“Under her hat she’ll leave a trick or a treat for 31 days until her task is complete,” reads “Meet Miss Patootie,” a children’s Halloween picture book, written and illustrated by Santa Clarita resident Mary Baxter-Jordan.
“Meet Miss Patootie” was self-published by Baxter in 2017, and it has become more than a children’s book — it’s become tradition, she said.
“Seeing the kids’ faces and excitement is priceless,” said Donna Spencer, kindergarten teacher at James Foster Elementary. “The book is great because during October they are so excited about Halloween and it keeps them grounded and focused in the class.”
“Meet Miss Patootie” is a story of a shy witch who does not like all the scary Halloween characters so she’s figured out her own niche, Baxter said. “I am a scaredy-cat, just like Miss Patootie.”
Miss Patootie comes to life when her book and a witch hat arrives on Oct. 1.
For the 31 days of October, a parent, teacher, or co-worker will have “Miss Patootie duty” and leave a trick or treat underneath her hat each day.
“We can tie it into education and whatever the kids are learning in class,” Spencer said. “It could be a book, worksheet, stickers, arts and crafts, or any trick or treat. It doesn’t have to be something for the kids every day.”
“Meet Miss Patootie” can be adjusted for any age, and played in homes, offices, schools, hospitals or anywhere there are groups of people with a fun sense of humor, Baxter said. “It’s family-oriented, for all ages.”
Last year James Foster Elementary School’s PTA put something under Miss Patootie’s witch hat in the teacher lounge for the teachers each day, Baxter said. “It brings camaraderie between the grownups and it lets them be creative.”
“Meet Miss Patootie” is Baxter’s fifth published book that she wrote and illustrated herself. “There are plans for an upcoming book that will come out down the road about Miss Patootie and her new wingman, a little bat named Rudy.”
Baxter worked in publishing before becoming a preschool teacher more than 27 years ago. She was born and raised in West Los Angeles, and moved to Santa Clarita about 20 years ago to raise her children.
In 2004, she became a preschool teacher with the Saugus Union School District, and has been sharing her love of creativity with her students ever since.
“Creativity is your soul’s expression,” Baxter said. “Kids love Halloween. It is really the only holiday that is complete fantasy — you get to be whoever you want to be.”
Baxter would like to get Miss Patootie licensed and package it with a witch hat, she said. “I want to make her into a Halloween icon.”
The book is available in both Saugus and Canyon Country Hallmark stores, online through Barnes and Noble and Amazon and on Google books.
To find out more about “Meet Miss Patootie” or to share or see ideas to put under her hat, go to her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MeetMissPatootiebyMaryJaniceBaxter/.