Review: Poems to Fall In Love With. Chosen and illustrated by Chris Riddell.

Review: Poems to Fall In Love With. Chosen and illustrated by Chris Riddell.


Has any subject been written about more than love? It is one of the fundamental human experiences, and if the poems in this anthology prove anything, it is that love is timeless.

The poems are categorised by different types of love. This was one of the reasons I took to the anthology straight away. It recognises that love without romance, and that friendship, are equally profound and important. This is an exploration of love in different forms, and this variety makes it richer than some other anthologies of love poetry.

Chris Riddell’s illustrations need no introduction. As a past Children’s Laureate and a long-time political cartoonist, his work is known far and wide. The pictures in this anthology are in his trademark style. They look so effortless, yet convey a huge amount of energy and detail. When I took the book to my local poetry group (a twice-monthly meeting which involves cake and chatter and the reading of any poems we fancy) a number of people went home eager to do some drawing of their own. This is the very best thing about Riddell’s work. It gives viewers the bug to doodle. To scribble. To draw.

Poems included range from the modern-day through to  Sappho. My poetry group fell in love with the story of Simon the hedgehog, who writes postcards to his mother through a particularly intense crush. Alas, the crush is ill-fated, although Simon comes out happy and well. It is also a treat to see Riddell’s take on classic poetry. 

With too many people willing to say they don’t like poetry, as if every poem is alike, it is more important than ever to have books that are irresistible to pick up. Poems To Fall In Love With hits that mark, from its embossed purple cover to the beautiful work inside. This is truly a celebration of the range of voices that have, over the centuries, explored themes of love and friendship. 


Poems To Fall In Love With is available now from Macmillan Children’s Books.

Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for my review copy.

Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: In Blossom by Yooju Cheon


Review: In Blossom by Yooju Cheon

A cat. A dog. One sunny day they meet on a bench. Cat eats her lunch and dog reads his book, but the sun twinkles, the breeze blows and there is something sweet in the air …

A beautiful metaphorical look at falling in love. The budding attraction between Cat and Dog is shown as cherry blossom. It flits backwards and forwards between them as they sneak looks at each other over their separate activities. The romance grows from one petal to a whole shower, and eventually, Cat offers to share her lunch. 

img_8302It is that first moment. We’ve seen it in adverts, in films and in stories when characters reflect on the moment the very first moment they saw their partners. Now is has been turned into a beautiful picture book suitable for people of all ages. As well as being a lovely way to introduce the idea of attraction to young children, (you could do this without even going into words) it would make an adorable gift for someone special. I can’t think of a lovelier way of saying there’s something between us than sharing this beautiful story. 

The artwork is as sweet and precious as the story. The line drawings and restricted colour-pallette mean our eyes are drawn to the cherry blossom which falls from the trees. I also adore the facial expressions. As I mentioned above, it is in many ways a story which had been told a thousand times, but that is exactly the point of romance. It is new and special every time. Cat and Dog are just about the cutest couple I have ever seen, and we’re rooting for them to talk to each other. 

The book also captures the beauty of Spring. Those precious days when the world has been decorated with colour and fragrance. 

A lovely, gentle read and a poetic look at the first signs of love. 


Thanks to Quarto Children’s Books for my gifted copy of In Blossom. Opinions my own.