Category: Podcast

Chocolate for Breakfast – Podcast Episode

I love chocolate. Don’t you? I mean, doesn’t everybody? When I was a kid, my favorite Halloween treats were always chocolate candy bars like Hershey’s, Snickers, and Three Musketeers. After Halloween night, I always ate those ones first. After a few days, all that was left were the candies I didn’t like.

I’ve heard that chocolate is healthy, but I have no idea if that’s true or not. In any case, I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to eat nothing but chocolate for a week.

If you like chocolate as much as I do, I hope you enjoy this poem. I also hope you make sure to eat your fruits and veggies and other healthy foods after Halloween.

Chocolate for Breakfast

Chocolate for breakfast.
Chocolate for lunch.
Chocolate for dinner.
Chocolate for brunch.

Chocolate on Saturday,
chocolate on Sunday,
and nothing but chocolate
the whole day on Monday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday
it’s chocolate galore.
On Thursday and Friday
I eat even more.

I know it’s not healthy;
that’s totally clear.
But, still, I go nuts in
November each year.

And there’s not a fruit
or a veggie in sight
at least for a week
after Halloween night.

—Kenn Nesbitt

On Halloween Night – Podcast Episode

There’s a word game I like to play now and then called “Change One Letter.” The object of the game is to change a word, one letter at a time, to make it morph into a completely different word. Each time you change a letter, the result must still be a real word.

For example, if I wanted to change the word NOSE into HAND, I could do it by changing NOSE to NONE, NONE to BONE, BONE to BANE, BANE to BAND, and, finally, BAND to HAND. If you would like to try this with any pair of four-letter words, try this Multi-Word Morph tool on

I find it interesting how many words in English are just one letter different. While thinking about writing a Halloween poem, I noticed that the words “lemon” and “demon” are spelled the same except for the first letter. So, thinking about demons got me thinking about lemons.

At first, I thought it might be funny if someone dressed up as a lemon, thinking they were dressing as a scary demon, but I couldn’t find a way to make that work as a poem. As I continued thinking about demons and lemons, I was reminded of the old expression, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Change a couple of letters and, presto!, you’ve got a whole new saying, perfect for a Halloween poem.

On Halloween Night

A couple of demons,
on Halloween night,
showed up on my doorstep
to give me a fright.

I smiled when I saw them.
I gave them a wink,
and handed them each
a delicious, cold drink.

You might think it’s weird
but I wasn’t afraid.
When life gives me demons
I make demonade.

—Kenn Nesbitt

An Ogre Came Over for Dinner – Podcast Episode

Every October, I love to write a few monster poems and Halloween poems. This one is a fun little story about what would happen if an ogre came to your house for dinner.

When I write, I often like to play with the rhythm of the words and the rhyme scheme of the poem. If you look at each stanza, you’ll see that the rhythm is the same as that of a limerick, and the rhyme scheme is almost the same as a limerick, except that the first line doesn’t rhyme with the second and fifth lines. This is the same rhyme scheme and rhythm I recently used in a poem called “I Washed Our Dad’s Car,” which I describe as “almost a limerick.”

If you are interested in how poems are written, you might also notice several other poetic techniques I used in this poem, such as alliteration and onomatopoeia.

But, mainly, I just hope you enjoy the story and remember to never let an ogre in your house, even if they bring you cake and ice cream.

An Ogre Came Over for Dinner

An ogre came over for dinner.
He showed up with ice cream and cake.
We thought, “It can’t hurt,
since he brought us dessert,”
so we asked him to join us for steak.

He crushed the first chair that he sat on.
He busted the table in two.
He ranted and raved
and was badly behaved,
like a rhino escaped from the zoo.

He smashed every plate in the kitchen.
He shattered each saucer and cup.
He broke every bowl.
He was out of control
as he ran around tearing things up.

He broke all the beds in our bedrooms.
He even demolished a door.
He cracked all the walls
in the stairways and halls,
and he left several holes in the floor.

