A Girl Named Pants and Her Mall Adventure
Written By Thomas J. Colson & Lindsay Beckinghausen
Illustrated by Katie Orcutt
I created a Girl Named Pants to change the lives of my children and children all over the world. Pants is an inspiring little girl. She's the kind of girl that parents will want to introduce to their children, and children will want to read about before they go to sleep at night. Pants is confident, courageous, and compassionate. Most of all, Pants is a girl who believes in herself...she believes she can do anything! It's my sincere hope that Pants will inspire other children to believe in themselves as well.
A Girl Named Pants, Inc. All rights reserved. This book, and any of its parts, may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author, Thomas J. Colson, or the publisher, A Girl Named Pants, Inc. ÂŠ 2007 Thomas J. Colson Written by Thomas J. Colson and Lindsay Beckinghausen Illustrations by Katie Orcutt Layout by Dawn Brundege Cover layout by Mark Didas Created in the U.S.A. Printed in Hong Kong ISBN: 0-9755959-5-4
Chapter One “MOM! Is she here?” Pants burst through the front door, one shoe already half off and dangling from her foot. The house smelled deliciously of chocolate chip cookies, but Pants was so excited, she barely noticed. “OH! Pants, you scared me. How was your day?” asked her mom, walking out from the kitchen. A voice came floating down the stairs from the guestroom. “Pants, is that you?” Ignoring her mom’s question, Pants dashed up the stairs. Her cousin Mila popped out from around the corner.
“Mila!” Pants exclaimed. “I’m so excited that you’re here! When did you get here? Did it take a long time? Are you unpacked yet?” “Slow down with the questions,” laughed Mila as she grabbed Pants up in a big hug. Mila lived in Miami, Florida, and Pants had been waiting all week for her arrival. Mila released Pants from the hug and immediately noticed her colorful pants. “Hey, cool pants. Are they new?” Mila asked. Pants beamed. She just loved wearing all different kinds of colorful pants. “Yep, my mom and I made them last week. You like them?” “I don’t like them, Pants, I love them. Do you think you and your mom can show me how to make pants like that while I’m here?”
“Are you kidding? My mom would love to show you. Maybe we can do it tonight.” “Awesome. Did you get my last e-mail?” Mila asked, putting her arm around Pants and walking down the stairs. “Yes! I looked at the pictures you sent me of the beach. It looks like so much fun!” Pants and Mila had been e-mailing each other since the family reunion over the summer, and were happy to finally be together again. “The beach is great, but I’m excited to be here with you! What should we do first?” asked Mila as they walked into the kitchen. Pants could imagine dozens of things to do with Mila. After all, Mila was almost sixteen years old, and Pants looked up to her. What ten-year-old wouldn’t want to hang out and do stuff with Mila?
“There are tons of things we can do, but I have to study first. I have a big math test on Monday and I want to get an A. My teacher gave the class a practice test to study from, and it only has 15 word problems. Is it okay if we do something together after that?” Pants hoped Mila would understand. She was nervous that Mila wouldn’t want to hang out with her if she was busy studying. Mila gave Pants a big smile, pulled out a chair from the table, and sat down. Pants sat next to her, taking her worksheets and notebook out of her backpack. “Of course. And if you want, I’ll even help you with the really hard ones. But you have to promise me that I can eat one of your mom’s chocolate chip cookies.” Pants’ mom laughed, and brought over a plate of gooey cookies and two glasses of milk for the girls. Pants’ brother and sister, Sneakers and Matilda, ran into the kitchen. “Mom! We’re going to the park with Dad! Can we take our cookies with us?”
“Sure, just bring some napkins!” shouted Pants’ mom as the children ran out of the kitchen, stuffing cookies in their mouths. “Slow down you two! Wait until you get outside to eat those messy things!” Pants attacked her word problems. Math was her favorite subject. She didn’t really need Mila’s help with the hard problems because those were the ones Pants liked the most. The harder the better. But she was happy to have Mila sitting next to her anyway. While Pants worked on her problems, Mila and her aunt talked about all the cool pants that she had made. Pants’ mom was excited to teach Mila how to make pants. After a half an hour or so, Pants’ mom said, “I have some shopping to do today. Would you girls like to join me after Pants finishes her practice test? You can stay in the arcade while I do my errands.” “You mean we can stay there alone?” Pants asked.
“Well, Mila is almost sixteen. She’s old enough to keep an eye on you while I’m gone.” Hanging out in the arcade with Mila? “Great idea, Mom! We’d love to! Right, Mila?” Mila smiled and nodded. “Sounds like fun, Aunt Rose.” “As soon as I finish these, we can leave,” said Pants as she dug into her remaining word problems. “Don’t rush, Pants,” said her mom. “I’m putting some money into your purse for the arcade.” Even though she was excited about their trip to the arcade, Pants carefully finished the rest of her problems. After double-checking the last one, she was ready to go. “Thanks for sitting with me, Mila,” said Pants, putting the worksheets and notebook into her backpack.
Mila picked up the plates and cups and put them in the sink. “No problem, Pants. You’re such a hard worker. Now let’s go to the arcade!” “I’ll be waiting in the car, girls!” yelled Pants’ mom as she put on her red coat and headed out the front door. “Okay!” Pants ran toward the front door. “Let’s go! I can’t wait to show you my favorite game!” Mila laughed. “Aren’t you forgetting something? Like your shoes?” Pants giggled. “I wasn’t going to forget them. I’m just so excited to go.” Pants sat down by the door and put her shoes on. Mila slipped on her sandals. Pants’ mom called out from the car. “Come on, girls!” “We’re coming!” The girls walked out the door, shutting and locking it behind them. They hopped into the car, buckled in, and off they went.
