Monday, September 16, 2013

Poetry for kids!

I had read in the recent issue of Books and more that children are natural with poetry and though they are exposed to catchy rhyming verses quite early in their childhood the form of nursery rhymes, the same trend does not continue as they grow up. Vaishali Shroff, the  writer laments that poetry seems to have gone out of the lives of children these days and emphasizes the importance of reading age appropriate poems to children. In introspection, I am not a great fan of poetry myself, partly because I am guilty of harboring the belief that that poems are profound and layered sometimes making the same a difficult read for us adults, let alone for the kids. I found myself able to relate much better to prose rather than the poetry prescribed for study at school or college.  Anyway, while it is true that the essence of a great poem lies in its underlying meaning, it is also true that all poems need not be deep and weighty, especially poems for the young. As mentioned, parents have been advised to read poems that children can easily relate to – poems which make them happy, make them laugh or cry, or poems that get them to think and reflect – in short poems that connect with them! As once they grow up with poetry, poetry grows on them too!:-)

Taking a cue from Vaishali Shroff, I looked up some works of poetry for the young, besides the recommendations featured in her article. I have delightful “Beastly tales from here and there” by Vikram Seth…which of course deserves another post altogether! Co-incidentally, last week was Roald Dahl’s birth anniversary and I happen to find at the British Library the hilarious “Revolting Rhymes” by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. This book features six classic tales recited in verse with a unique twist in the end. I particularly liked “Cinderalla” and the “Goldilocks and the three bears” retold from the perspective of the bears and Abhay’s favorite was the “The three little pigs” that has even Red Riding Hood making a cameo appearance!  It’s not just the magic of words in verses but the unconventional yet realistic treatment of the story’s ending that makes it a “must-read” for your little one on her way  to  discovering Roald Dahl! Take for instance, when the fairy Godmother meets Cinderalla, “Cindy” sounds just like a kid of today’s generation – she wants it all!

“She beat her fist against the wall,
And Shouted “Get me to the ball!”!
There is a Disco at the palace
The rest have gone and I am jalous
I want a dress, I want a coach!
And earrings and a diamond brooch!
And silver slippers, two of those!
And lovely nylon panty-hose!
Done up like that I’ll guarantee
The handsome prince will fall for me!
The fairy said “Hang on a tick!
She gave her wand a mighty flick”

With each line better than the previous one,  you know it’s nothing but the master story-teller’s sheer brilliance that translates into a whole lot of “LOL” and “ROFL” moments for you as  and your little one!  Roald Dahl’s poetic rendition of age old fairy tales has not only the kids but the parents enthralled….especially after a revolting day like I had today!J

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