Wolfish Grins – Miss Understood

This week saw the release of Miss Understood. She’s my ninth book – and my second release in 2022. (And that is something that still makes me smile, inside and out!)

It’s been so much fun letting this little wolf loose on the world. This is my most sophisticated picture book to date, with lots of piggy puns in a carefully crafted rapping rhyme. Beau’s stellar illustrations, coupled with Rebecca Young’s vision, and Hannah Janzen’s design work, blow me away. (Much like a house of straw, actually). I am so proud of this picture book. It has been a fantabulously fun experience creating it and I am loving sharing it with kids. And adults too! (Because it turns out I’m not the only adult who loves the interplay between text, art and design. It is been garnering praise wherever I’ve shared it. Copies are disappearing fast!)

Miss Understood is a Scholastic Press book from Scholastic Australia. At this stage it’s only available in Australia and New Zealand. I sure hope that changes!

You can find ideas for classroom (and home) use here; Download Teacher’s Notes. But actually, just read it for the fun!

And don’t let that little skunk pass unnoticed…

And adore the endpapers!


I’m the wolf, Miss Understood.
You think I’m bad, but I am good.
Those Little Pigs told you a porker —
made it sound like I’m a stalker!

Is the wolf really as BIG and BAD as she seems? Or is she just . . . misunderstood? An irresistible story about being accepted for who you really are.

Over the next two weeks I will be out-and-about doing Storytime readings and conducting Poetry Pep-ups for teens and adults around the North Burnett Region. Check your local libraries for times and locations. You can be sure Miss Understood will be sharing her version of the Three Little Pigs there.

Jama is hosting this week’s Poetry Friday round-up at Jama’s Alphabet Soup. I am fairly confident Jama will not be wolfing pea and yam soup, like those hambones in Miss Understood.🤭

The Little Things

I am determined to post again – so today I’m sharing two poems I’ve had sitting in my files for many-many years. I’d never seen fireflies until I was married. And we still don’t see them often. Didn’t seen them at all during the drought years. But I saw some on Christmas day… and again, two weeks ago.


the night away,
and flashing
like flickering

By contrast, drought or floods, there are always ants. (And lots of them!)


Bit by bit
they thieve
and leave.
Left, right,
left, right,
left, right…


Poems © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved

Hoping the little critters in your life are sparking your joy – not stealing it!

Someone who sparks my joy is Tabatha – and she’s hosting Poetry Friday this week, at The Opposite of Indifference. (She had some fun animal couplets last week. If you haven’t already seen them, scroll back for a smile.) Thanks Tabatha.

This Post Comes With Cute Alert!

I’m thinking today must be my cutest post – ever! Because I’m sharing fellow Aussie kidlit author, Michael Gerard Bauer‘s adorable little granddaughter, reading ‘The Bird in the Herd’. She’s not even two!

I love the rock and read. And her adorable pronunciation. That expressive finish. And those precious moments of shared reading between Daddy and daughter. (So much love for that!) 💕

Let’s not dumb down our writing for kids. Let’s give them mouthfuls of words that they can chomp and chew, to extend their vocabulary and their knowledge of the world around them. And let’s give them rhythm and rhyme to roll with!

I’m super-grateful to doting Poppy Mike, who shared this video with me, so I can share it with you! And to Mummy and Daddy who have given their permission. This video is precious! (So is this little lass.) Thank-you.

Ruth at there is no such thing as a God-forsaken town has our Poetry Friday round-up today. I’m sharing a photo of the bird in the herd on a rainy day, for our little poppet, and also for Ruth, who loves birds. Praise the Lord, it is raining as I prep this post on Thursday.

Cat Call – Me? Ow!

Sliding into the Poetry Friday round-up with a cat-themed poem, and a hint of Christmas. (That is my Christmas tree box and tinsel sprinkled on the floor.)

What cat doesn’t like to hide in boxes? (And what human can resist those poised paws, and twitching tail!)

Our cat has been affectionately dubbed many things, but methinks Little Lion and Tiger may be the most accurate… Those claws!!

You’ll find the full round-up of poetry-packed posts at Laura Shovan’s blog. Or you can stay and play with SavvyCat … who really does have the twitchiest tail.

Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers

My early days as an adult poet were spent writing bush poetry. There is nothing quite like an Australian bush poetry competition to hone your rhythm and rhyme, where every syllable was counted, and stress marked – and any near-rhymes noted for deductions. I learnt a lot from the bush poets, and endeavour to keep this discipline in my writing today.

Recently I was flicking back over some of my bush poetry. Very little of it has had an audience, other than within competitions, or with friends and family. I thought Poetry Friday might be a good time to share some – and since we’ve just come out of a flood season, ‘Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers’ seemed like a good place to start. This tongue-in-cheek poem is not to malign the Toyota Landcrusier (‘Cruiser) product – which cannot be held responsible for the actions of men in their four-by-four utes.

To read more poetry posts, click across to Tabatha’s blog, The Opposite of Indifference, where you’ll find a flood of poetry links and love.

The ‘Cruiser (Landcruiser) is a workhorse on Australian properties.

Some Losers Drive ‘Cruisers*

A torrent of rain brought an end to the drought
and inches poured down as the waters spread out.
The creeks became rivers, parched flats were soon lakes
and men in their utes began making mistakes.

The first left the road and traversed a new track;
thick slough on the ground though meant no going back.
A bulldozer, parked where it finished the job,
was revved up to extricate this sluggish yob.

The ground was a slop heap, the dozer not light …
It bogged and that fellow had worsened his plight
Relief when it came was surprisingly bleak;
“Get in – leave yer ute or we won’t cross the creek.”

The road inundated for many a day,
the ’Cruiser, forlorn, was then stuck in the clay,
’til waters subsided and man could return –
to next bog the tractor! You’d think he would learn …

Chap Two had a problem – a pump under threat;
with floodwaters rising it soon would be wet.
He first bogged the ute though – and, cause for alarm,
the salvage machines were marooned on the farm

The 4×4 wagon was given the task
of freeing the ’Cruiser – now that’s a big ask!
It soon was entrenched, also deep in the mire
and “Help!” was the plea, as the water rose higher.

With shovels, a neighbour and tin roofing sheet,
the wagon extracted – a notable feat!
While sitting in water that lapped at the floor,
the ute was then winched twenty metres or more.

The third – I don’t know what to make out of him …
He honestly thought that his new ute could swim!
His ’Cruiser “the best” never failing to please –
he’d cross this small puddle with consummate ease!

The floodwaters lapped at the six-foot depth mark –
one ‘k’ on a bend, yet he went for a lark!
When murky, brown water lapped up at the roof,
the ute was abandoned; sunk in reproof.

The volunteer rescue arrived in a rush,
to winch the subaqueous ute from the gush.
That sodden new ’Cruiser was towed back to town –
for dunking ensured the electrics went down.

Invincible men in their 4×4 utes –
what drives them to play in the mud like galoots?
Alas, I suspect that these overgrown boys
just have to act tough, with their Tonka-like toys.

© Kathryn Apel 2003 – All rights reserved.

Note: Chap Three was not known to us – he merely tried to cross a notorious flood stretch near our house. His new Landcruiser was insured – but rumour has it insurance didn’t want to know him, since he had driven through road closure signs to attempt his crossing.

Postcard from Mars

This post by Mary Lee reminded me of a poem I wrote (in 2006! Time flies…) which I thought I’d share for Poetry Friday. If Buzz Aldrin’s visions for space travel are realised, perhaps there will one day be more postcards from Mars.

Postcard from Mars_Sm


I thought I’d write to say
I landed safe on Mars today.
I’m glad I packed my winter gear
because it’s freezing cold out here!

Mars looks a bit like Uluru,
all rusty red – and rocky too.
The wind is dry and very strong.
It whips great storms of dust along.

There is no grass or even trees,
just so much dust it makes you sneeze!
It never rains. It’s much too cold!
The clouds have turned to ice, I’m told.

While I am here I want to climb
Olympus Mons, if I have time –
or zoom my rocket up instead.
Wish you were here!
From your mate,

© Kathryn Apel 2006
First published with alterations,
in Comet Magazine, Issue 1, 2007. All rights reserved.

If you zip and zoom your way to Write. Sketch. Repeat. you can read more poetry posts for the week. Don’t forget to send a postcard!