Tag: humor

Mister Bug, the Musical

Here’s the demo track of Mister Bug recorded today with Andy Rapo. It’s a bit rough, but not bad considering how quickly we did it. Andy is a whiz in the home studio and has a pretty nice set up. That’s me singing and playing ukulele (in case you were wondering).

Mister Bug started out as a poem (trivia – my first rhyming poem) based on a comment from my three-and-half-foot muse about a bug he saw on the ceiling. After some great comments from my crit group, I expanded it to fit a picture book format. Then, last year I started thinking about song writing and this version kind of came together.

I still think it’s got pretty good picture book potential *cough* agents, editors *cough*

I “debuted” it in January at my first VCFA residency by coercing a room full of children’s writers to sing along on the chorus. It didn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting, they’re a game bunch. Now this version is going out to a local songwriting contest, and I’m living the not-quite-a-Wiggle-dream.

I wonder if Laurie Berkner would like it?

Monstrous – Poetry Friday


by Jim Hill

Up all night? Can’t sleep a wink?
What’s the trouble guys?
Do you think that squeaky shriek,
Could lead to your demise?

I’m no weirdo just because,
You find things too creepy.
The shadows from a leafless tree,
Only make me sleepy.

Important safety tips you ask?
Come closer don’t be shy.
I’ll help you with some pointers,
That you’re gonna wanna try.

If you really have to use,
The potty late at night,
Take a teddy bear (or two).
Watch out for things that bite.

If there’s creaking on the stairs
Get under covers fast.
Don’t let the creatures see you,
Or this night could be your last!

Thunder? Lightning? Gusty gales!
Storms shouldn’t make you frown,
Unless the power fizzles out,
and blackouts hit your town.

Empty space beneath the bed,
Can cause the blood to freeze.
Keep it dusty, never clean,
To hear the nasties wheeze.

Are my secrets helping you
To make it through the night?
Time to whisper, listen close,
And never take affright.

I know there are no monsters,
But when I close my eyes
I think there really are some
Waiting to surprise.

If your bravery runs away,
When somethings out to get you,
Holler loud for mom and dad,
And they’ll come to your rescue.

Irene is hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up this week. Take a look. Lots of great poets, poems and poetry info.


While you’re feeling the love for Poetry, take a look at the heartbreakingly funny “The Truth about Poets and Poetry” from Greg Pincus.

The Empty Juice Box Blues – Poetry Friday

No, I don’t have a four-year old wunderkind that may, sometimes act up. Especially if there’s too much juice involved. Why do you ask?

The Empty Juice Box Blues

by Jim Hill

I’ve had me some timeouts,
My best friends are fools,
My teacher’s been on me,
For breaking the rules.

Don’t run in the classroom.
Keep your hands in your lap.
Sand’s not for throwing.
I’m caught in a trap!

There’s just no denying,
When something is true.
I’ve got the too-restless-for-nap-time.
Empty juice box blues.

Got pulled out of snack time,
For being a slob.
Had a small problem,
With a red jello blob.

Things didn’t go better,
At craft table time.
I turned my green paint
Into thick-booger-slime.

Now Mommy’s been called in,
Daddy’s coming too.
I’ve got the you’re-gonna-be-grounded
Empty juice box blues.


Elaine over at the Wild Rose Reader is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Pop over there and soak up some serious stanzas, couplets and stuff.

Imminent Growth Spurt – Poetry Friday

I had a different poem on deck for this week’s Poetry Friday, but then my four year old decided to eat everything for dinner. Seriously, everything. I expect he’ll wake up tomorrow and tell us that his legs hurt again. Good thing it’s almost shorts season.

I hope you’ll come back next week for The Empty Juice Box Blues.

Imminent Growth Spurt

by Jim Hill

Rotini and red sauce,
Two meatballs and cheese,
One glass of milk,
May I have more please?

Watermelon slices.
Yogurt that’s drinkable.
Honey graham bar.
This kid is unsinkable.

Still hungry, Daddy.
A cheese stick will do,
And peanut butter toast
When that is gone too.

He ate for an hour,
slept an hour times ten,
And when he woke up
He was bigger again.

It’s a pattern repeating,
We’ve learned to adjust,
He just might keep growing,
Six-foot-seven or bust.

Poem In Your Pocket Day

What has it got in its pocketses?*

If you’re following along with poetry month you know today is “Poem In Your Pocket Day” so you’re packing some serious (or not so serious) verse. In case you’re not, feel free to print out this one and carry it around.

Recess Vigilante

by Jim Hill

King Kong scaled a skyscraper.
Gamara could fly.
Godzilla had atomic breath.
What makes me the bad guy?

Did I do a bad-bad thing?
No, I’m not that kinda kid.
I socked a bully in the nose,
and then that tough guy hid.

When they finally found him
The coward up and lied.
Said I’m the recess monster
And they’re all petrified.

Would you do what I did do,
If you saw what I did see?
That punk made threats to kinderkids,
Then stole their milk money.

Will pass judgement on me soon.
I’m assembling witnesses
That saw me stop that goon.

