Book Review: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble  

Published by Bloomsbury

With the subtitle “Magical Poems” this slim hard back book has a delightfully old fashioned feel of permanence about it – and it’s pleasant to hold in the hand. 

Anthologist, Paul Cookson, has included a wide range of poems from Shakespeare (the witchy bit, obviously) to Benjamin Zephaniah and from Tennyson (The Kraken) to Philip Ardagh along with dozens of others and a few by Cookson himself.

I really love Stan Cullimore’s Song of the Witches (when their Internet wasn’t working) “Double, double, click that bubble/We have got computer trouble” followed by “Wireless charger, tail of mouse/What’s the password in this house?/Eye of Apple, USB/Floppy Disk and DVD”. Or what about “Excuse me, have you seen my ogre?/He’s greenish and seven foot two/he’s got a sweet swampy aroma / like crocodile-butterscotch stew” by CL Clickard?

Yes, there’s a lot of wit and laughter in this attractive little volume all elegantly supported by Eilidh Muldoon’s  quirky black and white illustrations. Her St Trinians-like take on Shakespeare’s witches is great fun, for example. And it all plays to the young reader’s intelligence rather than patronising him or her and I like that.

Review by Susan Elkin