Reading Level: Grade 6

Poems suitable for reading by 11-12 year olds.

Belinda Brooks

Belinda Brooks loved library books,
She hoarded them all for herself.
She’d check them out to spread them about
or straighten them up on a shelf.

She boxed her books in crannies and nooks.
She filled every crevice and crack.
She stuffed her home with textbook and tome
but never would take any back.

Her dresser drawer held novels galore.
She kept them in cases and cans,
with lots and lots in packets and pots,
and packages, parcels and pans.

She cleaned and wiped the volumes she swiped,
and tenderly treasured each book.
She’d sit for days and lovingly gaze
at all the editions she took.

In bowls and bins and baskets and tins,
in canisters, cartons and crates,
so poor Miss Brooks, with all of those books,
was wanted in fifty-two states.

For she was fined, but always declined
to pay or surrender the books.
And so, in shame, Belinda became
the biggest of library crooks.

When she got nailed, Belinda was jailed
and sentenced to years for her deed,
so now, with time to pay for her crime,
she’s finally learning to read.

Brandon Branson’s Backpack

Brandon Branson’s backpack
is unusually large.
He drags it into school
the way a tugboat drags a barge.

The main compartment holds
about a hundred hardback books.
The outside has a zillion
little pockets, strap and hooks.

Inside it has his calculators,
one for every class,
plus eighty markers, pens and pencils,
adding to it’s mass.

It holds his new harmonica
plus three or four kazoos,
his binder and his lunchbox
and an extra pair of shoes.

Of course it has his mittens
with his winter coat and hat,
a soccer ball, a basketball,
a baseball glove and bat.

A CD player, headphones,
and a TV, with remote,
a telephone, computer,
and another hat and coat.

His skateboard and his scooter
have their own equipment rack.
It even has a space to park
his bicycle in back.

A teacher found it in the hall
today at 1:15,
She looked around for Brandon
who was nowhere to be seen.

She got some other teachers
who considered it and frowned,
then groaned and moaned and pulled
and dragged it off to lost and found.

They struggled through the doorway
feeling out of breath and strained,
and all of them were curious
to see what it contained.

They cautiously unzipped it
and they pulled it open wide,
and there was Brandon Branson
napping happily inside.

The Minotaur Hums

The minotaur hums as he strums on his lute
which he strums with his thumbs as he hums.
And sometimes he drums with his boot as he toots
when he toots on a flute as he drums.

And humbly he’ll hum as he drums with his boot
Or he’ll strum on his lute as he drums.
But strumming won’t come for his thumbs if he toots
and he truly can’t toot when he hums.

The Pretzel, the Pig, and the Baby Baboon

The pretzel, the pig and the baby baboon
went sailing away in a cardboard balloon.
They floated from Tuesday till sometime in June
on the vapors of valentine mints.

The baby baboon and the pretzel and pig
were happy at home in their bell-bottomed rig.
The flung off their caps as they jiggled a jig
over mountains of satin and chintz.

The pretzel played banjo and wiggled about.
The baby baboon gave a whoop and a shout.
The pig ate a pickle and polished his snout.
as they flew through a candy cane sky.

They soared on the breeze over cinnamon seas
and counted the stars in the sassafras trees,
then dined on spaghetti and strawberry teas
with bananas and Boston cream pie.

So give me your hand and we’ll stroll down the strand.
We’ll splash in the surf and collapse on the sand,
to wait near the spot where they’re planning to land
for I hear that they’re coming home soon.

We’ll watch for the pig and the pretzel as well,
commanding their craft over billow and swell,
to guide them home safely by ringing a bell
by the light of the indigo moon.

A Strange Old Man Fell Out of Bed

A strange old man fell out of bed,
and hit the floor and bonked his head.
It bonked so hard, to his dismay
his head fell off and rolled away.
And when he found he’d lost his head
and realized he must be dead,
he fell back into bed and then
he bonked his head back on again.

A Penguin’s Toes

A penguin’s toes once froze
from strolling slowly through the snows
because her clothes exposed her toes
or so I’m told.

A penguin’s knees can freeze
from speeding freely through the breeze
and freezing knees can make her sneeze
and catch a cold.

A penguin’s bill will chill
from sitting still upon a hill
until she’s ill and had her fill
of being cool.

But her digits ALL go rigid
frozen stiff and frosty frigid
when a penguin
rides her icicle to school.

Mythical Monster Party

The monsters are having a mythical ball;
a party like never before.
Their musical madness is rocking the hall
as the creatures are crowding the floor.

The Sirens are singing symphonious songs.
The Centaurs are ringing a chime.
The Giants are jumping and banging their gongs
while the Titans are waltzing in time.

The Sphinxes swing saxophones this way and that.
The Harpies perform on their harps.
The Sea-monsters sing all the notes that are flat
as the Serpents are sounding the sharps.

The Minotaurs strum on their mandolin strings.
The Dragons are pounding their drums.
Medusa can’t use any musical things
so she hangs with the Hydras and hums.

The Tritons are rapping, the Chimeras chant,
and Cerberus croons with them all.
The Cyclops would dance but he thinks that he can’t
so he just keeps his eye on the ball.

Fiona Flogg

Fiona Flogg, when she awoke,
was heard to cry a little croak.
Fiona Flogg exclaimed, I quote,
“It seems a frog is in my throat!”
“Of course,” said Mom, “you’ve got a frog;
last week you ate a polliwog!”

Learning How to Juggle

I am learning how to juggle
with facility and flair,
I’m attempting to keep
six or seven beanbags in the air.

I’ll propel some pears and peaches
and assorted other fruit.
I’ll toss apricots and apples
as I practice my pursuit.

I will dexterously demonstrate
a knack for pitching pegs.
I’ll manipulate some bowling balls,
some baseballs and some eggs.

With a dozen flaming torches
I’ll inspire the crowds to awe.
I will heave a hundred hammers,
hurl a hatchet and a saw.

My adroitness will amaze you
as I swiftly sling and snatch,
for I’m really good and throwing,
and someday I’ll learn to catch.

Green Rain

The weatherman predicted this,
the strangest weather seen.
The rain is coming down outside
a grassy shade of green.
He didn’t say the weather would be
sleet or snow or fog,
but “light precipitation
with a chance of morning frog.”