Blog Tour: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble


Oh wow but it's been a hot minute hasn't it. It seems me, and blogging, and a worldwide pandemic do not go hand in hand. 

I do have plans to get this blog back in shape though, for the back end of this year and I'm kicking that off by chatting to you now about a smashing little poetry collection.

I used to love poetry collections like Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble when I was a kid. 30 years ago me would have been all over this book, and I can't wait to hand the copy that was kindly sent to me by Kaleidescopic Tours for the purpose of this review off to my own small people for them to get lost in. 

Fire Burn is a collection that was put together by Paul Cookson, who, fun fact, is the Poet in Residence for the National Football Museum and it's smashing and spooky and so much fun. It's got a fair bit of Paul's own work in, along with poems like Lewis Carroll and Benjamin Zephaniah (my teenage self is delighted) and, obvs, good old Will Shakespeare. 

There are dragons and witches and magic spells and the whole thing is gorgeously illustrated by Eildh Muldoon. I liked it a whole lot.

I liked it because I know I would have liked it. I know I'd have read it and re-read it; I know I'd have gotten my grown ups to read it to me (is there anything nicer than poetry read aloud) and I know it would have made me laugh and made me shiver and gotten me right in that autumnal Halloween mood. This is one to read once you've carved your pumpkin, snuggled up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and marshmallows, cat ears atop your head and said pumpkin flickering on the windowsill beside you. It's atmospheric and above all it's fun which really, for me, is the thing you should really be going for in a poetry collection for kids - poems that will make them laugh.

Like this one by Matt Goodfellow:

An Example of my Amazing Ability to Make People (Namely my Older Sister) Spontaneously Combust Without Even Touching Them

I pour away her perfume

scribble in her books

dribble on her mobile phone

and give her dirty looks

pull down all her posters

trample on her clothes

then leg it to my bedroom

and hey presto

she explodes

Ha. I'm also a huge fan of a poem titled Somewhere in the Library which is a gorgeous ode to children's literature and librarians and perhaps my favourite in the whole collection, and How To Cast a Spell if You're a Vegetarian which made me laugh, and I love that the collection starts with a poem from Benjamin Zephaniah called De Magic Poem

Basically, this collection has a lot going for it, and it's perfect for this time of year too. It's one of those to keep on your shelf and make part of your Halloween tradition, you know, so the pages get dog-eared and all the children can go straight to their favourites. It's lush and I love it, and it's really really pretty too - the illustrations in this book are absolutely incredible. If I was a kid I'd want this art on my wall. I still kind of do.

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble was published on September 17th by Bloomsbury and you can get a copy wherever books are sold. You probably should.