Recommended poetry books

We’ve had questions from readers asking where they can find good poetry books. A good place to start is your school library or your local library. (It’s free to join your local library and you can borrow quite a few books at a time.) If a book is out of print, you will often find it at your local library or you can try ordering the book in through a good bookshop.

Here are some poetry books that we love, in no particular order. (And there will be lots more in the poetry section of your library or bookshop!)

The ABC Book of Australian Poetry – a treasury of poems for young people compiled by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Cassandra Allen.

"ABC Book of Australian poetry"

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids compiled by Jim Haynes

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids

By Jingo! By Janeen Brian

By jingo!

A Kick in the Head – an everyday guide to poetic forms, editor: Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

A kick in the head

Don’t Put Mustard in the Custard by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Don't put mustard in the custard

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes

Guinea Pig Town and other animal poems by Lorraine Marwood

guinea pig town

Honey Sandwich by Elizabeth Honey

honey sandwich

100 Australian Poems for children edited by Clare Scott-Mitchell & Kathlyn Griffith, illustrated by Gregory Rogers

100 Australian poems for children

Sea Dream: poems from under the waves, compiled by Nikki Siegen-Smith, illustrated by Joel Stewart

Sea Dream poems from under the waves

Well, that’s a few to get started with, though we love lots of others, too!

Do you have a favourite book of poetry?

Book reviews by Rebecca, poetry, teachers' resources

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids cover

This book is so much fun! The Editor, Jim Haynes, has collected over SIX HUNDRED poems in it, including a mix of old favourites (see if your parents and grandparents know them!) and more modern verse including games and chants, limericks, nonsense verse, poems about animals and birds, gross and gruesome poems … and more!

Here are a few of our favourites (but with over 600 poems, there are many more to choose from):

Fancy Dress (Anonymous)

There once was a fellow named Paul
Who went to a fancy dress ball.
He thought he would risk it
And go as a biscuit,
And a dog ate him up in the hall.

The Drovers by CJ Dennis

Out across the spinifex, out across the sand,
Out across the saltbush to Never Never land
That’s the way the drovers go, jogging down the track,
That’s the way the drovers go. But how do they come back?
Back across the saltbush from Never Never land.
Back across the spinifex, back across the sand.

Why? (Anonymous)

Why does a clock face not have a nose?
Why do foothills not have toes?
Do all-day laundries close at night?
Will the teeth on a garden rake ever bite?
Why can’t a needle wink its eye?
Why can’t the wings of a building fly?
What is the sound of a gum tree’s bark?
Can you leave your car in a national park?

I’m pretending not to notice the poem by Hilaire Belloc on page 334 called ‘Rebecca (Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably)’. Do you know it?

Tell us your favourite poem, and we can celebrate [Inter]national Poetry Month together!

~ Rebecca, Editor, Alphabet Soup magazine

Big Book of Verse for Aussie Kids, edited by Jim Haynes, Allen & Unwin, 2009

Our review copy was sent to us by Allen & Unwin