Book Review | Poems to Perform


A vibrant collection of poems perfect to be performed by two or more voices! In this collection, Julia Donaldson has chosen poems with performance by children in mind, and in the notes section at the end of the book are her notes and ideas on performing them. Julia’s passionate belief that performance can help children enjoy reading and grow in confidence is informed by her own experience both as a child and now, working with groups of children to bring stories, poems and songs to life. The poems range from classics by Edward Lear, W H Auden, and Eleanor Farjeon, to contemporary work by Michael Rosen, John Agard, and Clare Bevan. Illustrated throughout with exquisite, expressive lino-cuts, this is a book for teachers, parents, children: anyone who loves great poetry.

my thoughts.

I’ve had this collection of poems for children to read and perform sitting on my TBR shelf for such a long time. I’ve seen it, day-after-day for so long, thinking Oh, yeah, I should read that. I finally did, and I’m so pleased.

Julia Donaldson has compiled a collection of over sixty poems that children, teachers, and fans of poetry would enjoy to read aloud. In her foreword, Donaldson spoke about choosing poems that lent themselves to being performed by multiple voices, making them perfect for the classroom. A lot of the poems themselves are conversations between two or more characters and they are such a joy to read.

Every year I teach a unit on poetry – reading and writing them – with my young students, and I was wearing my teacher hat while reading this book, obsessively tabbing pages for poems that I know my class would love to hear and perform this year. There are lots of familiar, classic poems, as well as newer ones by poets or writers I’ve not heard of previously. Some of my favourites include The Rhythm of Life (Michael Rosen), People Equal (James Berry), The Dinosaur Rap (John Foster) and The Food Train (Julia Donaldson).

If you’re a fan of children’s poems, or a teacher, you’ll love this little collection. There’s a whole world of inspiration for young readers and performers in Poems to Perform

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

author // Julia Donaldson
genre // Children’s Books, Poetry
publication date // May 2013
format // Paperback

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