Poetry and pictures are the perfect combination. Today we're celebrating National Poetry Day and it's theme of 'The Environment' with extracts from five of our favourite poems from our Quentin Blake: Illustrating Verse exhibition.
1. Alphabeasts by Dick King-Smith, 1992
The Dugong, or sea-cow is rocked by the motion
Of gentle warm waves in the Indian Ocean,
And clasps to her horrible breast with one flipper
The sickening face of her hideous nipper.
We think Quentin's dugong and it's little ‘nipper’ (aka calf) is very lovable! This poem is the 'D' in Dick King-Smith's alphabet book that describes a different animal facing extinction for each letter.
2. The Bed Book by Sylvia Plath, 1986
A kind of hammock
Between two tall trees
Where you can swing
In the leaves at ease
And count all the birds –
Wren, robin and rook –
And write their names
In a Naming Book.
This poem was written by Sylvia Plath for her children. It imagines more interesting uses for beds than sleeping, like birdwatching! In Quentin's illustration you can spot hoopoes, parrots and hummingbirds.
3. What If… by Michael Rosen, 2011
they made children-sized submarines
you could get into and go off underwater
looking at people’s feet
and you could find out wrecked ships
and glide about
Michael Rosen's What If poems imagine unusual situations, like exploring the seabed in a tiny submarine.
3. The Camel by Ogden Nash
The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary two;
Or else the other way around.
I’m never sure. Are you?
Actually dromedaries have one hump and camels have two. Still, this poem by Ogden Nash is fun to say aloud!
5. Our Village by John Yeoman, 1990
The ice is reflecting the light of the moon;
It’s getting quite late now – we must be home soon;
We’ve lit up the lanterns to have one last skate
With twistings and turnings and figures of eight.
Quentin and John Yeoman's book about changing seasons in the countryside ends with this magical scene on a frozen lake.