Monthly Archives: August 2018

Poems from Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop


Paula with Sophie, Sylvie and Maddie


On Friday afternoon (Poetry Day!) I spent a glorious 90 minutes with some children (and adults and librarians) writing poems at the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Auckland.

It was such a delight making poems in the air and on the page I wanted to share a few with you.

Thanks to Helen and Mary for afternoon tea and flowers and a chance to make poetry with children.


From Sophie aged 9


My Cat

My lazy cat loves to sleep

she loves drinking orange juice

she adores her birthday because of

her cake!

She is a fat cat.



Different colours of bricks

Instruction manuals




The Moon

The shiny moon

not there in the day moon

pretty moon

shimmering moon



From Sylvie age 6


The Cat









black cat



jumping pouncing

mysterious cat cute

The moon

Controlling the tide moon

generations old moon

moving moon

big moon

glinting moon

welcoming moon


Doll’s House

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From Maddie aged 5



Crazy cat

scratchy cat

purring cat

my cat likes to eat meat


Sparkling moon

supersized moon

yellow moon


Brown owl

fussy faced owl

energetic owl

cheeky owl




A Poetry Day event for young poets

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YOU are warmly invited !
… to the NEW Poetry Anthology book launch:
LakeHouse Art Centre, Takapuna
Saturday 25th August 4.30pm

** featuring:
readings by young poets and “wordcore”/music by Midnight Poetry Band

all welcome

BIG Thank you!! to the National Poetry Day 2018 and LakeHouse Art Centre

Please check out our new website

Librarian’s choice: Bee Trudgeon picks Baxter Basics


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Baxter Basics, Poems for Children by James K Baxter (Steele Roberts Publishers)


How wonderful it is, to have the line that will lead children along the road toward poetic Jerusalem inscribed by the master wordsmith latterly known as Hemi. The poems in this collection date from the early 50s, and were published as The Tree House in 1974. In 1979, Price Milburn produced the poems in separate Baxter Basics booklets in the PM Readalongs series. Steele Roberts brought them together in this modern compendium version in 2008.

What a wonderful way to preserve them, when one’s original school readers become the stuff of half-remembered dreaming. And what a gift to me, as a new librarian at Cannons Creek Library, looking for solid ways to turn kids on to reading and poetry. In a modern world, sometimes vintage turns out to be the most amazing flavour to taste. My familiarity with the poems and affection for the illustrations made it easy to pick up and enthusiastically share.
What do you love about it?

It reminds me of the excitement of learning to read in the days when I did – in the early 1970s. I love the way it introduces unmistakable rhyme schemes that have the kids punching the air to tell me they have noticed them. I love the way its economy of line has met the sort of playful typographic design that leads us to taking exactly the right size bites to best serve each line.
Which poems really hook you?

I like the balance and sway of “I’m A Tree” – ‘I’m a man out walking in the thick green bush; I can’t see the sun, So I push, push, push! / I’m a boy with a banjo, Clever as they come; I pick up my banjo and I strum, strum, strum!’ (And who wouldn’t want to be the boy with the banjo and the fans, as Lynley Dodd sees them.)
Speaking of the illustrations, Dodd’s fine work – along with that of Judith Trevelyan, Dawn Johnston, and Ernest Papps – hark nostalgia now, although only ‘The Firemen’ would have seemed vintage when first published. The renderings of home, town, bush/forest, beach/sea and sparse traffic in uncrowded cities combine with the words to make me feel like the world is my oyster, and that I can transport myself into any form of being from nature, to occupation, to location.
Have you seen children reading it?
This is probably my most-shared poetry book, and it is always well received. The offering of a first line or two is easily transformed by the invitation to turn Baxter’s observations into one’s own.
What three words sum up the book?
Vintage, transformative, classic. (I consider any book capable of turning us into poets via uncluttered example transformative!)
Can you think of a book it is similar to?
Margaret Mahy’s rhyme-alicious “My Wonderful Aunt” shared a similar publishing history, in that it was served up as a compendium of stories after years of being loved as individual readers. There is something quite special about honouring ‘the reader’ – seen so much as a tool by those doing the teaching, but with the capacity to lodge themselves very deeply into the psyches of those making reading revelations with them.


