My teacher said to calculate
3.141 times 8.
I threw my hand up instantly
and so, of course, she called on me.
She asked me, “What’s the answer, please?”
I’d figured this one out with ease.
I looked her squarely in the eye
and calmly answered, “Octopi!”
It took her half an hour to get it,
and then she gave me extra credit.
The Bagel Bird, by all accounts,
is said to lunch on large amounts
of sticks and twigs and sand and stones
and plastic parts from broken phones.
He’ll nibble bits of copper wires
and rubber from discarded tires.
He’ll chomp on tops of cuckoo clocks
and swallow shorts and stinky socks.
He’ll chew your shoes and eat your hat.
He’ll bite your books and baseball bat.
He’ll stuff his lips with poker chips
and snack on sails from sailing ships
and gobble poles and bowling balls
and pick at bricks from fallen walls
and graze on grass and feed on weeds
and dine on twine and strings of beads.
But bagels… whether white or wheat,
or salted, savory, or sweet,
or topped with lox or luncheon meat,
are something he will never eat.
At least that’s what I’ve always heard
about the crazy Bagel Bird.
But I don’t mind because, you see,
that leaves more bagels just for me.
I’ll tell you of a man I knew
who claimed he came from Timbuktu.
He said, “I have the world to see!”
So off he went to Timbukthree.
Then Timbukfour and Timbukfive
were where he seemed to come alive.
He went to Timbuksix and -seven,
and Timbukeight, -nine, -ten, -eleven.
Then Timbuktwelve and -thirteen too,
he liked them more than Timbuktu.
The last I heard, he’s doing fine.
He lives in Timbukninetynine.
So, kids, if all you ever do
is take a trip to Timbuktu,
at least you’ll have a lot more fun
than staying home in Timbukone.
But if you have the world to see…
continue on to Timbukthree.
I ran for the Chapstick mom keeps in her purse.
My lips were so chapped that they couldn’t feel worse!
I dug through her handbag and pulled it out quickly,
then sighed in relief as I smeared it on thickly.
I felt so much better I almost rejoiced.
My painful, dry lips were now mended and moist.
My dad burst out laughing. My mom looked amused.
Her Chapstick was lost. That was lipstick I’d used.
Jack Prelutsky is the author of many, many colletions of poetry for children. His new book, I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus comes out today. I had a chance to speak with Jack about his career and his new book recently, and you can listen to that interview here.