Top 10 Best Poetry Books for Children

These poignant, engaging and funny books are sure to inspire a lifelong love of poetry in children. Featuring beloved poets both classic and contemporary, including T. S. Eliot and Michael Rosen, see below for some of the very best poetry books for children, ordered by target age.

1. A Great Big Cuddle

Michael Rosen & Chris Riddell | 3+

This exuberant collection of poetry fizzes with rhythm, energy and laughter. Bestselling poet Michael Rosen captures once again what it's like to be very young, evoking all the perceptions and feelings experienced in a child's world: toys and games, animals and imaginary creatures, likes and dislikes. He does so in a fantastically playful and lively style, and his wonderful verse is complemented perfectly by Chris Riddell's iconic illustrations. This book can be enjoyed by the whole family, and is sure to become a classic.

2. Over the Hills and Far Away

Elizabeth Hammill | 3+

This collection includes more than 150 rhymes from all over the English-speaking world, from Great Britain to Ghana, Canada to the Caribbean. It features beloved nursery rhymes as well as brand new much-loved poems. Each double-page spread features illustrations by a different artist, totalling over 76 individual artists. The book is filled with works by international award-winners and bestselling illustrators as well as fresh, flourishing talent. A true poetic journey around the world, this sumptuous book will captivate young readers.

3. Revolting Rhymes

Roald Dahl | 5+

In this riotous read, Roald Dahl dispenses with happily ever afters and opts for more horrible endings as he retells six famous fairy-tales. Cinderella chooses not to marry the prince when he reveals a surprisingly cruel streak. Snow White befriends seven jockeys who are compulsive gamblers, and Goldilocks proves to be a real thug! This hilarious poetry book will have readers in stitches.

4. Jim

Hilaire Belloc & Mini Grey | 5+

First published in 1907, this classic cautionary tale follows a young boy called Jim, who runs away from his nurse and is eaten by a lion! This darkly funny poem will enthral children and features the wonderful illustrations of Mini Grey.

5. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

T. S. Eliot & Axel Scheffler | 7+

If you love cats, you'll love this book! Some cats are sane, some are crazy, some are good and some are bad. Meet the cast of cats that inspired the West End musical in these wonderful original poems, including the magical Mr Mistoffelees, sleepy Old Deuteronomy and curious Rum Tum Tugger.

6. A Poem for Every Night of the Year

Allie Esiri

This magnificent collection features 366 poems, one to share every night of the year. Each poem features an introductory paragraph and has a connection with the date on which it appears. Shakespeare celebrates midsummer night, Lewis Carroll's wacky verse arrives on April Fool's Day, and Maya Angelou can be found on International Women's Day. From familiar favourites to exciting up-and-coming talent, the book includes poems from A. A. Milne, Christina Rossetti, Carol Ann Duffy and Benjamin Zephaniah.

7. 100 Brilliant Poems for Children

Paul Cookson

This wonderfully fun and inspiring collection features a diverse variety of fantastic poems, including classics from Shakespeare and Wordsworth, as well as stunning contemporary poems. Perfect for dipping into or for immersing yourself in, both children and adults will love this book.

8. Kings and Queens

Eleanor & Herbert Farjeon

Featuring gorgeous illustrations by Robin Jacques, this brilliantly funny collection features all forty-one English kings and queens since William I. It has delighted young readers and adults for generations, making history a whole lot of fun!

9. Lost Magic: The Best of Brian Moses

Brian Moses

This beautiful collection features more than 100 of the very best children's poems by Brian Moses, one of Britain's favourite poets. Discover the delights of 'Aliens Stole My Underpants', 'Lost Magic', 'The Sssnake Hotel', 'Walking with My Iguana' and many more. Children are sure to be inspired, moved... and laughing their socks off!

10. The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear

Edward Lear & John Vernon Lord

This gorgeous book is an exciting introduction to the wacky world of Edward Lear, the creator of 'The Owl and the Pussy-cat'. The book includes his most famous poems, as well as less familiar works that are nonetheless equally magical. The poems are complemented by John Vernon Lord's stunning illustrations, which capture the spirit and satire of Lear's work perfectly. Children will be captivated and amused by this brilliantly nonsensical collection.

