Eloise Greenfield is a well-known poet in the USA and I was fortunate to come across some of her books when travelling in the States many years ago and still have them in my collection. Her poems are not however, well known in the UK so it’s wonderful to see that Tiny Owl are publishing this as part of their programme to ‘promote under-represented voices and cultures in literature’ and have Iranian artist Ehsan Abdollahi (When I Coloured the World and A Bottle of Happiness illustrator) to provide the art work for the book.
The book comprises sixteen poems, which focus on a boy named Jace, his dog aptly named Thinker and the friendship between them. Many are penned from Thinker’s viewpoint; in one or two, dog and boy converse while others – also conversational – have Thinker and Jace writing on the same topic.
There’s a sequence beginning with You Can Go wherein Jace tells his dog about the next day’s event at his school. Next comes ‘Pet’s Day’.
This gives Thinker’s musings on being in the classroom for the occasion; it’s followed by Jace’s ‘That’s My Puppy‘ when his proud owner talks thus:
‘I thought Thinker might / shame me, but I am proud / of him. I pat him on the back’ …
The dog’s response ‘Thinker’s Rap’ is the grand finale– a dog poet that can create rap – how cool is that!
This is a delightfully quirky poetry book with each poem different in style, some very brief including
‘Birds Fly’ and this ‘Weather Haiku’,: ‘Cool out here today, / but I don’t need my sweater. / My hair is enough.’
It’s most likely to appeal to animal loving children and may well motivate readers to take up the author’s suggestion to ‘take some time, now and then, to write a poem or two.’
Inspired by Ehsan Abdollahi’s wonderful collage style illustrations, readers may also emulate the book’s artist and create their own collage pictures.
- Author Eloise Greenfield explains: how Thinker began
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