Michael Rosen, illus. Kevin Waldron
Michael Rosen’s poetry and his wonderful performances of it are very popular, and this poem, now in a picturebook of its own is one of his most famous. It tells the story of a young Michael who loved his mum’s chocolate cake. One night he couldn’t resist the temptation of creeping downstairs to ‘look at’ the left over cake in the kitchen. No prizes for guessing what happens next!
A poem which tells a funny story and evokes a whole raft of childhood feelings including overwhelming temptation and greediness, excitement, contentment, guilt, fear, worry and regret. The illustrations add to the humour of the situation and emphasise the dread of discovery.
Share the story
Read the poem aloud not forgetting the sound effects and extra commentary. Pause to talk about what is happening in the story and illustrations eg after the cake has ‘disappeared’. What might happen next?
Watch Michael Rosen perform the poem here
Perform the poem together
When children have heard the poem a few times you could practise a performance together thinking about how to share reading the story, the comments and the noises. How can you use your voice to make a creaky sound? Which bits will you read loudly and which bits softly?
Talk about the poem
Do you think Michael’s mum did remember what happened next time she made chocolate cake? What might she have said to him?
Share favourite parts of the poem and favourite illustrations.
Talk about your own favourite treats.
Things to make and do
Think about how Michael feels at different points in the story, make his excited, satisfied, worried and scared faces to each other or in a mirror.
Play a game – creep sneakily
Have a go at creeping very quietly like Michael does in the night. You could make this into a game – can children creep past mum or dad (pretending to be fast asleep) without making a sound? Shhhh!
Make a video
Make your own video of a performance of the poem – think about your expression as well as how you use your voice. If you have more than one other person to help you could do a joint performance or have someone to be mum.
Bake a cake
Make a chocolate cake together. Talk about what children think you might need looking back at the title pages for clues. Have a look at a recipe together and gather ingredients or go to the shops to get them.
Find out more
Listen to more poems and stories by Michael Rosen here
See our activity pages for other books by Michael Rosen
For younger children:
A Great Big Cuddle with Chris Riddell
We’re Going on a Bearhunt with Helen Oxenbury
This is Our House with Bob Graham
For older children:
Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed