Welcome Temper Tabitha

Today is the official release day for my new picture book with Larrikin House, illustrated by Leah Russack. No big fanfare or book launch, just a quiet announcement to welcome Tabitha into this very strange world that we are living in at the moment. And here’s a sneak peek of how the story begins.

When Tabitha wanted a that or a this

she wouldn’t ask nicely and give you a kiss,

she’d stamp and she’d stomp,

she’d rant and she’d rave,

Tabitha didn’t know how to behave.

When I originally sent this story to Larrikin House it had a very different ending to the one it has now, one that I thought was hilarious, but one that left the reader feeling unsatisfied. James however, saw the potential and together we coaxed it into a much more satisfying shape and of course, along came Leah who further improved it with her own interpretation. One of the things I like most about the whole process is seeing what the illustrator will bring to the story, Tabitha’s bunny being one of them.

So just for a bit of fun I thought I’d share with you how the story originally ended, because deep down, the wicked part of me, still thinks it’s funny.

The children lost interest and went on their way

The audience, speechless had nothing to say

Mother and Grandfather had a nice chat

Till Tabitha wanted a this and a that

This of course, this isn’t how the story ends but will Tabitha ever learn how to behave? If you know a Temper Tabitha, and we all do, this may well be the book for you and rest assured that the ending isn’t quite so wicked!

How to WIN a Tabitha Bunny

Order a copy from me by midnight on Sunday 2nd August

The School Magazine and me

Click here to book your ticket

15 years ago The School Magazine published a poem titled, If I Were a Giant, and this was the beginning of a very beautiful friendship. Illustrated exquisitely by the late, great Kim Gamble, this poem still holds a special place in my heart.

First published in The School Magazine Orbit March 2005

Since then, along with so many wonderful illustrators, we have produced many beautiful poems but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be invited to be part of their Literary Festival. I am humbled and truly honoured and also a little apprehensive because while I know I can write poetry, I’ve never really thought about how I do it and then I wonder, is poetry a thing that can be taught anyway? Because I think, perhaps, we are all poets – so I guess what I hope to do is to encourage or coax the poet, that may be shy or too timid to show itself, out into the sunshine.

Thanks again to everyone who is part of creating this priceless magazine and I will look forward to being part of a festival that not only celebrates literacy but creativity in all its guises. So please join me and all these other wonderful creatives as we celebrate The Wonderful World of Worlds.

What some of my poems have been up to.

Just wanted to share what some of my poems have been up to lately should you fancy taking a look.

Stone the Crows

Stone the Crows was first published in The Caterpillar Magazine in 2018 and it recently appeared in their weekly mailout. It has been added to the Better Than Starbucks site here. Such a wonderful resource for all sorts of poetry. I’ve also been lucky enough to have it beautifully illustrated by Debbie Mourtzios. Debbie has illustrated a few of my poems. I really love her style.

Stone the Crows
In the field, there’s a man
made of sticks and straw
On the man, there are crows
that croak and caw
He’s supposed to scare
the crows away
He’s supposed to keep
the crows at bay
But the birds aren’t afraid
they think he’s sweet
And they walk on the man
with their little crow feet

It’s true

It’s true was first published in The School Magazine (Blast Off 2013) and more recently on Kenn Nesbitt’s GiggleVerse site, another brilliant resource.

I think that walking on your tongue
Would make it hard to eat
But did you know the butterfly
Has tastebuds on its feet?

And did you know the elephant
With trunk and massive rump
In fact’s the only animal
That cannot ever jump?

The crocodile with gnashing teeth
And gnarled and snarling snout
Never sticks its tongue out
Cause it cannot stick it out

And snails can sleep for years and years
A problem hard to fix
They fall asleep at three years old
And wake up when their six

The ostrich is a flightless bird
That runs along the plain
And did you know its eyeball
Is bigger than its brain?

And did you know the cockroach
Can live without its head?
It takes nine days for it to starve
Before it drops down dead.

And did you know the slimy slug
That slithers on the floor
Is known to be quite nosey
Not with one nose, but with four?

A flea can spring a distance
Many times its size
Like you could jump a football field
And win the long-jump prize.

But here’s a thing you’ll never do
Your mouth is not that wide
A hippo’s on the other hand
Can fit you right inside

But the weirdest of the animals
The ones not in the zoo
Live inside the mirror

Take a look – it’s true.

Over the moon!

My last post was titled The Moon so why now am I over it?

Because today I can publicly announce that my poem – Everything’s Been Cancelled, has been commended by poet Roger McGough, judge of this year’s Caterpillar Poetry Prize. Sitting alongside me are such fabulous names as Coral Rumble (Winner of the prize in 2018), Kate O’Neil (fellow Aussie), Robert Schechter, Brian Cooke, Joseph Moorwood and Sarah Ziman. And of course huge congratulations to the winner Fergal McNally.

I have been entering this competition for years so to finally be able to share this news is beyond wonderful.

So very grateful to The Caterpillar Magazine for offering this opportunity each year for all of us lovers and writers of children’s poetry.

The poem, of course, was inspired by the very strange times we find ourselves in at the moment. Sitting in front of my computer, feeling very odd, I was struck by the fact that on my ten acre property, none of the animals were aware of the new rules and it gave me such hope.

Also thrilled to hear that the poem is appearing in the current issue of the magazine which can be purchased here, should you fancy a copy and can I say the accompanying illustration is divine!

