Collected Poems for Children

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Press:Faber Children's Books Faber & Faber; Main edition (March 6, 2008)
Publication Date:2008-3-6
Author Name:Ted Hughes


This collection brings together the poems Ted Hughes wrote for children throughout his life. 
They are arranged by volume, beginning with those for reading aloud to the very young, progressing to the poems in "Under the North Star" and "What is the Truth?" and ending with "Season Songs", which Hughes remarked was written 'within hearing' of children.
Raymond Briggs brings to the collection two hundred original drawings that capture the wit, gentleness and humanity of these poems and make this a book any reader - child and adult - will return to again and again.

From Booklist

For reading aloud at home and in the classroom, this collection of 250 poems by the late English poet laureate Ted Hughes begins with those he published for younger children in collections such as Meet My Folks (1961) and The Cat and the Cuckoo (1987) before moving on to more sophisticated works, which he said he wrote "within hearing" of children. 
From the eyelash of a baby hare to the gruesome action of the Loch Ness monster, the images swing from tenderness to farce, and in some verses the two come together: in "My Brother Bert," "The very thought makes me iller and iller: / Bert's brought home a gigantic gorilla." Children will love the sounds of the rhythmic lines, and Briggs' scattering of small black-and-white drawings perfectly captures the tiny details in the words.
Some poems will be read over and over again.
Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Amazing things happen when giants write and illustrate for young people." --Starred, Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ted Hughes's poetry and prose for children has won numerous awards. 
His classic story, The Iron Man, remains a best seller.
Award-winning illustrator Raymond Briggs has produced some of our most cherished picture books, including Father Christmas, The Snowman and Ethel and Ernest.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Collected Poems for ChildrenSkunkSkunk's footfall plods padded But like the thunder-crashHe makes the night woods nervous And wears the lightning-flash - From nose to tail a zigzag spark As warning to us allThat thunderbolts are very like The strokes he can let fall.That cloudburst soak, that dazzling bang Of stink he can let dropOver you like a cloak of tar Will bring you to a stop.O Skunk! O King of Stinkards!Only the Moon KnowsYou are her prettiest, ugliest flower, Her blackest, whitest rose!


Literature & Fiction,British & Irish,Poetry,Poetry,Regional & Cultural,European

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Once in awhile a book comes along that's difficult for me to review. Ted Hughes' "Collected Poems for Children," illustrated by Raymond Briggs, is one such book. I just want to tell you: "This book is great. You must buy it." But an imperative does not a review make, so I'll elaborate.Ted Hughes' "Collected Poems for Children" is a book every home, library, and school should own. Containing over 250 poems Hughes wrote over his lifetime, it begins with poems written for the very young and concludes with those written for teens. The poems are presented as Hughes intended, in books--beginning with "The Mermaid's Purse" and concluding with "Season Songs." The natural world--animals, plants, the moon, weather--is Hughes' most frequent subject and his verse is direct and classically composed. Take for example, this selection from one of my favorite poems from "The Cat and the Cuckoo" (the second book in the collection, aimed at children about eight years old): "The Cat" You need your Cat. When you slump down All tired and flat With too much town With too many lifts Too many floors Too many neon-lit Corridors .... Then stroke the Cat That warms your knee You'll find her purr Is a battery For into your hands Will flow the powers Of the beasts who ignore These ways of ours And you'll be refreshed Through the Cat on your lap With a Leopard's yawn And a Tiger's nap.These short, simple lines bring an entire world to a child--a world they know well. A world of corridors, and elevators, and town. Any school child will agree that a cat is the perfect respite after such a day.For older children, Hughes' lines are longer and the verse more complex. Take the following example from "Spring Nature Notes" ("Season Songs," the final book in the collection): The sun lies mild and still on the yard stones. The clue is a solitary daffodil--the first. And the whole air struggling in soft excitements Like a woman hurrying into her silks. Birds everywhere zipping and unzipping Changing their minds, in soft excitements, Arming their wings and trying their voices. The trees still spindle bare. Beyond them, from the warmed blue hills An exhilaration swirls upward, like a huge fish. As under a waterfall, in the bustling pool. Over the whole land Spring thunders down in brilliant silence.Here you can already talk of more complex poetic matters with an older child. How is this poem structured? What of all the movement in this poem? What does it mean to "thunder down in brilliant silence"? How do birds zip and unzip?Raymond Briggs' realistic pencil illustrations perfectly complement Hughes' poems. Scattered liberally throughout the volume (on every page in the first three books aimed at younger children), Briggs brings the poems to life with animals, everyday objects, and even humorous interpretations of some of the poems.Ted Hughes' "Collected Poems for Children" is a perfect gift for children of any age. Just make sure you hand your present to the child directly. I've had my copy for nearly a year now and haven't passed it on to either of my children yet.
  •     Disappointed in condition of book. Very faded cover. Item was listed as new. Could not give this as a gift. I would be ashamed.
  •     Occasionally dark, always fun, and ridiculously smart and imaginative, I think I may like Ted Hughes' Collected Poems for Children better than his ones for grown-ups. After I read this book I ordered a copy immediately for my nephew. My regret is that I had not found these while my own boys were still young. Some are on par with Shel Silverstein, some are Suess-ish, others more like Philip Larkin (that is to say, adult poems hiding beneath children's rhyme and symbolism).Great stuff!

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