Talk the Talk: Poetry
Poem: Midtown Listing

A Poem for Mrs. Teaberry





Mrs. Teaberry was Mr. Putter’s neighbor.   

She dreamed of snowdrifts—           

something airy,                   

something light—                   

tulips and roses,                   

birds instead of fish.                   

He promised her a nice cup of tea.       

Mrs. Teaberry was delighted.           

They watched the snow fall               

all night long.                   

The two of them                   

sat a long time,                    

very happy,                       

living side by side.                   


"Together" is a found poem, a cento, of lines from four books in Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series for beginning readers. I didn’t go into the poem thinking that it would focus on Mrs. Teaberry and her relationship with Mr. Putter, but that’s how it turned out. She’s an important secondary character  in these books, and as much as I love Tabby, Mr. Putter’s cat, I also relate to Mrs. T, who likes strange things and makes dresses for her teapots. Paging through our copies, I once again admire Arthur Howard’s illustrations and how much they add to the story. The expressions, both human and animal, are priceless.


Title: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane

Line 1: Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish 

Lines 2-4: Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake

Line 5: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane

Line 6: Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish

Line 7: Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane

Lines 8-10: Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake

Lines 11-14: Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog



Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Bake the Cake. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.

Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 2001.

Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Fly the Plane. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997.

Rylant, Cynthia. Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog. Illustrated by Arthur Howard, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.


Elisabeth Norton hosts the Poetry Friday roundup, at Unexpected Intersections on Friday, August 27, 2021.

Photo by ST. I found that teapot and at least a couple of those books at the local Goodwill store some years ago.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

What a fun poem! I love that you were inspired by books that you love! Your treasures from Goodwill are wonderful. Thank you for inspiring me to think about books I love in a poetic way.

I feel like I've been allowed to peek in the window to see two old friends. I have loved Mr. Putter for a very long time.

Amy, I have a soft spot for those beginning readers, and can recall laughing a lot over Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish with my now-grown son.

Marilyn, yes! Me, too. These books are real treasures.

I love the Mr. Putter and Tabby books. How delightful that you wrote about the friendship with Mrs. Teaberry!

It’s the sweetest relationship! And funny.

I adore Mr. Putter and Tabby and love that they inspired you to write about Mrs. Teaberry.

Molly, they’re the best, aren’t they!

One of my all-time favorite series, EVER! I love that you focused on Mrs. Teaberry. Thanks so much for this delightful post today. :0)

You’re so welcome, Robyn. I also have a soft spot for the Fluffy the guinea pig books, too. Hmmm.

Cynthia Rylant's "Mr. Putter & Tabby" books are favorites of mine, and I love that you focused in on Mrs. Teaberry–who I remember. And the art works so wonderfully with the stories too, thanks Susan!

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! I was really happy to capture a bit of Arthur Howard's witty art in the picture.

Susan, what a sweet poem! I love Mr. Putter and Tabby, and I haven't read them for so many years because I went from teaching second grade, when we all loved them along with other Rylant series, to moving up to middle school way back in 2006. I will need some reacquainting! Your poem was a lovely reminder.

This is lovely! I cozy portrait of two characters that brings a smile as I read it.

That's a big jump, Denise! But, then again, I think of second graders as the college students of the early primary grades, so much more mature than first graders. (I'm a volunteer reader for a 2nd grade class.) Thanks for the kind words.

Elisabeth, thank you! Those books are really cozy and reassuring, and I really did enjoy spending time with the cast of characters again, including Mrs. Teaberry's "dream dog" Zeke. (He is so not a dream dog, but they don't tell Mrs. Teaberry that.)

I am charmed--by the poem, by the consideration of secondary characters, by the cento. Thanks for slowing us way down for this appreciation. Clearly I and my Mrs. Peachbottom character need to spend some time with Mr. P and Mrs. T!

Thanks so much, Heidi. These books and characters really do have a lot of charm. I read Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish to second graders this spring, and was reminded of how much I like the series. (Love the name Mrs. Peachbottom!)

Thanks for reminding me of these fabulous characters/books. :)

Any time, Bridget! Our son is grown, but we kept these books. I'm glad that we did.

Fun! And now I want to try writing a cento. Do you just pick favorite lines and go from there, or do you start with an idea and then search for lines to support it?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)