Tag Archives: Poetry challenge

Poetry Box November challenge: Wildlife in Aotearoa poems


Wildlife of Aotearoa Gavin Bishop, Puffin (Penguin Random House) 2019


Check out my review of Wildlife in Aotearoa here.


Watch my deadline as I won’t be here from 28th!


This is my last poetry challenge of the year! It has been a wonderful year full of poetry that has made my heart glad!

As soon as I got a copy of Gavin Bishop’s gorgeous new Wildlife in Aotearoa, I knew I wanted to create a challenge inspired by this extremely important book. It is beautifully illustrated, jam-packed with fascinating facts and raises important questions.

I have spent ages devouring Gavin’s book – musing on the animals that are no longer with us and those that are under threat. I catch his kereru drawing and think about how breathtakingly wonderful it is when kereru squat in our korokio, cabbage trees.




I want to make a poetry map

of wildlife (ANIMALS) in Aotearoa

with poems you send me.




You can write from your own experience of seeing an animal (bird, fish, animal) or you can write from research.

I highly recommend getting a copy of the book (get your own copy of from a library).


Habitats: rivers, lakes, sea, estuaries, wetlands, bush, farms, mountains, cities, towns, houses (think ants or spiders or cats or dogs), museums (think bones and fossils)

Time: night or day animals

Status: Extinct, endangered, thriving, wild, domesticated, farmed


Your poem: for this challenge I will do fact checks! I want you to help me build a poetry record of our wildlife.

Your poem: think about sounds, movements, skin, where the animal lives, fascinating facts, your experiences of it, your discoveries.

Your poem: Think about the way you set your poem out, how long will your lines be? Do you need to make up words (onomatopoeia)?

Your poem: Hunt for fresh similes.

Your poem: Listen to the rhythm as you read it.

Your poem: Poems can be short or long! Which words show me the animal?


Illustration: You may also send a drawing or painting if you like.


h a v e      p o e t r y      F U N


Deadline: 25th November 7 pm

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

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

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Some favourite poems: I will post some favourites on 30th November. I will put all the names in a hat and give Wildlife in Aotearoa to one poet.








Poetry Box March challenge: through the window







I will reply to your letters after the deadline.

I will post some of my favourite poems on Friday March 29th.

I will have at least one book to give away.

Read my tips before you start!

Remember: Poetry is PLAY! So have fun.



Poems start from all kinds of things – ANYTHING!!

Sometimes I stop everything and look out the window and turn the view into a poem.


I might try making the view fresh by using new similes or making my poem sound good.

I hunt for small details that surprise me and big things that fascinate.


Sometimes my poem is as short as lizard and sometimes as long as a snake.

I always read my poem out loud to hear the way it flows.


I like to use my ears: today I can hardly think because the crickets are making a racket, our dog is whining and our cat is scratching and the kereru is flapping and the umbrella is slapping in the south-west wind.

Sometimes what I see reminds me of something else.


Your challenge is to write a poem sparked by the view through a window.

There are no rules but I strongly recommend leaving your poem for a few days and then reading it again before you send it to me.


Look out the window for at least 5 minutes before you start writing. Wait to see what surprises you. What intrigues you. What delights you. What makes you feel something.

Jot down words and phrases before you start. See where you mind and eye and ears DRIFT!

Your poem can be plain or tricky!! Funny or serious. Real or imaginative. Rhyming or not rhyming. Have long lines or short lines.


Deadline: Monday March 25th

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

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

Don’t forget: put through the window poem in subject line so I don’t miss it!!


Here are some xtra challenges for extra keen poetry volunteers:

Let me know if you want to  do any of these (then I will tell you what to do next!)


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (one child or from teacher and class)


I really want to post some of these this year!!! I need some volunteers:  children and classes.

Wow! Some favourite poems from the Margaret Mahy challenge



What a special treat to have my email box fill to the brim with poems inspired by Margaret Mahy books. It was extra hard picking poems to post as this is the LAST challenge of the year. There were so many TREMENDOUS poems!


I loved the way Gemma used titles of Margaret’s books to make a poem.

I loved the way Daniel made an acrostic poem to sing the praises of Margaret.

I loved the way you all got your imaginations bouncing and your words leaping.


And I loved the Tom was so inspired he wrote 5 poems- I can tell he loves playing with words and making poems.

Because I love sharing poetry books around, I am sending Chloe a copy of The Treasury of NZ Poems for Children.

It was a treat to read all the poems you sent – thank you so much! I will do a few more posts this year before I put Poetry Box to sleep for the holidays.


It  was a big LOVELY coincidence but The NZ Herald is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow and invited me to write a wee story about what the boy was doing now he had grown up. It will be in the Herald’s Christmas Books feature on Saturday 8th December.


 t h e     p o e m s


Margaret Mahy

M aster of writing, you were

A lways entertaining us with such

R idiculous words from a remarkably

G ifted author

A ll ages adored your books and

R aucous rumbustifications as you

E encouraged us all

T o keep reading


M agical imaginator, you were

A ddicted to creating, and it will always be

H ard not to love your stories, as

Y ou were one of the greatest writers of all time

Daniel L Age 10, Year 5, Adventure School




Aunt Nasty…

There’s a King in the Cupboard

And a Lion in the Meadow!


Dashing Dogs!

It sounds like a Villain’s Night out…

The Tricksters!


The Seven Chinese Brothers

Can take the Underrunners

To the Green Bath


But what about the Witch in The Cherry Tree

The Three Legged cat

And the Great White Man Eating Shark?


The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate

Can take them to the Door in the Air

So they can start Making Friends


I think they are planning The Great Millionaire Kidnap

With the Pirate Uncle

And the Word witch!


Then we shall hide Down the Back of the Chair

And listen for Footsteps in the Fog

Until A Summery Saturday morning


And we will use the Dragon’s Telephone

To call the Good Fortunes Gang

To rescue us from this Horrendous Hullabaloo!

