Monthly Archives: December 2015

Poetry Box WRAPS up 2015 – Happy holidays dear young poets and some thank yous and shiny stars




The sun is shining. It is warm enough to swim (I can’t until my foot mends!). The strawberries are plump red treats to eat from my garden. Even if I am a bit restricted with a fractured foot, life is good!

Ah summer is here! This means Poetry Box is going on holiday. I am not sure how the blog will work next year but I will make plans.

Thank you so much for sending me emails and poems in 2015.


I have loved visiting schools and meeting so many wonderful children and teachers eager to read and write poems.


I got to have very special times in Northland, Gisborne, Dunedin and South Auckland. Thank you so much St Cuthbert’s School, Fairburn School, Ormond School and Port Chalmers School where I got to stay longer than a day. What warm welcomes. What outstanding writing. And how wonderful to spend a whole week on my home turf (Northland) thanks to the National Library and The New Zealand Book Council).

I also loved the letters from children and teachers to let me know a book arrived or thank me for feedback on your writing. So often we don’t take time to do this, so when we do, it is extra special.

I am feeling a bit sad because one of the very first fans of Poetry Box, Ewen Wong from Christchurch, is off to Secondary School next year. You are my Young Poet of the Year and I wish you all the very best for your writing discoveries. I have loved sharing your work and do hope you keep in touch. I am sending you a book to say thank you! You are a star.


Thank you to the Lovewell Poetry Family in Whitby who have brightened my days with fabulous poems and contributions. You are also simmering stars. I will pop a book in the post for you too.


Thank you to all the wonderful school librarians especially Crissi Blair at St Cuthbert’s who has been a great promoter of the blog.


A big thank you to the New Zealand Book Council (Catriona Ferguson and Lynette Hartgill) and The National Library (Jeannie Skinner and Elizabeth Jones). You are such supporters of the blog.


Thanks to every child, parent, teacher and librarian who read, wrote or shared a poem this year. You are luminous stars!



A challenge: During the holidays I encourage you to find a little notebook and fill it with poems. Send me your favourite one at the end of the holidays. Go exploring on my blog for poetry tips and starting ideas.


Happy holidays, safe holidays, happy poetry days

warmest regards from

Paula  xxx




Timeline: A Visual History of Our World: A wondrous book – a must-have, utterly marvelous mustering of history for children



Timeline: A Visual History of Our World Peter Goes Gecko Press


This gorgeous book by Gecko Press is big! It is as wide as a loaf of bread and as a tall as one and half loaves. The book takes you back in time and then takes you through time with intricate illustrations and fascinating facts. The illustrations are sensational. Really!

I wanted to read the whole book before I shared it with you but that would mean I not sharing it with you until next year! We can’t have that because this book belongs under every Christmas tree. I spend ages on each page because each page fills me with questions. There is so much to discover about the past, about the complicated world we live in.

Each page has curious facts that are like little stepping stones to curious thinking, to wanting to know more.


Curious fact one:

The oldest boat that has ever been found in the world so far was found in The Netherlands about 10,000 years ago. WoW! I spent ages thinking about this. Imagine looking at the water and thinking about the fish in the water and inventing something to get you further out. You couldn’t copy the models of other canoes. Extraordinary. I marvel at the minds that invented those first boats. We have a history of inventing things to make our lives easier.


Curious fact two:

Dogs (not cats) were the first tamed animals. I started to wonder why we tamed cats and dogs!



Curious fact three:

Dinosaur comes from two Greek words deinos = terrible sauros = lizard and so dinosaur means terrible lizard. Ha! Were all dinosaurs terrible? Do we have mammals we would call terrible nowadays?


When you step into this magnificent book you step into the very first villages, the time of the Vikings or the Egyptians or the Ming Dynasty. I can’t wait to visit the decades of the twentieth century.


If you have a curious mind, you love fascinating things, and you want to discover more about how the world got to be a world of speed and dazzle, towns and paddocks, ideas and inventions … then this is this book for you.

I adore this book! Everyone in my family is queuing up to read it! Bravo Gecko Press what a gift you have given in publishing this book.










The joys and jumps of Queen Charlotte Track – a poet goes walking – and a little letter challenge

Just over a week ago, I got to walk the Queen Charlotte Track and it was utterly amazing. I felt like at every step my boots and pockets filled with little poems.


