Quack

One brand new day, a brand new hen arrived on the farm and the whole hen house was in a flap.

Chicks giggled, hens squawked, Dot blushed from her toes to the tip-top of her comb.

“What’s going on in here?” asked the short sighted rooster.

“Quack!” said Dot.

“Oh dear, oh dear!” squawked Rooster, “No ducks in the hen house please. Go back to the pond with the other ducks.”

“But…”

Rooster bundled her out of the door.

“I guess I could be a duck,” thought Dot.

The ducks were heading off for their morning swim.

Waddle-waddle, slip, slide, splash.

Dot followed them.

Wiggle-waggle, slip, slide, splash, glug.

“You can’t swim,” said the ducks as they pushed Dot onto the bank, “you can’t be a duck. Crows can’t swim. Go to the paddock with the other crows.”

“I might be a crow,” thought Dot.

The crows were just beginning their choir practise.

Caw-caw, caw-caw-caw, caaaw-caaaw, ca-aw.

Dot cleared her throat.

Caaw-arg-arg-erk-awk-ark-yurk-erg.

“You can’t sing,” said the crows, “you can’t be a crow. You look a bit like a pigeon. You should head over to the farmhouse.”

“That must be it,” thought Dot.

The pigeons were practising their plies.

Up, down, up, down, up, down, up.

Dot stretched her legs.

Up, down, up, stumble, trip, oomph.

“You lack grace dear,” said the pigeons, helping her up, “you can’t be a pigeon.”

“Then what am I?” Dot said, fluffing her feathers.

But night was coming and the pigeons had all flown off to their nests.

Dot trudged back to the hen house.

“What am I?” wondered Dot. A tear dripped off the end of her beak.

Her stomach growled…

Gurgled…

Groaned…

Grumbled!

Dot flew to her feet, “I forgot!”

She dashed into the hen house, leapt into her nest, crossed her eyes, held her breath and…

Laid one perfect brown egg.

“Woohoo! I quack like a duck but I lay eggs like a chicken,” crowd Dot.

“What are you then?” asked the chicks.

Dot looked out of the hen house door. The moon was rising high into the sky, big and bright and nothing like the stars around it.

She snuggled into her nest, “I’m just me.”

Bunyip’s Night

Bunyip in his watery bed tossed and turned, groaned and grunted, wriggled and wiggled, fidgeted and flicked his tail.
He yawned and yawned again.
But still Bunyip couldn’t sleep.
“Who’s making so much noise?” he said.

Bunyip checked his fish were sleeping tight and then splished and splashed out of his dam.

He saw Platypus floating on top of the water.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Platypus, splashing out of sight.

Bunyip stomped between the pale Eucalypt trees and saw Possum over head.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Possum, leaping away through the leaves.

Bunyip stomped towards the edge of the forest, whipping his tail behind him, and saw Wombat snuffling in the leaf litter.
“Are you making that noise?” Bunyip said.
“Not me,” said Wombat, backing away into the shadows.

The noise was louder now. It bopped and it zinged, it flew and it crashed, it thudded and it sang.
Bunyip stepped out into the clearing. His enormous mouth dropped open.

There were Bunyips everywhere.

Big ones and small ones, ones with feathers and ones with fur, ones with shimmery scales and ones with twisting tales. Bunyips of every colour and hue. All of them prancing and spinning, dancing and grinning. All of them having a wonderful time.

And Bunyip’s feet started tapping, his hands started clapping, his hips started swaying and his head started bobbing.
“Wow, you look great!” said a Bunyip passing by, “Come dance with us.”

And Bunyip did. He twisted and he twirled, he grinned and he guffawed, he waved and he winked, he fandangoed and he flounced. He was having such wonderful time that he didn’t notice the other Bunyips were drifting away until he heard a low roar and then another and then another!

There were bright lights that made Bunyip blink and thuds and growls that made Bunyip jump. The other bunyips were taking off their tails and their ears and getting into growling boxes.

Monsters! Monsters everywhere!

With a shudder and a shriek Bunyip ran back into the forest, through the Eucalypt trees, and splashed back into his dam. He sank to the bottom and his fish snuggled in around him.
To think! He’d been dancing with monsters and he never even knew it.

