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Fifty, Grey,inShades

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Fifty, Grey,inShades

Gez Walsh, of course, needs no introduction. At least not if you have been anywhere near a school, or the world of children’s poetry in general, during the last 21 years. Ever since the publication of his barnstorming collection of "horrible poems for horrible children”, The Spot On My Bum, exploded into the firmament of verse in 1997 and went on to sell over half a million copies, and counting. This was followed up, over the years by eight more rip-roaring collections of Potty Poetry, of which Gez was both the inventor and chief exponent, via countless school visits, and appearances at libraries and festivals all over the UK and beyond.

Yet there has always been a serious side to Gez. There was, and is, actually, even a serious side to his silliness. A firm believer in the adage that people learn better when they’re having fun, his daft ditties and dodgy subject-matter have helped many a kid overcome serious barriers that had previously held them back on the road to literacy, by showing them that poetry doesn’t have to be po-faced.

As a writer, too,he’s always been more than a one-trick pony. The Potty Poets books were quickly joined by a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy detailing the exploits of a bunch of kids who get trapped in a shadow world populated by banshees, demons and other strange beings. This later developed into a separate but linked series of young adult fiction novels, Twisted Minds, often featuring scary and unexpected turns in their plots. The man has even written a cookery book, Cooking With Babbo and Nonna, drawing on the Italian side of his family history.

But the one thing he hasn’t done, until now, that is, is a book of poetry for adults. Not necessarily serious poetry, though he is quite capable of being silly to make a serious point about a serious subject, the mark of a born comedian,raconteur and thinker. In this collection, though, he not only tells it like it is for him, having now reached the years of "greyness”, as he sees it, but also draws some wry and thought-provoking observations about life in general, along the way.