Review Blog

Oct 18 2012

Give us a goal! Football poems by Paul Cookson

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Frances Lincoln Children's Books (Harper) 2012. ISBN 978 1 84780 341 2.
(Ages 9+) Football. Poetry. Lifetime football fan and poet in residence at the National Football Museum in England, Cookson is well known for his funny poems about football, and this is a collection of about 50 of them. Begging to be read out loud, they are often short, pithy and sometimes poignant. These poems are divided, cunningly, into groups reflecting a football match. So we have several in Warm up, another bunch in the First half, then Second half and finally Extra time. Each grouping of poems makes sense in the division in which it is placed.
Several I loved and laughed out loud, knowing how a class might respond when read to them. 'When the wasp flew up my brother's shorts' is one such poem. The title says it all, and the poem goes on to show how the others ignored his plight, thinking his behaviour resulted from his kicking a goal. Read out loud this would cause hilarity in the classroom and with all listeners.
Many more are just as funny, poking fun at Mum who has volunteered as the trainer for Dad's team so that she can rub down one of the men, or the things that Dad has said in the past about playing football. Several display the way some men change once they are at a football match, and so 'Werewolf Dad', and 'Dad don't shout at the ref!' are presented. There are a number about the poor referee, and more about the audience that go to the games, while the whole is rounded off with the final poem,'We believe in football'.
All the poems display different poetic techniques so may be useful int he classroom to model things like haiku, picture poems, list poems and the like. The illustrations add to the fun of the small volume of poems.
Fran Knight

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