Recess Vigilante
Says the poster on the wall
Now I’m wanted alive or dead
Inside detention hall.

King Kong had his good side.
Gamara did too.
Godzilla was misunderstood.
Guess that will see me though.

With a month of punishment,
I’ll do my time for doing good,
I won’t back down from bullies
And no one ever should.

*Poor Gollum. Perhaps if he cared more for poetry he could have avoided his fate.

Poetry Friday Roundup – 1/27/12

Welcome poets! I’m your host for the Poetry Roundup. Please leave your URLs in the comments, and I’ll add links throughout the day.

There’s no cover charge, settle in and and enjoy the show. To get things going here’s one I wrote last year.


What’s That Sound?

by Jim Hill

“Did you hear a bump?
Or was it a crash?”

“Nobody’s crying.
There’s no broken glass.

I bet it was only
A big stack of books.
There are plenty of those.”

“You should go look.”

“Get up out of bed?
No way it’s too chilly,
I’m sure it was books
No need to be silly.”

“I’m trying to listen.
It’s becoming a chore,
When the only thing heard
Is the sound of your snore.”

“Whatever it is, it
Can wait until morn
I’m not getting up…”



The Roundup

TeachingAuthors.com is the early bird today, with a post and poem about WINNING!

Joy Acey’s Poetry for Kids is the other early bird with a fun piece about a golfing giraffe.

Today at A Poem a Day the great Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska explains the joy of writing.

Polly shares a video of her boys doing their ‘party piece’ of ‘Jim- Who Ran Away from Nurse and was eaten by a Lion’ by Hillaire Belloc

Heidi has a poem in two languages by Antonio Machado: “Last Night As I Was Sleeping.”

Mary Lee has a pair of rain poems today. One is Langston Hughes’, the other is my original, inspired by Langston Hughes’

Renee of No Water River has an original poem inspired by an illustration of a sad pig (and an interesting interview with the artist).

Linda shares a new poet this week “because she wrote a poem about a train.”

Robyn Hood Black has a poem and thoughts from Maryland’s (and Poetry Friday’s) talented, generous Linda Shovan.

Laura from AuthorAmok and her daughter had fun with Haikubes. (I need to get some of those.)

Tara is sharing poem-videos from the Favorite Poem Project. Cool!

Liz Steinglass has an original winter rhupunt. I’m going to look up what an rhupunt is when I’m done adding links. 😉

Carol has twitchy fingers and a poem that everyone who is a parent (or has ever had a parent) will appreciate.

Tabatha Yeatts says, “Today I have a mishmash of poetry intersections.”

Laura Salas is in with “Juvenile Court,” a Hansel and Gretel poem by Sara Henderson Hay. And also with 15 Words or Less poems. Everyone’s welcome to come play!

Jama’s Alphabet Soup celebrates National Tea Month today with a nice warm cup of your favorite brew, treats, and two tasty poems.

Mandy Webster shares an original poem titled “Saturday Scratch-Off.”

Katya Czaja says, “The awful weather here in New England reminded me of an Emily Dickinson Poem.”

PaperTigers is in with a post on the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Joyce Ray says, “Today on Musings I’m sharing my review of Eloise Greenfield’s The Great Migration, Journey to the North.”

Karen Edmisten has a short Anne Porter poem for us this week.

Charles Ghigna is watching icicles in the wind today @ The FATHER GOOSE Blog.

Amy, at The Poem Farm, has a little poem called “…and then we play” – about loss and life too.

Alice@Supratentorial reviews a poetry book for kids, Dear Hot Dog, by Mordicai Gerstein.

Myra from Gathering Books offers a paranormal-inspired book of poems from Bobbi Katz and illustrated by Adam McCauley: “The Monsterologist” – perfect for our Circus, Carnivale and Paranormal twists for January/February.

Barbara says, “Today at The Write Sisters I have The Snowman, by Wallace Stevens.”

Greg is up with an original today, all about whipped cream.

Sylvia from Poetry for Children says, “I’ve posted my annual ‘sneak peek’ list of upcoming 2012 titles of poetry for young people– and there are 50, so far!

Elaine from At Wild Rose Reader has an original poem about Newt Gingrich titled “Newt’s Poem to Poor Kids.”

Today at ThinkKidThink Ed presents his Top 10 Worst Poem Ideas for Kids, complete with poems centered on bad puns, one with an “uckin'” rhyme scheme, and one that would almost certainly offend the good folks at P.E.T.A. (where A stands for “Ants”).

Donna of Mainely Write has original poem about her trip to the beach two days ago – Summer Sun.

David Elzey comes through with nonsensical homage in recipe form.

Charles Van Gorkom offers a poem written during a rain storm in the rain forest yesterday called “An Island Of Our Own.”

Janet Squires says, “My selection is ‘A Kick in the head: an everyday guide to poetic forms’ selected by Paul B. Janeczko with illustrations by Chris Raschka.

Clapper and the Christmas Bats

Clapper and the Christmas Bats

by Jim Hill

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all was not great.
Santa’s crew was befogged
And Christmas was late.

