Tag Archives: Fendalton Open Air School

One very fabulous home poem

After posting so many poems to celebrate Gecko Press’s birthday, I set myself a challenge to pick just one HOME poem that hooked me.

Ben‘s stuck with me all week. I love the detail. I also love the way it becomes a quake story. I love the dog barking. This home is a family home. It is precious and it is fragile and it is loved.

I adored reading it. Thank you Ben. I will pop a book in the post for you and send to your school.




What I See

My dog barking, everyone loves

it. My house built in

1918. My windows, some old

and the other ones new.

My house, my family and

everyone in it. They love

the dog, Abby barking. They

built the house in 19-

something. They sometimes crack, but

the new ones do not.

I’d love to save my

dog. I’d love my house

to be new. But the

windows will crack, and the

house will crack in quakes.

I’d fix my dog, make

the house new. I’d fix

my windows. I’d make sure

it did not break.


by Ben, Fendalton School Open Air School, Christchurch


The Treasury Interviews: Jack P interviews John Parker — find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities


John Parker is a very well published New Zealand author who writes a huge variety of children’s books, adult fiction, sporting and radio articles. I think he is a hilarious author because he makes the characters and story lines in his books really funny. I am so glad to have got John Parker as my given author.

He is Christchurch born and has degrees in English and History. He has also been a teacher and an opera singer before taking up full time writing. John loves golf, tramping, travel and skiing.

I have also read two of his books, Sucked In and Sucked Out, which I highly recommend for ages 7-10.


jack may 2014

Hi, my name is Jack. I am a 10 year old writer, who loves writing poetry and using technology.
I go to Fendalton School in Christchurch. I enjoy swimming, football, tennis, French, cubs and I am a tech wizard at school. I enjoy reading poems on Poetry Box and I have sent in a few of mine. I also belong to book club at school and have enjoyed researching my author John Parker and creating questions for him.

The Interview:

What primary school did you go to? I went to two Auckland schools: Royal Oak Primary and Remuera Primary. My teacher at Remuera, Miss Adams, was stern and scary!
How many books a year do you publish? It depends on how hard-working I am, whether publishers like what I write, whether the books I’m writing are short or long and other factors, including the state of the economy. One year I published 13 books; some years I’ve published none. My average is around 4-5 a year.

Do you remember how you felt when you first piece got published? Elated! It was a play, called ‘The Giants’ Attack,’ published by The School Journal in 1980.

Out of all your poems which is your favorite and why? I can’t answer that question, sorry! I find that a poem is itself, and seems to resist grading or an order of merit.

Many of your poems and stories are humorous where do you get the ideas from? From life. I find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities. And my mind seems to work in ridiculous ways, at times. Can’t help it! Many poems come from a little jolt in my brain-cells – that something relates to something in a way I didn’t think of before. For example, a handful of wool might have the shape of a starry galaxy, or that a bumble-bee and a postie are similar in that one goes form flower to flower and one goes from letter-box to letterbox.

What is your first step you take when you are writing poetry? It depends. I sometimes write down thoughts, knowing or hoping that some words will stick for me and develop into something bigger. Sometimes I get a line flying into my mind that arrives fully formed and perfect and I build the poem around that.

In Sucked In and Sucked Out where did you get the idea for the character Zainey? I read that a school class in USA was asked to think of ways they might like their bodies changed. One kid, who was possibly short, wanted an eye on the top of his finger so he could see over crowds. Once I thought about that, Zainey started.

I would like to write a poem in 10 or 12 words about my sister and how she is addicted to macaroni. What would you write?? It’s your poem, but ‘macaroni’ is such a nice word to say and look at. So I might make up words like ‘macaroniac’ or ‘macaronly’ – stuff like that.  Or maybe change her name in a macaroni way? And you could do things with your own name, too. After all, ‘Jack’ rhymes with ‘macaroniac’. Wish you luck!


What a fabulous interview Jack and John. John writes terrific poems for children. There are 7 of them in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and lots more in The School Journals.

