Apes to Zebras: An A-Z of Shape Poems - Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson

QA Nursery were excited to receive a copy of Apes to Zebras: an A-Z of Shape Poems – a gorgeous collection of short animal poems from Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson.

The publisher of the poems, Bloomsbury, promised the book would “entrance and delight in equal measure” – and it did just that during bedtime reading with Zachary, Edward and mum Hayley! 

Bloomsbury say, “Featuring a full alphabet of animals, birds, and insects, with the odd extinct or imaginary creature thrown in, these beautiful shape poems are a perfect way to introduce children to poetry. Some funny, some serious, there is something here for everyone.”

Apes to Zebras book reviewApes to Zebras is eye-catchingly illustrated in bright colours with trailing, undulating text forming the shapes of the beasts. And as the poems are short and snappy, the book is ideal for sharing with EYFS children. 

Co-author Roger Stevens has put together many poetry anthologies, such as The Monster That Ate the Universe (Macmillan) and Let's Recycle Grandad, The Secret Life of Pants and the CLPE award nominated A Million Brilliant Poems for A & C Black. As well as working as an anthologist and poet, Roger runs the 'Poetry Zone' website for children and is a frequent visiting author in schools specialising in poetry workshops. 

Liz Brownlee wrote Animal Magic: Poems on a Disappearing World and  is one of the authors behind Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, which is full of facts about inspiring women and poems about them. See poetlizbrownlee.co.uk for her work.

Sue Hardy-Dawson’s collection Where Zebras Go was published last year and she says, “I’m a Yorkshire born poet, artist, and illustrator, and have been widely published in children’s poetry anthologies. Before becoming a poet I had worked with children for over twenty years.”

See the Bloomsbury websitefor more details about Apes to Zebras, priced £12.99 (hardback).

Zachary, three, and one-year-old Edward’s review of Apes to Zebras, with help from mummy Hayley

Two of our young reviewers read the poetry collection with mummy at bedtime and had a great time talking about animals!

Mummy said, “The text is set out in the shapes of animals and sometimes it was tricky to read the book due to the direction of the writing – but once you get used to finding the path, it gets easier!

 Apes to Zebras Zachary and Edward“We had so much fun making out the animals in the pictures, and even tried making up our own rhymes after hearing the poems. The book was great for giving us inspiration.

"Also from a parent's point of view, the hardback book is great quality and will last for years – I'm sure the boys will love the poems when they are older. There are some great facts displayed in a really inventive way."

“Apes to Zebras really encourages the use of the alphabet and practising of phonics, without the boys knowing, in a fun way!”

When reading Lowland Gorilla on page 54, Zachary said, "I love this picture, and the way my mummy reads the poem is funny. He has muscles like me, doesn't he Mummy?"