Tag Archives: animal poems

Animal angry poems


After reading the very, very, very, very, very, very fabulous The Day No One Was Angry by Toon Telleegen, I decided to post a challenge to write an angry animal poem. These are my favourites.

Gecko Press published the book and very kindly donated a copy to give away. Thanks Gecko Press. I love all of these but I have picked Ewen to send the book. I love both the story in her poem and the way her poem sounds. Glorious! I loved the message (moral) in Gemma‘s tale and all her good detail. And I just loved the zinging words in the poems by Lachie and Isabel. Well done young poets.

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In a Busy Forest

In a busy forest

lived a tiger,

who ruled

the entire place.

Scaring everyone,

roaring and growling,

until one sunny day.

As the tiger strolled

across the land,

a hippo

who was rolling

in a pool of mud

suddenly had

an idea.

Whispering to everyone,

muttering and chuckling,

together all of the

animals devised

a plan.

When the tiger passed

slowly but swiftly,

around the pool

of mud,

all of the animals


In fear

the tiger







the mud.

Furious for the rest

of his life,

never roaring,

never growling,

never scaring anyone.

The tiger,

no longer the ruler

of the busy forest.

Ewen W aged 12, Room 20, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch

Lessons from A Little Bird

Stones were thrown in the air

By someone who didn’t really care

A little bird was injured

Fell out of the sky, ignored by the stone thrower

He later got discovered

By a kind and caring woman

She nursed him

Until he could fly free again

He repayed her kindness

By dropping magic seeds

The seeds grew magic pumpkins,

Filled with delicious treats

He repayed the stone thrower too

By dropping magic seeds

But these seeds grew not treats

But spiders, ants and termites

The insects drove the stone thrower from her home

And forced her to change her ways

Because kindness inspires kindness

While cruelty never pays.

By Gemma L, aged 8, Year 4, Adventure School, Wellington

St Francis School makes animal poems pop!



When I visited St Francis school on the Storylines Tour one class had some animal poems to share with me. When they were read aloud they popped in my ear. I loved the repeition. It was treat to hear them thanks!


Colourful feathers

Tweet, tweet.           

Pointy orange beak

Tweet, tweet.

Soaring smoothly

Tweet, tweet.

Eating its treats

Tweet, tweet.

Bailey age 9



Slimy slobber

Woof woof

Loving licks

Silky silver fur

Woof woof

Barking in grief

Woof woof

Loving licks

Woof woof

Kiera age 8



Soft proud mane

Restlessly roaring

Sharp iron claws

Restlessly roaring

Stalking its prey

Restlessly roaring

Gnawing its prey

Restlessly roaring

Vinnie age 9



Soaring, gliding in mid air

Whoosh, screech

Diving, snatching its prey

Whoosh, screech

Golden beak shining

Whoosh, screech

Brown feathers blowing

Whoosh, screech

Mickayla age 9

Poetry bonanza challenge: make up an animal

Here is another little poetry challenge for you.

Try writing a poem about a made-up animal. Hunt for words. Then write the poem.

What does it look like?

What does it eat?

What sounds does it make?

How does it move?

What does it fur or skin remind you of?

Does it have anything special like a trunk or a horn or different ears or tail?

What is its name?

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Have fun!

Joy Cowley cats leave pawprints in the butter

Joy Cowley has written a terrific book of cat poems. All of the poems sound good and some of the poems tell stories. There are mean cats and cheeky cats and surprising cats. I rather like Jake who has such a long tail it looks like a broom. This book is in some libraries so you will be able to order it in if you are lucky.

The other splendiferous thing about this book is that all the gorgeous colour illustrations were done by children. Not just paint — but crayons and dye and felt pens and colour pencils were used.


Joy has very kindly let me post ‘Apricot Cat’ (which is very fitting in the week we have her book Friends as a prize due to the lovely Gecko Press!). I love the way this poem sounds good when you say it aloud  — so good it almost becomes a song. And then – it is also a poem with a little twist. Joy shows that sometimes the very best poems can use quite simple words to tell a story. The extra special ingredient in this poem is … repetition. Listen to the way some lines echo and change through the poem. Try reading aloud in class with different groups taking different lines so the classroom fills with a delicious, echoey apricot cat!

Apricot Cat

The apricot cat said to the mouse,

‘Mousie, I do love you!

Come with me to my beautiful house

With its table set for two.

And you will hear me sing:

Mousie dear, Mousie dear,

You’re the sweetest thing.’

The mouse said, ‘No!’ to the apricot cat.

‘I will not go with you!’

One place at your table is set for cat,

The other for mousie stew.

And I would hear you sing:

Mousie stew, Mousie stew.

You’re the sweetest thing.’

© Joy Cowley with friends (the children illustrators!) Pawprints in the Butter: A Collection of Cats Mallinson Rendel 1991

Pet Poems

Today I am posting a poem about our dog Molly who was the worst dog swimmer in the world. But when we went on holiday to Sandy Bay (near Whangarei) this summer we taught her to swim and she got really good and was very proud of herself. Her brother Nonu has always been an excellent swimmer. This is the poem I wrote about Molly BEFORE her swimming lessons.

