Do as You Are Told
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By Paul Cookson — Performance poet

Poem in comic strip format by Paul Cookson and David Parkins, which uses word play to take a humorous look at the things parents say to their children.


Background information

About 15 years ago, I had a letter from fellow poet and editor, Brian Moses, requesting poems for an anthology about parents, Parent-Free Zone. I began to think about what parents did, said, how they are embarrassing – all the usual things. I wrote a poem about parents telling you that watching television gives you square eyes, and how I’d never seen anyone with square eyes. I also wrote a poem about dads having wind (those never get chosen!).

But the one gem which emerged turned into ‘Do as You Are Told’. After appearing in Brian Moses’ collection, an edited version also appeared in Staying Out Late, Playing Out Late, but I was never 100 per cent happy with the way it sat on the page. So, when the opportunity came to put poems forward for a new collection The Truth About Parents, I sat down and, using stick figures, planned a cartoon strip that David Parkins interpreted brilliantly – as you can see.

Shared learning and teaching

Shared reading

  • Read the following introduction to the children:
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