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october 2009


Stories by You page 10

For Kids by Kids page 86

For You by You page 110

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© 2009 STAmpIn’ Up!

© 2009 BABW

Create some quality time with the children in your life with the new Build-A-Bear Workshop collection by Stampin’ Up!® With the large selection of exclusive Sizzix® dies, stamps, and Designer Series papers in the collection, your creative options are unlimited. Talk to your demonstrator today about hosting a Mommy

& Me workshop, or just

learn more about these fantastic new products!

The Build-A-Bear Workshop collection is an exclusive product offering of Stampin’ Up!, and is only available for purchase from a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator or through Stampin’ Up!’s online store. Contact your demonstrator today to place your order or to learn more! If you don’t have a demonstrator, locate one in your area at

{ from the founder & publisher }

From the Founder and Publisher Our purpose at knowonder! magazine is to inspire a love of reading in children of all ages, to promote, encourage and further their naturally creative imaginations, and to empower them for the future by giving them the critical skills they obtain only through becoming good readers. To that end, we are introducing a fun addition to the magazine this month. In this issue, you will find two stories (pg. 56, and 60) that are excerpts from longer stories or books. After reading the excerpt, we encourage you to read the whole story. Sometimes the story will be free (in which case we’ll provide a link on our site where you can read the whole thing), and sometimes it will be an excerpt from a published book that might cost money. Our goal in doing this is to provide you with even more reading resources to read for your little ones, because, if your kids are like mine, the more they have to read, the better! Also, you’ll find three stories in this issue of the magazine written by children! You can find them on pages 46, 48, and 78. We are very excited for this addition, and hope that publishing stories like these will inspire your children to try writing some of their own. Now, on to another topic. I am writing this letter just a week after the release of the inaugural issue of knowonder! magazine, and I want to tell you that I have been overwhelmed by the positive response! It seems we are on the path of creating something truly great, and I want to thank you for being a part of this movement by supporting knowonder! with your submissions and enthusiasm. I hope this issue is as well-received as the first!

Phillip J. Chipping // Founder & Publisher P.S. We are now on Facebook! Search for knowonder! and become a fan today!


{ from the editor }

From the Editor My child just doesn’t like to read. Maybe he’s just lazy. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to read! If you have a reluctant reader, perhaps these thoughts have crossed your mind. Some children have a hard time reading for enjoyment. But the fact of the matter is that they may have good reason for being reluctant readers. Perhaps they’re struggling with their vision, or perhaps they have a learning disability. We hope you’ll check out our article, “Help for Reluctant Readers” in the For You by You section for some helpful ideas. We at knowonder! magazine hope to encourage your children to read by offering fun, short, new stories – one for each day of the month! Often a short story doesn’t seem as daunting a task as a longer one. Many of our stories fit on one or two pages, and are a great way to set an easy, reachable goal for reading each day. Achieving those small goals is a great self-esteem booster. And when your child feels proud of his reading accomplishments, he’ll be more likely to read in the future. And we know that with children, fun and learning go hand in hand. If you’re in need of great fall activities to do with your children, check out our article “31 Ways to Enjoy October”. As a parent, I am excited to have activities to do with my children outside to encourage their curiosity about this wonderful season! We hope you are enjoying knowonder! as much as we are. We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions! And don’t forget to join us at to vote for your favorite stories and art submissions. We hope you will even think about submitting your own work! Happy Reading!

Sophie C. Bassett // Editor




One enchanting story after another–in fact there are enough stories to share one with your children every day of the month. Enjoy.

A fun collection of artwork submitted by children from around the world! Visit our website to find out how your kids can submit their amazing work.

Storytime by You


For Kids by Kids

{ table of contents }



Of course we saved some pages for you parents, too. Enjoy articles and projects for crafting, cooking, great literature, parenting & more.

More fun and games for the kids, including crossword puzzles, mazes, word-find puzzles, and our favorite, the Story Game™

For You by You

Games & Fun

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Table of Contents Storytime by You 14 30 48 60 80

Basil and the Bread The Alien Visitor Monster!! Hashbrown Winters Flags for Katie

For Kids by Kids 88 93 96 101 106

Introduction Spaceman Shark Beautiful Beach Rubber Duck

For You by You 112 Everything in it’s Place 114 31 Ways to Enjoy October 116 Help for the Reluctant Reader

Games & Fun 122 122 124

Word Search: Halloween Maze: Don’t get caught in the Haunted House! The Story Game

Miscellaneous 120 Subscribe! 126 Store Directory 130 Credits



Advertiser Directory 125 Boondocks 99

Burg Pediatric Dentistry


Children’s Miracle Network

129 Curves 08




130 Dream Dinners 63

Hoopes Vision Center

105 iFrogz



Imagination Place


Jordan Meadows




My Traveling Housekeeper

131 Pebbles in my Pocket 19




120 Richelle’s Salon & Day Spa 119 Shelf Reliance 121 Signing Time 37

Simply Mac


Stampin’ Up!

