A Kitten Goes to the Zoo




Mag was a mother cat.

She had one kitten.

The kitten was small, so Mag named her Small Kitten.

Mag and Small Kitten lived with the Zoo Keeper at the City Zoo.

One day after Mag and Small Kitten woke up from a long night of sleep, Mag asked Small Kitten if she wanted to go into the zoo and see some of the other animals that lived there.

Small Kitten did not know what the Zoo would be like. Small Kitten did not know what other animals looked like either, but she was curious and said yes.

Mag and Small Kitten left the Zoo Keeper’s house and walked towards the main gate of the Zoo.

Small Kitten ran in front of her Mother because she was so happy to be going with her to the Zoo.

When Mag and Small Kitten were close to the gate, Small Kitten stopped at a large sign. Mag told Small Kitten that the sign read, “ZOO. “

Small Kitten slowed down when she saw a large gray animal with a trunk and large floppy ears. ELEPHANT was printed on the sign. The elephant was swinging its trunk from side to side.

Small Kitten ran to the next animal. It had long ears, a bobtail, and was eating grass. “That is a RABBIT,” said Mag to Small Kitten.

Mag turned around and saw another animal. It had sharp spines sticking out all over its body. Small kitten looked at the sign near the spiny animal. PORCUPINE was neatly printed on the sign.

Small Kitten wanted to see more animals so she ran ahead. The next animal she saw had a black mask on its face and a striped tail. The animal was friendly and said to Small Kitten, “Hi, I’m a RACCOON.”

Mag called to Small Kitten to follow her to the next animal. ANTELOPE was busy eating grass and barely looked over at Small Kitten or Mag. Small Kitten noticed that ANTELOPE had horns with small prongs at their tips.

Small Kitten saw another animal not far away. It was ARMADILLO.

It had small ears and its body was covered with a shell. When ARMADILLO saw Small Kitten, he rolled into a ball.

When Small Kitten looked for her mother, she found her next to a mother KANGAROO. Small Kitten noticed that the mother KANGAROO had long ears and a pouch. Something stuck its head out of the pouch, it was a baby KANGAROO. It happened so suddenly that it scared Small Kitten. She ran away to hide.

When Small Kitten looked up from her hiding place under a large leaf, she saw a pink bird with long legs and an unusual bill. The bird stuck its head into the water. When the bird lifted its head, water was running out of both sides of its mouth. Mag joined Small Kitten and said that is a FLAMINGO.

Small kitten was getting tired and asked Mag if they could go home.

Small Kitten stayed very close to Mag on their walk back to the Zoo Keeper’s House.

When Small Kitten entered their house, she jumped up into the window seat where the sun was shining. She yawned and stretched and went fast asleep.

Small Kitten dreamed about the animals that she had seen at the zoo. In the first part of her dream she became an ELEPHANT and the name she chose for herself was CATEPHANT. She had a long trunk and huge floppy ears.

Next Small Kitten became a RABBIT in her dream and she called herself a CATABBIT. Her large ears were standing up straight and her tiny brown nose moved quickly as she sniffed the air.

After being a CATABBIT for a while in her dream, Small kitten became a CATCUPINE. She had long sharp pointed bristles and a tiny black nose.

After a few minutes of being a CATCUPINE, Small Kitten saw herself as a raccoon. Her face had a black mask around her eyes and her nose was pointed. Her tail was fluffy and striped. I must be a CATACOON she dreamed.

A CATACOON has a good sense of smell. She smelled fresh grass and saw ANTELOPE. Instantly Small Kitten became a CATELOPE. Her head had short horns with little prongs on their tips. Her tail was short. She could leap quickly through the tall grass. Dreaming about being a CATELOPE was fun. She almost jumped on ARMADILLO.

ARMADILLO was moving slowly through the grass. Small Kitten wanted to be like ARMADILLO. She rolled into a ball with a thick shell to protect her. I will call myself CATADILLO.

Small Kitten saw a KANGAROO jumping and decided to change into a CATAGAROO.

Being a CATAGAROO was even more fun. She could jump on her back legs and keep her front legs up. She also liked having a pouch. Inside her pouch she kept a ball of yarn. The ball of yarn was one of her favorite toys.

Since she was a CATAGAROO, she could see farther because she was taller. She saw a FLAMINGO standing in a small pond. Small Kitten became a CATAMINGO. She liked her pink color and beautiful wings.

CATAMINGO heard a soft voice. The voice was saying, “Wake up Small Kitten, it is time for dinner.”

When Small Kitten awoke from her dream she saw Mag sitting next to her.

Small Kitten stretched and said, “Momma, I dreamed that I became the animals that I saw in the zoo today, except they all had cat faces like me.”

Mag looked at Small Kitten and said, “Small Kitten, what a sweet dream you had. One day when you grow up you will be a CAT and have cat features, like long stiff whiskers, a wonderful meow, and soft fur.”

