what is your house dreaming of?

More than just wood or plaster, houses are alive with their own feelings and dreams. Each room has a story to tell.

“The Breakfast Table” by William Ratcliffe
by Jackie Kay

The living room remembers Gran dancing to Count Basie.
The kitchen can still hear my aunts fighting on Christmas day.
The hall is worried about the loose banister.
The small room is troubled by the missing hamster.
The toilet particularly dislikes my Grandfather.
The wallpaper covers up for the whole family.

And No. 115 dreams of lovely houses by the sea.
And No. 115 dreams of one night in the country.

The stairs are keeping schtum about the broken window.
The toilet’s sick of the trapped pipes squealing so.
The walls aren’t thick enough for all the screaming.
My parent’s bedroom has a bed in a choppy sea.
My own bedroom loves the bones of me.
My brother’s bedroom needs a different boy.

And No. 115 dreams of yellow light, an attic room.
And No. 115 dreams of a chimney, a new red roof.

And the red roof dreams of robin redbreasts
tap dancing on the red dance floor in the open air.

~ from Red, Cherry Red (Bloomsbury, 2019)
“Attic Room” by William Ratcliffe (1918)
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[tasty review + giveaway] Things We Eat by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

#61 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Hmmm, looks like there’s only one chocolate chip cookie left. Go ahead and take it – I won’t tell. 

While you’re busy nibbling, I’ll tell you all about the brand new ABC food anthology edited by our favorite poetry goddesses, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. 🙂

For Things We Eat (Pomelo Books, 2022), Sylvia and Janet donned their perky chef hats to cook up a tempting smorgasbord of 27 delectable poems just right for eager munchkins ages 3-7. 

They invited 25 hungry poets –  both new and established – to write ekphrastic poems based on appetizing color photos of kids preparing, growing, shopping for, eating and sharing a variety of diverse foods. Janet herself penned two yummy poems for the collection: “Kimchi” and “Alphabet Menu.” 

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Diana Hendry’s “What is the Pond Doing?”

When you ask your grandmother a provocative question, you just might get a charming poem in reply. 🙂

“Sweet Baby Ducklings” by Allison Steele
by Diana Hendry

(for Ruairidh, who asked)

Wobbling like a wobbly jelly
Being a bucket for the rain
Sending flash-backs to the sun
Cheeking the sky
Giving the moon a bath
Letting swans, ducks and winter leaves ride on its back
Licking the lollipop reeds
Pretending to be soup for the wind to stir
Growing stinky skunk cabbages
Drawing wheels and circles then rubbing them out
Plopping slopping slurping spinning
Turning the weeping willows happily upside down
Dreaming of running away to sea
Hiding under a starry blanket of dark

What is the pond doing?
Ponding. Responding.


“Child Playing in Pond Water” by Terri Hamlin
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lindsay macrae’s “happy families”

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 

Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.

What will you be when you grow up — and will your job match your name?

“Three Men in a Tub” by Tim Egan
by Lindsay MacRae

Mr Pill the pharmacist
Mrs Bunn the baker
Master Leak the plumber’s mate
B. Grave the undertaker.

Mr Blast, who in the past
once mended broken hooters
Mr Spider – web designer
Miss Take – in computers.

Ena Hurry makes strung curry
Old MacDonald farms
Mr Cue is in the theatre
Bill Ithole sells arms.

Master Void is unemployed
Reg Card – a referee
When I grow up, I worry what
my name suggests I’ll be.

What kind of job might go with Robb?
I bet you think you know it.
But I’d rather rhyme than turn to crime
So perhaps I’ll be a poet.

~ from How to Avoid Kissing Your Parents in Public (Puffin, 2000)


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nine cool things on a tuesday

Emperor Penguin Chick” by Ashley Wolff

1. Ho Ho Ho and Happy Almost December! So, are you feeling festive this week? If, by chance, you need a little holiday lift, please enjoy some of Ashley Wolff’s gorgeous art. 

Isn’t this penguin chick adorable? Ashley’s handpainted one-of-a-kind mini bird ornaments would make the perfect gift for a special someone — or maybe it’s just the thing to give your tree an added touch of beauty. 🙂

These 3” by 3” ornaments are painted with acrylic gouache and mounted on a painted 4.5” easel. These can either be hung or set on a table or shelf for display. Nice way to own an original piece of art!

Many of you know Ashley from her wonderful picture books — the beloved Miss Bindergarten series, Baby Bear, Compost Stew, etc., but did you know she’s also an accomplished landscape painter? I’m blown away by her versatility as an artist, and love her Vermont landscapes as much as I do her book illustrations.

Check out her Etsy Shop for limited edition prints, original paintings, and of course, lots of bird and keepsake ornaments. For even more, check out my recent interviews with Ashley for How to Help a Pumpkin Grow, and Only the Cat Saw.

And don’t forget Ashley’s latest picture book, WILDFIRE! (Beach Lane Books, 2021), just released last month. 🙂

**ETA: Ashley’s running a holiday special: 20% off a combined purchase of $75 or more, plus free shipping!


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