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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Pumpkin Grumpkin: Nonsense Poems from Around the World
by Collected by John Agard and Grace Nichols
Age Range: 6-8
Open the pages of Pumpkin Grumpkin and you will ‘enter Sense through the door of Nonsense’. This is a wonderful anthology of nonsense poems from around the world selected by poets John Agard and Grace Nichols. While in India they came across a book of nonsense poems by Bengali illustrator and writer Sukumar Ray which they were inspired by.
‘(If) Pumpkin-Grumpkin dances –
Don’t, for heaven’s sake, go where the stable horse prances;
Don’t look left, don’t look right, don’t take no silly chances.
Instead, cling with all four legs to the holler-radish branches!’
(Pumpkin-Grumpkin, Sukumar Ray)
When Agard and Nichols found out that Edward Lear, famous for his nonsense verse, had lived in India and drawn inspiration for his nonsense poems from Hindi words, they decided to put together a collection of nonsense poems from different cultures.
Eighty-five poems are included from some of our best-loved poets in the UK as well poets from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Ireland and India. There are traditional poems from countries including Malawi, Nigeria and Guyana and sixteen poems have been translated from another language – Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Middle East, Romania, France, Poland, Lithuania, Holland, Denmark and Iceland.
As one of India’s award-winning nonsense verse writers, Anushka Ravishankar says ‘Nonsense lets you jump out of the boundaries of language and logic’. There is such variety in this collection that it is sure to be an instant hit with children and adults too. Accompanied by delightful black and white illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura this is an ideal book for use in the classroom to explore nonsense verse from other cultures.