Un-Humph Me Please

An online version of a quirky children's book we love. (This is for you Ms Barlow)

By Elizabeth Imende

Illustrations by Kevin Moore |  11.19.18 

There once was a little girl Harriet Lou 


Who just didn't like being told what to do

When asked, even nicely, if she would do something 


She had a bad habit of frowning then humphing

She humphed when her teacher said "Put these away."

She humphed when her dad said "No more snacks today."

She humphed when her sitter said "No more TV."

She humphed when they said "Harriet! Say sorry."

One day just as Harriet humphed to her neighbor, 


A blue owl appeared and said "You've earned a favor!" 


You seem to love humphing, so darling no harm,

I'll give you a humph where you once had two arms.

Harriet wasn't sure quite what to say.

She decided to just humph this blue owl away.

She tried to wave "Leave, or your wings I will pluck!"

But a wave didn't happen, her arms were both stuck!

She squirmed and she squiggled but there was no use

No effort she made could get this stuck humph loose.

She sat down and sobbed feeling frightened and bleak,

And this began Harriet's horrible week.

At home she could not strum her father's guitar,

At the park she could not reach for the monkey bars,

She could sit on the swing but the moment she swung

Off the swing seat and onto her face she was flung

School was no better, no drawing or writing,

At lunch she could eat just by bending and biting,

In music, she couldn't do actions, just sing

This humph didn't let Harriet do anything!

And the thing that she found was a terrible bore

Was waiting for someone to open a door

Her elbows she found had a miserable grip

She would turn the knob slowly but each time they'd slip.

The days weren't exciting for Harriet Lou

She missed and remembered what she used to do.

Then at night she would toss 'til her sheets were a heap

Cause the humph made it awfully awkward to sleep.

Harriet sat feeling tired and sad;

Would she ever get rid of this humph that she had?

"Blue Ow-wl!" she cried "come and un-humph me please!"

A humph as your arms is a dreadful disease

The blue owl decided since Harriet meant it 

He'd melt what he'd put on her humph to cement it.

he used oil and soap suds, which worked like a charm

"Hooray!" hollered Harriet, "I've got back my arms!"

She tried out her arms on a hug for her brother,

Then carried the groceries to help out her mother,

Her dad said "Wash up, please", she answered she would!

Since having her arms back to do things felt good.

There were still days when Harriet felt like a grump,

When she did she would feel her arms forming a humph.

But she'd catch them, relax them, "I need you" she'd say.

"A humph will not work even just for a day."

2020   The Space