132 Thanksgiving Point 97

That’s My Room

109 Trafalga Fun Center 79

Utah Symphony


Utah’s Mama


V Chocolates

123 Wu Ji Tao Martial Arts

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Storytime by You

Storytime, day 1

Trains Written by Derek Westra

Trains are where passengers meet for a day, They sit close together and talk on their way, They talk on their way to go work or go play, And you never quite know what somebody will say. Some people are friendly and ask “How are you?” “How big is your family?” Or “What do you do?” If you’re friendly back – then you become friends, Does that happen often? I guess that depends.


From Utah, USA

Parents ride trains with their small girls and boys, Some children read books – and some play with toys, When women get on – men give up their seat, So women can sit and get rest for their feet, There are friendly policemen, who check people’s fare, Some people in wheelchairs may also be there, You’ll see people sleeping right there in their seats, And you’ll see shiny cars zooming by on the street,

Some riders are pleasant and ask you your name, Some people are grumpy, and like to complain, Some travelers are quiet, and sit and read books, While others are squirmy, and give funny looks,

Those who ride trains come in all shapes and sizes, Some travel far – to go work in high-rises, There are doctors and lawyers and stay-at-home moms, And maybe some high-schoolers, going to Prom,

Some riders wear suits, and talk on their phones, They often have laptops and fancy ringtones, Some riders wear hard-hats and all sit together, And talk about football, T.V, or the weather.

So next time the train takes you from here to there, Look around at the travelers, but try not to stare, For although these people are strangers to you, To them, you’re the stranger, so what can you do?

Teens can be travelers, who sometimes ride trains, While they should be in class – using their brains, They listen to iPods and try to act cool, But really, the cool ones are learning in school.

Well you can say “Hi,” or make conversation, Or chat till it’s time to get off at your station, For a train ride’s enough to make friends with someone, And riding with friends can be so much more fun.

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How it works... Storytime

Yes, trains are where passengers meet for a day, You sit close together and talk on your way, You talk on your way to go work or go play, And you never quite know what somebody will say.

Read a story with your child every day of the month. You can read a story together after school, or use the stories for bedtime to help your child go to sleep. (Tell them to close their eyes and see the pictures in their heads!) Rate This Story When you are done reading a story, rate it by filling in the stars found at the end of each story. This will help you remember and see which stories you liked best. Vote Online At the end of each month, go online to to vote for your favorite stories. Use the stars as a reference point so you can quickly see which stories you liked best. Remember, voting is important! By voting, you are helping support authors, many of whom would like to have their stories published! The top 3 stories receive cash prizes, but even more importantly, they now have proof that people like their stories, and that makes it even easier to get published. Submit Your Own Stories!

Illustration by: Eliah, Age 7 From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA *see more illustrations in the For Kids by Kids section on pg. 86

If you are one of those parents who tells great stories, and your kids are always begging for more, please send us some of your work! Not only could you become a published author, but you could also win cash prizes! Most importantly, you’ll be giving a gift to thousands of other parents and children who, just like you, love to hear a great story.

Basil and the bread

Storytime, day 2

Written by Michelle Brown

“Come on, Ara, hurry!” Basil said, climbing on his donkey. “I am so hungry I could eat you!” “EEEYAW!” Ara brayed. Basil gave the dusty donkey a pat. “It was a joke!” But his hunger was not. He and Ara had delivered the last basket from his mother’s market stall in the souk. She was already at home helping his sister prepare supper. Basil checked the goatskin moneybag tied to his belt. “Be careful with that money,” his mother had warned. “We need every last dirham.” Suddenly Basil smelled something sweet and yeasty. He followed the aroma through the narrow streets. Basil hopped off Ara in front of the baker’s door. “Anise bread,” he whispered in Ara’s ear. “Like mother makes.” He could almost taste the chewy cornmeal crust. Would it really be wrong to spend two little dirham? He could earn it back tomorrow. Ara nudged Basil with her nose. The boy sighed. “I know, I know. You are hungry too. And the baker does not sell hay!” Basil closed his eyes and sniffed one last whiff. When he opened them, there was the baker! “What are you doing?” demanded the big man. “I . . . I was smelling your bread.” “That will be one dirham.” The baker opened his pudgy palm. “But I did not buy anything!” “No, you stole it!” The baker lunged at Basil. Basil turned and ran . . . right into the muhtasib! “Young Basil?” said the muhtasib as he straightened his turban. “What is your hurry?” Basil relaxed. The muhtasib was in charge of selling in the souk. He


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From Kansas, USA

made certain everyone traded fairly. He knew Basil was no thief. “This boy,” said the baker, “stole from me and will not pay.” “That is not true!” Basil blurted. “I only smelled his bread!” “You were stealing the smells and you owe me one dirham. Half the price of a loaf of bread. A bargain!” The muhtasib pulled on his long grey beard. At last he said, “Basil, hand me your bag.” Basil hung his head and untied his moneybag. This was not right! He lifted his eyes to the muhtasib’s kind face. “Most fair Muhtasib,” Basil began, “should the candle maker charge people for smelling his candles? Or the spice merchant? His smells are everywhere in the souk.” The muhtasib pulled on his beard again. Then he took the bag and poured the money into his hand. Silver and gold coins glittered in the late afternoon sunlight. “You shall be paid, Baker.” The baker grinned and held out his hand. The muhtasib cupped his hands together and shook the coins. The jingling sounds echoed up and down the stone street. “There, Baker. The price for the smell of your bread is the sound of Basil’s money.” Basil smiled as he rode out of the souk. His money bag tinkled happily at his side. At home, his mother had his favorite meal waiting; squash stew and warm anise bread. The best he had ever tasted.

