Jungle Mouth


I taught baboons to brush my teeth.

Opossums learned to floss ’em.

My boa knows how to squeeze out paste

crush up the tubes, and toss ’em.

But when my pets see cavities

they hiss, they howl, they shriek

and take away my lollipops

and chocolates for a week!



First published in Spider.


CHILDREN’S POEM: A Very Famous Ostrich

A Very Famous Ostrich


A very famous ostrich came to town

wearing teardrop earrings and a frown.

We gave her red roses

(she tossed them in the sea)

then she bit our noses

and sang just beautifully:


“The people, the people,

I love the people,

every people I see.

O people, O people,

I love you people

but please: don’t look at me.”


She drove off in her limo and

we never saw her face again.






Rolli’s latest children’s book, Kabungo, won the Joan Betty Stuchner Funniest Children’s Book Award. His latest adult book, The Sea-Wave, was longlisted for the Saboteur Award. Follow Rolli on Twitter @rolliwrites.

POEM FOR CHILDREN: Amanda Minty-Twist

Amanda Minty-Twist


My breath is fresh

as fresh can be—

Amanda Minty-Twist




I cannot have

a cavity—

Amanda Minty-Twist




I’ll throw my brush

and paste away

because her breath’s

the best breath-spray.


And yes, it’s fresh

as fresh can be.

Amanda Minty-Twist




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A Banana

How can a


be glowing up dere

so golden

and bold in

da night?


Dere must be

a monkey

who lugged it up dere

who licked it

and sticked it

on tight.


From Monkey Shines, an unpublished collection of night-themed children's poetry.


My Flavourite Favour

Orangutan, do me a flavour!

What flavour?

Orange like you, my sweet.

Just take this jar of marmalade,

and smear it on my feet.

And when my toes are stuck together, dear,

won’t that be neat?


I will, if you do ME a flavour.

What flavour?

Why child, a strawberry one.

Just take this triple ice-cream cone,

and melt it in the sun,

then very gently pour it on my head,

and watch it run.


Of course I can, orang-utan!

And you know I’LL do IT

of all the favours in the world,

THAT’S my flavourite!



From The Conga Lion, an unpublished collection of jungle-themed poetry for children.