baxter books

Evil Weevil


Mom says this Weevil is evil
but I’m not so sure.
This Weevil just seems hungry.
Hungrier than any Weevil I’ve seen before.
He tore holes in all the cereal
which caused a bit of a mess.
And, Mom had a fit when he ate through the slippers
Dad got her last Christmas.
The Weevil ate the dog’s treats.
Baxter did not thank him for that.
AND he ate all the bread in the bread box
till there was nothing left.
Not even enough for one sandwich!
We found him stuffing himself on a bag of potato chips
When Mom screamed, “I’ve had enough
of this Evil Weevil business!”
The Weevil paused for a moment – the bag over his head.
He was now the size of a small cat
because of how much he’d been fed.

I tried to reason with Mom.
I begged to save his life.
This Weevil wasn’t evil. 
He just needed to be trained up just right.
I could keep him as my pet.
I’d name him Kevin, Steve or Brett.
Oh! Can you imagine all the Weevil adventures! 
All the places we’d go together,
the tricks we could play,
the fun we would have,
the things we might eat, 
my guess...there’d be a lot of that.
Maybe I could teach him to speak,
write stories or sing songs.
We could have a magic act
or find a circus to join along.

And the...wait!

Stop! Those are MY PANCAKES!
No! Don’t!
This is crazy! 
He even ate the plate!


Mom was right.
This Weevil’s evil.
He had to go
It was almost too late. let's celebrate
by making more pancakes!



Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 

A Not-So-Nice "Tail"


There was once a girl named Meg
that everyone in town thought was great.
She smiled and laughed
and put on a show
so the people would never guess.
How could they have known?
That underneath her grin
lay a monster within.

One summer all the people in town
were planning their annual celebration.
A yearly party about love and kindness.
A singing, dancing jubilation.
Meg volunteered to help.
She showed up early and left late
but when the town wasn’t looking
she was up to no good, 
plotting and scheming,
hiding behind her sweet face.

The day before the party
the town woke up to a shock.
The tents were crushed, the animals were loose,
the kids were crying, the woman were spooked.
There was trash blowing back and forth, up and down.
Everything they’d built had been burnt to the ground.

Well, as you can imagine the town was upset.
They had no idea what had happened. What a mess!
They started to argue about who had done it and what to do
when an old traveler came quietly wandering through,
“Pardon,” He said, “I heard your plight. 
I assure you, you can trust it will be alright.
I've traveled many places.
And, one thing I know for sure
is people that do wrong without a care are marked. 
You’ll know when you see it. It’s easy to spot.”

That made the people nervous. Who would it be?
The butcher? The farmer, the lady with the wooden knee?
The traveler spoke once more, “Just wait. You will see.”
The town’s people stood watching the traveler’s long baggy cloak
as he walked down the path till he was gone. 
What a strange day. How did things go so wrong?

As predicted, the very next morning, the traveler was proven right.
They learned the truth when Meg came happily strolling by –
 BUT she wasn’t the same as she’d been the previous night.
Meg had grown a long spiny monkey tail.
It had ripped through her pants and wrapped around her toenails. 
Though she tried to pretend it wasn’t there
everyone knew what she’d done and they stared.
She couldn’t hide this from them.
She was a faker, a betrayer, not a friend.

That night Meg grew fur all over her limbs
and her hands and feet became claws with nubby talons.
The town’s people pulled together to set the party back up.
but Meg wasn’t invited. She sat alone in a huff.

A few days more and Meg’s face went flat. 
Her nose slid right off. 
She grew warts all over her back.
She began walking on all four paws.
On top of her head grew three bumpy horns.
Big, lumpy horns that showed every flaw.

Now her outsides matched her insides.
There was no pretending anymore. 
At last, she shrank to the size of a bug.
And, all the people just forgot where she was.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 

Word Party


You’re invited to a word party!
Yes! I said it. A party for words.  
Because there is no party
like a word party. That’s for sure!


Where are my geeks at?
Where are my copy katz?
Where are my rhymers?
and my grammar good-timers?

