Smile Out Loud: 25 Happy Poems

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Joseph Coelho has written the brilliant poems in this book to help children spread happiness. Excellent! Smile Out Loud isn’t just a collection of lovely poems, though – it’s a very helpful guide to understanding a variety of poetic forms and methods such as the rondel, villanelle, spoonerism and zeugma, which may be less familiar to children at primary school. However, in true Joseph Coelho style, each example is explained clearly and without fuss, with a brilliantly funny or fun poem to demonstrate.

Some of the poems are designed to be read in a group, some are perfect for reading aloud or performed, and some are interactive, requiring a child to read the poem in a mirror and pull a variety of silly faces, do a dance or close their eyes and imagine. The variety of poems means that teachers will find a poem or activity to suit any mood or topic, and children themselves will enjoy dipping into the book either on their own or with their friends. The poems would also work well in many cases as a simple drama activity.

Some of the language included in the poems – cadaverous, Jeté, Windsor knot – might need explaining by a parent or teacher, but they are examples of good “challenge” words that Coelho’s poems contain to stretch confident readers in a fun way. A lovely, interactive and fun book with super fun illustration by Daniel Gray-Barnett that really conveys the sense of joyful activity the book contains.

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