Books Poetry Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday] Jabberwocky


Thank you to Reading to the Core for hosting this week.


Kenneth here.


Is there any poem more otherworldly than Jabberwocky? In Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass, Alice discovers a book written “in some language I don’t know”, realises it is a Looking-glass book, and with a glass (mirror) she reads this:



’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.


What does it all mean? There’s the educated answer, and then there is Humpty Dumpty’s answer. Or you might prefer, as I do, Chris Riddell’s visual interpretation, found in his book Poems To Live Your Life By.





Poems To Live Your Life By
Chosen and Illustrated by: Chris Riddell
Published by: Macmillan
ISBN 13: 9781509814374


Buy Poems To Live Your Life By on Amazon | Book Depository

13 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Jabberwocky

  1. Thank you for sharing this old favourite. It was great to get a peek of Chris Riddell’s illustrations which I hadn’t seen before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Sally, the Riddle book with those gorgeous illustrations is new to me! Thanks! For some students who had never read this poem, it was a wonderful thing to share with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, fun and thought provoking poem and thank you for sharing the illustrations in the Riddell book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kay Mcgriff

    This is such a fun poem! Thank you for sharing Chris Riddell’s visual response. Now I want to see what other poems he chose and how he pictured them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Mitchell

    ooooooh! What a fun new look at an old poem. It must have been a super fun but daunting task to illustrate. I love the illustrations that you shared. Pen and ink seem just right for this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have always loved this poem! It still delights!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. maryleehahn

    Just recently, Tracy K. Smith featured this poem on her podcast The Slowdown. It was great to hear it read aloud! Thanks for sharing the illustrated version — that adds a new layer of interpretation (if not meaning)!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Lee beat me to it! I heard TKS’s podcast featuring it, too. Love these illustrations!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the illustrations in Chris Riddells’s take of the “Jabberwocky,” thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I once created a lesson on this poem for 4th graders so they could share their critical thinking skills and creative thoughts. Thanks for sharing one of my favs.


  11. Thank you for sharing this new look at an old favorite! Riddell’s book looks like a worthy addition to my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rebecca Herzog

    Oh my goodness! I am a big Chris Riddell fan, but I have not seen this one before. I will definitely have to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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