100 Ways to Fly (Michelle Taylor, UQP)
100 Ways to Fly is Michelle Taylor’s third poetry collection for children. She is also a published poet for adults. This book contains a generous number of poems, usually one per page, to make children (and parents) ponder and laugh. A variety of styles and poetic forms are organised into seven sections. These include ‘The Word Zoo’, which has wordplay poems and even words inside words (‘There’s an ant in consonant, but nun in noun’) and ‘Great Balls of Poetry’, which has limericks, riddles and tongue-twisters. Wordplay features throughout the collection: in the poem ‘Tuckshop’, the two syllables ‘tuck’ and ‘shop’ mean less when separated but together ‘break into a paper-bag-smile!’ Children will enjoy interactive poems such as ‘Gross Multiple Choice’ and teachers could show students how to write their own using some of the structures, of which the highlight is ‘Little Poems Made of Questions (after Pablo Neruda)’: ‘Would all the books in the world/stretch to the moon, and back?’ The topics, humour and consummate word choice ensure that 100 Ways to Fly is perfectly pitched to children aged three to nine. It will certainly nurture their interest in poetry.
Joy Lawn judges the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards