Reading Level: Grade 4

Poems suitable for reading by 9-10 year olds.

How Not to Make a Cardboard Fort

I found an empty cardboard box.
I made myself a fort.
I had to squeeze and twist and turn
and crumple and contort
to climb inside, but now I’m quite
embarrassed to report
I’m stuck inside this cardboard box
that’s clearly much too short.
Has anybody got a box
that’s bigger than a quart?

A Shark is a Pet

A shark is a pet
that you don’t want to get.
There is nothing less fun than a shark.
He doesn’t have fur.
He won’t cuddle or purr,
and he never takes walks in the park.

Instead he just stares
and intensely prepares,
as he circles and waits in the dark,
to nibble your nose
and your fingers and toes,
for his bite is much worse than his bark.



My teacher said to calculate
3.141 times 8.
I threw my hand up instantly
and so, of course, she called on me.
She asked me, “What’s the answer, please?”
I’d figured this one out with ease.
I looked her squarely in the eye
and calmly answered, “Octopi!”
It took her half an hour to get it,
and then she gave me extra credit.

Belinda’s an Expert at Bathing

Belinda’s an expert at bathing.
She loves to swim laps in the tub.
She’s clever at cleaning her kneecaps
and giving her elbows a scrub.

She often makes beards out of bubbles,
then puts on a play with her toys.
She practices splashing and shouting
and filling the bathroom with noise.

She’s mastered the use of the loofa,
the sponge, and the body puff too.
She’s truly a wiz with a washcloth.
She’s skillful at using shampoo.

Belinda’s so good in the bathtub,
just ask her; she’ll probably say
she’s planning to grow up to be
a professional bathlete someday.

If You Ever Meet an Elephant

If you ever meet an elephant who wants to join your band,
it’s the sort of situation that will never go as planned,
so you’d better tell him “No” and try to make him understand,
before he starts to play.

First he’ll stumble and go crashing.
Then your stuff will take a bashing.
He’ll be dancing as he’s smashing.
He’ll act like this all day.

Then you’ll never make him leave because he’s happy as a clam
and it doesn’t make a difference if you yell at him to scram
when the only thing he wants to do is jump around and jam
and never go away.

He’ll be walloping and whacking.
Then you’ll need financial backing.
So you’d better send him packing
before he starts to play.

Electronic Christmas


I asked for new gadgets for Christmas.
My list was a hundred lines long.
I figured I might as well try it.
Why not? I mean, what could go wrong?

My parents bought all that I wanted:
An iPod, a big-screen TV,
a camera, a laptop computer,
a Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.

I got a new Kindle, a smart phone,
an RF remote-controlled car,
a robot, a video camera,
a brand new electric guitar.

But those things were just the beginning.
This Christmas, I had such a haul,
it took me all morning, and then some,
to finish unwrapping it all.

A hundred new gadgets to play with.
I couldn’t be bothered to wait.
The moment I plugged them all in, though,
it blew every fuse in the state.

If you’re spending Christmas in darkness,
and can’t play your video game,
I’m sorry for all of the trouble;
it’s probably me who’s to blame.

I know now I shouldn’t be greedy,
so, next year, I think you’ll be fine.
Instead of a hundred new gadgets,
I’m asking for just ninety nine.

A Reindeer for Christmas


Dear Santa, this Christmas my list is quite small.
In fact, I need practically nothing at all.
My list is so short and so easy to read
because there’s just one thing I actually need.

A reindeer for Christmas is all I require;
a reindeer, of course, who’s an excellent flier.
I really don’t care if it’s Dasher or Dancer.
I’m okay with Cupid or Comet or Prancer.

Please don’t think I’m greedy; I only want one.
You won’t even miss him, and I’ll have such fun.
I promise I’ll feed him and treat him just right,
and take him out flying around every night.

You see, I’m not selfish. So, for my surprise
this Christmas, please bring me a reindeer that flies.
But if my request is a bit much for you,
I guess that an iPod will just have to do.

We Give Each Other Cuckoo Clocks

We give each cuckoo clocks
for Christmas at our house
instead of boring presents
like a sweater or a blouse.

We all enjoy a calendar,
a sundial or a watch.
We always know just what to give.
It’s pretty hard to botch.

Our presents all are kitchen timers,
hourglasses too.
As long as it helps keep the time
It certainly will do.

We gather ’round the Christmas tree
and open every box
and compliment each other
on our lovely taste in clocks.

Then finally, we wind them up
and listen to them chime.
You see, for us there simply is
no present like the time.

Winter Wonderland

Our Christmas decor
is the best on the block,
with big plastic candy canes
lining the walk.

Huge holly sprigs circle
a wreath flocked with snow,
which hangs on the door with
a red velvet bow.

The letters NOEL are
spelled out near the hedge;
A snowman’s lit up on
the balcony’s ledge.

The roof’s got eight reindeer
all lined up in twos
and pulling a sleigh trimmed
in twinkling hues.

The eaves are all “frosted”
with icicle lights.
Our house is the greatest
of Christmastime sights.

My Dad says, “enjoy it,
It’s coming down soon.”
“I hope so,” I told him.
“It’s practically June!”

Christmas Comes But Once a Year

Christmas comes but once a year.
That’s what they always say.
If it were up to me
it would be Christmas EVERY day.

We’d leave the decorations up
and never take them down.
We’d get an artificial tree
that doesn’t turn to brown.

We’d open presents every day
from August through July,
and all year long we’d feast on
candied yams and pumpkin pie.

The benefits are obvious
but what would be most cool…
we’d get to stay at home all year
and never go to school.

It’s such a perfect fantasy
with just one caveat;
with Christmas every day
we’d all be broke and really fat.