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Introducing Ashley Petunia: a Poetic Story for Children

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically, he just loves to write.

Inventing the Character: Ashley Petunia

Recently, I was hired to create a character for a series of rhyming children's books. The primary requirement was that it was to be a young female character and Pippi Longstocking by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren was offered as an example.

The character had to be fun and unrestricted by the normal rules and regulations that most of us are tied to. A character who children will love and even adults can relate to and secretly wish they could have had such interesting childhoods.

So, I just gave Ashley free range to do whatever she liked or that made her happy. We may not want our own children to have quite the same amount of freedom, but hey, this is fiction...right?


The Adventures of Ashley Petunia

Ashley Petunia was a funny girl

Who did unexpected things.

She grew petunias in her hair

And on her toes were rings.

Ashley made cookies with her cat,

But mixed them on the ground.

Then cooked them on an open fire

And spread flavour all around.

Her friends thought her peculiar.

She wore odd coloured socks,

So if she ever lost one

It mattered not a lot.

She tipped a bucket on her head

To water all her plants,

And carried seeds and cuttings

In a pocket in her pants.



One night she buried in the forest

A workman’s steel toed boot.

She wanted to grow an iron bark tree,

A watching owl didn’t give a hoot.

Ashley’s petunias grew so well

They hung down from her head,

And she slept inside a bathtub

Because she didn’t like her bed.

One day she built a rocket

To take her up to Mars.

It hit a tree and fell to Earth,

With Ashley seeing stars.

Ashley played the trombone

Because it sounded loud.

Everybody held their ears,

And the noise dispersed a crowd.


When her petunias start to flower

Ashley sprinkles them with cheese.

This makes cute mice come running,

But doesn’t attract bees.

Ashley Petunia’s very smart,

Although people call her weird.

She does whatever makes her smile,

Like wearing a fake beard.

Ashley never wears a hat,

But sometimes wears a bowl,

Then falls down head first on the ground

And leaves a big deep hole.

Ashley Petunia’s special,

She’s like nobody else.

Her life is fun and exciting,

She does things to please herself.

Ashley Petunia Continued

© 2017 John Hansen

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