Making up new Groovy Fish poems at the Children’s Bookshop in Wellington

A very big thank you to Cuba Press, The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington and all the children, mums, dads and other adults who came.

You still get a chance to win a drawing if you send in a poem to my Groovy Fish challenge. All the names will go in the hat and I will pull out one or two. Plus I will give away a few Groovy Fish books.

And if you live in Auckland you can come to my Groovy Fish launch event at the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop on Tuesday 16th July – 11 to 12. We will do exactly what I did in Wellington. See invite at the bottom of this post.



Happy because it is nearly time to start! Thanks for the divine coffee and orange juice Ruth xx


In 2014 children gave me the titles to kick start poems for my new Groovy Fish book

so I decided to give the titles back to children

when I launched the book in at Children’s Bookshop in Wellington on Wednesday.

What a gorgeous shop full to the brim with children’s books.



Helen and Austin

Ruth had set up an inviting space with cushions and an easel with paper – children turned up aged from maybe three to maybe eleven! Even adults came including the fabulous poet Belinda Wong. Poet Helen Rickerby brought her godson Austin – an extra keen young poetry writer! And the very lovely team from my publisher Cuba Press were there to join in: Mary, Sarah and Paul. (Mary did a stellar job writing down our group poems!


Reading from Groovy Fish, onlookers include Samantha, Oscar, Austin and Max (Max was writing a cool polar bear poem in his notebook!).




Samantha chooses a poem title.


I had cut up all the titles from my book and got children to pull one out of the fish bag – and then we made up poems together. Such fun! I am posting some below.

I had drawn groovy fish on paper so children could find a quiet spot and write their own poems and get to keep a drawing. I had also drawn little fish children put their names on – we pulled a few out and gave some of my original illustrations from the book away.




Oscar wrote a cool fish poem to take home inside the fish I drew.



Samantha got to take home the tap-dancing fish illustration.



And book signing time – which means more fish drawings! This for Anneke.


Here are some of our poems – all ideas were welcome – imaginations were springing to the moon and back! No words from me! Chocolate came up a lot!


The Highway Rat

Galloping on a cicada

the highway rat is off

to the shop to buy

chocolate to eat

with the fairies

in the tree house.



Lick Lick Riff

A very very very

very very very big

chocolate ice cream

melted to the ground

and an ant that had

been starving for weeks

on end licked

it all up!

Lick lick lick

lick lick lick

lick lick lick!


Tea with Aunty Lee

Aunty Lee is at the zoo

running skipping

farting observing

BUT!! an emu

is screaming, ‘LOOK OUT!

there’s an escaped

lion on the loose!’

The Tree House

Inside the tree house

a battered sofa

next to the leaves

like lollies

in the trees,

magical fairies eating


birds tweeting.


Swimming with an Alien



the green alien

with two heads

(well it’s lonely!)

has ten fingers on each hand

and is floating

like a squiggly worm.


Thank you everyone what a MAGNIFICENT occasion. I just loved it.





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