R – Michael Rosen

M rosenMichael Rosen was born in Harrow, Middlesex (UK) in 1946.  Both his mother and father were teachers, primary and secondary respectively.  From a young age Michael wrote, acted and directed plays. His career began with radio plays and documentaries for the BBC but he soon moved over to children’s television.

His first book was published in 1974 with illustrations by Quentin Blake. He is most famous for his poetry which are at their best, as all poetry is, when performed. There are links throughout this post to videos of his performances.

These days Michael spends time performing his poetry and/or running workshops about poetry for both children and teachers, at schools, literary festivals, and music festivals. This year he will be at Glastonbury and Latitude.  He still writes books, articles, radio programmes, and also lectures about children’s literature at universities.

books_nobreathingMy daughter only discovered Michael Rosen a few months ago through school and completely adores his poetry. She spends hours watching videos on youtube and our favourite saying has become…..”Noooooo breathing!…… Gasp.” It’s the one time I don’t mind her having unlimited computer time!

List of Works

Fiction & Picture Books

Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes                  You’re Thinking About Doughnuts

We’re going on a Bear Hunt                         Little Rabbit Foo Foo

Clever Cakes                                                      Burping Bertha

This is Our House                                           Snore

Mission Ziffoid                                                Rover

Lovely Old Roly                                               Oww

Howler                                                              Sad Book

Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry            Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly & Gravy

You’re Thinking About Tomatoes

Children’s Poetry

Mind Your Own Business                          Wouldn’t You Like to Know

You Tell Me                                                    You Can’t Catch Me

Quick Lets Get Out of Here                        Don’t Put Mustard In the Custard

The Hypnotiser                                             Zoo At Night

You Wait Till I’m Older Than You          The Michael Rosen Book of Nonsense

Lunch Boxes Don’t Fly                              Centrally Heated Knickers

Even More Nonsense                                 Uncle Billy Being Silly

No Breathing In Class                               Alphabet Poem

Tea in the Sugar Bowl, Potato in My Shoe

Other Children’s Books include:

Fluff the Farting Fish                               Choosing Crumble

Aesops Fables                                            Hard Boiled Legs

Michael Rosen has also written various Anthologies for children and Teenagers, non-fiction books for secondary students, Non- Fiction for adults, and Poetry for Adults.



Fluff the Farting Fish is story about a girl who wants a dog but whose mum brings back a fish. She decides to train the fish instead and discovers that it has a musical talent for farting. Its an extremely funny story that captures the imagination with its simple base humour in the bodily function of farting.

books_bearWe’re going on a Bear Hunt is a picture book for younger readers but it is still fun for older children. A video of Michael Rosen performing it is available here. It’s a very simple poem about an adventurous boy who decides to go on a bear hunt because ‘He’s not Scared‘ and traverses many difficulties in terrane and weather to find a bear, but will his courage hold out?

quickChocolate Cake is a poem found in his book Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here. A Collection of poems illustrated by Quentin Blake. Chocolate cake is one of my daughter’s favourite poems by Michael Rosen. She identifies with pleasure the of eating chocolate cake, the sneaking, and ‘the nice warm feeling of chocolate cake in my belly.


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