Tag Archives: Joy Cowley

Some poems by children to celebrate NZ poets in the reissued Treasury





Thanks for sending all the poems in – it was fun reading them all. I am sending a copy of The Treasury to Gabriella.

Extra thanks to Churton Park School for sending all the pop popping poems in! I loved them.



(a reply to Elizabeth Smither’s “The Stapler”)

Paper clips are nice to paper
not like any nasty staple
Can hold a lot of paper
5 or 6 its favourite number
Wants to end the staple families.

Paper clips can connect and bend
They are paper’s best friend
Easy to collect with a magnet
Never tears or rips the paper
Paper clips are best, not staples

By James K    Age 11, Year 6  Churton Park School


The scissors
As in response to ‘The stapler’ by Elizabeth Smither

What a ferocious beasts are scissors
With blades that ruin knickers
They do not like to feed on snickers*
They do not like large rocks

They must have two sheets at least
Or else they can’t be deceased
They prefer more at least four
As when you cut up a story.


*as in the chocolate bar
Gabriella R age 10, Year 6  Churton Park School
Note: There are ones similar, but these are all my ideas. By the way I put deceased there as in getting worn out.


The Scissors
In Response to Elizabeth Smither’s ‘The Stapler’

What a strange beast are a pair of scissors
With sharp blades that ruin pictures
They have an appetite for stickers
They do not like cardboard

Over time the things it can cut
Begins to be not as much
It does not care how many sheets
It will tear up your story

Nathan S Year 6    Churton Park School



Wiggly Wiggly

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Do the harlem
Wiggle a jellyfish,
Touch a marlin.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Bend a worm,
Twist a leg,
Squirm a berm.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Twist a head,
Break a led,
¨Oh! No!¨ he said

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Kiss a frog,
Buy a dog
Climb through fog.

In response to Joy Cowley’s Wriggly Wriggly

Ryan L 11 years old   Year 6   Churton Park School



Inspired by Joy Cowley:

Muddly Muddly

Muddly Muddly
feed a cat
It wears a hat
Big and fat
Muddly Muddly
Feed a cat

Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog
Eat a hotdog
Than take a jog
Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog

Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse
Use the force
Become the source
Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi
Wee wee
Very sneaky
Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi

By Angad Gill, Churton Park School, Year 6


To Joy Cowley

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a horse,
Give it a tomato,
Make a sauce,
Eat it up,
With some paws,
Put it down,
On the floors,
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a dog,
In it’s bowl,
Feed it hogs,
Eat them up with,
Some Hogs,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed a Dog

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a cat,
Stuff it,
Inside a hat,
Tip it out onto,
A mat,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed at Cat

by Hannah age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School




for Robin Hyde (inspired by ‘The Last Ones’)

Galloping along wild prairie
Paddling through the cool waters of the lake
Resting under a weeping willow
Braving the fierce winds of the desert
Soaring through grasses
Mane and tail billowing
To be wild
To be free


Name: Nell  Age: 9 Year: 4   Homeschool

A delightful bundle of Gecko Press books with TWO hidden poem challenges for you

Four gorgeous books from Gecko Press to share!


The illustrations are

s   c   i   n   t   i   l   l   a   t   i   n  g .

The stories are

m   o   u   t   h   w   a   t   e   r   i   n   g.

Which means I gobbled them UP in a F L A S H.

And then I came back for a   l o n g          s   l   o   w       feast.


Thanks Gecko Press!



Bathtime for Little Rabbit by Jörg Mühle is a small board book for very young children about a rabbit that needs a bath so he gets to be SQUEAKY clean.  I love the way Little Rabbit gets dried. This is a FUN read.


The Lost Kitten is a scrumptious picture book by Lee with illustrations by Komako Sakai. I loved reading this book, because as you know from my children’s poems, we have cats. In fact Charlie arrived at OUR door lost and hungry and wanted to stay with us for EVER and EVER. We seemed to become a magnet for lost and hungry kittens, but now we live in the country we are too far away.

In this story though, a mother cat brings her hungry kitten to Hina’s place because she knows it needs looking after. You will see it is the cutest little ball of fluff that deserves a warm and cosy cat basket.

Just like us, Hina and her mum feed the cat and make it a cat box and take it to the vet.

Just like us, the kitten makes Hina very, very happy.

But NOT like us (and Charlie), the sweetest cutest little ball of kitten fluff goes missing.

I especially loved the illustrations by Komako Saki. She is a famous and much-loved illustrator in Japan where she lives. You feel like you are inside the story when you look at the pictures, because she knows just how to paint how Hina feels.


Bruno: Some of the more interesting days in my life so far is a splendiferous read by Catharina Valckx. There are six linked stories with very cool illustrations by Nicolas Hubesch that make me want to get my pencils and draw.