Gemma, Y8  Adventure School



Saturday Morning

On a Saturday morning I lay in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning I read a book in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning my Mum comes in, telling me to get up
On a Saturday morning I have Weetbix and toast, wishing that I hadn’t got up
On a Saturday morning I get dressed in my rugby clothes, reminding me why I got up
On a Saturday morning I get in the car with my Dad, who also had to get up
On a Saturday morning I arrive at my rugby game and see my friends, which is one of the reasons I got up
On a Saturday morning I score a try in rugby
I’m really happy I got up.

William F, age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.
Mother Pirate

My mother pirate
sleeps all day
wearing black boots
I call her queenfisher
She doesn’t like it
so she says to me
“you quacky duck”
and that’s my mum

Chloe W Age: 7  Ilam School



My Mother was a wonderful baker
She could bake all sorts of stuff
Biscuits, cakes, breads, slices
She was a master
But my favourite was her jam
Blackberry Jam
Sweet, syrupy stuff
Bread’s best friend.

Lachlan F age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.


Down the Back of the Chair

The chair, the chair,

Held riches and wealth

For many a year,

Without a person finding out.

He let them suffer,

He let them weep

He let them have nights with no sleep.

The poor family were at their end,

The father was driven round the bend.

Just as they were about to give up,

The chair erupted with all sorts of stuff.

Finally, the family could breathe again.

The chair had saved their lives.

By Eva M Karaka Room Royal Oak Primary School


The Bubble in the Wind
The bubble in the wind
flies gently by.
Over the trees
and into the sky.
Inside the clouds
the bubbles flies.
Into the wind
the bubble cries.
Next to a bird
who nips it flat,
and flies to the ground
with a great big SPLAT!

Christina S Age 6  Ilam School


Fruit Salad Flying
(After Margaret Mahy’s Down the Dragon’s Tongue)

Swizz, swoosh
Higher and higher
Whizz, whoosh
Warm and slippery
Fruit salad flying

Olivia L Age: 12 Year: 7 Selwyn House School


The Boy With Two Shadows
Footsteps rattling the sides of the concrete
Cracks splitting in the light
The delicate patter of a toddler’s step
A little boy’s walking alone

Swollen misshapen, two shadow swerve
Extraterrestrial shape
Two shadows based exactly the same
Sucked in by a little boy’s foot

The boy’s shadows dance and sway in the light
Both ugly, dark and small
The boy’s timid expression remains frozen
But the shadows duck and hide with a grin

The boy causes a stir as he walks down the lane,
Avoiding cracks at all costs
His two followers melt behind him softly,
Until all is left is a boy who once had two shadows

Sylvie King Age: 12 Selwyn House School


My Nan Sells Jam
Every morning she walks outside to smell the country air, she feeds the chickens then the horses and the spring lambs
Then she walks to her most treasured living creature
Her plum tree
She walks over and studies the condition of the plums then picks them
And puts then in her best woven basket
She walks back inside and mashes them together
and puts them in a jars.
Nan then will walk out onto the road with a table her jam and a country mag and set up a stand with her jam
Sometimes her stand with jam is busy sometimes it’s not
But my nan will always tell you one thing “I will never lose my love for plum jam”

Phoebe James 10 years old Year 5  Selwyn House School
The Santa Snail – After Margaret Mahy
Santa Snail walking running, you never know
Santa Snail curled up tight in his shell
Warm and cosy in his shell buried in the snow
A Santa Snail works all night long
Pulling his sleigh
With presents for other snails.

Mia D Age: 10 Year: 5 Selwyn House School


Mother Pirate

The woman who was a pirate,

Was fussy as can be.

Randomly, she sailed to sea,

Just to see the queen bee.

As greedy as a honey bear,

She then turned into the mountain deer!

Don’t look her in the eye,

Or you’ll be sorry!

Reham Y, Age 9, Year 5, Fendalton School


A Lion in the meadow
aahhh aahhh aahhh
The lion is stuck in tar.
Good, first I put a cage
over him.
His age is 7!
Oh no get the hose
Good, the tar is gone.
Let’s let him go
Wait! Let’s name him
Ahh um aha
Great idea.
Now let’s let him go
Ok bye Patrick!

Jonny A, age 6, from Ilam School
Milk In The Library

A cow walked into the library
To read a book on grass
She had a little accident and
Flooded the library with milk
Drenching books
Smudging ink
Wrecking leather
Milky mayhem in the library
Don’t open the door!

Finlay T  Age 8, Year 3   Ilam Primary


The lion in the meadow

The lion in the meadow gives a mighty roar

And then the mice run all along the floor

The lion jumps and I start to flee

While the lion laughs at me in glee

The lion makes a terrible sound

And I drop in fright to the ground

The lion runs

And I get stunned

Bye, lion!

By Josie P, age 7, Year 2, Ilam School, Christchurch


The Witch in the Cherry Tree
The noise echoed through the silent house,

I walked to the window,

Somebody was there,

In the tree,

I rushed to the other bedroom,

I joined my parents to gaze at the witch in the cherry tree.

Ruby T Age 10, Year 6 Ilam School


And to finish up FIVE magnificent poems by TOM

Lion in the Light
Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(scratchy-meaty ever so beefy)
out in the shed.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(purry-furry ever so roary)
out in the garden.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(shocking-rocking ever so coughing)
out on the deck.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(breaky-achy ever so wakey)
out in the kitchen.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
Lighty-bitey ever so mighty)
down in your bedroom.

Corn Trouble
There is trouble in the corn field.
The magpies crunch for brunch
crunchy and brunchy til the dawn
opens the mouth of corn
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There is trouble in the corn field.
There is popcorn on the road.
There is popcorn in the garden
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There’s no trouble in the corn field.
All the corn is on the ground.
The magpies have sailed
in a river of popcorn.
There’s no more corn to drop.

