Kids' Corner, Poem of the Month

Jabberwocky | Lewis Carroll

jabberwocky poem of the month

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1871
jabberwocky poem of the month

The Joy of Nonsense

The best-selling children’s author Lewis Carroll is best known for his children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865. Carroll was multi-talented; not only had he been writing stories from a very young age, but he also worked as a mathematics lecturer and won several academic prizes. Lewis Carroll spoke with a stammer, and it is believed that he found comfort in speaking with children as they approached him with less judgement.

Caroll’s connection with young people enhanced and encouraged the creation of amazing characters we still know and love to this day. His stories continue to be adapted in different forms of entertainment from video games to immersive theatre. However, we think the best way to experience the world of Lewis Carroll is through his incredible books.

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Beware the Jabberwock!

The greatest example of the literary nonsense genre, Jabberwocky tells the tale of a brave boy facing up to and finally destroying the horrifying beast that is the Jabberwock. The poem features in the Alice sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. The poem saw the introduction of several nonsense words into the English language.

Though a lot of the words are formed by Carroll’s own imagination, the actual verse adheres to traditional poetic form including iambic pentameter and a consistent rhyme scheme. The fun and jaunty rhythm along with the tongue-twisting phrases make Jabberwocky a top favourite among children’s reading groups and read-aloud events.

Reading Jabberwocky is a lot of fun, especially when read out loud. Find more poems that are written to be read aloud among our children’s poetry here. If you want to expand and explore more complex verse, why not check out a plethora of writers in our vast selection of second-hand poetry books?

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What do you think of Jabberwocky? What are your favourite poems from childhood? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Reply The Owl and the Pussy-cat | Edward Lear - World of Books | Book Blog May 13, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    […] you love this poem, next read Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, or The Song of the Jellicles by T. S. Eliot.Check out more poetry by exploring our entire […]

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