It had been a lot of fun though.

He yawned. He didn’t toss or turn, grunt or groan, wriggle or wiggle, fidget or flick his tail. He just snored, snored, snored.

A Hat For Every Day

My mum doesn’t have a hair on her head.

Not one strand.

Not one kink.

Not one curl.

But she does have a lot of hats.

She has hats with flowers and hats with feathers. Hats with brims and hats with bows.

Staw hats, lace hats, big hats and small hats.

Wooly hats, leather hats, cloth hats, sparkly hats.

She has hats for hot days and hats for cold days, hats for summer days and hats for winter days. Hats for normal days and hats for special days.

But she only has one hat for hospital days.

It’s soft and warm, it fits just right, and she wears to hospitals where she must sit, sit, sit.

She wears it and watches her medicine go drip, drip, drip.

Then there’s no hat days. They’re ginger tea days and sleepy days, cuddly days and snuggle on the couch days when I stroke Mum’s head and my tummy feels a little bit funny.

But mum says, when her hair grows back again, she’ll grow it all the way down her back. She’ll dye it blue and pink and green. She smooth it, spike it, spring it and spruce it. She’ll wear it up, she’ll wear it down, she’ll wear it half way in between. She’ll have ribbons, she’ll have bows, she’ll have tiaras and clips, bands and grips.

Mum says, when her hair grows back and she’s feeling good again, she’ll have a hair style for every occasion, a do for everyday.

She’ll have as many ways of doing her hair as she has hats, and we know all about that.

Lilly and Anna

Lilly and Anna were best friends.

They ate their breakfast together and they had their bath together.

They both had their hair plaited and they both wore shiny black shoes.

They told each other everything and they played together all day.

At night Mum would tuck them both into Lilly’s bed and they’d cuddle up together and go to sleep.

 

One day Mum took Lilly and Anna to the park to play.

They swung on the swings and touched the sky with their toes.

They whizzed down the slide with giggles and squeals.

They jumped into the sandpit with both feet and then they stopped.

There was a new girl in the sandpit.

 

“I like your dolly, can I hold her” said the girl.

Lilly squeezed Anna but she didn’t want to be rude.

The girl pulled at Anna’s arms and knocked one of her shiny black shoes off . She tugged the ribbon out of her plait and got sand in her hair.

Butterflies swooped in Lilly’s tummy. “Can I have her back now,” she asked.

The girl shook her head, “I’m going to keep her.”

“But she’s mine.”

“She’s mine now,” said the girl, “And you can’t tell. It’s a secret.”

That night Lilly couldn’t sleep. Her tummy hurt and her pillow was cold and damp. She sniffed. Her bed felt very big without Anna in it.

 

At breakfast she couldn’t eat her pancakes and she wouldn’t have a bath.

She didn’t want her hair plaited and she wouldn’t wear her shiny shoes.

“What’s wrong Lilly,” Dad asked but Lilly couldn’t say.

It was a secret.

 

“Mum?” Lilly asked, “do you have any secrets?”

Mum stopped making lunch, “I don’t think so. I don’t really like secrets, I prefer surprises. They’re much more fun.”

“Hmmm,” said Lilly.

 

“Dad? If you know a secret, is it alright to tell?”

Dad put down his newspaper, “That depends. If it’s a secret that makes you feel all yucky inside then it’s better to tell Mum or I, or another special grown-up, like Grandma or Pop.”

“Hmmm,” said Lilly.

 

That night she still couldn’t sleep. She felt yucky all over and she was sure Anna did too.

She got out of bed.

Mum and Dad were watching television.

“What’s wrong Lilly?”

Lilly took a deep breath and then she told them all about the girl, and Anna’s shoe and the sand in her hair. She told them all about the secret. And her tummy didn’t hurt any more.

“That was very brave,” said Mum.

“You did the right thing,” said Dad.

“I know,” said Lilly.

 

The next day Lilly and Dad went to the park. The little girl was there with her mum.

“It was a secret,” said the little girl as she handed Anna back to Lilly.

“I don’t keep secrets from Mum and Dad,” said Lilly, “especially not yucky secrets.”

