Writers

Add to researchMichael Rosen

Michael Rosen

Laurence Cendrowicz

Born
Middlesex
Genre
Poetry, Children
 
 
Biography
Prolific children's writer, Michael Rosen, was born in Middlesex in 1946 and studied English Language and Literature at Oxford University.

His first work was a play, Backbone (1968), performed at the Royal Court Theatre while he was still a student. He also wrote poetry and journalism for the student newspaper and magazine during his time at Oxford.

From 1969-1972, he was a trainee at the BBC, working in radio drama, and on Play School and Schools Television. He then spent three years at the National Film School, publishing his first book of poetry, Mind Your Own Business, in 1974. This book was not originally written for children, but appeared on Deutsch's children's list, and from that point on, his career was set. Since 1976, he has been writing, performing, teaching, and appearing on radio and television. He also writes regularly for The Guardian.

His books include fiction and picture books for children, including the recent Michael Rosen's Sad Book (2004); Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry (2006); and Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy (2006). His picture book, We're Going On a Bear Hunt (1989), won multiple awards. His poetry books include Quick Let's Get Out of Here (1983); You Wait Till I'm Older Than You (1996); Lunch Boxes Don't Fly (1999); Uncle Billy Being Silly (2001); and No Breathing in Class (2003) - all of which are based on his own childhood.

He has also edited many anthologies for children, including The Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry (1985); Poems for the Very Young (1993); and Classic Poetry, an illustrated collection (1998), and has written two non-fiction books for children about Shakespeare and Dickens.

His non-fiction for adults includes books for teachers, such as Did I Hear You Write? (1989) and A Year with Poetry (1997). He has also recently written three books of autobiography entitled, Carrying the Elephant (2002); This Is Not My Nose (2004) and In the Colonie (2005), and he edited these and added new poems, for a Selected Poems (2007).

Michael Rosen's work for radio and television includes writing and presenting for BBC Radio 3 and 4 and for the BBC World Service, including the Treasure Islands, Best Words, Meridian Books and Word of Mouth programmes. He won a Sony Radio Gold Award for his series On Saying Goodbye. He has written and presented many single radio documentaries including profiles of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Joan Littlewood, Bertolt Brecht, Maurice Sendak, Le Corbusier and 'Dr. Seuss' (Theodore Geisel) along with documentaries on the Second World War German youth movement, the Edelweisspiraten, the fantasy writers of Oxford University, Robert Browning's 'Pied Piper', the unpublished poetry of Ogden Nash, and series on innovative children's books and sculptors' materials. He created the children's television series, Black and White and Read all Over and Everybody Here for Channel 4, and the Channel 5 documentary on the Seven Stories Museum of Children's Literature in Newcastle, and has presented several series for educational television, such as Rosen's Poetry Attic and Reading Aloud.

Michael Rosen was one of the first poets to visit schools and is committed to the teaching of writing and the reading of literature in schools. He won the 1997 Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished services to children's literature, and received an honorary doctorate in 2005 from the Open University and another from Exeter University in 2007. He has a BA, MA and a Ph.D. for a doctorate completed in 1997 and is a visiting professor at London Metropolitan University and Middlesex University. He teaches at Birkbeck, University of London. He is a fellow of the English Assoiation and the Royal Society of Literature. He was appointed the Children's Laureate for 2007-2009.

Critical Perspective

In June 2007, Michael Rosen became the fifth Children’s Laureate -- he is the first poet to step into this prestigious role.

The idea for the Children’s Laureate came from a conversation between children’s author Michael Morpurgo and Ted Hughes, who was the Poet Laureate at the time. The two-year honour is bestowed upon outstanding writers who have made significant contributions to the field of children’s literature. After Quentin Blake, the second Children’s Laureate was Anne Fine (2001-03), followed by Michael Morpurgo (2003-05) and Jacqueline Wilson (2005-07).

Michael Rosen has written well over 100 books for children, mainly poetry but also novels, picture books and non-fiction books, including books about Shakespeare and Dickens, which provide children with wonderfully accessible introductions to these classic authors. Rosen is a charismatic, fun-loving character who was one of the first children’s writers to start doing school visits - something he still does regularly. He has always held strong views regarding the ways in which children learn, and he discusses this in Did I Hear You Write? (1989). In particular, he is critical of the ‘ “Jug-and-Mug” theory’ of education, in which the teacher pours knowledge into the ‘empty jug’ of the child’s mind.

