18th May 2001 at 01:00
SPOOKY POETRY. 28 poems read by Sandi Toksvig and Nigel Planer. FAVOURITE ANIMAL POEMS. 34 poems read by Eve Karpf and David Shaw-Parker. 40 minutes each. ABM pound;8.99 each (cassette) pound;10.99 each (CD) To order tel: 020 8236 2310.

Subtle stereophonic sounds heighten the spookiness, as in the echoes in Jack Prelutsky's Bogeyman, who lives "in the desolate depths of a perilous place". There's fun with words and sounds - Roger McGough's "Little Gruesome who grew some"; e e cummings's "hist, whist" - and varying pace and accents. It's a lively collection, taking in Emily Bront ad Charles Causley.

Favourite Animal Poems presents a range of sharply- observed creatures, from Tennyson's eagle, which "clasps the crag with crooked hands" to the "lovely leathery throats and chins" of Edward Lear's pelicans.

There's plenty to think about - "why should such an animal provoke our love?" Stevie Smith asks of her cat - and sounds and descriptions to inspire pupils.

Each of these poems lasts about 90 seconds: punchy enough to engage even the shortest attention span. Ideal for key stage 3, they could also help with foundation tier GCSE.

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