That night Lilly snuggled under her blankets and Anna snuggled in beside her.

They yawned and they smiled.

They closed their eyes and they dreamed.

Not Today! – ages 6 months +

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like toast today?

Bring me cheese and bring me jam, bring me apples and chips and ham.

 

What do you mean that’s not breakfast food? Fine, I’ll eat it so as not to be rude

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like blue today?

Bring me my pink dress, not those long pants, bring me my soft shoes so I can dance.

 

What do you mean it’s too rainy and cold? Fine, if I must I’ll do as I’m told.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like playing with dolls today?

Bring me a bike with round black wheels, I’ll race down the hills with shouts and squeals.

 

What do you mean I don’t know how to ride? Fine, if I must I’ll stick with the slide.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like sausages today?

Bring paper and pencils galore, I’ve got ideas and pictures to draw.

 

What do you mean it’s dinner time? Fine, if I must I’ll eat mine.

 

Take it away! Take it away! Don’t you know I don’t like books today?

Bring me spoons and pots and pans, I want to start my own kitchen band.

What do you mean it’s time for bed? Fine, if I must I’ll lay down my head.

 

Wait, don’t go! Won’t you stay? I want to tell you about my wonderful day.

Lay down here and hold my hand. Tomorrow’s a new day and I have so much planned.

 

What do you mean? We can do it all? There’s no adventure too big, no wish too small.

 

 

 

Oli the Elephant and the Fly – ages 18 months +

12th 001

Oli the Elephant lumbered through the whispering grasses flapping his ears, waving his trunk and humming a happy little tune.

“What a perfect day,” he thought.

11th 001

Bzzzzzzzzz. Snort! Awk!

“Get out,” said Oli but the fly was stuck.

Bzzzzzzz bzzzzzzzz!

10th 001

It gave Oli a terrible headache. He snorted. He snuffled. He shook his trunk this way and twisted it that way.

Bzzzzzzz! Bzzzzzzzz! BUUUZZZZZ!

9th 001

Oli spun around and around in circles, trying to shake the fly loose, but he only made himself dizzy. He wobbled this way and that, knocking a herd of grazing zebra into a black and white striped tangle.

“Sorry!” called Oli, stumbling away.

8th 001

Next, Oli tap danced around a clutch of ostrich eggs, frightening the mother ostriches into a flurry of feathers.

“Sorry again,” called Oli.

7th 002

Oli barrelled towards a family of warthogs in their smelly, squelchy, wallow.

“Oh no!” they squealed and jumped out of the way.

7th 001

Oli slipped. Oli Slid. Oli stumbled.

5th 001

“Oooooo!” said the other animals as Oli pirouetted one way.

“Aaaaah!” said the animals as Oli Jetéd the other way.

“Wow!” chorused the animals as Oli did a double summersault with a twist.

Oli4thlast 001

“Ouch!” winced the animals as Oli belly-flopped into the mud.

Oli3rdlast 001

Oli lay very still. He could feel the other animals watching him. He wished he could just…disappear. But he couldn’t stay laying in the mud forever. What could he do?

Oli the Elephant 001

Oli stood up. He took a deep breath and…

Baaooooooooooo!

The fly shot out of his trunk and flew off into the distance.

All the animals cheered, “Well done Oli!”

OliLast 001

Oli bowed, “It really is a beautiful day,” he thought.

The Moon’s Big Day

“Time for bed,” said Star.

“I don’t want to go to bed,” said Moon, “I want to stay up all day, I want have a midday feast, I want to see what Sun sees.”

“Suit yourself,” yawned Star, fading off to sleep.

“Humph,” said Sun, “you should go to bed.”

“No, there’s so much to see,” said Moon.

Tweet tweedle tweet, flappity flap, skitter-hop skitter-scratch, skitter-dash-dash-dash.

“Birds! So many, so quick. They flitter through the air and scratch for worms with their feet. They dip, they dive, they snap at moths with their beaks.”

“Umph,” said Sun.

Beep-beep, honk, barp, honk, beep, creep, broom-broom, vroooooom.

“Cars! Line after line, row after row. Creeping through the city and then broom, off they go.”

“Umph,” said Sun.