I wondered if this has ever happened to you! Let me know. Will post your letter about a time that filled you with poetry.

So now I am busy writing little poems. I am glad I have this inspiration because on Day Three I fractured my foot! It was a wild and stormy day and I thought trees might blow over. I even came to a sign that said in gales trees might blow over and land on you. Scary! Twice I slipped on wet rocks and twisted my foot.

I had to walk for six hours on my sore foot (already walked for four) which was tough but I made up some cool poem games in my head which took my mind off the pain.

I would love to walk the track again but in glorious weather because Day Three was a symphony of grey not dazzling blue as far as the eye can see.

But this was such a cool thing to do. My mind is buzzing. Which is good as now I am stuck resting my foot up for ages. Perfect time to read and write in my notebook.

So here some photos from my best walking holiday ever!



We got to see heaps of dolphins on the mail boat over but


my favourite was the seal wanting to swim like a dolphin. I get to see the lumbery seals on the sand at Bethells but such GRACE when they swim in the water.


The start of the walk at Ship’s Cove filled me with voices from the past.



Great views on Day one and


surprising things on the path. We came across a bulldozer in the middle of nowhere and had to squeeze past.



A cheeky weka after my lunch!


More spectacular views!


I wanted to dive into the water at Endeavour inlet but the wind was whippety and cool.


I love salmon for dinner. YUM!!


Does anyone ever ring this bell?


A welcome dog like a welcome mat!


Not scared of this swing bridge!


A strange wee shop in the middle of nowhere.


A cool chair in the middle of nowhere and my trusty stick that got me home!


The dog that meets the mail boat and gets a dog biscuit!


Loved these signs just when I needed them Someone put their signature on them too! Little art works.


The storm day with rain and grey and


gales! Poetry games in my head now one foot after the sore other!



This is what we woke up to after the storm. Now to get home to Auckland on one foot (boat, car, plane, car) !


Sad to leave on Day Four! The sun is now shining! Beautiful boat ride.

IMG_2885Made it to Blenheim with my stick for



yummo pizza lunch.



Air NZ was so helpful and let my stick goes as luggage so I could walk with it in Auckland. They gave me a wheel-chair ride to the plane which was fun.

So now I am resting up in a moon boot and whizzing on crutches while my bone mends.

I have lots to read and lots to write. So as they say it could be worse!

It was an AMAZING holiday and I do hope you get there one day if you haven’t already!

Meet Franky: a fabulous story from Gecko Press

franky franky


Franky is madcap story written and illustrated by Leo Timmers.

Leo was born in Belgium and started drawing comics when he was twelve. Gecko Press has had a few of his picture books translated (Bill Nagelkirke translated this one) to publish.


The story is ABSOLUTE fun. It is about Sam and his love of robots.

Ha! Sam thinks robots ‘live on a faraway planet’ but nobody agrees with him. People laugh at such an idea. Ha!

So Sam gets bits and bobs and builds something that will understand him … meet robot extraordinaire, Franky.

Time for fabulous robot play.

Time to discover whether robots do belong on another planet!

This book is perfect for younger readers who love zesty imaginations, zippy illustrations and making things out of bits and bobs. Such a fabulously fun story.

Why I love Vasanti Unka’s Stripes! No, Spots!

9780143506966   9780143506966

Vasanti Unka Stripes! No, Spots! Puffin



Vasanti Unka’s new picture book is scrumptious in every way.

Vasanti illustrated one of my favourite books by Kyle Mewburn: Hill & Hole.

She has won lots of prizes. The Boring Book was the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year in 2014. Outstanding. It is the least boring book in the universe. I adored it!


Vansanti’s new book is EYE catching with a big, bold, beautiful cover.

It is the story of Tiger and Leopard who have a giant squabble over spots and stripes.

This leads to war which leads to a ceasefire.

What happens next is INGENIOUS!


(shshshsh … you need to read it to find out )


I love the simple language that makes the story pop and twist.

I love the illustrations that sing and shimmy, especially the faces of Tiger and Leopard. Such personality.

I love the pages that open out to double page spreads.

I love the way you can find the ending hiding in the beginning.

I love the creative solution to a SQUABBLE.

Marvelous. I highly recommend this picture book.