Category Archives: NZ Children’s poetry

Poetry Box review: Joy Cowley’s scrumptious The Gobbledegook Book




Joy Cowley with illustrations by Giselle Clarkson, Gecko Press


see below for two pop-up Joy Cowley challenges! I have some surprise giveaways!


Gecko Press has published the most gorgeous anthology of Joy Cowley’s favourite stories, poems and nonsense rhymes. Everything about this book is perfect. The size. The feel of the paper. The way the words dance on the page. The way the stories and poems dance in your mind. The way words are so deliciously playful. And the way Giselle Clarkson’s heavenly illustrations are poems on the page.

This is a book to treasure.

This is a book to read when the rain slaps the windows so you feel warm inside.

This is a book to read when you feel a bit flat and dreary and need a book to set you soaring.

This is a book to snuggle up with and read to your mum or dad, or your son or daughter, or your best friend. Even a cat would start purring. Even the howling wind would listen.


‘The Tiny Woman’s Coat’ is the first poem in the book and is about a tiny woman who needs a coat and needs help to get it.

Joy sets her imagination dancing like the autumn leaves and brings in a porcupine and a horse and hey presto! A happy ending. You will have to read it to find out how these things fit into the story but here is the first verse:


The tiny woman wanted a coat.

“Where will I get the cloth?”

“Try some of our leaves,”

said the autumn leaves.

Rustle, rustle, rustle.


Enter this anthology and you will find intriguing cats and a storm of ducks, jellybeans and tractors, a cheese trap and elephants. Oh and even an old singlet!

You will definitely grin from ear to ear.

The poems move and squawk and whoosh!

You will find old favourites such as ‘Nicketty- Nacketty, Noo-Noo-Noo’ and ‘Greedy Cat’.


Like Margaret Mahy, Joy is the Queen of Having Fun with WORDS, especially made up words. I love ‘Goggly Gookers’.

Grandma has her own names for things – spectacles are goggly gookers, gardens are fizz-bustles, cabbages are grimlings, cows are clops and pickles are bundajins. See what you make of the last verse! I adore it.


“Grandma, Grandma,

put on your googly gookers.

The clop is in the fizz-bustle

eating all the grimlings.

If you don’t get her out

you’ll be in a bundajin.

And that’s a fact.”


Joy is also the Queen of WHAT IF POEMS. Like what if you drop your jellybeans – what a ROLLICKING WHOOSH of story-book imagination in Do Not Drop Your Jellybeans’ – follow what happens when the jellybeans get dropped and you end up (after all kinds of catastrophes and calamities) on an iceberg! Wow!

I love the writing so much because Joy is our poetry trapeze artist: her words swing and soar with such agility on the line. I love how every line flows so sweetly with rhyme and invented words; the words that fit together like music. And all the delicious music goes hand in hand with storytelling that is equally delicious. The combination makes you feel so GOOD. Here is the start to ‘Super Jumble’:


There was trouble in the jungle

wen a buffalo tried to swingle

like a monkey from a bundle of vines.


He got into a tangle

and was left there to dangle

at a very awkward angle, in the lines.



The Goobledegook Book is the perfect book to read up a mountain or by a river, in the tent when you go camping or in the kitchen as the soup simmers, or in bed before you nod off to sleep and dream of cats and more cats and acrobatic words.

I love this book so much.

Gecko Press page


Two challenges for you

If you love this book tell me what your favourite poem or story in it is and why you like it in a few sentences and I will post some answers.

I would also love to post some fan mail for Joy Cowley. Write a letter to Joy saying what you love about her books – a bit about you – anything! I will post some and then she can get to read them.

I will have some giveaway surprises for some lucky young poetry fans!


Deadline: Friday October 25th

Send to:

Include your name, age year and name of school (or say home schooled)

Don’t forget to write Joy Cowley challenge in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.

I will post on Monday 28th October.










Poetry Box review: Bill Nagelkerke’s The Night the Moon Fell Down and other poems with an invite for a child interviewer


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Bill Nagelkerke, The Night the Moon Fell Down and other poems, Copy Press, 2019

HOT NEWS: I have a copy of Bill’s new book for one child who would like to interview Bill. See below if you want to put your name in the hat to be picked.


At night


At night I look up at the sky,

I see the moon and stars sweep by.

I take the universe to bed,

And keep it safe inside my head.