“Mom, can I see your list? I want to figure out how long Mila and I will have at the arcade.” “Sure, Pants. But since I’m driving, you’ll have to get it. It’s in my tote bag.” Pants reached up to the front seat and took the list out of her mom’s bag. Before reading the list, she asked, “Mom, can I put my purse in your tote bag so I don’t have to carry it?” “Sure, Pants.” Pants tossed her purse into the bag and then studied the list, figuring out how long it would take for her mom to go to all the stores and buy everything she needed. “Okay, Mila, with all these stores my mom has to go to, it looks like we have about an hour and a half. Are you ready for some fun!?” “Yeah!”
Chapter Two Mila and Pants talked the whole way to the mall. The ride seemed to go quicker than usual. When they pulled into the mall parking lot, Pants looked up and said, “Wow, Mom! You must have driven really fast.” “No, I drove the same speed as always. You and Mila were just talking so much that you didn’t notice the drive.” Pants and Mila looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“Mila, what’s your favorite game at the arcade?” asked Pants as the girls slid out of the car. “You’ll have to wait and see.” “Okay girls, let’s go in and I’ll drop you off at the arcade.” Pants shut the car door behind her, grabbed Mila’s hand, and they walked into the mall. When they reached the arcade, Pants’ mom stopped the girls before they raced inside. “Girls, I’ll be back in an hour and a half. Stay together. Okay?” “Mom, don’t worry, we will!” said Pants. Pants’ mom smiled. “Okay, okay.” She waved goodbye as she walked away. “Have fun, girls!” Pants immediately pulled Mila toward the carracing game which was all the way in the back of the arcade. The arcade was so crowded that the girls had to weave through dozens of kids.
There was a short line for the car-racing game. “This one’s my favorite. Let’s get some tokens.” Pants reached for her purse, but realized that she didn’t have it. “Oh no, Mila, I don’t have my purse! I left it in my mom’s tote bag! We don’t have any money for tokens or games!” Pants quickly turned toward the arcade entrance. She looked past the crowd of kids. “Look, I can still see my mom’s coat. Good thing it’s bright red. If we run, we can catch up to her. Come on!” Pants and Mila weaved their way back through the crowd while trying to keep their eyes on Pants’ mom and her red coat. All of a sudden, Pants’ mom disappeared around the corner.
“Oh no! I can’t see her any more. I didn’t see which way she went,” Mila said, panting. She sat down on a bench outside of the arcade. “I guess we can just wait for your mom to pick us up here later.” Pants didn’t sit down. There was no way she was going to wait for her mom to come back. “No, that will take too long! It would be an hour and a half of waiting. Do you really want to watch other people playing the games while we have to just sit here? We can find her.” “Pants, the mall is huge. There are tons of stores. How are we going to find her?” Pants put her hands on her hips and looked at Mila. “Mila,” she said, “we can do anything!” Mila smiled at Pants. “Oops. I can’t believe I forgot!” Pants smiled back. “Never forget that. Okay? We can do anything.”
“Okay, okay. So, what are we going to do?” Pants thought for a moment. “Well, I saw my mom’s list, remember?” “Do you remember what was on it?” “Yes. I remember everything on her list, and I know which stores she usually goes to for the things she needs.” “You really think we can catch her?” “We can do it, Mila. But we have to hurry if we want to get back here and still have time to play all the games. And don’t forget, you still have to show me your favorite game!” “I’ll show you when we get back,” said Mila. “Let’s go! What’s the first thing on her list?” “Well, Mom’s list had a whole bunch of things on it, but she probably won’t go in the same order as her list. She’d probably go to the closest stores first. I know she needs to buy crickets, and the pet store is the closest to the arcade.” Pants pointed in the direction of the pet store.
“Crickets?” Mila asked. “You mean live crickets? Why would she want to buy crickets?” “For my iguana!” said Pants, as the girls started walking toward the pet store. “You should see him,” said Pants. “He has this really long, pink tongue, and he grabs the crickets just like a frog. He swallows them whole. He likes plants and fruit too, but he likes crickets the most!” Mila gagged. “That’s gross!” “It’s not gross if you’re an iguana,” said Pants with a smile as they walked into the pet store.
Chapter Three “Here we are. Let’s find my mom. I can’t wait to play that racing game when we get back!” But the first thing Pants noticed wasn’t her mom. Instead, she noticed a scared little boy. Mila was standing next to Pants looking all around the store for her aunt. Pants tugged her arm. “Look, Mila, that little boy is crying. It looks like he needs help.” “I’m sure he’s fine. Look, his dad’s with him. We don’t have time for this. We just need to find your mom so we can go back to the arcade.” “There’s always time to help someone, Mila.”
Pants walked over to the boy’s dad, who was trying to coax the little boy over to him. The boy had backed himself up into a corner. He was wedged between the wall and a tall shelf filled with fish supplies. “Hi,” said Pants with a big smile. “Is he stuck?” The boy’s father looked at Pants. “Oh no, he’s just scared of the hermit crabs. He’s hiding from them.” The man pointed to a tank filled with at least 20 hermit crabs. “See? I told him they won’t bite. But he doesn’t believe me.”