Catharina has written over 30 books and is published in over 11 languages and has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Awards 4 times.

Nicolas Hubesch lives in PARIS where he also draws comics. I LOVELOVELOVELOVE his drawings. They do have a PARIS feel about them.

The first story starts like this: ‘The peculiar day started out as an ordinary day.’

This is how poems start sometimes and it means you can begin with what you know and end up somewhere rather marvelous. Catharina has a very BOUNCY imagination because Bruno gets followed by a flying fish that is a tincy bit lost and is nowhere near the ocean. In fact this is a story of strange things in an ordinary day, AND to make it especially GOOD – normal things on a normal day.

In ‘A rainy day,’ Poor old Bruno finds his house is just as wet inside as it is outside when it is RAINING RAINING RAINING. All his friends turn up WET WET WET and EAT EAT EAT all his food. Everyone makes a MESS MESS MESS.

We get to read about:

A peculiar day

A rainy day

A day when the power went out

A much less interesting day

An almost perfect day

A stupid day (that ends pretty well)

This is a very INTERESTING book to read!



a    l i t t l e   c h a l l e n g e   f o  r   y o u        (YO – Y8 in NZ)


I LOVE LOVE LOVE these titles so much, I am challenging you to use one as the title for a poem (You can do more than one!). Let your imagination BOUNCE with what you know and what you make up!


Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

Put GECKO challenge in the subject line of the email please.



I am a HUGE fan of Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop and I especially love their Snake and Lizard books.


So on a very wet Sunday afternoon I gobbled up the new one: Helper and Helper.


Gavin’s illustrations are sheer beauty.

Joy’s stories are warm and wise and witty. Her sentences are like clear shiny streams.


Snake and Lizard are full to the brim with life and show us the power of friendship. Being friends is bumps and hills and new days and arguments and listening and kindness and discoveries.

When I read these stories I fill with warmth and good feelings and just want to write poems or even give stories a go.


a n o t h e r   c h a l l e n g e

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these stories so much I am challenging you to write a ‘Snake and Lizard’ poem (You can do more than one!). Read the book first to get inspired by the characters. Make up what happens. It can be something very small and curious.


Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

Put SNAKE and LIZARD challenge in the subject line of the email please.


PS: I won’t answer your emails until May as I will be away!

Favourite authors

I invited you to send in your favourite authors.

These three young writers did just that. Thank you so much. I enjoyed reading all of these and couldn’t decide which one to send a book to so I put all the names in the hat and pulled out Gemma.

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I am sending Gemma  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by e. l. kronigsbug. I love this book. It was published forty years ago, so it is a classic. A girl runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it makes it all the more special to me as I have been there. It is part adventure and part mystery and a whole lot more!



220px-TheBFG   220px-TheBFG

I love Roald Dahl because he writes about crazy imaginary things. He plays with words like “am I right or am I left” in the BFG and “you have the Wong number” in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I like the funny words he makes up like scrumdiddlyumptious and fantabulous and frobscottle. And I like it how grown ups get in a tangle when they try to say the crazy words that are easy for kids to say!

By Daniel  Age 6, Year 1  Room 1  Adventure School



9781877579936    9781877579936   9781877579936


My favourite author is Joy Cowley. She writes interesting books about all kinds of things, and she can write any kind of book: picture books, readers, non fiction, chapter books and poems. She makes her characters interesting and they do and say funny things. The NZ setting makes her stories extra special. I like that you can read fun books like Mrs Wishy-Washy when you are learning to read and then as you get older you can read her early chapter books like the Wild West Gang, right up to older fiction like Speed of Light. Joy Cowley helps grow the reader inside you. She helps young NZ writers. She visits places and meets her fans. She shows you that stories are more than just words on a page. Joy Cowley is one of the reasons I love books, reading, and writing so much.

By Gemma  Age 8, year 4 Room 8 Adventure School



200px-Skulduggery_Pleasant_book_cover     200px-Skulduggery_Pleasant_book_cover

One of my favourite authors is Derek Landy because he creates really catchy, punchy and humorous dialogue. He also adds a wide range of words, action and reality to his novels. But most uniquely, he appreciates and shows no remorse in killing or seriously harming his characters- the Skulduggery Pleasant series is a MUST-READ!

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

Puke Ariki event was a smorgasbord of poems

Wow! What a great event at Puke Ariki last night. A good crowd of parents and children and poetry fans turned up. We even made up a poem for the library and museum.

I would have loved Fiona Farrell, Bill Nagelkerke and Joy Cowley to hear children from Egmont Village School recite their poems. Just fabulous. If only you could have heard Breanna recite Joy’s ‘Haere Mai ki te Moe. ‘ wonderful! Jasmin had brought a gigantic bear to hold as she recited James K Baxter’s ‘Growley Bear. ‘

Emily Boulton, who now goes to Hawera Intermediate, read her poem in the Treasury and a few newer ones.
So lovely to meet her and have her sign books with me and Elizabeth Smither. Elizabeth was our special Taranaki guest. She picked a squishy tomato poem by Fiona Farrell and one of Sam Hunt’s earliest poems (written when he was about 7!) along with her own. I just love her daisy poem and had read to a school in the afternoon!

