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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

entry arrow1:22 PM | Mae Astrid Tobias, 1979-2009

I can't believe another writer-friend just passed away. The last time I spoke to Astrid was a few years ago, during Writers Night at the U.P. She was always a cheerful presence, and a great inspiration -- she was one of the reasons why I even tried my hand at writing stories for children. Astrid lost her battle with aggressive lupus. She will be missed, but her stories and poetry for children will be treasured. Here's a sample of one of her poems for kids...

Juan and the Jumping Jelly Bean Man

When Juan turned ten
on the twenty-third of September,
his parents threw him a party,
one he would always remember.

His friends were invited
to come to the lake
where balloons and ice cream waited
plus a three-layered chocolate cake.

Unknown to Juan,
his friends and his parents,
an uninvited guest showed up
disguised as one of the presents.

This particular present came in a huge box
topped by a bright, blue bow
with a card signed by a name
no one in the party knows.

To unwrap the gift,
on a tall stool stood Juan,
unknowingly setting free
the jumping jelly bean man.

He was a giant, red jelly bean
that grew eyes, ears, feet and hands.
A jumping jelly bean man
that jumped higher than a jelly bean ever can.

At first, he was delightful,
throwing jelly beans by the thousands,
multi-colored rain pouring over
the party guests and Juan.

Then all of a sudden,
to the horror of Juan,
the jumping jelly bean man started bouncing
and jumping on everyone.
He sprung over Juan’s friends
and over their parents.
He crashed on the table
that held all of Juan’s presents.

He skipped on one leg
and dropped on the spaghetti
splashing it and destroying
the dress of Juan’s kid sister, Betty.

It still rained jelly beans
when the jumping jelly bean man
decided to hop inside
the caterer’s delivery van.

Juan just couldn’t stand
watching the jumping jelly bean man
ruin his tenth birthday party.
He had to devise a plan.

While the jumping jelly bean man was busy,
hopping and popping all the balloons,
Juan racked his brains
to save his party real soon.

“ I know, I know,” cried our hero, Juan.
“I know how to stop that nasty jelly bean.
Everybody, quick! Stretch out the table cloth.
We are going to make a giant trampoline.”

“We’ll use as bait
my delicious three-layered chocolate cake
and when the jumping jelly bean man comes,
we’ll send him off flying towards the lake.”

That’s just what happened.
The jumping jelly bean man, now covered in ice cream,
spotted the cake.
As he leapt, Juan loudly screamed,

The next thing, the jumping jelly bean man knew,
He was back in the air
and found himself sinking into something wet and blue.

The lake was full of fishes
and the fishes like sweets.
The jumping jelly bean man who couldn’t swim
turned into a fabulous fish food treat.

And that is the end
of the jumping jelly bean man
who came uninvited
to the tenth birthday of Juan.

As for our celebrant, Juan,
he now knows better
to be wary of strange gifts
that will arrive next September.

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