*An adaptation of a Middle-Eastern folktale

Max had his first surgery when he was 3 days old. He’s had holes in his heart repaired and overcame a lung collapse. But you can see hope in Max’s eyes. He’s a

real miracle Children’s Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Countless individuals, organizations and media partners unite with Children’s Miracle Network to help sick and injured kids. Donations create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that save and improve the lives of 17 million children each year—children just like Max.

Storytime, day 3

You have to wear THE HELMET! Written by Joe Acey

It’s here,” yelled Marti, racing into the kitchen. On the table was a big box. It was Marti’s birthday present from Uncle Jack. Marti’s birthday was three months ago, but that was Uncle Jack. Late, forgetful, and never on time. Uncle Jack was a scientist. His work was so interesting he sometimes forgot to eat. Uncle Jack had invented a voiceactivated remote control for his TV, and Marti’s mother was testing his microwave clothes dryer. Lately Uncle Jack had been working with virtual reality. Uncle Jack said this was like being inside a video game. Tearing open the box, Marti kept his fingers crossed for luck. He hoped it was what he’d asked Uncle Jack for. Marti had requested a skateboard. The box was big enough, and anyway Marti had already told his best friend Rodney it was coming. “Look at this,” said Marti, lifting the board from the box. It was just what he’d wanted. His fingers stroked the slick underside while his mother emptied the box. “Oh, thank you Uncle Jack,” said Marti. “It’s just what I wanted. Mom, look at the picture!” On the underside of the deck was a picture of flying geese that changed into fish at the bottom of the board. “That’s an M. C. Escher print,” said his mother. “Awesome! I have to show


From Ontario, Canada

Rod.” Marti headed for the door. “Not so fast. Uncle Jack also sent you elbow and knee pads and a helmet. If you’re going to ride that thing, you have to wear these. Understand?” “Okay. Now—can I go?” “Yes,” said Marti’s mother. “Don’t you want to read Uncle Jack’s card?” “Later, Mom,” said Marti, stuffing Uncle Jack’s card in his back pocket. Marti rolled the skateboard on the sidewalk. The yellow low rider wheels made the board sit close to the ground. The nose bone and trucks were yellow too. Martin thought his board must be the best in the neighborhood. Marti had used Rod’s board a few times, but now it was great to have his own wheels. “Marti!” yelled his mother. “Put on the helmet and pads and I mean NOW!” “Okay, okay,” Marti called as he stopped to put on the safety gear. He put on the Day-Glo yellow elbow and knee pads. He saw the helmet was different too, as he slipped it over his head. It had a bar across the chin and extra padding around the ears and neck. The helmet felt heavy and muffled sounds. Marti pushed his glasses up on his nose to fit them inside the helmet. Marti put his foot on the deck, ready to push off. The grip tape kept his shoe from slipping. Maybe he could talk his mother into some cool skater shoes like

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Rod had. The wheels hit a crack in the sidewalk and rather than fall, Marti quickly jumped off. Marti heard a skateboard coming. Maybe it was Rodney. He turned and looked. Marti couldn’t believe his eyes. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. This time he stared at the skater. He skated closer for a better look. “Right!” Marti laughed. He saw an ostrich on a skateboard down the block. The ostrich was skating slaloms, weaving back and forth. Marti was so surprised that he lost his balance and rolled in the grass. The pads protected his elbows and knees. Unbelievable thought Marti as he got back on his board. Now Marti saw a hippopotamus doing 180 kick turns. “How does he do that?” Marti stood on the tail of his board. He kicked off in a circular motion. Wow, he was doing it—a tailspin! “I guess that trick isn’t so hard after all. Just wait till I show Rod.” Marti stooped under a low branch that was hanging over the sidewalk. Thunk! It snapped against his helmet. Now Marti saw a giraffe doing ollies. Marti stopped to sit in the grass. He took off the helmet to see if the limb had done any damage. The giraffe disappeared. “WOW!,” said Marti. He reached into his pocket for Uncle Jack’s letter. Marti knew Uncle Jack must have had something to do with all the appearing and disappearing of skateboarding animals. “Marti,” it said, “be sure to always wear the helmet! Helmets are not for sissies. They are for smart people who don’t want to get hurt. So, to help you enjoy

wearing the helmet, I spiced it up a bit. Hope you enjoy the different animals. There are twelve!” signed, Uncle Jack. Just as Marti finished reading the letter, Rodney skated by. “Hey your board finally came.” “Isn’t it awesome?” asked Marti. “Yeah. Will you let me ride it? Check it out?” “Sure,” said Marti. “There’s just one thing. If you’re going to ride my board, you have to wear the helmet.” “Helmets are for sissies,” said Rod. “Well, that’s the deal. I promised my mom.” “Oh, all right.” Rod reached for the helmet. As the helmet slipped over Rod’s head, Marti smiled. “Oh, and by the way,” he said. “This isn’t your average helmet. Let’s skate!”