Rosen’s role as Children’s Laureate thus gives him an ideal forum to voice his views. Nicholas Tucker’s 2007 interview with Rosen has been published in The Independent under the title ‘Why Michael Rosen will relish being the Children’s Laureate: With his delight in words, Michael Rosen can make politicians listen and children laugh’ (20 July, 2007). In this article, Rosen expresses his views about the way in which the National Curriculum favours ‘literacy as an end in itself, while pushing open-ended literary enjoyment into the sidelines’. He attacks the straight-jacket of the National Curriculum whenever he can: ‘And it may just be - fingers crossed - that we’re beginning to see something of a breakthrough here.’

Rosen, who also presents the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Word of Mouth’, which explores the English language, talks excitedly of his plans for his two years as Children’s Laureate:

'Well, I am going to do my best to release the reading of poetry from the vice-like grip of the literacy strategy by spreading the excitement of poetry through books, performances, festivals, internet, conferencing […] I would also like to help picture books find the larger audience they increasingly seem to be missing. And then I’ve got this idea for a series of literature trails […] showing young readers where their local writers and poets lived and worked.' (Nicholas Tucker, The Independent, 20 July, 2007)

The majority of Rosen’s writings, both poetry and prose, are delightfully humorous. His work embodies his intuitive understanding of children, for he is wholly in tune with his ‘inner child’. He frequently depicts the everyday world of children, validating their imaginative ways of thinking and being, and often lightly mocking adults who cannot empathise with the child’s point of view. His style of writing can, in some ways, be compared with that of Roald Dahl -- Rosen’s tone is more gentle, and his work does not contain the comic grotesque features that Dahl was so fond of, but both writers have a vivid, lively style which is bursting with energy and strongly conveys the author’s sheer delight in crafting words. They also share a tendency to ‘play’ with words, refusing to stick with sensible, conventional language.

In Did I Hear You Write? Rosen describes word-play as ‘the voice of the confused getting its own back, taking control of that seemingly powerful and dominating thing called adult language’. His poem, ‘What’s Your Name?’ from You Tell Me (1981), is an apt example of this:

'Rosen,
R,O,S,E,N,
With a silent Q, as in rhubarb.'

Rosen’s word-play is not limited to his poetry. In Arabian Frights and Other Gories (1994), he re-tells traditional fairytales in a nonsensical style, such as ‘Little Head Riding Pudd’: ‘One day, her mother said, “Little Head Riding Pudd, here is a jar of traffic jam to put on Fred Rolls. Take them to Bran. She’s ill and they will make her bitter”'

Rosen’s style is also very sensual, and a useful comparison can be made between Dahl’s description of the chocolate factory in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (1964) and Rosen’s poem ‘Chocolate Cake’ (from Quick Lets Get Out of Here, 1983). In both, the writing is intensely ‘alive’ and immediate, and the reader is invited to join in with the sensual experience:

'[Charlie] would hold his nose high in the air and take long deep sniffs of the gorgeous chocolatey smell all around him.
Oh, how he loved that smell!
And, oh, how he wished he could go inside the factory and see what it was like!'

 

'Oh the icing on the top
and the icing in the middle
oohhhh ooo mmmm…………

…. a lovely feeling in my belly
Mmmmmmmmmm.'

 

However, Rosen has also been criticised by traditionalists, as he comments in Did I Hear You Write?: ‘The “he-doesn’t-write-poetry” number’. His reaction to this displays a profound childlike wisdom: ‘Well, don’t call it poetry, then, call it “Bits” or “Stuff” ’. What is both delightful and important about Rosen’s style is that, like Dahl’s, it involves the reader in an active engagement with the text (as demonstrated in the two ‘chocolate’ quotations, above). This corresponds with Rosen’s criticism of the ‘Jug and Mug’ theory of learning - in his works, particularly his poems, children are encouraged to interact, to think and, most importantly, to feel in relation to the text, rather than simply being ‘told’ something.

