Thursday, April 12, 2018

Beetle soup Australian Stories and poems for Children compiled by Robin Morrow illustrated by Stephen Michael King

The anthology includes stories and poems on every topic, from rubber thongs to the seasons to bulldozers, and with different moods and styles. The special appeal is that this is an anthology specifically for Australian children from Australian authors, so the Australian tone is strong.  Sally Murphy Aussie Reviews

When I was talking about A Boat of Stars recently I realised I had not mentioned Beetle Soup which is one of my favourite Australian short story and poetry anthologies.  In 1997 it was short listed for our CBCA awards and we shared nearly every poem and story with our classes. Dr Robin Morrow must have enjoyed the process of selecting all of these wonderful poems and short stories. There is art by Stephen Michael King scattered generously throughout this book celebrating the joy and exuberance of each poem and story.

One of my favourite poems is The Sock Funeral by Gwenda McKay. It has two parts here is the cheerful version:

Where do they go, those missing socks
Whose partners wait in an odd-sock box?
Tired of warming people's toes
They're off to a land that no one knows.
Reds and blues and stripes and spots,
Greens and yellow and polka dots,
Dancing away to have some fun
Leaving our feet with only one.
Alas and alack, they'll never come back,
They'll never come back,
They'll never come back.

My favourite story, which I have used over and over again, is Up the Creek by Penny Matthews because it is a great way to talk about explorers and mapping with younger children.

There are some absolutely huge names in Australian Children's literature represented in this book such as:

  • Colin Thiele
  • Robin Klein
  • Libby Hathorn
  • CJ Dennis
  • Pixie O'Harris
  • Judith Wright
  • Max Fatchen
  • Jean Chapman

Sadly Beetle Soup, which was republished as And the Roo jumped over the Moon, is long out of print but I am certain it will be found in most Australian school libraries. If ever see a copy of this book in a charity shop or used book store grab it with book hands - this is a book to treasure and share.

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