50% off first hour’s edit

To warm up your Winter Writing – Jackie’s Rhyming Manuscript Editing Service is offering 50% off your first hour’s edit for the entire month of JUNE.

Normally $45, for JUNE only you can get your first hour for only $22.50 – you’ll also receive a FREE copy of her Rhyme Like the Experts book.

So if you have a rhyming children’s story or poem that just won’t behave itself why not take advantage of this special offer?


ASK DIANNE: Rhyming Picture Books

This is a very good explanation as to what makes a story written in rhyme and meter work. Click here to read the whole article

Writing and Illustrating

Q:  When I go to the bookstore or library for market research, I see a lot of rhyming picture books on the shelves.  Kids love picture books that rhyme, obviously.  But a lot of editors and agents say that they don’t want rhyming picture book submissions from writers.  Why?

A:  While it may be relatively easy for a writer to put together lines that rhyme and have illustrative potential….it can be a bit more difficult to write a fully-functioning picture book story which also happens to rhyme.   There are a few reasons why—but first, let’s review what makes a story a story.

Whether it’s a picture book or novel, to succeed narratively your manuscript needs an interesting main character who faces a challenge, bumps into at least one obstacle, solves an age-appropriate problem, is somehow changed by the experience, and brings it all home to ‘THE END’ in a satisfying…

View original post 784 more words

Second book syndrome

How many of us, after publishing our first book, felt, after more than enough rejections, that that was it? Well I certainly did. I comforted myself with talk such as – oh well, that was nice while it lasted, at least I got one book published, at least this, at least that……But if I’m honest, I think I felt worse, once the hype had died down, than if I’d never published anything at all. I felt like a fraud (and I know we all do at times), like someone who had snuck in under the curtains to be kicked off stage once everyone realised I didn’t really belong in the ‘children’s author’ play at all.

Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I am SO grateful especially to Walker Books who took a chance on a newbie and to the wonderful Marjory Crosby-Fairall who illustrated The Croc and the Platypus so beautifully. I guess what I’m trying to say, especially to those of you who have published your first book, is that there are no easy roads in this business. You can’t for one moment rest on your laurels and think that books 2, 3 and 4 are going to tumble out the of the sky.

The Croc and the Platypus was published in 2014, happily it was reprinted a number of times and I’ve been informed that there is a new issue in the wings which is terrific news.

So what’s changed? One thing that is very different for me now is that I am able to send my manuscripts directly to Walker thus skipping the slippery slush pile. What this also means is that rejections often come quicker but usually with very thoughtful and useful feedback which of course is gold.

So, once it sunk in that books 2, 3 and 4 weren’t going to tumble out of the sky, I took myself off to the first Kidlit Vic Conference. And boy am I glad that I did because while it took over 10 years for my first picture book to be published, my second picture book contract only took 4. A definite improvement. I cannot speak more highly of this conference and everyone involved in organising and putting it together including all the publishers and editors and panelists who give up their weekends to share their knowledge and to offer their encouragement. As you can see my ms assessment was with Maryann Ballantyne. I first saw Maryann speak many years ago at Victoria University in Sunshine when I was a brand new newbie. Right then and there I thought, WOW! how I would love to work with that woman. Such presence. Such professionalism. I could tell that she’d not put up with any nonsense. Now Maryann and I had met on and off, around the circuit and of course she knew I already had a book with Walker but we’d never sat down face to face, like we did back in 2016 and can I tell you I left that meeting on cloud nine.

You’ll note however that nearly two years past by before I was offered a contract and in that time I wrote many, many picture books, none quite what she was looking for until the one that was. This was a tricky time, one in which I had to remind myself to enjoy the journey. I knew there was no guarantees of publication but I also knew that the surest way of not being published was to not try, so I kept on trying.  I also continued to submit other work elsewhere and I think this is very important to help keep one’s spirits up. All successes must be celebrated big and small so to follow my own advice here is a little gallery of things that I’ve achieved since attending my first KidLit Vic conference back in 2016.


I’m also pleased to say that I will be attending this year’s KidLitVic Conference so if you’re going too – I’ll see you there!

