Bartholomew Mouse

2EAB8306-CA3E-4956-B227-7DDBA4342932Bartholomew mouse loves autumn.

He loves the chill west wind that scoops up seeds and blows them high into the evening sky. 

He loves how the sun sets the tops of the birch trees aflame with light.

Bartholomew rows his very own skiff across the mirrored pond; gazing at the iridescent heads of mallard ducks, and listening to the bullfrogs. 

It is not safe to be out but he is drawn by the splashing minnows and the scent of the lilies glowing white on their green lily pads.

Bartholomew adjusts the tulip tree leaf over his boat. The broad leaf hides him from the watchful eye of the hawk perched in the pine tree. Hopefully, the red tailed hunter is more interested in the bunnies scampering over the north meadow, than a small field mouse.

Bartholomew knows it’s time to scuttle home when the great horned owl calls through the dusk. He does not wish to meet that great and mighty creature. 

The skiff slides onto a sandy cove under the bridge. Bartholomew pulls his boat into the tall grass and ties it to a stump. A large greedy eye peers at him from the grass. The farmer’s cat leaps, grabs, misses, and rolls. Bartholomew wastes no time scrambling up the hill and into his home just under the big rock. He knows cat will be there waiting all night. He will have to stay in now and dream of autumn from his warm house. 

So he dreams of stars gleaming in a navy sky. He dreams of sailing his skiff under a harvest moon. Bartholomew dreams, knowing that tomorrow he will venture out into the wide world again to see autumn. 

By Joleen Steel October 2018


I need a name!

I love long autumn walks with my husband. Last night we heard the call of a great horned owl as we walked through a deep green and gold forest. We spied a wasps nest hanging precariously from atop a leafless birch tree. We watched a duck family sailing contentedly across a mirrored pond.

You would think this type of beauty would drive me to paint a landscape scene in acrylic or a sunset from vibrant oil paints.  Nope, This is what I made! Something about the layers and layers of ginkgo leaves and maroon mums outside our home inspired this darling friend.  Let me introduce her.

Here we have a lovely young girl sporting a hand painted ginkgo leaf dress with maroon mum sash. Her lovely pinecone slippers are perfect for an evening of dancing under an autumn sky. Her greatest longing is to be given a chance to leap into one of Mrs. Steel’s many stories for children. My dear reader, if this is to happen, she must have a name. Will you help her?

586F262E-9E90-4913-ADA0-F787F93CE7FDIn the meantime, I have been commissioned to create a wardrobe for this young lady. The winter season is almost upon us. I must begin! Also, I’ve made her a  friends over at my illustrations page.


Sparky the Super Pig

Scroll down for my recent blog posts and stories!

Sparky the Super Pig

This adorable paper back book is a wonderful gift for young children who love animals and imagination.




digital copy of sparky the super pig

What would a rascally guinea pig do if he got out? Take a spin in the remote control car of course. But this super pig's ride is about to be interrupted. Join Sparky on a ziggety - zig ride that ends with a giant leap to safety.


Note: after payment you will receive an email with your digital download. Thanks for riding along with Sparky!

A few of the awesome illustrations by Patricia Wanaselja:


Sunlight Stars

Sunlight Stars


Sunlight stars between the leaves
Wind that blows then gently flees
Dewy drops on golden flowers
Summer’s here with happy hours
Spent beneath my red oak tree
Swing so high leaves brush my knees
Sunflowers with bowing stems
Joyful songs from little wrens
Coloring in my big book
I draw clouds, a bird, a brook
Lying back I close my eyes
Resting here beneath the sky

-Joleen Steel



Riddles for your littles

Here’s a few riddles I wrote way back in 2005 for my kiddos. Try them out on the little ones in your life and smile together.

By Joleen Steel
I have a secret place
It’s just for me.
Happiness is waiting in the quiet.
Food is here, but not for me.
Tall ladders go up, up, up.
Windows open to the sky.
Birds find homes here.
Tractors wait within.
Sun beams slant through the walls.
What am I?
(A Barn)
Someone is looking for me
I’m hiding.
But I hope to be found.
I crouch here in the stillness.
My breath sounds loud
My heart beats fast.
Footsteps and giggles
My turn to seek.
What are we playing?
(Hide and go seek)
I’m soft and warm
I like to be wrapped up tight
You can feed me and
Kiss me goodnight.
Who am I?
(A Baby)
My top keeps you dry.
My sides keep you warm.
You can sleep in me
My windows are small
My door zips up.
You can fold me up and put me away.
What am I?
(A tent)