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on 29 April 1999
I enjoyed this book immensely. I read it in chunks to children aged between six and fifteen and they all found something to enjoy. The poems are funny, often seen from the child's point of view, and always elegantly written. Ms. MacRae has something of Hilaire Belloc's affection for the sting in the tail, and uses a sort of childproof cynicism as a very effective tool. The proof of her success is that several children not known for their enthusiasm for books wanted more every time, and quoted bits with gleeful malice for days afterwards. Adults will see the point, too, and many of these short sharp poems are perfectly serious under the pleasingly jovial surface. Ms. Macrae does not avoid serious subjects : there are poems here about death,poverty and war, but always treated with just the right degree of wit, and always an enormous pleasure in language itself.
I recommend this book to anyone whose children are a bit bored of the standard fodder for their age-group. An excellent encouragement to reading itself, and a delightful view of the world. Wonderful book.
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