Poetry Box gold: Bren MacDibble’s Across the Risen Sea

Bren MacDibble Across the Risen Sea Allen & Unwin, 2020

Bren MacDibble grew up on farms all over Aotearoa. She lived in Melbourne, then sold everything and went bus travelling around Australia for two years. She recently parked her bus in Kalbarn on Australia’s west coast. I loved her first book How to Bee so so much – as did others because it won many awards in Aotearoa and Australia. Her second book Dog Runner won the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction at the NZ Book Awards (2019). She writes for young adults under the name Callie Black (and is ace at that too!).

Bren’s third junior novel Across the Risen Sea came out earlier this year. She wrote this in her acknowledgements page (in March 2020): ‘What a year we are going through. Although we’re only three months into 2020 as I write this, it feels like we’ve lived a thousand years of fires and disease. No matter how it turns out, it will be a year of lessons.’

Yes! Little did Bren know how our challenging year would unfold, and how things are still not better yet in the world.

Bren’s new dystopian junior novel Across the Risen Sea is a good book to read in these challenging times. It is highly entertaining, exquisitely gripping and, most important of all, thought provoking. The book will get you thinking about how we treat the world, and each other. I was reminded of how I learnt some important lessons in Level 4 lockdown. What do I need in my life versus what do I want in my life?

Neoma lives in a tiny environmentally-aware community on high ground. All about them is the risen sea. The old world has changed. Lost in the past, in stories, in whatever exists beyond the village. Her best friend is Jag. She and Jag want to be the best scavengers and fishing crew. They live in dwellings made of car bodies that the risen sea had brought to the surface. They live off the land and the sea. They are gentle and kind. They have no technologies, no internet, no mobile phones. They have little boats that skim over the ocean and they have wise elders.

One day some strangers arrive from the Valley of the Sun, with their different language and, without giving the locals any choice, chop down precious trees and erect a tower on a hilltop. Definitely technological. Definitely unsettling. Neoma is furious. She and Jag draw pictures of it, she gets too close and burns herself. Feeling their village way of life is under threat, she sabotages the tower – and her bold action in the dead of night sets off a tumbling and terrible sequence of events.

And here is the gold nugget of the book – the way a young girl is resilient, daring, thinking on her feet, slow to trust, keen to DO something to make things better. She must save her friend, find the truth, go places she never knew existed, outwit a wicked and extremely cunning pirate, hungry crocodiles. Such tension, such page-turning delight, I gobbled this book up in one sitting! YUM!

When I finished, I started thinking about how we are being given a chance to do things differently. How everything we choose to do has a consequence. How we can look out for one another, how we can do little tiny things to help make a world a better place for everyone! How we can find our own brave daring wonderful kind steps.

This is a very good book and I am sure it already has a BUSLOAD of reading fans!

Allen & Unwin page

Poetry Box GOLD: Katya Balen’s children’s novel October October

October, October Katya Balen, illus. Angela Harding, Bloomsbury, 2020

This was one of a bundle of books I bought online to celebrate the arrival of Wellington’s Good Books in the world (cracking good book delivery service, even rural!).

In a nutshell: this book is a gold nugget of a book. This book and me, well we are a perfect fit.

October and her father live in the woods and they are WILD. They live off the land. They can read the trees and the skies and the stars and each other. They like to be far far away from the busy world, especially London the nearest city. But then when October turns eleven everything turns upside down. She rescues a baby owl, even when they usually leave the birds alone. And then her birthday sets a chain of events clanging.

I knew nothing about the book bar what I read on the back (pretty much what I have written above) so I got to experience the surprise, the kicks, the tough choices, the learning curves without knowing what would be happening next. I love that!

So all I want to share with you is that this book is top-shelf heaven to read. October is an extraordinary young girl who gets to be fierce and grumpy and resistant and wise.

The writing will sing for you. Every sentence is songbird material. Every sentence filled me with sentence happiness. With some books the sentences deliver magnificent stories and that is absolutely okay, but with other books terrific sentences deliver magnificent stories. This is the latter.

October October is a story of resilience, discovery, warmth, learning, care, and much aroha. It is Poetry Box GOLD and I recommend it highly. I am now on the hunt for Katya’s debut book, The Space We’re In.

Katya Balen lives in London. She studied English at university and completed an MPhil researching the impact of stories on autistic children’s behaviour. She has worked in a variety of special needs schools as a teaching assistant, and more recently co-founded Mainspring Arts – a not-for-profit that provides mentoring and creative opportunities for neurodivergent adults.

