KIDSBOOKS | STICKIE TRICKSTERS

Have you ever seen a creature
Disappear in front of your eyes?
No crazy magic, no maddening tricks
But by dint of its natural disguise?

Come, I’ll let you in on a secret:
Hidden away in the branches of trees
Are master camouflage artists
Who are never quite what they seem

They’re not grasshoppers nor crickets
Nor cicadas nor cockatoos
I’ll give you a hint, it rhymes with Trick
And that’s exactly what they do

They trick you into believing
You’re seeing a dead old twig
When they’re hiding in plain sight
These incredible walking sticks!

Also called the stick insects
They come in greens, browns and blacks
Trees and shrubs of all kinds
Are the platforms for their acts

The Giant Prickly is probably
The coolest of the pack
When disturbed it strikes a pose
Like a scorpion poised for attack

So if you’re ever near a tree
Look closely at its branches
And if you’re lucky you might see
A stickie on its haunches.

KIDSBOOKS | THE SHOEBILL STORK

There is this strange old bird that has
A bill like a wooden shoe
Sharp as a knife with a hook at the end
He looks like he could gobble up me and you!

He has a big old nest he’s built
On marshland in South Sudan
He is a loner, a solitary roamer
Doesn’t like the look of beast or man.

He wades in mud-thick waters
Looking for a bite to eat
Monitor lizards and lungfish,
Crocodiles, snakes and eels.

The people in his neighbourhood
Keep far away from him
They think he brings them bad luck
They think he’s a bad omen.

But despite his reputation
And his mean looking face
The shoebill stork is a lovely bloke
And he keeps a tidy place!

He’s always looking out for
The perfect friend for him
Another stork, a red river hog
Or a majestic elephant

He walks among the weeds and plants
Loudly clattering his bill
Sending sound waves across the marsh
Announcing his arrival

And there we leave old Shoebill
To his African exploits
Where sometimes he is very good
And other times he is not!

KIDSBOOKS | THE CURIOUS LITTLE AYE AYE

The Aye Aye is a primate 
That lives in Madagascar
She lives in trees and won’t come down
No matter how nicely you ask her

She has big round yellow eyes
That are her torches in the night
They help her look for juicy bugs
That are hiding out of sight.

Tap tapping with her fingers long
She knocks on the trunks of trees
She’s quite polite and lady-like
And will enter with an “If you please”

But once she finds an insect horde
She quickly rips away the bark
Then she perches on a branch
To dine finely in the dark.

For fun she scampers all along
The branches of the trees
Her squirelly tail like a balancing rail
Helps her jump with perfect ease

And thats the tale of the oddity
That looks like a little bear
The Aye Aye with her shining eyes
That lives in Madagascar.

KIDSBOOKS | SPARKLEMUFFIN THE SPIDER

There was once a spider small
He was only a quarter inch tall
But what he lacked in height and strength
He made up for with his confidence

He was quite an exceptional dancer
A funny leg shaker, a cheerful prancer
He had bright blue and red stripes on him
This happy little spider called Sparklemuffin

Sparklemuffin was always showing off
His marvellous dance skills to his lady loves
And when he was being especially cute
He’d wave his dancing legs all about

He’d wiggle and waggle his body around
Sending love signals through the ground
The girls would twitter upon their twigs
As Sparkly performed his wonderful jigs

Then the ladies would all cheer and clap
As he finally shook open his belly flap
Performing his grand finale for them
He’d mix salsa with some moon-walking

His show done, he’d climb up on the fence
And bow and curtsy for his audience
You’ll never see a more absurd drama king
Than the rocking and rolling little sparklemuffin.

KIDSBOOKS | TITI THE MYNAH BIRD

Titi is a Mynah bird
Who’s adopted my balcony
For her daily tidbits
And some sociability

I feed her grapes and jammy bread
And Wyke’s mature cheddar
She warbles and honks in delight
Ruffling her tail feathers

I try sometimes to have her sit
Upon my outstretched hand
But she always flies away
Too afraid to land

One day I saw her fluttering
Outside in the terrace
I went to see what was causing
The bird such great distress

There I spied her little one
Behind the potted palm
She was flapping her little wings
Trying to get airborne.

I gently picked the fledgling up
Titi watched me nervously
And placed the baby on the floor
Near her momma’s feet

She’d brought her little birdie out
To teach her how to fly
And also to introduce her
To the Treats Terrace in the sky

It was a lovely moment showing
how trusting Nature can be
When momma brought her little child
To finally meet me.