“Oh. Will you let me try?” asked Pants. “I learned about hermit crabs in school last month. I’ve never touched a real one, but I’m not afraid.” “Are you sure you can help?” “Of course I can. I can do anything!” said Pants as she smiled reassuringly at the little boy’s dad. “Okay,” said the little boy’s dad. “His name is Max.” Pants moved toward the crouching boy, who had tucked his head into his arms. She sat down on the floor in front of him and crossed her legs. “Hi Max. My name is Pants. Your dad told me that you’re scared of the hermit crabs. How old are you?” Max peeked out from behind his arms. “I’m fouw,” he said, then ducked his head back. “Hey, I have a little brother who’s four. Why do you think the hermit crabs are going to hurt you?” Max looked up again. “Cause cwabs pinch! They’we mean!” Pants smiled at Max. “Guess what Max. I have a secret for you. Do you want to know what it is?” “What is it?” “I can only tell you if you trust me. Do you trust me?” 20
“Okay.” Max inched out from the corner so Pants could whisper her secret. “Max, do you remember how scared you felt when you saw the hermit crabs? Well, hermit crabs are even more scared of you. When they get scared, they hide in their shells, just like you hid behind the shelf. Isn’t that neat? You did something just like the hermit crab.” Max looked at Pants in amazement. “But what if they pinch?” “They don’t pinch. I’ll show you.” Pants stood up and peered into the tank. The hermit crabs had shells painted with colors and faces and designs. They looked really pretty and scary at the same time. Pants was a little scared, but she needed to be brave to help Max to be brave. She held her breath, reached into the tank, and picked up one of the hermit crabs. She held it gently by the shell. “Look, Max. Put your hand out flat like a table. I’m going to put my hand out next to yours and let the hermit crab walk on us. Remember when I told you he was scared? Well, he’ll only walk on us if he trusts us.” “Okay, Pants.” “Ready?” 21
“I’m still scawed, though.” “You have to be brave Max, just like the hermit crab will be brave when he comes out of his shell.” The little boy trusted Pants, so he put his hand out next to hers. Pants set the crab down on top of their hands. Max’ eyes got wide, and for a moment it he looked like he was going to cry. The hermit crab stood still. “It’s still scawed of us?” “Yep. Let’s be really quiet and hold still.” “Weally quiet?” Max and Pants held perfectly still, and after ten seconds the hermit crab put one little leg out of his shell. Soon, a second leg popped out, then feelers and eyes. Max’ eyes got even wider, and he started to giggle. “It tickles!” he laughed. Pants, Mila, and Max’s dad laughed too. “Thanks, Pants! You really saved the day!” said Max’s dad with a big smile. “You’re welcome!” said Pants with an even bigger smile. 23
She stood up and patted Max on the head. He was having so much fun with the hermit crab that he hardly noticed. Pants turned to Mila. “That was great! Look at how happy he is.” Mila was impressed. “That was awesome! How did you do that?” “I knew Max would be afraid until he saw me hold the hermit crab. Once he saw that it wasn’t pinching me, he wasn’t afraid anymore.” “Well, now it’s time to find your mom. I still have to show you my favorite game.” “Oh! I totally forgot,” said Pants. Pants waved goodbye to Max and his dad. Then she walked with Mila to the counter where the crickets were. Pants knew the girl who worked behind the counter at the store.
“Hi Pants What are you doing here? Your mom just left with a bunch of crickets. Do you need something else?” “No, I was just trying to catch up with her. This is Mila, my cousin from Miami. My mom left us at the arcade, but I left my purse with all my money in her tote bag. Did you see which way she went?” “Sorry, I didn’t see. Good luck finding her.”
Chapter Four Pants and Mila stopped outside of the pet store for a moment. “Okay, Mila, we need to figure out where my mom is going next. Her list had six things on it; crickets, a book for Dad, a board game for me, a shirt for Matilda, and a basketball for Sneakers.” “That’s only five. Are you sure there were six things on the list?” asked Mila. “I’m sure there were six things, I’m just not sure what the sixth thing was. Let’s start walking and looking at the stores. Maybe that will help me remember.”
Pants and Mila began walking. They passed by a shoe store. “Nope, not shoes,” Pants commented as they continued walking. A few minutes later, she noticed a clothing store and stopped. “That’s it!” “Clothes?” Mila asked. “She needs to buy clothes for your dad?” “No, not clothes, fabric. Do you remember when you asked me if my mom and I could show you how to make pants?” “Yes. I really want your mom to show me! We talked about it in the kitchen while you were studying.” “I know, I know. That’s why I told my mom right away. She was really happy about it. She just needed to buy new fabric first. Fabric was the sixth thing on her list!” “Where’s the fabric store?” asked Mila. “It’s right across the hall from the pet store. If we had just looked over there, we would have seen it. That must be where she went next. She’s probably there right now!” “Well, let’s hurry!” Mila exclaimed. “Then we can get back to the arcade!”
Mila and Pants headed toward the fabric store. Since the mall was really crowded and they didn’t want to run and bump into people, it took them way too long to get there. When they arrived, they stood in the entryway and looked inside. The fabric store was packed with shoppers! “It’s going to be hard to find your mom in there,” said Mila. “Hmm. You’re right, Mila. There are a lot of people in there. But, it won’t be that hard if we look for her red coat. If we do that, it should actually be pretty easy.” Mila nodded and began looking immediately. The first thing she saw was a red coat! “I think I see your mom! There’s a red coat over there,” she said, pointing toward the sewing equipment. “See?” Pants and Mila walked quickly around two aisles of fabric, past the scrapbooks, paint brushes, and sewing products, and rushed toward the woman in the red coat.
“Mom!” shouted Pants. The woman turned around. “Pants, is that you?” But it wasn’t her mom. It was a saleslady that Pants knew from the store. She was wearing a long-sleeved, red shirt that looked like her mom’s coat from far away. Now that the girls were close to the saleslady, they saw it didn’t look anything like a coat. “Hi. Has my mom been here today? We’re trying to catch up with her.” “Actually, I saw her just a little while ago, maybe ten minutes ago. She picked out a beautiful new fabric. If you go to the front, you might be able to catch her cashing out.” “Thanks!” Pants and Mila hurried to the cashier’s counter at the front of the store. They passed the sewing products, paint brushes, scrap books, and the two aisles of fabric.
When they reached the front of the fabric store, Pants noticed an elderly woman at the counter who had a frown on her face. “That woman looks worried, Mila. We should go see what’s wrong.” Pants and Mila walked over to the woman. “Ma’am, is everything all right?” Pants asked politely. “No!” she exclaimed. “I can’t find my purse. I’m worried that someone stole it, or that I left it somewhere. It’s not in any of my bags!” “Hmm,” said Pants. “Pants, I know that look on your face. Do you really think you can find her purse?” Mila asked. Pants became a little frustrated with Mila. “Mila!” “Okay, okay, I know, you can do anything. But we need to find your mom soon, or we won’t be able to play at the arcade. And, don’t forget, you don’t even know this woman. You don’t know what her purse looks like. And, you don’t know where she’s been all day.”