Bloomsbury page

Poetry Box children’s book of 2020: Shilo Kino’s The Pōrangi Boy

Shilo Kino The Pōrangi Boy Huia Publishers 2020

I have read a lot of astonishing children’s books this year ( a whole raft published by Gecko Press), but Shilo Kino’s debut novel The Pōrangi Boy has affected me like no other. I just love it. It is my children’s book of 2020. I love it because it makes me feel and it makes me think, and it foregrounds Māori characters and issues, and it is prismatic with life and wisdom.

Shilo Kino, Ngā Puhi, Tainui, is a journalist and writer living in Auckland. She is a reporter for Marae, the current affairs show, and was a finalist for best Māori Affairs Reporter at the Voyager Media Awards 2020. She has written for The Guardian, The Spinoff and The Pantograph Punch.

The Pōrangi Boy centres on Nico (Nikora Heke Te Kainga-mataa of Pohe Bay) who is picked on at school, but he keeps his head down, and doesn’t blab when his face is forced down the toilet. He is called ‘pōrangi’ (mad, crazy), but this is what his grandfather is called. His grandfather is his anchor, his mentor, a much-loved presence who passes down stories, knowledge, ways of doing things. Anger, his grandfather says, is poison. When a prison is planned in the small town, on sacred ground where a taniwha lives, Nico and his grandfather get set to stop it.

The story is structured like a braided river, with its before, after and now strands interwoven; at the centre is the red hot event from which Nico measures time. I want you to read the book, and experience the unfolding braids yourself, so I am holding back on revelations.

Instead I want to celebrate the glorious and complicated humanity of the story. Its utter necessity. The way it radiates with life. Its dialogue glows. The Pōrangi Boy underlines the importance of Māori history, the whenua, taonga, te tikanga, te reo Māori, whānau, of our foundation document, the Treaty of Waitangi, of protest, of listening, reading, writing. Shilo is not delivering school lessons for readers, but all these critical elements are in the writing ink that drives the story. And crikey do they matter. You are held in the grip of story (I couldn’t put the book down), in how things are turning out, along with the characters and their challenges, but there are so many vital layers. There is a racist teacher (Nico’s) who makes my blood boil with her limited views on learning and teaching practice. There is a teacher who sides with Nico and the prison-land protesters, who brings food and who has always listened to Nico rather than laugh or sneer at him. There is the uncle who aligns with the developers and who beats his son. There is a 12-year-old boy ready to stand up and make the speech of his life in court.

People do not always fit into tidy behaviour boxes. Good and bad are not always clear-cut divisions. Resolutions are not always easy. In this pandemic year, and this year of #blacklivesmatter, of Ihumātao, of statistics that hold tough stories (not just numbers) for individual people and families across the globe, in the anecdotes of care and human dedication – there are core values in the novel that resonate so very deeply. Read this glorious book and you will read what it can be to be human. You will listen to meanness and greed, bullying and white privilege; and you will listen to the wisdom of a grandfather, an aunt, a young boy finding ways to be kind, courageous, to grieve, to celebrate, to be Māori, to be part of his whanau. To be himself. To be kind to himself and to those nearby. To learn and acquire strength. To stand up and to speak out.

Beautifully written, lovingly published, this is a book to celebrate and share.

Some excellent links!

Cassie (J.C.) Hart (Kāi Tahu) met Shilo Kino (Ngāpuhi, Tainui) in July of 2018 as part of the Te Papa Tupu programme. The interview about Shilo’s new book can be found at The Sapling.

Shilo talks about the book at The Spinoff

Shilo in conversation with Philippa Tolley, Nine to Noon, Radio NZ National

Huia Publishers page

Poetry Box review: Sam McBratney’s Will You Be My Friend?

Sam Bratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram, Will You Be My Friend? Walker Books 2020

Will You Be My Friend? is a delightful sequel to Sam Bratney’s Guess How Much I love You,. It begins with Little Nutbrown Hare wanting to play and Big Nutbrown Hare too busy with a zillion things to be done. No time for play! Ah how to solve this? Little Nutbrown is allowed to go and play by himself as long as he doesn’t go too far. What adventure! What a double adventure when he discovers another hare staring back at him from a puddle. What a triple adventure when a shadow hare bounds and skedoobles after him.

But then! Oh crikey! Little Nutbrown Hare comes across a real hare. Not a hiding in a puddle hare or a running close behind him shadow hare. He has met Cloudy Mountain Hare and she most definitely wants to play.

This is exactly the right book to snuggle in with when you feel like a dose of good feelings because this is a story of friendship. And sometimes that is just the ticket – no matter whether it is blazing hot, or raging wind, or thumping rain outside.