And when he was done causing damage,
although we all wanted to scream,
he said, “That was fun
but I really must run.
I hope you enjoy the ice cream.”

—Kenn Nesbitt

A Goat in a Landfill – Podcast Episode

Goats are incredibly curious creatures. They love to explore their surroundings and chew on the things they find. If you put your hand near a goat’s mouth, it might even chew on your sleeve to see what it tasted like. This has led to the idea that goats will eat anything, including garbage and tin cans.

In fact, a park in the city where I live, Spokane, Washington, even has a statue of a garbage-eating goat with a built-in vacuum cleaner that will suck up any trash you hold in front of its mouth.

Spokane Garbage Goat

Spokane Garbage Goat

While it isn’t true that goats will literally eat tin cans, they might nibble on one just to see what it was. If a goat found his way into a garbage dump or landfill, he might not find much actual food, but he would probably nibble on a lot of things he was curious about.

In his book Something Big Has Been Here, Jack Prelutsky wrote a poem called “A Goat Wandered into a Junkyard” about a goat who ate enough used car parts to eventually cough up an automobile.

Recently, I got to thinking about what other things a goat might eat and what that might lead to. For example, if it ate a computer or a smartphone, might it connect to the internet and become the world’s smartest goat? (I didn’t use that idea because it was too similar to my poem “My Brother Ate My Smartphone.”)

What if it ate your homework? (I didn’t use that idea because I’ve already written quite a few poems about homework being eaten, including “My Dog Ate My Homework” and “My Teacher Ate My Homework.”)

Finally, I wondered what would happen if it ate a book or a movie. Would it enjoy the story? And that led to the idea for this poem.

A Goat in a Landfill

A goat was in a landfill
eating garbage and debris
and came across a movie;
a discarded DVD.

He chewed the case and cover
and the flavor made him smile.
He took the disc between his lips
and nibbled for a while.

He thought, “This film is brilliant;
full of action and suspense.
The story is exciting
and the fight scenes are intense.

“It’s got a lot of comedy,
a touch of sweet romance,
and music so inspiring
it makes me want to dance.”

He gnawed a little longer
through some drama and a chase,
and finished off the movie
with a grin upon his face.

He gulped the closing credits —
one more bite was all it took —
and thought, “That film was awesome
but I still preferred the book.”

—Kenn Nesbitt

My Dog Likes to Dig – Podcast Episode

The word “hot dog” is a is an interesting one with several different meanings. Most commonly, it is another word for a frankfurter or wiener. Frankfurter, by the way, means “from Frankfurt.” Frankfurt is a city in Germany. Similarly, wiener means “from Vienna.” Vienna is a city in Austria. So, the words frankfurter and wiener are short for Frankfurt sausage and Vienna sausage.

But “hot dog” also has other meanings. You can describe an athlete – especially a surfer or skier – who is a bit of a show-off as a hot dog.

By the late 1800s, the word “hot dog,” in addition to meaning a frankfurter, also became a slang expression that people used to show they were excited. In other words, saying “hot dog!” means the same thing as saying “oh boy!” or “excellent!” Not too long after that, in the 1920’s, the phase was extended as “hot diggity dog” as a way of showing even more excitement.

When I heard this phrase recently, it occurred to me that dogs often like to dig holes in the garden or lawn, and that all that digging might cause them to get pretty hot, which is where the idea for this poem came from.

My Dog Likes to Dig

My dog likes to dig, making holes in our lawn.
He digs every morning beginning at dawn.
He digs like a maniac all afternoon,
and even at night by the light of the moon.

I wish he would stop but he’s out of control,
and works up a sweat digging hole after hole.
He’s fevered and frenzied. He’s hot as can be.
His temperature’s rising degree by degree.

His workout from digging is clearly extreme.
He’s sizzling. He’s scorching. He’s starting to steam.
I wish I had gotten a fish or a frog.
Instead I just have this hot diggity dog.

