There's a Monster in the Garden
written by David Harmer: drawings by Tim Archbold
2015 (Frances Lincoln)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Go check out Poetry Friday at A Year of Reading.
What the mountains do is
roar silent warnings over
huge brown and heather-covered spaces
or fill up valleys with dark green laughter
before resting their stone-cropped heads in sunlight.
When you write a poem about two traffic cops giving Santa a ticket for parking on a double yellow line, I'm all ears. British poet David Harmer's poems are highly entertaining and there's an amazing versatility to the poems in this collection. One moment you're laughing when reading about a manic granny on a motorbike. Pages before, you are mesmerized by the musings of 13th century soldier Sir John who sees the ghosts of the men who lost their lives battling his father and grandfather.
I would use this book to show students that there's a wide range of emotions that can be shared when writing poetry. If you teach the skill of visualizing text, then you will find several poems that would serve well as mentor texts. And the similes! In the poem titled Lion, you get "...teeth picked out like stalactites in some vast cave" and "...black as a roaring mouth."
When I picked up this book, I expected a humorous collection and was not disappointed. What I didn't count on were the poems like Some Days, where the narrator speaks of sometimes school being a "concrete sandwich squeezing me out like jam" and on other days more like "a rocket thrusting right into the sun." Prelutsky and Silverstein will need to make room on the shelf for a visitor from the UK.