Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Midnight Feasts - poems chosen by AF Harrold, Illustrated by Katy Riddell, reviewed by Dawn Finch

First the blurb...
One thing that unites us all – across time, nations and peoples – is food. From chocolate, rice pudding and sandwiches to breakfast in bed, banana phones and the fruit of a mythical jelabi tree, A.F. Harrold has brought together a wonderful and diverse collection of poems on the topic of food.

Illustrated in full colour by rising star Katy Riddell, this anthology brings together work from a broad range of poets, including William Carlos Williams, award-winning Joseph Coelho and Sabrina Mahfouz. 

I love a good poetry book, and this one is particularly delicious. A.F Harrold has expertly gathered together works by some of the finest poets for children and baked them into a collection that is deeply satisfying. The poems span continents, and cultures, and time all linked together with the one thing that binds us all - food.

There are so many feasts to be had here, and food from around the world is stuffed into the pages. I particularly enjoy the fact that this book contains so many different forms of poetry too. Here the reader can find poems from the hilariously funny (I laughed out loud at Harrold's own poem, "The Perils of Breakfast" and Cat Weatherill's "The Unknown Jelly Baby") to the deeply moving (Imtiaz Dharker's tiny gem-like poem of homesickness, "Crab Apples", is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long time).

Katy Riddell provides the illustrations and she has a deft and charming touch that gives a sense of great familiarity to the pages. These seem to be people and places we know and recognise, and the food all looks as if we could pluck and eat from the pages. Her work makes this a very complete book, and a lavish-feeling physical object that will make a wonderful addition to any bookshelves and one that should be dipped into regularly. Snacked on, feasted on.

Stuff yourself with these poems, they're so delicious they should be fattening!

Dawn Finch is a children's author and librarian.
Chair of CWIG committee and trustee of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)



Penny Dolan said...

Great to see this recommendation of a good, new poetry book.
New poetry books are not always easy to spot in bookshops imo.
Thanks, Dawn!

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