Famous Children Poems

Famous Children Poems

Poems for Children by Famous Poets

Poetry offers up a wealth of benefits for children. It fosters a love for language, thereby building literacy. It helps children understand themselves and others, allowing them to cultivate valuable qualities like compassion and empathy. It is also a healthy way for children to express their emotions and deal with emotionally challenging situations. Fortunately, there are many famous poems for children. Poets like A. A. Milne and William Blake wrote many poems for children that can inspire them to find their voice and representation through poetry, even from an early age.

62 Poems for Kids

  1. 1. Sick

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    When children don’t want to do something, they come up with every excuse they can think of to get out of it. There are many kinds of sicknesses children try to convince their parents they have been afflicted with in order to get out of going to school. The character in this poem seems to have come down with every possible illness, but what happens when she realizes it’s not a school day? Shel Silverstein crafts a poem that will resonate with children and adults alike.

    “I cannot go to school today,"
    Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
    “I have the measles and the mumps,
    A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
    My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
    I’m going blind in my right eye.
    My tonsils are as big as rocks,
    I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
    And there’s one more--that’s seventeen,
    And don’t you think my face looks green?
    My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
    It might be instamatic flu.
    I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
    I’m sure that my left leg is broke--
    My hip hurts when I move my chin,
    My belly button’s caving in,
    My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
    My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
    My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
    I have a sliver in my thumb.
    My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
    I hardly whisper when I speak.
    My tongue is filling up my mouth,
    I think my hair is falling out.
    My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
    My temperature is one-o-eight.
    My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
    There is a hole inside my ear.
    I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
    What’s that? What’s that you say?
    You say today is. . .Saturday?
    G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

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    I routinely skipped school for some reasons that even I couldn't understand at the time. In a thorough medical checkup after 10th grade, my parents realized that I couldn't see well. I...

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  3. 2. Now We Are Six

    Famous Poem


    A.A. Milne was an English author who lived from 1882-1956. He is best known for his stories about Winnie the Pooh, which were inspired by his son, Christopher Robin Milne's, stuffed animals. In this poem, a young child recounts the previous five years and how life was just beginning. But six, oh, six is the best year.

    When I was One,
    I had just begun.
    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.
    When I was Three
    I was hardly me.
    When I was Four,
    I was not much more.
    When I was Five,
    I was just alive.
    But now I am Six,
    I'm as clever as clever,
    So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

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    I remember my dad reading this poem to me when I turned 6! He read many poems and stories to me but this was one of my favorites! Did not realize it was Winnie the Pooh until recently. To...

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  5. 3. Snowball

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    Shel Silverstein's (1930-1999) comedic genius is demonstrated in this short, funny poem that is sure to bring a smile to children of all ages and adults as well.

    Bonus pleasure points: If you're sharing this poem with a child be sure to catch the look on their face as they figure out why snowballs don't make good pets!

    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I'd keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.
    I made it some pajamas
    And a pillow for its head.
    Then last night it ran away,
    But first it wet the bed.

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    I love the humor, innocence and whimsy of this poem. But there's more here than meets the eye. If you look a bit deeper, you can see how we sometimes don't properly interpret our experiences,...

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  6. 4. Wind On The Hill

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    The wind is a unique phenomenon. While we are unable to see it, we can see the result of it blowing. “Wind on the Hill” shows a child grappling with this understanding. A.A. Milne wrote books and poems for children. His most famous creation was Winnie the Pooh.

    No one can tell me,
    Nobody knows,
    Where the wind comes from,
    Where the wind goes.

    It's flying from somewhere
    As fast as it can,
    I couldn't keep up with it,
    Not if I ran.

    But if I stopped holding
    The string of my kite,
    It would blow with the wind
    For a day and a night.

    And then when I found it,
    Wherever it blew,
    I should know that the wind
    Had been going there too.

    So then I could tell them
    Where the wind goes…
    But where the wind comes from
    Nobody knows.

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    This is beautiful! I love the description, and I will be using this for a presentation. Thank you so much for sharing. This is a question I think everyone has thought about at some point in...