So moving to hear children from Egmont Village School, Woodleigh School and Frankley School read poems on the theme of Our Place.

I loved them all but I especially loved Emma Kehely reading ‘My Grandma Cup Cake Making’ and Riley Tuuta reading ‘My Special Place.’ Congratulations young poets, you all did your selves and schools proud.

It is 6am as I write this and I have glowing goose bumps thinking of it!

Thank you New Plymouth. Thank you teachers, Poppies and Puke Ariki.




Launching The Treasury Interviews: Gemma interviews Joy Cowley

To celebrate A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, I invited children and classes to interview authors in the book. I have nearly sixty interviews to post between now and November 8th. I am trying to coincide some of the interviews with where I am on tour. So on Oct 13th and 14th, I will post interviews by Gisborne children when I am in Gisborne!

I decided to launch the series with Gemma’s interview with one of our most beloved children’s authors.


Joy Cowley was born in 1936, and now might be New Zealand’s most famous author of children’s books. She lives in Featherston with her husband Terry. Joy helps lots of New Zealanders to be interested in creative writing. Storylines made the Joy Cowley Award in her honour. Joy is an amazing, generous person who is an inspiration to us all. She has published lots of children’s books, including several poetry collections.

Gemma 1  543821_10151842884706995_332408721_n

Gemma Lovewell lives in Wellington with her parents and younger brother, in a house filled with books. She goes to Adventure School, and loves to try everything life has to offer. Gemma wrote her first poem when she was 3 years old, and has since then has had articles, stories and poems published in magazines, newspapers and on websites. With the help of Joy Cowley, she also published a book called The Big Box when she was five.

The Interview

Q: I know that you have had a lot of pets, can speak Spanish, and learned to fly a plane. What are three little known facts about Joy Cowley that you could share?


  1. When I was nineteen. I used to ride motor cycles in cross country races.
  2. My grandchildren and I used to have mud fights and then go into the sea with our clothes on, to wash it off.
  3. I have a diploma in wood-turning.


Q: Us kiwi kids have been lucky to grow up with you and your stories. Who was the Joy Cowley when you were a child?

A: I was a shy child and a slow learner. I didn’t become a fluent reader until I was nearly ten. But I loved stories and made up stories to tell my sisters, almost every night.


Q: How do you come up with the names for characters? Do you use the names of people you know? And how do you come up with the funny names like Mrs Wishy Washy, Greedy Cat and The Meanies?

A: I like the sound of words and try to choose appropriate names. My next book “Ratenburg” is about a family of rats that go on a long journey. Since rats’ names are chosen according to their environment, the father who was born on a boat is called Spinnaker Rat. His four children, born at the back of a Greek restaurant and called Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, and their mother is Retsina.


Q: Your new book The Speed of Light has a lot of maths in it (I love maths!). How did you find out so much about maths?

A: I don’t know a lot about math, but I’m very interested in Quantum Theory and the history of Numerology. I did research for the book and tried to find chapter headings that somehow echoed what was happening in the chapter.


Q: You have written hundreds of books. Just One More is still my favourite (Note from Paula– It is one of my favourites too! Along with the poetry books). Do you have any particular favourites?

A: My favourite is always the last one I wrote. After a while I fall out of love with it and go on to the next thing.


Q: I have read that poetry was something you enjoyed when you were at high school. What did you like most about it then, and what do you like about it now?

A: My love of poetry began in Primary School, thanks to teachers who were enthusiastic about poetry. We didn’t have books at home, but poetry was easy to remember, so I had (and still have) a whole library of poetry in my head that I could recall any time of the day or night.


Q: Do you use poetic techniques like similies, metaphors and onomatopoeia in your writing?

A: Yes, I do. It happens automatically. Composing a story is like composing music – the pace and sound should indicate what is happening in the story, and should convey more than the literal meaning of the words.


Q: You have said that you get many ideas for your stories from children. How do you bring your stories to life?

A: I listen to children, the way they use language and sometimes invent words. It is always inspiring. Once I visited a school in America, where a lot of children were away with the flu. A 7 years old girl told me in a loud, confident voice. “All the kids in this school are sick. If you saw one kid who was healthy, there’d be something wrong with her!”