The End

Copyright© 2004, Sylvester Allread

  • February 21st, 2017
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Observations in a Toddler Classroom

Toddler Room (15 children)

Today, I’m in the toddler room. They are very active, especially compared to the infant room. The room is arranged with a colorful platform indoor playground in the center of the room. It has 4 slanted ramps, like a bridge, that met at the center,  and clear plastic windows to look through on the sides. There is very loud music in this room. The teacher, Chelsea, is playing very loud disco music, The BeeGees’ Saturday Night Fever. It feels like a very fun atmosphere. So far, it is upbeat and active with lots of movement.

The teacher gathered the children on the floor to blow bubbles. A boy named Noah is grabbing the bubbles and bumping the other kids to grab the bubbles. He is oblivious to his bumping into the other kids. Teacher stops for a second, tells Noah to be careful; he is knocking down a girl. Girl sort of cries; teacher says “you’re okay.” She comes next to me. Noah didn’t care. He likes bubbles, grabbing the bubbles. (This is a sign that Noah has not yet learned how to have empathy for others.)

Teacher gets up, changes someone’s diaper. Noah is playing on the toy phone, carrying on a conversation with himself (Babbling talk; I don’t understand him.)  He hands me the phone, so I pretend to talk to his mom. He watched me as I told his “mom” on the toy phone “what a sweet boy he is…he is having lots of fun in class today…he is very smart.” He smiles, and seems to believe I am talking to his mom. I hand him the phone back. (Make-believe play is not only fun for toddlers, but is also helping them acquire new representational schemes.)

I’m looking around; there is lots of crying and very runny noses. Everyone wants the toy someone else is playing with.

Noah comes back to me with the phone again. I take it. He gets two more toy phones from the shelf and puts them in his lap. A girl wanted one of the phones. He would not let her have it. She screams. The teacher tells him he needs to share the phones. Noah let her have one. (The teacher is helping him learn important social skills by encouraging him to share.)  A little boy came into the room with his mom, cried and ran to mom when she tried to leave. The teacher sat on the floor with a book of cards with pictures and asked them to identify the objects in the pictures. Noah ran to the front to see the pictures up close. He can talk pretty clearly…the objects. He is the first to shout out the pictures and eagerly and enthusiastically participates. He crawled in Chelsea’s lap and wanted to look at the pictures and name them for her. Cat, apple, dog, tree, etc. (His language development is impressive. He names the object in the pictures very clearly.) Then Noah got on a toy car to ride around the room, around the peripheral space on the sides around the platform and playground.

There are lots of toy cars they sit on and run their feet on the ground and steer. He goes very fast. More crying about sharing toy cars they want to ride someone else’s car around the room. Teacher says, “Come on, now, let’s share the cars. Look, there are more cars over there.” Her solution gradually worked. The kids seem to prefer to have someone else’s car, but they got the available cars. Noah would not share his car with anyone, even when a girl cried for it. He just kept riding and ignored her. Noah seemed particularly bright when the teacher was doing the flash cards. He knew them all. He would touch the pictures with his finger and name them. Another mom comes in to drop off her son; he clings to his blanket; he cries; doesn’t want mom to leave. She reaches in the cubical with his name on it and pulls out at least 4 different blankets, all with different textures; he takes the one he likes and settles down; his mom leaves. The teacher reads a book on the floor. Noah and the cranky blanket boy join together on the floor to listen to the teacher read. Noah walks pretty well, but sometimes falls or trips; sometimes a little wobbly. Noah listens to teacher read book; he crawls in her lap and then onto the floor. Now, teacher leads the class to dance with music. Noah hops up and down and claps his hands together, spins in circles. Noah walks over to the platform and stamps his feet on the plastic platform. This makes lots of noise. The other kids notice and 3 of them join Noah in stomping with the music. They are very loud, but the teacher is very tolerant and allows them to make noise. They seem to like to copy each other. Then they lost interest quickly and separate to play alone, then play together, then play alone, repeating this cycle. (The toddlers’ gross motor skills are challenged and will improve even more with fun classroom activities, such as dancing.)

More tantrums over toys. Noah and boy get very snippy with each other. Noah is the bright child who is always into something. He came up to me; I’m sitting on the floor; he stacker rubber toy frogs on my head, so I make a ribbit sound and bobbed up and down. This entertained Noah for about a minute, and he lost interest and ran away. More crying. Girl cries because she doesn’t want to share toy with Noah. Noah leaves her, goes to the big toy box and takes all of the toys out one by one and puts them on the floor with force, almost throwing them. I thought they might break, but they didn’t. Then Noah leaves the mess he made on the floor and is riding one of the cars up the platform. Teacher picks up Noah, takes him to diaper station. Teacher is changing Noah’s diaper; he is happy and lets her change his diaper willingly. Now Noah is losing his patience; he is still in the process of getting his diaper change; he begins to cry. Teacher consoles him: “I’m almost done, Noah.” But he cries until she is completely finished and puts him down.