The writing is exquisite and Anita Jeram’s illustrations are a perfect fit.

A sweet sweet book – especially to read with with someone else. Or to give someone who needs a little boost of picture book love.

Walker Books page

Sam McBratney is also the author of You’re All My Favourites, illustrated by Anita Jeram; There, There and Just You and Me, illustrated by Ivan Bates; and many other books for children. He lives in Northern Ireland.

Anita Jeram is also the illustrator of You’re All My Favourites by Sam McBratney, Little Chick and a series about Sam and Mrs Bear by Amy Hest, and Skip to the Loo, My Darling! by Sally Lloyd-Jones, amongst other books. Anita Jeram lives in Northern Ireland.

Poetry Box review: Oliver Jeffers’s What We’ll Build: Plans for Our Together Future

Oliver Jeffers, What We’ll Build: Plans for Our Together Future, HarperCollins, 2020

Oliver Jeffers is from Belfast but now lives in Brooklyn, New York. He has published a stack of children’s books that are always extremely inviting, are much loved, and win awards!

Oliver’s new book What We’ll Build: Plans for Our Together Future is a gorgeous, make-you-warm-inside story that follows all the things a father and daughter might build together. They start with a door (think of the endless possibilities a door has) and move onto a home, but then imaginations go leaping, and they are building love to put aside for when they may need it. And yes! a comfy place to hang out together (a hammock!).

At the end of our pandemic catastrophe year, I have been musing on what I can build. What we can build as a world. As a community. A family. As just one person itching to make and create. After so many challenges and hurdles and cracks in the pavement, it is very good to think of things you can make. Things that will make you feel good – and maybe someone else feel good – as you make them, alone or together. In your imagination or in real life. Both can work.

This heavenly picture book might get you making lists and get you dreaming! Get you making one small thing!

One small thing that makes me feel good is giving books away and I want to do more of that in 2021! I especially like giving picture books to grandmas and grandads, as well as young children. Grandmas and Grandads would LOVE this book!

so yes …

This is the perfect book to give someone of any age – a little bundle of warmth and surprise that will make them feel warm and cosy as they read (yes there is a fire to be sat around under the starry heavens). This is a book you can sit around like a fire and read with someone you love! It is rather glorious!

Let me know if you have a gran or grandad you would like to give this book to and I will give away one copy to a child who has a grandparent they would love to give it to. paulajoygreen@gmail.com By January 10th

HarperCollins author page

Poetry Box November challenge: some favourite food poems

from Taikura Steiner School

thanks everyone who sent in poems in 2020 and making Poetry Box so special

It has taken me ages to read all your scrumptious food poems (hundreds of them!) with such sweet salty sour sizzling word choices. I loved the way your imaginations leapt and trampolined, and your poems made me want to eat yummy things.

Too many poems to post them all – but the challenge is to have fun writing poetry and to play with words and ideas. And you have done a SMORGASBORD of that. What fun.

I always feel sad I can’t pick all your poems, but I hope you keep up the poetry love over summer and try writing a poem of your own.

I have had big problems doing this post so if your poem is set out wrong or I haven’t replied to you let me know. paulajoygreen@gmail.com

AND then in March 2021 try my first poem challenge of the year.

Poetry Box is never hosting competitions (so no winners and losers) but invites you to try new and old things when it comes to writing a poem.

I was inspired to do the food challenge by the excellent Egg & Spoon cookbook (Alexander Tylee and Giselle Clarkson). Gecko Press have kindly given me two copies to give away. I am giving them to: Harry S from Fendalton School and Finn B from Russley School.

The Poems

Pie

When mum’s in the kitchen
the smell of fresh pie
fills the rooms
of my house
then it sneaks out.

Vitek M, 7 years old, Y2, Ilam School


A Bed of Clams

Cranky, clinky clams

Checked rough patterns

burrowing like kids in bed

Finn B Year 3 Russley School

My Morning Porridge

My morning porridge
Steaming in pot
Nutritious warmth trapped inside
Just oats and creamy milk
My morning porridge
Melting in your mouth
Leaving me with a warm glow in my tummy
Ready for a long day at school
My morning porridge
Raspberry, blueberries and banana
Fruit explosions
Sticking to my face
I lick up the warm goodness
Of my morning porridge

Phoebe, age 12, Selwyn House

Waffles

French waffles in snowy Paris with a little dog tied to a dark leather lead drinking cold glistening water looking at my waffle with its golden crispy coat

Harry S age 9 year 4 Fendalton School

Crumb

A crumb,
falling,
birds chomping,
flying away,
a competition,
starting in the sky.

