New English Review Press is pleased to announce the publication of our forty fifth title: A Chocolate Box Menagerie by Paul Freeman. An excellent Christmas gift for children of all ages.
A Chocolate Box Menagerie is a wonderful little volume of charming poems full of strange creatures with recognizable personalities. Freeman explores the child’s world in which there is no distinction between animate and inanimate. A packet of spaghetti is as likely to be looking for love as a sparrow. Starfish gaze at the night sky and wonder from where they’ve dropped. And bathroom mirrors live in constant torment, unable to flee from what they have to witness every day!
We read of domestic dramas: the marmalade’s bitterness towards the jam; the macaroon’s attempt at singing and dancing; and the infidelity of a pickled herring. There are also many poems about exotically named animals.
The book is remarkable for its wit and inventiveness. Has anyone written before about the yearnings of a bacon sandwich, or told of the tragic life of a coat hanger? Who has ever thought to create a world peopled by letters of the alphabet? And all this is done with the enduring grace and beauty of meter and rhyme that will surely appeal to all ages.
Advance Praise for A Chocolate Box Menagerie:
The child’s instinctive thrill at well-used rhyme and meter is the best counterargument to postmodernists trying to reform away our capacity for delight. Paul Freeman’s collection of whimsical verse reminds us of what real poetry can do, and why it’s good.
—Jeffrey Burghauser, poet and author of the forthcoming The Heavy Lifting: A Boy’s Guide to Writing Poetry
Paul Freeman was born in 1949 and has lived most of his life in the UK. Following university, he spent five years in Japan studying Zen at Shogenji in Minokamo. On his return, he became an art dealer and photographer.