Sofia had a paintbox,
she loved its reds and blues,
the trouble was deciding
which little square to use.

She sometimes got distracted,
made the sky an olive green,
coloured the sea in scarlet lake
instead of ultramarine,

painted the birds burnt umber,
the trees Venetian red,
a Prussian blue dog, a magenta cat,
a yellow ochre shed.

The teacher got excited
and asked her mum’s permission
to send Sofia’s painting
off to a competition.

The judge turned cadmium red with joy,
couldn’t believe his eyes,
he framed it, hung it on his wall,
gave Sofia the prize.

Now she’s really famous,
they travel miles to see her.
Even the Queen has had her portrait
painted by Sofia.

The footman’s face went ashen
and then turned cobalt green
when he saw the colour of the nose
she’d painted on the Queen!


Editor’s note – Carole’s poem was chosen before the sad news of the Queen’s death. It is part of a long tradition of the Queen making an appearance in children’s literature. Despite the footman’s reaction, I think she would have admired Sofia’s creative portrait! – Rachel


Winner of this year’s Caterpillar Prize, Carole Bromley has poems in Tyger Tyger Magazine, Paper Lanterns, and The Dirigible Balloon, in anthologies from Macmillan, The Emma Press and Nosy Crow, and in her first children’s collection, Blast Off! Carole also writes for adults.