Chatter, clatter, stomp. Hop, swing, slide, skip. Tag, you’re it!

“Kids! They hurry, they scurry. The little boys bellowing, the little girls giggling! Up the jungle gym, along the Monkey-bars. Look at them go!”

“Umph,” said Sun.

La-la laaaa. La-la laaaa. La-la la la la laaaa.

“A lullabye. So soft and sweet. Floating, swaying, rising, falling. Sighing. The day is dying.”

“Goodnight Moon,” said Sun.

“Goodnight Sun,” said Moon.

Moon yawned, “I’m very tired tonight,” he said.

“Don’t worry Moon, I’ll tuck you in. You can have a night off,” said Cloud, “La-la laaaa. La – la laaaa. Goodnight moon and now sleep.”

Bed Bugs – age 3+

“Night.”

 

“G’night.”

 

“Sleep tight.”

 

“Boys, it’s time to turn out the light.”

 

Click

 

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

 

“Bedbugs?”

 

“Tiny things with gnashing teeth, hairs that tickle and feet that prickle and…”

 

“Slippers!”

 

“Slippers?”

 

“Dancing slippers. They dace a jig. All night long they dance a jig. Under the doona, across the sheets, over the pillow and…”

 

“The music’s played by the Bogey Man!”

 

“The Bogey Man?”

 

“The Bogey Man and his skeleton band. His voice makes the windows rattle, his eyes make people tremble, his breath smells like dirty socks and…”

 

“He’s not real!”

 

“Are you sure? Maybe he lurks in the dark, maybe his teeth are as sharp as a shark’s, maybe his fingers are long and cold and…”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something on the stairs?”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something at the door?”

 

“Can you hear that?”

 

“Something coming in…”

 

“Hide!”

 

“Boys! It’s time to sleep. Now, goodnight!”

 

“Is there really a Bogey Man? Playing music with his skeleton band?”

 

“No, not really. Anyway, the Bogey Man is really small and can’t play any instruments at all.”

 

“Night.”

 

“G’night.”

 

“Sleep tight.”

 

“Good. Night.”

 

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

 

 

 

Yellow Sunshine Pie – 18 months+

When the sound on the roof is pting pting pting.

 And the noise on the window pane is ptap ptap ptappity-tap

When inside is the only place to be and I’m bored till my teeth ache, I clap my hands together and say, “Grandma, let’s make Yellow Sunshine Pie!”

She turns on the oven and I turn up the radio. Around the tiny kitchen I spin and whirl and dance. The cats scatter before my dancing feet and my Grandma laughs and claps along to the beat.

Clatter clang!

I find the saucepan, jug and special dish. I slosh the milk, sift the flour and beat the eggs. While the mixer whirrs and the music sways I roll and pour, taste and stir.

Slowly, carefully, Grandma pours the filling into it’s pastry case, sprinkles it with spices and puts it on to bake. I peer through the oven door and wait…and wait…and wait.

And then…

Like sunshine on a plate, like summer in a bowl, the Yellow Sunshine Pie is ready. Grandma cuts two giant slices and we stretch out on the rug.

When the sound on the roof is pting pting pting.

And the noise on the window pane is ptap ptap ptappity – tap.

We push our empty plates away, I rub my bulging belly and all I can hear, coming from Grandma’s chair, is snore snore snore.

I’ll Never Ever Invite a Dung Beetle to Tea – 6 months +

Just a quick little rhyme to share with the littlies.

Happy reading!

 

Monkeys eat bananas and I like them too.

Dogs like a meaty bone to chew.

Caterpillars eat salad and that’s fine with me,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Cats like fish, I like mine with chips,

Birds will share my apples and carry off the pips.

Mice can always share their cheese with me,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Seagulls will gulp my sandwiches if there’s nothing else around.

Some pigs delight in truffles, if they can be found.

Ducks love bread when I give it for free,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

Rabbits spend all day munching carrots

And crackers are favoured by piratical parrots.

My little brother gobbles chocolates with glee,

But I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle to tea!

 

I’m really not a fussy eater,

And I’m sure  that they couldn’t be sweeter.

But what dung beetles eat just isn’t for me,

So I’ll never ever ever invite a dung beetle for tea!