Jack Prelutsky’s Astonishing Aviary



The BALLPOINT PENGUINS, black and white,
Do little else but write and write,
Although they've nothing much to say,
They write and write it anyway.

The BALLPOINT PENGUINS do not think,
They simply write with endless ink,
They write of ice, they write of snow,
for that is all they seem to know.

At times, these shy and silent birds
Will verbally express their words.
But mostly they do not recite—
They aim their beaks and write and write.

From Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, Greenwillow Books, 2006

An Auk in Flight

An auk in flight
is sheer delight,
it soars above the sea.

An auk on land
is not so grand—
an auk walks aukwardly.

From Something BIG Has Been Here, Greenwillow Books, 1990

Ballad of a Boneless Chicken

I’m a basic boneless chicken,
yes, I have no bones inside,
I’m without a trace of rib cage,
yet I hold myself with pride,
other hens appear offended
by my total lack of bones,
they discuss me impolitely
in derogatory tones.

I am absolutely boneless,
I am boneless through and through,
I have neither neck nor thighbones,
and my back is boneless too,
and I haven’t got a wishbone,
not a bone within my breast,
so I rarely care to travel
from the comfort of my nest.

I have feathers fine and fluffy,
I have lovely little wings,
but I lack the superstructure
to support these splendid things.
Since a chicken finds it tricky
to parade on boneless legs,
I stick closely to the hen house,
laying little scrambled eggs.

From The New Kid on the Block, Greenwillow Books, 1984


The cuckoo in our cuckoo clock
was wedded to an octopus,
she laid a single wooden egg,
and hatched a cuckoocloctopus.

From The New Kid on the Block, Greenwillow Books, 1984

Ride a Purple Pelican

Ride a purple pelican,
ride a silver stork,
ride them from Seattle
to the city of New York,
soar above the buildings,
bobble like a cork,
ride a purple pelican,
ride a silver stork.

From Ride a Purple Pelican, Greenwillow Books, 1986