The teacher wears gloves and sterilizes the table after each diaper change and washes her own hands and the toddler’s hands. This seems very clean; the infant room yesterday had the same procedure of diaper changing. I’m noticing when a child cries, the other children pay no attention to the crying child; they just go about their business, and they didn’t even look at the crying child, either. (Many of these toddlers have not learned to empathize with each other, but with continued social interaction, they will learn.) All the children have terribly runny noses. I hope I don’t get sick.

A group of the toddlers gathered together and laughed and watched each other playing with various toys (They are being sociable.) and like to be together, they lost interest and separated from each other and played alone. The teacher puts on more music to dance to. She dances with them and they all hop and dance with the teacher. Noah dances, smiles energetically, then goes to play by himself with a toy on the other side of the room. After the dance, they all disperse around the room and find a toy to play with. Noah throws a toy; it accidentally hit another boy. I thought the boy would cry, but he did not cry. Teacher picker up a girl who fell off the car and told her she would be okay. The teacher seems very nice; gives the children freedom to play and nurtures them when they need help.

Noah is now putting big toys on other kids heads, and they don’t like it and cry. Noah seems to be entertained by his ability to amuse himself at the expense of making others cry. The teacher calmly tells Noah to stop putting toys on the kids’ heads. He complies and stops. Now, Noah is letting a girl play with the zippers on his pants, (the zippers on his legs by his knees, not his crotch).  Noah got up and stole a red ball that a girl was playing with and ran with it with a big smile. He was proud that he took the ball from her. The teacher tells him to give it back, but he keeps it anyway. The teacher ignores him.

The teacher sits down on the floor to give the kids another bubble show; they gather around her and Noah reaches for the bubbles and pops them. Noah wanders away, stands on a chair and tries to balance with his hands stretched out. He gets down. Now, Noah is climbing into the sink; it is a child-height sink; he is trying to turn on the faucet, but he can’t reach the knobs. He loses interest and runs away. He stops for a moment to look at himself in the mirror (child-height mirrors between the cubicles and shelves).

Now, teacher is playing ball with the kids, a bouncy ball, and they watch her dribble the ball, and they laugh. Noah is very excited to watch her dribble the ball; he is laughing and thrilled by her skills. (He is learning new ways to manipulate objects by observing an adult’s behavior.) Now, Noah crawls under the table with 2 girls. They brought toys to play with under the table. They are not playing with each other, just playing in the same place.

There is a door that is shut closed, that goes into the older toddler room; Noah is on the floor on his belly trying to see what’s going on over there. He is peeking between the space of the door and the floor. (Toddlers have learned mobile development, which enables them to move around and explore their environment. Toddlers are very curious, and their newly acquired mobility helps them discover new things.) Noah gets up. Noah starts crying and screaming, a sudden outburst, and this starts a chain reaction—3 other kids begin to cry with him. Noah walks away, screaming and crying face down on the floor. The he stops crying (just suddenly stops crying) gets up and is playing on the platform, running up and down the ramps.

Noah came up to me and gave me a hug. The teacher is really good with the children, and she is able to handle them all surprisingly well, even though there are 15 – 16 of them. And she gives them all individual attention. Noah tries to pull apart the squares of the floor math that fit together like a puzzle, then puts them back together again.  Then Noah hugged me again. He’s pretty sweet. Teacher calls lunch time; they line up against the wall. Noah runs to the front of the line and plays footsy with the boy next to him. The boy just kind of tolerates/ignores Noah and lets Noah continue. Time for me to go.

  • February 20th, 2017
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What’s Going On Here?


by Joanna Mungai

Outside my window I see….

One giant oak tree

Two birds gathering twigs,

Three squirrels scampering skyward,

Four caterpillars crunching leaves,

Five turkeys fanning feathers,

Six snails slimming trails,

Seven ladybugs munching aphids,

Eight beetles burrowing busily,

Nine earthworms sifting soil, getting the earth ready for…

Ten acorns falling fast.

Which will grow into one giant oak tree?

