Poems for Kids
Poems for Kids have been written by many famous Australian poets, including ‘Banjo’ Paterson and C J Dennis. While many of Paterson’s best known poems, such as ‘A Bush Christening’, are about children and can be enjoyed by them, he also published a collection aimed specifically at children. The Animals Noah Forgot
includes a Foreword describing how ‘a big white English swan, escaped from captivity, found himself swimming in an Australian waterhole fringed with giant gumtrees.’ In a tree nearby the swan sees a koala who tells him how he and other Australian animals decided not to go into the Arc with Noah and so survived the Biblical Great Flood by climbing trees or swimming. The poems that follow are supposedly told to the swan by the koala and his friend the platypus. They include ‘Weary Will’, about a wombat, ‘Fur and Feathers’, describing a supposed football game among the animals, and ‘High Explosive’ in which a dingo pup bites into a duck egg and gets a great fright when it explodes with a bang! There are also poems about the lung fish, white cockatoos, the bandicoot, the kookaburra and the emu, as well as others dealing with such typical bush subjects as shearing and bullock teams, all in humorous vein.
While not aimed specifically at a child audience, many other broadly comic poems that use a simple stanza structure, often with rhyme, can be enjoyed by children. Rhyll McMaster’s ‘This One for Horses’ describes some of the appropriate names that have been given to horses she has known. In his short poem, ‘Sick Kids’, Stephen K Kelen notes how, when ill in bed with the flu, his children can be remarkably ‘pleasant/as sweet as lemon cordial/until they get better.’ Many of the poems in John Jenkins’ 2008 collection entitled Growing Up with Mr Menzies
would also be appreciated by child readers. Here Jenkins describes some of the things that happen to a boy, born in 1949, who grows up in the 1950s when Robert Menzies was Prime Minister of Australia. His poems deal with topics such as sibling rivalry, learning to read and how to deal with a school bully.
Poems for Kids