    Hilaire Belloc
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    Award-winning illustrator Mini Grey turns her inimitable hand to Hilaire Belloc's classic cautionary tale of Jim: who ran away from his Nurse and was eaten by a Lion! First published in 1907, Belloc's wickedly funny poem describing the sad end of Jim is fabulously illustrated in a magical picture book edition. This is darkly comic, word of warning about the dangers of being spoiled is the perfect tongue-in-cheek corrective for little ones who have been a little overindulged!
  • APIEC 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £6.89
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    This is a highly entertaining collection of poems about all forty-one English Kings and Queens since William I. Reissued in Puffin Poetry Kings and Queens is an authentic classic that has delighted young readers and adults alike. With wonderfully witty illustrations by Robin Jacques, history has never been so much fun!
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    Two of the biggest names in children's publishing, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, come together in a new poetry collection. The poems in A Great Big Cuddle fizz off the page with sound and rhythm, energy and laughter, as Rosen captures in the most remarkable way what it means to be very, very young. A child's world with all its details and feelings - toys and games, animals and made-up creatures, likes and dislikes - is vividly conjured up in the most memorable, playful language, and Chris Riddell has produced some his most extraordinary pictures ever to bring this world to life. It's a book that will be enjoyed by the oldest grown-up and the youngest child - and a future classic.

    Joint winner of the CLPE Children's Poetry Award 2016

    This book is longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2017.
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    From Paul Cookson comes 100 Brilliant Poems For Children, featuring the best of the absolute best. The essential poems for every child to read and enjoy.
  • RVY2 5 years +
    5 years +
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    Roald Dahl dispenses with the usual happily ever after endings in the retelling of six famous fairy tales in Revolting Rhymes.

    Cinderella decides not to marry her prince when he reveals a surprisingly callous streak, Snow White befriends seven jockeys who are compulsive gamblers and Goldilocks proves to be a real hoodlum!

    This hilarious collection will have readers aged five and above in stitches. Colour illustrations throughout.
    • £12.89
    • RRP £12.99
    Lost Magic is a beautiful collection of the very best children's poems by Brian Moses, one of Britain's favourite children's poets. Lost Magic contains over a hundred poems, including such favourites as 'Walking with My Iguana' 'The Lost Angels', 'Aliens Stole My Underpants', 'Behind the Staffroom Door', 'Lost Magic', 'The Sssnake Hotel', 'A Feather from an Angel', 'Cakes in the Staffroom' and many, many more.
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    A Poem For Every Night of the Year is a magnificent collection of 366 poems compiled by Allie Esiri, one to share for every night of the year. The poems - together with introductory paragraphs - have a link to the date on which they appear. Shakespeare celebrates midsummer night, Maya Angelou International Women's Day and Lewis Carroll April Fool's day. Perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, it contains a full spectrum of poetry from familiar favourites to exciting contemporary voices. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, W. B. Yeats, A. A. Milne and Christina Rossetti sit alongside Roger McGough, Carol Ann Duffy and Benjamin Zephaniah.
  • ALIKY 3 years +
    3 years +
    • £14.89
    • RRP £14.99
    There are 150 rhymes in this collection, from countries all over the English-speaking world, including Great Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, South Africa and the Caribbean. This comprehensive collection contains all the best-loved nursery rhymes, but also some new discoveries, and vibrant rhymes from Native American, First Nation, Inuit and Maori cultures. Each double-page spread is illustrated by a different artist, who has donated his or her work to the Collection or Archive at Seven Stories, Britain's National Centre for Children's Books. With 76 featured artists, this is a star-studded roll call of international award-winners and world-class bestselling illustrators, as well as young emerging talent from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Ghana and South Africa.
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    Cats! Some are sane, some are mad and some are good and some are bad. Meet magical Mr Mistoffelees, sleepy Old Deuteronomy and curious Rum Tum Tugger. But you'll be lucky to meet Macavity because Macavity's not there! In 1925 T.S. Eliot became co-director of Faber & Faber, who remain his publishers to this day. Throughout the 1930s he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffelees and many other cats, under the name of 'Old Possum'. In 1981 Eliot's poems were set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as Cats which went on to become the longest-running Broadway musical in history. This charming new edition contains original colour illustrations by the award-winning illustrator of The Gruffalo, Axel Scheffler.
  • AFEDA 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £14.89
    • RRP £14.99
    Welcome to the world of Edward Lear! Wonderfully reissued in 2012 to celebrate the bicentenary of Edward Lear, this exquisitely-illustrated hardback is a classic in the making. John Vernon's Lord's stunning illustrations completely capture the spirit and satirical wit of Lear's work, conveying a lifelong enthusiasm for Lear's nonsense. 'Nonsense is the breath of my nostrils', wrote Edward Lear (1812-88). This is the perfect gift for both Lear fans and those discovering his work for the first time.