Poems, Stories and Story-poems
People sometimes ask me, “What is your favourite poem?” My answer depends on the meaning of the question – my favourite of other poets’ poems is The Donkey by G K Chesterton; my favourite of my own poems is often the one I’ve most recently written, but Pelican is one of them. My head is often full of what I’m writing NOW rather than what I wrote some weeks, months or years ago. So it takes me by surprise when suddenly I meet a book or a poem that I wrote and had forgotten about.
G K Chesterton wasn’t just a poet. He also wrote some fabulous stories and novels. I, too, write stories but mine are nothing like his. Mine are much shorter and are for young children. Imagine my delight when my niece told me that her daughter – my great-niece – who started school two months ago, had brought home her reading book – and it was one that I’d written! Here it is (above) in Pearson’s Rigby Rocket series of early readers.
And here (below) is my great-niece enjoying some poems from my new book, Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles. It’s published by Bloomsbury and would make a great stocking-filler, so it’s a good one to put on your Christmas list, if you write one! The poems are in all sorts of styles about all sorts of worms. Three of my favourites are both poems AND stories: they’re narrative or ‘story poems’. They all feature two worm friends called Slightly Soiled and Humble Worm. Each of these three poems tells one of these characters’ adventures. See if you can spot them in the book, tucked in among other wormy poems.
When I’m not writing poems, stories, or story poems, I write books for teachers to use in schools. So, teachers, did you know that I have extended my top-selling series of Comprehension Books? Published by Schofield and Sims, there are now two new pupil books and one new teacher’s book for top level Key Stage One. They are a great introduction to reading for understanding and extending the genres of reading to interest, stimulate and entertain young readers.
Talking of favourites, one of my favourite poetry books when I was little was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I pored over the illustrations as much as loving the words. They were line drawings by Eve Garnet. Later, when I was grown up, I bought a second copy of the book. Although I still loved the little paperback from my childhood, I also loved the rich, colourful illustrations in my new hardback, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith.
If you love art and illustrations as much as words, you’d love The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poetry. It is illustrated on every page – and half of these are in full colour – by the best wildlife artists in the UK: members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Artists. It would make a very, very special present for readers of any age, or for the whole family.