Copyright © Joanna Mungai


  • February 18th, 2017
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A Short Story in English and Spanish

Las Olímpicas  del Parque

By Michelle Barone

I am in the playground Olympics.
Estoy en las Olímpicas del Parque.
I get ready.  I stretch and bend, stretch and bend.
Me preparo.  Me estiro, y me doblo, me estiro y me doblo.
I swing.  I kick my legs in and out, in and out.
Yo columpio.  Doy patadas así adentro y así afuera, así adentro  y así afuera.
I slide.  I climb up, slide down, climb up, slide down.
Yo resbalo.  Yo subo, yo resbalo, yo subo, yo resbalo.
I ride the frog.  I go back and forth, back and forth.
Monto la rana.  Voy para afrente, y para atras, para afrente y para atras.
I sit on the spring seat.  I spring high and low, high and low.
Me siento en la silla de resorte.  Me voy para arriba y abajo, arriba y abajo.
I spin on the merry go round, fast, slow, fast, slow.
Me doy vueltas en el tiovivo, rápido y despacio, rápido y despacio.
I work the sand crane.  I lift and drop, lift and drop.
Yo uso la máquina de recoger la arena.  Yo la levanto y la tiro, la levanto y la tiro.
I hang on the high bar right side up, upside down, right side up, upside
Me cuelgo en el tubo alto, derecho y de arriba abajo, derecho y arriba abajo.
I grab the rings.  Right hand, left hand, right hand, left hand.
Yo agaro los círculos.   Mano derecha y mano izquierda, mano derecha,
mano izquierda.
On the low bar I flip over and under, over and under.
En el tubo de abajo me doy vueltas sobre y debajo, sobre y debajo.
What fun!
!Qué divertido!
I am the judge and the champion.
Yo soy el juez y yo soy el campión.
It was a 10!  Magnificent!
!Era un diez!  !Magnífico!
I take a bow.
Me doy la gracias.
What’s that sound?
¿Qué es ese ruido?
I hear hands clapping, together, apart, together, apart.
Yo escucho manos aplaudiendo, juntos, aparte, juntos, aparte.
I close my eyes.  I open my eyes, close, and open them.
Me cierro los ojos.  Yo abro los ojos, me cierro y los abro.
I see boys and girls, many children.
Yo veo a los niños y niñas, muchos niños.
There are short ones, tall ones,
Hay chiquitos, y altos,
big ones, small ones,
grandes, y pequeños,
fat ones, thin ones,
gordos, y flacos,
jolly ones,  and grim ones.
alegres, y otros serios.
I say come play.  Play with me.
Digo que vengan a jugar.  Jueguen conmigo.
New friends, now we are all in the playground olympics!
Nuevos amigos, !ahora todos estamos en las Olímpicas del Parque!

Copyright © Michelle Barone


  • February 16th, 2017
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And the Worm Turns


Billy had a problem. Whenever he was wriggling along, he would catch sight of something wriggling behind him. Billy always thought this was another little worm, with whom he could play. And he would turn his head to see who it was. But it was always only his tail!

That was not a problem. But it was the start of a problem. Once Billy had turned his head to look, he would lose his way. And once he had lost his way, he would wriggle OVER his tail.

“No, that’s not right!” Billy would think to himself. Then he would wriggle UNDER his tail.

“That was right!”

Billy could now see his parents. And he could see his two big sisters, Lilly and Milly, who were all wriggling ahead of him. But, of course, Billy could not move. He had tied himself in a knot!

“Lilly! Milly! Go back and help Billy,” his parents would say. And away would go Lilly and Milly to help untie Billy.

“Silly Billy!” his sisters would say to him. “When will you learn not to tie yourself in a knot?”

Billy and his family were all gardeners. And the time had come for them to move from the lettuce patch, that they had been digging, to the new cabbage patch.

“Children! I want you all to stay under the shade of the lettuce leaves, until we reach the cabbage patch,” the young worms’ parents told them. “We must not let the birds see us!”

Billy did not heed his parent’s warning. It was such a lovely day! All Billy wanted to do was to wriggle in the sun. And he might just find another little worm with whom he could play! And away he went. Wriggle! Wriggle! Wriggle!

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Billy thought he could see another little worm wriggling behind him. Billy turned his head to see who it was, but, as you know, it was only his tail!

Once again, Billy got lost. So he wriggled OVER his tail. “No, that was not right!” Billy thought to himself. Then he wriggled UNDER his tail. “That was right!”

Yes, Billy had tied himself in a knot again!

Billy was about to call out to his two big sisters, Lilly and Milly, for help. But just then, he saw the shadow of a bird. The bird was a hungry sparrow! Billy knew that he must keep VERY still, or the hungry sparrow would eat him!

It is very hard for worms to keep still. And, for Billy, it was even harder as he had tied himself in a knot!

“How strange,” the hungry sparrow thought to himself. “I KNOW I saw a little worm wriggling!”

The hungry sparrow cocked his head to one side. Then he hopped all around Billy. He stopped. Then the hungry sparrow cocked his head to the other side.

“It’s only a piece of string,” the hungry sparrow thought to himself. “No worm would tie himself in a knot like that. But I had better make sure!”

The hungry sparrow then hopped closer to Billy and quickly picked him up with his sharp beak. The hungry sparrow was about to give poor Billy a good shaking, when he saw the shadow of something quite large creeping towards him!

