Children’s Poetry…

Children’s rhymes and poems can shape the way we look at the world when we’re younger and bring back amazing memories when we’re older. To give you an example, I honestly can’t walk past a fish tank or see a kitten without fondly remembering sitting in a classroom (think it was Year 1) and learning, writing out and illustrating this one by Ogden Nash:

The Guppyby Ogden Nash

Whales have calves,
Cats have kittens,
Bears have cubs,
Bats have bittens,
Swans have cygnets,
Seals have puppies,
But guppies just have little guppies.

A.A. Milne, Michael Rosen, Roger Mcgough, Spike Milligan all have special places in my heart and different meanings for me. I think the one that terrified me was one we had to learn for a school concert: Matilda – Hillaire Belloc it’s a bit like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” but much darker!

Children’s poetry is fantastic for repetition, vocabulary and according to one blog even physical coordination…

Why Reading Poetry is So Important for Children

It’s also great to create poems with children and get them thinking about how words can sound with rhythm. How they can be used to express thoughts and feelings or just fun noises!

A game that my 3 year old son loves it when I rhyme words and change the first letter to make new and sometimes nonsense words. He joins in which is fantastic (though we have to be a bit careful…listening to the radio he heard the name Jack Horn…he suddenly started shouting “Jack Horn! Jack Corn! Jack Forn!Jack Morn! Jack P…..” 😳 Luckily we were in the car so no one around and I managed to distract him by shouting frantically back “Jack Corn Jack Corn” and then change the topic which seemed to work)<<<<<<<<<<<<
y article that gives ideas for simple activities. I particularly love the suggestion of having a book around the house that kids can write in. I used to have my own blue notebook (would love to dig it out!) And poetry is educational, helps kids to read etc but most of all it's just good fun!

Children’s Poems <<<<<<<<<<<<
ouch and let me know – What was your or what is your child's favourite childhood poem?

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Weekend book review…

One of my favourite parts about writing this blog, (my other favourite is that I’ve started writing stories and poems again) is that I get to read kids’ books and have a legitimate excuse for it! I enjoy reading adult literature too but there is something comforting about reading things I remember from childhood. Seriously, if you’ve had a tough day pick up a children’s book and get lost in it. Try it – it really works! I love re-reading Spike Milligan’s children’s poems, Roald Dahl books, Enid Blyton, Roger Mcgough’s “An Imaginary Menagerie” and another childhood favourite (which is at my mum’s but I’ve put it on my kindle) Michael Rosen’s “Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here”. Some of my best-loved all time classic books are “The Secret Garden”, “The Little Princess” and “Tom’s Midnight Garden”. The blog in some ways has helped me re-visit fond memories and I also love reading more modern authors and seeing what children are currently reading. Pseudonymous Bosch, Julia Donaldson, David Williams, J.K Rowling (ok showing my age as lots of adults have her books as a childhood memory! New-ish for me though :-))…the list could go on – If you have any suggestions of books you or your children have read I’d love to hear about them!

Anyhow, thought I’d do a review on the latest I’ve read:

My Brother’s Famous BottomBy Jeremy Strong

This book is a great one for 7-9 year olds. I only realised after that it’s part of a series. It’s set in a slightly mad household. They’re struggling for cash as they have 3 children (the twins being the latest addition) and they audition the twins for a disposable nappy advert…it results in chaos! I loved the characters: There’s a boy called Nicholas, a set of twins, an angry neighbour and his wife, a motorbiking step-grandad, an outspoken grandma, a patient mum, a very funny dry humoured wind up-merchant dad and a goat. I found myself chuckling throughout. Short but sweet and I definitely want to read the next book in the series. Will be encouraging my boys (a baby and a toddler) to read it when they’re older. Very funny!

Curious world…..

My eldest is 3 and going through the question stage. “It’s dark Mummy! Why is it dark? What about the moon Mummy? Where is the moon? Pointing at a light in the car: What is that Mummy? Answering his own question: It’s a light! Why is the light on Mummy? Light goes off: Where has the light gone Mummy? The light has gone off….” etc. etc. All this within a 2minute journey from the nursery to the car. It doesn’t stop there. Some days we get what feels like a full day in question commentary. Exhausting but fun – unless you’re trying to get somewhere on time! It got me thinking “Why do they ask “why?”so much?”

I found a couple of interesting links which helped answer my question….and apparently kids can ask up to 300 questions a day!!!! I shouldn’t be surprised but still…Wow!

Mothers Are Asked Nearly 300 Questions a Day….

The article below has some great tips and also suggests reading books to your children to encourage the questions. I love books that give children the chance to ask and answer questions. One of my son’s favourite is a Thomas the Tank Engine book that asks questions along the lines of “What does Bertie need to continue his journey? A red light or a green light?”

Why do children ask “why?”

Such a lot for them to find out about and sometimes we learn new stuff along the way too! Thanks

Last but not least, hope you enjoy my latest poem. It’s about some of the things I’ve found myself saying…….No wonder they ask so many questions!

