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Viewing Blog: A Mouse in the House, Most Recent at Top
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The blog of children's book illustrator, Roberta Baird
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1. Tsonokwa ~ Woman of the Woods

WomanWoodslndianMyth_RobertaBaird_1signed
“She’s called the wild woman of the woods. In some legends, she’s a giant. But she catches little children and puts them in a basket on her back, and then she takes them home and eats them.

“But she’s very slow and dull-witted, and her eyes are cast downward to symbolize this slowness of wit. So they usually get away.”

Her lips are pursed to make the “huuu-huuu” sounds that are characteristic of her. The sound is like the wind blowing, and when children hear that they will clutch at their parents’ legs so that they “don’t get carried away by Tsonokwa,”

“But if you can find her house, you would come away with untold riches. For them, that consisted of furs, walrus ivory, dried fish, dried meats, and especially copper. Copper to them was like gold is to us.”

The well-stocked house of Tsonokwa means that she is a symbol of wealth. So when a chief dispenses his inheritance to his successor, she appears in a male form and presides over the ceremony. The figure representing the male form, Geekumal, wears a mask with a beard and mustache.

Retold by Anthony H Taylor, a retired art teacher who spent a lifetime building his great ethnographic collection, and then upon passing donated it to  the University of Utah.
…and who taught me everything I know about art.

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2. Hansel and Gretel

hansel_gretelRobertabaird2

“Don’t be afraid. I’m here to look after you!” Hansel tried to encourage his sister, but he too shivered when he glimpsed frightening shadows and evil eyes around them in the darkness. All night the two children huddled together for warmth at the foot of a large tree. When dawn broke, they started to wander about the forest, seeking a path, but all hope soon faded. They were well and truly lost. On they walked and walked, till suddenly they came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a glade.

“This is chocolate!” gasped Hansel as he broke a lump of plaster from the wall.
“And this is icing!” exclaimed Gretel, putting another piece of wall in her mouth. Starving but delighted, the children began to eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage.

“Isn’t this delicious?” said Gretel, with her mouth full. She had never tasted anything so nice.”We’ll stay here,” Hansel declared, munching a bit of nougat. They were just about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it quietly swung open.

“Well, well!” said an old woman, peering out with a crafty look. “And haven’t you children a sweet tooth?”
“Come in! Come in, you’ve nothing to fear!” went on the old woman. Unluckily for Hansel and Gretel, however, the sugar candy cottage belonged to an old witch, her trap for catching unwary victims. The two children had come to a really nasty place

“We’ll get to work on that,” said Hansel, “and have a real feast. I’ll eat a piece of the roof. Gretel, you can eat some of the window–that will taste real sweet.”Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof., to see how it tasted, and Gretel went up tot he windowpane and nibbled on it.

“Nibble, nibble, little mouse,
Who is nibbling at my house?”

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3. Gruff

gruff_robertabaird.72

Suddenly there was a huge roar.

‘Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?

and out from under the bridge loomed the Troll.

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4. Iron Chef Vermin

mousechef2_robertaBaird_1.

If you’re just now joining us on Iron Chef Vermin… Strawberry Challenge, you’ll note on the challenger’s side, Ronaldo Rodent, Executive Chef of the ever popular Hole in the Wall restaurant, unfolding a nice pate brisee over a sugared strawberry filling.

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5. Little Red Riding Hood

Baird_Roberta_tomie72 little red roberta_72Every year I seem to do several versions  of my entry for the SCBWI Tomie Depaola award Contest. this year was no exception. I did two completely different settings for Little Red Riding Hood prompt. The passage I used was “Her grandmother lived in the woods, about half an hour’s walk away. When Little Red Riding Hood had only been walking a few minutes, a wolf came up to her. She didn’t know what a wicked animal he was, so she wasn’t afraid of him.”

In the end I sent the Central Park Little Red Riding Hood, but I always wonder if I should’ve sent the other one/ones. Which one?

 

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6. Santa Claus is Comin to Town

Santa Claus is coming to Town_Collective
You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town!!
www.robertabaird.com

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7. Santa Claus is Comin to Town

HohoDooDa010_72aAnd that is the story of Santa Claus.
Hey, it’s getting late, and I’ve got these letters to deliver. You better be getting home, too.
And remember, behave yourselves, because Santa can still look into his magic snowball
and see just what you’re up to. And now that you know all about him, you can be darn sure that
come snow or high water, Santa Claus is comin’ to town!

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8. Santa Claus is Comin to Town

HohoDooDa009_72aYou wish to give me… a present? A… a toy?
No one ever gives mean old Warlock a toy.
A choo-choo.
I’ve always wanted one.

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9. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

HohoDooDa008_722

All the little cares picked along the way
Suddenly have disappeared with yesterday
My world is beginning today!