Maia-Sophia B Age: 11 Ilam School

Crispy Egg Tarts


Crispy egg tarts
Have a lovely crunch to them
A hot egg jelly inside

Joyce X, age 9, Fendalton Open Air School

Cold Spaghetti

I have a dog
a black as coal dog.
Her name is Poppy
whenever we go to the park
she lets herself loose
out on the field
and slowly gets tired
and sits down beside me
begging for food of course.
I refuse
she runs as fast as thunder
to an open can of cold spaghetti
Yum yum!

Libby, age 7, Ilam School

Poems from Richmond Rd School

Sushi

Crunchy Seaweed and squishy rice
With a surprise in the middle
Curled up like a cylinder
With a tasty texture.

By Kaden, Ana Cooper O and Meadow

Lollies

Sticky sweet suckers,
Dissolving in my mouth.
Slippery on your tongue.
Melty in your mouth,
Super sweet and sticky,
Sour surprises!

By Felix and Issy, Feddie and Sophia L

Strawberries

It is super sweet on your tongue
It’s like a crooked, fat, witches nose.
It’s a glowing heart with black freckles.

By Sophia L and Feddie

Strawberry

Red and juicy flesh in my mouth
A sweet surprise in the shape of a love heart
Full of seeds and nice and squishy
Like a precious red ruby.

By Issy and Felix

Rockmelon

Pale orange like the sun
Setting across the silver sea
It’s as juicy as a melting ice block

By Cooper and Meadow

MORE Scrumptious Food Poems

My annoying brother


It’s 6 am,
I feel like it’s 1,
Stomp, stomp, stomp.
I hear heavy footsteps downstairs.
I slip my slippers on and my dressing gown.
I tiptoe out of my room, open the door, creek! The door creeks open,
I continue to tiptoe down the stairs.
I reach the bottom of the stairs.
My arm is reaching for a torch nearby.
I turn it on.
Crunch, munch, crunch.
I head towards the kitchen door.
My brother yells, ‘AHH!’
‘It’s okay, it’s okay it is only me’ I say calmly.
I stride across the floor to where he’s sitting bolt upright on a stool opposite a counter full of biscuits and chocolate.
‘WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING?
‘Eating breakfast’ My brother said with a nervous tone.
‘Oh really?

Isabella G Age:10 Selwyn House School

I like FOOD

I have travelled the world

And tasted food of all kinds

Here are just some

That spring to my mind

The food in France

Sent me into a trance

Baguettes

Snails

Frogs legs

Quails

In Finland I ate bold

Because I was so cold

Reindeer

Rye

Herring

Rice pie

In Aussie it was easy

To find food that was greasy

Snags

Meat pies

Kangaroo

Loaded fries

The buffets of Singapore

Have all food types – and more

Dumplings

Curries

Egg stations

Juice flurries

In Canada, poutine

Hawaii has loco moco

In America, alligator

Couscous in Morocco

Fettucine, fish, frankfurters and fruit

Oreos, oranges, Opera cakes

Oats, omelettes, or oxtail soup

Dumplings, donuts, duck and dates

There is so much food! But I have to say

The thing that I like most

Is what I eat at home every day…

Peanut buttery toast!

Daniel L, age 12, Y7, Hadlow School

MR WHIPPY

It’s a warm and sunny day

To be on the gorgeous bay

I am jumping and splashing

And oh! I hear loud screeching

I swish, jump and turn around

See a car going around

I see an ice cream on top

Of the car that makes me hop

MR WHIPPY!

I quickly run to my dad

He pulls dollars out and I’m glad

He replies : “You are in luck!”

So I run straight to the truck

I now have a chocolate chip

Ice cream in chocolate dip

IT’S SO YUMMY!

Leo Y Year 7 Age 11, Russley School

Salmon Patties


The shopping list:
210 grams of crimson red salmon
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of self-raising flour
1-2 tablespoons of stinky vinegar.


The Classic Method
Drain the liquid of the salmon and replace with the smelliest vinegar you can find
In a bowl, beat up the eggs…but don’t bully them
Mix the flour into the bullied eggs
Now add the salmon and mix well, like soil and water
In a frying pan, add a pat of butter and oil
Once you have heated it up enough, you will hear sizzling like the sounds of summer
Add the mushy mixture in tablespoon lots and cook until the mixture sets. Or before Christmas comes
With an egg slicer turn the patties repeatedly until nice and crispy brown…or when your heart desires
You can now officially munch your salmon patties up.
Pro tip: Eat before your family discovers that you’re eating the yummiest recipe ever

Niya K Age: 10 Ilam School Canterbury

How to make breakfast:

First you take the bread out of the freezer.
Then you heat it up using the heater.
Next you put it in the toaster and heat it up nice.
While you wait, get some water and put in some ice.
When the toast is done, take a butter knife to spread the peanut butter.
Then put the cheese on the toast using a cheese cutter.
When the breakfast meal is completed,
Well, now you can eat it!