I Washed Our Dad’s Car – Podcast Episode

I love a good joke and I love a good limerick. This poem isn’t quite a limerick because the first line doesn’t rhyme with the second and fifth lines, but it’s close; it has the same rhythm and length, and almost the same rhyme scheme. So, it’s almost a limerick.

And it’s also a pretty good joke, if I do say so myself. At a recent school visit, I recited this poem to a group of third and fifth graders. The fifth graders all got it right away. It took some of the third graders a minute, but once they got it, they all laughed.

If you’re in third grade or younger and you don’t get the joke, feel free to ask a parent or older sibling to explain it. Once you get the joke, I think you’ll laugh too.

By the way, if you like this poem, I think you’ll also like my poems “I Miss My Sister” and “My Teacher Ate My Homework,” which have similarly surprising endings.

I Washed Our Dad’s Car

I washed our dad’s car with my sister,
to clean off the grime and the grunge.
My sister got mad and
complained to our dad and
asked, “Why can’t he just use a sponge?”

—Kenn Nesbitt

I’ve Started Learning Honkish – Podcast Episode

When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time learning to make silly faces and strange voices.

I taught myself how to wiggle my ears, raise one eyebrow at a time, and pucker my lips like a fish.

I learned how to talk like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and Dracula. I practiced purring and meowing to my cat. I even learned how to burp whenever I want.

About ten years ago, I even wrote an entire poem, called “My Excellent Education,” about all these crazy things I learned in school (even thought they weren’t what I was supposed to be studying). In fact, “My Excellent Education” is one of the few poems I’ve written that is almost entirely true.

Today’s poem, “I’ve Started Learning Honkish,” is specifically about the kinds of noises I liked to make–mooing, honking, burping, and so on—plus a bunch more that I just made up.

I even gave them names. I mean, if Spanish is what they speak in Spain, Norwegian is what they speak in Norway, and Chinese is what they speak in China, why can’t you speak Burpish, Snorwegian, and Garglese?

If you like this poem, why not see if you can invent a few new languages from the crazy sounds you can make and maybe even add a stanza or two of your own to this poem?

I’ve Started Learning Honkish

I’ve started learning Honkish.
It’s my favorite language now.
I’m also learning Mooish.
I can speak just like a cow.

I’m learning Chirpish, Burpish,
Beepish, yes, and Sneezanese,
and a dialect of Buzzish
so I sound just like the bees.

My dad taught me Snorwegian,
plus some Ancient Garglese,
and I’m fluent in a dozen other
languages like these.

I’m something of prodigy
where language is concerned,
except for ones the language teacher
says I should have learned.

She tried to teach me Spanish,
French, and German, but I’m lazy.
And, anyway, I’d rather learn
the ones that drive her crazy.

—Kenn Nesbitt

Mammals – Podcast Episode

List poems can be so much fun to write. All you need is a beginning and an end, and then you can make a list in the middle as long or as short as you like. Shel Silverstein’s poem “Sick” and Jack Prelustky’s “Bleezer’s Ice Cream” are a couple of classic examples of list poems. I have also written quite a few list poems, including “The Games in My Room,” “Advice from Dracula,” and “My Mother Said to Do My Chores.”

While most of my poems are humorous, this one, called “Mammals,” isn’t meant to be funny. I just wanted to create a list of different mammals to show how varied they are, and yet what they mostly have in common. You might even find a few mammals you haven’t heard of on this list, such as the numbat (an endangered marsupial that eats nothing but termites), the kob (a kind of antelope), or the echidna (a spiny anteater).

You might also notice that, in addition to being a list poem, this poem also includes a fair bit of alliteration; words that start with the same consonant sounds. This is intentional, as I think it makes the poem more fun to read or listen to.

