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Children's Poetry
Home | Poet Study: Karla Kuskin | Karla's Poems (two favorites) | More Poems by Karla | More Kuskin Poems | Even More Kuskin Poems | Kuskin Bibliography | Kuskin References (& more) | Poetry Breaks - Module 1 | Poetry Break # 1 | Poetry Break # 2 | Poetry Break # 3 | Poetry Breaks: #4, #5 | Module 2 | Poetry Break # 6 | Poetry Break # 7 | Poetry Break: #8 | Poetry Break # 9 | Poetry Break # 10 | Module 3 | Poetry Break # 11 | Poetry Break # 12 | Poetry Break # 13 | Poetry Break # 14 | Poetry Break # 15 | Module 4 | Poetry Break # 16 | Poetry Break # 17 | Poetry Break # 18 | Poetry Break # 19 | Poetry Break # 20 | Module 5 | Poetry Break # 21 | Poetry Break # 22 | Poetry Break # 23 | Poetry Break # 24 | Poetry Break # 25 | Module 6 | Poetry Break # 26 | Poetry Break # 27 | Poetry Break # 28 | Poetry Break # 29 | Poetry Break # 30 | Bibliography (1) | Bibliography (2)
Even More Kuskin Poems

Sitting pooch

Have you ever had a pet that ran away? I once had three cats. Two were sisters, and the third, a graceful white male, did not feel like he belonged. One day the white cat disappeared and never came back. Can you identify with the child's feelings in this poem?


I had a cat,




given to grrrring

quite softly

and prrrrring.

Slipped off one morning

near the green glen.

That was my cat

who was not seen again.


I had a dog,

noisy and yellow

very cold nose

wonderful fellow.

Trotted one evening

out after a pack

of dog-footed friends

and never came back.


I had a bird,

bright blue in a cage

sang without cease

on his miniature stage.

Sat on my shoulder

looked in my eye

sailed out the window

and into the sky.


I have a lion,

furry and kind

sits on a shelf

near the autos that wind.

Eyes wild and golden

tail like a tuft

he never will slip out and leave


He's stuffed.

Originally published in THE ROSE ON MY CAKE, 1964. Taken from MOON, HAVE YOU MET MY MOTHER?, HarperCollins,  2003, p. 26.


Extension: Ask students to write about pets, people, or objects they have lost.  How did they feel at the time?  How do they feel now as they look back? What did they learn from the experience? Would they rather have something or someone stuffed or real?


Observations about Karla Kuskin
  • Some of her favorite topics are related to nature: animals, seasons, and days and nights. She also writes about food, other creatures such as dragons, and our "inside selves." 
  • She loves to play with words. Rhyme and word-play seem to come easily to her.
  • She has a wonderful sense of humor.
  • Many of her poems have a surprise "punchline" (

(Observations made by Barbara Katz, web site author)


Do you love to read? I read all the time. If I have nothing to read, I read whatever is handy. If this describes you, you will enjoy this poem.
I need to read.
It's a little like breathing
or eating
or drinking
my life's link to thinking.
Without it I am
much less than I am,
less of a person
and more of a yam.
Reading is writing
is learning
is growing
igniting cognition,
that's what keeps one going
trucking along on a civilized 
more upward than downward
and possibly forward,
it feels like it's forward,
most probably forward,
and forward
is generally better than back.
MOTHER?, HarperCollins,  2003,  p. 221.
Extension: a) Divide the poem into four parts. Each part will stop at a period. Imagine that there is a period after "keeps one going." Break students into small groups and have each group read one part. b) Read other poems that celebrate the joy of reading. Ask students to compose their own poems.