Scarlett B 11 yrs old Yr 6 College Street Normal School

Spaghetti

My slim fingers
dig into the slimy spaghetti
spilled on my plate.
The sauce bubbles
through my teeth,
slowly slips away down my throat,
scratches my insides
like tiger’s teeth
rippling down my belly.

Eliska M, 9 years old, Y5 Ilam School

Fish Burritos

nicely toasted soft tortillas crumble into my mouth

fresh and thick sour cream changes the taste

crumbs wrapped around my fish like a cloak

red onion dancing along my taste buds sharing its song

leafy coriander reminds me of trees

sriracha sauce giving it a kick to top it off

Violetta, aged 11, Selwyn House School

LS4 Middle School at Westmere

Snails

Once I ate a snail,
which left a snail trail,
on my tongue!

It could have been less blubbery
and very much less flubbery.
The little thing daren’t go down.

I liked it but I couldn’t.
I’d like it if it didn’t
make me have to chew and grind
and swallow it whole!

At first it tasted like olives.
just a flavoured bit of fat,
but after a while I thought…
“I’ll never stomach that!”

by Lakie

My Ode to Malaysian

Oh Malaysian, Malaysian
You are the best.
Your roti is like a pancake.
Your spicy chicken blows me away,
probably because you are in a curry!

Oh Malaysian, Malaysian
I love your pineapple and coconut milkshake.
It wakes me up the moment I sip it.
I love you from my head to my feet.

Oh Malaysian, Malaysian
You are my love.
When I eat you I feel like a dove!
I will never let you go,
not for a month.
No, not time to go!
Do I have to wait another week?

By Nina

Potato Top Pie!

Potato top pie
so creamy and delicious.
On the top,
a potato tornado,
swirling like the wind
on a breezy day.
It’s my favourite in the world!
I find it extraordinary.
It melts in my mouth,
like an ice cream
on a hot day.
Out of all the pies,
this is the best.
Do you like it too?
I do!
Potato top pie.

Jackson

Fish and Chips

Fish and chips.
Crunching and munching
on these delightful chips!
Soft in the middle
crunchy on the outside.
Man, I can’t stop munching
on these fish and chips.
Little bit sweet
little bit sour.
Just the perfect flavour.
Ohhhhh! This is the food!
Fish and chips.
Crunching and munching
on these delightful chips!

Billy

Pizza!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
It’s time to make a base.
Knead, knead, knead, knead
stretch, stretch, pull.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
It’s time to spread the sauce.
Dollop, dollop,spread, spread
We could add some gorse?

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
It’s time to lay the toppings.
Mushrooms, salami and olives too.
Plop! on the pizza,
Yum for you!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza.
It’s time to sprinkle the cheese.
Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle
Pizza for me!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
It’s time to cook it brown.
Bake, bake, bake, bake,
Turn the oven down.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
It’s time to eat it up!

Share, share, share, share,
YUM, YUM, YUM!

By Martha

Year One Richmond Road School

A Feastival

Fish sizzling in a frying pan
Odorous onions make me cry
Sour lemon makes my face funny
Popcorn fireworks blowing through the air
Chicken drumsticks feel so slippery and greasy

Trish’s year 1 class Richmond Road School

Rainbows

Radishes as red as a tomato
Apples as golden as a medal
Ice cream is as brown as a raisin
Nectarines are as yellow as a buttercup
Broccoli is as green as mint
Oranges are as orange as Fruit Bursts
Watermelon as pink as a pig
Spaghetti as beige as a building block

Trish’s year 1 class Richmond Road School

Chips

Crunchy munchy chicken chips
Handful of happiness
In my puku
Potatoes at their best
Salty, spicy, scrumptious!

Trish’s year 1 class Richmond Road School

6 & 7 year olds at Westmere School

My Food! My Food!

My cat likes fish,
YUK!
I don’t like fish!
I love strawberries.
They’re really juicy!
Mmmmmmm.
I lick my lips
when I see them.
YAY!

Chloe H Age 7

Food!

I hate dark chocolate.
I love pepperoni pizza with cheese.
I love mango flavoured ice cream
I hate Peas!

