The Puffin Book Of Fantastic First Poems Edited by June Crebbin

An adorable collection of 134 poems categorised into 7 sections: Animal Poems, Poems about games and playing, Family poems,  Food poems, Holiday poems, Nonsense poems and Bedtime poems. Each section is decorated by a different illustrator including Tony Ross, Emma Chichester Clark and Emily Bolam.

Just as the title suggests, this is a perfect book to have on your toddler’s bookshelf, to pull out and read some rhyme anytime!

Tomu loved reading the simple and fast-paced poem that discloses many of the sleeping spots of ‘Cats’ by Eleanor Farjeon. Grace Nichols’ caterpillar and Elizabeth Gould’s tadpole both meditate upon their metamorphosis, one with worry and the other with wonder!

Caterpillar, please

Don’t worry ’bout a thing

‘But’, said Caterpillar,

‘Will I still know myself – in wings?’


There’s every now and then a most

           Exciting change in me,

I wonder, wiggle! waggle!

           What I shall turn out to be.


In the poems about games section, there is a glorious little rhyme about ‘Mud’ by John Smith and a crunchy one about ‘Ice’ by Dorothy Aldis. Enjoy reading the playground poem ‘First And Last’ by June Crebbin, together with your tot, because it’s about a familiar place. The illustrations are so important in these books for the little ones, as we found when reading ‘Hideout’ by Aileen Fisher. At first reading, Tomu didn’t follow the poem, but after we studied the picture and read again, it clicked! Don’t all kids love marbles? ‘Marbles In My Pocket’ by Lydia Pender was a wonderful read too.

The family poems will warm you up like a cup of hot chocolate, with sweet ones by Crebbin, Berlie Doherty, Allan Ahlberg and John Agard. ‘Dad And The Cat And The Tree’ by Kit Wright is a funny one, kids will love, about dad’s rescue of a cat up a tree. And anyone who has had their hair brushed by a loving grandmother will love Grace Nichols’ poem ‘Granny Granny Please Comb My Hair’.

?Granny Granny

please comb my hair

you always take your time

you always take such care.

You put me to sit on a cushion

between your knees

you rub a little coconut oil

parting gentle as a breeze?

June Crebbin’s ‘The Dinosaur’s Dinner’ is our favourite pick from food poems. ‘Soggy Greens’ by John Cunliffe perfectly contrasts whats is tasty and what is not! And find out what happens when two jellies have a race in ‘The Wobbling Race’ by Clive Riche. The holiday poems celebrate snowflakes and sand, train rides and sea sides, picnics and parks! Our favourite poems in this section include ‘Gone’ by Eric Finney, ‘Autumn Woods’ by James S. Tippett,  and ‘Rickety Train Ride’ by Tony Mitton . Be blown away by Lilian Moores breathtaking view on the sea:

Until I saw the sea
I did not know
that wind
could wrinkle water so.

I never knew
that sun
could splinter a whole sea of blue.

did I know before,
a sea breathes in and out
upon a shore.


Nonsense poems are always a hit with the kids! This section contains a whole lot of wacky words and notions, so read yourself silly!! The bedtime poems are just as enchanting as the night sky with its silvery sparkly magic. Kids can read about the wonders and frights that present themselves at this time of night. Notable poems from this section are ‘Good Night’ & ‘Bedtime’ by Eleanor Farjeon, ‘The Dark’ by Adrian Henri, ‘Bed In Summer’ by Robert Louis Stevenson and ‘Ladybird! Ladybird!’ by Emily Bronte.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, 

Go upstairs.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, 

Say your prayers.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, 

Turn out the light.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, 

Say good night.                    Anon


This book is a keeper and would make the perfect gift. Read it frequently and ignite the spark of poetry in your child.

Suggested age: Read aloud to Any age! Read by self 6+


  1. Nisha J

    Thanks for introducing this book that has a beautiful collection of poems for kids !

    1. Sandhya Rose

      You are welcome, Nisha. Hope you enjoy the book as much as we did!

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