Please do comment if you too have a second book syndrome story to share.



Jackie’s Annual Poetry/Stories in Verse Competition is now open…

It’s that time again – but this time Summer is in the air and what better way to celebrate than with a Xmas Competition…

Running from 15th November to 15th January 2017


Email me for an entry form...

Email me for an entry form…


  • Unpublished
  • Never edited by yours truly
  • Any theme
  • Must be written in rhyme and meter
  • A poem captures a moment (usually shorter)
  • A verse story tells a story in rhyme (usually longer)
  • Email or click the poster for an entry form
  • Deadline 15th January 2017
  • $5 per poem/story


Enter as many times as you like – $5 per entry

One Minute Till Bedtime – Blog Tour/Celebration

Welcome to our online celebration of Kenn Nesbitt’s beautiful collection of poems written by 65 poets from all around the world.

Below you will find a display of some of the poems that didn’t make it into the anthology. I thought this might be a fun way to showcase some well loved rejections while also celebrating the release of this stunning book.

I will list the places that you can purchase a copy, should you feel so inclined, at the end of the post. It would make a wonderful Christmas present.

So please enjoy some more wonderful poetry from some of the OMTB poets.


Brian Rock

The Tree and Me


Out through my window, I joyfully see

My friend and my neighbor, the old Birchwood tree.


Though his presence is constant, he’s never the same,

To purchase Brian's book just click the cover.

To purchase Brian’s book just click the cover.

To notice his changes is my secret game.


Like the way that he flinches when rain hits his leaves,

And how his long branches sashay in the breeze.


Some changes take longer – whole seasons to track,

As he changes through pinks, greens, and yellows; and back.


I’m amazed at the changes he makes every day,

Without even moving one micron away.


I wonder what changes my Birchwood can see,

As he looks in my window and gazes at me!


Joe Mohr's Poems

Joe Mohr’s Poems


The Best Creation?

Maggie made a tigeraffe

Whose neck and claws were long.

Joey made a birdle,

A turtle with a song.

Maria drew a coyokeet,

A parakeet that howled.

Mikey built a twinkipede

While his stomach growled.

Norm designed a hippadee,

A hippo that could fly.

Marsha made an applefish

That smelled like apple pie.

Johnny made a catfish

Not knowing they existed.

Bernie drew a Venus Guy Trap

(Bernie’s really twisted).

I devised an animal

With a shiny golden horn,

Part Amazonian Manatee

And part unicorn.

And though I liked each creature’s,

Unique designs and deeds,

I think a little uni-tee

Is what this wide world needs.

Facebook & Twitter


Martin Pierce


Kindle Author Page

Kindle Author Page

Ron Taylor is an optimist,

he’s bought a field of snow.

And now he’s hoping for a crop

of frozen peas to grow.


Timothy Tocher

The Cat’s Meow


The Three Little Kittens were known for their mittens,

while Puss looked quite spiffy in boots.

There once was a cat recognized by his hat.14915478_10155552507396509_5119004040222742446_n

There are probably some that wear suits.


So why should it be, that my cat scratches me

every time that I help her to dress?

If she’d wear what I pick, she would look oh so slick,

each outfit a major success.


Last night brought more dramas. When offered pajamas

she put up a fight on my bed.

She spat and she hissed when I tried to insist,

then out of the bedroom she fled.


Ron Koertge

8 O’clock

I like how the lamp

takes a peek at my book.

If I hold it just right

we can both get a look.

Night is outside dripping

ink on the walk.

Inside my book, shady

characters talk.

Here comes a cat. He’s

unusually smug.

He turns around once,

blends into the rug.

I read him a sentence.

He scowls with one eye.

I won’t read him another.

Let sleeping cats lie.

Twitter Facebook Tumblr



Jackie Hosking (that’s me)

What do you do?


When Grandma’s at home, sipping tea from her mug

And she feels all alone, by the fire, on the rug

And she desperately pines for a cuddly hug

Do you know what she does?


She calls me.gif


Cause when Grandma’s alone and in need of a hug

Then she picks up the phone that is next to her mug

And she says, ‘come around for a cuddly hug.’