Tommy, the big ginger cat, had been crouching in the shade of a little bush close to the hungry sparrow. And just when the hungry sparrow had Billy in his beak, Tommy sprang towards the hungry sparrow in ONE BIG LEAP!

The hungry sparrow got such a big fright that he dropped poor Billy and flew away as quickly as he could!

Billy’s two big sisters, Lilly and Milly, waited until the hungry sparrow had flown right away, then they came to help untie Billy.

But poor Billy was so sore from being tied in a knot for so long, and from being in the hungry sparrow’s beak, that his two big sisters, Lilly and Milly, had to carry him back to the shade of the lettuce patch.

Billy lay in the shade of the lettuce patch until he got better. He had been so scared when the hungry sparrow picked him up with his beak!

Billy promised that he would never again disobey his parents.


Copyright © 2004 Pamela Shaw

  • February 15th, 2017
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Music Is Magic


by Alison Lohans

Music spilled through the treetops,

music from a wooden flute.

It tickled away Hannah’s grumps,

and lifted her onto her tiptoes.

“Come PLAY-with-me, PLAY-with-me, PLAY-with-me,” the music called.


Hannah ran among the trees looking for whoever was playing the music, but she couldn’t find anyone except a little brown bird.


So Hannah went home and built a boat. As she sawed and hammered and hammered and sawed, the little bird chirped by her side.


Music danced across the lake,

sparkling off the waves.

It swooped into Hannah’s sail

and sent her skimming to the distant shore.

“Come DANCE-with-me, DANCE-with-me, DANCE-with-me,” the music sang.


Next to Hannah’s boat, a fish jumped and plopped. A duck came to swim beside her, and the little bird nabbed a mosquito.


Hannah beached her boat and clambered over the rocks. She danced a few skipping steps, and a lonely puppy joined her. They started up the nearest mountain, the puppy scampering by Hannah’s feet.


Music drifted from the rocky peaks

where only eagles flew.

It fluttered Hannah’s hair about her face

and made her laugh out loud.

“Come FLY-with-me, FLY-with-me, FLY-with-me,” the music begged.

Hannah spread her arms and soared up, up, UP. She saw a mountain goat nibbling at tufts of grass, and orange butterflies that darted above the alpine flowers.


Then, DOWN, down, down she drifted and settled on the shore.


The puppy chased the duck. The goat chased the puppy. The little bird sat on the mountain goat’s back, and the butterflies sat on the sail. The boat tipped. “Oh no!” cried Hannah. “What should I do?”


Music whispered on the breeze,

far across the lake.

It steadied Hannah’s little boat

and carried them gently along.

“HOME again, HOME again, HOME again,” the music sighed.

Hannah steered her boat. A fish plopped. The duck dived. And high overhead, an eagle watched.


Hannah sailed home and sat down by the fire.


Music leaped among the flames,

swirling in the smoke.

It teased away Hannah’s tiredness

and kissed her toes and cheeks.

“Come SING-with me, SING-with me, SING-with me,” the music crooned.

Hannah sang. The bird sang “Chirp!” and the duck sang “Quack! and the puppy sang “Woof!” and the mountain goat sang “Baaah!” And high overhead, an eagle sang “Skree!” A baby deer heard the singing, and came closer to listen.


Hannah searched for just the right branch. Carefully, she carved a wooden flute.


When it was finished at last, she sat on a large rock and blew softly. As she played, music spilled from her flute.

It swirled through the treetops

and danced across the lake.

It soared to the rocky peaks

and then back home again.

“Come PLAY-with-me, PLAY-with-me, PLAY-with-me,” the music called.


Children came running through the trees. “Can we play?” they said.


Copyright © Alison Lohans


  • February 14th, 2017
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A Very Peaceful Jungle

Katie’s Jungle

By Vicky Manning

Katie ran into her room to play before supper.

Later her mother called her to come down for supper.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you riding your giraffe?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you reading on your tiger?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you swinging with your monkeys?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you jump roping with your snake?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you playing in the water with your hippo?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you dancing with your gorilla?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

“Katie, are you sliding down your elephant?” asked her mother.

Katie did not answer.

Katie’s mother tapped on her door.

When she opened the door all of Katie’s jungle pals were on the bed.

“Katie, where are you?” asked her mother.

Katie was sleeping in her kangaroo pouch with her baby zebra.

Good night Katie.

Good night Jungle.


Copyright © Vicky Manning


  • February 13th, 2017
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Life through the Eyes of a One-Year-Old


By Rachel Johnson

Martin Redmond And The Wonderful “Terrible Twos”

Martin Redmond is one year old. His mom says he has the terrible twos.

Martin is smart. He’s hiding in the cabinet. No one can find him. Isn’t that a great hiding place?