Rosen’s poem ‘Mystery’ (Quick Lets Get Out of Here), embodies the lack of understanding between the child’s imaginative approach to life and the utilitarian adult’s emphasis on logic and factual learning. The child in the poem is enjoying himself, practising ‘pretending a bowl is a hat’. His father asks him a long series of questions, determined to discover what his son is doing and why. The response is a dramatic ‘NO ANSWER’ - for in this father’s logical mode of thinking, there is no explanation for the child’s behaviour. The father’s slightly cruel tone (‘The boy’s mad’) and his determination to find logical reasons (‘Why did you break it? Why do you need to practise?’) leave his son in silent humiliation. Yet the poem’s tone is clearly suggesting that it is the adult whose mind is limited and who has something to learn from his child, rather than vice versa.

Many of Rosen’s poems have a child persona as the narrative voice, but sometimes the narrator is an adult. In these poems, Rosen not only depicts imperfect adults, but encourages his child readers to develop understanding towards adult shortcomings. ‘Eddie in Bed’ (Quick Lets Get Out of Here) is one of various poems which depict loving but stressed-out parents struggling with conflicting emotions: ‘Sometimes I look really tired, because […] when most people are asleep […] I hear “waaaaaaaaaa.” ’ Rosen presents a humorous picture of Eddie’s temper tantrum, using the toddler’s repetitive refrains to create the rhythm of the poem:

'Wham
“I want my biscuits”
“What’s going on?”

Wham
“I want my biscuits”
“What’s going on?”'

The poem’s narrator is undoubtedly a loving father, yet he is also one who has uncertainties and makes mistakes (‘I take him into our bed […] What a stupid thing to do’), and displays a mixture of love and irritation: ‘Those toes are going / wiggle wiggly wiggly […] So by the time I get up […] I’m very tired and very cross.’

‘Eddie in Bed’, like many of Rosen’s poems, is based on his real-life son Eddie (one of seven children, many of whom feature in their father’s poems). Tragically, Eddie died of meningitis at the age of 18, and Rosen channelled his grief into writing an award-winning book about bereavement, Michael Rosen's Sad Book (2004). The book is illustrated by Quentin Blake, who has illustrated many of Rosen’s books throughout the years. It is aimed at children - though it could equally be used by adults - and it presents a frank but heartfelt account of the emotions aroused by bereavement. He does not present any rose-tinted happy ending, but rather emphasises the importance of learning to live with the sadness, rather than expecting it to end. Eddie’s death also features strongly in Carrying the Elephant (2002), a collection of poems about Rosen’s life, from his own childhood memories to his terrible bereavement, through to his current life with his third wife and more young children.

Rosen’s work as a whole presents an enchanting child’s-eye-view of life. Though he lightly mocks adults, this is mostly done in a good-hearted way. He emphasises the importance of feelings and imagination and encourages children to explore their emotions and think for themselves, as he says in his poem ‘Chivvy’: ‘Grown-ups say […] Speak-up…Don’t stare…Don’t interrupt…Can’t you make your own mind up about anything?’ (You Tell Me).