And do you know what I do?


I say yes.


And I get on my bike and I pedal like mad

Cause there’s nothing quite like a hug that you’ve had

From a cuddly Grandma who’s lonely or sad

And that’s we do.


What do you do?


Brenda Williams

When little children go to sleep


When little children go to sleep

All their toys begin to creep

Out of the toy box, out of the beds

Leaving children nodding their heads.


Out in the moonlight, out in the night

Teddies and pandas.  A magical sight!

A monkey, a dragon, a zebra, a duck.

A cute cuddly cat and even a truck.


When children are sleeping, their toys are away

Out in the starlight as bright as day.

There’s a tiger, a rabbit, a doll dressed in blue

A dinosaur, soldier, and a brown kangaroo.


They’re dancing and laughing, it really is fun

For toys to have parties when daylight is done.

But come the new morning when the sun start to rise

Tired but happy, the toys rub their eyes.


Then softly, so softly on silent small toes

Homeward and homeward each little toy goes.

Back to the toy box, or back to the bed

To snuggle up close to a child’s sleepy head.


Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Sole Mates


My feet are great, they’re just first-rate,

each one a match with its sole mate.

One left, one right, to take me places,

dance and jump and run fast races.


I’ve ten fine toes that like to twitch,

And they can reach to scratch knee itch.review

When I stand tall on tippy toe—

Don’t need to wait until I grow.



The cake tin is within my reach

And then I scarper to the beach

To leap the waves that lap the shore.

I kick, sand-flick then race some more.


If every car and bus broke down

It wouldn’t stop me getting round,

For I’d still get from here to there,

My feet would take me everywhere.


Twitter: @TraffaM Facebook

Paul Orshoski

Saylah Anne Weyer


This is the story of Saylah Anne Weyer.
Her Mom is a nurse and her Dad is a Flier.

Her brothers are Pirates. Her sister will share.
Her Grandma shampoos away all her gray hair.

Saylah Anne Weyer

Saylah Anne Weyer

While visiting Grandma’s house one summer day,
Saylah turned on the hose and then squirted away.

She squirted the flowers, the berries and dirt.
She squirted her feet, then her legs and her shirt.

She squirted the fence, then the sidewalk and toys.
She squirted the neighbors: first girls, and then boys.

She squirted at birds that were high in a tree.
Then Grandma said, “Saylah, don’t try squirting me.”

“Don’t worry,” said Saylah. “I’ll do this instead.”
She squirted her grandfather right in the head.

Her Mom started laughing at Papa’s wet hair.
Then Grandma fell giggling right out of her chair.

Her brothers were rolling all over the place.
And people were roaring at Papa’s drenched face.

But Saylah Anne Weyer did not laugh and shout
for Papa got mad and gave her a time-out.

Children’s Author Facebook Page
Personal Facebook Page  
Twitter Page


Mike Lucas

People say I’m growing



People say I’m growing but why can’t I feel me grow?

If people didn’t tell me then I really wouldn’t know.

I always feel the same size, though they buy me bigger clothes,

And they tell me that my head is getting further from my toes.


People say I’m growing. They say, ‘Look how big you’ve got!’

But I just cannot see it, so I tell them, ‘I have not!’

They tell me I look like my dad when he was very young,

Which is lucky ‘cause I wouldn’t if I had a different one.


People say I’m growing but I do not think it’s true,

For surely I’d remember every time I went and grew.

I wore a hat all day today to see if it got higher,

But it didn’t so I know that they are liars, liars, liars!


People say I’m growing and I think I might agree,

For today it is my birthday and I’m now a grown up three.

Perhaps I’m really growing, but I cannot say for sure,

So I’ll have another look next year when I am great big four.


Jenny Erlanger




What delicacy

are you planning for tea?

I must say I’m feeling quite famished.

Fried brains with a sliver

of kidney and liver?

How funny!  My appetite’s vanished.



Brian P Cleary

At the Muzzaloo Store


At the muzzaloo store, there are crates of persnoobles,

Fresh-baked flobitzen and tazbees with jubles.