The Boy with Two Shadows
I am here
but cannot be seen.
You will never know
where I take steps
or strike. You will
never know, where I’ve been.

I am there
but not here.
You will never know
where I am.
You can touch me
and I’ll disappear.

The boy looks at his shadow
In the sun
And realises he has two!
What will he do?

The Margaret Mahy Jelly Playground
There was a green can
of jelly in the supermarket.
Every customer walked past
and never bought him.
This left him lonely.
So one night he dropped
off his shelf.
His can burst open.
All at once the supermarket
was a green jelly playground,
With slides, swings
and a water factory.
This became known
as the Margaret Mahy Jelly playground,
where the children of New Zealand
could play safely for ever,
ever, ever and ever.

The Burger Burglar
The Burglar could never
resist stealing burgers.
Cheese and sour cream,
bacon, beef and onion,
pineapple and corn.

At night he broke
into houses to steal
only burger stuff.

He only left sauce trails.

A detective followed
the trail of sauce,
and caught him.

It turned out
he only stole burger stuff,
because he wanted
to make friends.

Tom N Age 10  Year 5  Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka

Poetry Box November Challenge: celebrating Margaret Mahy with poems


The hat-instead-of-a-cat poem

If I wore a cat instead of a fluffy hat

I would sneeze and sniffle

but if I had a hat in the cat basket

it wouldn’t ask me for biscuits

with a terrifying catOwail

and a frightful tabbyhOwl

before the pink light of dawn.


Paula Green





Dear young poetry fans

This is the last poetry challenge for 2018.

I might do secret popUP challenges over summer with giveaway books and a quick turn around.

But to end the year I want to celebrate the MAGNIFICENT writing of Margaret Mahy – her books and her poems, her characters and her delicious imagination.

I was inspired to do this when St Francis School sent in poems based on Margaret’s A Summery Saturday Morning poem.



Margaret Mahy POEM challenge:


Write a poem that steps off from a Magaret Mahy

picture book



one of her titles

or character

or word she invented

or tricky situation she came up with

or first line of a poem


Your poem can be or do ANYTHING!

Get imaginations BUzzING

Use your EARS and listen out for MUSIC

You might do a very short poem!

PLAY with everything – especially how many words on a line

try RHYME play and hiding rhyme like salt and PEPPER

PLAY with how it LOOKS on the page/screen

you can illustrate your poem if you want





Send to: paulajoygreen@google.com

Deadline: FRIDAY  30th November

Please include: your name, age, year and name of school

So I don’t miss it: Put MAHY poem in subject line

I will post SOME on:  Monday December 3rd






August Poetry Box challenge: Some favourite nursery-rhyme poems

Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 2.43.09 PM.png

drawing and poem by Holly from Fendalton School in Christchurch

Twinkle twinkle black and white moon
how so bright it’s shining through
Up at all those shining stars
Twinkle twinkle black and white moon
How so bright it’s shining through


This challenge was so popular – it takes us back to when we were very very young and nursery rhymes were fun to say.

It has taken me a MOUNTAIN of TIME to read them all and REPLY!!

I loved the way you played and invented! There were so many AMAZING poems I could have made a book of them so please don’t feel sad if I didn’t pick you.

This is not a competition but I am giving a copy of The Letterbox Cat (my poems) to Siena at Richmond Road School.

Here is a sample of poems I have loved. But for every one I loved here there is one I loved I didn’t post … and MORE!!




Three poems from Elvie:

Hey diddle diddle

Hey diddle diddle
the dog and the flute ,
the horse jumped over the moon.
The small parrot laughed to see such jump,
and the fish
swam away in the room

Cat and Bill

Cat and Bill jogged to a hill
to fetch the frisbee that they threw
when they came down they hurt their crowns
and ran away to the hospital.

Martin had a small parrot

Martin had a small parrot
small parrot
small parrot
Martin had a small parrot it talked the night away
every time a storm hit
storm hit
storm hit
every time a storm hit
it slept the night away.

Evie age 8 year 4, Fendalton Open Air School


A twisty nursery rhyme poem from Xanthe

Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey, diddle diddle the fox with a fiddle.

The bird flew around the moon.

The little mouse laughed to see such fun.

And the cup ran away with all the tea bags
Hey diddle diddle Humpty Dumpty with a fiddle

Mary’s lamb jumped over the moon

Peter Piper laughed to see such fun

And a spider ran with curds and whey


Xanthe P,  Age: 11, Year 7,  Selwyn House School


A poem from Sylvie
Mousse XYZ
Says A, give me a good large bite,
Says B, a little bit, the fruit’s too bright
Says C, cut me a piece of pie, Take it, says D, it’s risen too high,
Says E, I’ll eat it fast, I hope, Says F, Okay but the texture’s like rope
Says G, give it me good and ripe, Says H, apple is the type,
Says I, it’s ice I must begin, Says J, the juice is in the tin,
Says K, let’s keep it down below, Says L, there is something wrong with the dough
Says M, it makes your knees feel weak, N said, red is now the colour of my cheek
O others’ plates with grief he looked, P for piece thoroughly cooked,
Q quarrelled for the final slice, R felt his stomach and said “it’s nice,”
S silently sat, and only viewed, T vanished when he saw the food
U understood the fruit was red, V was already in his bed
W wished there’d been a sugar layer, X here explained it was worthy for the mayor,
Y said, I’ll eat, and be stuffed like a goose, Z, was sad there was no mousse
While all the letters all surveyed dish, And for another pie they all did wish.

Sylvie K 11 Years Old Year 7 Selwyn House School


A poem from Chloe

Shiver shiver little river

Shiver shiver little river
glowing in the dark all night
you can show your little face
Shiver shiver every day
Shiver shiver little river
glowing in the dark all night.

