25 February 2021

Review: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble - Magical Poems chosen by Paul Cookson

* Copy courtesy of Bloomsbury *

Beautifully presented in an orange clothbound hardback edition, Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble is a collection of magical poems by Paul Cookson and is a delight to hold in the hand. Containing a selection of over 70 poems by different authors, there's enough variety in these poems for children to suit all reading tastes. Here's an example from page 33.

Witch's Wishlist by B.J. Lee *

beetle toe
Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble - Magical Poems chosen by Paul Cookson, and illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon book cover
Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble - Magical
chosen by Paul Cookson
Published by Bloomsbury
first snow
pig's feet
toad flax
dragon teeth
fairy wing
winter heath
wood ears
cypress oil
Job's tears
burdock root
mustard seed
eye of newt
jimson weed
black mallow
stirring crook
goat sallow
spell book

Lovely black and white illustrations complement the poems in the book, but the real shining light of illustrator Eilidh Muldoon's work is her magically evocative cover design. Don't you just love it? Perfect for Halloween and winter reading.

My favourite poem from the collection by far is Somewhere in the Library from page 112.

Somewhere in the Library by Stewart Henderson *

Somewhere in the library
there are fierce and friendly beasts.
Dragons, cowardly lions
enjoying midnight feasts.
Somewhere in the library
there are whirlpools and lagoons,
coves and crags and picnics
with pop and macaroons.

Somewhere in the library
there are smugglers' hidden caves,
and voyages and shipwrecks,
where adventures come in waves.
Somewhere in the library
there looms a Gruffalo,
and Twits and Gangsta Grannies
and a wardrobe full of snow...

... Where the White Witch turns the pages,
her icy fingers vexed,
as Voldermort is reading
what happens to him next.
Somewhere in the library
down a whizzing country road -
an amphibian with driving gloves...
the hapless Mr Toad.

There's a Stig, and Railway Children
all present and correct,
whilst underneath the floorboards
the Borrowers collect.
But somewhere in the library
there is someone very wise.
Her title is librarian
which is really a disguise...

... For she's a gatherer of magic
and a confidante of elves,
whose legends she has catalogued
and filed on ship-shape shelves
And she knows a thousand sagas
and ten thousand thousand tales,
she's heard the yarns of hobbits,
and the ocean dreams of whales

So, let me share her mystery,
one secret so sublime -
her special prayer that starts each day... goes...
"Once upon a time..."

This is a quick read, and other favourites from the collection include: The Magic Kitchen Carpet by Paul Cookson, Hatastrophe by Dannielle Viera and Something Down the Plughole by Neal Zetter.

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble - Magical Poems chosen by Paul Cookson and illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon is recommended for children, teachers and parents looking for a magical and spooky read.

* These two poems have been reproduced here with the express permission of the publisher.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

My Rating:

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