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  7. 5. The Mountain And The Squirrel

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    Ralph Waldo Emerson was a licensed minister who resigned from the clergy when his first wife passed away a couple years into their marriage. In this poem, a squirrel and a mountain have a quarrel because the mountain feels as though it is more important. Each person has his or her own individual talents, and everyone/everything has its purpose in this world, none greater or less than another.

    The mountain and the squirrel
    Had a quarrel,
    And the former called the latter
    "Little prig."
    Bun replied,
    "You are doubtless very big;
    But all sorts of things and weather
    Must be taken in together
    To make up a year
    And a sphere.
    And I think it no disgrace
    To occupy my place.
    If I'm not so large as you,
    You are not so small as I,
    And not half so spry:
    I'll not deny you make
    A very pretty squirrel track.
    Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
    If I cannot carry forests on my back,
    Neither can you crack a nut."

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    I read this poem in 1965 when I carried a paperback book of poems in my backpack when an infantry soldier in Vietnam. We, the infantry group in which I served, were such a collection of...

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  8. 6. Waiting At The Window

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    “Waiting at the Window” is about a child looking outside on a rainy day. He could be wishing to be outside playing, but then he notices the raindrops falling down the window. As he continues to watch, he sees the rain drops falling, and he pretends the raindrops are in a race to see which one will get to the bottom of the window first.

    These are my two drops of rain
    Waiting on the window-pane.

    I am waiting here to see
    Which the winning one will be.

    Both of them have different names.
    One is John and one is James.

    All the best and all the worst
    Comes from which of them is first.

    James has just begun to ooze.
    He's the one I want to lose.

    John is waiting to begin.
    He's the one I want to win.

    James is going slowly on.
    Something sort of sticks to John.

    John is moving off at last.
    James is going pretty fast.

    John is rushing down the pane.
    James is going slow again.

    James has met a sort of smear.
    John is getting very near.

    Is he going fast enough?
    (James has found a piece of fluff.)

    John has quickly hurried by.
    (James was talking to a fly.)

    John is there, and John has won!
    Look! I told you! Here's the sun!

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    Isn't it awesome how while there is rain we still have something to do!

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  9. 7. Being Brave At Night

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    During the day children are busy and don't have time to waste worrying about silly monsters, but children lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep have lots of time to worry about invading giants, ghosts or elephants. To a child's mind, sticking close to an all powerful parent is actually a really sensible survival strategy.
    Being Brave At Night is published in the book Rhymes Of Childhood (1924), a collection of poems by Edgar A. Guest about home, childhood and family.

    The other night 'bout two o'clock, or maybe it was three,
    An elephant with shining tusks came chasing after me.
    His trunk was wavin' in the air an'  spoutin' jets of steam
    An' he was out to eat me up, but still I didn't scream
    Or let him see that I was scared - a better thought I had,
    I just escaped from where I was and crawled in bed with Dad.

    One time there was a giant who was horrible to see,
    He had three heads and twenty arms, an' he came after me
    And red hot fire came from his mouths and every hand was red
    And he declared he'd grind my bones and make them into bread.
    But I was just too smart for him, I fooled him mighty bad,
    Before his hands could collar me I crawled in bed with Dad.

    I ain't scared of nothin' that comes pesterin' me at night.
    Once I was chased by forty ghosts all shimmery an' white.
    An' I just raced 'em round the room an' let 'em think maybe
    I'd have to stop an' rest awhile, when they could capture me.
    Then when they leapt onto my bed, Oh Gee! But they were mad
    To find that I had slipped away an' crawled in bed with Dad.

    No giants, ghosts or elephants have dared to come in there
    'Coz if they did he'd beat 'em up and chase 'em to their lair.
    They just hang 'round the children's rooms
    an' snap an' snarl an' bite
    An' laugh if they can make 'em yell
    for help with all their might.
    But I don't ever yell out loud. I'm not that sort of lad,
    I slip from out the covers and I crawl in bed with Dad.

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    This is truly a great poem describing the vivid imagination of children, and it does seem that children have an even deeper imagination when it comes to bedtime! I think this is a great poem...

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  10. 8. The Rainbow

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    There are many pretty sights in this world, some of which are manmade, but nothing compares to the beauty found in nature. The beauty of clouds and rainbows cannot be replicated by human hands.

