Jen is working hard on her latest project, an illustrated book of children's poetry she's calling Poem Seeds & Fine Messes. All her poems are inspired (and sometimes flat-out suggested!) by her kids, and other kids she knows.  Maybe you'll recognize yourself (or someone you know!) here, too!



By day, she’s the kindest 
child in the world
a soft-spoken, sweet-hearted, 
good little girl
but beware, 'cause by night, 
it’s like a switch flips:
as soon as she’s sleeping,
she tosses and kicks
like a grumpy old donkey
with nasty new tricks!
Like a slurpy swamp creature,
who mutters and mumbles;
then snores with a sound that’s no
childlike rumble –
she roars like a jaguar,
a queen of the jungle!
And scratches and claws,
with seeming real rage:
does she dream she’s a wildcat,
escaping a cage? 
As she jabs out with elbows and 
bashes with knees,
swinging through bed like a 
monkey through trees –
stealing the covers
without saying "please!” –
as she snuffles and drools

like a crazed armadillo –

like the absolute last thing

you’d want near your pillow –

why she’ll charge at your face

like a mad moose would do;

she’ll poke at your eye

like a mean kangaroo;

then she’ll wrap herself

‘round you, a strong silly snake

Which at first feels quite charming,

‘til it’s too much to take –


and yet she’s innocent as a

church-mouse in the morning

when she wakes.


Please Don’t Pet The Cactus

Please don't pet the cactus.

Don’t scratch behind its ears.

Do not THINK of hugging it:

this will end in tears.


Don’t dance with the cactus

or climb it like a tree.

Do not attempt to ride it –

you won’t get far, sadly.


Don’t feed it fertilizer,

or move it to the shade

it doesn't need your sunblock,

baseball cap, or lemonade;


‘cause cacti are content

all their live-long-lives

to stand and wave in scorching sun

but they don’t give high-fives.

c. 2020 Jen & Maya Laffler



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What Kind of Genius Are You?

Hailey’s an actress, she sparkles onstage

Jackson draws dragons that roar off the page

Conrad crafts stories, you feel like you’re there;

Owen pulls math answers out of thin air


Levi can flip his back handsprings all day

Kind-hearted Mae asks the new kid to play

Sage is a reader, she’d read books all night

if her mom didn’t come in and turn out the light


No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

from the moment you’re born, you’re an expert at one thing

and I’ve met enough kids now to know this is true:

you are a genius at just being you.


   c. 2020 Jen, Philippa, & Maya Laffler

Goodnight Moonlight

Good night, pillow

sleep tight, bed

good night, blanket

tucked ‘round you,



Good night to you, love

from your head

to your toes

good night to everything

as eyes start to close.


Good night, darkness

good night, space

good night, quiet

all over the place.


 Good night, moonlight.

Good night, stars above.

I’ll see you in the morning.

Good night, my love.

Good night, moonlight

good night, stars

good night, neighbors

near and far


Good night, window

good night, desk

good night, clean and

good night, mess


Good night, bookshelf

good night, books

night-night, knick-knacks

in their nooks


Good night, nightlight

rest up, walls

good night, pictures

of loved ones-and-all


Good night, toys

‘til tomorrow, lots of fun

good night, stuffed animals

good night, everyone