A former librarian, Bill Nagelkerke is a busy children’s author, publishing fiction for children of all ages, and translating children’s books from Dutch (including a number of Gecko titles such as the magnificent Wolf and Dog by Sylvia Vanden Heede). I discovered Bill’s poetry in the School Journal and was instantly attracted to his deft and playful use of words. I included his poems in A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children and and am now delighted to see he has a debut children’s poetry collection out.

In 2013 Nagelkerke was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award in recognition of his dedicated contribution to children’s literature and literacy in New Zealand.

I was very happy to write a small blurb for Bill’s book so some of my words of praise are singing on the cover. I loved the way


in The Night the Moon Fell Down words fizz, lines glide, rhymes sizzle. You will find soccer balls, winter cats and concrete cakes; there are bottled stars adventure parks and elephant rocks. Bill Nagelkirke is a poetry wizard.


Looking at poetry on a screen is never the same as holding a book and seeing how the words and white space fit on the page with the illustrations. The images have personalities of their own just like poems; there are photographs, drawings, silhouettes, prints, things I can’t identify. They are dark and light and intriguing.

Why do I love Bill’s poetry? I love it because his poems dance with life, humour, imagination, stories. Sometimes they start with a simple idea – like switching on the light at night – and then produce an image that is warm in your mind. He is a wizard at this.




One quick flick

One sharp click

One small bulb of light

Scares away the big, dark night


Authors often get asked where they get their ideas from – I think poems have starting points, leaping pads – and it seems Bill’s come from both his own experience and his inventive mind. There is a poem about his dad (which may or may not be about his actual dad!) who loves making jokes by making puns (when a word has more than one meaning as in ‘kneads’ and ‘needs’). The poem’s last line makes me hope this is a little biography because it is tender link between father and son!


(My dad loves words as well.)


Bill can take a subject that a universe of poets have written poems about (think the rain, the stars, cats, rocks, leaves) and make the subject fresh. I picked his poem ‘Rain’ for the Treasury because the image sparks all my senses and the lines both surprise and delight me. I love the opening lines:


I like the straight-down

Silky rain


Some poems are puzzles. I mean they really are puzzles such as ‘A picture-puzzler poem’. This might be a new poem form. I want to give it a go! So inventive!

Some poems surprise, especially with similes and metaphors. I love the poem ‘Parcel’. Holland is a parcel that gets unwrapped every Christmas – Holland gets unwrapped! The parcel gets unwrapped as do memories. The gift calendar shows a snowy Dutch December but here in New Zealand things are different. I love the way this poem got me musing.

I also love the way one word sometimes chimes through a Bill-Nagelkerke poem like a musical note and then leaves you with a startling image.




‘Wipe your shoes

Don’t leave


All over the mat.’


The leaves in the forest

Are like that mat.



The arrival of a collection of poetry for children is a rare treat in Aotearoa and is an extra special treat when the book is by an author whose poetry you have long admired. I see this collection as a treasury in its own right.

You can dip in and find just the right poem for the day’s weather, for your mood, to spark you to write your own poems or to remind you how delicious words are. Some poems made me laugh, some poems made me sit still and savour an image, some poems made me thoughtful. Some poems made me look back at the world I am used to and see it in new lights. This is the joy and magic of poetry.

Yes Bill Nagelkerke is a poetry wizard and this book ought to be in every school library and the hands of every child who loves  poetry gymnasiums.




I wandered

In a forest of tall bamboo,






HOT NEWS: I have a copy of Bill’s new book for one child who would like to interview Bill.  I will pick one child to interview him and I will post the interview on my blog.

If you want to be picked send your name, year, age and school to

Don’t forget to put Bill interview in email subject line.

Deadline: Thursday 17th October







Poetry Box October challenge: Happy poems!



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When I read poems I feel all kinds of things -some poems make me puzzle and ponder, some poems make me laugh or feel sad and some poems make me happy. I especially love it when poetry makes me happy. It might be what the poem is but often it is how the poem is written. I feel happy because I am reading a poem that gives me goosebumps.

I have given you two different choices for happy poems.



For Groovy Fish Maia gave me this title: The Shabby Dinosaur

I decided my dinosaur was going to be happy. I said that right in the first line. I invented an image of the dinosaur and then I decided he was as full as bull with happiness. I went hunting in my imagination for things that made him happy.



The Shabby Dinosaur

for Maia


The shabby dinosaur is happy.

