hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: David Elliott

David Elliott is the NY Times bestselling author of many books for children, including the picture books, AND HERE’S TO YOU!, FINN THROWS A FIT, THIS ORQ(HE CAVE BOY) and the poetry series ON THE FARM, IN THE WILD, IN THE SEA, and ON THE WING. He is also the author of the middle grade novels, THE TRANSMOGRIFICATION OF ROSCOE WIZZLE, the EVANGELINE MUDD books, and JEREMY CABBAGE. David lives in NH with his wife and their Dandie Dinmont mix, Queequeg.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: My wife and I are dedicated francophiles: French toast, French fries, and of course, my beloved French Press. Oooo-la-la!

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: This Orq. (he say “Ugh!”), illustrated by Lori Nichols (Boyds Mills Press, 2015); Nobody’s Perfect, illustrated by Sam Zuppardi (Candlewick, 2015); On the Wing, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander (Candlewick, 2014). Forthcoming: The Two Tims, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo (Candlewick, May 2016); This Orq (he #1), illustrated by Lori Nichols (Boyds Mills Press, September 2016); In the Past, illustrated by Matthew Trueman (Candlewick, Spring 2017); and Bull (a YA novel-in-verse that is a retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur) published by HMH, April 2017.




☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Well, I’ll always have a fondness for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs because my son, now 29, loved that book. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, of course. And who doesn’t shiver when she is offered a piece of Turkish Delight?

☕ Visit David Elliott’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Enjoy a poem from David’s forthcoming poetry book, In the Past.


Tyrannosaurus Rex

Rest in Peace,
Old Meat-eater.
No list would
be complete
without you.
Tyrant! King!
You thought
(if you could think)
you’d live forever.
The great T. Rex
would never die!

But even kings
are vanquished
when stars fall
from the sky.

~Copyright © 2016 David Elliott. All rights reserved.


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Enjoy this video featuring several poems from On the Wing:


☕☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: Here’s the trailer for This Orq. (he say “Ugh!”):


☕☕☕☕☕ ONE LAST SIP: Trailer for Nobody’s Perfect:



Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Tamera Will Wissinger

Tamera Wissinger is an author who writes stories and poetry for children. She grew up in Iowa and currently lives on a sleepy river bay in South Florida where she is consistently amazed by the unique wildlife. Sharing poetry and stories with children is one of the great joys of her life. (photo by Peter Wissinger)


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Coffee with a splash of whole milk is my current favorite hot beverage. I drink it with breakfast and my morning reading.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: There Was an Old Lady Who Gobbled a Skinkillustrated by Ana Bermejo (Sky Pony Press, February 2016), Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse, illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). Forthcoming: Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse, illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, early 2017).

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Although Pippi lives alone and struggles with manners, she recognizes the importance of cooking and sharing good food. Oh I would love to sit down to pancakes or a picnic with Pippi, Annika, and Tommy!

☕ Visit Tamera Will Wissinger’s Official Website. You can also find her on Twitter: @TameraWissinger, and at her FB Author Page.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Hear an excerpt from Gone Fishing in this trailer:


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Foodie poem by Tamera!


Hot Dogging

I ate a foot-long dog today for lunch –
the perfect size.
I added mustard, onion, relish,
side of curly fries.

I gobbled down my hot dog feast
enjoying every bit,
but when I tried to stand and leave
that hot dog had a fit.

Twelve hot dog inches knotted up and
caused my gut to quake.
It whimpered, growled and then it roared
to one big bellyache.

I’m feeling bitter and betrayed –
that dog had been polite.
At lunch it never barked or begged,
so why’d it have to bite?

~ Copyright © 2016 Tamera Will Wissinger. All rights reserved.


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer is the author of more than 100 books in many genres, but poetry is her favorite thing to write. Winner of the 2015 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry, she co-hosts the ALA Poetry Blast at the annual conference. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, CT with her husband and pets. (Photo by Steve Aronson)


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: Tea, tea, tea, especially Yunnan and various oolongs.  I love the fact that I can take my time and drink a cup slowly, while chatting, watching TV, reading, writing, or just ruminating.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My most recent book is Echo Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek Myths (Dial, 2016), illustrated by Josee Masse. Coming this fall are several books that mention or deal with food:  Miss Muffet, Or What Came After (Clarion, September 2016), illustrated by David Litchfield; and What’s an Apple? and What’s a Banana? (Abrams, August 2016), illustrated by Greg Pizzoli.

☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: I adored Sydney Taylor’s All-of-A-Kind Family books, in part because of the yummy descriptions of Jewish food in them: pickles, sweet potatoes, hot chick peas, chicken soup, rye bread, etc.  Here’s a blog that delves into the food in the series:

☕ Visit Marilyn Singer’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: A poem from The Superheroes Employment Agency (Clarion, 2012), illustrated by Noah Z. Jones!



From up in space to down in Hades,

there are villains who are ladies.

They wear white gloves and fancy hats.