Rudolph tried, yes he did,
To glow, oh so bright,
But a murk filled the sky,
An unlightable blight.

On nights such as this
Even Rudolph gets lost,
But the toys they must go
Whatever the cost.

Nine nervous reindeer shook
Their bells all a-jingle.
“Gadzooks! That’s the answer!”
Hoot-n-hollered Kris Kringle.

“Dash away to the cavern
of North Polarous Wonder;
Find the crusty old gnome
Residing down under!”

In a wink, Blitzen’s back
‘Midst a flap and a flutter,
With an odd little chap,
The pale color of butter.

An elf, at a guess,
Half-a-Kringle in size,
And he came with a team
Of most welcome surprise.

Squeaks, chitters and tweets,
Beats of multiple wings,
Filled the air all around,
Such marvelous things!

White, whispery wingspans,
As small as your fists,
Had come to the rescue
Of childrens’ wish lists!

Old, elf Clapper begrudged,
“My bats steer without sight,
So Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a good-night!

Susanna Leonard Hill (no relation) is running another holiday themed writing contest (see my Thanksgiving entry here). This one is a riff on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Here are the rules, straight from the source:

The First Annual Holiday Contest is officially open!  Post your own version of Clement C. Moore’s traditional poem ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Your entry must be at least 12 lines/3 stanzas, not to exceed 40 lines/10 stanzas.  Entries may refer to any winter holiday you celebrate (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.) or to any combination of winter holidays, or no holiday – just a good winter-time story if you’re not comfortable with a holiday.

I had fun with this. A side note: this idea came out of PiBoIdMo and is one of the first that I’ve had the chance to expand on. I’d do more with this for a picture book. I was limited to 10 stanzas (see rules, above), and at 183 words I have room for a few more as needed.

The Blizzard Came in Fast

Here’s my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Thanksgiving Writing Contest (no relation). The rules are, “250 (or fewer) word kids’ Thanksgiving story, beginning with “They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the blizzard came in fast…”  – I hope you like it.


They were supposed to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, but the Blizzard came in fast. The Blizzard, you see, is middle-child Amy’s name for the family pet Samoyed, unironically named “Snowball” by her baby sister, Jill, whilst still a pup (the dog, not the girl) who grew into a hyper-active, obedience-school-dropout (again the dog, not the girl).

So when we say, “the Blizzard came in fast”, we mean this dog, this alabaster freight train of kinetic energy, launched itself through the space that should have held a kitchen door, straight away into a family overloaded with side-dishes and desserts intended for the small army of cousins, aunts, uncles and otherwise semi-related celebrants of the annual giving of thanks.

Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Slow the scene down, rotate your point of view, Matrix-like, and observe; the father, twisting sideways to avoid a flying pie while dropping the green bean casserole; the mother, eyes-wide in shock, arms flailing, falling backward, baby gherkins and tiny onions floating in space before her; Amy, slipping on cranberry sauce, sliding on candied carrots, and finally sweet, little Jill, arms wide ready to embrace the barreling, bundle of fur.

Capture that, hold that silent scene in your head like a memory of a the craziest Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover ever. Now, action!



“Oh, that dog!”

“Blizzard, how could you!”

“I told you to chain him up!”

“I thought Jill did it!”

“Hey, Snowball likes pickles!”

Who’s Poem is That in the SCBWI Bulletin?

Oh, it’s mine! Sweet. Yes, this is a bit of brag, but it’s my first piece in print (and paid!) so I’ll beg your indulgence.

I think of this as a “writer’s poem” because it’s something we all feel at one time or another. Those blank pages hold nightmares, friends, and the only way to banish them is with our words. Good, bad or indifferent. Once they’re on the page we can rework and polish them. Until we write them down all we have is the unblinking eye of blankness staring us down. So, you know, write, write, write. And then revise, revise, revise (like I should have done with this paragraph).

Also, kind of psyched that I’m very likely the first person to have a poem in SCBWI Bulletin that has the words “crappy” and “corpus callosum”. That’s some serious mojo, right?

Draft Dodger, copyright Jim Hill, 2011, all rights reserved
Sound familiar?


Three for Irene

Sunday saw Irene come and go here on Cape Cod. Lucky for us there was not a lot of damage, and almost no rain. With both power and internet access I was busy scanning Twitter while my son watched Netflix on the iPad and the TV showed the New England weather action (hey, I said it wasn’t bad here…).

While on Twitter, I saw Katie Davis tweeting short poems and thought I’d join in with some of my own. Then I saw that Kate Messner was looking for other folks creating during the storm and figured I’d add my little bits to her collection.

Hope you made it through the storm safely. We’re incredibly grateful to have gotten away with a bit of yard work.


Irene is a tease
who tosses the trees
who skirted the coast
and toured the valleys


I watch the trees bend,
I watch them bounce back.
I wonder which ones might break.
One thing’s for sure,
This week will involve,
Quality time with a rake.


Branches bouncing off the roof.
Children bouncing off the wall.
Blustery, blowing, billowing blasts,
This storm’s a pretentious squall.