That gave Pants an idea. “Ma’am, I think that we can help you find your purse. When was the last time you used it?” “At the last store I was in. I bought a new yellow shirt. But I can’t remember what store it was.” “Can I look in all your bags?” The elderly woman looked really confused and frustrated. “But I already looked in all my bags for my purse. I just told you that.” “Actually, ma’am, I want to see which bag has a yellow shirt in it. That way, we can figure out which store you were in last, and see if your purse is there.” The elderly woman calmed down and smiled. “You’re a very clever little girl, aren’t you?” “Well, I guess I’m only clever if my idea works. We still have to find your purse.” “Do you really think you can?” asked the elderly woman. “Ma’am, I can do anything,” said Pants confidently.
Pants and Mila split up the bags and started looking. Pants’ first bag held a pair of blue shorts. The second bag had a pair of black sneakers. The third bag had a yellow shirt! She found it! But just as Pants started to tell Mila, Mila looked up and said. “Pants, this bag has a yellow shirt!” “Uh oh,” said Pants. “So does this one.” Mila frowned. “The shirts are from different stores. We’re going to have to go to both stores to find her purse. That’s going to take way too long.” Pants agreed that going to both stores would take too much time. She thought for a moment then came up with an idea. “Is the receipt in the bag?” she asked. “Yep, I have it right here,” said Mila
Pants pulled the receipt out of her bag as well. “Okay, let’s compare them. My receipt has a time on it. 12:21 p.m. Does your receipt have the time?” Mila studied her receipt for a moment. “Mine says 1:14 p.m.” Pants looked at the front of the bag that Mila held. Then she looked at the woman. “Ma’am, you wait right here. That store is two doors down. We’ll be right back!” “Okay, girls, I’ll wait right here. Good luck!” Mila and Pants raced over to the store. Pants ran up to the counter while Mila waited at the entrance. “Excuse me, Miss,” said Pants. The cashier looked at Pants. “Can I help you?” “Yes, please. I’m looking for a purse. An elderly woman is waiting for it in the fabric store. She was at this store last. Have you seen it?” “Yeah, I remember the lady. She left it here, so I put it behind the counter in case she returned,” said the cashier. “Let me call over to the fabric store and make sure it’s okay with the lady that you take it.” The cashier made the call. After she hung up, she said, “The lady said you can take it, so here you go.” 33
The cashier handed the purse over the counter to Pants, and a few seconds later Pants and Mila were off again. They made it back to the fabric store in what seemed like less than a minute! The elderly woman was waiting for them near the counter. “We found your purse, ma’am!” yelled Pants with excitement. “Calm down, Pants,” said Mila with a laugh. When the elderly woman saw her purse she was so relieved. She smiled from ear-to-ear. “Thank you girls, so much! I don’t know what I would have done without you!” Then she leaned forward as far as her old body would let her and said, “Young lady, you certainly can do anything, and I’m glad. You saved the day for me. Thank you.” “Our pleasure, ma’am. Have a great day!” Pants and Mila waved as they walked out the store entrance. “Where are we headed next? What’s left on your mom’s list?” asked Mila.
Chapter Five “Hold on, Mila!” said Pants. “We’ve got to hurry, Pants. If we don’t catch your mom soon, we won’t be able to play any arcade games.” “I know, but last time the store was right across the hall and we missed it because we didn’t think first. Let’s decide where my mom will probably be next before we go anywhere.” Mila stopped. “Good point. Okay, where do you think she went?”
Pants thought for a moment. “Let’s see. She bought the crickets and she bought the fabric. She still has to get a book, a basketball, a shirt, and a board game. I know there’s a bookstore that’s pretty close to here. She would probably go there next.” “Great! Let’s go,” said Mila. The girls headed down a small hallway. On the corner was a large bookstore. “Wow, this bookstore is huge! The entrance takes up the whole hallway!” said Mila. Pants smiled. “This is one of my favorite places in the mall. In the back of the store is a little corner with beanbags where you can sit and read books, just like in the library. Sometimes they even have special authors come in to read their books to a bunch of kids.” “That’s pretty neat,” said Mila. “I wish we had something like that in my mall.” Pants nodded. “Okay. I have an idea. Since the store is so big, instead of going down each aisle, let’s walk across each aisle and take a peek. We can look for my mom’s coat.”
“Good plan! I’ll bet we’ll find her this time!” Pants led the way. They walked across each aisle, both keeping their eyes open for a red coat. Suddenly, Mila jumped forward and poked Pants on the shoulder. “Look! Isn’t that your mom’s coat?” Pants peered around the corner and saw her mom way in the distance, at the other end of the store. “Mom!” she called, but her voice didn’t carry down the whole aisle. Pants and Mila started walking quickly, but stopped when Mila fell. “Ouch!” cried Mila. “I tripped on that book.” The girls stopped, and Pants looked at the ground. A thick book stuck out from the bottom shelf. “Are you okay, Mila? That must have hurt.” “I’m okay,” said Mila. “Let’s go!”
By the time they looked up and started walking again, Pants’ mom was gone. They raced down the aisle. There, in front of them, was a little girl sitting on a beanbag, reading a book. “Hi!” Pants said to the little girl. “Have you seen my mom? She’s wearing a bright red coat.” The little girl looked up at her. Her eyes opened wide and she stood up quickly, looking around frantically. “What’s wrong?” Pants asked. The girl started sniffling as she sat back down. “Do you know where my mommy is?” A store clerk happened to be walking by and looked at the girl. “Are you lost?” she asked. Big blue tears welled up in the girl’s eyes and she nodded her head. “I don’t know where my mommy is!” she cried. “What’s your name?” the clerk asked. The little girl just kept crying. Pants went up to the clerk. “I can help,” she said. “You’re just a kid. What do you know about finding parents?” 40
Pants smiled. “I can do anything. And I know I can help you find this girl’s parents.” Pants sat down next to the little girl on the beanbag chair. “My name is Pants. What’s your name?” The little girl looked at Pants and sniffled. “Gabrielle,” she said softly. “Hi, Gabrielle. You must be smart if you know how to read already! Do you know what your mom’s name is?” “Mommy.” “Well, that’s what you call her. What does your Daddy call her?”
