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Hasty Harry: A cautionary tale for Bonfire Night

To remind children to think before they act.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To remind children to think before they act.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is necessary. An OHP would be useful for sharing the poem.


  1. Tell your audience that the poem you are about to read is about a boy called Harry who never stopped to think before doing anything.

    Hasty Harry
    by Jan Edmunds

    Harry never stopped to think before he did a thing.
    He’d jump into the swimming pool without a rubber ring.
    If he balanced on a wall or climbed into a tree
    the danger that surrounded him he couldn’t even see.
    He’d kick a ball around the house though warned something would break.
    When told to keep from near the edge he fell into the lake!
    Hasty Harry didn’t care and always had his way –
    until one day when things went wrong. He won’t forget that day!

    Harry was excited, cos Bonfire Night was near.
    He’d bought a lot of fireworks and of them had no fear.
    Not thinking of the danger, he held one in his hand.
    In spite of all the warnings he refused to understand.
    He struck a match and lit one. It was too late to drop,
    and just the same as usual, Harry wouldn’t stop.
    A loud explosion followed. Harry felt such pain!
    Once more he’d been too hasty and rushed into things again.

    He suffered very badly and had to stay in bed
    with lots of burns and blisters on body, hands and head.
    ‘If only you would stop to think,’ his worried parents sighed.
    ‘Things are very serious and you so nearly died.’
    Hasty Harry realized that what they said was true.
    In future he must stop to think in what to say and do.

    So Harry learned his lesson, though he was badly scarred.
    The outcome of this story for him was very hard.
    He tells his tale to others and warns them of his plight.
    For Harry now looks very strange, he’s not a pretty sight!
  2. Allow time for discussion. Remind the children that although 5 November can be a very exciting and enjoyable time, encourage them to think about what they are doing.
  3. Ask them how they can show consideration for others, e.g. neighbours, pets. Above all, talk about how they can stay safe by discussing the Firework Code.

Time for reflection

We have listened to the poem about Harry. When we get excited about things we do not always stop to think and that is when accidents can happen. Bonfire Night is fun but it can be dangerous.

Let us ask our God to teach us to think carefully before we say and do things so that we do not harm ourselves or others. Ask him to be with us and keep us safe this day and for always.



‘Our Father who art in heaven’ (Come and Praise, 51)

Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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