Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids, edited by Jim Haynes

Kids love verse, and the Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kidsis, as the title suggests, packed full of verse. There are poems short and long, chosen especially for the Australian audience.

Selected by poet and entertainer Jim Haynes, the collection includes poems from Australia and around the world on topics ranging from the serious to the downright silly. What is common is the use of rhyme and rhythm, and the aim of the selector to appeal to Aussie kids.

The over 600 poems included in the volume are organised into 20 categories, or chapters, including poems about creatures, about childhood, and about places, or poetic forms including the limerick and the epitaph. Poets represented are well known, including Banjo Patterson, Edward Lear and TS Elliot, or lesser known, modern or historic. Some poems will be familiar to readers, others will be new. All have the potential to touch the reader and stay with them afterwards.

This is a wonderful offering for kids and adults, for home, school or library.

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids, edited by Jim Haynes
Allen & Unwin, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Great Australian Book of Limericks, by Jim Haynes

Ask any Australian to tell you a limerick and chances are that they’ll happily oblige. Whilst not an Australian invention, the limerick is certainly a much loved poetic form in this country. Now, in celebration of the art, Jim Haynes brings together over a thousand limericks in one volume.

The Great Australian Book of Limericks is more than just a collection of limericks – Jim Haynes provides an insight into the history of the form and prefaces each section with his humorous commentary. In the opening chapter The Limerick: A Brief and Inaccurate History, Haynes explores the question of when and where the limerick originated –

One expert says, ‘If you please,
I think old Aristophanes
First mastered the trick
Of the true limerick,’
But not every expert agrees.

as well as looking at the progress of its popularity.

The remainder of the book presents limericks classified by type and subject matter. With twenty categories there is a huge array of limericks, from the childish and charming:

There was a young man who asked ‘Why,
Can’t I look in my ear with my eye?
I’m sure I can do it
If I put my mind to it,
You never can tell till you try.’

to the Obscene and Odious, with categories in between including a section devoted to immortalising every Australian Prime minister from Barton to Howard in Limerick form.

This is not a children’s book – many, many of the limericks are suitable only for adult readers. Alongside offerings from Edward Lear are bawdy, risque and downright rude offerings.

Author Jim Haynes has a background as a teacher of literature and history, with two Masters degrees in literature. He has won the Comedy Song of the Year title at the Tamworth Festival four times, including Don’t Call Wagga Wagga Wagge and Since Cheryl went Feral. As well as regular television and radio appearances he has been awarded the Bush Laureate of the Year Award for his collections of poetry, I’ll Have Chips and An Australian heritage of Verse. The Great Australian Book of Limericks is sure to be another favourite.

The Great Australian Book of Limericks, by Jim Haynes. RRP $19.95
ABC Books, 2001.