What a Confusing World! – by Kirsten Allen

I’m listening and watching and only three-But oh my! The world’s such a confusing place to be.
Mummy says “Stay where I can see you!”
But how would I know where that is?
Mummy says “Don’t talk to strangers!”
But “be polite and say ‘hello’ to this lady! Go on – give her a kiss”
“Don’t run – you’ll slip and fall in this dreadful rain!”
“Quick run or we’ll miss the very last train!”
“You must share toys – now give him your bat!”
But if I want something “No! She’s playing with it – you can’t take that!”
“Sit still! Slow down! Don’t just inhale the food on your plate!”
“Come on! Hurry and eat up or we’ll be late!”
However, I’m hopeful that by the time I’m four,
I’ll understand a little more!
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Party like it’s Friday….

Well I promised the book review of Kitchen Disco (by Clares Foges and Al Murphy) and what a book it is! It arrived on Friday and without exaggeration we have read it about 8 times already. It’s great for around 6/7 and under with so much colour, fantastic rhyming and a good beat. It almost feels like you’re at a party when you read it. It tells you to “Dance like you don’t care!” (Though my 3 year old keeps insisting “I do care Mummy!” – not sure if he means his dancing or mine! 😂)
It’s all about the party fruit have when everyone’s asleep. So “Swing your hips, shake your pips and let’s get all excited!” Such an enjoyable book that my son loves doing the moves to.

There’s also a website attached with a video  (link below) though if I’m honest the book is fun enough without it.

Kitchen Disco

Something for the weekend….

What a lovely week! I’ve been fortunate to have been asked to do a monthly blog for a wonderful charity, Motherwell Cheshire CIO so watch this space!

https://www.motherwellcheshirecio.com/services 

Also I’ve volunteered to do a regular storytime at Hanwell Library in London which starts on the 9th November. Very excited and looking forward to it!

We’ve also got a wonderful new addition to our book family (it was recommended by a lovely lady on a Facebook thread) It’s such a sweet amusing story I just had to share!!!

The Pout-Pout Fish – by Deborah Diesen

This is a story about a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face spreading his dreary-wearies all over the place! (Think we’ve all had those days! 😂) It’s not his fault…it’s the way he was born…or so he thinks! This has lots of repetition and rhyming, alongside colourful characters. It’s a great one for the under sixes. Really love this book and so did my 3 year old. Here’s the link below. Have a great weekend!

Pout-Pout Fish

Boo!

I know it’s not until next week but with all the pumpkins, skeletons and witches about it’s hard not to get into the Halloween “spirit” (see what I did there?!)
Hope you enjoy this Halloween Rhyme!

Witching For Beginners 
By Kirsten Allen 26.10.17

No one believes me,
When I say I’m a new witch 
And that it was my broomstick,
That knocked my sister in the ditch.

I couldn’t find a prince to turn into a frog
But I found a magic potion in the bathroom,
So tried it on the dog.
Instead of turning into a creature, from the murky pond,
Our poor, brown, furry, four-legged friend, 
Turned an orange shade of blond.

And I then I tried to tell Mum that it was my untrained super witch powers,
That accidentally whacked the heads off all her best most favourite flowers.

I’m new to this whole witching thing,
So I am at a loss,
And really don’t know the right spell
To make her stop being so cross!

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Storytelling nerves…..

What are your favourite Autumn children’s books? 
This week Sandhurst Library have very kind in asking me to lead a storytelling session on Thursday and it’s Autumn themed. I’m so flattered that they would like to hear some bits that I’ve written alongside  some Autumn type books.

So here’s a little something I wrote for the occasion:

Autumn – by Kirsten Allen 

Mud squishing in my fingers 
Brown conkers all around
Golden leaves are falling. What a crunchy sound!!!
Furry squirrels playing hide and seek with the acorns that they find.
Lushes lovely berries!
Types of every kind.
These are the wonderful things I think of,
When Autumn springs to mind.

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Tuesday’s Challenge and Rhyme Time

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

Beatrix Potter

Tuesday’s Challenge!

For today’s challenge, children should draw a scene, it can be under the ocean, at the zoo, in space, a pirates ship or a mystical magical land….any where they want. They can draw a few characters (maybe a fish with 3 heads, a mermaid with 2 tails or a weird alien…anything they can imagine!) and then tell you about the picture and characters. You can make up stories together starting “One day (name of character)…..”

And now for a little rhyme I hope you enjoy:

An Adventurous Day Out
By Kirsten Allen

We’re going on an adventure, adventure adventure
We’re going on an adventure and the best is yet to come!
We’ve packed our jam sandwiches, jam sandwiches, jam sandwiches 
We’ve packed our jam sandwiches. Yummy yummy scrum!