Martin lives on a farm. The farm has pigs, rabbits, cows, horses, sheep, goats, and cats. Martin has a puppy he loves to play with.

Martin likes to ride his tricycle. See him ride down the road. Look. His mom is chasing him.

His mom always brings him home safe and sound. Martin is riding in the yard now. Don’t open the gate, or he’ll ride down the road.

Martin has four brothers. Sam, Ben, Stephen, and Ulysses. Martin’s brothers are older, and they like to play ball.

Martin wants to do EVERYTHING just like his brothers. He can throw the ball. Whoops!! The ball went backwards.

Now he sees his brothers jump on the trampoline. Martin wants to jump – just like his brothers.

See Martin jump. Look how high he goes!!

Martin’s dad and brothers are putting on their coats. They are going to feed hay to the cows. It’s cold outside with all the snow on the ground. But Martin wants to go.

See. Martin is feeding the cows. He’s sitting on top of the hay. He waves his hand.

Goodbye Martin Redmond. Goodbye.

Martin Redmond’s Bedtime

Martin had a fun day playing with his toys.

Now it’s time for Martin to go to bed.

First, he plays with dinosaurs in the bathtub.

Then, he brushes his teeth, puts on his pajamas, and climbs into bed to snuggle with his teddy bear.

Finally, his mom reads his favorite book to him and sings him a lullaby.

Shh. He’s asleep now.

Goodnight Martin Redmond. Goodnight.

Martin Redmond And The Corner

Martin Redmond is one and a half years old. His mom says he has the wonderful terrible twos.

Martin’s brother Ben is in trouble. Ben threw a ball in the house. “Go stand in the corner for timeout, Ben,” his dad says. Martin watches Ben stand in the corner.

Martin goes to Ben and says, “Corner.”

“Good boy, Martin,” his dad tells him. “That is the corner.”

Ben can leave the corner now. “Don’t throw balls in the house,” says his dad. When Ben leaves the corner, Martin yells, “GO CORNER! Go corner, Ben!”

So, Ben goes back to the corner. Then Martin says, “Okay. Come out now.”

Martin’s dad says, “Good Martin.”

Martin runs to his dad, points at him, and shouts, “YOU CORNER! YOU GO CORNER!”

“No! You go corner, Martin,” his dad teases him.

“NO! YOU CORNER! YOU CORNER DAD!” Martin yells. So, Martin’s dad goes to stand in the corner. Martin is very pleased with himself.

Martin’s mom walks into the room. Martin runs to her, shouting, “GO CORNER! GO CORNER MOM!” So his mom stands in the corner too.

Martin looks at his dad. He looks at his mom. “Okay. You come out now.” His mom and dad leave the corner.

“Martin corner!” says his dad.

Martin stands in the corner. He looks over his shoulder and asks, “I come out now?” His dad lets him leave the corner.

Martin sits on his dad’s lap. Martin is waiting for someone to come into the room. Then he will yell, “GO CORNER! GO CORNER NOW!”

Martin Redmond’s Birthday Cake

Martin Redmond is two years old today. His mom says he definitely has the terrible twos.

Martin’s mom made him a chocolate cake for his birthday party. The cake looks good. Yummy! Do you want a piece of cake? Martin does.

The cake is on the table ready for the party. Martin is sitting at the table with his mom and his brother Sam.

“Mom. I want some cake,” Martin says.

“No, Martin. Not until your party,” his mom tells him. Martin keeps looking at the cake. He is thinking about how to get some cake.

Martin turns to his brother. “Sam. I need a knife. Get me a knife.”

Sam tells him, “Sorry buddy. You can’t have any cake yet.” Martin looks at the cake again. He is still thinking.

Martin turns to Sam again, “Get me a fork. I need a fork.”

Sam laughs and asks, “Why do you need a fork, Martin?”

“Because I do,” Martin says.

His mom says, “Martin Redmond. You’ll just have to wait until later. You can’t have any cake right now!” So, Martin waits.

And waits.

And waits.

Martin finally gets to eat some cake at his birthday party. The cake is delicious.

Happy Birthday Martin Redmond. Happy Birthday!

Martin Redmond In Green Light Go! Red Light Stop!

Martin Redmond is two and a half years old. His mom says he has the wonderful terrible twos. STILL!!

Martin is riding in the car with his parents. He is looking out the window.

The car stops at a red light. Martin asks, “Why’re we stopping?”

“See the red light, Martin,” his mom says. “Red means stop.” The light turns green. His mom tells him, “See the light is green. We can go now.”

The car stops at another red light. Martin says, “BOO. It’s red. We stop now.” When the light turns green, Martin yells, “Yea! It’s green! We go now!”

On Saturday, Martin rides with his parents in the car again. The car stops at a red light. When the light turns green, Martin yells, “Yea! It’s green! We go now.”

