Episode 9 Story Poems Correct edition

Lots of poems and limericks in this Podcast and help in writing your own. This is a revised version of the previous posting. All sound quality corrected and missing piece added. Transcript as usual on https://www.telltales2kids.com. Enjoy 


  • Music : Tell Me a Story
  • Podcast TellTales2kids –

Hello, I’m Julie Pryke, I’m a Mum, with 3 grown-up sons and 4 grandkids. I’m also  a Storyteller and Children’s Author.

Welcome to my podcast, ‘TellTales2kids’, where I aim to  help you develop your skills in telling your own stories as well as ones from books, so, making them up and sharing them with your children.  Each time, I’ll try and give you new and easy tips to storytelling and, at the end of the podcast. Usually, I’ll also tell an example story for your children to listen to with you, or for you to tell to them yourself later, but this time I’m going to tell you a story-poem.

Episode 9:  Story Poems

So let’s get going with a small example, a limerick to put you in the mood  –

An elephant, who was called Bill, 

Strode up to the top of the hill, 

He tripped on a tree, 

Rolled downhill with glee, 

And squashed the young pair, Jack & Jill. 

Oh no! What a story! Whatever next? Well we’ll talk about Limericks a bit later  but for now let me tell you about more generally about the one method of telling stories to children, which I particularly enjoy – story poems.

 Now some of you will shy immediately at the idea of writing a poem but have you read ‘The Gruffalo’ or any other enchanting stories by Julia Donaldson. These are written in rhyming couplets and that’s all I’m talking about really, two or 3 lines which tell the story, have a rhyme in them and are fun to read. But one of the beauties of writing in little couplets, or short rhymes, is that children will learn them very quickly and be able to recite them with you, or even prompt you after they have heard them a couple of times and understand the story.

There are lots of other examples that you will probably already know, without even realising.  Nursery Rhymes are a good example.

“Little Miss Muffet,

Sat on her tuffet,

Eating her curds and whey.

There came a big spider,

Which sat down beside her,

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Or think of young children singing “Old MacDonald had a farm” and the repetition and fun noises in there. Or in ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ who went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. They take money and honey with them, sail to ‘The land where the Bong Trees grow’, then get married after a pig sells them the ring from the end of his nose. All nonsense, all such fun and all in rhyme and easy to remember.

Limericks  – now you’ve heard one, have you thought of telling Limericks like the one we heard before to your children? 

Limericks are nonsense verses with five lines. But those lines follow a special rhythm pattern and really need to be read out loud for full enjoyment. There are plenty of books with them in and once you understand the rhythm you should enjoy making them up yourself – children may not fully understand at first – so that’s why the reading aloud is important. Then they hear and learn the pattern and can begin to think of it themselves.  It just needs practise really. Here’s an example I wrote when I first started: 

There was a young Teddy named Bill, 

Whose voice was exceedingly shrill, 

He stood on a chair, 

Yelled up in the air, 

And made Mummy say “What a thrill!” 

Here’s how it works: 

Lines                                                                   Rhythm 

  1. There was a young Teddy named Bill,                              
  2. da DUM da da DUM da da DUM  (3 Dums)
  3. Whose voice was exceedingly shrill                                  
  4. da DUM da da DUM da da DUM  (3 Dums)
  5. He stood on a chair                                                             
  6. da DUM da da DUM (2 Dums) 
  7. Yelled up in the air                                                                                  4. da DUM da da DUM (2 Dums) 

5 .And made Mummy say “what a thrill”                              

  1. da DUM da da DUM da da DUM                                             (3 Dums) 

So, let’s go back to how you get started? Well, this is what story poems mean to me,

 “stories in little blocks of lines, 

which very often seem to rhyme” 

Did you hear what I did there? I made up a little rhyme/poem just as a reminder for you (and for me!).  Say it yourself 2 or 3 times and you should know it off by heart and that’s all you need to remember!. But if you are lucky you may also feel the rhythm of the two lines, if you do then you are well on your way. 

Stor/ies/in/litt/le/ blocks/of/lines 

Which/very/oft/en/ seem/to/rhyme 

They split up into part words (syllables)  in some longer words so that the pattern in the first verse is 

2 1 2 1 1 1 and in the second verse 

1 1 2 1 1 1 

So they are a very similar pattern. 

 It does need a little thinking about just whilst you get started but once you have got the hang of it you will find little rhymes appearing  in your head and demanding to be written down! I started like that and in fact, I now write much longer poems also.

And don’t forget, whilst there is a long tradition of rhyming in poems your verses doesn’t always need to rhyme and maybe you won’t tell a story -poem but the story you do tell will be short lines connected by ideas and easy to remember.

If you can’t think of a rhyme, then write a list of rhymes and near-rhymes which might fit. And/or consider swapping the order of the words but keeping the same meaning to give yourself a wider sense of the rhythm.

That’s the heaviest section overI promise you and I won’t ever do something like that to you again. But you do get a reward – the first of the bonus poems I promised you. 

What’s in the Box?’