He lives on the verandah

with a cat named Lucinda,

a mouse named Clover

and a flea called Bea.


The shabby dinosaur sleeps on

a beaded waistcoat

that is old and tatty,

purple socks with

pink spots and holes,

and a straw hat matty

with dandelions and bows.


The shabby dinosaur sits

for hours in the bright

summer sun breathing in happy

thoughts of rollerblading

hammock dozing

finger painting

guitar picking

and frozen ice blocks

until he is as full

as a bull

with happiness.


Paula Green from Groovy Fish and other poems Makāro Press, 2019


Your challenge is to write a poem that makes you happy.


It might be a poem like mine about things that make someone or something happy:


You could write a poem about what makes


or someone in your family

or your pet

or an imagined animal

full as a bull with happiness.




You might do what I also do and write a poem about something that makes YOU HAPPY without 

ever mentioning the word happy. You might write about a bird or your cat or the moon or an old kauri tree or eating pizza or climbing a tree or watching the ocean or the sun go down. Anything you like!!!!


Here is another poem from Groovy Fish that makes me happy because one summer I slept in a tree house and because our daughters had a tree house in a macrocarpa tree. Holly gave me the title.


The Tree House

for Holly



in a tree house

at dusk

and wait

for stars

in the black coal






in a tree house

at dawn

and sing

with birds

in the pink paper



Paula Green from Groovy Fish and other poems Makāro Press, 2019


Top tips

Don’t send your poem the day your write it!!!

Listen to your poem and hear which bits sound good.

Is there a word you need to change?

Do a test pot for the ending – try 3 to 5 – pick your favourite.

Try three titles  – pick your favourite.


Deadline: 29th October

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

Don’t forget to put happy poem in subject line so I don’t MISS your email.

Send to:

Some favourite poems: I read all your emails at the end of the month and will post some favourites on 31st October. I will have at least one book to give away but it is a challenge not a competition.


Have fun writing poems!!

Poetry Box feature: Visiting Waimauku School


This week I visited the Y5 and 6 syndicate at Waimauku School in West Auckland which is almost in my neighbourhood! I had a great visit because the students were so engaged and so engaging. I loved the enthusiasm rippling through the room, the way everyone joined in and paid attention.

I came away inspired and very excited that I am getting to visit other schools this year.

And this is the first school I have read poems from my new book Groovy Fish.

Here are some poems we made up together inspired by some in the book. One hour flashed by!

The room sizzled with poetry! What a treat.




The shuffling

chocolate brown

insect eating

rough puffy feathered

hole dweller

seaweed slick

moon reflecting







I’m a flat fat cat

I’m a grumpy lazy cat

I’m a little rugby cat

I’m a rip rat cat

I’m a scratch-the-pole cat

I’m a dee jay cat

I’m a quick slick cat

I’m a rat chasing cat

I’m an All White cat

I’m a sad, sleepy cat,

BUT!     I’m still a flat fat cat.




On the black sand running

by the green waves crashing

on the sand dunes sliding

on the surf board surfing

on the horse back riding

by the cold shells cracking

in a sand buggy racing

when the blazing sun’s shining

by the hungry gannets diving

by the foam bubbles popping,

I’m at Muriwai.



Thank you for a lovely school visit!













Poetry Box August challenge: some favourite moon poems




by Jenna aged 8, Matua School

Thank you so much for the bumper crop of moon poems. It has taken me from early this morning to read them all. So I am glowing inside with the moon!

I loved the way you used imagination, humour, beauty.

I loved the way you played with words and images, similes and sounds.

I loved the way poems can be short or long.

I am sad I can’t post all the poems but I am glad you all love writing so much – it shows.

Check out the way Russley School (down the bottom) refreshed smiles in poems. AMAZING!!


Thanks to Amber Moffat and MidnightSun Publishing I have a copy of Amber’s magnificent moon book for Mia.  See my review here.

I am sending a copy of my new book Groovy Fish to Josie.

Do try my September challenge (out on 1st).




The Moon


Shiny cheese

moon dancing

dizzily dark


Lilla, 8 years, Matua School



The Working Moon

The moon sparkles in the night time sky
Its light flows through my window
The moon sparkles in the night time sky
I hear its music play
The moon sparkles in the night time sky
Its light wakes me up

Charlotte K Age 8 Ilam School


Fox and moon

I am a fox
On a cliff
With my friend moon.
He is so gentle.
He has an ocean
Made from soft wolf fur.
He has another friend
Called Ruru.
And more friends called Stars.

