Children’s Poetry

MANUSCRIPT SUMMARY: Silly Sea Songs: Nonsense Verse to Rock Your Boat

This collection of nonsense poetry is thematically focused on marine life or life by the sea, and should appeal to the imaginations of both children and adults. Because the poems are rhythmical and fanciful, I believe they could be enjoyed with or without illustrations, although I have visualized several of them as picture book texts.

For example, in What Do They Do?, questions such as “Does a sea mouse squeak?” and “Does a sea cow moo?” are being asked by a child—the reader. An illustration of a sea mouse in its habitat could be placed on the left side of two facing pages, with a field mouse occupying the right (with lots of detail in both scenes). At the end of the book, a brief scientific description of each sea creature (including the mythical ones!) could be accompanied by the correct answer to the question that had been asked about them. With repeated readings, I would imagine very young children anticipating the answers, shouting out a “Yes” or “No” after each pause at the end of a line.  Seafood Surprise could also be set up in a similar way, with explanations of the “ingredients” (such as sea cucumber and sea lettuce) appearing in the last pages of the book, accompanied by a note as to whether each item really is edible by humans (or perhaps poisonous?)

Poems that come full circle in a story-like fashion, with a beginning, middle and end, include Three Wishes, Buskers by the Sea, and Where Are You Going?—a counting book.  I believe these, too, would lend themselves to the picture book format.



My target market is one that includes teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents and tourists. Nonsense poems are as popular today as they’ve been since the early nineteenth century, especially since they seem to provide a bonding opportunity between children and parents as they read them together.  Even though the vocabulary may not always be understood by pre-schoolers, they do respond well to the effects of cadence, rhythm, rhyme and humour in poetry.  Edward Lear, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash were among those authors whom I enjoyed reading as a child.  Then when my own boys were young, the poems of Dennis Lee, Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein were added to that list.  More recently, I’ve discovered the delightful nonsense verse of children’s and YA author, Sheree Fitch, since many of her books are being reprinted by Nimbus for the next generation of children to enjoy.  Children between the ages of three and eight will always delight in word play, and thus nonsense verse will always have a place in their world.