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Storytime, day 4

Pixie Power Written by Trudee Law

“Our old leader, Onewing, has ridden on a moonbeam to the new realm,” said Spritz. “Moonbeam leaves have sprouted to celebrate his journey.” Spritz strutted around, “I’m sure to be made leader tomorrow, as I am very brave. I distract the squirrels so you can gather chestnuts,” she boasted. “No. I will be the leader,” said Winken. He flexed his small arm. “I’m the strongest pixie. I can fly while carrying five chestnuts.” A wee pixie cleared her throat, “Maybe I’ll be the leader,” said Teensy. The pixies all laughed until their cheeks turned red and their eyes watered. “Silly Teensy, you know the leader should be strong and brave. You’re far too tiny,” Spritz giggled. Teensy flew away. She wrapped herself in a moonbeam leaf and cried herself to sleep. When she awoke, the village was strangely quiet. Her violet eyes grew wide as she fluttered above the deep six-toed footprints in the ground. “Trolls made these footprints. They’ve captured everyone from the village,” Teensy thought. Her small body shook and her heart pounded in her chest. Would she have to save the pixies herself? All pixies knew that long ago, trolls used to kidnap pixies and steal the dust from their wings. The pixie dust made the trolls fly high above the ground, and once the dust was stolen from the pixies, they would begin to wither away. But the trolls hadn’t been seen for a very long time. She slowly approached the dark cave where the trolls lived. It smelled of rotten eggs and stinky troll feet. A green candle flickered on an old wooden table. The village pixies huddled together in a rusty birdcage.


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From Ontario, Canada

Teensy hid behind a large jug of bat’s milk. She watched as a troll bent over and ate some mushrooms that grew on the cave floor. Then he flopped down and soon was snoring peacefully. This was her chance. Teensy was as quiet as a butterfly as she landed beside the cage. “I’ve come to rescue you. Where’s the key?” she whispered. “One of the other trolls took it when he left the cave,” Winken said. Teensy thought a moment, “Maybe if everyone flew to the top of the cage you could lift it and fly home.” The pixies all beat their wings, but it was no use. The cage wouldn’t budge. Teensy’s body was so tiny she was able to squeeze into the cage. She hugged the pixies and they fluttered their wings together. As they did, a strange thing happened. The cage began to move. “Teensy made the difference,” cheered Winken. “We can fly the cage home now.” Suddenly there was a growl and the huge troll loomed above them. “Where do you think you’re going?” he said, lunging forward. Teensy popped out of the cage, landing on the ground. She used all her strength, to pick a tiny mushroom. She aimed and threw it like a bowling ball toward the ugly troll. He took one step, tripped and fell. His head landed firmly inside the jug of bat’s milk. Teensy quickly squeezed back into the cage and with her help the pixies flew home. Once there, Teensy found a bumble bee to pick the lock with its stinger. The pixies were finally free. In a grand ceremony the pixies bestowed the leadership of the village to their new hero…Teensy.

Storytime, day 5

Gone Fishing Written by Angela Matthews

“Now remember to sit still,” Dad explained again. “If you move too much, you could tip the boat.” “Then we’ll all end up in the water,” Taylor added. “I promise.” Sylvia nodded her head. “I’ll be still.” Sylvia’s mother stood on the shore looking doubtful. Sitting still had never been one of Sylvia’s strong points. “Okay, let’s check our supplies,” Dad said, clapping his hands together and sorting through the items already inside their fishing boat. “Oars.” “Check,” Taylor shouted. “Poles?” “Check.” “Tackle boxes?” “Check.” “Bucket?’ “Check.” “Bait?” “Check.” “Lifejackets?” Mom double checked everyone’s lifejacket, including Dad’s, before nodding her head. “Check.” “Okay,” Dad threw up his hands in excitement. “Everybody into the boat. It’s time for Sylvia’s first fishing trip!” The sun had barely shone its light over the horizon when everyone stepped carefully into the boat. “Let’s get those bluegill while they’re still too sleepy to get away,” The family floated smoothly down the lake. Excited, Sylvia let out a whoop and trailed her hands through the water. “Shush!” Dad whispered. “You need to keep quiet, Sylvia.” “So you don’t scare off all of the fish,” Taylor finished. “Okay,” Sylvia whispered back. Mom laughed quietly. “Quiet and still! Your two least favorite things. Still sure you can handle it?” Sylvia nodded silently, not thrilled so far. They rowed their small boat


