Monthly Archives: March 2017

Some of my favourite small poems

Wow! What a lot of small poems arrived in my email box from all over New Zealand.  Thank you! I could tell you all loved playing with words for this challenge.


Remember  … poetry is all about P L A Y

and there are no set  R U L E S!


It was so hard picking a few to post because I loved them all. So inventive, so musical, so imaginative, so thoughtful, so image-strong, so mysterious, so moody, so chewy, so GOOD to read.

I have tried to pick a bundle of poems that are all different!

I will send a book to Olevia and Lily Jean at Richmond Road School and Bhumi at Marshall Laing Primary School. Remember this is a challenge to spark your writing not a competition – and I just share a few books each time because I love sharing books.


You might like to look back at my Gecko post and hunt for the two secret challenges.  I have two Gecko books to give away (thank you Gecko Press!). I WON’T BE READING YOUR POEMS UNTIL MAY, so if I were you, I’d wait to send them and read them again. Listen to your poem after a week or so and see what needs changing.


Tomorrow I will post the April/May challenge.


S o m e      s m a l l      p o e m s:



The Moon
A single
light shines
in the
pitch black,
night sky

Emily, age 12, Year 8, Selwyn House School


Slowly growing and uncurling,
An artwork in itself

Finn, Ilam Primary School Year 6 Age 10


My Snuggly

My snuggly

Has as many

Holes as a minefield

And red strings

Hanging from the corners

Like balloon strings.

William Age: 9 years Year 5, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Family Tree

family is
like a tree.
Our branches
grow in
directions, our
roots remain
as one.

Lily-Jean  age 10 Samoan unit at Richmond Rd School



As hot as burning ash.
As wild as an erupting volcano.
The smell is like burning rubber.

Silvano  Samoan unit at Richmond Rd School



The horseshoe

Rusted into darkness

Slowly fading, flaking off piece by piece

metal dying.

Jenna Year 7, St Andrew’s College




One day I

was staring at

a river, then

the Sun shone

into my eyes.

Tilly, age 8, Selwyn House School, Christchurch



Just Wondering…

I wonder

If on the tundra

You need a bandana

Like on the savannah?


I wonder

If a tundra

Is a savannah

In disguise?

Gemma  L Age 11 Year 7, Adventure School





Jada  Samoan unit at Richmond Rd School




The moon looks at his river reflection. He frowns.

By Ruby Age: 8 years, Selwyn House School, Christchurch



Snorkeling Bay

Under the sea
I watch a hoki
polish a paua shell
until it shines like stained glass.

Joshua 12yrs Medbury School, Christchurch




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My Cat Moose

A ragdoll named Moose,
asleep on the couch.
Outside it’s a bright sunny day,
rolling this way then that,
a mixture of white and

Sofia N, Year 6, Age 10, Westmere School



The Jumping Door

A door jumped up the hill
It ripped over a rock
That sent it
Into the air.

 Brian H, 6 years, Ilam School



breeze. Palm
trees. Waves roll
in and

Rita P, Year 6, Age 10, LS7 Westmere School


The Rain
The rain
pattered loudly
on the
roof all
night. Now
we awake
to the
sun shining

Emily Cox, Selwyn House School, Age: 12 Year: 8



The arrival of night

Wave of night
Light so slight
Stars’ bright rays
Not to stay
Day comes again
Night’s at its end

Frank Age: 10  Ilam School



The Fall

Shoe lace.
Shoe lace race.
Trip, fall,

Hugo M, Year 6, Age 10, Westmere School



Mountain Sunrise

The golden, pink sunrise,
creeps up behind the mountain,
making the snow, gleam pink.

Kate Gourley Age: 11 Year: 8, Selwyn House School




Bone-chilling dark.
Snow, skiing, scary.
Casserole, duvet,

Stan U, Year 6, age 10, Westmere School




As the
shining light
creeps through
the leaves,
I wake.

Honor age 9, Selwyn House School



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Jasmine, Age 10, Gladstone School




Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 7.33.10 AM

Daniel Age 8, Year 4, Adventure School


Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 4.33.56 PM.png

By Bhumi, age 9, Year 5, Marshall Laing Primary School




over a bump
through the air
the pond

Paris T, 12, year 8, Carmel College.




Falling leaves.
Gold falling leaves.
Crispy leaves…

Indiko K, Year 6, Age 10, Westmere School



The Tree

Minty green leaves,
Flutter in the wind,
Falling onto the grass.

Sina, age 9,  Fendalton Open Air



My Pillow
Fluffy and soft
to sleep
drifting off

By Aimee B Age 9, Year 5, Stanmore Bay School



They trot and plot
in vigorous ways
they run and eat
all through the day.

By Maddison W Age 9, Year 5, Stanmore Bay School



twisting and dancing
in some ways they’re prancing.

By Ella K, Age 9, Year 5, Stanmore Bay School



Shooting Star
flying over the
sparkling sea
Then it was gone.

By Xanthee A Age 9, Year 5, Stanmore Bay School


The Shoes

The lace shoes shine bright where they stand

The emerald buttons beautiful as gold

Hopefully they’ll be found.

By Emily, age 8, St Andrews School


Tip toe

Howling wind
Dancing light beams
Trembling hands
Eerie silence disguising the night…

By Michaella, Carmel College




Sprinting, splashing,
Through the mud,

Slipping, landing,
Through the mud,

Rustling, crunchy,
Crispy leaves,

Drinking water,
From the streams.

Phyllis Age:12  Year:8 Carmel College


The Campfire

Fire flickered
Children shone with joy
Voices danced
Along with the night
The campfire would forever
Be in their hearts

Alex W Age: 12 Year Level: Year 8, Carmel College



May sadness be less
and happiness be more,
but nothing but your dreams
sail through your door.

