Poetry Box celebrates new books: Favourite animal poems

T Is for Tuatara: Amazing animals from A to Z
Jo van Dam, illust. by Deborah Hinde, PictureBook Publishing, 2021

To celebrate Jo van Dam’s collection of animal poems, I invited young poets to come up with their own.

I challenged young writers to choose a letter, a quirky animal and write a little poem. To try tricky rhyme, Dr Seuss rhyme, hiding rhyme and/or salt and pepper alliteration (sprinkled through poem).

You can read my review of T Is for Tuatara.

I loved all the poems. I could tell the poets had fun writing them because I had fun reading them. And they are all different just as poems should be! Glorious.

I am sending a copies of Jo’s book to Isabelle and Maelie (Richmond Road School).

The poems

M – Maned Wolf

Mika the Maned Wolf has a fluffy red coat,
She eats fruits, leaves, and rodents – like stoats.
Her legs are so long! Her legs are so tall!
And no one would dare fight her,
no one at all.

Penelope Age: 10, Richmond Road School

C is for cat

A cat and a bat have the same last letters,
A and T but a bat has a B and a cat has a C.
A cat has claws and very small paws
And is related to something that roars!

Isabelle and Maelie, age 9 and 10, Richmond Road School

C is for Centipede

A centipede is really long.
A centipede is never gone.
They have 45 legs…
Some say 110,
Or their name is Ben
Do they have lice?
Do they eat mice?
Do they burp?
Do they lurk?
We’re not quite sure…
They live in the dirt
Of that we’re sure

Isabelle and Maelie, age 9 and 10, Richmond Road School

The Rockhopper Penguin

There once was a Rockhopper Penguin
Who always jumped around talking
Wishing he could glide
He loved to sing with pride
“I wish that I could fly
Across the great blue sky
I guess I can try and thrive 
Yet I would fall, then dive
Into the ocean, wide and vast
Where I could swim, at last”.
So from then on he knew 
His dreams could still come true
If he thought about the ocean and all
He’d dive into it, and heed its call.

Ava, age 9, Pakuranga Heights School

B Is For Bob The Blobfish

Bob the blobfish lived deep in the sea,
Where no one could see.
He bounced up and down with a frown,
Living life with a starfish crown.
Bob’s crown went running around,
Shouting out loud………. Help me,
Help me, I don’t want to be his crown.
Then  a crowd of fish that were very proud,
Came around fighting for the starfish crown.
But then………
Ms Blobfish came slopping around and snorted out loud….
Leave my BOBBY,
All the proud fish,
That were proud before
Went swimming away.
Hip! Hip! Hooray!
Thank you blobby mummy!
Oh, no worries honey.
And Bob the blobfish,
With his crown, the starfish,
Went bouncing away.


Coco, Y6, Richmond Road School


A black figure crept through the night like a dense 3D shadow,
The tree branch creaked as the stealth master slid below,
As the full moon’s light beamed through the dark, silent jungle,
A colossal cat slunk past the burrows making the animals huddle,
The blanket of darkness had already cloaked the green land that lies beneath,
Making animals vulnerable prey to the meat eaters that lurk in the shadows,
Black figure creeping, tree branch creaking, colossal cat slunk,
Meat-eaters lurking, a predatory animal, the panther of black.

Holly, age 10, Westmere School


A prey to hunters and an enemy of fish,
But overall salmon is their favorite dish.
A black fur coat and a defining growl,
Ursus americanus is back on the prowl.
A predatory animal with quite an appetite,
And a jaw so strong that he doesn’t need to fight. 
He attacks and wins with a delicious meal,
Surviving an encounter with a black bear…
Now that would be a big deal.

Holly, age 10, Westmere School


As blackness enclosed over the land one figure emerged from his home.
The only noise was the rustle of leaves as a cool breeze forced its way into the forest.
Pit, pat, pit, pat.
The figure saw something in the corner of his eye. 
He pressed himself against the wet, dense forest floor.  
It came closer and closer.
The moonlight slipped between the gaps in the trees above, lighting up the clearing.
Rustle, rustle.
The animal was so close he could almost smell it.
As he crept forward, the smell got stronger and stronger.
Then he pounced. 
The terrified animal tried to escape but two paws grabbed her and sharp claws dug into her skin. 
There she was, helpless before this mysterious animal. 
The predator finished its meal and crept away into the silent and eerie forest after a good night’s hunt. 
But first a quick stop to howl at the moon before bed.

Georgia, age 9, Westmere School

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