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Poetry for Children

with Robert Schechter


The King’s Breakfast

The King’s Breakfast

The King asked

The Queen, and

The Queen asked

The Dairymaid:

“Could we have some butter for

The Royal slice of bread?”

The Queen asked the Dairymaid,

The Dairymaid

Said, “Certainly,

I’ll go and tell the cow


Before she goes to bed.”


The Dairymaid

She curtsied,

And went and told

The Alderney:

“Don't forget the butter for

The Royal slice of bread.”

The Alderney

Said sleepily:

“You’d better tell

His Majesty

That many people nowadays

Like marmalade



The Dairymaid

Said, “Fancy!”

And went to

Her Majesty.

She curtsied to the Queen, and

She turned a little red:

“Excuse me,

Your Majesty,

For taking of

The liberty,

But marmalade is tasty, if

It’s very




The Queen said


And went to

His Majesty,

Talking of the butter for

The royal slice of bread,

“Many people

Think that


Is nicer.

Would you like to try a little




The King said,


And then he said,

“Oh, deary me!”

The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”

And went back to bed.


He whimpered,

“Could call me

A fussy man;

I only want

A little bit

Of butter for

My bread!”


The Queen said,

“There, there!”

And went to

The Dairymaid.

The Dairymaid

Said, “There, there!”

And went to the shed.

The cow said,

“There, there!

I didn’t really

Mean it;

Here’s milk for his porringer,

And butter for his bread.”


The Queen took

The butter

And brought it to

His Majesty;

The King said,

“Butter, eh?”

And bounced out of bed.

“Nobody,” he said,

As he kissed her


“Nobody,” he said,

As he slid down the banisters,


My darling,

Could call me

A fussy man —


I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!”

Alan Alexander Milne (1882–1956) was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems.


Gray’s a winding mountain road

that goes to who knows where.

Gray’s a wolf, and gray’s a whale,

and gray’s my grandma’s hair.

Gray’s the promise of a storm —

a cozy-blanket day.

They say it’s dull, but all I see

is beauty in the gray.

Suzy Levinson has written children’s poetry for numerous anthologies and magazines (including Highlights, Ladybug, and Spider). Her debut picture book, Animals In Pants (Cameron Kids/Abrams), is scheduled for spring of 2023. Visit her at

Mining Mars

On the surface of Mars, past its highlands,

in the reaches of deep outer-space,

there’s a three-thousand-meter rock mesa

in the shape of a huge human face.


Far off in the way distant future,

if your mission’s to rocket to Mars,

you will land on the planet to study

the face staring up at the stars.


You’ll scale the steep walls to the jawline

with your rock-sampling pick in your pack.

As clouds settle above the Red Planet,

you’ll hike on with the Earth at your back.


You’ll make your way up to the nostrils,

gather specimens that you’ll expose.

As you dig, you’ll be glad no one’s watching

when you’re picking another guy’s nose.


First published in Touchdown.

Helen Kemp Zax is the co-winner of the 2021 YorkMix International Prize for children’s poetry and the 2018 First Prize winner of the middle grade Katherine Paterson Prize. Her poetry appears in Cricket, High Five, and The Caterpillar.

The Things I Saw
a roundel

The things I saw when I was lost

and followed signs for “Devil’s Claw.”

I took that road at such a cost —

the things I saw!


Through forest trees I peered in awe

at witches standing in the frost,

who handled things, an ear, a paw,


then quickly, in their cauldron tossed,

these objects with a birdy’s craw.

I turn and fled, my eyes had crossed —

the things I saw!


First published in Underneath the Juniper Tree.

B. J. Lee is a children’s author and poet. Her picture book, There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth, launched in 2019 (Pelican Publishing). Her poetry is published by Little, Brown, National Geographic, Bloomsbury, Penguin/DK, Eerdmans, Wordsong, and Otter-Barry.


Valerie Mariya unsplash

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