Ann at Highwood Hall

illus. by Edward Ardizzone. 48p. Seven Stories. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781609807436.
Gr 3–5—This slim volume contains seven of Graves's poems, rereleased from their first publication in 1964. The selections, originally written for Graves's grandchildren, vary in subject, from "Ann of Harwood Hall," about a Victorian English girl who runs away to live in the Duke's Harwood Hall, to the brief "I Have a Little Cough Sir," where a child with a cough fears her mortality. The poems have a very British sensibility, with some of the humor and subject matter a bit darker than most contemporary verse for children in this age range. The language is also challenging, with several poems written in iambic pentameter with complex rhyme schemes and sentence structure. Ardizzone's illustrations are remarkably detailed and breathe new life into the collection.
VERDICT Overall pleasing, though this may be a tough sell for less experienced poetry readers. Adults and fans of Graves or Ardizzone are the best audience for this one.

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