We’ve packed our rainy day wellies, rainy day wellies, rainy day wellies, 
We’ve packed our rainy day wellies in case it starts to rain.
We’ve put on our nice warm jackets, nice warm jackets, nice warm jackets
We’ve put on our nice warm jackets and we’re off to catch the train!

We’re choo-chooing to the zoo, to the zoo, to the zoo
We’re choo-chooing to the zoo – I wonder what is there?
I can hear a roaring noise, a roaring noise, a roaring noise.
I can hear a roaring noise – is it a noisy bear?

NO IT’S NOT A BEAR!!!!! It’s a hungry LION and he’s escaped from his cage!!!!! HEEEELLLPPP!!!!!!

We’re running back out of the zoo, out of the zoo, out of the zoo!
We’re running back out of the zoo – it’s the only thing to do! 
We’re now all safe and sound, safe and sound, safe and sound
We’re now all safe and sound – BIG BIG PHEW!!!!!! 

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Book review and Rhino Rhyme

Today’s classic book review is one I read a lot as a child. We even went to see the play. Very happy memories of this one!

Wind in the Willows – by Kenneth Grahame

If this one isn’t a classic then I don’t know what is! The opening chapter is where Mole meets Rat. Mole is fed up with the spring cleaning and heads off out and discovers a river. He befriends Rat and here’s about Badger (a grumpy old Badger set in his ways) and Toad (who likes fast cars and seems to get into various manic scrapes which his friends need to get him out of) There are so many adventures and of course the obligatory baddies (stoats and weasels). It’s a lovely old fashioned book. The reading age is 8+ though I think children as young as 5 would enjoy having it read to them. Be warned – you might not want to put it down! I can still read this book and enjoy it today!

Now going back to Tuesday’s Challenge – it was to shut eyes, open then make a rhyme or story from the first 3 things you or your child see. Oliver is 2 and George is 8months so needed a little help! However, sitting in the living room we saw a rhino (footstool but we pretended it was real!), a cookbook and leaves (through the window outside). Hope you enjoy!
The Hungry Rhino
by Kirsten Allen

In his chair a rhino sat,
Stroking his fluffy Persian cat
And wondering (as rhinos do)
How on earth one cooks tasty leaf stew.

Does one fry it or boil it, grill it or simmer?
The rhino was desperate for stew for his dinner.

Does one chop it or mix it or slice it in half?
Wash it in a basin or dunk it in the bath?

What to do? What to do?
He wanted his stew!

His eyes fell upon a big book on the shelf.
Titled: “Are you a Rhino? How to feed yourself!” 

He clapped his hooves and laughed with glee.
For there he found the recipe on page fifty-three:

“Delicious homemade leaf stew for your tea!”

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Something interesting and a Bear rhyme!

I was really interested to find out why children love the same books over and over and over and over again. So I did a bit of googling. Turns out there’s been an experiment done on 2 groups of children. The first lot got the same book with a few made up words and had it read to them repeatedly. The second group had different books but the same made up words e.g. “Sprock” appeared in all of them. The group that had the same book repeated remembered the new words more easily. Think this will give me more patience when reading Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone (a lovely bedtime story about a bear going on adventures on various modes of transport) for the gazillionth time!!!!

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/never-ending-story-how-repetition-helps-a-childs-vocabulary-2220647.html%3famp

And here’s a bear story for the day:

Brave Boris and the Bear

Kirsten Allen

Brave Boris woke up one dawn
And thought about adventure on this bright morn’.
He put on his trousers and favourite old shirt.
Found socks and shoes and got on his horse – Bold Bert.
With a whinny and neigh they went off on their way!
Through fields and forests they galloped and rode.
Through mud and rivers the gallant horse strode.
Now tired and hungry, Brave Boris sat down to rest
And eat his scrummy picnic – (he liked cake the best!)
When all of a sudden he heard a roar and a yowl!
Suddenly came a screech and a howl!
Brave Boris realised he was picnicking near a cave…
And all of a sudden he didn’t feel so brave!
But then he felt curious, he wanted to know:
What was making that noise.
Should he look?…Should he go?
He paused for a minute to try and decide
What he should do – investigate or hide?
He heard another loud “ROAR!” 
And “Someone help! I’ve hurt my paw!!!!”
Soon followed by a very big yelp! 
So Brave Boris went right in to help.
He looked inside and saw a bear crying.
“Please help me!” He said “I’ve been trying and trying!”
“What’s the matter?” asked Brave Boris, (who was still not too sure.)
“Please help!” said the bear “I’ve got a thorn in my paw!”
“A thorn in your paw? No wonder you cried!”
The bear said “It won’t come out – I’ve tried and I’ve tried!”
Brave Boris looked and scratched his head.
“I’ll get it out for you. First sit on your bed.
Now hold out your paw…be brave! Just a little bit more…”
With a heave and a ho
It came out in one go!
“As a thank you” said the bear.
“I’d like you to take 
A very big slice of my honey cake”.
Brave Boris was happy as happy could be and gobbled the honey cake up for his tea!

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