The Little Boy

Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy.
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside,
He was happy.
And the school did not seem
Quite so big any more.

One morning,
When the little boy had been in school a while,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make pictures.
He could make all kinds:
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats –
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said:
“Wait! It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make flowers,
And he began to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said,
“Wait! And I will show you how.”
And she drew a flower on the blackboard.
It was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower.
Then he looked at his own flower,
He liked his flower better than the teacher’s.
But he did not say this,
He just turned his paper over
And made a flower like the teacher’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,
When the little boy had opened
The door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said,
“Today we are going to make something with clay.”
“Good!” thought the boy.
He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks –
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said,
“Wait! And I will show you how.”
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this,
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again,
And made a dish like the teacher’s.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait
And to watch,
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.
Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

This school was even bigger
Than the other one,
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps,
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.

And the very first day
He was there, the teacher said,
“Today we are going to make a picture.”

“Good!” thought the little boy,
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy,
She said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, any way you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“Any color,” said the teacher,
“If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
“And which was which?”
“I don’t know,” said the little boy.
And he began to draw a flower.
It was red, with a green stem.

~ Helen E. Buckley

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cami=)
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 19:07:22

    I think that the little boy was used to making his own things but then saw the teachers and then changed.And then when he moved to a different school the teacher didn’t show them how so the little boy was lost because now that the teacher said to make anything he wanted he was now used to making his own creations.

  2. Cami=)
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 19:08:43

    I think the little boy was so used to copying his old teacher’s creations that he didn’t know how to do his own.

  3. Meheak
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 19:47:07

    That makes me sad for some reason. I think that because, in the beginning of the poem the little boy made his flower the way he liked it. Then the teacher told him to stop and do it the way she did it. In the end he had gotten so used drawing flowers like the teacher that he couldn’t draw the way he did before but he drew how he was taught.

  4. Brooklynne
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 16:17:18

    I agree with Cami that the little boy was used to doing what his teacher told him to draw and then when he moved to a different school his new teacher let them draw whatever they want and he got confused because one teacher made him draw a specific picture and the other teacher let him draw whatever he wanted to draw.

  5. Sarah~
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 19:06:09

    Pretty~ But long! O___o

  6. Ashleigh V
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 23:08:27

    I agree with brookie and cami!(;

  7. Shaina
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 13:44:48

    I agree with Brooklynne and Cami. I also think that at first the little boy thought that he could always do whatever he wanted to draw, but then the teacher said that he could only draw what she drew. So after that I think the little boy was almost taught to only do what the teacher did. Then when he went to a new school, he had to do his own thing but the teacher said he didn’t have to, but he was so used to doing what the teacher did that he just did what his old teacher had drawn.

  8. Meheak
    Aug 28, 2011 @ 19:01:16

    The first stanza is different from the others It seems like the little boy is im preschool or kindergarten.

  9. Brooklynne
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 16:15:34

    I agree with Meheak it really does.

  10. Emily
    Aug 30, 2011 @ 19:01:06

    I also agree with her. It’s like once the boy gets used to something, it’s hard for him to change.

  11. Marika
    Aug 29, 2013 @ 01:35:39

    i think this poem is saying that if you keep someone from expressing them selves and always telling them how to do it they lose creativety and expression so they forget how to do their own thing

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