Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Ready for Spaghetti – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: eccentric, rhyming, enchanting, stimulating, sensory.
Children’s book title: Ready for Spaghetti.
Children’s author: Michael Rosen
Children’s illustrator: Polly Dunbar
Genre: Rhyming picture book.
Published by: Walker Books.
ISBN: 9781406377644
Recommended for children aged: 3-7 year olds.
First published: Hardback June 2022.
This children’s book is ideal for: reading and performing with children in reception and year 1.

Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen

To see the latest price or order, click on the book cover image.

Our review:

Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar spread 1

I love the Nigel Molesworth stories by Geoffrey Willans. But I’m always a little disappointed that the school ‘wet’, Basil Fotherington-Tomas, is constantly derided for going round saying things like Hello birds! Hello sky! And, worst of all, liking poetry.

The Molesworthian view of the world is that ‘Peotry is sisy stuff that rhymes. Weedy people say la and fie and swoon when they see a bunch of daffodils.’

At my secondary school, poetry was something you had to learn by heart, or something you had to struggle to find things to write about in exams. At University it had a high moral purpose, as well as posing intricate problems of composition which I was expected to solve, using mysterious words and jargon .

And all the time it was really just a peep into the mind of a person trying to amuse, or seduce, or startle, or insult an audience, or one other person.

I admire Michael Rosen, both as a writer and as a public figure who is prepared to stand up against the self-appointed voices in our society who see Education as a forcing process, for which the only proper purpose is to turn out annual batches of placid, receptive exam-passers, obedient foot-soldiers in what they see as some sort of war against ‘our international competitors.’ In this glum, grey world there is no room for jokes, word-play is greeted with pursed lips, whimsicality with frowns and tuts. There is no place for William Blake seeing angels in the leaves of the sycamores as he trod the pavements of Lambeth.

Somewhere in North London Michael Rosen saw flowers, then peas, fall from the sky. It produced this:

Raining Flowers

One day it rained flowers
for hours and hours
For hours and hours
it was raining flowers

(Listen to the entire poem in the video below)

I’m sure there’s more than one nod to Spike Milligan in that.

Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar visit every corner of the small child’s sensory-world – the bathroom, the swings in the park, boiled eggs for breakfast, clouds, sucking up spaghetti, hugging teddy, baking cakes, leaping about, messing in the paddling pool, the sandpit – and weave around them eccentric rhyming spells and pictures which cannot fail to enchant and stimulate children aged three to seven.

Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar spread 2

In this world, words are to be played with, turned into funny shapes, splashed in like deep puddles, thrown into the air like dry leaves. It is ‘counter, original, spare, strange’ and, most importantly, ‘adazzle.’

Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar spread 3

Congratulations to all involved!

There’s a free set of notes for teachers available from Walker Books.

Many thanks to Walker Books for the review copy.

If you like Ready for Spaghetti by Michael Rosen you might also like: our reviews of Pops by Gavin Bishop, Rita’s Rabbit by Laura Mucha and Hannah Peck, Ten Little Dogs by Ruth Brown, NO! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs and Scruff by Alice Bowsher.

Browse our list of picture books for reception and books for year 1.

About Laurence Inman

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Laurence is an actor, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, cartoonist, public speaker, retired lecturer, and former English teacher. IMDb | Linkedin | Reviews by Laurence Inman