Fa­mous poem gets a new set of wings


A book of chil­dren’s poetry given decades ago as a school prize has pro­vided a Palmer­ston North il­lus­tra­tor with in­spi­ra­tion for chil­dren’s pic­ture books.

A mother of three young chil­dren, Joanna Kangisher, knows first-hand the im­por­tance of pic­ture books that chil­dren and adults can en­joy to­gether.

From the poetry an­thol­ogy The Swing­ing Rainbow first pub­lished in the 1960s, and pre­sented to her when she was a pupil at Carn­cot School, Kangisher has taken a favourite chil­dren’s poem and il­lus­trated it, work­ing off her din­ing room ta­ble.

The Storm with its open­ing lines ‘‘First there were two of us, then there were three of us,/ Then there was one bird more,’’ was writ­ten by English poet Wal­ter de la Mare, but for her il­lus­tra­tions Kangisher has used birds and scenery found on Manawatu’s black sand beaches.

‘‘I was walk­ing along a beach with my son try­ing to re­mem­ber the words of the poem, when I thought ‘I could turn this into a chil­dren’s book’.’’

Kangisher de­cided to self­pub­lish so she could work on it at her own pace without meet­ing an im­posed dead­line.

‘‘I would slip in half an hour here and half an hour there. It’s very calm­ing, and I just made my

‘‘It's very calm­ing, and I just made my way slowly through the pic­tures.’’ Joanna Kangisher

way slowly through the pic­tures... il­lus­trat­ing is art ther­apy for ex­hausted moth­ers.’’

The gulls that gath­ered on the shore to wait out the storm are de­picted as New Zealand na­tive red-billed gulls or aki­aki, the small­est gull found along the coast.

Kangisher said the poem with its mul­ti­ply­ing seabirds shel­ter­ing on the shore, is an aid to numer­acy, as well as an ex­er­cise in lan­guage ex­ten­sion.

She has in­cluded in­for­ma­tion on the au­thor, the red-billed gull, as well as a glos­sary ex­plain­ing the lan­guage of the poem.

The book was launched dur­ing Palmer­ston North City Li­brary’s free Jump­ing Jelly­beans morn­ing tea ses­sion.

Kangisher, who joined the Feild­ing and Dis­trict Art So­ci­ety last year, is al­ready work­ing on her next project.

It’s a pic­ture-book in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Wil­liam Wordsworth’s I Wan­dered Lonely As A Cloud, also known as Daf­fodils pub­lished in 1807.

The words are cour­tesy of the same well-worn poetry book.


Joanna Kangisher has il­lus­trated and pub­lished a favourite chil­dren’s poem.

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