They’re stocking the shelves with the best alaprises,

Ungden and traffadoo (three different sizes!).14915478_10155552507396509_5119004040222742446_n


High on the shelf you’ll find melezoid dinkles,

The nice, silky, smooth kind without any wrinkles.

Jars filled with tomashes, wazzenloft, too.

Boxes of mooglehorns, yellow and blue.


Right down aisle 7, is where they keep japers —

Stacked, and wrapped neatly in pink tissue papers —

Mozenar, trums, castanoovas and more;

You’ll find all of this at the muzzaloo store!



Darren Sardelli

The Letter A


The letter A is awesome!

It simply is the best.

Without an A, you could not get

an A+ on a test.

You’d never see an acrobat

or eat an apple pie.

You couldn’t be an astronaut

or kiss your aunt goodbye.

An antelope would not exist.

An ape would be unknown.

You’d never hear a person

say “Afraid” or “All Alone”.

The A’s in avocado

would completely disappear

and certain words would be forgot


Published in The School Magazine (Australia)

like “ankle”, “arm”, and “ear”.


Without the A, you couldn’t aim

an arrow in the air.

You wouldn’t ask for apricots

or almonds at a fair.

Aruba and Australia

would be missing from a map.

You’d never use an ATM,

an apron, or an app.

The arctic fox and aardvark

would be absent from the zoo,

and vowels, as you know them,

would be E, I, O, and U.

There wouldn’t be an A chord

on the instruments you play.

Let’s appreciate, admire,

and applaud the letter A!



Joshua Seigal


I was…

Click the cover to buy Joshua's books

Click the cover to buy Joshua’s books

angry as a roaring lion,
angry as a swooping bat,

angry as a squawking parrot,
angry as a screeching cat,

angry as a hissing viper,
angry as a hopping frog,

angry as a big gorilla,
angry as a charging hog,

angry as a howler monkey,
angry as a barking mutt;

Yes I was very, VERY angry
when they said the zoo

was shut.


Meredith Costain

Can you?


Can you jump, can you leap,

Can you shimmy and jiggle?

Skip around corners

Or wobble and wiggle?


Can you swing, can you swoop,

Can you soar through the sky?

Flitter and skitter

Or flutter and fly?


Can you stomp, can you stamp,gif

Can you slither and slide?

Squirm like a worm

Or hover and glide?


Can you step, can you stride,

Can you tumble and twirl?

Spin like a whirlwind

Or swagger and swirl?


Can you flip, can you flap,

Can you do a forward roll?

Jump rope, ski a slope

Or shoot for goal?


I can!


Twitter: @MeredithCostain


Donna Jo Napoli

Instruments of the rain



The rain goes plink on the wagon

…………….plonk on your head

……………………..plunk on the dirt

It goes slip off the petal tip

………….slap against the window pane

……………………………sloop down the gutter

It goes splish in the bird bat

…………….splash in the wading pool

……………………………sploosh in the fish pond

Don’t you love storm concerts?



Jen Bryant



Mister Emu

I see you



Gray and white


Three-foot throat

A periscope?


Bamboo legs

Football eggs


Flightless wings

(Soft-feathered things)


Fast as a bunny

You’re curious, funny


Mister Emu

I see you—


You’re a clown!





Janeen Brian




Do you like to hide?

Sometimes I hide so well

I cannot even find myself –

and then I have to YELL!






Charles Ghigna – Father Goose

Quiet Days

On quiet days

When you are still

And listen with your heart


You can hear

A hush of sounds

And tell them all apart.


You can hear

In early fall

The echo of the owl’s call.


You can hear

Up in the trees

The whisper of the autumn breeze.


You can hear

Out in the dark

The endless plea of puppy’s bark.gif


You can hear

The distant train

Racing through the evening rain.


You can hear

Down by the shore

The thunder of the ocean roar.


You can hear

When passing by

The lonely seagull’s hungry cry.


You can hear

When winter blows

The silence of the falling snow.


You can hear

A hush of sounds

And tell them all apart


On quiet days

When you are still

And listen with your heart.



