Storytime’s Animal Poetry Challenge

Animal Poetry Challenge, Storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions, gift subscriptions for kids, educational magazines, children's poetry, kids poetryStorytime Issue 49 features a rather wonderful short poem by Victorian nursery rhyme writer William Brighty Rands called The Cat of Cats, which is illustrated by MacKenzie Haley with the most gorgeous colour palette. Aside from the fact that so many of our young readers love cats, we chose this particular cat poem for a number of reasons:

  • It’s short enough to memorise, therefore it’s great to learn off by heart at home and in school.
  • The poet perfectly expresses the arrogant, superior attitude of the cat species in very few words – “I am the cat of cats. I am the everlasting cat!”
  • It has a brilliant cat simile, which we couldn’t resist: “sleek as jam”
  • It succinctly describes how cats behave at night.
  • The poem features repetition, and we know that kids love repetition (read more about that here).
  • We knew it would inspire a fabulous illustration and it has!

All in all, it’s a fun and easy poem to learn, and it’s an inspiring starting point for children to have a go at our animal poetry challenge. Using this poem as a base, they can write their own 8-line poems about cats or their favourite animals or pets. All you have to do is follow the formula William Brighty Rands used, which you can do in three easy steps…

The Animal Poetry Challenge in 3 Steps


1.Swap the repeated line “The everlasting cat” with one that reflects the personality of your own animal.
2.Use a great simile to describe the way your animal moves or behaves.
3.Think up two lines to describe what the animal does well.

That’s it! Put it all together and you’re well on the way to a fantastic poem. Don’t get hung up on rhyming – not all poetry has to rhyme. Here’s a quick example of how you can adapt the poem to other animals:


The Dog of Dogs

I am the dog of dogs, I brag –
The obedient dog!
Faithful, old, keen as a tail-wag,
The obedient dog!

I guard the house day and night –
The obedient dog!
For I can bark and I can bite –
The obedient dog!

How does the feel of the poem and how do the words change if you write about a fish, a bird or a snake?


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Use our Poetry Writing Pack to complete our Animal Poetry Challenge!

This week, have a go at writing your own Brighty Rands-inspired animal poems at home or in school. Download our Poetry Sheet to write on. Alternatively, check out our full Poetry Writing Pack on our Schools site for more guidance and loads of great tips on how to get started with writing poetry. With National Poetry Day on October 4th, now is the perfect time for children to give our animal poetry challenge a go!


We’d love to see how you do, so please share them with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – or drop us a line at and we’ll share the best!


Happy writing all!