In 2008 Gecko Press published My Village: Rhymes from around the world. The poems were collected by Danielle Wright, the book was illustrated by Mique Moriuchi and there is an introduction by the fabulous British poet, Michael Rosen. The illustrations are gorgeous and made from paint, bits and pieces and collage. Mique was born in London but spent time in Japan and it shows!
Gecko Press have kindly offered two copies of the book to give to two of you who send in poems with words from other languages in (not English!). THank you lovely Gecko Press!
What makes this book so special is not just that it takes you round the world in 22 days (22 poems!), but you get to see the poems in the original language (yeeha!). Even if you don’t know the language it is fun to look at the word and try saying them and see how they do rhyme!
You go to: New Zealand, China, Australia, Norway, Ireland, Tonga, Jamaica, Japan, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Indonesia, Denmark, Iran, Germany, Samoa, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, France, Holland, Iceland and India.
This is from a Norwegian rhyme: ‘Hour after hour, / Tick, tack, / Shower upon shower.’
I really loved the Jamaican one and had fun saying it aloud. Here is a sneak preview: ‘Me donkey BUCK / Me donkey LEAP / Me donkey KICK / Wid him two hind feet.’
The Samoan one puts the Samoan words in the with English ones. Here is a bit of it: ‘Savalivali means go for a walk / Tele tautala means too much talk.’
I also love the one from iceland: ‘Bye, Bye, Blacking / Swans are a-clacking.’
It is really tricky trying to change a poem or rhyme from one language to another as the rhymes are not always going to work! But in this book the words dance and shimmy and sway like good rhymes do. The poems are fun. Sometimes you can sing them, sometimes they are like a lullaby or a nursery rhyme, sometimes they are thoughtful. This cool book should be in every classroom so you get little windows into other languages. It is cool!