Poems to read together with children

First one here is something I’d like to share with my grandson, Jams who lives far away. Reading poetry with children is something I’ve always enjoyed and there are some wonderful poems to share here:

A small dragon

Brian Patten

(you can listen here: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/small-dragon) Treat yourself and be read to.

I’ve found a small dragon in the woodshed.

Think it must have come from deep inside a forest

because it’s damp and green and leaves

are still reflecting in its eyes.

I fed it on many things, tried grass,

the roots of stars, hazel-nut and dandelion,

but it stared up at me as if to say, I need

foods you can’t provide.

It made a nest among the coal,

not unlike a bird’s but larger,

it is out of place here

and is mosttimes silent.

If you believed in it I would come

hurrying to your house to let you share this wonder,

but I want instead to see

if you yourself will pass this way.

from Love Poems (Flamingo (HarperCollins), 1990)

copyright Brian Patten 1990

This next poem is by Dennis Lee. I’m sure you’ve heard of him if you’ve lived in Canada for any length of time. His Alligator Pie (Click on the title, and treat yourself again, listen to Dennis read to a group of children)

Alligator Pie

Dennis Lee
From:   Alligator Pie. Toronto: Macmillan, 1974.

Alligator pie, alligator pie,
If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna die.
Give away the green grass, give away the sky,
But don’t give away my alligator pie.

Alligator stew, alligator stew,
If I don’t get some I don’t know what I’ll do.
Give away my furry hat, give away my shoe,
But don’t give away my alligator stew.

Alligator soup, alligator soup,
If I don’t get some I think I’m gonna droop.
Give away my hockey stick, give away my hoop,
But don’t give away my alligator soup.


(There’s more at the link to UToronto … go ahead, be a kid, indulge yourself.)

This is number four…

A Plan For Preserving Birdsong

Dennis Lee
From:   unpublished, 1999.

Is it true that tiny lawyers
Hatch in puddles in the spring?
I plan to capture orioles
And teach them how to sing;
But if they can’t, the lawyers,
Dressed in tiny feathered suits,
Could congregate in sheltered spots
And play on tiny flutes.

Can’t you just see this?! What fun to act it out.

And this last one is full of that


that children and adults alike love.

The author is Evelyn Beyer . If you ever worked in Early Childhood Education, you’ll be sure to recognize her–or you certainly should.  Not only was she a children’s poet and educator, but she educated the ECE teacher-would-bes in college. I guess that’s where my affinity for her lies, but maybe too it’s just her delightful poetry. Here’s an old favourite I memorized. And what memories I have of reading it to my own children as well as the many who attended the “Mommy and Me” groups I delivered as a Mother Goose – on the loose facilitator.

Jump or Jiggle

Evelyn Beyer

Frogs jump

Caterpillars hump

Worms wiggle

Bugs jiggle

Rabbits hopDSCF2157

Horses clopS0094062

            Snakes slide

Sea gulls glide

Mice creep

Deer Leap

Puppies bounce

Kittens pounce

Lions stalk—


I walk!