9781877404276 9780958260060 1877404268 9781877471162sucked+in


I just discovered this moon poem from Fendalton School that is just perfect

I am busy picking all the children to read with me on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour and I have just discovered this gorgeous moon poem by Emily in the Christchurch Our Place folder. I love this poem very much indeed. I like the spark between the mage of the orange and the image of the moon. Every line sounds good and is not overcrowded with words. I am very much hoping Emily will read with me in Christchurch!

I am going to send Emily a really really cool book for her really really cool poem thanks to the Lovewell family. It is called Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O’Connor (I am going to get my own copy!). Nancy thinks poetry is sensational. The book is all about what she loves about poetry! Poems that tell a story or make you laugh. Poems that a very very short. Poems that are lyrical (sound good!). Nancy has a poetry club she calls a Palace of Poetry. I am getting a few more copies of this book for prizes. maybe Poetry Box is like a big Palace of Poetry and you are all members! Thanks the Lovewell Family and congratulations Emily!

Like the Moon

When I walk

into the kitchen

I see a lightish orange

shining into my blue eyes.


I go up

to the fruit bowl

take the orange

and start peeling it.

When I am finished

I quickly cut it up

and push it into my mouth.


There is a half-moon tonight

like my half-eaten orange.

Emily Year 4 Fendalton School Christchurch


Jack, a young poetry fan from Christchurch has reviewed The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems

Letterbox Cat    jack may 2014

Jack emailed me and asked if he could review my book and I thought what a great idea! I told him he could go ahead on the condition he said what he really thought. I am hoping children reviewing poetry books will become a regular feature on the blog. Jack goes to Fendalton Open Air School and is aged ten. (Do get in touch if you would like to review a poetry book …. old or new).

This is a great review! I am full of delight. My first review. What a lovely start for my new book.








4.5 stars

Paula seems to like to write poems about animals, the weather and the seasons. In this book she also likes to play with her words and shape them on the page as the poem. I really like the poems that look like their subject, for example my favourite poem Nice Ice is in the shape of a melting icecream!

I love the way Paula describes every day things that makes you think of them in different ways. For example ‘The Rollercoaster’ is described as “a speed-boasting, stomach-churning, back-breaking, neck-cricking, most definitely absolutely awesomely fun chair!”

I wonder if Paula wrote The Letterbox Cat (the poem and the title of the book) to fit with her well-known website named Poetry Box…and have you noticed that some of her poems include the word box too…?

My favourite simile is in her poem, ‘Rain,’ when it says “the rain drops on my umbrella are like little girls in tap-dancing shoes”. Paula’s poem about rain inspired me to write a poem about rain too, which I have included below.

Thank you Paula for creating a truly pleasurable poetry book, filled with many playful poems. It is cleverly designed to make us think, imagine, dream and enjoy some special time ‘out of the box’ !


Screen shot 2014-08-23 at 3.58.36 PM

(Note from PAULA: I took a screen shot so you can see the colour)

The Rain by Jack Prebble

The Rain

The Cold Rain patters on the roof

The Clear Rain makes puddles on the ground

The wet Raindrops, showers on my head

Black Ice frozen Rain

Rain can be a danger

Rain could be death

Rain makes me sad.


A third letter about writing poems: it’s not a pirate hook, it’s a hook that takes the reader on a voyage of a lifetime.

Ewen has made lots of good points about writing poems. I love the idea of a hook – it might be a shiny word, or a tricky rhyme or a standout line or a surprising word order or two words that spark together or an image that grabs you.  And more! I loved reading this letter thanks Ewen.

Dear Paula Green,

My name is Ewen. I am in Year 6 at Fendalton Open Air School. I like reading poems that have a good flow, such as: ‘Ode To Pablo’s Tennis Shoes’. Whether the poem is imaginary or real, I also find poetry that tells a story interesting. When I read a poem I enjoy seeing a twist incorporated into the poem.

Though my most favoured poetry topic is nature, I still relish experimenting with different poetry topics, rhymes and forms. The reason why my favourite poetry topic is nature is because I can look out the window and easily find a writing idea. Also when I am reading a nature poem it is simple to visualise the scene. Nature may sound as though it is a rather broad subject but that’s what is so intriguing. Your poem can live around you!

Some people like sad poems, others prefer happy poems but I like a bit of both, as long as it has a hook. And oh yes, it’s not a pirate hook, it’s a hook that takes the reader on a voyage of a lifetime.

