Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Dear Mum by Brian Patten - Theme, Summary, Question Answer and Explanation

Dear Mum


While you were out
A cup went and broke itself,
A crack appeared in the blue vase
Your great-great grandad
Brought back from China.

Somehow, without me even turning on the tap
The sink mysteriously overflowed.
A strange jam stain about the size of a boy's hand
Appeared on the kitchen wall.

I don't think we'll ever discover
Exactly how the cat
Managed to turn on the washing machine
(Especially from the inside).

Or how Sis's pet rabbit went and mistook
The waste disposal unit for a burrow.
I can tell you I was scared when,
As if by magic,
A series of muddy footprints
Appeared on the new white carpet.

I was being good (honest)
But I think the house is haunted
So, knowing you're going to have a fit,
I've gone over to Gran's to lie low for a bit. 

Listen to the Poem


  1. What happened to the blue vase? Was the vase precious to the mother? Why?

    • Answer: The blue vase got a crack. Yes, it was precious to the mother because it was brought back from China by her great-great-grandad.
  2. Where is the cat? How do you think it got there?

    • Answer: The cat is inside the washing machine. It probably got there by accident, possibly while exploring or playing.
  3. Whose footprints are on the carpet?

    • Answer: The muddy footprints on the carpet are most likely the boy's.
  4. Is the house really haunted? Why do you think so?

    • Answer: No, the house is not really haunted. The boy says this to avoid taking responsibility for the mess.
  5. Does the boy think his mother will believe him? How can you tell?

    • Answer: No, the boy doesn't think his mother will believe him. He went to his grandmother's house to avoid getting in trouble, which shows he expects his mother to be upset.
  6. Do you think the boy is clever? Give a reason for your answer.

    • Answer: Yes, the boy is clever because he creates imaginative excuses to explain the mess and tries to avoid getting in trouble by leaving the house.
  7. Should children be allowed to be mischievous?

    • Answer: Children can be mischievous sometimes as it's part of growing up and learning, but they should also learn to be responsible and honest.
  8. What would you do if you were in Mother's place and you returned home and realized what had happened?

    • Answer: If I were in Mother's place, I would calmly find out what happened, talk to my child about being honest, and teach them how to clean up and take responsibility for their actions.

Summary of the Poem "Dear Mum" by Brian Patten

The poem "Dear Mum" is a humorous letter written by a boy to his mother, explaining all the things that went wrong while she was out. The boy tells his mother that a cup broke by itself, a crack appeared in a precious blue vase, and the sink overflowed mysteriously. He also mentions strange incidents like a jam stain on the wall, the cat turning on the washing machine, and his sister's rabbit getting into the waste disposal unit. Muddy footprints appeared on the new white carpet as if by magic. The boy insists he was being good and suggests the house might be haunted. To avoid his mother's anger, he tells her he has gone to his grandmother's house. The poem highlights the boy's creative excuses and his attempt to escape blame for the chaos at home.

Theme of the Poem "Dear Mum" by Brian Patten

The theme of the poem "Dear Mum" is the humorous and imaginative way children try to explain and avoid responsibility for their mistakes. It shows how children can come up with creative excuses to escape getting in trouble. The poem also highlights the love and patience of mothers who have to deal with such situations. The underlying message is about honesty and the playful nature of childhood.