Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!
An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year Selected by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
This is a magnificent collection of 366 animal poems, one for each day of the year, including leap years. Every possible creature appears to have been represented, from elephants to snails, manatees to mosquitos and even tiny tadpoles.
Not only one of the most beautiful books I've ever held in my hands, this is also one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. If you're looking for an extraordinary gift to be treasured for years, to mark any special occasion - this is it.
When I saw this book in my local bookshop, I picked it up out of curiosity. I had seen it reviewed and mentioned on social media, and was aware that it had won the 2020 Books are my Bag Poetry Award. I had no immediate plans to purchase it, but once I started looking through it, there was no way I could leave it behind.
Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! includes some poems that I remember from my own from childhood, but most are unfamiliar. There's an enormous array of poets from a wide variety of nationalities, and a broad spectrum of tones ranging from serious to silly, playful to profound.
It's not possible to list all the contributors as there are well over a hundred, but here are a few: Spike Milligan, Hilaire Belloc, Roger McGough, William Blake, Dick King-Smith, Jack Prelutsky, Ted Hughes, Grace Nichols, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Margaret Mahy, Helen Dunmore, Margaret Wise Brown, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Carol Ann Duffy, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Carlos Williams, Ogden Nash, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Thomas Kinsella and Emily Dickinson.
An impressive amount of work has gone in to compiling the poems and creating the artwork. Fiona Waters is a former picture book editor who also put together I am the Seed That Grew the Tree, a fabulous collection of nature poems. Britta Teckentrup is one of the most talented illustrators that has ever existed and all of her children's books are stunning.
I've had Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! for a while now and have been meaning to write about it for ages, but it's such an amazing book, I actually felt a bit overwhelmed and intimidated. It's difficult to know where to begin and impossible to do it justice. All I can say is, "Get it!"
Get it for yourself, get it for your children, get it for your friends, even if they don't have kids. Get it for the parents of a new baby and get it for your own parents. If you're a teacher, get it for your classroom. This is a wonderful celebration of the natural world and a spectacular work of art that will be cherished by anyone who receives it.
Title: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!
Selected by: Fiona Waters
Illustrator: Britta Teckentrup
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: 3rd September 2020