They like to knit.  They’re fond of cats.

They’re always planning something sinister

against a monarch or prime minister

over cake and cups of tea.

But then they have to deal with me,

a welcome guest, one of their ilk,

spooning sugar, pouring milk,

until my powers spoil their plot.

I raise a storm in their teapot.

Before they even utter, “Darn,”

I wrap them tightly in their yarn.

Then, whoosh, I blow each one away,

still sopping wet from their Earl Grey.

~ Copyright  © 2012 Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Marilyn is the April Spotlight Author at Today’s Little Ditty. Read her wonderful interview with Michelle Barnes and then take this month’s challenge by writing your own poem(s).

☕☕☕☕  STILL THIRSTY: Marilyn is also Chicago Public Library’s Author of the Month. Enjoy this short video where she explains what a reverso is and reads a poem from Echo Echo. There’s also a written interview at the CPL site.


☕☕☕☕☕ JUST ONE LAST SIP FOR THE ROAD: Check out Marilyn’s post about writing reverso poetry at Brightly!


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Kenn Nesbitt

Former Children’s Poet Laureate (2013-15) Kenn Nesbitt is the author of many books for kids, including “Kiss, Kiss Good Night,” “My Hippo Has the Hiccups,” “Revenge of the Lunch Ladies,” and many others. Kenn travels the country, visiting more than 60 schools each year, sharing his wacky brand of poetry with kids nationwide, and helping to create a new generation of poetry lovers. His website,, is the most visited children’s poetry website on the Internet. (pictured here with his favorite mug, given to him by the Guam Chapter of the International Reading Association)


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: I am a huge coffee fan. I love the taste of a nice dark roast, and I appreciate all of the good news lately about the health benefits of coffee. My go-to coffee is San Francisco Bay Organic Rainforest Blend. My wife and I make a pot of it every morning, and I like it with a couple of tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: My most recent book is Believe it or Not, My Brother Has a Monster, illustrated by David Slonim, published by Scholastic in 2015. My next book is an anthology of over 140 poems entitled One Minute Till Bedtime, with brand new poems from more than 130 children’s poets from around the world. It will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in November 2016.


☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Easily my favorite food-related children’s book is William Cole’s hilarious anthology, Poem Stew. It’s a collection of humorous poems about food that is now, sadly, out of print, though used copies are easy to find online.

☕ Find Kenn Nesbitt online at, on Twitter: @poetry4kids, and at his FB Page.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Enjoy one of Ken’s poems!


Our Teacher’s Not a Zombie

Our teacher’s not a zombie.
He’s not the living dead,
although he’s looking ragged
and his eyes are rather red.

He shuffles to the classroom.
He slowly drags his feet.
He shambles to the whiteboard
looking broken-down and beat.

We listen to his plaintive moans.
We see the way he strains.
We hear him mumble mournfully
about the students’ brains.

But we know not to worry.
We never get upset.
He’s always like this when he
hasn’t had his coffee yet.

~Copyright © 2016 Kenn Nesbitt. All rights reserved.


Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved. 

hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Alan Katz

Alan Katz is the author of more than 35 books for kids, including nine Silly Dilly Songbooks (Take Me Out of the Bathtub), poetry collections (OOPS!), picture books, and more. He is also a six-time Emmy nominee (and loser) for his work on various animated series and The Rosie O’Donnell Show.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: My favorite hot beverage is coffee (regular or decaf, no real preference) with milk (1%, 2%, whole, whatever). No sweetener! And…fun fact…I have never, never, truly never had a cup of tea. Simply can’t stand the smell! Really. Really, really.

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: The Day the Mustache Took Over, illustrated by Kris Easler (Bloomsbury, 2015) — My first middle grade book, all about the exploits of my real-life twins Nathan and David! Forthcoming: The Day the Mustache Came Back (Bloomsbury, July 2016), and That Stinks!: A Punny Show-and-Tell, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (Simon & Schuster, July 2016).



☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Future Chefs: Recipes by Tomorrow’s Chefs Across the Nation and the World by Ramin Ganeshram (Rodale, 2014). 

☕ Visit Alan Katz’s Official Website

☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: A funny poem by Alan 😀



I only eat foods that begin with “c-h”

Like chicken and churros and chili.

If you’re cooking dinner and there’s no “c-h”

then trying to feed me is silly.


Today I had chocolate and churros and chips,

chimichangas and chow mein and cheese.

Tonight, chunky chowder is the only choice–

(Mom is out of “c-h” recipes).


She ordered a cookbook,

that’s coming tomorrow;

Mom promised great foods she’ll be makin’

It will be a menu of new “c-h” treats–

Like chmeatloaf! Chomelets! Chbacon!


(From Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking, S&S 2011)







☕☕☕☕ CAN’T STOP NOW! ONE LAST (I HOPE!) CUP OF SERIOUS SILLINESS: Alan recites a couple of silly dilly poems for KidLit TV:




Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.