Elizabeth O’Reilly 2007

Bibliography

2014
Wolfman, Illustrated by Chris Mould , Barrington Stoke Ltd
2014
Send for a Superhero!, Illustrated by Katharine McEwen, Walker Books
2014
Good Ideas: How to be Your Child’s (and Your Own) Best Teacher , John Murray
2014
Choosing Crumble, Andersen Press Ltd
2013
The Bear in the Cave, Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds , Bloomsbury
2013
Poems of Protest, with an Introduction by Michael Rosen , by William Morris, REDWORDS
2013
Fluff the Farting Fish, Andersen Press Ltd
2013
Even My Ears are Smiling, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
2013
Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story, John Murray Publishers Ltd
2013
Aesop's Fables , Illustrated by Talleen Hacikyan , Tradewind
2012
I Never Know How Poems Start, illustrated by Yullya Somina, Collins
2012
Happy Harry's Cafe, illustrated by Richard Holland, Walker Books
2012
Fantastic Mr Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Puffin
2012
Burping Bertha, Illustrated by Tony Ross, Andersen
2012
Bob the Bursting Bear, illustrated by Tony Ross, Andersen Press
2012
Blue, illustrated by Michael Foreman, Walker Books
2011
Even My Ears Are Smiling, illustrated by Babette Cole, Bloomsbury Publishing
2011
Dear Fairy Godmother, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Walker Books
2011
Bananas in My Ears, illustrated by Quentin Blake (re-edition in one edition of Spollyollytiddlyiddlyities, Under the Bed, Smelly Jelly Smelly Fish, Hard-boiled Legs, Walker Books
2010
Tiny Little Fly, illustrated by Kevin Waldron, Walker Books
2010
Michael Rosen's Big Book of Bad Things, Puffin
2009
Red Ted and the Lost Things, illustrated by Joel Stewart, Walker Books
2009
Michael Rosen's A-Z: The Best Children's Poetry from Agard to Zephaniah, editor, Puffin
2009
I'm Number One, illustrated by Bob Graham, Walker Books
2009
Bear Flies High, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds, Bloomsbury
2009
All About Me, Collins Big Cat
2008
Something's Drastic, HarperCollins Education
2008
Dear Mother Goose, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Walker Books
2007
What's So Special About Shakespeare?, reformatted and adapted 'Shakespeare, his life and work', 2001, Walker Books
2007
What's So Special About Dickens?, reformatted and adapted 'Dickens, his work and his world', 2005, Walker Books
2007
Shoo!, illustrated by Jonathan Langley, HarperCollins
2007
Selected Poems, Penguin
2007
Michael Rosen's Scrapbook, Oxford University Press
2007
Fighters for Life, Selected Political Poems, Bookmarks
2007
Bear in the Cave, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds, Bloomsbury
2006
Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, illustrated by Chinlun Lee, Walker Books
2006
Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Bloomsbury
2005
You're Thinking about Doughnuts, Barn Owl
2005
You're Thinking About Tomatoes, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Barn Owl
2005
In the Colonie, Penguin
2005
Dickens, his work and his world, illustrated by Robert Ingpen, Walker Books
2004
William Shakespeare in his times, for our times, Redwords
2004
This Is Not My Nose, Penguin
2004
Michael Rosen's Sad Book, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
2004
Howler, illustrated by Neal Layton, Bloomsbury
2004
Alphabet Poem, illustrated by Herve Tullet, Milet
2003
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Jane Ray, Walker Books
2003
Oww!, illustrated by Jonathan Langley, HarperCollins
2003
No Breathing in Class, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin
2002
Ten of the Best: school stories with a difference, contributor, Collins Children's Books
2002
Lovely Old Roly, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont, Frances Lincoln
2002
Carrying the Elephant, Penguin
2001
Zoomababy: at the World Cup, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Pearson Educational
2001
Zoomababy: and the search for the lost dummy, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Pearson Educational
2001
Zoomababy: and the mission to Mars, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Pearson Educational
2001
Zoomababy: and the locked cage, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Pearson Educational
2001
Zoomababy: and the great dog chase, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Pearson Educational
2001
Uncle Billy Being Silly, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin
2001
Two European Tales, illustrated by Barry Wilkinson and Gwen Touret, Pearson Educational
2001
Shakespeare, his life and his work, illustrated by Robert Ingpen, Walker Books
2001
Poems are ... quiet, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
Poems are ... public, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
Poems are ... private, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
Poems are ... pictures, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
Poems are ... noisy, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
Poems are ... crazy, compiler, Pearson Educational
2001
A Jewish Tale, illustrated by Simon Jacob, Pearson Educational
2000
Even More Nonsense, illustrated by Clare Mackie, Hodder Wayland
2000
Centrally Heated Knickers, illustrated by Harry Horse, Puffin
1999
Rover, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Walker Books
1999
Mission Ziffoid, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Walker Books
1999
Lunch Boxes Don't Fly, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin
1998
Snore!, illustrated by Jonathan Langley, HarperCollins
1998
Night-Night, Knight, and other poetry, editor and compiler; illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker Books
1998
Classic Poetry, an illustrated collection, editor and compiler; illustrated by Paul Howard, Walker Books
1997
The Secret Life of Schools, editor; illustrated by Sarah Dempsey, Channel 4 Learning
1997
The Michael Rosen Book of Nonsense, illustrated by Clare Mackie, Wayland Macdonald
1997
Tea in the Sugar Bowl, Potato in my Shoe, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
1997
A Year with Poetry - Teachers Write About Teaching Poetry, co-editor and author with Myra Barrs, CLPE
1996
You Wait Till I'm Older Than You, illustrated by Shoo Rayner, Viking
1996
This Is Our House, illustrated by Bob Graham, Walker Books
1996
The Zoo at Night, illustrated by Bee Willey, Tradewind Books (Canada)
1996
The Skin of your Back, Five Leaves
1995
Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, editor; illustrated by Chloe Cheese, Kingfisher
1995
Stories for Five Year Olds, Walker Books
1995
Rap with Rosen, Longman
1995
