Bedtime Stories for Children: Green Nadine by Jo Hart

The pet shop had many animals. Black dogs and orange cats. Yellow fish and blue budgies. White rabbits and brown turtles. But Nadine was the only animal in the whole pet shop who was green.

She slithered up the tree branch inside her tank to watch the shopkeeper unlock the front door and turn the sign around.

Ding-a-ling. A little bell jingled as the first customer walked in.

“Hello, pretty bird,” the little girl cooed at a cockatiel. She cuddled the kittens and looked longingly at the angelfish. This girl wanted a pretty pet, Nadine could tell.

Nadine coiled around a branch to show off her glistening green skin, but the girl walked past her tank as quick as a wink.

“I don’t like snakes,” she said to her daddy. She chose a velvety brown puppy to take home.

Nadine’s heart sunk. Wasn’t she pretty enough?

A boy came in next. Nadine smiled to herself. Boys loved snakes. He poked at the puppies, rattled the rabbit cages and tapped on the turtle shells. His pink nose pressed up against the glass of Nadine’s tank.

“Ooh, I want a snake.” He counted the coins in his pocket and frowned. [Read more…]

Bedtime Stories for Children: The Flower Show Fiasco by Jo Hart

Every year under the Poppy Town tower,

They held a show for the fanciest flower.

They set up long tables in Poppy Town Hall,

And polished the ribbon sought after by all.


Each budding florist entered the room,

Ready to show off their favourite bloom.

Flowers in vases and flowers in pots,

Flowers with ribbons all tied up in knots.


The judges were ready with clipboards in hand,

Miss Laverne, Miss Nosy and Mr. Durand.

The flowers were given some last minute care,

A spritzing of water, a prune here or there.


A bell rang three times; it was time to begin,

But which of the flowers was going to win?

Which petal was prettier, which leaf was greener?

A silence fell over the judging arena.


The royal red rose had a lovely perfume,

The peacock peony a splendiferous plume.

The trumpeting daffodils tooted their loudest,

While tall tiger lily stood up the proudest.


The yellow sunflower got praise for its cheer,

The kangaroo paw was voted most queer.

But just as the judges got to the daisy,

The flower show went from quiet to crazy.


The trouble began in the nose of Miss Nosy,

Who sniffed up some pollen while smelling a posy.

It tickled and itched the inside of her nose,

“Oh no, I forgot, I’m allergic to those!”


She sneezed a big sneeze, “Aah…Aah…Aahchooo!”

Again and again and another one, too.


The pansies were blown right up in the air,

A pot of petunias crashed down from a chair.

And one little bee in a bunch of boronias,

Got blasted right into the spotted begonias.


Angrily buzzing, he called for his mates,

A swarming of bees flew in through the gates.

They dive-bombed the dahlias, rampaged the roses,

Stung people’s bottoms and stung people’s noses.


Snuffling and sneezing, huffing and wheezing,

Nosy got a net for catching the bees in.

But the bees hovered high, skimming the sky,

She swung with the net, but missed every try.


A bee came and stung old Durand on the thumb,

He leapt in the air and came down on his bum.

Another bee chased after poor Miss Laverne,

She tripped on the tulips and flattened a fern.


Finally the bees flew out of the door,

Miss Laverne got picked up from off of the floor.

Miss Nosy stopped sneezing and sniffed once or twice,

The thumb of Durand was wrapped up in ice.


The flowers were strewn in mass devastation,

Every cornflower and every carnation.

Now petals and leaves littered the ground,

How would a winner ever be crowned?


“But wait!” cried Miss Nosy. “Look under that stand.”

“What is it? What is it?” cried Mr. Durand.

A single white bud with its petals closed tight,

Had avoided the boisterous buzzy bee blight.


It grew in a jam jar, and was really quite small,

The judges pronounced it best flower of all.

They awarded the ribbon, the crowd gave a cheer,

The flower show finished, at least ’til next year.


©Jo Hart 2011


Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.