Yosei F Age 6

Ice Cream and Food

I like chocolate and ice cream
But I hate smoked salmon.
Yuk!
I like pizza
pineapple and ham pizza,
Yum!
I hate rice and peas mixed in a bowl.
I love broccoli and chicken.
I love strawberries
and ice cream
and popcorn.
YUM!

Chloe P Age 6

MacDonalds

Soft buns.
It has tomato sauce
that goes well
with mustard
as hot as
hot chocolate.
The chips
are so salty
I need a sip
of water,
with ice.

Henry P Age 7

5 year olds at Westmere School

Watermelon

When you take a bite of watermelon,
does it dribble down your chin
Yes it does!
When I take bite of watermelon
I spit out the seeds!

Ella 5

Eggs

I do not like egg
It tastes yukky.
(But I like eggs in cakes…)

Orli 5

Bubblegum

My favourite food is bubblegum
I love bubblegum
because I like making bubbles.
You make bubbles
by chewing
and chewing
and chewing
then you
BLOW!

Charlie 5

and lastly, a couple of combined poem from Westmere 5 year olds ….

Jelly!


The jelly is like a frog, slimy.
The jelly looks like a cloud.
The jelly is slippery, slimy.
The jelly is as yummy as an ice cream and it is jiggly.
The jelly is really wriggly.
The jelly is as wobbly as santa’s hat.
The jelly is like a slippery mushy bubble.
The jelly is as wobbly as your shivering hands.
The jelly is as cold as the frozen strawberry.
The jelly is wriggly as a tickly hand.
The jelly is wobbly like a wriggly worm and I like it.
The jelly is jiggly jelly and it is shiny like the ocean because it is watery.
The jelly is cold like the north pole.
The jelly is as wobbly as Santa’s hat.
The jelly is cold and wobbly and it’s yummy.
The jiggly wiggly jelly is like a frog.
The jelly is as jiggly as a worm.
The jelly is like Santa’s hat and it is as wobbly as a penguin.
The jelly is like super slimy on my hand.

Even MORE tasty food poems

Cherries

Red cherries in a tree,
Falling on top of me.
And I eat them up.
So delicious!
They come in twins,
And different shades of red.

Mia W Y5 age 9, Fendalton Open Air School

How to Live a Long Time

Ingredients:

  • A birthday
  • Noodles (Ideally long)
  • Water
  • Jokes

 Steps:

  1. Wait until your birthday
  2. Go to a noodle shop or canteen
  3. Choose very thin and long noodles which symbolise long life
  4. Then tell funny jokes which make you live even longer
  5. Drink lots of water

Now you know how to live a long time, good luck!

Sam| 8 years old|Year 4| Russley School

Richmond School poems

I like pizza and lasagna.
I like tacos and macho nachos.
I like salt and vinegar chips with my fish.
I like pumpkin soup with bread in bed.
I like chicken drumsticks with sauce.
I eat them without pause.
When it’s halloween
I am a candy and chocolate eating machine.
When it’s Christmas time…
it’s always turkey with some gravy.

Theo M Age:10 Richmond Road School

Cotton Candy

Cotton candy
Twisty, twirly
Wispy, whirly.

Melts in my mouth.
Sugary sweet
My favourite candy,
I love to eat.
Like a pile of fluff
bundled up in a tuft.

Cotton candy
Twisty, twirly
Wispy, whirly.

Parker age 9 Richmond Rd School

Big Roast Beef

Its raining big roast beef today
How much beef ? It’s hard to say!

They plummet down, one by one ,
A Christmas treat! Oh what such fun!

Charlie M Age 9 Richmond Rd School

Churton Park School poems

Dear Broccoli,

You are my worst nightmare
I hate you so much
Every bite haunts me
WHY DO YOU HAVE TO EXIST!

If I were you I would pack your bags
And move to a different UNIVERSE.
All the different types of broccoli,
Fried, microwaved, cheesy and boiled
I HATE THEM ALL!

Do you get what I’m meaning NOW?
Do you understand?
I’ll say it one more time
DON”T STAY HERE AND DO NOT COME BACK!

Sincerely,

Cauliflower

Kate, 11, Churton Park School

Ode to Chip

Oh, lovely chip filled with joy
You make people happy every second of the day
You make people scrunch their face with your salty sensation
and you can come in different sizes
like big and small
Your obvious texture feels nice on your tongue
Crunchy and smooth we love them all soft or crunchy.

