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Books for Children

Nick is a best-selling children’s poet. As such, he’s been the author (and occasionally editor) of dozens of collections. All told, he’s sold more than three-quarters of a million books, these published primarily by leading presses such as Macmillan, Hodder, LDA and, most recently, Caboodle Books.

His four titles from Caboodle are all still in print and cost just £5.99 each. They are Me & My Poems, a miscellany of some of his most popular performance poems; Cats’n’Bats’n’Slugs’n’Bugs, a tightly-rhymed selections of his very best poems about creatures of all kinds; Number, Number, Cut A Cucumber, a set of fun and accessible poems specially written for younger children (under seven) or those with lower reading skills or with English as their second language; and, most recently, Dragons Are Back!, being a revised selection of the very best of his dragon poems, most of which previously appeared in a series of his dragon poetry books issued by Macmillan between 1995 and 2005.

Me and My Poems

I was the first author to be taken on by Authors Abroad, the company launched in 2007 by Trevor Wilson who simultaneously set up his imprint, Caboodle Books. His aim then, as remains today, was to put writers into UK schools and into schools worldwide. This collection, a mixture of my more popular poems for primary and secondary pupils, was first published in 2008 and has remained in print ever since.

Nick Toczek, Me And My Poems
Cats’n’Bats’n’Slugs’n’Bugs
Nick Toczek, Cats'n'Bats'n'Bugs'n'Slugs

In 2000, Macmillan published Never Stare At A Grizzly Bear, which contained twenty-six of my poems about creatures. I wrote many more creature poems after that, originally hoping for a follow-up from Macmillan. However, due to an oversight on their part, the book was omitted from their catalogue of new children’s books and so didn’t sell as well it should have done.

 

There was no follow-up and, despite reasonable sales, the book went out-of-print some five years later.  However, in 2008, Caboodle Books agreed to publish the original poems along with those I’d written since then. The result was Hogs’n’Dogs’n’Slugs’n’Bugs which contained a total of sixty-four creature poems. I was touring extensively internationally by then and visiting many Muslim countries. Some schools there were concerned that the use of the word hogs might cause offence and so, in 2009, the first of several subsequent reprints appeared under the amended (and current) title Cats’n’Bats’n’Slugs’n’Bugs.

The result is a book for all ages and abilities – from the very young upwards. And this has also proved very popular with parents who want to share reading with their children.         

Number, Number, Cut A Cucumber

I often work with very young pupils – including those in Reception and Kindergarten, and even the very young in pre-school settings – and had therefore written many pieces specifically for them. Surprisingly, I found that older pupils often enjoyed these poems too. Likewise, I found that some of the poems I’d actually written with older pupils in mind worked well with these younger ones.

Additionally, I was working frequently with older pupils who had reading difficulties and other special language needs which meant that they needed work which was linguistically more accessible. The same sometimes applied for pupils for whom English was not their first language. For all of these reasons, a collection of lively, readable but less textually challenging poems seemed like a good idea. The result, published in 2009 by Caboodle Books, was Number, Number, Cut A Cucumber. This contained fifty-four poems, many of them firm favourites with older pupils, but all using easier English.

Dragons Are Back!

In 1995, Macmillan published my first collection of poetry intended primarily for children. This was Dragons, a collection of twenty-eight of my dragon poems with a wonderful cover by David Scutt. The success of this book led to a whole series of children’s poetry books which I published with Macmillan over the next ten years, a process which turned me into a best-selling children’s poet.

A second collection of dragon poems, Dragons Everywhere, followed in 1997. When I then offered them a third collection entitled Dragons Are Back, they decided instead to do a bind-up of all three collections. Dragons! containing seventy-three of my dragon poems duly appeared in 2005.

 

Eleven years later, with all these dragon books out of print, I’d had three poetry collections published by Caboodle Books. They were keen to do a fourth book and so I put together a selection of the best of my dragon poems, improving a few of the original poems and adding at least one poem omitted from Dragons! The result is Dragons Are Back! with its zappy cover by Joseph Witchall, based on my idea of a dragon on a motorbike coming straight at you out of the cover.