a peek inside the fishbowl

02 Mar, 2010

Stealth poetry project: The Story of Fidgety Philip

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Stealth poetry

This is the stealth poetry project. It was first discussed here.

How it works: I dig up a kid-friendly poem, print it out, and fasten it to the back of our front door (although a fridge would come in handy for this purpose as well)! The goal here is to make poetry “top of mind” without it turning it into a boring school lesson. Here’s what we are looking at this week:

The Story of Fidgety Philip
by Heinrich Hoffman

“Let me see if Philip can
Be a little gentleman;
Let me see if he is able
To sit still for once at table.”
Thus spoke in earnest tone
The father to his son;
And the mother looked very grave
To see Philip so misbehave.
But Philip he did not mind
His father who was so kind.
He wriggled
And giggled,
And then, I declare,
Swung backward and forward
And tilted his chair
Just like any rocking horse;-
“Philip! I am getting cross!”

See the naughty, restless child,
Growing still more rude and wild,
Till his chair falls over quite.
Philip screams with all his might,
Catches at the cloth, but then
That makes matters worse again.
Down upon the ground they fall,
Glasses, bread, knives forks and all.
How Mamma did fret and frown,
When she saw them tumbling down!
And Papa made such a face!
Philip is in sad disgrace.

Where is Philip? Where is he?
Fairly cover’d up you see!
Cloth and all are lying on him;
He has pull’d down all upon him!
What a terrible to-do!
Dishes, glasses, snapt in two!
Here a knife, and there a fork!
Philip, this is naughty work.
Table all so bare, and ah!
Poor Papa and poor Mamma
Look quite cross, and wonder how
They shall make their dinner now.

3 Responses to "Stealth poetry project: The Story of Fidgety Philip"

1 | Marla

March 2nd, 2010 at 11:12 am


I love this series of posts! By the way – have you seen these? “Santa” brought Josie this one for Christmas, and I’ll be adding more to her collection. Fog is one of the first poems I ever memorized.


2 | Ron

March 2nd, 2010 at 6:15 pm


ha… love this idea.

i once tried to read “The Wasteland” by TS Eliot to Clara…. she wasn’t into it.

this is a much better idea

3 | A reader

June 11th, 2010 at 11:07 am


Dearest Miss Fish – Just a little note to let you know that the time you pour into your posts does get filtered out into this world in so many different ways. My DD has just used this poem to audition for her school talent show. She was struggling to find a “talent” — she doesn’t sing, dance, etc. But she is a really great reader – so I suggested that “oration” is a talent and that she could read a poem. I shared a bunch of poems with her and in the end she chose this one. And guess what? She made it into the show! She’s thrilled (and so am I). Thanks :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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