Archives for posts with tag: rhymes

Webb-Pullman Drive1
Custom Built
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

My father built a car one day
to teach his kids to drive.
A mower engine, clutch and brake,
the smartest Dad alive!

A steering wheel, a seat, two gears,
one forward and one back.
We fought to drive it every day
around the backyard track.

Big brother had to make it go,
wind up the rope, then pull.
With driver and a passenger
the little car was full.

We mowed the lawns, did extra chores
to pay for all the fuel
until we worked out we could charge
the other kids from school.

When Dad came home from work one day
and caught us with the cash
and all the kids lined up for turns
he said we’d done our dash.

The little car was sent away
and, sorry little tykes,
we moaned and moped ’til Dad gave up,
and built a motorbike.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My mother and my niece Bianca taken at our home in Hillary Crescent, Napier, New Zealand, 1973.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father was a watchmaker, a pilot, and an engineer. He built a car when my parents were first married and couldn’t afford to buy one. After that, he built a motorbike, Go Karts, and more cars, including the small one for us kids. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this little car, but I  the photo above shows the car he was constructing when he died in 1972. My brothers finished building it.


Mercedes Webb-Pullman
 graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at

Photo of Fireflies in Jar-Lightning Bug Pictures
by Lilian Moore

If you catch a firefly
and keep it in a jar
You may find that
you have lost
A tiny star.

If you let it go then,
back into the night,
You may see it
once again
Star bright.

SOURCE:  “If You Catch a Firefly” appears in Lilian Moore’s collection I Feel the Same Way (New York: Atheneum, 1967), available at

PHOTO: “Fireflies or lightning bugs (Photinus pyralis) light up a jar on a June evening in North Carolina as a meteor streaks across the Milky Way” by Kevin Adams, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Visit the photographer at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lilian Moore (1909-2004) was an editor, educator, and poet who played a significant role in children’s literature during the mid-to late twentieth century. As the first editor of the newly established Scholastic’s Arrow Book Club from 1957 to 1967, Moore pioneered the program that made quality paperback books accessible and affordable for elementary school children throughout the United States. She also contributed many stories and poetry collections to the body of available children’s literature, and has been honored for her poetry as well as for several of her storybooks.


Silver Birch Press, under the umbrella of its new children’s book imprint Silver Starlight Books, is pleased to announce the May 2014 release of Honey Bear by Dixie Willson with full-color illustrations by Maginel Wright Barney, a reissue of the 1923 classic. This is the book that made Tom Wolfe decide to become a writer! This is the book that Joan Didion read to her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne.

“My mother used to read it to me at bedtime long before I knew one letter of the alphabet from another . . . Honey Bear’s main attraction was Dixie Willson’s rollicking, rolling rhythm . . . the Willson beat made me think writing must be not only magical but fun . . . I resolved then and there, lying illiterate on a little pillow in a tiny bed, to be a writer. In homage to Dixie Willson, I’ve slipped a phrase or two from Honey Bear into every book I’ve written.” TOM WOLFE , author of The Right Stuff


Long out of print, used copies of the 1923 edition of the book are selling high prices on ebay and Amazon – some at over $100, even for a badly worn copy. For the first time in decades, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at a reasonable price. If you want to help foster a love of language in the young children in your life, Honey Bear is the answer!


Dixie Willson (1890-1974) was a poet, screenwriter, and author children’s books, novels, and short stories. She liked to gain first-hand experience when researching her stories, and performed as an elephant rider in the Ringling Bros. Circus and a chorus girl in the Ziegfeld Folliies, attended TWA Stewardess School, and worked as a taste tester at Betty Crocker. A prolific author, she wrote over 300 magazine stories, books, and screenplays, four of which were made into films.

Maginel Wright Barney (1881–1966) was a children’s book illustrator and graphic artist, younger sister of Frank Lloyd Wright. She illustrated 63 children’s books, sometimes working alone and sometimes with other artists. Her first job as book illustrator was on The Twinkle Tales, a set of six booklets for young children published by Reilly & Britton in 1906, and written by L. Frank Baum under the pseudonym Laura Bancroft. The books were successful, selling 40,000 copies the first year. Wright Barney also illustrated Baum’s Policeman Bluejay (1907), Johanna Spyri‘s Heidi (1921), and Mary Mapes Dodge‘s Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates (1918).

Depending on where you like to shop, Honey Bear by Dixie Willson is available at or

DUCKS (Excerpt)
by Frank W. Harvey

Yes, ducks are valiant things
On nests of twigs and straws,
And ducks are soothy things
And lovely on the lake
When that the sunlight draws
Thereon their pictures dim
In colours cool.
And when beneath the pool
They dabble, and when they swim
And make their rippling rings,
0 ducks are beautiful things!
But ducks are comical things:-
As comical as you.
They waddle round, they do.
They eat all sorts of things,
And then they quack.
By barn and stable and stack
They wander at their will,
But if you go too near
They look at you through black
Small topaz-tinted eyes
And wish you ill.
Triangular and clear
They leave their curious track
In mud at the water’s edge,
And there amid the sedge
And slime they gobble and peer
Saying ‘Quack! quack!’