Feel free to send me your pet poem (and a photo if you want). No more than 30 words. Don’t forget to say it is for the pet poem challenge. Include your name, age, year, school. Include your teacher’s name and email if you like. Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com



Molly needs swimming lessons

because when she dog paddles

she smash paddles.

Her paws go crash splash screech scrash

like a champing chomping concrete mixer.


Small Poem Finalists and Winner

It was very exciting having small poems arrive from all over New Zealand and from all ages (up to Year 8). It was a hard job picking a winner so I am positing eleven finalists. All of these poems will also go to the Children’s Page (this gets lots of visitors so you will have lots of different readers!).

Room 14 at Birkdale Intermediate in Auckland sent in some fabulous haiku (the best I have read in ages –with special mention to Buster. He has two here so I am sending him a runners-up prize) and Room 5 St Joseph’s School in Kaikoura showed poems don’t need to rhyme to be splendid. I also loved the way the Roydvale School entries were all different (I hope I can visit  Room 11 when I am in Christchurch this year!). Congratulations to all classes for some very fine poems. I thought Sylvia‘s poem was surprising and wonderful and want to see more by you! Perhaps other students will comment on what great writing you have produced.

In the best poems, the poets managed to make something happen with a handful of words: a picture grow, great sounding lines, tell  a little story, make you feel something, make you see something differently.

The winner is Emily from Ohaupo School. I loved the sound of the poem (I love eyes and surprise rhyming and the word order on the first line), I loved the little story and I loved how every word is in just the right place. Magnificent job! I will post you a copy of my book Flamingo Bendalingo thanks to Auckland University Press.


Stripes black and white

Zebra slips through the night

Big brown eyes

Giving animals a SURPRISE

Emily (11 — Year 7) Ohaupo School


NZ Falcon

Gliding at speed around

the dry rugged bush;

with eyes like binoculars

beaming down at its prey.

Adam (12, Year 8) St Joseph’s School Kaikoura


The clumsy chicken stalks its prey

like a cop down the street.

He snaps the grass and pulls out

a criminal worm.

Grace (11, Year 7) St Joseph’s School, Kaikoura



A penguin slides

along the ice

like a plane landing,

as he wears his tuxedo.

Annalise (10, Year 6) St Joseph’s School Kaikoura



Running through the forest

The wild behind it

As dark as night

Buster Rm 14 Birkdale Intermediate



A swoop in the sky

spiraling down to earth

claws open to catch

Buster Rm 14 Birkdale Intermediate


Small Birds

Sweet song slips from its beak

Hiding high in the trees

The little sparrow

Stevie-Ray Rm 14 Birkdale Intermediate


The Lion

Razor sharp claws,

dark green eyes,

long shaggy mane,

and a fearful deep growl,

I am a Lion.

Jessica (12, year 8) Maidstone Intermediate


Cheetah and Turtle

Cheetahs are fast

Turtles are slow!


Cheetahs have spots

Turtles do not!


Cheetahs live in the jungle

Turtles live in the ocean.

Isaac aged 6 Roydvale Primary Christchurch


One Little Mouse

Once a little mouse lived in a house

He ran really fast and knocked over a glass!

Kaitlyn aged 7 Roydvale School Christchurch


Silver Ants


The ants crawl

Silver spacesuits

The race for food

In ten minutes

Don’t get burnt



Sylvia (12 Y8) Parnell District School



This week on Poetry Box and a Snail Poem

This week on NZ Poetry Box it is a mix of things. On Monday I will remind you about the small-poem challenge and post my snail poem, on Tuesday I will give you a poetry tip, on Wednesday I will play with poetry, on Thursday I will post an interview with John Parker (he writes terrific poems for children!) and on Friday I will post the winning small poem (or poems!).

The Small Poem Challenge: Write an animal poem using no more than 15 words (you can go slightly over!). Send it to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, age, year, name of school and teacher’s name and email address. Think about the tips I have given so far and check out tomorrow’s tip. The winner will receive a copy of Flamingo Bendalingo (courtesy of Auckland University Press).

I am pleased to see schools are promoting The Fabulous Poetry Competition on their websites. With so many entries for this competition I will only accept them at my physical post box.

And now for my poem. There are thousands of poems about snails and I have always been fascinated with the way they carry their home about. Sometimes I have let my imagination take off with this idea. Do they have little couches and tvs to watch? Are they like a mobile home going on a sightseeing tour? When I wrote this poem I wanted to describe the snail and keep it real. I thought of saying the house was like a little acorn but then I liked the sound of hat (and I thought it’s a funny place to keep a hat — on your back!).

When I write a poem I always play with the way the words sit on the line. I could have said slips and slides but I picked slides and slips.

 A Snail Poem

A snail slides and slips

down the path

on her silvery snail trail,

with her little house sitting

on her back like a shiny hat.