Josie O  Age 6  Ilam School


Moon sonnet

The moon

is as restless

as a dream.

The sea slaps

the rusty concrete wall

like a whale’s tail.

Smashing waves.

The coloured lights

in the Norfolk pines

like fallen stars.

The moon knocks

like the wind

on my bedroom window pane

calling, “It’s time to go to bed again”

Zoe S Age: 12  Heaton Intermediate


Tired as a Moon

By the light of the moon
As dark as a peach
I hear my Dad making lunch
I hear country music play
I’m tired as a child’s name

Isobel P Age 8  Ilam School, Christchurch


Moon Cake

I eat Moon Cake that I bake
I put a spoon inside a little moon and soon I mix the moon into a cocoon
I mix the cocoon with a raccoon but soon it does a BIG BOOM inside the room
Then it pops out baked into Moon Cake!

William Y  Aged 8,  Year 3,  St Andrew’s College


The Moon Who Cared
In a sky there was a moon
A moon who loved to ……
Move around the world
To make sure
Everyone was safe
While they slept
But when the sun is at highest peak
The moon is just at the other side
Waiting for it’s journey to be complete

Ida, Year 6, age 10,  Selwyn House School


Bringing swan feathers to the moon

I sleep
On black and white swan
feathers woven into
soft, cuddly blanket.
I use sticks and wood to
build a bed
in a treehouse.
I feel a ray of
moonlight shining
onto me.
I climb on
and rise
onto the moon.

Mia W Year 4 age 8 Fendalton School


The moon

The moon is as bright
as a shining sun at night
When you start to cry and you’re lost
the moon can help you find a light.
The starry sky is where the moon lies
I love the moon

Olivia B Age 8 Year 4 Maoribank School


The moon

The moon is the night’s sun
The moon is a golden badge on a black t-shirt
The moon lights the way on lonely nights
I love the moon

Ilah L Age 8 Year 4 Maoribank School


The moon

In a world of my dreams it would always be night
The moon would be green, the clouds purple and bright
Rain shall be pink – and yellow the colour of my sky
Yes people should be made of jelly, there’ll be no black and white
For those clouds have no sense of fun
No they are nothing like my big green night sun.

Skylarose H Age 10 Year 6 Maoribank School


The moon

The moon is a circular object
shining when the dark rises
It gracefully moves leaving a trail of yellow dots
When the sun starts to rise
The moon makes its way to the other side
The moon’s shift is over

Krysta T age 9 Year 5 Maoribank School



The moon and the sea otter

The moon reaches the tide
And brings it up
The sea otters squeak
When the moon
Paints the sky.

The moon takes the sea otters
Up onto her back
And shows them the paints.

Red, orange, yellow, pink
All different shades.

At night
The moon puts them back
In the sea.

All four sea otters
Safe and sound.

Ivy M, age: 6, Year 2, Ilam Primary School, Christchurch


The pink moon


What has happened

To the pure white moon?

It’s now pink.

But wait,

There are now two rabbits

On the moon.

How weird.

Oh, silly me, it’s just a drawing!


Rynie R, Age: 6 years, Y2, Ilam School


Losing The Moon

The moon gazes down at me,
I gaze up at him.
It almost looks like
he is smiling.
I see clouds
start to creep
across the moon,
then he is gone.

Sophie O, Ilam School, Year 3, aged 7
Turn off the light

Marvellous moon
Big and bright
Sapphire sky
White Light

Owl hoots
Dazzling blaze
Car toots
Magical phase

I close my eyes tight
But still can’t sleep
I try hard to fight
The hallowed orb tonight

It illuminates my thoughts and
Makes me wonder
Why it’s made of cheese

To me it looks like golden glass
I yawn it’s time to turn it off please

Emily P Age: 9   Y4  Fendalton Open Air School



Moon Riddle 16
I bring in the nights
with fields of stars.
I call the tides
from the sky and beach.
Watch me move slowly
s   l   o   w   l   y.

I bring your light.
I fill your lantern.
I am your torch.

Sometimes I look like stone.
Sometimes I am half of myself.
Sometimes a quarter.

I can be full.
I can be empty.

If you are quick
you can catch me
in the morning.

