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Friendly Matches (Viking children's poetry) Hardcover – 28 Jun 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Children's Books; 1st edition (28 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670889938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670889938
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.2 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,484,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Friendly Matches is poetry for children at its best, combining wit and wisdom with occasionally heartbreaking humour tinged with sadness. And the real joy of this fine collection by Allan Ahlberg is that boys will simply love it (no matter if they are 7 or 67).

This neat little book is packed with 29 poems about the ups and downs of football, following the boys who want to play for England, to the kids who don't get picked for the teams in the playground, through to school football matches and games in the park: dreamers galore, waiting to score that all important goal for England.

Magical stuff from the man who brought the rip-roaring Heard It in the Playground and the simply superb Please Mrs Butler to glorious life, Friendly Matches is set to become an absolute playground classic. (Age 7 and over)--Susan Harrison


An appealing collection of football poems covering many aspects of the game, written in a wide variety of verse forms. --This text refers to the Spiral-bound edition.

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Format: Hardcover
This is the third book by Allan Ahlberg that contains poetry on the theme of primary school life. As with the other two books, there are engaging illustrations by Fritz Wegner. This book appeared in 2001, 12 years after the superb 'Heard it in the Playground'. Unlike the other two incredibly successful books, this one does not reflect the many and varied aspects of life in a primary school but appears stuck in the mud of a wet football pitch and contains only one theme - school football matches.
There was a superb poem in Ahlberg's book in 1989 entitled 'Kicking a Ball' but unfortunately none of the poems in this book match up to that excellent offering - hence the lower rating for this book. The other two poetry books, to use a footballing metaphor, are premiership matches but this book is a non-league game and has many weak inclusions such as three named 'Team Talk' which are all simply too true and accurate to be funny because they are not a refined reflection or parody but are a simple mirror image which was not the reason for the success of the first two books.
Fortunately, there are some excellent poems such as 'Mr Bloor' and 'The Song of the Sub'. However, the book lacks variety due to its single theme and it would benefit from a really memorable poem such as 'Football Story' which is a cumulative poem that is popular in schools. It is in the style of 'This is the House that Jack built' and begins:
"This is the foot.

This is the foot
That kicked the ball.

This is the foot
That kicked the ball
And scored the goal................"

The inclusion of a really catchy rhyme such as this classic poem would have redeemed this worthy, but ultimately disappointing, book. A recommended alternative would be 'Football Fever' by John Foster.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a perfect gift for my 9 year old grandson - I saw it reviewed in The Guardian so bought it unseen. It's excellent!
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