Happy Poems

Happy Poems

By Author / Illustrator

Roger McGough



Age range(s)



Pan Macmillan




Paperback / softback




Poems to make you smile! Critically acclaimed poet Roger McGough has drawn together a fantastic collection of upbeat poems to bring happiness into your day with this uplifting collection Happy Poems.

He reminds us that happiness can be found all around us in the everyday, in family, in books in nature and, of course, in our pets! Includes gems from the very best classic and contemporary poets, such as John Agard, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Carol Ann Duffy, Joseph Coelho, William Wordsworth and William Blake.



As we move into autumn from a glorious summer, this collection of 'Happy Poems' is just what's needed! With its sunshine yellow cover and emoji-style smile, we are warmly invited into Roger McGough's wonderful curation of happiness. Jez Alborough's 'A Smile' (p.1) is the right poem to open the collection: 'Smiling is infectious, / you catch it like the flu. / When someone smiled at me today / I started smiling too. /. And smile I did - from start to finish - and was reminded half way through just why: If History is the When? / And Science is the How? / If philosophy is the Why? / Then Poetry is the Wow!// (p.83). 'The WOW!' (Roger McGough) is one of several poems clustering around the theme of poetry including John Hegley's thought provoking 'Poetry' (p.78) with its lovely reminder that poetry is 'language on a spree'. Language is certainly having a good time in this collection: one minute, we have the gentle dialect of Langston Hughes' 'Mother to Son' (p.20): 'Well son, I'll tell you: / Life for me ain't been no crystal stair. /; the next it's Walter de la Mare's quaint and delightful 'The Cupboard' (p.26): 'I know a little cupboard, / With a teeny tiny key, / And there's a jar of Lollipops / For me, me, me. / . Don't miss 'Snakestanger' (p.74), an old dialect rhyme about the blood-sucking dragonfly that's said to sting boys who were naughty. Carol Ann Duffy describes Roger McGough as 'the patron saint of poetry' and he has certainly justified his canonisation here! He brings together a huge range of themes and poets (old and new). Here are poems about animals, books, friendship, families, food, the weather, even punctuation. Poem placement is skilful: 'A Meerkat Lullaby' (p.46) segues smoothly into 'Weird Wildlife' (p.47): 'It's a queer cat / Is the meerkat, / It cannot purr or miaow. /. Theme and lyrical wishful language reverberate across 'Oath of friendship' (p.16) and 'May you always' (p.17). Lindsay MacRae's 'Middle Child' ('The piggy in the middle / The land beween sky and sea / p.34) is complemented by Joseph Coehlo's intertextual 'Siblings' (p.35): 'Like the Three Bowls of Porridge / we were just right. / ...Like the Three Billy Goats Gruff / we feared the troll. / It's not just smiles that this book generates: there will be 'widespread chortling' at Sue Cowling's 'The Laughter Forecast' (p.4). Such a warming pastiche: 'Scattered outbreaks for chuckling in the south / And smiles spreading from the east later, /. Aptly, the book ends with 'Smile' (p.180): 'Smile, go on, smile!'. The reader will close the book reassured that, in Browning's words (p.5) from 'Pippa Passes': 'All's right with the world!'. 192 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, consultant.

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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