Poetry Friday: “The Rabbit Band”

Hey there, cool cats.

I’ve got some groovin’ bunnies cooling their heels in the green room today, so I hope you’re in the mood for some whisker-twitchin’ jazz. But before they take the stage, I thought I’d start something new by chatting every now and then about what I actually do for a living, which is write and edit, and about how certain poems come about. I can already hear the tsk-tsking and paw thumping in the wings, so I’ll get on with it.

Today’s poem is another selection from the book Lizard Lou, a collection that contains equal parts my poems and classic children’s poems. This book was written as part of a pre-reading program for All About Learning Press, so I thankfully did not have the vocabulary constraints I have with the early readers.

Lizard Lou is laid out with three poems per letter of the alphabet, and each poem contains a keyword. These keywords are used in the poems and referenced in the teacher’s manual, but they are not necessarily the subjects of the poems. The focus letter is also referred to visually on the letter page before each section, as in this illustration for the lowercase “r” section:

By the way, the keyword rake is referenced in the poem “Under the Willow” by Leroy F. Jackson (1881-1958), author of The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes. If you’re not familiar with his work, go read some! He’s really delightful.

“The Rabbit Band” was one of the last poems I wrote for the book, a last-minute replacement for another “r” poem that wasn’t working out. I remember being pretty tapped out at that point and convinced that the English language didn’t actually contain words that begin with “r”. Sorry, no more words for poems! All out!

As often happens, my brainstorming partner (aka my husband) came to the rescue with “What about rabbits?” “What about them?” I asked dubiously. “What about…a band of…rabbits…that do something…?” he offered. A band of rabbits? Are they marauding rabbits? Are they bandit rabbits? They could be marauding bandit rabbits! But since this book is for pre-school, they turned out to be a rabbit band instead. Words are fun!

And they are even more fun when accompanied by lovely illustrations like this one by artist and writer Donna Goeddaeus. Donna illustrated all 70+ poems in the book and also illustrates many of the early reader stories I write. Sweet, huh?

Jazz bunnies by Donna Goeddaeus. Look at ’em go!

All righty then, I’ve got a seething mass of irritated fur staring me down. So put on your shades, get those jazz hands waggling, and nod along as “The Rabbit Band” tickles the…well, carrots. 


Late one night in the lettuce patch,
where scarecrows guard the land,
I heard a snazzy jazzy tune
played by a rabbit band.

One tap-tapped on a carrot,
one munch-munched on a leaf,
one snip-snipped on a turnip root,
one whistled through his teeth.

One chomp-chomped on a shallot,
one thump-thumped with his paws–
and at the end, those bunnies got
a round of loud applause.

[heading style=”1″]Extension Activities: “The Rabbit Band”[/heading]

  • Writing:
    • For this poem, I wondered what rabbits could use as musical instruments (carrots, leaves, their paws, their teeth), how the rabbits would “play” those instruments (chewing, biting, thumping), and what sounds the instruments might make (chomp-chomp, thump-thump, snip-snip). Write your own music poem by choosing an animal or group of animals and brainstorming all the ways those animals could make noise. What items could they find in their natural surroundings? What noises could they make with those items? How would the animals “play” the instruments?
  • Reading: 
  • Creating: 
The lovely bunny Violet Nesdoly is hosting the Poetry Friday roundup today. Go play her a tune!

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Video Location: JazzRabbit Station, second left after PawBunny Mills.

See more poems in my poetry video library.
“The Rabbit Band” by Renée LaTulippe. Illustrations by Donna Goeddaeus. Licensed by All About Learning Press, Inc. Copyright © 2010, 2012 All About Learning Press, Inc. All rights reserved.  No portion of this material may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated, or otherwise used without the express written approval of All About Learning Press, Inc.

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  1. Great post, Renée. It was interesting to read how you got the idea for the poem and the kind of writing you do for your job (some might say I’m nosy but I prefer ‘curious’). And to top it all off, a fun reading of the poem. Thanks!!

  2. I am buying this book asap, Renee!! Love your poem a lot and also your posting in general with the back story and a chance to “say hello” to you on that sunny country lane. I am going to email you a poem I bet you will like. It has quite the story and was written by a 3rd grade student of mine. I KNOW she will love this post and will email it to her. (She’s now in 8th grade!)

  3. This post made me so happy — I LOVE rabbits. Great idea for a poem. Your recitation was absolutely delightful, as always. Also swooning over the letter “r” — be still my alphabetica loving heart . . .

  4. We have a rabbit, and he is about the quietest animal I have ever met. He would make a great ninja. I think he would enjoy this poem about his noisier brethren, though 🙂

  5. Fabulous poem, Renee! I so wish I could hear the “Rabbit Band” outside our house, but our Rat Terrier, Smidgey, barks all the rabbits away. *Sigh*
    Thanks for sharing your poem with us today. Happy Friday! =)

  6. Oh – this is so delightful! Loved hearing about how the Muse nudged you toward this one, too.

    I’m sure kids LOVE acting out this poem – even grown-ups can’t be still with all that rhythm in there. Hey – do those bunnies play hip-hop? (Sorry – couldn’t help it.)

  7. Fabulous! One could look at a book like that and think how fun (and easy?) it would be to put such a book together..not! Behind-the-scenes looks like you gave are always instructive. I loved the poem and your rendition of it was lively and fun.

  8. I find it hard to find anyone who doesn’t adore bunnies. This, and the illustration, is just so creative, Renee. I love the story that your husband gave you the idea, but then you turned it into quite a sweet story. Your book Lizard Lou must be terrific. I liked the earlier ones you shared, too.

  9. Hi, Renee! I love all the onomatopoeia in your poem. I grew up on Peter Rabbit, so you had me at “rabbit.” I think Peter and Benjamin Bunny must be members of your rabbit band.

  10. Yay! We love our Lizard Lou book. Or as my four-year-old calls it, “Lizawd Lou.” He’s working on pronouncing his Rs, so we’ve been reading the wabbit poem together.

  11. Great post! I love the poem and the extension activities. While I’m not teaching anymore, my sister is. I’ll have to pass this along to her. I think her students would love it!

  12. That really is a toe-tappin’ poem. I read it aloud to my cats since my kids weren’t around! lol My kids and I also love Zin Zin a Violin! It’s not too late to write about “marauding bandit rabbits” ya know!

    Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop once again. It’s always so great to see your contribution. Cheers! 🙂

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