Tom N  Year 6 age 10 Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka


In the Moon’s Company

an icy rock alone in space
turning pirouettes
for no applause

a deep silver
keeping us company
in her warm glow

Olivia L Age: 12  Y8 Selwyn House School


The Were-Cat



The cry of the were-cat echoed through the valley

The villagers jumped and looked up

A glowing green comet tore through the sky

Cracks on the moon filled by a golden glow

Craters lit up with a toxic green

Then, a green cloud erupted smothering the moon

In an emerald haze


The were-cat was coming.


It howled once more

Four bolts of pure, white-hot energy

Struck the four mountains surrounding the valley

Turning the river electric blue


The were-cat had come.


The immense creature opened a huge pouch in its belly

And put exactly 1623 tons of fish inside.

It flew it up to the moon to lay it across the surface

And is still devouring it as I tell this story

So from now on you’ll always know

The moon isn’t made of cheese, or rock

It is made of fish.


Daniel Y6 Adventure School


Moon light

The sun sets,
and the moon rises
in the night sky.
It’s as bright
as the sun
as round as a disk.
The wind comes
and the trees swish.
The bright moon
gets eaten
until it’s like a banana..
New Year returns,
the full moon comes back!

Olivia C Age 8 Year 4 Fendalton Open Air School


The moon man

A lantern gives off a soft glow
Two shadows are dancing slow
There is a faint echo of song
In the town where the moon man lives

The sky is grey
It is where the clouds are made
He is working hard
Under the shining light
It is the town where the moon man lives

They say he is mad
From staring at the moon
They say that he is a loon
This is the town where the moon man lives

They whisper about him everyday
They even have a chant
They say that “He is crackers, without cheese! and frankly quite unclean!”
He pretends not to hear
In the town where the moon man lives.

In the old dairy
Pompous Mrs Mary
Sings like a canary
About the moon man
About the “loon man”
She doesn’t know him very well
It is the town where the moon man lives

The children laugh at him
Their parents snicker at him
And the few who remember him as a child
Wish that he had grown up less “Wild”
This is the town where the moon man lives

At night they marvel at his creations
Without knowing that he made them
Perhaps if they did
Then they wouldn’t be so mean
In the town where the moon man lives

But the Moon Man doesn’t mind
Because his heart shines
As if a star has landed in his chest
He is as kind as a soft light
And maybe that is why
They call him the moon man

Gabbie (Gabriella) R  Year – 8, Age 12, Newlands Intermediate


Moon Diary
When I was two,
the cow jumped over the moon,

When I was four,
I fell asleep with the moonlight shining through the car window,

When I was six,
the moon shone on the glistening water,

When I was eight,
the moon celebrated New Years with me,

Now that I am ten,
fifty years have passed since the first man on the moon,

In fifteen years time,
I want to be the next person on the moon.

Raffaella C Year 5  Age 10  Three Kings School


WHAT IS the MOON really?

Is the moon a giant slow-motion ball
circling around the world?

Or is the moon a round ball of
rotten yellow cheese?

Is the moon a grey ball dented
with craters?

Or is the moon a giant’s silver marble flicked into space?

Sagana S  10 years old, Year 5  Three Kings School



Grey, shiny, dusty moon
everyone looks at you.

You are the one that inspires us to build rockets,
and launch ourselves to reach you.

Do you like us standing on you?

Seaton F Year 5 Age 9  Three Kings School


The Shine

The silk-shine sneaks into my room and aims at my eye,
I shriek in pain while it beams at me,
I move my blinds to see the silver blanket covering the world,
“Ahh!” my eyes adjust to the gleaming light of the moon.

Finlay Age 9 years Year 5 Three Kings School


Some moon poems from 8 year olds at Matua School




A Tweet to the Moon

Oh my Moon!
You’re my toon,
you’re my star,
you’re beautiful as you are.
Yes you are.
Down in the city,
there is a black kitty,
and his name is Pringle,
the pretty pussy cat.
He saw something sweet,
and sang a tweet,
to the magical,

Jolie P year 6 age 10 Richmond Road School Te whanau whariki


The Bright Moon

The moon is bright,
with all its might,
It’s shining on the water.

On a hot summer night
It makes the tide go in and out.
I know the moon
doesn’t have a doubt.

The moon is bright,
with all its might,
It’s shining on the water.