Michael Rosen's ABC, illustrated by Bee Willey, Macdonald Young Books
1995
Just Kids, illustrated by Caroline Holden, John Murray
1995
Even Stevens F.C., with John Rogan, Collins
1995
Crow and Hawk, illustrated by John Clementson, Harcourt Brace
1994
The Penguin Book of Childhood, Penguin
1994
The Old Woman and the Pumpkin, illustrated by Bob Hewis, Learning by Design
1994
The Man with No Shadow, illustrated by Reg Cartwright, Longman
1994
Rude Rhymes II, compiler, Signet
1994
Pilly Soems, A & C Black
1994
Norma's Notebook, Longman
1994
Michael Rosen's Horribly Silly Stories, Kingfisher
1994
Michael Rosen's Arabian Frights and other stories, illustrated by Chris Fisher, Deutsch
1994
Lisa's Letter, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman
1994
Figgy Roll, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman
1994
Fantastically Funny Stories, illustrated by Mik Brown, Kingfisher
1994
Dad, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman
1994
A Different Story; Poems from the Past, editor, The English and Media Centre
1993
You Are, Aren't You?, Mushroom Bookshop
1993
Treasure Islands 2, with Jill Burridge, BBC Books
1993
The First Giraffe, illustrated by John Clementson, Studio Editions
1993
Songbird Story, illustrated by J. Dow, Frances Lincoln
1993
Poems for the Very Young, editor; illustratd by Bob Graham, Kingfisher
1993
Nuts about Nuts, illustrated by S. Sweeten, HarperCollins
1993
Moving, illustrated by Sophy Williams, Viking
1993
Burping Bertha, illustrated by Tony Ross, Andersen Press
1993
Action Replay, editor; illustrated by Andrzej Krauze, Viking
1992
South and North, East and West, Walker Books
1992
Sonsense Nongs, editor: illustrated by Shoo Rayner, A & C Black
1992
Rude Rhymes, re-edited version of 'Rude Rhymes'; 'Dirty Ditties'; 'Vulgar Verses', Penguin
1992
Round About Six, contributor; book reprinted 2007, Frances Lincoln
1992
Mind the Gap, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Adlib
1992
Dirty Ditties, illustrated by Rina Duncan, Deutsch
1991
Who Drew on the Baby's Head?, illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch
1991
Vulgar Verses, illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch
1991
The Chatto Book of Dissent, editor with David Widgery, Chatto & Windus
1991
Mini Beasties, selector; illustrated by Alan Baker, Firefly
1991
How the Animals Got Their Colours, Studio Editions
1991
Goodies and Daddies; an A-Z Guide to Fatherhood, illustrated by Caroline Holden, John Murray
1991
Give Me Shelter, compiler, Bodley Head
1991
Funny Stories, compiler, Kingfisher
1991
Clever Cakes, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Walker Books
1991
A World of Poetry, editor, Kingfisher
1990
The Royal Huddle: The Royal Muddle, illustrated by Colin West, Macmillan Children's Books
1990
The Golem of Old Prague, illustrated by Val Biro, Deutsch
1990
Snow White, Firefly
1990
Sinbad, Firefly
1990
Never Mind!, illustrated by Mark Vyvyan-Jones, BBC/Longman
1990
Little Red Riding Hood, Firefly
1990
Little Rabbit Foo Foo, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Walker Books
1990
Hansel and Gretel, Firefly
1990
Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees, illustrated by Sumi Sweeten, Collins
1990
Culture Shock, editor; illustrated by Andrzej Krauze, Viking
1989
We're Going On a Bear Hunt, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Walker Books
1989
The Wicked Tricks of Till Owlyglass, illustrated by Fritz Wegner, Walker Books
1989
The Tree: Imagination, Firefly
1989
The Three Little Pigs, Firefly
1989
The Oar: Friendship, Firefly
1989
The Nose: Lying, Firefly
1989
The Formula: Intelligence, Firefly
1989
The Deadman Tapes, Deutsch
1989
The Class Two Monster, illustrated by Maggie Ling, Superchamps
1989
The Attic: Fear, Firefly
1989
Rude Rhymes, illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch
1989
Peter Pan, Firefly
1989
Isabel: Shyness, Firefly
1989
Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Firefly
1989
Did I Hear You Write?, cartoons by Tony Pinchuck, Deutsch
1989
Cinderella, Firefly
1989
Alice in Wonderland, Firefly
1989
Aladdin, Firefly
1988
The Kingfisher Book of Funny Stories, editor; illustrated by Tony Blundell, Kingfisher
1988
The Hypnotiser, illustrated by Andrew Tiffen, Deutsch
1988
Silly Stories, illustrated by Mik Brown, Kingfisher
1988
Norma and the Washing Machine, Deutsch
1988
Jokes and Verses 1 and 2, BBC
1988
Beep beep! Here come the Horribles, Illustrated by John Watson, Walker Books
1987
You're Thinking about Doughnuts, illustrated by Tony Pinchuck, Deutsch
1987
Spollyollydiddlytiddlyitis, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
1987
Hard-Boiled Legs, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
1987
A Spider Bought a Bicycle, selector; illustrated by Inga Moore, Kingfisher
1986
When Did You Last Wash Your Feet?, illustrated by Tony Pinchuck, Deutsch
1986
Under the Bed, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
1986
Smelly Jelly Smelly Fish, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books
1985
The Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry, editor; illustrated by Alice Englander, Kingfisher
1985
That'd Be Telling!, compiler with Joan Griffiths, Oxford University Press
1985
Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes, illustrated by Alan Baker, Deutsch
1985
Don't Put Mustard in the Custard, Deutsch
1984
Speaking To You, editor with David Jackson, Macmillan Education
1984
Nasty, revised and extended edition of 'Nasty' (1982), Puffin
1984
Bloody L.I.A.R.S, illustrated by Alan Gilbey, LIARS
1983
Quick Let's Get Out of Here, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch
1982
Nasty!, illustrated by Amanda Macphail, Longman
1982
Inky Pinky Ponky, collected with Susanna Steele; illustrated by Dan Jones, Granada Publications Ltd.
1982
Everybody Here, compiler, Bodley Head
1982
A Cat and Mouse Story, illustrated by William Rushton, Deutsch
1981
You Can't Catch Me!, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch
1981
I See A Voice, Thames
1979
You Tell Me, with Roger McGough; illustrated by Sara Midda, Kestrel
1979
The Bakerloo Flea, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Longman
1978
She Even Called Me Garibaldi: Listening and Reading 2, BBC
1977
Wouldn't You Like to Know, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch
1976
Once there was a king who promised he would never chop anyone's head off, ilustrated by Kathy Henderson, Deutsch
1974
Mind Your Own Business, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch
1973
Sam on Boff's Island, contributor; from TV series written by author, BBC
1968
Backbone, play, Faber and Faber