The guest list will be long.
So, you’re sure to get along
with a shortie or a verb-ie.
Don’t worry we’re all a little nerdy.

The vowels are coming – A, E, I, O and U.
I guess they’re bringing Y too.

THEN said he’d GO. 
Only if LET’S stays between them though.

THE, AND, ARE and YOU are almost always in.
GROW’s taking his time. He can’t move fast on any decision. 

But he'll come around
when UP says she’s down.
And, DOWN will show up with CREW
hoping TOWN will be there too.

I kid – but JEST,
the biggest clown of all, is up to the test.
He’ll have CROWDS rolling and LADIES will giggle,
He might be the world’s coolest underused one syllable.

Come for FUNK
MUSIC will be loud
but we’ll enjoy all the SOUNDS.
There’s nothing quite like when
ALPHABETS get down.

PENCILS are out.
SET is ready to go.

What’s that?

BEWARE just warned TENSION,
“It wouldn’t be smart to invite ORANGE to the show,”
She said, “The party would end before it started, you know...
because nothing rhymes with orange.”


Well, that’s ok. 
ORANGE is misunderstood anyway.
Just come have a good time.
Don’t stress about the rhythm and rhyme.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 


Beware The Sel-Fish


There are all kinds of fish in the sea; 
blue fish and red fish,
shiny fish and plain fish,
fish that swim and fish that crawl,
fish that don’t look like fish at all.

But, if you ever meet one
that is enchanting on first sight
never makes waves or puts up a fight.
Beware its sweet watery speak
a flowing rhyme meant to make you weak. 
This fish is looking for a meal.
It will use its slimy sickly ways
to hook you without a reel.
And, that’s when it will happen.
From behind - a monstrous bite!
Because this fish is a hunter,
It’s only goal is to survive.
If you’re not careful you too will fall into the trap.
This Sel-Fish will have you for its dinner,
breakfast, lunch and snack.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 

Little Gray Cloud


Little gray cloud
I see you following me. 
And, that’s ok.
I invite you to come along.
I’m not afraid of your shadow.
I don’t mind your sad song.
I know you’re only here a short time.
So, I’ll enjoy the shade
till you’re no longer mine.

Little gray cloud
I see you leaving me. 
And, that’s ok.
I knew that this would happen someday.
I’m not afraid to step into the sun.
I won’t forget all that you’ve done.
And, until you return,
I’ll appreciate each happy thing
– each and every day
that your absence brings.



Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 


What's In A Scribble?


There’s a doodle
in my scribble.
I’m not sure how she got there?

There’s a scribble
in my doodle.
She’s got eyes, a mouth and hair.

I wish she could talk! 
What would she say?
Would she tell me a story?
A scribble story
about scribble things?

She might sing me a scribble song
and then I could try to sing along?
Or, maybe she’d do a scribble rap
that makes my feet tap tap tap?

She might braid her scribble hair
while reciting a scribble poem
that makes no scribble sense.
Unless you’re another scribble
or a doodle that dabbles in squiggles.
Come to think of it...
I guess if she could talk I wouldn’t understand. 
Because I haven’t learned enough scribblish
to know just what she meant.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart. 



Hello, I am one of the earless.
Of course, I have ears!
Rather large ones too, but you see
it’s not about having, it’s about doing
and doing relentlessly.

Confused? Let me explain.

To start.
To be earless means you must be strong
and willing to be told that you’re wrong.
It means when you’re turned down or told no,
you try again and again til you’ve made it so.
It means you choose not to hear the won’t, don’t or can’ts.
It means you hope others will also take this stance.
It means you’ll keep doing what you love because it’s what you do.
It means you play make believe and sometimes dress up too.
It means you’re probably weird.
But, you know, weird is cool.
It means you’ll likely never grow up
because if growing up means staying the same,
then that’s not for you.
It means you know there’s another way.
It means you want to grow higher and higher every day.
And, to do that you have to keep trying,
keep doing, keep seeking, keep moving.
It means there’s no giving up even when the payoff is far.
It means you can do it, no matter who you are.

