Buy Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me
After promising to myself to read more poetry this year, I can’t have imagined a better collection to start with! Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me tells the story of a relationship between a boy and his dog from the perspective of the Dog (Thinker) all in the presence of 16 poems that are each as emotive and engaging as the one before and the one after.
Greenfield’s poems are a delightful balance between humour and emotion. It is so easy to become engaged in each of the poems and reflect on the meaning to the individual reader, and reading the poems once just isn’t enough to satisfy the reader you have to go back again and again. What makes these poems so interesting for me was how engaging it made the voice of an animal and reiterated the messages that poetry can carry narrative voice in a unique and connectable way that sometimes literature and narrative cannot. Not only this, but the poems build a narrative that although short provides plenty of opportunities for the reader to fill in with their own ideas and interpretations of events. Similarly, as the poems take on a range of formats this anthology becomes an ideal poetry collection in the classroom to allow children the time to explore the range of poetry available and the different ways in which these poems allow the reader to connect with the events.
Abdollahi’s illustrations are delightfully unique and the almost collage style of illustration provide the book with many chances for the characters to be relate-able and noticeable within children’s memories or collections of characters in their minds. Similarly, the presence of a BAME family provides an opportunity for representation in the classroom, and further the presence of this family away from a stereotypical setting (e.g Africa etc) enables for this representation to be accurate and relate-able for the children within the classroom. By doing this BAME characters are shown to be the same as their white character counterparts and allows for children to engage with the ideas that although not everyone in the classroom may be the same each child within it deserves the same opportunities to succeed and flourish.
A key message that the collection promotes is the idea of accepting difference and uniqueness. Throughout the collection, Thinker thinks he is odd because he is a poet dog, and even his owner and friend Jace warns him of this difference when he take him into school. However as the collection concludes and Thinker’s talent is revealed it comes to light that all the pets in the class have a hidden talent and that when these are revealed it makes the world a more joyful place. This message carries forward in the classroom in promoting children’s acceptance of themselves, others and the similarities/differences between them. Similarly, by using this book to promote these ideas children can bring to light their own interpretations and views in a manner that engages them and has meaning to them.
Overall, a delightful collection of poems that carries an engaging story line that promotes children’s individual viewpoints and interpretations. Not only does this collection provide a great insight for children into the world of poetry and the variations within the world, but also of the messages and connect-ability poems can have for a reader and a reader’s interpretations of the words they are reading on the page. I am so delighted that I picked this book up today and it has motivated me to explore poetry even more.
- Thinker picked as the best diverse children’s books by The Evening Standard
- Hurrah! Thinker nominated for Kate Greenaway Awards!
- Listen to Eloise Greenfield recite her poetry in fab video for Thinker
- Watch this video to learn more about illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi
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