Celeste Walters

Lumps and Bumpsreview

I’m lying in bed
with lumps and with bumps
I think I have mumps
the doctor said sadly
you do
still Grandma would read to me
sit on my bed
today she complained
of a pain in the head
now Granda has lumps and bumps too.


Liz Brownlee

A Mother Bird’s Song

I’ll gather silver cobwebs

with soft mosses for my nest,

and keep my chicks all safe at night

hugged in my feathered breast


I’ll spend all hours hunting14915478_10155552507396509_5119004040222742446_n

caterpillars in the leaves

to answer every peep

and open beak all saying please


I ‘ll show them how to preen

when they start feathering,

teach them pride in who they are

so they’ll know how to sing


I’ll help them try their wings,

climb the air and learn to fly,

so one day the wind will take them,

to be free as song and sky.


Thanks everyone – just wonderful.

Below are links to poems from OMTB poets who have their own blogs….

Matt Forrest

Sherryl Clark

Lorie Ann Grover

Laura Purdie Salas

Kat Apel

B J Lee

Poetry Friday (2nd Dec)

Sophie Masson

Heidi Mordhorst

One Minute Till Bedtime is now available in the US wherever books are sold, including:




It is also available for purchase now in Australia:



In the UK, it will be available on December 8, 2016:



W.H. Smith

One Minute Till Bedtime – BLOG TOUR



Looking forward to reading the many poems that didn’t quite make it into Kenn Nesbitt’s ‘One Minute Till Bedtime’ poetry anthology. Kenn says…

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my newest book, One Minute Till Bedtime. This is the first anthology that I have put together, and it has already received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal, plus it has been selected by Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2016.

One Minute Till Bedtime contains over 140 brand-new poems from more than 130 poets from around the world, including such luminaries as Jack Prelutsky, Jane YolenJon Scieszka, Joyce SidmanJudith Viorst, Lemony Snicket,Marilyn SingerNikki Grimes, and many, many others. Each of the poems in this collection–all perfect for bedtime–can be read in about a minute. With seven sections, each with roughly twenty poems, One Minute Till Bedtime holds a full week of 20-minute sleepytime readings.

The beautiful hardcover book is whimsically illustrated by the incomparable Christoph Niemann, whose witty, minimalist drawings compliment and enhance the poems, giving readers even more to ponder as they get ready to dream.

One Minute Till Bedtime is now available in the US wherever books are sold, including:




It is also available for purchase now in Australia:



In the UK, it will be available on December 8, 2016:



W.H. Smith

Please come back on 1st December to devour a feast of delicious

un-one minute till bedtime poems.

Just for fun

MulberryToday, as I uploaded some more poems to the page the bottom drawer (under Jackie’s poetry) I thought it might be fun to see if any children’s illustrators might like to have a go at illustrating any of the poems.

I’m not able to offer any money but if I choose your illustration I would be happy to promote you in any way that I can.

Here’s something that might be of interest to you. Since having the poem If I Were a Giant published by Oxford University Press in India I have been getting hundreds of views to this blog from India, especially to my poetry pages. This has been such a pleasant surprise.

So I thought it might be nice if I had some illustrations to go along with them.

If you are interested in this idea all you need to do is choose a poem or poems and send me a jpeg of a simple black and white illustration.

If I get more than one illustration for each poem I will upload a gallery. I will also send updates via facebook, twitter and PASS IT ON.

I really hope that I get some interest in this proposal – who knows where it might lead 🙂

Some Housekeeping

  • Copyright remains with the illustrator.


  • I will only use the image on this site and will always ask permission to use it elsewhere.


  • I will insert links to websites, blogs etc into the image or in the case of a gallery will include the artists’ links below the poem.


  • Copyright of the poems remain with me and they mustn’t be published anywhere else without my permission.


Looking forward to hearing from you.