His mom says, “Good, Martin. You remembered!”

Martin yells, “Yea for me! I remember! It’s green! We go now! Yea for me!!”

Martin Redmond And The Baby

            Martin’s mom went to the hospital to have a baby. They named the baby Amanda. Shh. Amanda is sleeping in her mother’s arms. Be very quiet.

Martin went to the hospital to visit his mom and see his baby sister for the first time.

See how pretty Martin’s baby sister is!

Look. Martin gets to hold her when he sits in the chair.

Martin has to go home with his dad now.

The next day Martin’s mom comes home with Amanda. Martin wants his mom to hold him too.

Several days later Martin asks his mom and dad, “When do we give the baby back to the doctor?”

Martin’s mom and dad each give him a long hug. “We love you, Martin. And we love your baby sister, so she’s going to stay with us. Ok.”

Martin thinks for awhile. Then he leaves the room.

When Martin returns, he hands Amanda his favorite toy. Look! Amanda is smiling at the truck.

Martin kisses his baby sister for the first time.

Martin Redmond And The Mirror

Martin’s dad is dressing up to go to work. See how nice his dad looks. His dad teases Martin’s brothers. “Don’t I look sharp?” he asks.

His dad looks in the mirror. Martin watches. His dad leaves for work.

Martin goes to the mirror and looks at himself.

He smiles.

He nods.

Then Martin goes to the room where his brothers are sitting. He waits until everyone looks at him.

Martin says, “I looked in the mirror, and I think I’m cute.”

Copyright © Rachel Johnson


  • February 12th, 2017
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A Very Special Birthday


By Kate Appleyard

Liam glanced at the boy. Why did he pick on him? Life seemed to throw nothing but obstacles lately, and today was his seventh birthday. Not so long ago he had high hopes for this day. Now it turned out to be probably one of the worst of his life.

Mum had done her best to make breakfast different, but somehow the lighted blue candle stuck in a toasted muffin had done nothing for him. They had given him a pretty cool metal scooter, but there would be no party.

“ If you got no friends, you got no guests. And if you got no guests, a birthday cake is a waste of money. Let’s face it, you want people to watch you blow out the candles.”

Dad had a way of saying things, but he was right.

” Are you too dumb to talk or just slow,” the bully kept on digging, giving Liam no chance to answer.

“ Oooooh, I got it! You just know when it’s wise to shut up.”

Liam managed not to show his hurt, but it was a close thing.

“Everyone back to class,” Miss Pinters, the new form teacher, hollered.

“ I do believe there’s a birthday boy amongst us, “ she embarrassed him minutes later, looking straight at him.

“ Er – yes!”

Liam’s face began to burn, especially when he realised the others pretended he did not exist. He would not forget this day in a hurry, he was not even surprised when his tormentor had another go during the last break.

“ Got a birthday. S’pose your party will be a real howler?”

Liam blinked, but did not say a thing. What was there to say? In the end the boy shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Home again, Liam had supper and watched television, feeling very glum. Come bed-time mum kissed him, prattling on that soon things would be better.

“It takes time to make new friends when you move house,” she kept on, but he scoffed and went to bed. Glad to be alone, he tuned off the light, pushed a corner of the duvet into his mouth and cried until his eyes burned. That’s when he heard the voice. It was only a murmur, but it was there.

You rang a bell

In your mind, I can tell.

You want a friend

In your life, I am sent.

In the shadows of the nightlight, he saw a little figure on the edge of his bed. Shocked and confused, he stared until curiosity got the better of him.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

Big, soft eyes looked at him and a gentle smile tried to give cheer.

“Don’t be frightened. I am a Zoobie and I came to be your friend. That’s what we Zoobies do.”

“Sure could do with one,” Liam said bitterly. “How come I’ve never heard of you?”

“There are many things you’ve never heard of and even more you don’t understand.”

Well, Liam was not prepared to argue and any friend was better then none. So he talked and talked until his eyes dropped and the Zoobie whispered.

There’s a very old man who lives on the moon

He’s guarding a million sheep.

He’s got an old lamp, which when night does fall

Light’s up the world that’s asleep.

Every once in a while, when he’s working hard

The wind blows out the light.

But don’t you worry, just keep counting sheep

Tomorrow the world will be right.

The next morning found him tired and confused. The Zoobie was walking round and round in his head, but he knew it had not been a dream. Dreams did not last. They only left memories, and the Zoobie had told him he would be back, leaving only one condition.

“ Don’t tell of me, or I can’t return.”

“Never,” Liam had promised fervently.

He could barely wait for the following night and sure enough the hushed, comforting voice was back. What a precious friend the Zoobie turned out to be, always ready to have a laugh or listen to his troubles.

Slowly Liam began to settle at school, even making friends with Brett and Paul, two boys in his class. Life was on the up and mum seeing the change in him asked for an explanation.