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10. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

santaclaus007_72

It’s… a… difficult responsibility
That he extract from the number-one law keeper, me
Be it known throughout the land from sea to sea
There’ll be no more.. toy… makers… to the King!

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11. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

santaclausberger1I hate toys! And toys hate me! Either they are going or I am going and I definitely am not going!

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12. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

santaclaus_1Well I guess they’re all pretty nice!

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13. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

winter warlock2

Who nears my mountain! Go back or you are doomed!

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14. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

tantakringle_robertabaird_72

It’s a difficult responsibility
When you an accept an appointment from His Majesty
You must strive for just the perfect quality
When you’re the first toy maker to the king!

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15. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

santa clause is coming3_RobertaBaird73

 

This is the only clue, sir. It says, “Claus”.

Ah, take the little, er, baggage to the orphan asylum. That’s the proper place for foundlings anyway.

[the baby starts to cry]

Get that brat out of here!

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16. Santa Claus In Comin To Town

santa clause is coming2_RobertaBaird &2

 

Look, sir, look what was discovered on your front stoop.

What, Grimsby? The milk? The daily paper?

No, sir, a baby.

Oh, is that all?

[gasps and chokes]

A *baby*?

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17. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

santaclausecoming_RobertaBaird1_3

Poor, misguided folks. They missed the whole point. Lot’s of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give: of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men._Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town_ Movie

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18. Thankful

papoose_Mouse_RobertaBaird100

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”

_W.T. Purkiser

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19. The Swamp Where Gator Hides Travels

I was delighted to receive this new edition in the mail from the publisher Dawn Publications. What a joy to see that children all over the world are reading and learning about alligators and other swamp creatures in The Swamp Where Gator Hides written by Marianne Berkes. This book is available on Amazon

swampcover_A

snap_A

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20. Fireworks

Let your colors burst!
giraffe_RobertaBaird_july2_72

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21. A House for a Tink

I’ve been working on some readers that have kept me pretty busy.  Mostly fairy tales which I really enjoy creating. But when work is done and I have a few spare minutes, I let my pencil wander. This is where it goes, to the land of little creatures, where fairies collect the things that go missing in the house, and whose friends are the crickets and the mice in the woods. Won’t you join me?snailshell_House_RobertaBaird_72

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22. In the Garden of Your Mind

rogers_web

“Did you ever grow anything in a vegetable garden, or a flower garden?  Do you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? Sure, you can grow ideas in your mind. You can think about things and make believe things. That’s like growing something of your own. You have wonderful ideas, all you have to do is think about them and they’ll grow.” _Fred Rogers

If we all thought like Mr. Rodgers….what a beautiful world it would be.

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23. Inktober ~ Green Fingers

 

greenfingers72bThere once was an old woman who possessed a remarkable “green thumb.” Flowers bloomed, trees bore fruit, the  grass was always green on her small half an acre lot…. and yet the land that surrounded her oasis was barren, dry and void of life. The only interruption in the landscape was the lifeless and cumbersome machinery poised to devour the small Eden she had tenderly cared for.

The man who spearheaded the conspiracy, had many times been dismissed. In his gluttony, he conceived a plan to torture the woman by detaching a part her anatomy each time she denied him access to her property. The intent was not to kill, but to terrify.

The first surprise encounter resulted in the loss of a thumb.

When the ambulance arrived to hasten the woman to the hospital for medical treatment, they found her drenched in blood still tending her garden amidst her great pain. Sadly, the woman died en route to the hospital.

While the villain in this evil ambush remained anxious about the woman’s death, the  glee in his victory absorbed any thoughts of humanity he  had left.

As he surveyed his newly acquired property, he became aware of a  sound.  A familiar mumbling, a quiet sing song voice of adoration. As he moved into the garden he found her… busily  tending to herself in the garden. “You see” she said  “Everything I touch grows…. even me ……..”

Adapted from a story first shown on the television series The Night Gallery, to read the original story, Green Fingers, which is so much better, by RC Cook go Here
Beware it’s a spooky one!

To view the Night Gallery Episode go HERE

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24. Aladdin

Aladdin_5_RobertaBaird_rgb72

This is a piece I did for a Educational reader a little while back. It’s interesting how the original story differs from the Disney version that so many of us are familiar with. It’s much darker.

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25. Happy Halloween

63038_1453200882636_1011713340_31031089_3053556_n

Miranda Mummy groaned in despair…
“When I open my coffin, I’ve nothing to wear!”

Then she looked in her mirror and said with a pause….
“Does my bottom look bigger when wrapped up in gauze?”

Her very best ghoul friend knew just the right trick.
“I’ll pull on this string and you’ll soon look less thick….”

……. OOPS!

~by Roberta Baird

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