Whizz Bang Orang-Utan – rhymes for the very young – compiled by John Foster

This is a colourful collection of poems published by Oxford University Press. Find in here poems from names such as Quentin Blake, June Crebbin, Spike Milligan and many more. All 142 poems are illustrated in a riot of colour by a bunch of artists including Tony Ross

The collection begins with John Foster’s dancing Orang-utan who parties through the jungle and ends with a lullaby… ‘Day’s curtains have been drawn…’ and orangutans are fast asleep. In between you will find a jumbled assortment of rhymes for all occasions. 

One of my favourites which rests on a bright double page spread is 

One Pink Sari by Ann Marie Linden, which starts like this

One pink sari for a pretty girl,

Two dancing women all in a whirl,

Three charmed cobras rising from a basket,

Four fat rubies, in the Rajah’s casket…

There are poems about food, including food that we love to eat and food we’d rather not eat. Fun fair rhymes and Halloween rhymes. Siblings, as always provide plenty of material for poetry. Birthdays and teeth, babies and school are all covered in this wonderful book. 

Animals have not been forgotten – cats, dogs, ponies and cows are featured in these poems. One of Mr. 7’s favourites is called 

Cats by John Kitching and goes like this

One cat, two cats, three cats, four

Four cats scratching

at my Gran’s back door…

it goes on till eight and then counts backwards…

Four cats, three cats, two cats, one,

One cat napping

In the noon-day sun.

There are poems in here about seasons that celebrate nature; snow and bedtime. The poetry is fun, silly and so so wonderful to read aloud, as poetry should be. A poem in here which is our absolute favourite, set in the rhyme of The Grand Old Duke of York is called…

O My Grand Old Grandpa York by Lucy Coats

O My Grand Old Grandpa York/ He had ten thousand teds, / He marched them into their baths every night, / Then he marched them to their beds. 

And when they got in they were wet, / And when they got out they were dry, / And when they were all snuggled up very tight / He sang them a lullaby.

We had loads of fun reading rhymes out loud and singing some too. I highly recommend this book for any bookshelf. Do check it out!

Suggested age: Read aloud to Any age!

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