Wednesday 5 September 2012

A Little, ALOUD for children - M's Review

A Little, ALOUD for Children edited by Angela MacMillan

A Little, ALOUD for Children is an anthology of poems and stories to read aloud. It is aimed at children but really it is suitable for all ages.  Some pieces may be too difficult for young or less confident readers to read themselves but all of the pieces can be listened to by everybody. Each piece gives an estimated reading time and some are as short as 6 minutes while others are quite a bit longer.

Quiet, calm relaxation, a few chuckles and a sleeping dog.  That was the effect of the stories being read aloud to an audience in our house. But then came the poems! That was a much noisier affair. Legs and arms clambering about the room and hands rushing to grasp the book to be the next reader. Who can resist Shakespeare’s Witches Chant from Macbeth or Edward Lear’s The Jumblies?

A Little, ALOUD for Children - Angela MacMillan (ed)
The thing we find about reading aloud in our house is that it creates a lot of laughter and chatter.  We’re probably supposed to be talking about the literary merits of the writing or something like that….but - if we ever do - that only ever comes second or third to laughing and having fun.

In our house, nothing seems to be funnier than mum stumbling over ‘cumulonimbus’  (unless it’s dad stumbling over the made up words in Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky). And there’s always a long intake of breath while everyone waits to see what the next person is going to choose to read out loud. Will you groan or clap?

The selection in this anthology is a themed mix of poems and extracts (mostly from novels) and includes some contemporary pieces (like David Almond’s Skellig) as well as older classics like Dickens’ Great Expectations. We preferred some over others. I’m not a big fan of extracts because it frustrates me rather than tantalises me. But of course, not all readers will feel the same way as me.

We haven’t read the whole book but the absolute treasure so far in this anthology, for me, is Neil Gaiman’s Instructions: whatever you do, “Do not look back.” Little M has delightedly discovered Siobhan Dowd’s The London Eye Mystery and Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic.

The royalties from the sale of this book go to The Reader Organisation, a charity that works to connect people with great literature – and each other.

Here is an article on the Booktrust website on why reading aloud with children is so special.

Publication details:
David Fickling Books, June 2012, paperback

This copy: received for review from the publishers

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fantastic! Hadn't heard of it before your review, but it sounds like loads of fun. I'll look out for it.


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