Year 4 Language and Literature

The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

william tell

In Year 4, we read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

As Alice becomes small, then large, then small again, she begins to wonder who she is. She decides to recite a poem, to make sure she is still herself, but unfortunately the words come out all wrong!

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin!
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

The poem that Alice was trying to remember was a very serious one called 'Against Idleness and Mischief' by Isaac Watts. Here it is:

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day,
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In books, or work, or healthful play
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Lewis Carroll has used the same rhythm and rhyme for Alice's nonsense version, perhaps because he was feeling mischievous!

These poems are from page 12 of What Your Year 4 Child Needs to Know. This activity has connections: click below to see the related activities.

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