Poetry Monday: “Tiny Tina Tinseltooth”

Tiny Tina Tinseltooth - Sheep Girl by Helga Pearson

"Tiny Tina Tinseltooth" by Renee M. LaTulippe, illustration by Helga Pearson

Guess what, everybody! I had so much fun with my brother Dave on “This Pig’s Got the Blues” last week, that I decided to do the art/poem thing two times in a row. This time, however, I did it backwards. I already had a poem…but a few weeks ago I ran across this illustration and thought, “That’s her! That’s Tiny Tina Tinseltooth! And she has a sheep!”

Sheep actually have nothing to do with the poem, but I love sheep, and I’m sure Tiny Tina does too.

So I hope you all enjoy meeting this week’s featured illustrator, Helga Pearson, whose interview appears below along with the fabulous piece of work that inspired my stalking. I just love Helga’s use of vibrant colors…

…why, they are just like the kaleidoscope of autumn leaves one might find in October. And what else happens in October? You get colds, that’s what! You start sneezing and wheezing with the change of seasons, staggering around, eyes half closed, your zigzag path littered with icky tissues. And maybe in this state of half-desperate half-consciousness, you just might end up like today’s unfortunate girl…”Tiny Tina Tinseltooth.”


Sheep Girl by Helga Pearson
RUN! There’s an otter in the kitchen!

Tiny Tina Tinseltooth

It happened one October
when the leaves had turned to gold
and Tiny Tina Tinseltooth
had got a nasty cold.

She wobbled to the kitchen sink
to fill her water bottle.
The only problem was — poor thing! —
she turned it on full throttle.

That water came a–pourin’ down
and overflowed the bowl.
No matter what she did, that flood
would not go down the hole.

The kitchen turned into a lake
with every passing minute,
and by the time the moon was up,
there was an otter in it!

Then came fishes, frogs, and eels,
and some birds of prey,
and Tiny Tina Tinseltooth
had to move away.


Now, just look at this illustration! She could totally be Tiny Tina Tinseltooth with those puffy half-closed eyes, pink nose, and delirious-from-too-much-NyQuil smile. I know when I’m out of my mind with sickness, the first thing I do is grab my sheep and run for the hills.

Featured Illustrator ~ Helga Pearson

I’m outta here…and the sheep’s coming with me!

Sheep Girl by Helga Pearson
Sheep Girl by Helga Pearson

What’s Up with Helga

Helga, who are you and why are you drawing girls fleeing with sheep? 

Helga Pearson, illustratorHi, I’m Helga Pearson, toddler wrangler and destroyer of dust bunnies by day, illustrator extraordinaire by night. Why girls with sheep? Let’s be honest: what could be more adventurous than running off to see the world? It seems to be a recurring theme in my work. With the added allure of a sheep companion, who could resist?

How did you create Sheep Girl and how long did it take?

Sheep Girl obviously didn’t enjoy the quirky confines of my brain, because she leapt onto the  page, fully rendered, in just a couple of days. I created her with oil pastels on tinted Fabriano paper.

With her pigtails flying like that, Sheep Girl made me think immediately of Tiny Tina Tinseltooth fleeing from her flooded house. But what is Sheep Girl’s real story?

She’s a bold, daring, and courageous young country girl who befriends a pygmy sheep. They have many adventures together — not all of them farm-related.

I notice a lot of your work includes elements of nature or is set outside…what’s up with that?

Really? I hadn’t noticed that! Well, I live in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, a lush and tropical landscape. It’s quite possible that all this greenery has seeped into my dreams and influenced my work. Just a theory, of course.

What do you do when you’re not doing artisty things?

Well, those dust bunnies are a wily lot, and toddler wrangling is hard work. However, when this girl isn’t drawing she can generally be found reading. In fact, it all started with books. I remember being rather upset with my mom after my first day of school because she had promised they would teach me to read – she probably should have mentioned that it might take more than one day.

Can we see other neat stuff you’ve done? 

Of course! If you’re interested in the journey of an aspiring illustrator, please come say hello over at my blog, Helga Harrumphs. If you’d simply like to see more pretty pictures, check out my website at www.helgapearson.co.za.

What would you do if you found an otter in your kitchen?

In these situations, it’s always correct to begin with a proper introduction, so first I’d ask him his name. Then perhaps I’d offer him a spot of tea and a sticky bun — it’s only polite.

Thanks for stopping by, Helga, and for lending me Sheep Girl (aka Tiny Tina Tinseltooth)!

Oh no, thank you. Sheep Girl is terribly flattered by all the attention. She’s also thrilled to be doing a little acting by playing the part of Tiny Tina Tinseltooth.

And she’ll be here all week, folks! 

Video Location: 1234 Olive Grove Square, Middle of Nowhere, Italy.

See more poems in my poetry video library.
Poem by Renée LaTulippe. Licensed by All About Learning Press, Inc. Copyright © 2010, 2012 All About Learning Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  No portion of this material may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated, or otherwise used without the express written approval of All About Learning Press, Inc.

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  1. Great poem, and I love Helga’s art! My favorite part is when the otter and everything else show up in the kitchen… those are the fanciful things that are so appealing and delightful to young (and this old) readers!!

    1. @ Linda – I recently described Helga’s work as “lickable” because I find it so rich!

      @ Stacy – Thank you! I wondered about turning Tina into a PB character, but she’s already published in this poem, so not sure that’s possible. Oh well — guess I’ll have to invent a new one!

  2. What a cute poem and fabulous illustration!
    I love Helga’s moniker…”Helga Pearson, toddler wrangler and destroyer of dust bunnies by day, illustrator extraordinaire by night.”
    I enjoyed this visit.

    1. @ Jennifer – I just can’t get away from animals! They are too much fun to write about…It’s actually a miracle that this poem has a human in it. 🙂

      @ Sheri – Thanks, and welcome to NWR!

    1. @ Julie – Why, she’s off looking for an otter-free abode, of course!

      @ Joanna – Thanks so much Joanna. I do have fun putting them together. 🙂

      @ Hannah – HAH! I guess it would be wildlife sprawl? Hmmm…wheels turning…

    1. @ Pam – Welcome to NWR and 12×12! It is a great community, indeed!

      @ Cathy – Yay, glad we made you smile today! I think you must be right…I used to live on top of a hill where a flock of sheep passed twice a day. When it rained, you could smell them coming! 🙂

  3. Thanks again Renee. It was great fun being interviewed and you have a fabulous site over here. I really do feel honoured to be featured! Tiny Tina Tinseltooth sounds like loads of fun, I’d love to hear more about her. 😀

  4. We watched the video poem! Loved it! Thanks for posting.
    I worked for a zoo for two summers and we had two otters. All the guests remarked how cute they were, but I warned them that otters can be a little nasty! I can’t imagine one being in my kitchen – YIKES!

  5. Awe! Tiny Tina Tinseltooth is Totally Terrific! (Please forgive the horrible alliteration, but I’ve been writing all day!)

    Where did she move to? I must know! 🙂

    And Helga–You are an illustrator extraordinaire indeed! Sheep Girl is lovely! Can’t wait to see more of your work!

  6. I love that poem, Renee! I didn’t see the ending coming–it sparks a great visual image.
    And I really enjoyed your interview and Sheep Girl, Helga.
    Thanks to you both!!

    1. @ Diane and @ Myra – Thank you both for the loveliest comments ever! You’ve really made my day. I do hope that these videos and my little stories serve some purpose in the world, even to bring a smile. 🙂

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