From Michigan, USA

deeper into the lake, and Taylor let out the anchor. Sylvia picked up her own new, pink fishing pole. She had been practicing casting all week in the back yard. Now she could cast out her line really far! “Okay everybody, grab some bait,” Dad said. “I’ll help you, Sylvia, since it’s your first time.” “Maybe I don’t need any help,” she said, offended that her own father should automatically assume that she needed help. “Maybe you don’t,” he said, nodding his head in agreement. “But I need to show you the proper technique anyway.” “Okay,” Sylvia relented. “Once the hook is secure, we need to add the bait. Will you hand me one of those worms?” “Finally,” Sylvia sighed. She looked over each individual worm with great care. They all looked wonderful, of course, but Sylvia needed to pick just the right one. Toward the very bottom of the bucket, Sylvia found a worm that was the perfect size for her hand: not too fat and not too small, a just right, perfect worm. She picked him up gently and watched him crawl slowly on her palm before deciding. “This is the right one,” Sylvia finally said, nodding her head. “Okay,” Dad said. “Now give him here, and I can put him on the hook.” Sylvia looked at the hook. “The hook looks sharp,” she said. “Yes, you’re right. Hooks can be very sharp. That’s why we need to be extra careful.” Sylvia pulled her hand back and drew the worm closer to her body. “But won’t that hurt him?” Dad stared at her for a minute

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with his mouth open. When nothing helpful came out, he looked at his wife for help. “Honey?” Mom looked lost too. “We use worms as bait to lure the fish to our hooks. That’s how we catch them.” “That must hurt,” Sylvia decided quickly. “I’m not using Mitchell for bait,” she said. “Mitchell?” Mom asked. “My worm,” Sylvia said. “I won’t use Mitchell for bait. I’ll take care of him instead.” It wasn’t a question. Sylvia had no intention of using her new pet worm as bait to catch a fish. “I have lures in my tackle box,” Taylor suggested. “Perfect,” Mom and Dad said together. “The hook won’t hurt them,” Taylor said, “They’re rubber.” “Thanks,” Sylvia smiled at her brother. Dad finished baiting Sylvia’s hook, and she cast her line. “Wow,” she said, “look at that one. That one went really far!” “Shush!” Fishing required way too much quiet! Dad reeled in a big bluegill within a few minutes. “I knew you’d bring us luck today, Sylvia.” Sylvia smiled and admired the fish. His tiny scales glowed in the early morning light, shining blue, green, and silver. “He’s so beautiful,” Sylvia said. “Sure is,” Dad agreed, tossing the fish into the bucket half filled with lake water. Sylvia stared at the fish swimming in circles around the small bucket. Her pole lay forgotten at the bottom of the boat. “Tired of fishing already?” he asked. “I think I’d better keep an eye on Mitchell and the fish,” she said. After an hour or so, with several more fish in the bucket, Dad stretched out his arms over his head. “Time to head back for lunch?”

“Sounds good to me,” Mom said, rubbing her back. “Me too,” said Taylor. “I’m starving.” Sylvia nodded her head. “Mitchell and I are ready to go in too.” Taylor pulled in the anchor and started paddling back to shore. “Aren’t we forgetting the fish?” Sylvia asked. “We have the fish right here.” “Yes, but shouldn’t we throw them back in now?” Everyone looked at each other, blinking. How would they explain this? “Well, you see,” Mom started. “We usually keep the fish,” Dad added. “We keep them?” Sylvia asked, smiling. “Can I name them?” “We eat them,” Taylor said, hungry and tired. “We clean them and cook them for lunch. You love fish!” Sylvia looked at the fish, blinking. “No, I don’t think we should eat the fish,” she finally said. “I think we should throw them back.” Everyone sat in silence. “Let’s have crackers and cheese for lunch,” Sylvia suggested, smiling. Dad sighed, disappointed but understanding. “That’s a very good idea, Sylvia. Let’s throw back the fish and eat crackers with cheese for lunch.” Taylor bit his lip and threw the bucket of fish back into the lake. “I’m very hungry,” he said, rowing back to shore. Mom and Dad both laughed. “We’ll have a picnic anyway, even without the fish.” “Oh, yes,” said Sylvia. “I wonder if worms like crackers with cheese.”

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Storytime, day 6

The Princess, the Knight

and the Dragon

Written by Lance O. Redding

Come, children, and listen, as I tell you a tale of a beautiful princess, a fire-breathing dragon, and the brave knight who tried to save her, but really just got in the way... It all started one sunny day. You see, the sun had just come out for the first time in two weeks. Before that, it had just been non-stop rain. So, naturally, Brietta (that’s our beautiful princess) wanted to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. She longed to pick the flowers that had grown so tall and strong. Flowers, and all plants in fact, love rain, so they had been growing and growing and growing some more. They were taller than Brietta had ever seen them! But Brietta was not the only one who was feeling cooped up after two weeks of rain! No sir! A dragon named Bruce was also very tired of being stuck in his dark cave. He wanted to get out and stretch his wings, hunt for some fat cows (cows always tasted best), and most of all, make friends. He was lonely, and he was tired of being lonely. He walked outside his cave and stretched his wings. Boy, did it feel good! His scales glimmered and glistened in the bright sunlight, and he couldn’t help but smile. Today, he thought, I will find my new friend! Meanwhile, Brietta was also outside, basking in the warm glow of the sun and enjoying the sweet melody of the animals all around. She heard a noise that made her turn around, and then she saw a knight in shining armor as he rode up on his tall stallion.