Taane R Year 6  Age 11  Richmond Road School / te whanau whariki


Some moon poems from Russley School


Spiky Moon

by Jade H, age 11


The moon is a grey dog

playing with a white shiny bone


The moon is a black computer

doing tiring homework


The moon is a white piece of paper

ripping in the dark spooky night


The moon is a glowing tooth

under my pillow



Once in a Blue Moon

by Ruby, age 10


The moon is a silver pin


into dark velvet


It is an ash wolf


on a large rock


It is a cluster of glowworms


into a cave


It is a colony of butterflies


with life


The moon is a crescent shaped




Bright Moon

by Noel H, age 10


The moon is a hat

left hanging in the closet


It is a bumpy tire

stuck on the back of a car


The moon is an old grey picture

kept in a drawer


It is a block of silver

hidden in a safe



Silvery Moon

by Amelia Y, age 11


The moon is a fat grey mouse

who ate too much cheese.


The moon is a white football

filled with helium.


The moon is a silver coin

dropped from the giant’s land.


The moon is a grey reflection

shining in the sky.


The moon is a huddle of fireflies

all sound asleep.


The moon is a pearly beach

with people playing beach ball.




Just like…

by Ava M, age 11


The moon is a shining pearl

waiting to be found


The moon is a dragon’s eye

gleaming in the sunlight


The moon is a silver disk

constantly on repeat


The moon is a metallic pastel

drawing on sapphire paper


The moon is a white scarf

fluttering hopelessly in the cold winter wind



Shining Night Skies

by Ava S, age 10


The moon is a white rabbit

jumping from one place to



The moon is a silver

coin, lying there waiting

to get somewhere


The moon is a curvy

ball, getting kicked into the

night sky


The moon is a round

lollie, getting re-wrapped

when the morning comes



The Moon, our Guardian

by Reuben Veenstra, age 11


The moon is a black motorcycle jacket


against the wind


The moon is a grey sheet of metal

protecting soldiers from




It is an olden days photo

of a child


in an old man’s journal


The moon is our guardian

keeping us safe

through the night



What is the Moon?

by Yathi K, age 12


The moon is a white blank page

flying in the breeze


It is grey like an old man’s hair

waving in the wind as he walks by


The moon is silver like a tip of a pen

writing history


It is a perfectly burnt marshmallow

tempting to look at


The moon is gold like a treasure

waiting to be stolen


White Pom-pom on an Indigo Hat

by Ella-Rose, age 11


The moon is a white pom-pom bobbing on an indigo hat.

It is a silver ornament sparkling on a beautiful tree.


The moon is a gold medal glistening in the summer sun.

It is a multi coloured disco ball shining in a dark room.


The moon is a grey concrete path revealing dusty footprints.

It is a red stop sign captivating looks of awe.



My Great Grandad, the Moon

101 Years Old

by William, age 12


The moon is my great grandad

trudging along the endless sky


It is my great grandad’s hair

white, and swaying in the breeze


The moon is my great grandad’s smile

whenever I come and visit



The Night Light (or the moon rabbit)

Watch the sky late at night,
and you’ll see a twilight sight.
The round white, night light,
what a sight!
The glistening thing’s
it sings.
It orbits around the earth.
The thing that lights up the world,
in the darkest nights.
The owls, they hoot at the pretty sight.
The wolves, they howl, it is so bright,
looking at their night light.
The rabbit watches,
above the world,
as it jumps around the big, circle, yellow light,
that it calls its home.

Ella Age: 10  Westmere School Auckland

Poetry Box August challenge: moon poems


Amber Moffat I Would Dangle the Moon, MidnightSun Publishing 2019

click for my review



I recently reviewed a magnificent MOON picture book on Poetry Box and was inspired to do a moon challenge this month with a copy of the book to give way thanks to the publisher and author. And it is of course a special moon anniversary!

I love moon poems. I wrote a book of poems called Macaroni Moon which is now out of print but maybe you can find in the library.


     t   h   e          m   o   o   n          poem challenge


There is something about the moon that is altogether mysterious, magical and marvellous. It can be such a thing of beauty hanging in the sky. So far away!

So this month your challenge is to write a moon poem. It can be a poem about the moon or a poem in which the moon makes an appearance as an object or even as a character.



Hunt for as many moon words as you can. What it looks like! Reminds you of.

Try different endings. Try different kinds of endings that makes the reader feel something different.

Try using real detail. Look for word strings (all the words like shine!)

Use your imagination and see where you moon leap.

What does the moon remind you of? Test out different possibilities.

Think carefully about how many words you use on the line. Play!