The little girl thought for a minute. “He calls her Honey.” Pants smiled. “What do your teachers call her?” “They call her Mrs. Howard. Sometimes they call her Judy.” The girl laughed a little. “Isn’t that silly? Her name is Mommy.” Pants laughed with the girl. Then she turned to the clerk. “Did you hear that, ma’am? She said her mom’s name is Judy Howard, and her name is Gabrielle.” The sales clerk smiled. “Thanks for your help. I’ll go make an announcement in the store. Then I’ll call the security guard to make an announcement through the whole mall.” Pants smiled at Gabrielle. “You can sit here with me and my cousin. My mom told me that if I ever got lost, to stay where I was and she would find me. That nice lady is going to call your mom so she can come get you!” “Thank you, Pants. I miss her.”
A minute later, Pants, Mila, and Gabrielle heard the announcement in the store. Suddenly, a woman in a brown leather jacket came running down the aisle toward Gabrielle. “Ella Bella, my little Gabrielle! I thought you were right behind me! I got to the other aisle and you weren’t there! Oh, honey, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?” She scooped up Gabrielle in her arms and swung her around in a big hug. “Mommy, it’s okay. This is my friend, Pants. She helped me feel better and she told the lady how to help you find me.” Gabrielle’s mom turned to Pants and said, “Thank you so much! I was terrified when I noticed she wasn’t with me.” “You’re welcome. Now I have to go find my mom. She still has my arcade money!” Gabrielle and her mom waved goodbye as Pants and Mila got up and walked toward the front of the store. Mila looked disappointed. “I really thought we were going to catch up to your mom this time. Pants turned to Mila. “Aren’t you happy that we could help all those people?” “Yeah, I guess. I still want to play in the arcade, though.” “Me too! Come on. Let’s go find my mom.” 43
Chapter Six Pants and Mila walked out of the bookstore. “I’m thirsty!” said Pants. “Let’s head over to the water fountains. The sporting goods store is right near there. I’m pretty sure that we’ll find my mom there. That’s where they sell basketballs, and it’s the next closest store to us.”
Pants grabbed Mila’s hand and dragged her along as she skipped down the hall. Laughing, Mila followed along. The girls reached the fountain and Pants took a long drink. “Whew! That felt good. Do you want any?” Mila took a quick sip. “Let’s go, Pants. I’m anxious to find your mom.” The girls walked into the sporting goods store. It was even bigger than the bookstore. “How are we going to find her in here?” Mila asked.
Pants was confident. “If we can find the basketball section, then we can find my mom.” “Pants, you’re so smart. Why didn’t I think of that?” Pants laughed. “Look at the big signs on the aisles. This one is Tennis and Volleyball. The next one is Skiing, Soccer, and Swimming. Then Karate, Kickball, and Lacrosse.” “These are sorted weird. How are we ever going to find basketballs?” asked Mila. Pants thought for a moment, then said, “I see the pattern. We’re looking at them in the wrong order. They’re alphabetical! Come on, Mila!” Pants started running. “Hey! You need to slow down little girl,” a store clerk yelled from across the store. “No running, please!” “Sorry!” yelled Pants. “Hey, is that you, Pants?” The clerk walked over and Pants saw that it was Nina, who had helped her when she needed a new swimsuit a few weeks ago. “Hi, Nina!” “Hi, Pants! What are you shopping for today?” 46
“Actually, I’m looking for my mom. She took our token money with her. We’re supposed to be playing in the arcade.” “Well you’re in luck. I just saw your mom a little while ago. She should be leaving any minute, though. So, you’d better hurry.” “Thanks, Nina. See you later!” Pants and Mila rushed to the front of the store in their fastest walk. “Look! It’s my mom!” The girls watched as Pants’ mom turned out of the store. “Mom! Wait up!” Pants called, but her mom didn’t hear her, and kept walking. “Oh no, not again!” groaned Mila. The girls made it to the front of the store. Just as they were about to chase her mom, a lady rushed past them with an armful of bags, cutting them off! “Whoa! That lady must be in a hurry.” said Mila. The girls watched as the lady just missed bumping into a man. When the lady twisted to miss him, a bag fell out of her hands. But the lady didn’t notice! 47
Pants looked way down the hall toward her mother, and then back at the lady with the bags. She had to quickly decide whether to help the lady or chase her mom. In a split second, Pants dashed off, leaving Mila behind. Mila raced to keep up with her. “Pants! Wait!” Pants snatched the lady’s bag from the floor without even slowing down. “Ma’am! Wait!” called Pants. Pants didn’t wait for Mila, and the lady didn’t wait for Pants. Pants ran faster, trying her best to catch up. I can do anything! she thought. I can catch her! One more time she yelled. “Ma’am, wait! You dropped your bag!” This time the lady turned around to see who was shouting so loudly. “Ma’am, you dropped your bag!” Pants repeated. The lady stopped, and Pants ran up to her. Panting, she handed the bag to the woman. Pants took a deep breath and said, “This is yours.” “Oh, goodness! I can’t believe I didn’t notice I had dropped it. Thank you so much, little girl. What’s your name?”
“My name is Pants.” “Well, Pants, thank you very much. This bag has a special gift for my son’s birthday in it. I would have been so upset to lose it.” “You’re welcome,” said Pants grinning widely. “Wish your son a happy birthday from me!” The woman walked away smiling. Pants walked back to where Mila had given up running. She was worn out and sitting on a bench. “Pants, why don’t we just go back to the arcade? We can sit there and wait for your mom.”