C J Dennis Poetry Competition and Festival

Toolangi 2015

The Impossible BBQ – Highly Commended

Gran is out from Cornwall and we’ve planned an Aussie treat
The great Australian BBQ with eskies full of meat
Steaks and chops and sausages and don’t forget, of course
The most important condiment, the Heinz tomato sauce

Gran’s not used to seeing all our wide and open spaces
Cornwall’s rather cramped and squashed and damp in many places
She’s never had a BBQ, she sits on picnic rugs
And lunches in lush meadows far from flies and other bugs

She wanders through the copses picking bluebells by the bunch
She won’t find bluebells growing here or saffron cake to munch
We’re going on a BBQ an outback expedition
We want Gran to experience an Australian tradition

The car is packed and so are we, our quest has now begun
And soon the dust is dancing as we head towards the sun
The air conditioner’s broken and we’re sweating salty beads
We try to think some cooling thoughts but none of us succeeds

We drive on corrugated tracks that shake us to the core
Gran complains to Dad because her bottom’s getting sore
“Nearly there,” is Dad’s reply, “it’s just around the corner.”
But Dad at times exaggerates and I wonder, should warn her?

Four more corners and then a case of minor dehydration
We pull into a roadside stop our barbie destination.
The outlook’s rather limited it’s blocked off by the loo
But Dad’s too busy rummaging to care about the view

We all climb out to stretch our legs; the heat is like a slap
A lonesome Gum provides some shade as Dad unfolds his map
“We’re here,” he grins and stabs a finger, gnarled and tanned and plump
“Beyond which lies,” he points and winks, the infamous Black Stump

A shiver, quivers through us all, although the sun’s severe
We hope that nothing untoward will happen to us here
Gran is looking miserable she’s moaning and she’s mumbling
But then I realise, that instead, it’s all our tummies rumbling

“We’re starving Dad, let’s cook the food before we fade away,”
We all pitch in to gather sticks while Dad collects the tray
The one he won on Friday night, a raffle at the pub
Proud as punch he lifts the tray above the saltbush scrub

“Welcome to the outback Gran,” we give a little cheer
Dad discretely sniffles as he wipes away a tear
He sets the sticks inside the grate and quickly strikes a match
Then drops the blackened plate in place and waits for it to catch

Soon the chops are sizzling, the sausages and steak
And that’s when we discover our very first mistake
‘Cause while we love to BBQ beneath Australian skies
We’d all forgotten BBQs are also loved by flies

Thousands upon thousands; our fire a gaudy beacon
We flip and flap and slip and slap but soon begin to weaken
It doesn’t matter where we run, there’s no way to compete
You can’t deter an Aussie fly when it’s detected meat

The second of our grand mistakes; a rather smart invention
As cures can often come too late it’s best to use prevention
In Cornwall you would never leave without your large umbrella
So BBQs should never be without some citronella

We drive away defeated and find a marshy lake
And snack on tea and Grandma’s most delicious saffron cake


I was also very chuffed to read in the judge’s report that another poem that I entered warranted this comment…

The Kangaroos’ Barbie by Jackie Hosking is a very clever parody on the song The Teddy Bears’ Picnic and works well when it is sung (this allows compression and extension of syllables, and pauses). However, when read aloud, it didn’t quite work as a poem and so is not included here. I would love to hear it performed.

A lesson about rhyme and meter, written in rhyme and meter…


I am writing this poem to try and explain
~The meaning of meter and rhyme
~This meter I’m using is often amusing
~If Seuss is the source of the chime

But rather than bother with technical terms
Let’s look at the beats, on and off
The stressed beats, in red, are the on beats instead
And the off beats occur in the trough

The off beats I’ve coloured in pastel
I’ve chosen an orange and pink
You’ll see that I’ve put triple beats in each foot
It reads like a waltz don’t you think

da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM

Anapaestic, dactylic or triple
A rose called a weed smells as sweet
The name doesn’t matter, be it first, last or latter
So long as you stick to the beat

So now let’s put this beat in place
Ol’ Shakespeare liked to use this pace
Though he preferred pentameter
An extra foot (for the amateur)

You’ll see I’ve taken license here
To try and make my point more clear
But if you read and tap your feet
You’ll note we’ve got a marching beat

da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum
da Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum

Iambic, trochee; both are duple
So for the attentive pupil
You will understand the names
In essence, all denote the same