Find which words stand out in your poem? That are particularly delicious and moon perfect.

Test out different forms – do a monn list or a moon picture poem, a haiku or a triolet.

Keep your poem longer than the day you write it. Let it simmer so you can see if you want to change anything.


DEADLINE: Monday August 26th

Send to

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

PLEASE say: it’s for the Moon-Poem in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

I will post my favourites on August 30th

and have the moon book for a poet.  It is not a competition though! I just like sharing books.


h a v e    m o o n         FUN



The moon

the moon is like a gleaming hubcap

as it moves across the tarseal sky







July Poetry Box challenge: Some favourite poems using Groovy Fish titles




Wow! It has taken me a long time to read all the poems you sent using titles from my new book Groovy Fish.

So as you can imagine it was hard choosing.  I do hope you get to read these and hunt for one that inspires you to write a poem.

None of the poems were like my poems in Groovy Fish and I loved that –  if you find my book write me a letter and tell me what you think of it and I will post some on the blog (

I loved all the poems that came in from students at Rātā Street School so I am sending them a copy of Groovy Fish.

This is not a competition but I am giving away three of my original drawings. I put all the names in a hat and I sending Groovy Fish illustrations to Sam (Otari School),  Tom (Hoon Hay School – Te Kura Koaka) and Mady (Rātā Street School).

Do try my August challenge I will post tomorrow.

I loved all the poems and I hope you don’t feel sad you didn’t get picked this time but glad you had such fun writing it. My philosophy when I write books that don’t get picked!!



Lollipops and Chickenpox


The chickens have chickenpox

and big boxes on their heads.


Dr Loudbutton gives the chickens lollipops,

pumpkinseed flavour, boring flavour,


spider flavour, dirt flavour.

The chickens swell up!


‘Those chickens are going crazy

for lollipops,’ says Dr Loudbutton.


Brroock! Brroock! Brroock!


Sam Rastall, 8, year 3, Otari School

The Watermelon

I saw a watermelon going to the Moon on the road yesterday
Now, I see a tiny little resort
With a cool pool
On the Moon.
NASA says “a round green alien lives on the Moon”.

Ben E  Age: 7   St. Andrew’s College


The Biscuit Thief

One day at a house Alyssa baked some
Biscuits! But a thief came he
Was as quiet as a mouse
Dancing past the window
He has two pockets
Ready to steal yummy biscuits!
So be careful.

Olivia Age 8, Y4   Fendalton Open Air School


The seven seagulls


7 hungry seagulls waiting at the beach,

7 hungry seagulls looking at a peach.

7 hungry seagulls need some yummy lunch,

7 hungry seagulls want to munch and crunch.

7 hungry seagulls flying to the food,

7 hungry seagulls are in a good mood.

7 hungry seagulls sitting at the beach,

7 hungry seagulls have eaten up the peach.


Alicia (7) & Rosie (7) – Yr 3 – Rātā Street School



The Biscuit Thief

One midnight
when the moon shines
as bright as the sun,
one little racoon
lifts a kitchen window,
opens the pantry door,
knocks over the biscuit jar,
pushes it down to the floor,
sweeps away the glass,
picks up the vanilla biscuits,
balances them on his back,
and returns to his cubs.

Tom Age 10, Year 6  Hoon Hay School – Te Kura Koaka



I shine on the pier
At New Brighton Beach
Feeling the wind
Whipping my cheeks.
The busy streets of the UK
Beeping cars, Big Ben chiming,
But that wouldn’t be my perfect night
So the next night I go to
Papua New Guinea
I see rainforests and lots of things to do
I see humans alone with the animals disappeared
Although I’m just one moon,
Can’t I reach out and help them?
I have been to a million places.
What place is my favourite?
No one knows the answer.
Not even a fairy,
Or even a dancer…..?

Ameila, Selwyn House School


The Tree House


Soon I am moving to a new house

I’m going to live in a tree house


My tree house will be a serene lookout tower

Accessed by a cauldron pulley

High in the branches of a Kahikatea tree

Looking out over smooth grassy fields

Like American prairies

And a vast swampland

Like the Florida Everglades


My tree house will be made from nature

Living there will feel like being part of the tree

It will be a sanctuary for tired birds

Like a giant nest we can all share

It will be hiding place for cheeky boys

A place to refresh feelings

Like a day spa for ten year olds


Soon I am moving to a new house

I’m going to live in a tree house…


You can visit any time


Daniel L, age 10, Y6, Adventure School


Zip Zap Zang

Zip zap zang I flipped when I ran,
I twisted i wished when i was a sizzle pan.
I saw a dancing potato when I said malaaawaloooo.
I said zang wang when I hooked up a man.
I saw a strawberry eating a pizza,
but I saw a fridge licking a whiteboard pretending to be a duster!!!!

