I Am a Poetato


‘LONG trunk caller/ Tusk tusk GIANT/ Undergrowth CRUSHER/ Big Foot FATTY/ Full- eared FLAPPIT‘ John Hegley attaches an E to his elephant poem, as he moves along the alphabet with I Am a Poetato. There are two D for Dog poems, one comparing dogs to deckchairs, the other a dialogue between Large Dog and Small Dog. Thereafter it concludes with the proverb, ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ with the proviso ‘unless their kennel is on fire’. 

John Hegley’s observation, alertness and diligent word play are evident throughout this collection of poetry. There’s such breadth, from a tribute to the music of Yard Bird, Charlie Parker, to a wordplay about the snail- ‘SLOW SLOW no quick, just slow’

What’s more there are sketches within the book that add to the delight. The shape and size and presentation of this book make it a treat. However the real treasure is the poems. Bookwagon loves and recommends I Am a Poetato: An A-Z of Poems About People, Pets and Other Creatures.

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I Am a Poetato

An A-Z of Poems About People, Pets and Other Creatures

John Hegley

(Otter-Barry Books)

‘To an alligator, you look yum/ You are yum to the tum of an alligator. Though you can think and you can feel,/ To an alligator, you are a meal deal.’ Then again, for A, there’s the narrative poem as Isabella, ‘four winters old, in her swimming cozzie‘ is advised to put on her shoes, as she learns about bull Ants. Again, it’s a cautionary verse, but in the two opening poems of I Am a Poetato, we witness John Hegley’s poetic dexterity.
Through B we travel, with Bees, to a C for Cat and a Christmas Caterpillar. At D, we consider Differences Between Dogs and Deckchairs. Therefore- ‘People don’t have trouble putting up a dog./ Dogs’ legs don’t have little notches in’-
By N, we’re recalling the Nit Nurse who ‘came to school to nab the nit/[ However] ‘Her white coat did not fit’. Meanwhile we’re contemplating a Quibble at Q as in ‘That’s not quite right, is it?/ or ‘Are you sure Barbara?’
I’ve been lucky enough to see John Hegley  in concert. Although I can visualise his performance and hear the poems in I Am a Poetato, I’m aware this is because of the shape and style of his writing. There is wit, word play, curiosity and intense engagement. While Bookwagon has other A-Z poetry titles that we love, such as Apes to Zebras, we are overjoyed to welcome this beautifully presented title aboard. We recommend this book for reading aloud, quoting, knowing well, keeping and gifting!


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