Illustrations by Viktoria Samoilova


These poems are free, a gift to all the children of the world. Please consider a gift to CAMFED and help a girl get the education she deserves.

For my daughter, Sarah, when she was a little girl.



A red rose

A white rose

A red rose

A white rose

A red rose

A white rose

That's all!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


God is very great and strong

He listens to us all day long

And teaches us to do what's right

But nobody knows what He does at night.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Papa also is strong and tall

And when I hear his step in the hall

I hide in the curtain - I know what he'll say!

'Where is my little Miss Mousie today?'

Then I come prancing out just like a mouse

And he takes me and hugs me all over the house

I give him six kisses, or seven, or ten

And tell him I'm going to marry him When.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


The park is very great and green

And full of many things unseen

Swings that come swinging and knock off your head

Germs in the fountain that kill you quite dead

And lots of wild children who like to throw sand

And sometimes there's even a musical band!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


The Wedding Doll is very grand

She has her own white wedding stand

And stands very straight in the dining hall

In her dress and her veil and her gloves and all.

But though she's been standing there summer and fall

The bridegroom seems never to turn up at all

And sometimes I wonder - What sort of life?

Always the wedding but never the wife.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


My best friend's mother is very strict

And when I come over to play

I know she's going to send us out

On even the coldest day.

She never once gave us cookies or cake

She says that it makes such a mess

And she had a fit when my friend spilled coke

All over her second-best dress.

My friend's not allowed to wear jewelry or lace

Her mother says it's not proper,

The time we wore lipstick and powdered our face

She screamed and nobody could stop 'er.

If she were my mother I'd run away fast

I'd sail away over the water,

From China I'd send her a postcard at last -

'With love, from your runaway daughter!'
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


I wouldn't like to be a nun

They never seem to have much fun

But always go to church or school

And wear black dresses as a rule.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


I'd like to be a fireman

And put the fires out

And ride the big red engine round the town.

Up and down!Up and down!

The big light going round and round!

And the big siren screaming.

I'd like to be a Ringmaster

And wear a coat and hat.

I'd crack my whip and just like that!

Lions and tigers at my command

Clowns and elephants under my hand

The big lights beaming out of the stand

And the big crowd screaming.

I'd like to be the daring girl

Who rides the high trapeze.

I'd swing from my toes, I'd hang from my knees

In my glorious sparkles like stars in the breeze

The big light shining so everyone sees

Me up there gleaming.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


My middy blouse is very white

It has a collar like a kite

And when I button it up tight

I look just like a sailor.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



Gold fish, red fish

Swimming all around

Gold fish, red fish

Never make a sound.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Black jelly beans are best

I let my brother have the rest.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



Saint Michael killed a dragon

Saint Michael is a saint

Saint Michael is an angel

And mother says, I ain't!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


My brother John is very small

My brother John knows nothing at all.

He doesn't know Go-Fish or nursery rhymes

Nor how many seven by seven is times.

He can't tell the hour by the clock on the wall -

Oh my brother John is so dreadfully small!

He can't zip his coat, nor tie his own shoe

He thinks all that stuff about Santa is true,

But he knows how to wrestle, he knows how to run

And when he's not crying he sometimes is fun.

I chase him around, he barks like a puppy

And makes a ridiculous face like a guppy.

He knows how to scream, and he knows how to laugh

Which isn't too bad for just two-and-a-half.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Bad boys like to pull your hair

And make you trip upon the stair;

They also make a lot of noise

And smash up other people's toys.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Good boys, I think, are hard to find

The gentle, meek, and quiet kind,

Who try to fix things when they break

And take you rowing on the lake.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


If you were my sweetheart, I never would roam,

I'd sit down by the fire and tell you a poem,

And if an angel came

To call your name

I'd stay with you just the same.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Halloween is scarey

I love it very much

The children all disguise themselves

As witches, ghosts, and princesses

And pirates with big cutlasses

And animals and such.

We go to all the houses

And holler 'Trick or treat!'

In the cold and the dark you hardly dare

Such a big jack-o-lantern grinning there

And one time a ghost even pulled my hair!

And they give you candy to eat.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


When I am grown to woman's state

And take my place among the great

And people ask me, what I ate?