William   Age: 8 yrs  St Andrew’s College


Swimming With An Alien  


I swim across the wide ocean

with my friend the alien,

I feel faint as I look in to his eyes

red like fire

The water fills my lungs with happiness

as we glide through the cheerful water

My body freezes with delight

And now its time

to take flight


Violetta, Age : 10, Y6,  Fendalton School


Tea with Aunty Lee

Today I am having tea with Aunty Lee.
At Aunty Lee’s house I see a mouse.
I smile with glee.
It’s just me with Aunty Lee.
Aunty Lee says I must have cake with my tea.
At Aunty Lee’s I see a tree.
It has a bee looking at me.

Carolyn Age: 8  Year: 4 Fendalton School


The Glass Door


My heart melts as I see the emptiness within

A glass door with no beginning and no end

As I touch the substance it feels icy against my hand

The moon reflects against the surface

During the day there are two suns

If something heavy lands the door will shatter


Johanna Age 10, Year 6, Fendalton School


Dancing Fish

Yesterday I was out swimming and I saw something quite peculiar
There was a group of fish springing out of the water, and I didn’t
Know what they were doing so I swam over and asked what on earth
Are you doing, the leader of the group did this some sort of twirl over to me
And said, “what do you think we are doing we are dancing.” That fish had quite
Attitude. I said well it doesn’t look like dancing to me. So I’ll give you a quick
Lesson on how to dance. I taught them how to turn, leap and plié, it took quite a while for them to get it but when we did we started making up a dance. While they were practising I Raced back home and made some costumes, I made bright coloured sequens tops for the Fish. They loved the costumes. After the rehearsal had finished we went and found an audience. We had Mermaids and dolphins and turtles and even starfishes. I counted them in, 5,6,5,6,7,8. The audience were wordless they had never seen dancing fish before. The fish were blushing with pride.

Samantha Age 12 Y8 Selwyn House


Banana Land


Everyone loves bananas!!

I love bananas and Alex does too.

Bananas are awesome.

They are yellow and they are yummy.


Jonti  (8) & Alex (8) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School

Zip zac zang

Zip zac zang went the tall power line.
Zip zac zang went the electrical car.
Zip zip zac zac zang zang went the tall power line and the electrical car.
Then someone said,zip zac zang.
Then the light went zip zac zang.
Then I said zip zac zang.
Zip zac zang said everyone.
What will come next?
Zip zac zang from everything.
Alex age 8, Y4, Fendalton School



(Acrostic Poem)



In a dream.



Ink eyes.

Good night sleep

Hiccups !!!

Time to wake up.


Kade (8) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School




The six rainbow rabbits

The six rainbow Rabbits have
Lots of bad habits.
They try to
Bounce on their squeaky rainbow beds
Until they fall off and hurt
Their heads.

Alyssa Age 8 Y4  Fendalton open-air school

The Highway Rat

The highway rat
wears a hat
that flips and flops in the breeze
His matted fur and tattered hide
is fully infested with fleas

Isaac age 9 Y4 Fendalton School



The Dog Climbed up the Curtain


The dog climbed up the curtain

The cat jumped on his head

They both fell howling backwards

And landed on the bed.


In the door walked owner Sam

With a frown upon her face

The curtains were ripped and torn apart

And all around the place.


Hamish & Jackson (7) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School


Howling Wolf

(A haiku)


Very spooky wolf

In the night you howl loudly

Like a large grey dog


Mady (8) Rātā Street School



Sky High

(Acrostic Poem)


Kite flying high in the sky.

Yikes it’s too high.

Helicopter flying in the sky.

I’m scared of flying up in the sky.

Grass floats to the sky.

Hectic flight.


Tamaia (8) – Rātā Street School



Six Rainbow Rabbits


Up in the hills,

In the valley of sheep


Six rainbow rabbits,

Hidden away, fast asleep


On waking, they make rainbows of joy

Busy on the vast slopes that are far too steep


Saskia 7 years old St Andrew’s Preparatory