    Boats sail on the rivers,
      And ships sail on the seas;
    But clouds that sail across the sky
      Are prettier far than these.

    There are bridges on the rivers,
      As pretty as you please;
    But the bow that bridges heaven,
      And overtops the trees,
    And builds a road from earth to sky,
      Is prettier far than these.

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    My 11-year-old daughter loved this and learned quickly to recite it.

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  11. 9. Friends

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    Abbie Farwell Brown was an American author who lived from 1871-1927. While attending the Girls' Latin School, she created a school newspaper, The Jabberwock, which is still being published today. In the poem "Friends," Brown shares that even things in nature can be children's friends, giving them comfort whenever they fear.

    How good to lie a little while
    And look up through the tree!
    The Sky is like a kind big smile
    Bent sweetly over me.

    The Sunshine flickers through the lace
    Of leaves above my head,
    And kisses me upon the face
    Like Mother, before bed.

    The Wind comes stealing o'er the grass
    To whisper pretty things;
    And though I cannot see him pass,
    I feel his careful wings.

    So many gentle Friends are near
    Whom one can scarcely see,
    A child should never feel a fear,
    Wherever he may be.

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  12. 10. Life Doesn't Frighten Me

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    Maya Angelou, an inspirational American poet, crafted a poem from a child’s perspective about all the frightening things in her world. Although this poem showcases many things that frighten a child, the greater theme in this poem is that no matter the obstacles we face in life, we can overcome them. The repetition of “life doesn’t frighten me at all” reinforces that theme.

    Shadows on the wall
    Noises down the hall
    Life doesn't frighten me at all

    Bad dogs barking loud
    Big ghosts in a cloud
    Life doesn't frighten me at all

    Mean old Mother Goose
    Lions on the loose
    They don't frighten me at all

    Dragons breathing flame
    On my counterpane
    That doesn't frighten me at all.

    I go boo
    Make them shoo
    I make fun
    Way they run
    I won't cry
    So they fly
    I just smile
    They go wild

    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

    Tough guys fight
    All alone at night
    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

    Panthers in the park
    Strangers in the dark
    No, they don't frighten me at all.

    That new classroom where
    Boys all pull my hair
    (Kissy little girls
    With their hair in curls)
    They don't frighten me at all.

    Don't show me frogs and snakes
    And listen for my scream,
    If I'm afraid at all
    It's only in my dreams.

    I've got a magic charm
    That I keep up my sleeve
    I can walk the ocean floor
    And never have to breathe.

    Life doesn't frighten me at all
    Not at all
    Not at all.

    Life doesn't frighten me at all.

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    I think this is a really good poem because it teaches kids not to give up and hide in the shadows and actually express themselves.

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  13. 11. The Moon

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    This poem makes the moon seem like a living thing, and Robert Louis Stevenson shares all that it does while shining each night. It acts as a protector of the night, watching over people, animals, and places.

    The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
    She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
    On streets and fields and harbour quays,
    And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.

    The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
    The howling dog by the door of the house,
    The bat that lies in bed at noon,
    All love to be out by the light of the moon.

    But all of the things that belong to the day
    Cuddle to sleep to be out of her way;
    And flowers and children close their eyes
    Till up in the morning the sun shall arise.

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    Really nice. There's not a much more spectacular site than a full moon, especially on a snow covered landscape.

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  14. 12. Sneezles

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    This humorous poem by A.A. Milne shows parents taking care of a child with a cold, but they are worrying about the symptoms turning into something worse. Christopher Robin, mentioned in this poem, was A.A. Milne’s son. Milne was the creator of Winnie the Pooh.

