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This is a broad and all-embracing collection of poetry classics. It will be enjoyed by children of all ages. It ranges from the simplest nursery rhymes to profound poetry on themes of love and death. The 237 poems cover all areas of life and nature: as Mirabel Guinness writes, “I have included as many poems as possible, and there are all sorts: humour, fun, mystery, as well as action poems, romance, songs and ballads… Some might seem not important enough or too common and others too obscure; but they all have a reason for being included.”
The reason lies in Mirabel’s own childhood experience. The youngest of the nine children of Bryan and Elisabeth Guinness (Lord and Lady Moyne), she grew up in Hampshire and Dublin surrounded by poetry. Whether reading to her father whilst he shaved, or memorising poems with her mother in bed, or being read to by Nanny, poetry was an essential part of her childhood.
Memorising was a key element. Poems were memorised. They were not necessarily understood: but once locked in the memory, the time for understanding will follow in due course. This collection is such a Poetical Bank of Magic and Delight, to be invested in childhood and drawn on for the rest of one’s life.
Hardback, 288pp. £17.50