems, I think it is easy to imagine how this is great fun to read loudly and energetically with your kids, who you’ll find are all too keen to ALL JOIN IN!
So the poems are great fun, and then of course there are the illustrations – each page bursting with Blake’s colourful ,quirky and humourous illustrations which celebrate living life to the full. Altogether it adds up to a pretty near perfect book, and one I would wholeheartedly recommend you track down.
Ever since we discovered this book (for £1 in a charity shop!) the girls have been desperate to “sort out the kitchen pans” ie to empty all my kitchen drawers and bang all the saucepans, bread tins, cake tins, lids and anything else they find. Eventually I realised resistance was futile, and caved in (or rather I thought, “Here’s an opportunity for a bit of a spring clean with the help of the girls!” ;-)). They were of course delighted to be given permission to raid the drawers:
Everything was neatly arranged on a quilt….
And then the banging began! BING DONG BANG indeed!
As you can imagine this activity didn’t last a very long time – I may tolerate a lot of mess in the name of creativity but raucous banging can only be allowed to continue for so long, whatever the circumstances! Nevertheless, the kids had a wonderful time, and everything got put back in my drawers in a very neat and orderly manner. A few items I had thought were lost were even recovered from the detritus my kids unearthed! So all in all, not a bad way to spend a wintry afternoon!
ALL JOIN IN: *** (3 stars)
Whilst banging away we didn’t have any music on (we didn’t need to afterall), but we’ve since been listening to the rather more melodious:
Our music making reminded me of two wonderful banging music projects:
This post is part of Poetry Friday, which is being hosted today by Mary Ann at Great Kid Books. For a rather quieter time than we’ve had here, why don’t you pop over and see what other poetry books and poems are being discussed today.