I never never never
put my elbows on the table,
and my face will never show it
if my tummy feels unstable.
I never tell a story
when my beak is full of food,
or eat a sprig of broccoli
that hasn’t been well chewed.
I never leave the table
until I’ve been excused.
When someone breaks the gravy boat,
I never act amused.
I never spit my food out.
I’m never ever late.
But when I come to dinner,
I always clean my plate.
Copyright © 2007 Deborah Ruddell. From the book Today at the Bluebird Cafe. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.
I loved the idea of a vulture giving advice on table manners, since vultures have a bit of a bad reputation, etiquette-wise. It was lots of fun to write in the voice of a know-it-all vulture who takes such pride in his work.
Here is a link to the “Listen” page on my website. This is an audio recording made by one of my granddaughters, who was a little girl at the time. Now, she’s a college student and a poet herself.
Deborah Ruddell is a poet and picture book author who always loved words, but didn’t dream of writing books until she had children of her own. Her books include Today at the Bluebird Cafe (Chicago Public Library Best of the Best); A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk (ALA Notable Book); and Who Said Coo?, illustrated by her twin sister Robin Luebs, (Texas Library Association 2×2 Reading List). Up next in 2015 is The Picky Ogre, a poetic tribute to Ruddell’s favorite topic: food.
For teacher’s guides and fun activities, please visit www.deborahruddell.com.
Wow. What a great idea for a poem. I just ordered this book up after reading this poem. I can’t wait to see more of her work.
A really nice, well written poem. How clever to teach manners through a bird.