What brings stories to life? Detail! I asked a 6 years old boy what they ate when they went to McDonald’s. Actually, he didn’t tell me. He answered with a story that I’ve tried to remember: ” My sister got a strawberry milkshake but she squeezed it and it went over the floor and I trod in it. Dad got lettuce in his teeth. Mum said, “You got lettuce.” So Dad makes this face to show the green lettuce in his teeth, and Mum says, “Ooh! Get rid of it!” And Dad said, “No, I’m saving it for a snack.”


Q: You do so much writing as a job… do you ever write just for yourself, for fun?

A: All writing is fun. Most of my writing is answering letters from young friends. I get heaps of mail and that takes 5 or 6 hours each day. (Note from Paula: This is what makes Joy such a special author. Not only does she write wonderful books that are part of our taonga but she opens her arms wide to young readers and she listens.)

Gemma: Thank you for being such an inspiring author!

Joy Cowley: Thanks for some very interesting questions, Gemma.

Paula Green: This was such a fascinating interview to read. Thank you Gemma and Joy. I think writing a poem is a bit like composing music too. Some of Joy’s poetry books are out of print but I managed to interloan them all through the library. I loved the book of cat poems. There are six of Joy’s poems in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and they all have a pinch of imagination stirred through a litre of wonderful sounds.





Just One More hires

The NZ Poet Book Awards was a splendid occasion


Last night I attended the NZ Post Book Awards as neither judge nor nominee which was a very fine thing to do! The Auckland Town Hall was like a children’s wonderland. Everyone oohed and aahed when they walked in. There was even a cake under a glass dome on the table, that looked like it had been plucked out of a fairy story.  There was a little label saying Eat Me! And so we did!

I was delighted to see two of my favourite books do well.  I talked about the Supreme Winner and Winner of the Picture Book category, The Boring Book on Poetry Box here. Vasanti Unka was surprised and delighted that her book won.

I also talked about one of my favourite novels of 2013, Elizabeth Knox’s Mortal Fire here, in my review of The New Zealand Herald. This book won Best Young Adult Fiction.

Here are two things I heard winners say in their speeches that I just loved :

Joy Cowley said, ‘We are a people of children’s books and people associated with children’s books are lovely people.’  Hear! Hear! Joy won Best Junior Fiction Category.

Keri Kaa said, ‘There are many words and images you can use, but only the right combination will do. When you have the right combination the words and images are so much more.’ I totally agree with this and it seems like a very fine recipe for poems. Keri won the Maori Language Award.

NZ Post Book Awards

*The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka. New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category.
*The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson. Best Non-Fiction.
*Dunger by Joy Cowley. Best Junior Fiction category winner.
*Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox. Best Young Adult Fiction winner.
*A Necklace of Souls by Rachel Stedman. Best First Book.
*The Three Bears … Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley. Children’s Choice category winner.
*Bugs by Whiti Hereaka. Honour award.
*Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin Page. Maori Language award.

Reading Festival: Daniel aged 5 talks about reading (I love his big little library answer!)

Daniel goes to Adventure School in Porirua. He is in Year 0 and aged 5. He answered some questions on books and reading. He reminded me how much I love The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I read that to my girls so many times! I really enjoyed reading this thank you Daniel.

What books did you love when you were little?

The Little Red Train stories! And The Tiger who Came to Tea.

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Did anyone read to you?

Yes!  Mummy and Daddy and My sister

Where is your favourite place to read?

In my room

What do you like about reading?

Sometimes when I get a bit sad I can read in my room and it calms me down

Do you have a favourite book character?

Duffy Driver because he does crazy things

Do you have a favourite author? What do you love his or her books?

Judith Kerr because she writes about Mog and Mog is funny!

Mog_the_forgetful_cat   Mog_the_forgetful_cat   Mog_the_forgetful_cat

Has a book ever made you sad?

No I don’t read sad books.

Has a book ever made you happy?

Yes, lots of times

Has a book ever made you laugh out loud?

Yes!  Like Dinosaur vs Bedtime

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What kind of books do you like and why?

I like picture books because I can enjoy the pictures as well as reading the words.

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

Nick Sharratt and Bob Lea (Rascal the Dragon books)

Have you ever read a book and hated the ending (I have!)?

Not yet!

Has a teacher ever read you a cool book? What did you like about it?

Yes, Billy’s Bucket.  I liked it because it was funny when his Dad borrowed the bucket – there was even a whale that squashed the car!

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If you were stuck on a desert island what three books would you take?

Just Imagine

The Little Red Train Treasury

The Little Animal Treasury

Do you like reading New Zealand books? Do you have a favourite NZ author?

Oh yeah!  Joy Cowley is the best.

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Do you like reading poetry? Do you have some favourite poets? What do you like about them?

YES!  I like Julia Donaldson (Wiggle and Roar) and Spike Milligan

Do you like to visit the library? What do you like about it?

Of course, but only the little one as the big one has too many books and I can’t choose.  I like it when I see my favourite book or one I have been waiting for is there.