Because, if you can be earless,
Then, one day, you can also be fearless.
And, if you can be fearless,
you can be free.

Will you join me?


Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jennifer Hart. 

Armadillos In The Sky


Starry light you shine so bright.
Who do I thank for your glow tonight?
Is it the sky or perhaps the moon?
It’s an armadillo crew.

An armadillo crew with a very tall ladder.
When a light goes out, they climb up to see what’s the matter.
From way down below on the surface
we never see them fulfilling this purpose.
But, they scuttle and they shuffle. 
They pidder padder to and fro
moving their ladders from light to light
making the stars twinkle so bright.

Why, you ask,
does an armadillo crew care
about the lights in the sky
and the brightness they share?

Well, some time, not so long ago, 
there lived a very lonely armadillo.
His name was Gerald. Gerald was very shy.
He lived in a small park in a small house on a hillside.
Gerald was alone and that made him sad.
He wanted a pal or even two wouldn’t be bad.
But, he was afraid to leave his small place
to look for a new fun friendly face. 

So, he stayed there and got grumpy and cold, 
never trying anything new, never doing anything bold.
Then, one night in his park a star fell from the sky.
To Gerald’s surprise, it landed close to his hillside.

“Hello, I'm Sam. I’m a star. What’s your name?”
“Gerald,” The armadillo said, “Look how far you came?!”
Gerald stared with wonder at the trail Sam had left in the sky.
“Oh, I’ve gone farther than that,” Sam said, “I like to fly.
But, now I’ve crashed. Could you help me get back?”
“Oh. No.” Gerald said, “I can’t. That’s a fact.”
“Please. Please put me back in the sky.
I know you can do it. Just try.”
“Even if I would, and I’m not saying I will,
how do I get up there? I can’t just stand on a window sill.”
“A ladder. You need a ladder,” said Sam, 
“One really tall ladder and I’ll be off again.”

Gerald thought for a moment, then a few more.
Then finally, “Ok, I’ll try, but it’s a long shot you know.”
The star got excited as Gerald began gathering wood
from all around his park, everywhere he could.
Every stick, log and fallen tree but there wasn’t enough
to make the ladder reach up where Sam needed to be. 

“It’s too short,” cried Sam, “Is there anyone you could call?”
Gerald shook his head not knowing what to do at all.
“There’s another park over there,” Sam said with a smile.
Could you see if anyone there would mind adding to the pile?"
This park was new and Gerald felt scared. 
He wanted to help but to go somewhere else, did he dare? 

There was no other way and Gerald couldn’t finish the ladder without more wood. 
So, he went. It worked! Soon, armadillos all around heard how tall his ladder stood.
They wanted to lend a hand too. A crew building day and night
made the ladder high enough to put the other stars in sight. 

Gerald climbed up first and his new friends followed behind
climbing rung after rung way up into the sky.
But when they got to the top,
they were in for a shock.
Sam couldn’t fly. 
The crash had put out all of his lights.
“The bulbs make me shine, the shine makes me go," 
Sam said, “Mine are out. So, now, I just don’t know?"

Gerald grinned, which was also something new,
“Don’t worry Sam, I know what to do.”
He climbed all the way down, went to the store,
bought some light bulbs and his new crew went to work.

They carried Sam up the ladder once more.
Sam shot into the sky. Oh, how he soared!
“Thank you! Thank you! You’ve saved me! You Have!"
Gerald and his crew felt pretty good about that.

“Glad to help Sam. You helped me too. 
I found friends and finally tried something new."
Sam beamed and said, “I have an idea! If you like,
you could come back to visit and help us stars stay bright?"

That sounded fun. Gerald really liked coming to space
and his friends liked building ladders down at his place.
So, they kept on building, replacing bulbs and making friends,
exploring the sky while they lit it up end-to-end.
All thanks to Gerald for facing his fear and being kind,
for caring about how much one star wanted to fly.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2017 Jennifer Hart.