If you would like to learn how to create your own list poems, I even have a poetry-writing lesson called “How to Write a List Poem” on poetry4kids, and another one to show how to create a poem from a list of your favorite things. I have also created a number of lists of rhyming words—such as rhyming foods, rhyming sports, and rhyming animals—that may come in handy for your list poems.

But, of course, you don’t have to write your own list poems to enjoy reading or listening to them. I hope you enjoy this one.


Celebrate the wondrous mammal:
Bison, beaver, cheetah, camel,
panther, panda, pygmy shrew,
chimpanzee, and caribou,
weasel, wolf, raccoon, and rat,
badger, bandicoot, and bat,
rhino, reindeer, rabbit, ram,
llama, leopard, lion, lamb,
elk, echidna, hamster, hog,
marmot, meerkat, dolphin, dog,
lemur, lemming, bobcat, bear,
walrus, wombat, hippo, hare,
kob, koala, kangaroo,
naked mole rat, numbat, gnu,
aardvark, ape, orangutan,
mongoose, manatee, and man.
These and more are in the family,
furry, four-limbed, warm, and mammally.

—Kenn Nesbitt

What to Remember in School – Podcast Episode

I recently added a lesson to poetry4kids showing different ways write a poem using repetition. You can repeat entire stanzas, creating a chorus or refrain in the poem. You can repeat lines, as Robert Frost famously did at the end of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” or as Dylan Thomas did in “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

When you repeat the first words of each line, what you end up with is not only a repetition poem, but a list poem as well. For example, my poem “I’ll Never,” repeats those words at the beginning of nearly every line of the poem, forming a list of all the things I’ll never do.

In my first book, The Aliens Have Landed at Our School!, I included a few repetition poems, such as “Don’t Rat on a Mouse” and “How Not to Play with Your Food.” Here’s another repetition/list poem from that book about all the things it’s okay to forget in school, and the one thing it’s very important to remember.

What to Remember in School

Forget that two times four is eight.
Forget the name of every state.
Forget the answers on the test.
Forget which way is east and west.
Forget the myths of ancient Rome.
Forget to bring your books from home.
Forget the words you learned to spell.
Forget to hear the recess bell.
Forget your homeroom teacher’s name.
Forget the after-school game.
Forget which team’s supposed to win.
Forget to turn your homework in.
Forget the distance to the moon.
Forget how many days in June.
Forget the capitol of France.
But DON’T forget to wear your pants!

—Kenn Nesbitt

Bob’s Job – Podcast Episode

Some people love puns, while others hate them with a passion. People who don’t like puns often call them “groaners” because they groan when they hear them.

Personally, I love a good pun. My friend, the poet Jack Pretlutsky once told me he thinks a good pun is one that you can be equally proud of and ashamed of at the same time. His favorite of his own puns was from the last line of his pun-filled poem “We’re Fearless Flying Hot Dogs” from his book Something Big Has Been Here.

Sometimes a pun poem is full of puns from beginning to end as in my poems “What a Ham” or “My Hare Is Resting on My Head.” Others are just a setup for a single zinger of a pun at the end.

This poem, Bob’s Job, is a list poem, meaning that it has a list of items, actions, or something else in it. In this case, the poem includes a list of soda pop brands such as Coca Cola and Mountain Dew.

But honestly, I wrote this entire poem just so I could get to the pun at the end. I hope it doesn’t make you groan too hard.

Bob’s Job

My name is Bob. I have a job.
My job is crushing cans,
like Coca Cola, 7Up,
and lots of other brands.

I flatten cans from Mr. Pibb,
and Dr. Pepper too,
Sierra Mist, and RC Cola,
Sprite, and Mountain Dew.

I whack them with a hammer or
I beat them with a bat,
to pound the Pepsi, squash the Squirt,
and press the Fresca flat.

It’s good to have a job to do,
though sometimes it’s distressing.
I try to keep my chin up,
but my job is soda pressing.

—Kenn Nesbitt