Chapter Seven Pants folded her arms and frowned at Mila. “Mila, let’s not give up. We were so close last time. We’ll find her. We can do it!” Mila groaned. “I know. We can do anything. Where are we going next?” Pants thought about the mall and her mom’s list. “I think she’s going to the toy store next. We should be able to find her in there.” “Well, let’s get started.” The girls walked to the toy store, reaching it after a little while. The windows were decorated with pictures of kids playing different games. 51
As they walked into the store, Pants spotted a girl from her class. “Hey, that girl is in my class. Her name is Olivia. Let’s go over and say hi!” Olivia was quiet and shy. Pants didn’t spend a lot of time with her in class, but she was always nice to Olivia. Pants walked closer, but then stopped suddenly. Mila almost ran into her. “What are you doing?” Mila asked. “Shshsh,” whispered Pants as she pointed toward Olivia. Mila and Pants watched as Olivia took a small toy off the shelf and put it into her pocket! “I think we should tell the store clerk,” whispered Mila. “That’s stealing!” “If we do that, she’ll get in big trouble. She might even get arrested. Maybe we can get her to put the toy back.” “Pants, how are we going to do that?” Pants thought for a moment. “Hold on. Follow me,” she whispered back. “I have an idea.” Pants walked over to Olivia and stood behind her. “Hi, Olivia!” she said loudly.
“Oh!” Olivia was so surprised she practically jumped in the air. She spun around and faced Pants. Then she became quiet. “Hi, Pants.” Olivia looked down at the floor and shuffled her feet. “This is my cousin, Mila. She’s here all the way from Miami.” “That’s nice. Hi, Mila.” “So what are you doing here? Are you getting something? Are you here with your mom?” Olivia looked at the floor as Pants asked her question after question. “Hey, did you hear about the girl who got caught stealing from this store last week?” Olivia looked up. “No. What happened?” “Last week, a sixth grade girl came into the store and tried to steal a video game. She put it into her backpack and tried to leave the store, but the game had a sensor on it!” Olivia glanced nervously around the store, and moved her feet impatiently. “What happened to her?” “Well, a whole bunch of security guards came over to her and asked if they could look in her backpack. She tried to run away, but they caught her. When they found the game in her backpack, they brought her up to the store manager. 53
The store manager was so hurt that someone would steal from him. Her mom was in the store with her and she was so embarrassed that her daughter stole. The girl had to give the game back and apologize for doing such an awful thing. She hasn’t been in school since then! My mom told me that she was so ashamed that she did something as bad as stealing that she switched schools so that people there wouldn’t know she did that.” Mila piped up. “Something like that happened in my school too. A boy tried to steal a movie. When they found out, my principal suspended him from school, and they aren’t letting him play football anymore.” 54
“Wow,” Olivia said quietly. “I didn’t know that all that could happen.” “Yeah,” said Pants with her best serious expression. “Well, have a good day, Olivia. We have to find my mom.” “Uh, thanks, Pants. You too.” Mila and Pants walked toward another aisle and stopped. “Do you think it worked?” whispered Pants. “I hope so,” whispered Mila. The girls peeked around the corner and saw Olivia look over her shoulder, pull the toy out of her pocket, and put it back on the shelf. “Yes! I knew we could do it!” Pants smiled from ear-to-ear and gave Mila a low-five. “Come on.” Pants led the way to the counter and waved at the store clerk. “Hi! I’m looking for my mom. She has on a red coat. Have you seen her?” The store clerk greeted Pants with a smile. “There was a woman with a red coat that left just five minutes ago. I bet if you run, you can catch up to her! She went that way.”
Chapter Eig ht “Okay, Pants, let’s really get your mom this time. What’s left on her list?” Mila was determined to go back to the arcade with some time left to play games. The girls headed in the direction the store clerk had pointed. As they walked, Pants thought about the list and the next closest store. “Wasn’t there something for Matilda on the list?” asked Mila.
“Oh, yeah!” exclaimed Pants with a smile. “A new shirt for Matilda. There are two stores that my Mom goes to find shirts for Matilda. They’re across the hall from each other.” “Well, which one do you think she’ll go to?” “I don’t know! Matilda asked Mom to get her an orange shirt. We just need to look for a girl’s orange shirt.” “Ooh, Pants, look at that outfit!” Mila stood in front of a store window and pointed to a mannequin wearing an orange shirt and jean skirt. “Great eye, Mila! Let’s see if we can find my mom in there!” The girls walked into the store, searching for a woman in a red coat. “I think I see her!” cried Mila as she walked quickly toward the shoe section.
Pants followed her. “Mila, wait up!” Mila didn’t stop. “I don’t want to lose her again!” So, off they went. When they reached the shoe section, they saw the woman with the red coat. “Finally, we caught up to you!” Mila exclaimed. The woman turned around. “Can I help you?” she asked. “Uh oh!” said Pants. “Mila, that’s not my mom.” Mila was frustrated. “Yes, I can see that, Pants!” “Don’t worry, Mila, we’ll find her,” said Pants. “Sorry, ma’am. We thought you were my mom.” Pants and Mila walked back toward the front of the store. On their way, Pants overheard a loud voice. “Oh, yeah? You think you can get me to give it back?” It was a boy’s voice. The voice sounded mean and teasing.
Pants listened and slowly crept toward the voice, ducking behind two clothes racks and a tall shelf as she went. Mila followed Pants and put her hand on Pants’ shoulder to stay right behind her. Pants and Mila saw a little girl and a much bigger boy. The boy had a purse in his hands and was holding it above the little girl’s head. “That’s mine! Give it back!” the little girl shouted. The boy just laughed. “You’ll never get it!” Pants turned to Mila. “We should help that little girl.” Mila nodded her head and stood up. “I’m a lot bigger than that boy. I’ll rip the purse right out of his hands!” “No. Let me talk to him.” Mila looked surprised. “Pants, that boy is a bully. He won’t listen to you.”
