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Updated: January 10, 2011 20:36 IST

Treasure trove of funny rhymes

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A lovely book of poems that tell a story and is also fun to read.

Poetry books are by and large a hard sell. Only die hard poetry lovers will invest in a poetry book. And finding poetry books for children is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. As a poetry book for children has to be interesting, fun, creative and teach, as well as entertaining.

Once Upon a Funny Time is a book of poems for children. Writer Radhika D. Shyam has a wonderful sense of rhythm and her poetry is full of mirth and laughter. In fact each and every poem is a story in verse. Not only is the rhyme scheme easy on the ear, the words conjure up beautiful images which will linger long after the book has been put down.

Writing poetry that will appeal to a child requires a lot of effort; a feat that the writer has accomplished easily and effortlessly. Every poem in the book explains a concept without being preachy.

“Namesake” is a poem about a kite. The bird that meets his paper namesake in the sky. Then there is “Why Humans go to School” and “Live and Let Live” talks about the importance of every character in nature and is explained to a boy by a tiny but assertive ant. “Tortoises are Lucky Creatures” almost makes you envy this creature with a mobile home.

“The Pet Shop” is perhaps the best. It explains the characteristics of a strange assortment of animals housed in a pet shop. Girls will adore the poem “Dear Miss Sleeping Beauty” and “Red Riding Hood”, while boys will love “Weightloss”.

The illustrations by Chetan Nikam are wonderful.

ONCE UPON A FUNNY TIME by Radhika D. Shyam, (Educational Poetry for ages 6 and above) Unisun Publication, Rs. 50

Excerpt from

‘The Pet Shop'

On sale is an elephant

Really quite efficient.

Use its trunk as a hosepipe:

Water plants, pluck fruits ripe.

Use its ears the flies to shoo,

And give yourself a shower too.

Keywords: short story

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