    Christopher Robin
    Had wheezles
    And sneezles,
    They bundled him
    Into
    His bed.
    They gave him what goes
    With a cold in the nose,
    And some more for a cold
    In the head.
    They wondered
    If wheezles
    Could turn
    Into measles,
    If sneezles
    Would turn
    Into mumps;
    They examined his chest
    For a rash,
    And the rest
    Of his body for swellings and lumps.
    They sent for some doctors
    In sneezles
    And wheezles
    To tell them what ought
    To be done.
    All sorts and conditions
    Of famous physicians
    Came hurrying round
    At a run.
    They all made a note
    Of the state of his throat,
    They asked if he suffered from thirst;
    They asked if the sneezles
    Came after the wheezles,
    Or if the first sneezle
    Came first.
    They said, "If you teazle
    A sneezle
    Or wheezle,
    A measle
    May easily grow.
    But humour or pleazle
    The wheezle
    Or sneezle,
    The measle
    Will certainly go."
    They expounded the reazles
    For sneezles
    And wheezles,
    The manner of measles
    When new.
    They said "If he freezles
    In draughts and in breezles,
    Then PHTHEEZLES
    May even ensue."

    Christopher Robin
    Got up in the morning,
    The sneezles had vanished away.
    And the look in his eye
    Seemed to say to the sky,
    "Now, how to amuse them to-day?"

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    I am an 80-year-old woman who has just moved into a seniors' residence. Shortly after I arrived, COVID-19 did too! For over a month now, we have been kept in isolation from the rest of the...

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  15. 13. Halfway Down

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    “Halfway Down” is a poem written from a child’s perspective about the special spot in the middle of the staircase. What makes it special is it’s not at the top or bottom, it’s not upstairs or downstairs. It’s in a place all its own. Children have a wonderfully unique way of looking at the world.

    Halfway down the stairs
    Is a stair
    Where I sit.
    There isn't any
    Other stair
    Quite like
    It.
    I'm not at the bottom,
    I'm not at the top;
    So this is the stair
    Where
    I always
    Stop.

    Halfway up the stairs
    Isn't up
    And isn't down.
    It isn't in the nursery,
    It isn't in the town.
    And all sorts of funny thoughts
    Run round my head.
    It isn't really
    Anywhere!
    It's somewhere else
    Instead!

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    My mum and dad would read and recite all of AA Milne's poems and stories to the four of us in the early 1950's. There was one piece that I can vaguely remember; it was about a leather donkey...

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  16. 14. The Spider And The Fly

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    "The Spider and the Fly" is a poem by Mary Howitt (1799-1888), published in 1828. The story tells of a cunning Spider who ensnares a Fly through the use of seduction and flattery. The poem teaches children to be wary against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their true evil intentions. The gruesome ending in this cautionary tale is used to reinforce the important life lesson being taught.

    "Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
    "'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
    The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
    And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
    For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

    "I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
    Well you rest upon my little bed?" said the spider to the fly.
    "There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
    And if you like to rest a while, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly, "for I've often heard it said,
    They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

    Said the cunning spider to the fly: "Dear friend, what can I do
    To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
    I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
    I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?"
    "Oh no, no," said the little fly; "kind sir, that cannot be:
    I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

    "Sweet creature!" said the spider, "you're witty and you're wise;
    How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
    I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
    If you'd step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
    "I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
    And, bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

    The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
    For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
    So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
    And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
    Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
    "Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
    Your robes are green and purple; there's a crest upon your head;
    Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

    Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
    Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
    With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
    Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
    Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
    Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
    He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den -
    Within his little parlor - but she ne'er came out again!

    And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
    To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne'er give heed;
    Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
    And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

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    This is a beautiful poem, very beautiful! It can as well be a warning to school girls who are prone to dating those men out there. Symbolically, the spider in the poem is a male and the fly...

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  17. 15. Listen To The MUSTN'TS

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    Although Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wrote poetry for young children, adults can glean many lessons from his pieces. This poem is filled with lessons on dreaming and persevering. Don’t allow others to get you down, because in the end, anything is possible.

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
    The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S
    Listen to the NEVER HAVES
    Then listen close to me-
    Anything can happen, child,
    ANYTHING can be

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    I love this poem because I have been writing love letters to my two teenagers and eight year old for fifteen years reminding them of what they shouldn't.

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  18. 16. The Swing

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    Swinging provides an entirely new perspective of the world around you. It is a freeing activity that makes you feel like you’re flying. You feel as though you’re on top of the world, and it’s a staple of the childhood experience.

    How do you like to go up in a swing,
    Up in the air so blue?
    Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
    Ever a child can do!