Chloe  W, age 7, Ilam School


Two poems from Aurora

Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Lights
Twinkle twinkle traffic lights
you will see them in the night
red means stop
green means go
orange means really slow
twinkle twinkle traffic lights
you will see them in the night

My Friends Are Kind
My friends are kind dilly dilly my friends are kind
Will you be kind dilly dilly will you be kind?
When you are kind dilly dilly when you are kind
We shall be friends dilly dilly we shall be friends

Call up your friends dilly dilly call up your friends
We will have fun dilly dilly we will have fun
Let’s play outside dilly dilly lets play outside
And look at the clouds dilly dilly look at the clouds

My friends are kind dilly dilly my friends are kind
If you are kind dilly dilly I will be kind
Let’s watch the birds dilly dilly let’s watch the birds
When they all play dilly dilly when they all play

Let’s all sing dilly dilly let’s all dance
Will you be kind dilly dilly will you be kind?
When you are kind dilly dilly when you are kind
We can be friends dilly dilly we can be friends
Aurora C, 9 years, Selwyn House School


A poem from Mishika

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a Car
And ate his pie with a start
The car went Wee Wee and the Car went Was Was
It shakes all around
And threw Humpty Dumpty on the ground
All the Kings Men and all the Kings Horses
Came Marching up and Down
But couldn’t lift Humpty off the ground.

Mishika C age 7, Year 2


3 poems from Ruby
Rinsy, Mincy, Cider

Rinsy, mincy, cider,
Sloshed down the huge long straw,
Down came the boy that sucked the cider up,
Out came the bottle that refilled the glass,
And rinsy, mincy, cider,
Sloshed down the straw again.

Wrinkle, Shinkle, Big, Big,Car

Wrinkle, shinkle, big, big, car,
How I wonder how fast you are,
Flying above the racetrack high,
Like a meerkat in a pie,
Wrinkle, shinkle, big, big, car,
Now I know how fast you are.

Men in the shed

Men in the shed,
And the big one read,
Come over, come over,
They all came over and a hammer fell down,

The men in the shed,
Together they read,
Oh no, oh no,
They all panicked and a saw fell down,

The men in the shed,
And the large one said,
Meet Ted, meet Ted,
They all met Ted,
And Ted fell down ,
Knocking an axe with his crown,

All the men in the shed,
All together they read,
The tools, the tools,
The tools are dead,
So all the men in the shed,
Picked up the dead,
And all the men in the shed,
Including little Ted,
Left the shed forever.

Ruby T Age 10 Ilam School


2 poems from Sylvia


Black black sack sack

Do you have a ball?

No Sir no sir ask another fool

There is one in the basket

And one in the pool

And another in the mall

Rolling round the school



Humpty Dumpty was such a fool,

Minutes later he had a great fall;

All the Queen’s saucers

and all the King’s pens couldn’t make Humpty

feel better again.

Sylvia, age 7, Year 3, Ilam School


3 poems from Tom
Kakariki Egg
Kakariki sat on a King’s wall.
Kakariki had a great fall.
All of the trees
all of the leaves
couldn’t put Kakariki
together again.

The Rescue
three pigs in the sea
and who do you think they be?

A farmer, a policeman,
and a bird woman
all cried out to me.

“Help us, we’re trapped
without even a map,
and we’re drifting out to nowhere.”

So I picked up a rope
and took to the air,
and flew low over the sea.

The bird woman clawed up the rope to me.
The farmer swung like Spiderman.
The policeman climbed like Superman.

They all tumbled back to shore.
And that’s the last I saw.

Three Little Puppies
Three little puppies
have eaten their mittens
and they began to laugh.

“Oh mother dear
we happily sneer
our mittens we have eaten.”

“What eaten your mittens?
You wicked puppies,
then you shall feed the cats.”

“Woof, woof, woof,” the puppies begged.
“The cats can hush, hush, hush,
and sleep in the bush.”

Three little puppies
have bought new mittens
and they began to laugh.

“Oh mother dear
we happily sneer
our mittens we have bought.”

“What bought new mittens?”
You lovely puppies,
then you shall have some pie.”

“Woof, woof, woof” the puppies sang.
The cats can hush, hush, hush
And sleep in the bush.”

Tom, age 9, Year 5 Hoon Hay School Te Kura Koaka


2 poems from Churton Park School

One, two pick up my shoes
Three, four slam my door
Five, six, Grab my bag of tricks
Seven , Eight , you might be late
Nine, ten, we´ll do this again

Tayla M , Year : 6, Age : 10, Churton Park School


I’m a little mouse
Squeaky and small
This is my tail
And this is my ear

When the cheese comes out
Hear my Squeak
Pick me up
And put me to sleep

Georgie M Churton Park School



Jack and Jill poems


My name’s Jack,
This is Jill.
We’ve been sent to get water
From the well.

It’s on top of the hill
(How did that happen?)
Too late I realise
That the ground isn’t even.

I trip, I slip
Jill follows suite
I hurt my head
She hurts her foot.

Somewhere I was told
(But not by a doctor)
To cure with vinegar
And brown paper.

I know it’s not technically
Medical advice
But I tried it, and failed,
So I tried twice.

It didn’t work!
I moan and and I curse
I guess we’ll just have to
Call a nurse.

Evangeline, 11, Year 6, ACG Strathallan


Jack & Jill

Jack and Jill
Went to build a big blue pool
He dropped a crown in
Then Jill went to get it

Liam D 7 years old  St. Andrews College


Baa Baa Black Sheep poems

Meow meow black cat
Have you any mice ?
Of course of course
3 little mice
One for me and one for mum
One for my little tiny peckish tum
Meow meow black cat
Have you any mice
Of course of course
12 little mice.

Georgie M, 9, year 5, Selwyn House School


Baa Baa Black Cow

Baa baa black Cow
Have you any spots?
Yes sir, yes sir,
9 hands full.
Baa baa black cow
Have you any else?
No sir, no sir,
Nothing else

Chloe MAge 7 St Andrew’s College


Oink Oink Piglet

Oink oink piglet,

Have you any apples

Laid in your rusty pot?