“ I – well, I – Liam spluttered – and that’s when he told her about the Zoobie.

“A Zoobie, you silly article. That’s about as real as the fairies. There was a lilt of laughter in her voice and Liam bit his lip, realising what he had done.

Was it all over? Would he see the Zoobie again?

In the Nightlight, the shapes in his room looked menacing, but he never noticed. Dark, woolly clouds were spitting out long strings of rain against his windows, but he never heard.

“C’mon Zoobie, show yourself,” he urged with a deep, shuddering breath.

But no such luck, it was over, he was alone again. Swallowing hard, he sat up in bed and stroked the place where his friend so often had sat.

Alone, no, not quite. Now he had new friends who loved playing with him. Come to think of it, his future looked very much brighter.

Copyright © Kate Appleyard

  • February 11th, 2017
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Not the Same Old Witch Story


by Kate Appleyard

The five woman sitting around the table ready to start the meeting, were waiting. They had come from far away and all were rich and had some frightening powers. At the moment they were happy to relax in London’s Hilton hotel.

Room number thirteen was exclusively reserved for them, and they were watching yew and pine logs crackling in a large, open fire place.

There was a golden tripod in the centre of the fire which held some bubbling liquid. The walls around them were covered with bookshelves holding Latin books and some in even more ancient languages. Near an open window, on a marble table, stood the carved figure of a strange beast surrounded by flowers.

All the woman were beautiful in different ways and all wore sparkling jewels and long, black dresses.

One of them, Wanda, fashioned a deep red jewel on a heavy gold chain and somehow she stood out. Studying papers through a thin, golden pair of spectacles, she represented the leader of the coven. Ever so often, she threw an angry look towards the clock on the mantel piece.

The room was getting cooler and Cleo, who was used to tropical heat, stood up and put another log onto the fire. She helped herself to a goblet of wine and watched the bubbles rise and disappear like sea spray.

As the clock chimed midnight, the witches jumped up when with a hissing sound a young girl on a broomstick swished into the room, looking extremely embarrassed. It took a while before she freed her skirt, which had wrapped itself around the broom.

“I ‘m so sorry for being late. I actually left quite early, but my bicycle broke down. My spell did not work either, so I had to go home and borrow my aunt Tilda’s broomstick.” She avoided looking at them and coughed with embarrassement.

Wanda shook her head. She knew all about Ginny’s spells; that was precisely why they were meeting. She gave the girls a serious look when she saw her giggle. Ginny was nothing but a bad sample of a new generation of witches. Fancy using a broomstick, with the second Millenium on the calendar. It just was’nt not done any more, not when there were planes, boats and lovely, fast black cars.

“ It has taken a hundred years to lose that old image, but you seem to be happy to carry on as if we were still living in the middle ages”.

“ We also do no longer throw disgusting things into cauldrons,” mumbled Kristall from America, who managed a successful fast food chain.

“That will, of course, not prevent us from doing what we’re suppose to do,” Zaza from Transylvania remarked.

Her voice sounded sinister and Ginny began to move uneasily, despite trying hard to stay cheerful. Fancy cars and fashionable clothes meant little to her. She preferred jeans and T-shirts, which suited her life in the small village where she lived with her aunt.

Her animals and the beautiful garden were all that mattered to her, but she realised she was an embarassment to the others.

“Just look at yourself. You don’t seem to realize that you represent a very old profession. Why don’t you try to learn and use your powers as we do and get rid of that silly broomstick,” Gigi from France asked her.

“Not only that, travel and meet people, widen your horizon,” Inga from Sweden told her.

Gigi nodded, and in the soft candle light, her chestnut coloured hair gleamed.

Wanda stared coldly at Tina and began to talk again.

“I have had you watched for some time now. Wherever you go, there is harmony and not once did you create a bad spell.”

Her voice became edgy and Ginny swallowed hard, hearing the evil. The jewel on Wanda’s chest flashed briefly and she saw a black bird chased by a white dove. The image came and disappeared within seconds.

“ We no longer believe you are one of us,” Wanda jeered. “In fact, I believe you are a white witch”.

“A white witch. So that’s why I forget spells,” Ginny thought with a happy glow inside her. “That’s why people liked me.”

She stood up slightly shaky.

“Well, Ladies, I don’t really know what to say. But I think I’d better go home, fancy me being a white witch.”

The faces around her froze with rage, and suddenly, Wanda, seething with hatred, jumped up to throw the broomstick into the fire.

Ginny moved like lightening, grabbed the broom and jumped onto it. She murmured a spell and in a blinding flash shot like a rocket out of the window.

The sky over London looked dark and frightening, but soon she was safe in her aunt’s cottage where Ben the dog and Rubbletip her cat were waiting.


Copyright © Kate Appleyard

  • February 10th, 2017
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