    Up in the air and over the wall,
    Till I can see so wide,
    River and trees and cattle and all
    Over the countryside--

    Till I look down on the garden green,
    Down on the roof so brown--
    Up in the air I go flying again,
    Up in the air and down!

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    The poem is really relaxing. I smiled as I read; it's just like riding a swing. Simple things like this make life beautiful. And the garden green, the roof so brown, the air so blue.... it's...

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  19. 17. Dirty Face

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    Shel Silverstein, who died in 1999, was a singer, song writer, poet and author of many children's books. "Dirty Face" is a fun poem to read for both children and adults. Silverstein reminisces fondly about the carefree childhood existence.

    Where did you get such a dirty face,
    My darling dirty-faced child?
    I got it from crawling along in the dirt
    And biting two buttons off Jeremy's shirt.
    I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
    And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
    I got it from peeking into a dark cave
    And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
    I got it from playing with coal in the bin
    And signing my name in cement with my chin.
    I got if from rolling around on the rug
    And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
    I got it from finding a lost silver mine
    And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
    I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
    And from having more fun than you've had in years.

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    So cute!! Like the spaghetti, chocolate, ice-cream. It's the kids that get the dirtiest, that have the most fun. It's a lifetime of adventure and silliness that they will remember forever....

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  20. 18. My Shadow

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    A child tries to understand the concept of his shadow. He finds it to be a silly companion who doesn’t seem to understand how it ought to act.

    I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
    And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
    He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
    And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
    The funniest things about him is the way he likes to grow-
    Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
    For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India rubber ball,
    And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
    He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
    And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
    He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
    I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
    One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
    I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
    But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
    Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

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  21. 19. The Sunshine Has A Pleasant Way

    • By Annette Wynne

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    In "The Sunshine Has A Pleasant Way" by Annette Wynne, the poet beautifully captures the uplifting and transformative power of sunlight. Through vivid imagery and a gentle rhythm, the poem portrays the sun as a source of warmth, illumination, and joy. Wynne personifies the sun, describing its ability to brighten not only the physical environment but also the faces and spirits of people. The poem expresses gratitude for the presence of sunshine, highlighting its role in inspiring productivity, happiness, and a sense of purpose. With its positive and optimistic tone, the poem encourages appreciation for the simple yet profound pleasures that sunlight brings, and the motivation it instills to embrace life with enthusiasm and dedication

    The sunshine has a pleasant way
    Of shining on us all the day,
    It makes the little window bright,
    And fills the room with pretty light.

    It goes into the garden bed,
    And shines on every flower head;
    It warms each leaf and bud and seed
    Till all the world is glad, indeed.

    It creeps into the children's faces
    And climbs into the highest places,
    It makes me want to work and sing
    And do my best in everything.

    I'm glad the sunshine comes each day
    To help me work and laugh and play;
    To keep the little window bright
    And fill the room with pretty light.

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  22. 20. Homework Stew

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    Making homework stew is not quite what the teacher had in mind. This funny children’s poem shows what can happen when we mishear something. Famous poet Kenn Nesbitt writes humorous poetry for children, and he served as the Children’s Poet Laureate from 2013-2015.

    I cooked my math book in a broth
    and stirred it to a steaming froth.
    I threw in papers—pencils, too—
    to make a pot of homework stew.

    I turned the flame up nice and hot
    and tossed my binder in the pot.
    I sprinkled in my book report
    with colored markers by the quart.

    Despite its putrid, noxious gas,
    I proudly took my stew to class.
    And though the smell was so grotesque,
    I set it on my teacher’s desk.

    My teacher said, “You’re quite a chef.
    But, still, you’re going to get an F.
    I didn’t ask for ‘homework stew,’
    I said, ‘Tomorrow, homework’s due.'”

    “Homework Stew” copyright © 2005 Kenn Nesbitt. All Rights Reserved. Published in When the Teacher Isn’t Looking. Reprinted by permission of the author. www.poetry4kids.com

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    I loved this poem because I loved how it said "I sprinkled up my book report". When at the end the teacher said "Your quite a chef but you get a F, I did not say homework stew, I said...

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