Well.. yes Mam yes Mam 3 pots full.

1 for the lamb, 1 for the chicken,

1 for the little piglet,

Who lives down the lane!

Zian, age 10, Fendalton Open Air School


Hickory Dickory Dock poems
Nickity kickity lock.
The Kea went up the clock.
The clock struck 4.
The Kea fell down.
Nickity kickty lock.

 Natsuki H Age 8 Fendalton School


The lion and the clock

Hickory dickory dock
the lion went up the clock
the clock fell down
the lion ran out
hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock
the lion went up the clock
the clock struck two
it said “how do you do”
hickory dickory dock!

Leona K, age 8, Selwyn House School

The dog stood by the block

Woofity woofity woof
The dog stood by the block
The dog barked twice
Then saw two mice
Woofity woofity woof

Tilly, age 9, Selwyn House School


Hot cross buns poem

Hot pot buns

Hot pot buns
Hot pot buns!
Hot pot buns!
One cat, two kittens,
Hot pot buns!

If you have no pets,
Give them to your mum.
One cat, two kittens,
Hot pot buns!

Ida  Age: 9  Year: 5 Selwyn House

Hey diddle diddle poems

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
playing on the moon.
The cat played the fiddle
and the fiddle played the cat.
The moon jumped over the cow.
The little dog laughed to see such a thing,
And the dish snapped on the spoon

Leilah H Year 7 Selwyn House School


The Squirrel Stealing the Pizza

Hey diddle diddle
The dog and the coffee
The lamb jumped over the sun.
The teddy bear laughs at all of this
And the squirrel runs off with the pizza.

Estelle R Age 7  St Andrews Prep
Hey Dish Spoon

Hey dishy spoony
the spoon and the bloomy
the bloomy touched and the moose ran with the bloom
and the fish ran with the crab
bye dishy spoony.

Maia T  7 yrs old  Ilam School



Five poems from the Samoan Unit at Richmond Road School

Four Little Gorillas

Four little gorillas on their sled
one fell off and his name was Ned.
Papa called the nurses the nurses said
No more gorillas on their sled.
Three little gorillas on their sled
One fell off and lost his leg,
Papa called the nurses the nurses said
No more gorillas on their sled.
Two little gorillas on their sled
One fell off and lost his head
Papa called the nurses the nurses said
NO more gorillas on their sled.
One little gorilla on his sled
he fell off and he was dead
Papa called the Undertaker the Undertaker said

Kingston K Age 10 Richmond Road School MIM


Littery Dittery Potch

Littery dittery potch,
The bee flew on to the watch.
With a fiddle de dee,
It went to three…
Littery dittery potch!

Xavier L, 9 years old, MIM, Richmond Road


Meow Meow Gray Cat

Meow meow gray cat have you have you fell in love?
Yes, sir, yes, sir when I caught a Dove.
And once when I ate,
And once when I slept,
And once when I went to bed,
And snuggled with my ted.

Lelei 9 years MIM-  Richmond Road School

!!!!Pitty Patty!!!!

Pitty Patty sat on a pole
Pitty Patty had a great mole
All of her family and all of her friends
Couldn’t look at miss Pitty again.

Silly Sally heard about it
Silly Sally could barely sit
All of her family and all of her friends
Laughed at little miss Pitty again.

Sobby Seron cried about it
Sobby Seron felt bad for Pit
All of his family and all of his friends
Cried for little miss Pitty again.

Daneeka F MIM 9 years old Richmond Road School

Old King Tole And His Very Bad Mole

Old king Tole had a very bad mole,
And a very bad mole had he.
He called for his spade,
and he called for his blade,
And he called for scribblers three.
Each scribbler did a scribble,
And a very nice scribble had he.
Oh there’s none the same,
And that was a shame,
So he gave it a name,
And then he played a card game,
to finish his last game,
then he went to bed,
And said “Night Ted!”

Siena S – Mim 10 years -Richmond Road School


Four poems from LS7 Westmere School

Somtey Fumtey

Somtey Fumtey sat on a ledge.
Somtey Fumtey fell off the edge.
All the kind doctors,
And all the kind men,
COULD put Fumtey together again!

Cody P age 9 LS7 Westmere School

Miss Muffin and her Puffin!

Massive Miss Muffin,
Sat next to her puffin,
Who squawked and screeched all day.
The puffin was scary,
Miss Muffin felt wary,
And she ran, so far far away.

Sunny C,  Age 10 Ls7 Westmere School

Squarkle Squarkle Naughty Kia

Squarkle Squarkle naughty Kia,
You’re a bird we don’t go near.
Lurking in the south car park,
I hope you don’t wreck my car.
Squarkle Squarkle naughty Kia,
You’re a bird we don’t go near!

Anthony J, Age 9 Ls7 Westmere School

Mini Miss Muffin

Mini Miss Muffin,
Ran to her tuffin,
Scaring the birdies away.
She spied a huge worm
Who squiggled and squirmed
Which worried Miss Muffin all day

Rosa B,  Age 9 LS7 Westmere School


3 poems from LS8 Westmere School


Kiwi Kiwi

Kiwi kiwi was having fun near his forest ,
With his friend Ruru, who was a florist.
They sold lots of flowers,
Then after two hours,
Kiwi kiwi went back to his forest.

Mahe L age 10 LS8 Westmere School
Lilly and the Black Goat

Lilly had a black goat, a black goat, a black goat.
Lilly had a black goat,
Its coat was as black as night.
When Lilly went on a boat, on a boat, on a boat,
When Lilly went on a boat,
The goat was sure to float.

Claudia P age 9 Westmere School LS8

Possum Wossum found a kiwi
Playing with his friends and iwi.
When he saw the light of day
Possum Wossom sprang away.

