Redback Mansion, by Lorraine Marwood

The sky has bones,
electrical legs
that hip and socket
in neon strides
faster than a rocket.
(Storm, p 29)

Lorraine Marwood’s description of lightning as a skeleton marching in the sky is just one of many vivid and creative descriptions which will delight young readers. In her collection Redback Mansion, Marwood shares 46 poems for children on a wide range of topics.

There are poems about insects (Redback Mansion, Mosquito and others), about the weather (Hot Rain and Storm), and about childhood pleasures like riding a bike (Feel a Bike Rhythm) and making a cubby in a cardboard box (Cubby House). Marwood skilfully looks at everyday objects and events through new eyes. A dog lying on his back in the sun is portrayed as solar-powered:
Much stomach expanse
given to the task
of soaking up the sun.
(Solar Powered Dog, p36)
and a noisy washing machine becomes an earthquake:
I can hear an earthquake coming
thundering, lumbering
coming, coming
feel the floor shake
feel your heart quake.
(Earthquake Coming, p13)

A variety of font sizes and layouts have been used to complement the tone and subject matter of the different poems and the black and white illustrations of Marwood’s daughter Tamara and incredibly talented young artist Joanne McNamara.

Kids will love reading these poems – to themselves or out loud – and teachers will find this offering an excellent classroom tool.


Redback Mansion, by Lorraine Marwood
Five Islands Press, 2002