How to turn your dog into a dinosaur: poignant children’s poem wins prestigious prize

This autumn saw the University of Reading presenting its annual children’s poetry competition in honour of the brilliant educationalist Raymond Wilson (1925-1995), former Emeritus Professor of Education at the University. Sam Hazle, who is on the School Direct Primary programme with the Institute of Education, won the competition with his delightfully tongue in cheek poem; “How to turn your dog into a dinosaur”.

Judged by a discerning panel consisting of primary school children, an academic and a poet, the prize poem closely examines the dog-osaur transition. In a nod to health and safety, the first lines contain this brisk warning:

“This one’s a fun one but you have to get it right
If you don’t follow my instructions you’ll get an awful fright.”

The poem then goes on to explain the dino-evolution:

“Then we’ll need some spikes as all good dinos do
Use ice cream cones and tape them on or you can always use some glue”

The goofy charm and warmth of Sam’s poem was a hit with the distinguished judges. Comments from the younger ones included:

“It is comical.”

“They are like real instructions.”

“It rhymes and almost has a tune.”

“It’s playful, younger children than year 6 might like it too.”

Alongside their primary school collaborators were two other notable judges; Stephanie Sharp, BA Education (English) Course Leader at Reading’s Institute of Education and James Carter, the award-winning children’s poet, guitarist and writer-in-schools.

Stephanie Sharp said: “It is fitting that pupils from a local primary school chose this winning entry from our final selection and the children were thrilled to be working alongside the University as well as a real poet. This is a lively poem which would work very well as a piece of performance poetry. It is important that we celebrate poetry making, so many congratulations Sam.”

Sam’s prize poem is in the Raymond Wilson tradition of education, inclusion and humanity. Wilson was an exceptional educationalist, as well as an inspired editor who introduced new editions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry and Jane Austen’s novels. Wilson was also well-known as an intuitive, sensitive critic and a prolific anthologist.

Sam’s prize winning poem:

How to turn your dog into a dinosaur

This one’s a fun one but you have to get it right

If you don’t follow my instructions you’ll get an awful fright

First you need a dog, this part is vital

But I’m sure you guessed that, just look up at the title

Next get some paint, green is what I recommend

It’s a much more dinosaur colour and keeps up with the trend

Find the biggest paintbrush, cover the whole dog in green

Make sure you put a blanket down to keep the carpet clean

Then we’ll need some spikes as all good dinos do

Use ice-cream cones and tape them on or you can always use some glue

Now your dino dog should be starting to transform

You’ll need a roar, so that then your animal can perform

Depending on the dog the growl and roar will vary

But each animal’s noise is so unique, we just need to make it scary

If the roar is too quiet then you need to change this quick

Attach a microphone to its collar and that should do the trick

Now you should have a dogasaurus of your very own

Take him with you everywhere and you’ll never be alone

 

 

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