“Mila, please let me try. If you rip it out of his hands, that would make you the bully. I don’t want you to be a bully. We know better than to act like him!” Mila agreed. “Okay, Pants, but I’ll be right behind you. And I’m not letting you get hurt.” The girls stepped out from their place behind the shelf and stood next to the little girl. Mila was a whole head taller than the boy. Pants was a little nervous, but having Mila there helped a lot. “I think you should give this girl her purse back, said Pants bravely.”
The bully stood his ground, even though Mila was clearly bigger than him. “How do you know it’s hers? How do you know it’s not mine?” Pants smiled. “Right. A boy with a purse. Are you sure that’s the story you want to go with?” The boy’s face reddened a bit. “How do you know I’m not just holding it for my sister?” The little girl was almost in tears. “It’s mine. He took it!” “Prove it. Otherwise, go away,” said the bully. “It’s mine! My name is Emma and there is a little card with my name on it inside MY purse!” The bully paused for a moment, then said, “Maybe my sister’s name is Emma” Pants didn’t expect the bully to claim he was holding it for his sister. She had to think quickly. She looked around and noticed security cameras mounted high up on the wall. That gave her an idea. “Okay. Fine. We’ll go away.” Mila objected immediately. “Pants!” “Mila, he’s right. We don’t have any proof, so we should leave.” The bully smiled. Emma began to cry. 62
“We don’t have any proof. But, I’m sure there’s proof on those security cameras up there. So, we’ll just go over and ask the security guard to bring you both to his office where he can review the tape and settle this once and for all. And if you’re right, there won’t be any problems. But, if you’re wrong, well, I wouldn’t want to be you.” The bully’s smile disappeared. He dropped the purse and ran out of the store. Pants picked up the purse and handed it to Emma. “Are you okay?” Pants asked. Emma nodded and wiped her eyes. “Yes. Thanks to you.” “We’re glad we could help,” Pants and Mila answered at the exact same time. They burst out laughing and so did Emma. As they left the store, Mila said, “You know, it really does feel good helping people.” “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” Just then, Pants’ stomach growled at her. Gr…Grr…Grrrumble…! “Hey! We still need to find mom, and I know just where we have to go!”
Chapter Nine Pants started walking and Mila walked with her. “How do you know where your mom is now?” “My stomach reminded me of how hungry I am. Whenever we go to the mall, Mom and I always get hungry and stop for a smoothie. We always seem to get hungry at the same time. Since I’m hungry, my mom must be hungry, too. I’ll bet she’s at our favorite smoothie shop.” Pants and Mila took off toward the food court. They passed by a set of massage chairs.
“Look!” Mila said. “We have those in my mall. You put quarters in and you get a massage from the chair.” “Yeah, those are pretty neat. Too bad we don’t have any quarters.” “Yeah, too bad,” said Mila as they kept walking. “Look! I can see the food court!” shouted Pants. Pants walked faster. Mila rushed to keep up. The food court was busy. It was filled with lots of people; in lines, sitting in booths, and standing at counters talking. A large carousel stood in the middle of the food court. There was a long line of children. The smell of popcorn filled the air. “Mila, are you hungry?” “A little bit, but we don’t have any money.”
Pants pointed toward the carousel. “Don’t you smell the popcorn? Any kid that wants some can have free popcorn!” “Okay, let’s get some really fast. We can look around for your mom while we’re walking over there.” The girls made their way around the swivel chairs, families, and large shopping bags. The merrygo-round circled around and around as the girls walked by it and stood in line. After a minute or so, they reached the front of the line, and thirty seconds later they were eating their popcorn. “Did you see my mom?” Pants asked as she munched. “Not yet. I’m still looking for her, but I think she’s already gone.” All of a sudden a little boy ran past them and bumped into Pants. He tripped over her foot and went flying! Pants tossed her bag of popcorn to Mila and rushed over to the boy. His bag of popcorn had spilled all over the floor, and it looked like he was hurt. The boy was covering his mouth and trying to stand up. “Are you okay?” cried Pants. “What hurts?” The boy just looked at Pants with wide, scared eyes. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He tried again, but didn’t say anything. 67
“It’s okay,” Pants said. “You can tell me what’s wrong.” The boy opened his mouth again. Still nothing! “He looks like a fish out of water, Pants!” shouted Mila. Pants’ eyes got big as she realized what was happening. “He’s choking. Go get help!” Mila just stood there with her mouth wide open. “MILA!” Pants screamed. Mila was frozen, then finally she shouted, “HELP!!”
Pants stayed calm. She put her hands on the boy’s cheeks and looked into his eyes. “Are you choking?” she asked. The boy nodded. He looked so scared! “I can help you. I learned about this in school. I even practiced! Do you trust me?” He nodded again. A crowd formed around Pants and the boy, whose face was turning blue. Pants stood behind him and wrapped her arms around his stomach. The crowd grew larger and larger. She found that special spot to put her fist and started talking to him. “Here we go, don’t be scared!” Pants pulled her fists back and up as hard as she could. Nothing happened! The boy’s eyes filled up with tears. Pants did it again! This time, a piece of popcorn flew out of the boy’s mouth. It came out so fast that it flew right at Mila and hit her right in the forehead!
Pants let go of the boy. He fell to his knees and took a huge breath. He was sobbing when he looked up at Pants. Suddenly someone pushed through the crowd, shouting, “Excuse me, excuse me, I need to get through! That’s my son!” The crowd quickly opened a path and the boy’s mother came through. She knelt down and hugged him, sobbing as well. Someone in the crowd yelled, “That girl just saved that little boy’s life!” The whole food court erupted in cheers and thunderous clapping. Pants was overwhelmed. She was happy and relieved and excited and scared all at once. And the crowd kept cheering! The boy’s mom spoke to him through the noise. “Sweetie, are you okay!?”
