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Untidy Tim

To suggest that we can all change for the better.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To suggest that we can all change for the better.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary if presented by the teacher; although an OHP/whiteboard would help with reading the poem.
  • Alternatively the material could be adapted and read by individuals, used for choral speaking or even dramatized, with some rehearsal.
  • For tips on using drama in assemblies see our resources section.
  • Note: The poem focuses on a pig so may be unsuitable for Jewish or Muslim children.


  1. At the beginning of a new year many of us start off with very good intentions. You might like to ask the children if they have made any new year resolutions and/or refer back to an earlier assembly on this subject. Allow time for discussion of any resolutions and the reasons for them.
  2. Continue by asking the children to listen to the poem.

    Untidy Tim
    by Jan Edmunds

    There once was a boy called untidy Tim, his parents really despaired of him.
    He left his toys upon the floor, so you could hardly open his bedroom door!
    He looked such a sight with his scruffy hair, his face unwashed, but he didn’t care.
    He really did look quite a mess – this caused his parents no end of stress.
    He wouldn’t fold his clothes away, so they piled up on the floor each day.
    He scattered everything around, so what he wanted never could be found.

    One day his grandma came to stay. She suggested he learned to put things away.
    Tim just shrugged and wouldn’t bother, so Grandma told him to find his brother.
    ‘Find my brother!’ Timothy laughed. ‘I have no brother – don’t be so daft.’
    But Grandma insisted he went outside – he could find a brother if he really tried.
    Where would he go? Whom could he ask? So he went outside and began the task.
    To look for a brother he would try. He’d ask each creature passing by.

    ‘Are you my brother?’ he would say. Perhaps he’d find one along the way.
    Down in the lane he met a tomcat. ‘He’s not my brother, I’m sure of that.’
    A dog came along with a great big bone. He growled at Tim but left him alone.
    On the branch of a tree sat a little bird. He laughed when Tim’s question he heard.
    ‘I wouldn’t want to look like you.’ With that he flapped his wings and away he flew.

    Around the corner came a pig. ‘Hello, brother, let’s go and dig,’
    Said the pig to Tim. ‘You look just like me. I think you’re my brother, don’t you agree?’
    ‘I’m not your brother,’ Timothy said. ‘Looking like you is something I’d dread.
    You’re dirty and smelly and you live in a sty.’ Tim was shocked and began to cry.
    The pig went on: ‘Your bedroom’s a mess, you never wash and you couldn’t care less.
    Come live with me and be my brother – you need not search for any other.’

    Tim was troubled and ran back home. He wanted to think and to be alone.
    ‘Wake up, Tim.’ He heard a call, for he’d been dreaming after all!
    Grandma stood at the foot of his bed. He thought a great deal about what she had said.
    He really would try to take more care, and to find him untidy is now very rare.
    He combs his hair, has a wash every day, he tidies his room and puts things away.
    A different boy is now young Tim. His parents have seen such a change in him.
    Grandma helped because she is wise, so she was able to offer advice.
    Tidy Tim now has a brother, a new baby boy, not a pig like the other.
  3. A short time could be spent discussing the story. You might choose to point out that although pigs are often thought of as dirty and messy as in the poem, this is because they are usually seen in muddy fields. They are in fact very social creatures and do keep clean. So you can add a point about appearances being deceptive to the assembly!

Time for reflection


Are you too messy – or are you too tidy!

A little mess can be a good thing, because life’s too important to spend every minute being tidy.

But a lot of mess can be a bit awkward when you can’t find your paper or pencil, your book or even your dinner!



Dear God,

At the beginning of this new year help us to be better people.

Teach us to be thoughtful and kind to others.

Let us work together to make this world a better place.


‘Heavenly Father, may thy blessing’ (Come and Praise, 62)

Publication date: February 2008   (Vol.10 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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