To look so elegant and sedate

I'll answer them

Spaghetti and Cake!

Spaghetti and cake, spaghetti and cake!

The only things I ever ate.

If you want to grow to woman's state

Eat all you want of spaghetti and cake.

When I'm the Queen over land and sea

And people come running to look at me

And humbly inquire, what I had for tea?

When I was a little one just like thee

I'll answer them

Spaghetti and cake!

Spaghetti and cake, spaghetti and cake!

For breakfast, dinner and tea

If you want to grow up like me

Bright and bumptious, wild and free

Eat all you can see of

Spaghetti and cake!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Three penguins in the porridge

Swimming all about,

I'm not going to eat it

Till somebody takes them out!
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Books are what I like the best

They're not just toys like all the rest

That break, or get old, or don't want to play

A book gets better every day.

Sit down and open it - soon you'll find

A whole new world jumps up in your mind,

People and places and all sorts of things -

Dragons and princesses, goblins and kings,

Dinosaurs walking the earth like thunder,

Ancient Egyptians who make you wonder,

Books about planets and space exploration,

The truth about rocks, and the birth of our nation.

And perhaps the most interesting story of all

That tells of the Prince who is going to call,

And even a picture to show how he looks -

Now these are the things that I like about books.

BOOKS video from the BBC with both sign and spoken language

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


The day was hot and quiet

And I was all alone,

I killed them in the garden

With a stick and with a stone.

I buried them and hid the place,

I didn't want to see

The ugly thing that had been done

By no one else but me.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Some are nice, and some are mean

But most are somewhere in-between.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Mister Moon looks out of the sky

And watches me with his big bright eye

Ands follows me wherever I go -

Hello, Mister Moon! Hello!

Of all the children that he can see

Why does he choose to follow me?

And watch me with his eye so bright -

Good night, Mister Moon!Good night!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



Barbie is a grown-up doll

Not like the other dolls at all -

Her ponytail in golden ripples,

And breasts like real except for the nipples.

She's got more clothes than a movie star,

And adjustable joints, and her own red car.

My brother pulled off her head and then

Stuck it on to the body of Ken.

I got really mad but I had to admit

That's Ken's head on Barbie was quite a good fit.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Grasshopper small

Alone under the leaves

Singing on a summer night

To the moon and all

Grasshopper grasshopper

Grasshopper grasshopper


Under the leaves and all

The leaves so dark

And the moon so bright

Singing alone on a summer night

Grasshopper grasshopper

Grasshopper grasshopper


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


If all the world were painted pink

With lots of green and yellow ink

And all the mice were millionaires

How would we ever get upstairs?

If little dogs have little lice

And crocodiles are sweet and nice

And like to tickle with their tails

Why do they have such long sharp nails?

If many things we say are true

Like one plus one and six plus two

And elephants from Timbuktu

Why aren't there any in the zoo?

If up and down and out and in

And big and fat and thick and thin

And long and lean and wan and white

Why must we go to bed at night?
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Twirled my hair all round a pencil

Arithmetic is still not done

Made a house of fried potatoes

Only ate one little one.

Now I'm looking out the window

Toys are lying on the floor

Waiting till I tidy up - I

Guess they'll have to wait some more!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Short legs
Scrunchy face

Fat little bulldog

Never won a race.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


I've got new red sneakers on

I'm going to run from here to Babylon

I'm going to jump right up to the moon

And if I come back it won't be soon.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Black patent leather

Buckles on the toes

Click-clack!When I walk

My new shoes like to talk

Click-clack, there she goes!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


Crazy Daisy, grandmother's cat

You never once heard of a cat like that!

She seems to think people are some sort of mice,

A little bit larger but just as nice;

She seems to think people are some sort of food,

A little bit bigger but just as good.

If Grandma forgets to lock her up tight

She jumps on your foot and takes a big bite.

One time when the meter man came to the house

She ate half his shoe just as if it were mouse.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


If I were God I wouldn't let it rain.

The snow would fall in summer when it's hot.

If I were God there'd be

No school ever

Chocolate forever

and teeth that never rot

If I were God - but I'm not.