A Great Big Cuddle
By Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell
This collection was shortlisted for the 2016 CLPE Poetry Award.
Subtitled ‘Poems for the Very Young’ this is a collection children can have fun and identify with, enabling them to see the point of poetry. Quoting Scottish poet W. S. Graham, chair of judges John Hegley felt that the verse answered in the affirmative the question ‘Does it disturb the language?’ There are high production values surrounding this large and beautiful book with a happy marriage between word and pictures, the illustrations being like another version of each poem. The design of each spread is a joy, incorporating the use of different colours and sizes of fonts. Look at ‘I Am Angry’ for an example where a fierce looking red-eyed mouse appears opposite a verbal expression of ire laid out in rhyming couplets expressed in red typeface, segueing into orange, brown and eventually grey for the final and abrupt denouement. The language is playful and rhythmic and impossible to read out loud without wanting to share it. There are conversations to be had around the pictures and poems, not all of which are happy. ‘Bendy Man’ is quite scary with its hints at someone strange lurking in familiar places and ‘Lost’ expresses emotions felt by a little one left behind.
To read poems from this collection, click here.