Jacob L Age 11 Churton Park School

Mac and cheese recipe

CHEESE,CHEESE, CHEESE
Melting in a pot!
Fake cheese fake cheese fake cheese
Melting in a pot!
Noodle noodle noodle
boiling in a pot!
bacon bacon bacon
sizzling in a pan!
Noodles noodles noodles
strained into the sink
cheesy sauce and bacon
being added to a bowl
mixing mixing mixing
mac and cheese in a bowl

Mya, 11, Year 6, Churton Park School

A Food Poem


Water tasting like salt and pepper
Noodles curling like long snakes
Tender red meat tasting like heaven
Fresh green leaves garnished around
A red hot chilli sitting all by itself

Pranavi, Year 6, Churton Park School, Wellington

Lasagne

Dear Lasagne,
Sticky layers of pasta roll across my tongue
Fleshy mince melts in my mouth
Cheesy paste explodes in my mouth like a volcano
A creamy smell of your sauce wafts into my delighted nose.
My stomach bulges as I take the last satisfying bite

Dylan age 11 Churton Park School

Birthday

Sitting down at a birthday party, folding my legs.
I grab a small slice of cake.
I slowly bite into it,
I feel a light spongy mushy texture with a hint of sugar“
So delicious, freshly out of the oven so soft.
I enjoy every single bit of it, the sun shining on my face.

Courtney-Jane Age – 10 Year – 6, Churton Park School

Chocolate Fountain


A rippling cascade of chocolatey deliciousness
Coating a minuscule slice of crispy apple
Smothering a cube of almost sour kiwifruit
And hardening over a freshly skewered strawberry

The fountain bubbles slightly
But otherwise flows smoothly on top of a dipped banana
Making an archway underneath
And covering the sweet fruit with chocolate

As I bring one to my mouth
The molten chocolate dribbles onto the table,
Drips a bit
And starts to harden

Kyra, Age 1, Churton Park School

An extra feast of delicious poems

Watermelon haiku

Watermelon
brother
of the pumpkin
*
Watermelon
son
of the pumpkin king
*
Under his cap
the watermelons’
pink room
*
In the quiet darkness
the moon shadows
the watermelon
*
From my tree-house
it rains watermelon seeds

Tom N, Y7, age 12, Christchurch South Intermediate

Christmas Dinner

I am cooking Christmas Dinner

it is the BEST thing that you will EVER taste

For the meat I am using turkey, deep fried

in coconut oil

with goat tongue and boar tripe

garnished with turtle eyes.

For the vegetables I am making

eggplant boiled in camomile and dandelion root tea,

topped with saffron strands.

For the sauce I am preparing,

whole puffer fish {spikes and all}

blended up in a food processor

along with lead,

from the pencil of my maths professor.

Cabbage mousse as well as

a light sprinkling of caviar,

whipped cream with mango,

from Portico

that’s the dessert.

Come and feed

but take heed

of never eating better

the Van Clan

Some more poems from Taikura Steiner School

happy summer holidays

Poetry Box review: James Norcliffe’s Mallory, Mallory – The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy

James Norcliffe, Mallory, Mallory: The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy illus Emily Walker, Penguin Random House (Puffin) 2020

I love opening a book without reading the blurb or reviews. I read the title and that is my entry in. I like being surprised and taken on a book adventure. After James Norcliffe’s excellent The Loblolly Boy (2009) I knew I was in for a treat, and yes, a surprising book adventure.

James’s new novel for junior readers is an utter delight. I gobbled it up on a rainy Sunday morning in bed, but it would work just as well under a shady tree on a shimmery hot summer day or in a refuge on a mountain in the falling snow . With a nod to Dr Seuss, you could read this book anywhere: in a tree hut, in the sand dunes, in a huge comfy armchair, in a hot-air balloon, on a train, a plane or at the kitchen table.

Emily Walker’s quirky illustrations are misty and magical – and a perfect match.

Mallory is the meanest, cruellest, most unpopular girl in the universe. She hatches the meanest plan: she decides she will kidnap the tooth fairy when she puts her wobbly tooth under her pillow and demand a ransom.

Arthur is her best friend (let’s face it her only friend) and he is loyal and kind and sensible. He is also good at asking questions and immediately spots flaws in Mallory’s cunning plan. He is not very good at going against her wickedness.

Hmmm! Now I come to the tricky bit, because I want to tempt you to read the book without giving away SPOILERS! This story has the surprising twists and turns of a twisty labyrinth.

The tooth fairy is also cunning! The title tells us that. So yes mean old Mallory catches the tooth fairy, but what happens next is pure reading delight. This is a story of cunning and trickery, but it is also a story of loyalty and friendship – and learning curves!