Kane P age 11 LS8 Westmere School


2 poems from LS6 at Westmere School

Cat and Mouse
Cat and Mouse went up to the house,
to sneak a snack from the larder.
Cat got caught and so he fought
and Mouse went fighting after.

Sophie M 11 years old  Westmere School LS6
Ava Parker
Ava parker sat on the sill,
Ava Parker got quite ill.
All the good doctors
And all the good vets
Left all their patients
And left all their pets.
Ava Parker sat on the sill,
And Ava’s poor mother,
had to pay the bill.

Maddie H  Age: 9  Westmere School  LS6


6 poems from Richmond Rd School

The Escape
Little Jack Runga,
Sat by the punga,
Eating a mince and cheese pie.
Along came a Huhu,
Escaping a Ruru,
And hid in the nearby marae.

Maia 10, L’archipel, Richmond Road School.


A Sheep?

Meh, Meh, brown sheep
have you any brown wool?
Yes sir, Yes sir,
Three bags and a half
One for the doctor
and one for nurse
and one for grand-dad down the road.

Baa baa striped sheep
have you any wool?
No sir, no sir,
I’m a zebra.

Alphonse T Age:10 Richmond road School  Class:L’envol


Jess and Jake

Jess and Jake rowed on the lake,
To catch a bucket of fish.
A few minutes later,
They were ready to cater,
But had to clean up the dish.
Sophie G Age: 10 Class: L’Envol Richmond Road School


Wild Adventure!!!
Posh, Pish with a fish,
Roast chicken on a dish.
Picnic, with a fox,
who’s favourite book is Goldilocks,
Climb a tree with a panda,
While drinking orange Fanta.
Ride a wave with a shark,
In the deep and in the dark.
Ski Cadrona without a care,
Come face to face with a polar bear.

Our adventure is now done,
I hope you’ve had a lot of fun!!!!!
Florence S Age: 11 Class: The Hub Richmond Road School


Hey Fiddle Diddle

Who jumped over the moon with a moo?
With a “Hey-diddle-diddle”
And a feline-ish fiddle,
A chihuahua laughed,
for good sport and a half.
Hishery, pishery, sploshery, splish,
A spoon ran away with a dish!

Poppy T 10 KC Hub Richmond Road School


Half Way Up

UP said mother duck!
DOWN said father duck!
Half the ducklings went UP,
Half went DOWN.

UP said father duck!
DOWN said mother duck!
Half the ducklings went DOWN,
Half went UP.
By the end they were neither nor

Frankie S  Age: 10  Richmond Road School Class: Hub



To finish up you can hear Daisy read her poem

Some favourite butterfly poems from the July challenge

The butterfly poems have been such as a popular challenge. Thank you so much for sending me poetry that filled my house with butterflies – it felt like they would lift off my screen and go flying because the language was so bright and lively.

I have a posted a few poems from all the schools – and it was so so hard choosing.

Just because I didn’t pick your poem doesn’t me it wasn’t AMAZING– I just tried to get a variety.

I am sending a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat to Leona.

AND I got such a gorgeous bunch of illustrated poems from Raumati School that will brighten your day I am going to post a cluster separately.

Do try my August challenge.

(if I haven’t replied to your poem let me know!)


Lonely Butterfly

Soft wing,
light as feathers.
The butterfly
flies from place
to place.
She lands slowly
on a forget-me-not
and remembers
her mother.


My name is Leona K,  8 years old, Year 5, Selwyn House School


The Butterfly Artist

With her orange 

and black wings, 

the butterfly draws 

the cherry blossom, 

with a swan feather.


Runika, age 8, Year 4, Selwyn House School



Fragile wings shimmering

In the morning sky

Coloured as pink

as cotton candy.


Lucy Fraser, age 7,  St Andrews Prep


Butterfly poem

The monarch butterfly

swoops down on

the sunny summer

day and eats a drop

of sugar and flies back.


Rose Age 9 Year 4  Fendalton School, Christchurch


Butter flutter

Butterfly flutter

In the summer sun

Their shiny wings

Glow in the sun

Like waves

They are very quiet


Estelle Russell Age 7  St Andrews College Preparatory School


The Arrival of the Butterfly

hanging by a silky thread

she emerges

crumpled wings straighten

delicate as rice paper


light reflects off

her metallic blue wings

fading away at

the blackened edges


flitting among the branches

like petals in the breeze

she lands on my shoulder

whispering secrets in my ear

Olivia L Age: 11 Selwyn House School




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Gemma L, Year 8, Adventure School, Wellington





Daniels Butterfly Poem.png

Daniel L, Age 9, Year 5, Adventure School, Wellington



Fluttering Butterflies

I am a beautiful butterfly spreading my wings.

I can taste the sweet sweet honey that I suck up with my very own long straw,

I can smell the scrumdiddlyumptious nectar,

I can hear the thunder on a bad day as I hide under a leaf,

I can see the terrifying toad approaching me as I glide out of reach,

I can feel the petals on a flower as soft as silky silk.

Peggy N  Age 9  Westmere School LS6




The butterfly is as delicate as a ballerina.

The butterfly is as strong as a an eagle.

The butterfly is as colourful as confetti.

The butterfly is as stunning as a rose.


The butterfly makes me feel happy when I look at it fluttering in the wind.

The butterfly cautiously dances in the breeze while avoiding a sly frog.

Butterflies are graceful, beautiful and strong.

I wouldn’t mind being a butterfly.


Maddie H Age 9  Westmere School LS6


The Butterfly

A ragged butterfly head peeks out of a chrysalis

after the devastating earthquake

The lonely butterfly flaps its wings feebly

It glides,then lands on a rose

It sucks the delicious nectar

The graceful butterfly finds some others

and flies out of sight –

A sign of hope after the earthquake.


