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.