In order to get the ransom, the tooth fairy insists they must travel to the Chancellor of the Hex Checker in Orolia. All very mysterious. This is the land of teeth and truth. Like all good stories there will be obstacles, things will not always be as they seem and there will be epiphanies (brain and heart flashes of new understandings). There will be mysterious looks and mysterious undertones. You will hear the fierce cry of canines and you will meet the Molars who are Giants who are Pie Chefs who have enormous appetites for enormous pies.

This book has humour spots. At the Customs Gate, Arthur asks the tooth fairy if he should knock and the tooth fairy strongly advises him too, ‘or we’ll be waiting outside the door for a very long time.’

Sometimes humour and logic mix. When Arthur asks the tooth fairy how far to go he gets this perfect answer: ‘about twice as far as halfway’. Love it!

Sometimes you get storybook wisdom: ‘Sometimes the journey is far more pleasant than the destination.’ I feel like that about writing!

I like the way James plays with a saying in order to share a little truth. The tooth fairy reckons Mallory doesn’t always see ‘the wood for the trees’ and Arthur wonders what that means. I love the answer: ‘I think your friend Mallory only sees the world from a very small place called Mallory.’ I hugged that thought!

Mallory, Mallory is a treasure of a book with its story bends, its very cool characters, its wisdom gleams and its excellent ending. I finished this book and I felt warm inside. It is a quiet book that will show you the woods and trees, the tooth and the truth, and make you hungry for more! Which is fortunate as there is a second one in the pipeline: Mallory, Mallory Trick or Treat. Bravo James Norcliffe!

James Norcliffe is an award-winning poet, educator, editor and author of books for adults and children. The Loblolly Boy won the 2010 NZ Post Junior Fiction Award. Since then he has published the sequel, The Pirates and the Nightmaker (2015). You can find details of his other children’s books and awards on the Penguin Random House link below.

Emily walker has twice been shortlisted for the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration (2017 and 2019) and in 2019 she was also a finalist in the Margaret Mahy Illustration Award. Mallory, Mallory: The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy is her first book commission.

Penguin Random House page

Poetry Box review: Egg & Spoon by Alexandra Tylee and Giselle Clarkson and the food poem challenge

Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook written by Alexandra Tylee and illustrated by Giselle Clarkson, published by Gecko Press, 2020

I am a cookbook squirrel. I think I might have more than a hundred cookbooks. I love cooking old favourites and I love cooking things I have never cooked before. Cookbooks are my passports to new places, new taste sensations. I love how food connects friends and family, and how food keeps our body engines running beautifully.

Gecko Press have just published Egg & Spoon, the best cookbook for children (and adults) ever. It is written by Alexandra Tylee from the excellent Pipi Café in Havelock North. Such scrumptious food served there, it is not surprising the recipes are mouth-watering, tongue-popping DELICIOUS. Anytime I am in Havelock North I pay a visit!

Whizz image maker, Giselle Clarkson, has done the scrummy illustrations. She makes comics, cartoons and illustrates books (I loved the work she did for The Gobbledegook Book, Secret World of Butterflies, Hazel and the Snails).

A good cookbook makes you want to run into the kitchen and bake. Sometimes I put tags on recipes I want to cook – or make a long list. There are so many things I want to make from Egg & Spoon, I think I want to try everything! I want to COOK the BOOK!

I really like Alexandra’s philosophy: Cooking is very individual – there are no rules …well there are, but I’ve never taken them too seriously. Just trya recipe and see how it works for you. If you feel like adding a bit of this and some of that, then I say go for it. That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.’

I think it works for poetry: ‘Poetry is very individual – there are no rules …well there are, but I’ve never taken them too seriously. Just try a poem and see how it works for you. If you feel like adding a bit of this and some of that, then I say go for it. That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.’

The recipes

Alexandra’s recipes are very easy to use.

You are guaranteed something that is very tasty and very good for your body engine.

You are guaranteed to have fun making things and even greater fun eating them.

I want to make the baked beans. I love home-made baked beans – Alexandra adds a parmesan rind which is a very Italian thing to do! MMM baked-bean lunch tomorrow for me! I want to make the teriyaki salmon on sticks for dinner tonight. AND I am itching to make the apple slice.

This gorgeous gorgeous book inspired me to have FOOD POEMS as my last Poetry Box challenge for the year.

I’m giving away two copies of the book to children who try my challenge – to celebrate Gecko Press, Pipi Café, Alexandria Tylee and Giselle Clarkson … and of course poetry. You can find the food-poem challenge here (deadline is Monday 30th November).

Gecko Press have kindly given permission to post four recipes from this exquisitely-produced, treasure of a book!

Recipes extracted from Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook written by Alexandra Tylee and illustrated by Giselle Clarkson, published by Gecko Press, RRP $39.99

have fun cooking