Aaron K Age 10, Fendalton Open-air School


The Butterfly

Every warm summer day,

She spreads her pink wings,

To find some juicy nectar,

From a new yellow flower,

After a day of exploring,

She lays down on her leafy bed,

     Thinking about what tomorrow brings.

Zian Age 10 Fendalton Open Air School


26th July 2018

Green leaves on green grass

A flap of a butterfly’s wings is the only sound

The moon is out

The sky is pitch black

Then a huge group of butterflies pass

Butterflies red

Butterflies blue

Butterflies multicoloured too

Butterflies pass over my head

I go to sleep with a butterfly on my nose!


Amy Viles Age: 9 Fendalton Open-Air School



Butterflies flutter by,

like the fluttery buttery bugs they are!

Curly wurly,

diply durly,



skies so blue!

Poppy T, age 10, Kiwi Connection Hub Richmond Road School



The moonlight reflects on the butterflies wings,

The butterfly dances while the morepork sings.

The butterfly is as beautiful as the stars,

They fly, frolic having fun.

They dance in the night,

They dance in the light.

The ballerina of insects.


Florence S, age 11, Hub, Richmond Road School



Butterfly lays eggs                      

Underneath a leaf                 

The eggs are really small

The eggs are yellow

Eggs hatch

Red caterpillars wriggle

Feasting on food

Lie down on the leaf and sleep

Yet they wake up and start again


Xavier L, 9 years old, Samoan Unit, Richmond Road School


I am a Butterfly

I am a butterfly and I fly high in the sky

I also crystalise

So I can do some exercise

Sometimes I cry

Then I eat some pie

But I also lie

So I can eat some french fries

Then I apologise

Then do some more exercise

But I also say goodbye

Then I see a cat’s eye

And NOW I  say goodbye!!!!

Siena S,  10 years – Samoan Unit, Richmond Road School



butterfly butterfly flying through the trees

butterfly butterfly flapping happily

butterfly butterfly pounced by a tiger!

butterfly butterfly narrow escape

butterfly butterfly lived ever after


Charlie J, Age 8, Fendalton Open Air School


Room 4 at St Francis School visited the butterfly exhibition at Auckland Museum and then did shape poems back in class. Here are a few:

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Poetry Box June Challenge: a winter poem video festival




Today is SO cold in Auckland and we are waiting for our fireplace to be finished. When it gets down to 1 degrees like last night (and probably colder up high where we are) it feels like winter. Our cats are sleeping tight together.

I love winter. I love running on the beach in the biting teeth of the wind to get warm. I love making hot soup and hot muffins and piping hot curries and tajines. I love looking at the bright blue sky when my fingers are numb.

Last week Y3/4 at Waitakere School made a video of themselves reciting an epic woman poem. You can hear it here. It inspired me to get you making poem videos.


Important: I can only post videos with you in them if the school or your parents give me permission!



The topic:           W  i  n  t  e  r


First:  you have to write a winter poem as a class or by yourself or with a friend. See tips below.

Second: you have to make a video of it. It might be you saying the poem or you might film something else as you read it.  See tips below.

Third: I will post the videos as I get them not just on the last day of the month.

So it will be a                      JUNE WINTER VIDEO POEM FESTIVAL

Fourth: On June 30th I will repost some favourite links to your videos. I will have a copy of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children for at least one class and at least one child.


Deadline: June 27th

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget: to put winter video poem in email subject line so I don’t miss it


Tips for writing a winter poem:

Collect as many winter words as you can. Hunt for verbs adjectives nouns adverbs. 50?100?

Make patterns with the words you collect.

Hunt for sparking similes.

Poem launch points: what you eat, do, wear, see in winter. Where do you go?

Real things can make a poem strong.

A winter poem might tell a winter story.

A winter poem might be short and it might be long.

You might write it together as a class or in a group, with a friend or sibling or by yourself.

Listen to the rhythm of your poem. How can you change it?

Play with how many words you put on the line.

Let your poem sit for a few days, then make sure you love every word and how it sounds.


Tips for videoing a winter poem:

Film yourself or your class reading the poem.

Play around with who says what line! One voice, many voices.

Film something wintry as you read the poem.

Film winter drawings you have done as you read the poem.

Film photographs you have taken as you read the poem.

You can film it on a phone! Or IPad.

You can get video tricky with how you do this but you can keep it very simple.

I am no expert on video things. This is a BIG learning curve for me so I will give it a go too. I will get my daughters to teach me.


Remember I cannot post videos with you on screen without parental permission or school permission if a class does it. Audio is ok.


A Poetry Box holiday challenge inspired by Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work (Gecko Press)



Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work, Aleksandra & Daniel Mizielinski and Malgorzata Mycielska, Gecko Press, 2018

Find out the book here


I have just read the most AMAZING book from from Gecko Press:


Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work


It gave me an idea for some tricky holiday challenges to get your poetry teeth into!


Inside the book

… you will find glorious illustrations to match magnificent ideas.

Sometimes people have thought of bold ideas that everyone thought were CRAZY and WOULD NEVER WORK.

Some make you laugh, some NEVER worked, some make you think the inventor was a GENIUS!!!!!!

Did you know Heron of Alexandria thought of automatic sliding doors 200 years ago? Everyone thought it was a trick of the gods.

You will discover the Passenger Dragon, the Bubble Messenger, the Bird Ship, a personal Cloud Maker, a Concentration Helmet, Ice Tunes and many more.

This book is RIVETING



I really love it and I think YOU will love it too!


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Three holiday poetry challenges


poems can be simple tricky smooth flowing use hardly any words use lots of words


1. Extraordinary inventions that DID work


Hunt for some extraordinary inventions. You could go to the library or use the internet with the help of someone.

We might not think it is EXTRAORDINARY now but maybe it was then.

Write a poem about the invention.

Test out strong verbs.

Use physical words to describe it.

Play with how many words you put on the line.

Listen to the poem.

Try three different endings then pick your favourite.

Make your poem tell a story.