Awards

2007
Children's Laureate
2006
English Association 'Exceptional' Award, Michael Rosen's Sad Book
2006
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA), Michael Rosen's Sad Book
2005
National Literacy WOW Award, Alphabet Poem
2003
Sony Radio Gold Award for Radio short form, On Saying Goodbye
2001
Sony Radio Silver Award for Best Radio Feature, Dr Seuss: Who Put the Cat in the Hat?
1999
International Reading Association Teachers' Choices Award (USA), Classic Poetry, an illustrated collection
1998
Talkies Award for Best Poetry Audio Tape of the Year, You Wait Till I'm Older Than You
1998
Parent Magazine's Play and Learn Award, Snore
1997
Eleanor Farjeon Award
1996
Scotland on Sunday/Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award, Treasure Islands Special: Lashings of Ginger Beer, best radio programme on the subject of food
1993
National Association of Parenting Publications Best Book Award (USA), Poetry for the Very Young
1992
Publishers Weekly Cuffies Award (USA), Walking the Bridge of your Nose, best anthology or collection
1991
Japanese Picture Book Award (Japan), We're Going on a Bear Hunt
1990
Society of School Librarians International Honor Book Award (USA), We're Going on a Bear Hunt
1990
Horn Book Fanfare Title (USA), We're Going on a Bear Hunt
1990
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA), We're Going on a Bear Hunt
1989
Smarties Book Prize Gold Award, We're Going On a Bear Hunt, 0-5 years category and overall winner
1983
Children's Rights Workshop 'Other Award', Everybody Here
1982
Signal Poetry Award, You Can't Catch Me!
1968
Sunday Times/National Union of Students Drama Festival Award, Backbone