From Utah, USA

“Ho, fair maiden!” he said. “Oh, don’t ‘ho’ me, James,” said Brietta. “Can’t you talk normal for once? Now, I’m trying to enjoy the sunlight and you’re blocking its rays. Please take a few steps back.” James willingly obliged. “Brietta,” he said. “Can’t we play knights and princesses again? And dragons? Like the old days?” Brietta rolled her eyes. “James,” she said. “That was, like, forever ago! You really should grow up, you know!” “Ah, but what a pity that would be,” proclaimed James in a loud voice. “For I AM a knight, and you ARE a fair princess. And one day, I WILL save you!” Then he looked at her and, in his normal voice, said, “So, doesn’t it sort of make sense that we pretend... er, I mean, practice?” Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a big red dragon streaked through the sky and plucked Princess Brietta up into the air. Brietta let out a shrill cry. “Heeeellllp.” Her voice trailed off, leaving James all alone. James was stunned. Could it be? Could this really be happening? Yes, by golly, it was! His lucky day had finally come! Now, he could prove his worthiness of the knighthood and, best of all, he could win the hand of the girl he loved! “Hi-ya!” he commanded his horse, and in an instant they were gone, racing over the rolling green hills and meadows that lay between him and the evil dragon’s lair. The dragon looked down at his new play-friend he was holding as they flew. He didn’t understand why

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she kept making those awful, highpitched sounds. It was like she didn’t enjoy flying, which couldn’t be true, of course, because flying was the best thing in the whole world! Still, the noise was getting awfully annoying, so he finally stopped in a large meadow and gently set his blond-haired playmate down. After breathing heavily for a few minutes, the girl looked up at the dragon. “Just what in the world do you think you’re doing, Mr. Dragon?!” asked the girl. “Don’t you know who I am? How dare you treat a princess like this?!” The dragon hung his head in shame. He didn’t like being yelled at. A big tear swelled up in his eye, and even though he didn’t like to cry in front of other people, he just couldn’t help it. The girl saw the tear and she stopped her stomping back-and-forth. “Oh, don’t cry!” she said. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. Dragon. I didn’t mean to upset you...” Brietta walked up to the dragon and patted his leg. “There, there, it’s OK. Why don’t you tell me what you’re feeling in he was, and how he didn’t have any friends because all the other animals were scared he just wanted to eat them, which, he admitted, was mostly true - but still, how was he ever to make any longlasting friends? All the other dragons were gone, and that was why he had taken Brietta. “I picked you because you were so much prettier than all the other animals,” said the dragon. “Won’t you be my friend?” Well, Brietta loved hearing how pretty she was, and she was also very moved by the dragon’s sad story. She had always loved animals, but her parents always told her “no” when she asked if she could have a pet. This time, though, she was going to have a pet dragon, and there wasn’t anything her mom and dad could do to stop her!

That’s when Brietta noticed James. He was still riding his horse, albeit quite a bit more slowly, and he was heading straight for them. Secretly, it made her smile to see how devoted he was to her. “Dragon,” she said. “Can you do me a favor?” “Yes, my friend,” said the dragon. “Anything for you!” “Here comes my boyfriend... He’s had this boyhood dream about killing a dragon. Now, I don’t want you to worry, because he doesn’t have a sword, and honestly, there’s not a lot he can do to hurt you because you’re so much bigger and stronger than he is. But if you don’t mind, could you let him wrestle you around a bit, and pretend like he’s bested you? It would make his day.” And so, they all got what they wanted that day. Princess Brietta found a new pet (even though her parents hated it), Sir James got to defeat his dragon (though sometimes he wondered if the dragon had really given in), and Bruce, the dragon, made two new friends.

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Storytime, day 7

My Little Brother Written by Dulcinea Norton-Smith

From Lancashire, UK

My little brother annoys me. He cries all the time and it makes my ears hurt. But...... Sometimes I tickle his feet. Then he giggles. That makes me Iaugh. Silly baby! My little brother annoys me. Mommy spends too much time making his bottles of baby milk and I get bored. But...... I tried one once and it was really, really yucky. He has to drink yucky bottles and that makes me laugh. Yucky baby! My little brother annoys me. His nappies are so smelly that they make my eyes water. Poopy! But...... Sometimes when Mommy changes his nappy he goes poopoo on her. That makes me laugh. Stinky baby! My little brother annoys me. Everyone who looks at him says “isn’t he beautiful” “oh how cute” But..... I think he has a nose like a pig, ears like an elephant and eyes like a frog. That makes me laugh. Froggy baby! My little brother annoys me. He dribbles on everything. Usually on my toys. It makes them gooey. But......


Sometimes when we go shopping he is sick on Mommy’s top. That makes me laugh. Sicky baby! My little brother annoys me. He gets to eat yummy porridge all day long. But....... I get to eat pizza and chips and carrots and apples. He can’t eat anything fun because he has no teeth. That makes me laugh. No teeth baby! My little brother annoys me. My mommy tells me not to splash him in the bath because it makes him sad. But...... When he gets out I get extra bubble bath and my mummy lets me splash as much as I want. That makes us all laugh. No bubbles baby! My little brother annoys me. Mommy gives him all of my old toys. That makes me jealous.