“What’s in the box?” said Lenny the fox,

“Something for me?” asked Marty the flea,

“No such luck!” said Poppy the duck,

“It’s something to eat!” said Mary the sheep,

“Will it make me fat?” wondered Pussy the cat,

“It’s my favourites – figs!” shouted Peter the pig,

“It’s nowt but a hole!” grumbled Monty the mole,

“Oh No!” (with a wail), said Sammy the snail,

“I bet it’s my coat!” bleated Sally the goat,

“It’s for me, of course!” claimed Hughie the horse,

“I’ll open it now” moo-ed Jenny the cow,

Whir, whir, whir, WHOOSH!

“It’s Jack in the box!” laughed Lenny the fox.

When you introduce the children to poems, especially ones which tell stories, encourage them to learn them and/or re-tell them just as stories.  Humour is also helpful and fun. They should enjoy getting to know and understand what poems are all about by doing this and by making up their own. 

I do hope you’ll enjoy trying to do this, it is well worth the effort. Perhaps you may find it more difficult to follow the “Dah, Dah, Dah” s as you walk along listening but there will be a transcript available, from 8th July 2021,  on my website www.telltales2kids.com, don’t forget to share the address and also leave me a comment, it is helpful for me to hear from you.

Now here’s the poem I promised. I made it up, for this podcast, about the children of 3 sets of friends simply because their names all began with L and they were of a similar age. ‘Leia, Luca and Lennox’  with the second and forth lines rhyming.

                             ‘Leia, Luca and Lennox’ 

Leia, Luca and Lennox,

Children of my friends,

They do not know each other,

But that is not the end.

They came together through this poem

And started to play ball.

Then Leia started growing,

Taller, taller, tall!

They used her legs as goalposts,

Until Lennox took a turn.

They ran and jumped, had lots of fun,

As Basketball they learned.

Luca had a new idea,

Which he thought lots of fun.

He threw the ball into the stream,

They raced it and they won.

The wind was blowing hard that day,

Their hats flew in the sky.

Balloons and umbrellas all rushed past,

They watched them fly so high!

Suddenly it was picnic time,

With food from dads and mums.

They ate the cheese and sausages first

But everything was yum!

Before they were all ‘magiced’ home,

They began to tell a tale,

About Leia, Luca and Lennox,

And how they never fail.

They can do all these clever things,

And each can do lots more.

They all are just so different,

And have never met before.

But now they know each other,

They’ve met up in a rhyme,

Had lots of fun together,

And such a lovely time.

It’s all poetry from now on so I hope you enjoy it. I have two more for you. But I forgot to tell you about the pattern in the ‘What’s in the box?’ poem. So in that poem the rhyme wasn’t at the end of the sentence but every half line rhymed . “Box…Fox”, “Hole …Mole” and so on.  A good pattern to think of.

This one is called ‘The Cake’. Here the first and second lines in each verse rhyme and then the last line of each verse rhymes too. Bake, mistake, cake, cake, cake and bake!  Have a listen and see what you think.

The Cake

Flour, sugar, butter in a dish,

Add some eggs and quickly whisk,

Put into the oven to bake.

I added some water,

I’m not sure I oughta,

I think I have made a mistake.

Jam or custard,

Or should I use mustard,

To fill the big hole in my cake?

Porridge and gravy,

Fish and chips maybe?

They’d fill the big hole in my cake.

Orange spread and honey,

Would make me lots of money,

If they filled the big hole in my cake.

Chocolate and cream,

Would taste like a dream –

Oh how I wish I could bake.

The last poem is about Snow White and the seven dwarfs. I realise not all children are aware of the story but perhaps you could tell it to them first, but if you can’t remember it yourself you’ll find lots of short versions online.

My poem is called  ‘Snow White’s New Frock’, here you are!

Snow White’s New Frock

“Do you like my new frock?”

Said Snow White to Doc.

“It looks a bit lumpy

I think” said Grumpy.

“Was it a cheapy?”

Asked the one who was Sleepy.

“I hope it weren’t ropey!

I’m worried” said Dopey.

“You look like a Rascal!”

Said the young one called Bashful.

“I’m still feeling queasy,

I’ve a cold!” said our Sneezy.

“It looks really snappy,

I promise!” said Happy.

“I’m glad it’s alright!”

Said the maid called Snow White.

And you’ve got the rhyme this time! Yes, each first line rhymes with the characters in the story.

I hope you enjoyed all of these and will start on an adventure of just rhyming words or phrases. You could take turns to suggest rhymes with the children and that might help. See how many you can get on any one word – though it doesn’t work for all words but it is fun trying.

Peas – breeze, trees, knees and so on. Try Diplodocus – I haven’t! 😉

Excuse the quality of the recording – it’s the first time I’ve used Audacity to edit and there’s so much to learn but I’m improving!

See you next month!

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  1. Kate Robinson
    11 January 2022

    Nice post and fun poems Julie! and how about this…

    A scaly, scary Diplodocus
    Was full of tricks and hocus pocus,
    I’ve tried to think and tried to focus,
    But I can’t find more rhymes for Diplodocus!

    • Julie Pryke
      11 January 2022

      She’s a poet,
      And doesn’t know it!

      Thanks Kate. A new episode coming soon

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