W is for Children’s Poets Philip Waddell, Kate Wakeling, Celia Warren, Zaro Weil, Colin West, Robert Paul Weston, and Chris White
Robert Paul Weston
Robert Paul Weston is the internationally award-winning author of several books for young readers, including the verse novels Zorgamazoo and Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff. He lives in London. His website is here.
This is one of his wonderful poems:
The Lightning Bird
Colin West was born in 1951 and studied Graphic Design and Illustration at various art colleges. His first book, a slim volume of nonsense verse, Out of the Blue from Nowhere, was published by Dennis Dobson in 1976. He went on to write and illustrate some sixty children’s books, and now lives in Sussex and writes and draws for his own amusement, mainly.
However, he has published two rather wonderful collections recently, The Funniest Stuff and Bonkers Ballads, both of which I love, and both of which are stuffed with Colin’s delightfully witty poems and charming, colour illustrations.
Here is one of the poems from The Funniest Stuff:
I once had a little vulture,
But he didn’t care for Culture,
And to let the whole world know it,
He would peck at any poet.
Though I begged him not to do so,
He would squawk all through Caruso,
And what really seemed a scandal,
Hiccup all the way through Handel.
I once dragged him to a lecture
On Renaissance architecture,
But he found the subject boring,
So he spent the whole time snoring.
When at last I took my vulture
To a show of modern sculpture,
Twenty times he yawned, I counted,
So I had him stuffed and mounted.
Poem and illustrations © Colin West
Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France with her husband and two sheepdogs, Spot and Clementine, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things; dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector and historian, author, publisher to mention a few! Her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA. Mud Moon and Me can be bought here. Her newest book Firecrackers, Troika, illustrated by Jo Riddell, can be bought here. Zaro’s website is here.
Here is a lovely poem by Zaro:
THINK OF IT
think of it
the first shudder of damp
all was ready
then in the deep inside of earth
in the muted underneath of winter
not with a sudden trumpet of green
or a sky of confetti blossoms
but with a seed
small pale and barely breathing
it lay quietly
waiting for the lavender clouds
that carry the first warm rains
till for some reason as ancient and
everyday as the sun itself
the seed cracked
split and softly burst into
a faint tendril
a root a sprout
a thin wisp of a growing thing
and with no thought of stopping
it pushed through the
dark soil with the force of
a billion winter winds
pierced the crust of the outside and
split the frozen armour of earth
which has held spring safe
since time began
© Zaro Weil
Celia has been writing poetry ever since she learned to read, and has been published since the early 1990s in hundreds of children’s anthologies, at home and abroad, and shortlisted and commended in various competitions. Her collections are all for young children and many of her poems and stories form infant readers in mainstream school reading programmes all over the world. She has compiled two anthologies: The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poems illustrated by a range of fabulous artists, (Bloomsbury) and A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen (Schofield and Sims). Celia loves reading and performing her poems to anyone who’ll listen! Her website is here.
I have heard lovely Celia perform and I know everyone enjoys listening! I am also party to the fact she is very partial to worms. In fact her last book, Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles illustrated by Sean Longcroft, A&C Black, is all about them.
Here’s a poem from that collection:
Twenty soily centimetres underneath the ground
flexi-worms are exercising, writhing round and round,
strengthening their muscles in gymnastic pursuits
as they wiggle-weave and zig-zag in between the roots.
Tiptoe on the grass now – don’t make a sound;
mustn’t wake the worms up deep underground:
worn out with workouts they’re curling up to sleep
thirty dirty centimetres underneath our feet!
© Celia Warren
Photo Credit: Tom Weller
Kate’s poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. Her debut collection of children’s poetry, Moon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa (The Emma Press) was described by The Sunday Times as “clever, funny, inspiring”, and won the 2017 CLiPPA (the only big poetry award specifically for children’s poetry); it was also nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal. You can buy and read about Moon Juice here. There is a link to Kate’s website here.
Here is one of Kate’s great poems:
In secret, children can turn lightbulbs on and off with just their eyebrows.
When a child sneezes, the nearest adult briefly loses all reception on their mobile phone.
Left unwashed, children’s feet smell of perfectly-cooked spaghetti.
You can predict the next day’s weather on how tightly a child’s hair curls after a bath (extra curly = sunshine).
Behind children’s left ears grow tiny cacti which yield delicious juice every summer.
Children can see through brick walls of up to 15cm if the thing on the other side is definitely worth looking at.
When a child jumps up and down, fish in the nearest pond rise to the surface and blow a celebratory stream of bubbles.
Children can set up a reliable internet connection in any location using a pigeon and two drinking straws.
Children are able to smell a lie being told from 180 metres away.
© Kate Wakeling (From Moon Juice, the Emma Press)
Originally from Guyana, Philip Waddell has lived in England for most of his life, these days near the wonderful city of Oxford. He particularly enjoys writing humorous poems and likes directness, wordplay and poems with a twist. Since 1997 Philip’s poems have appeared in well over a hundred anthologies, many published by Macmillan and Bloomsbury, and with his good friend Ian Bland, performance poet, he has co-written and illustrated two collections of poems, A Bug in My Hair! and Go to the Head! .
Philip is a good friend and if you have spent any time at all in his company you will know that he is VERY punny! He can’t resist them.
Here is one of his Christmas poems:
‘You must both be very proud,’
said the first with a smile
weighing up the situation exactly.
‘A bit dribbly, isn’t he?’
observed the second accurately
but with a foolish grin.
‘Coochie, coochie,’ cooed the third playfully,
completely forgetting, as he gazed at the child,
to say anything wise.
© Philip Waddell
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- Posted in: Animal Magic - the book