Poetry For Kids

This page is for kids. But anyone over that age can read it too. And since adults are often out looking for poems for young ones, welcome to you as well. Most of  these poems are taken from my archives, but I wanted to put them on a separate page just for kids. 

I hope you enjoyed The Catipoce. And now it’s time for a new poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was published in 1886, in a book called A Child’s Garden of Verses but is still very popular. If you scroll down you can hear it read by Billy Connolly.  And you might like to have a look at your own shadow. We don’t usually notice them but they are such fun to play with.

My Shadow
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 thing 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.

When I was small my mother introduced me to James Reeves’ writing via a book called Prefabulous Anamiles. For some reason this is the one that truly grabbed at my imagination. You can find it now in a book called Complete Poems For Children by James Reeves.

 

THE CATIPOCE

‘Oh Harry, Harry, hold me close

I fear some animile.

It is the horny Catipoce

With her outrageous smile!’

Thus spoke the maiden in alarm;

She had good cause to fear:

The Catipoce can do great harm,

If any come too near.

Despite her looks, do not presume

The creature’s ways are mild;

For many have gone mad on whom

The Catipoce has smiled.

She lurks in woods at close of day

Among the toadstools soft,

Or sprawls on musty sacks and hay

In cellar, barn, or loft.

Behind neglected rubbish-dumps

At dusk your blood will freeze

Only to glimpse her horny humps

And hear her fatal sneeze.

Run, run! adventurous boy or girl—

Run home, and do not pause

To feel her breath around you curl,

And tempt her carrion claws.

Avoid her face: for underneath

That gentle, fond grimace

Lie four-and-forty crooked teeth—

My dears, avoid her face!

‘Oh Harry, Harry! hold me close,

And hold me close awhile;

It is the odious Catipoce

With her devouring smile!’

Catipoce
The Catipoce, illustration by Edward Ardizzone

 

 

The poem and illustration, are taken from Complete Poems For Children, by James Reeves and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. (Classic Mammoth, First Published in Great Britain, 1994.) Reissued 2001 by Egmont Books Ltd, London.  Permission to publish the illustrations and the poem have been granted from the author and artist’s estates.

Prefabulous Anamiles by James Reeves, was the name of the book in which I  first read this poem.  It was published in 1957 by William Heinemann, London. It was followed by More Prefabulous Animiles.