Thanks again to everybody who helped to make this happen. It’s certainly popped a smile on my face.

The Moon

I love the moon.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly driven off the road while exclaiming to whoever was in the car, “LOOK AT THE MOON!”

When I wrote the poem, The Moon, I was on a morning walk. It must have been winter because it was still dark. As I walked across a road I looked left and at the top of the hill sat the biggest, fullest, brightest moon I’d ever seen.

And so began…

There’s a moon on my walk at the top of the hill.

By the time I got home I’d written the poem in my head in its entirety.

The School Magazine published The Moon in their 2006 April issue of Countdown and Root & Star published it in Issue 24: The Circles Issue. They then asked permission to include it in their Lunar Calendar 2020.

I love it!

If you love it too you can purchase one from the Root & Star website by clicking the image below.

Click the image to buy a copy from the Root & Star website

Autumn Cleaning

One thing that staying inside has lead to – is a tidy up of this blog. With my second picture book hovering in the wings I thought it was time to upload a new page to showcase the soon to be released Temper Tabitha, illustrated by Leah Russack and published by Larrikin House.

Written in rhyme and metre, as is most of my work, Tabitha is a feisty little girl who likes to get her way. Readers will be bemused and amused as they follow her antics especially when she locks horns with a little boy as determined to get his way as she is.

So perhaps the adults will step in to help? Well yes, they do. But not in the way you might expect.

I’m so looking forward to seeing Tabitha in the world but while we wait you might like to pop over to her page where you can download some colouring activity sheets and if you’re as excited about holding your own copy of Tabitha as I am then you can pre-order a copy from here.

Wishing you all a safe and anxiety free Autumn and may all our tantrums during this time be tiny.

What’s the difference between a rhyming poem and a story written in rhyming verse?

Just in case anyone is confused here’s a blog post I wrote a couple of years ago. Just note that the deadline for this year’s competition is 30th November 2019

Jackie Hosking

As you might know, periodically I run a competition for people who love to write in rhyme.

My New Spring Competition is underway as we speak (the deadline is midnight Wednesday 30th October).

Some people have asked the question – what is the difference between a rhyming poem and a story written in rhyming verse? And I thought the easiest way to answer this question was to show you two examples of my own.

A poem

The School Magazine – Countdown – Sept 2007 [VOL.92 NO.8] The School Magazine – Countdown – Sept 2007 [VOL.92 NO.8]

A Story written in rhyming verse

Leo and Millie p1Leo and Millie p2Leo and Millie p3Leo and Millie p4

Simply put then – a poem captures a moment, a feeling, an emotion and a story tells a story with a beginning, a middle and and an end.

View original post

Some spooky stuff

Halloween isn’t really something that we celebrate in our family, especially now that the kids have grown up. However, having said that, I do enjoy a spooky story (I grew up reading Stephen King) so thought I might share one on Poetry Friday which is being hosted today on Tabatha Yeatts’ blog.

I hope you enjoy – At the end of the street…

To purchase a copy of Spooktacular Stories click here. For every book sold, Share your Story will donate a copy to a sick child in an Australian hospital.

I have some jolly news


When Jen Storer announced that this year we could submit as many pieces as we liked to her Scribbles Creative Writing Awards and that there was a new poetry section – I got busy. I ended up submitting 6 pieces. Five picture books text and one poem and I’m very thrilled to announce that the poem (My Island) and one of the picture books (Betsy’s Bargain Bloomers) have made the shortlist along with all these wonderful fellow kidlit writers/illustrators listed above.

It can be daunting entering competitions and there have been some interesting discussions on facebook about this, particularly about the disappointment that the non-shortlisters feel. Competitions are tough, not only for the entrants but for the judges also, especially, as Jen informed us, that some entries missed out by only 0.5 of a mark and of course it’s terribly frustrating not knowing if your entry was one of those.

However, despite the disappointments and the not knowing, I think competitions are invaluable (as some of you may know I run my competition every Spring for Writers of Rhyme and Metre) because they force you to write something new or polish something old and get it out there in front of readers and this what it’s all about really isn’t it? Getting our writing read.

So huge congratulations to everyone who entered this year’s CWA and I hope that some of you will consider entering my comp too.

Email me for an entry form

Googling about…

It’s probably terribly vain but sometimes I Google my name just to see what’s floating about and here’s what I discovered today.


This poem was first published by The School Magazine (ORBIT) in 2005 and again in 2016. It also appears in the New Mulberry English Course Book published by Oxford University Press in India, now in its third edition which probably explains this translated recitation.

Two more poems have been recorded by Shaheen Aggarwal – I just love the way she reads them, so expressive.


Puppy & Me was first published by The School Magazine (COUNTDOWN) in July 2006 and Nothing to Worry About was first published by The School Magazine (COUNTDOWN) in June 2006.


The School Magazine have been supporting children’s poets for over 100 years and they too have now started to utilise YouTube as another means for sharing poetry for children. Here are the links to some more of my poems that have been published by The School Magazine.

Bird Song – Published in The School Magazine Countdown 10, 2018 Illustration by Bronwyn Bancroft
A Dessert Sky – Illustration by Matt Ottley First published in The School Magazine Blast Off 10, 2015 and again in Blast Off 4, 2019
It Is What It Is – Illustration by Christopher Nielsen Published in The School Magazine Countdown 5, 2019

I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to some of my poems and please do show your support by giving them the ol’ thumbs up.