“Out and About” Poems

Once or twice a week, little gosling asks to read poems; not a storybook in rhyme, but poems. Funny thing, he wants to read the poetry books start to finish, like we would an illustrated story book. Hadn’t contemplated that possibility when acquiring some big, bulky books of poems for the young :P. 

“Out and about – a first book of poems” by Shirley Hughes is the only one we have that we can read all within a reasonable amount of time, taking into account all the illustration observation we do (including playing “I see a..”, taking turns spotting and identifying the different elements of an illustration, particularly in the season title pages), the conversations, recalling memories of days past, rereads and repetitions. 

The poems are structured around the seasons, short stories describing typical activities, seasonal changes, happenings, sensations. What an amazing accuracy and subtleness in describing the minutiae of everyday life! I find myself inadvertently transported into the poems. The words and illustrations pair incredibly well in conveying and transforming the simplest, most usual things into something noticeable, worth living or enjoying. My 2yrs and a half old loves both the poems and the illustrations; it feels like they were written/drawn especially for him. This is spot on for a first introduction to seasons for the younger ones. 

Occasionally, little gosling is generous (to read: selective) and only asks for some of his favourite poems. The current ones are: 

  • “the rolling one”, i.e. the “Hill” poem about a kid who goes up the hill with his family and once there, rolls through the grass all the way down. Can’t wait for spring to do this with him! 
  • “the wet one”, i.e. “Wet”, an autumn poem about rain; he likes the wet umbrellas and the puddles, but my favourite is the image of the rain running down the window pane, whilst the kids have their noses up against it :); 
  • “the one with the sand”, which can be one of several summery beach-related poems with baby playing in the sand. He always recalls our day out at the beach and walking barefoot on the sand or playing in the sand pit. 
  • “the one with the toys on the bed”, i.e. “Sick”, with a baby impatient to get better and out of bed. THere’s a second image with a baby bringing something to the sick kid that moves him. 

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