Make a really short poem that uses the best words to describe the invention (especially verbs).

Travel back in time to when it was invented. Show me that time in your poem. Just a word here, and a word there.


2. Extraordinary inventions that DID NOT work: 

You might find one of these to write a poem about – you could write a poem about one in the book! You will get a MOUNTAIN of inspiration there. I think those 25 inventions are HUNGRY for poems.


3. OOOOOOOH   EXTRA TRICKY challenge: try writing a poem about an imaginary invention.  You imagine it!



Deadline: Saturday 27th April

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

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

Important: Put Invention poem in subject line so I don’t miss it.


I will post some favourites on May 3rd and have a book surprise for at least one poet.


Don’t forget: You have until Friday April 27th to do the APRIL challenge (on the way poems – perfect for the holidays too!!).


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April Poetry Challenge: on the way






writing a poem is like riding a bicycle into places you know well, places you are seeing for the first time and places you have to imagine – on the way is the best part of writing a poem!




This is our first poetry challenge of the year. I will also post bits and pieces between now and April 30th when I post some favourite poems.

If you follow my blog you will get an email when I post something new. See sidebar below.

My poetry challenges are open to New Zealand students from Y0 to Y8. Make sure you include the details I ask for below.

This is not a competition but I will send at least one poetry book to someone.



The challenge:         o n    t h e    w a y     poetry


The most important thing for me as a poet is writing the poem.

When I write a poem I am on the way somewhere as I write and I often don’t know where.

I surprise myself every time!



For this challenge I want you to pay attention when you are on the way somewhere and see what you discover.

It might a be a long or a short journey: to the school hall or the shops or the beach or your grandparent’s place or on holiday or another country or to the kitchen or the back fence.



We are often so busy racing to get to our DESTINATION we miss surprising wonderful things on the way.

I keep hearing things that surprise me.

Sometimes I like to stop and stand still and use all my senses to discover something I have never noticed.


Collect sights and sounds and smells and things that happen and use something as the starting point for a poem.

Try writing your poem as though you don’t know how it is going to turn out – so you are writing to discover something.

You might write your poem outside somewhere – half way to your destination.



It might be a list poem

or a short short poem like a haiku or made-up tiny tiny poem

or a poem that tells a story

or a poem that has rhyme on the end of the line

or a poem that showcases magnificent similies

or have strong detail. 


You might use your imagination

and invent what you discover on the way

to somewhere you have never been.


When you try writing have fun, it’s the best thing ever – which is why I am still doing it! Check out my poem below.


HOT TIP: wait a few days before you send your poem so you can listen to it one more time!


Deadline: Friday 27th April

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

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

Important: put on the way poem in the email subject line please so I don’t miss it!!!

I will post some favourites on Monday 30th April.



I got the Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington last year and saw the North Island in new ways from the train window!



Northern Explorer


The cloud is a grey clump

above the grey hill

They are whispering secrets

I can’t hear what they are saying

The hill sees herself in the clouds

The clouds see themselves in the hill


Paula Green






November challenges: reinventing acrostic poems and leaping off from art


I am going to post a few more things between now and December but these are the last challenges for the year.


I was inspired by two books:

a poem by James Brown in Annual 2 which I really really LOVED (check it out!!)

and the brand new, absolutely AMAZING  The New Zealand Art Activity Book.


There are two challenges!


I will have a copy of The Letterbox Cat and a copy of The New Zealand Art Activity Book (grateful thanks to Te Papa Press) to give away.


Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 27th November. I will post some favourites on 30th November.

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put ACROSTIC POEM or ART POEM  in the subject line of the email please. PLEASE say which artwork you picked under the title of your poem or in subject line of email.

First Up: Art Poems



The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, Te Papa Press 2017 (a new edition)

Te Papa Press have published a new art activity book and it is such fun. Helen Lloyd chose more than 50 artworks in the museum collection and asked 15 artists to do page works for the book especially.

You get to see old works and news works, from famous artists and not so famous artists, from Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian artists.

I really really like this book  because not only do I get to check out art but there are very cool activities. It is the perfect book for the summer holidays when you want a break from gadgets or tree climbing or boogie boarding.

You can colour in, make a tivaevae or flying sculpture, design a treasure box or patterns. There are 150 pages of things to do and look at.

I thought it might be fun to use one of the artworks as a starting point for a poem.


The challenge:

Pick an artwork. There are four images below to choose from.

let the artwork take you wherever you like!

You might take one small thing in the work that catches your eye as a starting point. Then you can leap into your imagination.

You might just use a colour and see where it leads you – mindwander on a page before you start writing. Especially for Sara’s painting.

Does anything in the painting hook a memory? Use that for your poem.

Play with colour words to make a word pattern (blue ultramarine grey). Try doing it in black font. Listen to your poem.

Try describing what you see in the painting in a poem. Play with the words.

Explore the feeling you get from the painting in a poem.

Invent a little story that your imagination hooks up from the work.

Try painting a picture with words – real things help make pictures grow.


Four artworks from four of my favourite NZ artists to choose from:



  1. ‘Millions of colours’ by Sara Hughes




2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule



3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek



4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell



Thank you!!!!   Activities/images reproduced with permission from The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, published by Te Papa Press. Available at all good bookstores or online here.


Second Up: Acrostic Poems


We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:


My cat





Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:


My cat

Catching scraps of paper

As though she is a vacuum cleaner,

The tail flicks, the whiskers quiver.


James Brown though was a very tricky acrostic poet because he made the first letters make a word and the last letters make a word. I have had a go with my cat poem:


My cat

Cheeky cat crept,  kitchen hectic

Ate the fishy pasta

That  we cooked tonight.


I decided to try putting the word in down the middle of the poem:


My Cat

The Cat sleeps on

my lAp, dreaming

of sTrange sardines.


Have fun playing with what acrostic poems can do!


And    h a v e   fun doing these two challenges.