Applause for My Finger

‘Books are like trousers / coats and shoes, finding the right / ones takes time, but oh, when they fit, / you know which ones to choose!” For young teenagers, the book that fits and means something to them might well be this swinging poetry collection by Erik van Os, because it’s full of varied, humorous and stimulating poems that reflect their perceptions and experiences.

Children's books
Original title
Applaus voor mijn vinger
Erik van Os, Jan Jutte

What should work well with teenagers is the mixture of simple chuckles and slightly more serious, yet still accessible poetry, with lines that you want to remember. Funny: ‘Mobile in her pocket. / My sister shops until she drops. / And when her boyfriend calls, / her backside hops and bops.’ In Jan Jutte’s illustration, we see the boyfriend on his phone, rising out of the sister’s back pocket.

Van Os writes about parents who take ‘the time not to look at each other’ and sometimes get divorced, about internal dilemmas, about being like your mother, about school and about love.

Jan Jutte shines in this collection with his quirky pictures in a wide range of styles, which reinforce the poems and provide allusions to art, from Picasso, Miró and Matisse to the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein, which comes up in a hilarious poem about a beautiful girl who picks her nose – and eats it.

There is exciting wordplay to be found in the beautiful mix of light verse and more meaningful poetry for young people.

NRC Handelsblad
Erik van Os
Erik van Os (b. 1963) writes children’s books, poetry and song lyrics, both with his wife Elle van Lieshout, and on his own. He has written over 100 books and his work has been widely translated.
Jan Jutte
Jan Jutte (b.1953) has won the prestigious Gouden Penseel, the most important Dutch prize for illustrated children’s books, three times, including for 'Een muts voor de maan' (2004), which he wrote with Sjoerd Kuyper.
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