Ewen  aged 11, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air Primary School, Christchurch

Ewen says there is Spring in the air

Another lovely poem to celebrate Spring. This one is by Ewen from Fendalton Open Air School in Christchurch.


Daffodils prancing

in light breezes,

magnolias dancing

like the birds.


September, October

and November,

months of flowers

and normally sun…


Spinach radish

chives you may grow,

lettuce turnips

basil also.


But the best of it

is the grass

tickling my ankles,

it’s spring at last.


Ewen  aged 11, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air Primary School, Christchurch

Akaroa, Lake Wanaka and Boyne Island -these poems moved me on Poetry Box

When I was in Christchurch I visited Fendalton Open Air School, and did a long workshop with keen writers. It was such a great experience for me as the room buzzed with scratching pens and poems. I loved the way students were willing to give anything a go and take their poems into the playground of words. Thank you lovely young poets – visiting you was a treat!

Here are three poems that caught my ear as the students stood and shared them.

Rory is aged ten and in Year 5. I love this poem. I love the way the words curve and repeat and sing and shine. It makes a place I have never been to (I want to very much!) come alive in my mind – a little glowing Akaroa. Great job Rory!


Glistening sun
burning down on hills
like a ray of fire.
Birds chirping
and slowly
gliding down from the cloudless sky.
People laughing
and talking
as they tread down the sloped hills.
Hotels standing
tall and still
like trees not making a sound.
Not much sound
as the mountains
stand tall and quiet.
As the cars
take off

dirt flies behind.



Patrick wrote this wonderful poem about a place he went to stay in Australia after the quake. When I hear him read it i could hear the love he felt for it shimmering in every line. The short lines work a treat. I love the build up of things that make the place so vivid. Great job Patrick!

Boyne Island


My friends,

Shouting my name,

Bell ringing,

Lunch is over,

Lots of work,

But not so hard,

Library time,

It’s like another planet,

Home time,

A house on stilts,

Heavy rain,


Heavy rain,








Too hot at times,

Too cold at times,

The new world,

I wish to escape,

And travel there,

But gravity will not let me,


Thick and thin,

Salty air,

Rusting our BBQ,

Wake up early,

Reading when the world’s asleep,

The bridge,

Gateway to this paradise.


Charlotte wrote this poem. She is 11 and in Year 6. I really love this poem as it has surprising lines that make me see Lake Wanaka a bit differently. I also like the shifting rhythms in the poem. Great job Charlotte!



Lake Wanaka Beach


Water lapping

ducks aboard the water

low cloud sinking down


Drowning boulders

startled people

running across

the beach

screaming and yelling


Whistling wind

puts shivers to



Boggy swamps

trees not free

never a hope to live


Tourists noises

camera clicks

taking in what’s

best to them

Holiday poetry bonanza: Ewen goes behind the present wall (or over it!)

Ewen imagined what she would like to do these holidays if she could go anywhere. I really like the line ‘past the present wall.’ It would be fun writing a poem where you describe a future world. What will we eat, wear, do? How will we travel? Where will we live? Ewen’s poem got me thinking! Have a go!



If I were to go anywhere,

anywhere at all,

I’d go into the future,

past the present wall.


I’d see behind the clouds,

shrouding the bad,

I’d see behind the moon,

shrouding the good.


Though it’d be exciting

interesting and fun,

it could be a dream,

or a trick someone’s done.


I wouldn’t be sure,

as I’d return the same,

it’d only be a memory,

or something rather lame.


Ewen W aged 10, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air School, Christchurch


Holiday poetry bonanza: sky and bread

I like the way Ewen has used a proverb in this poem. Maybe there are other proverbs you could play with in the form of a poem. Give it a go and send me one!

Hi Paula,

Here’s a poem I wrote about what the sky looks like today. I used the proverb

“the sky is the daily bread of our eyes” at the end to make the poem have something different in it.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

The Sky

The sky was blue
tinged with white.
The sun broke through
and shone out light.

My eyes lit up
with the sky.
That little picture
way up high.

The sky is something
you cannot buy.
It’s the daily bread
of our eyes.

Ewen W aged 10, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air Primary School