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Like its predecessor, Iona and Peter Opie's Oxford Book of Children's Verse, this is an anthology of poetry written for children. It begins in the eighteenth century and ends in 1995, with the emphasis on modern work, and the explosion of talent that has emerged on both sides of the Atlantic in the last 25 years. This is a book bursting with vitality and variety: over 350 poems by more than 200 poets, in which narrative poems, concrete verse and performance poetry with poems of the classroom and playground. Acute observation and language new-made inform all these poems, which represent the ethnic and cultural diversity of contemporary writing for children ranging from African American and Aborigine to Caribbean/Black British and New Zealand and Canadian. Familiar names such as Edward Lear, Christina Rossetti, Rudyard Kipling and A. A. Milne happily lead on to new generations: Charles Causley, Ted Hughes, Roger McGough, Allan Ahlberg, Jackie Kay and many more. The result is an exuberant anthology whose contents speak with humour, passion, and insight to the child reader: it is a pudding packed with plums.