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Bee Trudgeon is the Porirua Children’s Librarian Kaitiaki Pukapuka Tamariki. She is a writer, strummer, storyteller, dancer in the dark, film buff, perpetual student, and the mother of a couple of big kids who still love bedtime stories. Often spotted urban long-distance walking wearing headphones and a ukulele, she lives in a haunted house in Cannons Creek, and works wherever there is an audience.


Check out the Poetry Box August challenge here





Unity Books Auckland is opening a bookshop for children

Exciting news for all of us who love reading and writing and sharing children’s books

‘We’d really love to see as many kids come in on the weekend of September 1st. There will be a prize of a $100.00 book token for the child who gets as close to the correct number of books we have on our shelves.’

Here is the press release:

Unity Books 19 & 17 High Street

A little Unity
Been into Unity Books recently? Felt like your elbow might crash a stack of fiction? Found the true meaning to the word wedge? Well, things are about to change. Stand by your shelves. Hold onto your Harry Potters and breathe easy. Unity Books is having a baby.

In response to far more beautiful books being published for children than can possibly fit on the shelves, a mini Unity Books is opening right next door to Unity Books on the corner of Vulcan lane and High Street. The new shop will be devoted to words for the very young and nostalgia for the very old.
From Beatrix Potter through to Tolkien and hardcore teen fiction to Laura Inglis Wilder, Unity Books, famous for establishing the best and most diverse range of books, will apply the same set of standards to a specialty bookshop made just for children.
The new shop has been beautifully designed and fitted by graduate architects Sophie Edwards and Tom Dobinson. Sophie Edwards has a long affinity with the shop having been reared there quite literally on her mother’s knee. Her mother Angela Travers worked at the shop as a teenager and has had a lifelong association with the shop. She will be the new children’s book buyer and manager.
Unity Auckland’s owner Jo McColl says ‘This is tremendously exciting for us. We have always been committed to buying the best books we can and have only ever been limited by space. Being able to specialise means we can go deeper and wider and cater for our youngest readers. We’ll be able to give proper elbow room to the beautiful new books currently being published in this area of the market.’
Opening day is planned for the beginning of September and celebrations are currently being planned. The newly refurbished Ellen Melville Hall will play a special part in tying in children’s reading activities with the new shop during the year. The city is changing; families are moving in from the suburbs.
“A city without a bookshop is like a park without a bench.” says Jo McColl”


Poetry Box audio spot: Adrienne Jansen’s wonderful ‘Next year’



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This wonderful poem is about Adrienne’s local diary owner and the way he was treated so badly. I love this poem so much. The poem is from All of us, a collection of poems around the themes of migration and refugees, by Adrienne Jansen and Carina Gallegos, to be published in October by Landing Press.


Adrienne Jansen has been listening to stories of newcomers to New Zealand, and writing those stories with them, most of her life. This poem, “Next year”, is one of those tiny stories. She lives in Titahi Bay, near Wellington, and writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.


Check out the Poetry Box August challenge here

Poetry Box August challenge: playing with nursery rhymes


The wonderful poet Glenn Colquhoun had fun making up a nursery rhyme. You can listen to it here.

So I thought it would be fun to write poems that play with nursery rhymes.


They can be long or short.

They can rhyme or not rhyme.

They can use the nursery rhyme we know and love but with different words.

They can take a nursery-rhyme character and invent a new story.

They might change the beginning or the ending.

They can make the nursery rhyme take place in New Zealand.

They be funny or surprising or have a hidden message.

You might be in it! Or someone you know.

You might do a nursery-rhyme mash up. More than one in the mix!


h a v e    n u r s e r y  r h y m e   F  U  N


Deadline: August 28th

Include: your name, age, year and school

Open to: Year 1 to Year 8

Please put Nursery rhyme challenge in email subject line so I don’t MISS it

Send to:


I will post some favourites on August 31st and have a book for at least one poet

Poetry Box audio spot: Glenn Colquhoun reads his nursery rhyme






Glenn reads and talks about: ‘A nursery rhyme for Barney Whiterats


Glenn Colquhoun is a poet and children’s writer. He works as a GP in Horowhenua.


Watch out for my August challenge inspired by this tomorrow.






Some colourful butterfly poems from Raumati School

I have done a separate post for the poems from Raumati School but my post on the butterfly poems is here

Dear Room 4,

It brightened up a gloomy Wednesday morning reading  ALL and posting SOME of these gorgeous butterfly poems. Thanks you so much for sharing. I am sending your class a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat. I LOVED them all!!