READ MORE: Read “Ducks” by F.W. Harvey in its entirety at

IMAGE: “Ducks on Red Lake,” watercolor by Amy Vansgard. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederick William Harvey (1888–1957), often known as Will Harvey, and dubbed “the Laureate of Gloucestershire,” was an English poet, broadcaster, and solicitor whose poetry became popular during and after World War I.

by Ogden Nash

Behold the duck.
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond
Of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.

IMAGE: “Mallard Duck on Pond 3 Square,” watercolor by Amy Vansgard. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frederic Ogden Nash (1902-1971) was an American poet known for his light verse. The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry.” Ogden Nash wrote over 500 pieces of comic verse. The best of his work was published in 14 volumes between 1931 and 1972.

by William Watson

What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?

MORE: Read “Ode in May” by William Watson in its entirety at

PHOTO: “The Bride” by Joana Kruse. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sir William Watson (1858–1935), was an English poet, whose reputation was established in 1891, with the publication of ‘Wordsworth’s Grave,” thought by many to be his finest work. After WWI, he was largely forgotten, until a number of literary men in 1935 issued a public appeal for a fund to support him in his old age, but he died the following year. He was an example of a writer who, though initially popularly recognized, went out of fashion because of changing tastes. (Source: Read his collected poems at

by Rachel Field

If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more,
I’d hurry as fast as my legs would go
Straight to the animal store.

I wouldn’t say, “How much for this or that?”
“What kind of a dog is he?”
I’d buy as many as rolled an eye,
Or wagged a tail at me!

I’d take the hound with the drooping ears
That sits by himself alone;
Cockers and Cairns and wobbly pups
For to be my very own.

I might buy a parrot all red and green,
And the monkey I saw before,
If I had a hundred dollars to spend,
Or maybe a little more.

SOURCE: “The Animal Store”appears in Rachel Field‘s collection from Taxis and Toadstools (Doubleday, 1926) and The Golden Book of Poetry (1947).

IMAGE: “Antique Cutout of Animals” by American School. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Field (1894-1942) was born in New York and attended Radcliffe College. Field’s novels for adults include Time Out of Mind (1935) and All This and Heaven Too (1938), which was turned into a movie starring Bette Davis and Charles Boyer. She is the author of Fear Is the Thorn (1936) as well as several poetry collections for children, including Taxis and Toadstools (1926), An Alphabet for Boys and Girls (1926), and A Circus Garland: Poems (1930). Her books for young adults include the Newbery Medal winner Hitty: Her First Hundred Years (1929), Calico Bush (1931), and God’s Pocket (1934).  Field was also a noted lyricist and playwright, penning the English lyrics for Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria included in the Disney film Fantasia. Her plays include Cinderella Married (1924), The Bad Penny (1931), and First Class Matter (1936).

by Marjorie Pickthall

See, the grass is full of stars,
Fallen in their brightness;
Hearts they have of shining gold,
Rays of shining whiteness.

Buttercups have honeyed hearts,
Bees they love the clover,
But I love the daisies’ dance
All the meadow over.

Blow, O blow, you happy winds,
Singing summer’s praises,
Up the field and down the field
A-dancing with the daisies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marjorie Pickthall (1883–1922) was born in England but lived in Canada from the age of seven. She was once considered the best Canadian poet of her generation.

IMAGE: “Sunday Morning” by Amy Tyler. Prints available at

by Heidi Mordhorst

Oh, how the wind howls,
howls the blossoms from the boughs;

Oh how the boughs bend,
bend and willow to the ground;

Oh, how the ground wells,
wells with blossoms blown to hills;

Oh, how the hills sound,
sound a whisper pink and loud.

SOURCE: “April Gale” appears in Heidi Mordhorst’s collection Pumpkin Butterfly; Poems from the Other Side of Nature (Boyds Mills Press, 2009), available at

IMAGE: “Cherry Blossoms,” original oil painting available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Teacher and poet Heidi Mordhorst earned a BA in American studies from Wesleyan University, an MS in education from the Bank Street College of Education, and an MA in language and literature from the Institute of Education, University of London. She has published two books of poetry for children, Squeeze: Poems from a Juicy Universe (2005) and Pumpkin Butterfly: Poems from the Other Side of Nature (2009). Mordhorst currently resides in the Washington, DC, metro area, where she works as a Reading Initiative teacher with first-graders. 

by Shel Silverstein

An oak tree and a rosebush grew, 
Young and green together, 
Talking the talk of growing things –
Wind and water and weather. 
And while the rosebush sweetly bloomed 
The oak tree grew so high 
That now it spoke of newer things –
Eagles, mountain peaks and sky. 
“I guess you think you’re pretty great,”
The rose was heard to cry, 
Screaming as loud as it possibly could 
To the treetop in the sky. 
“And now you have no time for flower talk, 
Now that you’ve grown so tall.” 
“It’s not so much that I’ve grown,”  said the tree, 
“It’s just that you’ve stayed so small.

PAINTING: “Conversation in a Rose Garden” by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1876). Prints available at