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But..... That means that I get new toys. I have nice new toys but he just has old boring toys. That makes me laugh. Old toy baby! My little brother annoys me. When we go out everyone looks at him and ignores me. That makes me really bored. But..... That means that I can cause mischief and wipe chocolate on Mommy’s skirt when she isn’t looking. That makes me really laugh. Boring baby! My little brother annoys me. He crashes into my ankles in his baby walker. It hurts me and makes me shout “OUCH”! But....... When Mommy isn’t watching I push his baby walker as fast as I can. That makes us both laugh. Speedy baby! My little brother annoys me. He sleeps in a crib in Mommy’s room. But....... I get to stay up much later than him and read books with Mummy. That makes me happy and makes me laugh. Go to bed baby! My little brother annoys me. He just looks and looks at me all of the time. Mommy said that it is because he loves me very much. Do you know what? I guess I love him too. Even if he is annoying! My baby!

New Baby A new baby in the house is a big adjustment for everyone, including the older children. Here are a few tips to help the new “big brother” or “big sister” adjust to life with the new addition: 1) Manage Expectations Don’t give the older sibling the impression that the new baby will be an instant playmate. Help big sister understand that for the first little while, the baby will need lots of sleep and won’t be much fun to play with... yet! 2) Establish Routines As much as possible, try to keep the same routines and activites constant for the older child, and make an effort to spend time with the new big brother in a one-on-one setting. This will help him feel more secure, and help to avoid any undue hostility towards the new baby. Introducing a new baby in the home is a process that begins as soon as baby is on the way, so start early, and enjoy your growing family!

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Storytime, day 8

The Nightingale Kingdom Written by Emily Parkes

“Jemima, aren’t you going to eat your dinner?” I didn’t have much of an appetite. I missed my old house. “Mum, I don’t like this silly old cottage. It’s small, my room is really poky, and the floor boards make creaky sounds. I don’t even know why we had to move here in the first place.” I did, really, but it still wasn’t fair. Just because my mum had gotten a new job in a totally different place, didn’t mean that my life had to be turned upside down. I took my little notebook out of my pocket and flicked through the pages. I had tried to draw every part of my lovely old house before we left. I loved drawing. I decided I couldn’t finish my dinner, so I went to play outside. Stepping out of the back door, I made my way down the little stone path towards a tiny stream at the bottom of the garden. The surface of the water sparkled like little tiny diamonds in the sunshine. Suddenly, I noticed a tiny wooden bridge stretching over the stream, covered in emerald coloured ivy. It looked very old. All I could see on the other side of the bridge was a large hedgerow, so high it seemed to touch the puffy clouds floating in the sky. “There must be something on the other side.” I said to myself. I turned back to look at the house. I was sure my mum wouldn’t mind if I took a closer peek. I made


From Alton, Hampshire, UK

my way over the bridge and jumped down the last few steps onto a small patch of grass. “Well”, I said to myself, “there’s certainly nothing exciting here. This silly old bridge doesn’t lead anywhere!” I felt very disappointed indeed. As I began to turn back towards the bridge, I suddenly caught a glimpse of something out the corner of my eye. It looked like wood. The same ancient, muddy coloured wood that the bridge was made from, only it was hidden behind more coiled Ivy and leaves in the hedgerow. I moved closer to try and see what it was, there were so many leaves and branches in the way. Leaning towards the door I carefully pulled some of the ivy out of the way. I had to snap a few twigs but managed to get rid of most of the leaves as well. I could see it now. The wood went high above my head and right down to the ground. I spotted something that looked like a round wooden door handle. If I wasn’t mistaken, this big bit of wood was a secret door. “Wow,” I gasped. Engraved into the wood were hundreds of tiny flowers. They were beautiful. Without thinking, I reached for the round wooden door handle, gave it a turn and a big push, but nothing. I pushed a little harder. Maybe I was just not pushing hard enough, but still the door did not open. Crouching down on the grass, being careful not to get my dress

dirty, I had a closer look. There, just below the door handle, I could see a tiny hole. A key hole. I flopped down on the bottom step of the bridge, cupping my face in my hands. I didn’t have a key. What was I supposed to do now? I glanced at the flowers carved into the door; they were so pretty. Tugging the little notebook and pencil out of my pocket, I began to draw. After I’d drawn the flowers, I drew a door around them with a little round door handle and when I had finished that I drew the bridge, with the ivy twisting and turning everywhere. I started a new page and began to draw a key, only this drawing was from my imagination. It was silver with little stones running down the side. I tore the page out and held it up to the sun, imagining that the stones were bright red rubies as red as juicy strawberries. It was the loveliest key I had ever seen. Too bad it wasn’t real. Tucking my notebook back into my pocket, I made my way back over the bridge, holding the paper key tightly. All of a sudden a great gust of wind whooshed past me and blew the piece of paper right out of my hand. ‘Oh no!’ I cried, leaning over the side of the bridge trying to catch it before it was out of reach, but it was too late. My lovely paper key softly floated down to the stream and landed gently on the surface. It wasn’t long before it had disappeared out of sight beneath the sparkly, diamond topped water. I ran round to the edge of the stream and sat there for a minute or two feeling a bit sorry for myself. I caught my reflection in the water, my curly red ringlets hung down around my freckle- covered face. I looked over at the place where my paper key had drifted into the water. All I could see were lots of tiny

