If I Were a Poet…


If I were a poet I wonder if I

could write lots of poems that spread wings and fly


Well that’s exactly what one of my poems has done. The very first poem that I wrote specifically for children, If I Were a Giant, has flown the coop and landed not only in the pages of The School Magazine (2005 & 2016)


but also in Oxford University Press India’s Mulberry English Course Book (2 editions)

and more recently at Cambridge University UK as part of their Festival of Ideas.

If I Were a Giant

First published by The School Magazine – Orbit 2005 and again in 2016 and illustrated by Kim Gamble


This poem is very special to me, not only because it is my first children’s poem but also because it was illustrated by Kim Gamble who sadly passed away in 2016. I’ve since decided to name my giant Jamble (Jackie & Gamble).

While I also write picture books, my first love is poetry, particularly rhyming poetry and when I think of it even my picture book The Croc and Platypus is really a poem, an Aussie twist on Lear’s nonsense poem, The Owl and the Pussycat and soon to be released with a brand new cover (here’s the old one) – it begins…

The croc and the platypus trundled off

In a rusty old holden ute

They took some damper and tea in a hamper

And bundled it up in the boot

The Croc and the Platypus-COV

My next picture book, Road Trip, is also being published by Walker Books (black dog books) and is due for release next year. Is it too a poem? Well if not a poem then certainly a story in verse that is being illustrated by the very talented Tom Jellett. Can’t wait to share more about that one.

So have I written any poems that don’t rhyme? Yes I have, with two recently being published by Balloons Lit. Journal (Hong Kong, China). These two poems came to be during a poetry writing course that I did with the amazing Lorraine Marwood. Prose poems don’t come naturally to me but with some gentle coaxing I managed to produce two that I’m quite proud of.

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Two more poems that ended up in China can be found in a book edited by Mark Carthew and Kit Kelen, titled When the Moon is Swimming Naked (Flying Island Books). These two poems appear in both English and Chinese which I think is wonderful.

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Two more poems have ended up in America, Night Rain in Spider Magazine (Cricket Group) 2010

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and Morning Star in Kenn Nesbitt’s One Minute till Bedtime (little brown). 

A few of my poems have also ended up in England via a lovely publication called The Scrumbler that’s no longer in production.

Here’s a favourite…

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So if I were a poet and I think I must be

Then I’d write lots of poems and set them all free




Poetry Friday – a Zeno poem

This week’s host is Margaret Simon – click the image to see the round up


What is a Zeno poem?

The zeno form was invented by J. Patrick Lewis.  The syllable count is a mathematical sequence, 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1 with the one syllable words rhyming.

I’d never heard of a Zeno poem until today and I have to say I quite like it. In fact I like it a lot. So I thought I’d have a go at a Zeno poem myself. It’s still a bit birdy, following last week’s theme but I like birds so here we go, my Aussie, birdy, Zeno poem…


Cocky is short for Cockatoo


METRE (METER) MATTERS – although the spelling doesn’t



Hello again – I’ve not posted anything since June as I’ve not really had anything to say, that is until now.

So since then I’ve put together a writing course to help explain WHY metre matters and HOW metre works when writing in rhyme.

Some of you may have purchased my Rhyme Like the Experts Book and this course is really just an expansion of that along with some added bonuses.

I have been editing adults writing children’s poems and stories in verse for years now and I absolutely love it.

So far I have edited over 300 rhymers and close to 1000 rhymes – that’s amazing!

To read some of their testimonials you can click here.

Over the years I’ve been asked if I run any courses and of course, until now, I hadn’t.

So what do I offer? And what does…

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I’ve been meaning to join in on #poetryfriday for ages

and thanks to this post on Renée LaTulippe’s blog I now know how to do it so thanks for that Renée.


This week’s host is Christie Wyman – click image

When I went to Christie’s blog, Wondering and Wandering – I was delighted to see that her blog title was “Birds of a Feather” because as it happens I have a poem with that exact same title that was published in our beloved School Magazine way back in 2008.

I’ve written many poems about birds over the years, I too love them and they seem to love me, when I come bearing gifts.

Cockatoo and King parrot

They absolutely LOVE pumpkin and sunflower seeds.



Anyway here’s my poem for this week’s Poetry Friday challenge Birds of a Feather.



Self publishing has always fascinated me but I’m not a blower of my own trumpet so I’ve never gone down that track, that is, until today. Why today? Well, because next week I shall be attending a Book Week event.


The Croc and Platypus will be read, which takes about two minutes. I know I can stretch


it out a bit but it’s not a very long book, it’s a poem really, as is Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussy Cat.

So…..I’ve been searching about for some other things to read and from my experience, preppies or foundation students as they are now known (in Australia at least), like a picture to go with a story. My next picture book with black dog books isn’t due out until next year and my poetry, while illustrated beautifully thanks mostly to The School Magazine, is still very short. So what to do?

Recently I entered a story into a competition. It didn’t win but it did get itself this lovely comment…..

What a cheeky rhyming story with a delicious finish. Rhyme can often hinder the writing process, but you have captured it beautifully. It is clear you are well-versed in the writing process and have a polished manuscript to prove it. We encourage you to submit your story to publishers.

Then it got this quite nice rejection from Scholastic….

This is very humorous! Unfortunately, if you have a look at the picture book titles of the last 12 months, this topic has been WELL covered. We even have our own picture book in this area just recently released.

So sadly, we won’t be able to take this title.

So I have a picture book, a funny, polished picture book that one day I hope to find a home.

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…

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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