Olevia age 9 Samoan Unit Richmond Road School


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A delightful bundle of Gecko Press books with TWO hidden poem challenges for you

Four gorgeous books from Gecko Press to share!


The illustrations are

s   c   i   n   t   i   l   l   a   t   i   n  g .

The stories are

m   o   u   t   h   w   a   t   e   r   i   n   g.

Which means I gobbled them UP in a F L A S H.

And then I came back for a   l o n g          s   l   o   w       feast.


Thanks Gecko Press!



Bathtime for Little Rabbit by Jörg Mühle is a small board book for very young children about a rabbit that needs a bath so he gets to be SQUEAKY clean.  I love the way Little Rabbit gets dried. This is a FUN read.


The Lost Kitten is a scrumptious picture book by Lee with illustrations by Komako Sakai. I loved reading this book, because as you know from my children’s poems, we have cats. In fact Charlie arrived at OUR door lost and hungry and wanted to stay with us for EVER and EVER. We seemed to become a magnet for lost and hungry kittens, but now we live in the country we are too far away.

In this story though, a mother cat brings her hungry kitten to Hina’s place because she knows it needs looking after. You will see it is the cutest little ball of fluff that deserves a warm and cosy cat basket.

Just like us, Hina and her mum feed the cat and make it a cat box and take it to the vet.

Just like us, the kitten makes Hina very, very happy.

But NOT like us (and Charlie), the sweetest cutest little ball of kitten fluff goes missing.

I especially loved the illustrations by Komako Saki. She is a famous and much-loved illustrator in Japan where she lives. You feel like you are inside the story when you look at the pictures, because she knows just how to paint how Hina feels.


Bruno: Some of the more interesting days in my life so far is a splendiferous read by Catharina Valckx. There are six linked stories with very cool illustrations by Nicolas Hubesch that make me want to get my pencils and draw.

Catharina has written over 30 books and is published in over 11 languages and has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Awards 4 times.

Nicolas Hubesch lives in PARIS where he also draws comics. I LOVELOVELOVELOVE his drawings. They do have a PARIS feel about them.

The first story starts like this: ‘The peculiar day started out as an ordinary day.’

This is how poems start sometimes and it means you can begin with what you know and end up somewhere rather marvelous. Catharina has a very BOUNCY imagination because Bruno gets followed by a flying fish that is a tincy bit lost and is nowhere near the ocean. In fact this is a story of strange things in an ordinary day, AND to make it especially GOOD – normal things on a normal day.

In ‘A rainy day,’ Poor old Bruno finds his house is just as wet inside as it is outside when it is RAINING RAINING RAINING. All his friends turn up WET WET WET and EAT EAT EAT all his food. Everyone makes a MESS MESS MESS.

We get to read about:

A peculiar day

A rainy day

A day when the power went out

A much less interesting day

An almost perfect day

A stupid day (that ends pretty well)

This is a very INTERESTING book to read!



a    l i t t l e   c h a l l e n g e   f o  r   y o u        (YO – Y8 in NZ)


I LOVE LOVE LOVE these titles so much, I am challenging you to use one as the title for a poem (You can do more than one!). Let your imagination BOUNCE with what you know and what you make up!


Send to by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Put GECKO challenge in the subject line of the email please.



I am a HUGE fan of Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop and I especially love their Snake and Lizard books.


So on a very wet Sunday afternoon I gobbled up the new one: Helper and Helper.


Gavin’s illustrations are sheer beauty.

Joy’s stories are warm and wise and witty. Her sentences are like clear shiny streams.


Snake and Lizard are full to the brim with life and show us the power of friendship. Being friends is bumps and hills and new days and arguments and listening and kindness and discoveries.

When I read these stories I fill with warmth and good feelings and just want to write poems or even give stories a go.


a n o t h e r   c h a l l e n g e

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these stories so much I am challenging you to write a ‘Snake and Lizard’ poem (You can do more than one!). Read the book first to get inspired by the characters. Make up what happens. It can be something very small and curious.


Send to by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Put SNAKE and LIZARD challenge in the subject line of the email please.


PS: I won’t answer your emails until May as I will be away!

Welcome back to Poetry Box 2017 – a little letter and a little challenge




a blue sky at our place!



Dear young poetry fans,

I do hope you have all had a lovely summer even if the sun didn’t shine as much as it usually does, the wind was windier and the rain was rainier.

I have been hard at work writing my big book but after I did a stunt-woman routine in my bedroom (BY ACCIDENT!) and flew through the air like a frisbee and crash landed on the wooden frame of the bed – I injured my back! So I have not been able to sit at the computer and do all the things I usually do. Now I can have small bursts.


So I am going to start the year off with a small-poem challenge for you.


Little poems are like chocolates – they can taste sweet or sour but they do TASTE!

You can play with how many words you use on each line because that will change the SOUND and the LOOK of the poem.

You can HIDE a very tiny thing in the poem: a glorious word, a single rhyme,  an idea, an object.


The challenge: Try writing a bunch of small poems. Say no more than 16 words or no more than 10 words or no more than 20 words. YOU CHOOSE!

Give the poem a title. Those words don’t count in the total.

Try leaving the poem for a week before you send it to me and give it a sound check before you do. As a poet I always do this. I wrote a poetry ms last summer and I have left it for a whole YEAR!


Deadline: March 28th.

Email: write small poem in subject line

Send to:

Include: your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

I will post some favourites on APRIL 1st

and have a least one book to give away just because.


BTW I have finished my collection of children’s poems using the titles you all gave me! I loved doing it so much!


Warm regards,




Molly wants to go for a walk! No swimming lessons for her this summer in the wild west-coast surf.