The boy continued to cry, but nodded his head. Pants stood next to the boy’s mom and put her hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, ma’am. Your son is just scared. He’ll be fine.” The mom picked up the little boy and sat with him on the floor. She turned toward Pants smiling, with tears of joy running down her cheeks and said, “You saved his life. How can I ever thank you enough? How did you know what to do?” Pants smiled and said, “You’re welcome. I learned how to do that in school. We practiced on dummies, but I never knew it really worked until today.” The mother replied, “Well, I’m glad you learned that at school, and I’m glad you were courageous enough to do what you just did for my little boy. You’re an angel. What’s your name?” “I’m Pants,” she said. “I’m so glad I could help. But I have to go and find my mom now.” She looked at the little boy. “Be careful, and don’t run while you’re eating popcorn.” The boy smiled though his tears. So did his mom. “Bye, Pants, and thank you.” Pants left them and slowly eased her way though the crowd. People she didn’t even know were patting her on the back. Some were still clapping. 73
Mila caught up and put her arm around Pants. “Wow! Pants, you really can do anything! I’m so proud of you! I had no idea what to do. I panicked! And you were calm and in charge. You saved that boy’s life!” Pants took a deep breath as they walked. She was glad Mila was with her. She didn’t realize how scared she was until that very moment. “Let’s go back to the arcade.” “I think that’s a great idea.” “Let’s hurry,” said Pants. I don’t want my mom to beat us back there and not find us. She’ll think we’re lost! She’ll be really nervous!” “Let’s run then. I mean, if you think you still can after all that.” Pants smiled at Mila. “I can…” Mila finished her sentence, “…do anything! Now I know it’s true. You can do anything!” They smiled together and ran the whole way back to the arcade.
Chapter Ten The girls rushed through the mall, passing by all the places they had been while looking for Pantsâ€™ mom. They passed the massage chairs. They passed the clothing store where they helped Emma with the bully. They passed the toy store where they helped Olivia make the right choice about stealing. They passed the bookstore where they helped Gabrielle find her mom. They passed the sporting goods store, the fabric store, and the pet store. Finally they made it back to the arcade.
The girls slowed to a walk and dragged themselves over to a bench at the front of the arcade. Soon after they sat down, Pants’ mom walked over to them. “Hi, Pants. Hi, Mila. I didn’t expect to see you girls waiting for me. I thought I’d have to search for you around all the games inside the arcade.” “Hi, Mom!” “Hi, Aunt Rose!” “Did you girls have fun today?” The girls were still out of breath. Pants spoke first. “We had a great time today, Mom! But—” Just then, Max and his dad walked by and shouted, “Hey, Pants!” Max was holding a clear plastic container with a hermit crab inside. “Thank you, Pants. Now I’m not scawed of the cwabs anymowe, and Dad said I can have one to keep.”
Pants smiled. “I’m so happy for you, Max! Take care of your new pet.” Max and his Dad both smiled back. “Bye, Pants!” Pants’ mom looked at her, looked at Max and his Dad, and then looked back at Pants again. “Pants?” her mom said curiously. Pants smiled. “As I was saying, we had a lot of fun today, Mom, but we—” Out of the corner of her eye, Pants saw the elderly woman who had lost her purse. She caught her glance. “Hi, Pants! Thanks again for helping me find my purse.” She turned to Pants’ mom and said, “You have a wonderful daughter.” “Thank you, ma’am, but how do you know my daughter?” The elderly woman smiled. “I’m sorry, but I have to run. My ride is waiting for me outside. Bye, Pants.” “Bye.”
“PANTS! What have you been doing today? How do you know that woman? Have you been in the arcade the whole time?” “Well, not really.” “WHAT!” Pants’ mom’s voice echoed through the mall. “Where have you been?” “Mom, we had to leave the arcade because…” The little boy and mother from the food court walked toward Pants. “Pants!” the litle boy’s mom said. “I just want to thank you again. You have no idea how much what you did means to me. As long as I live, I will never forget you.” She waved and kept walking. The little boy waved, too. “PANTS!” her Mom yelled again. “Tell me right this second where you have been all this time.”
Mila spoke up. “Aunt Rose, we went to the pet store, then the fabric store, then the sporting goods store, the bookstore, and a few other places.” “Mila, I left you in charge of Pants. Why would you let her drag you all over the mall like that?” Pants reached into her mom’s tote bag, pulled out her purse, and showed it to her mom. “Mom!” Pants said. “You had our money the whole time! We were just trying to catch up with you.” Pants’ mom smiled. “So, you two have been looking for me the whole time?” “Yes. But while we were looking for you, we helped a whole bunch of people!” said Pants. Mila spoke up. “Pants even saved a little boy’s life, Aunt Rose! She was awesome! The boy was choking in the food court so Pants picked him up and squeezed him so hard that the popcorn flew out of his mouth! It hit me in the forehead! Everyone in the food court was cheering for her. I was so proud, I almost cried.”
Pants’ mom gave Pants a big hug. “I’ve always known you can do anything, Pants. I’m so proud of you.” “Thanks, Mom,” said Pants. “Let’s go home.” “Well, don’t you at least want to play a few games first?” asked her mom. Pants and Mila looked at each other and broke out in big smiles. They both looked at Pants’ mom and giggled. “I completely forgot!” said Mila. “Me, too!” said Pants. “No thanks, Mom.” “We’re tired!” said Mila. “Maybe tomorrow.” Pants’ mom smiled. “As long as you hold onto your purse next time!” “Deal!” said Pants.
A Girl Named Pants
This is the series of books about a Girl Named Pants...so far! More are coming soon! A Girl Named Pants Pants Makes the Swim Team Pants and the Bully Pants Feeds the Poor Pants Builds a Business A Girl Named Pants and Her Mall Adventure To order more books about A Girl Named Pants; or to download free coloring pages; or to buy Pants teeshirts, sweatshirts, backpacks, tote bags, or posters, please go to our website:
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