pebbles sitting at the bottom; it was quite shallow. I was about to get up to leave, when suddenly something glinted from the bottom of the stream. Something was wedged in between two of the pebbles. I carefully reached down into the water. My fingers scrambled around in the pebbles. I knew when I had found whatever it was I had seen. It was cooler than the pebbles and felt very slender and delicate. I clasped my hand around it and pulled my arm above the water. The cold droplets of water trickled down my arm as I

slowly opened my hand. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. I blinked twice, convinced I was seeing things, but it was still there. Right in the middle of my palm sat a very small, very beautiful silver key and running down its side were four rubies as red as strawberries, just as I’d imagined in my drawing. I must be dreaming! The key that I had just drawn had come to life. Without a second thought I jumped to my feet and ran across the bridge towards the secret wooden door. Butterflies fluttered

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Storytime, day 8 continued

around inside my tummy. What was I about to find? What would the door lead to? There was only one way to find out. I gently pushed the key into the keyhole. It was a perfect fit. I twisted a curl of hair around my finger as I clicked the key round and turned the door handle. With a quiet creak, the door slowly began to open. I peeped out from behind the door. I couldn’t believe my eyes. In front of me were the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen, but not just any old flowers. These were as tall as me, if not taller. There was every flower in every colour you could think of. The grass was pink as were the clouds hanging in the perfectly blue sky. This looked like something out of my story books. I stood perfectly still not knowing quite what to do, when all of a sudden a large insect flew out of the flowers and headed straight for me. Or was it an insect? For the second time in the last few minutes I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Flying towards me, wearing a deep purple and green dress, with flowers entwined in her shiny brown hair and two perfectly symmetrical, glittering wings, was something I had only seen in my dreams. “You must be Jemima,” she said cheerfully, stopping right in front of my face. “You’re a, you’re a….a fairy,” I managed to say “That’s right,” she giggled. “But you can call me Jasmine. We have been waiting for you Jemima.” “You have?” I was speechless. “The cottage has been empty for years,” said Jasmine. “But we had been told that a little girl named Jemima had moved in, I knew it was


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only a matter of time before you found us.” “You, you did?” I managed to say. Jasmine giggled again. Her laughter sounded like a hundred tiny bells chiming quietly. It made me giggle as well. “You’d better be getting back. It’s getting late now and your mother will be worried. But be sure to come back soon.” Jasmine made to fly away back into the mass of flowers. “Jasmine,” I said. “What is this place?” I asked before she disappeared. She turned elegantly and glanced back at me, “This is The Nightingale Kingdom, Jemima, a very special and magical place,” Jasmine replied. She gave me a dazzling smile before gracefully flying out of sight around the stem of a beautiful pink lily. I turned back towards the bridge and locked the door behind me. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. “Jemima, Jemima!” I heard my mum calling from the house, “Time for bed now, its getting dark.” I walked back up the crooked stone path and took one last look at the ruby key, just to make sure I hadn’t imagined it all. It was still there, rubies still as red as strawberries. A huge smile spread across my face. I had just found a secret fairy kingdom at the bottom of my new back garden. I felt the familiar flutter of butterflies in my tummy as I thought of all the adventures I would have. Maybe this new place wasn’t going to be so bad after all.

Heres just what EVERY MOM needs:

MORE THINGS TO DO. (stop laughing for a moment)

Check out for upcoming events, destinations and activites for your family.

Buy your UtahMama’s Handbook online!

Connect at

Storytime, day 9

The Alien Visitor A Story Game™ story

Written by Wiliam Thabiso

Once, in a beautiful kingdom, there lived a King and Queen. They were actually in the middle of living happily ever after – and they were very happy because they had each other. Also they had a lovely castle surrounded by rolling grassy hills, very tall trees, and mountains in the distance. They even had a big lake where the Queen’s beautiful white swans loved to swim. One day, while the King and Queen were taking a nap, they heard a very loud noise. Their castle was rumbling, but there was a bigger noise that was making it rumble! They ran to look out the window and saw a very, very big spaceship. It was coming down slowly out of the sky and landing out in one of the grassy fields. The King and Queen could hardly believe their eyes as they watched a door on the spaceship open and a little alien come out! They quickly put on their crowns and ran down to meet the alien. “Hello.” he said as he bowed to each of them. The Queen said “Oh isn’t he a polite little alien!” Then the alien said, “I have been watching your earth, and I must tell you that the thing I love the most are those beautiful white birds on the lake.” The Queen gasped in surprise – she hoped he wouldn’t take them away from her! “They’re called swans,” she said, rather nervously.


From Utah, USA

He continued, “So, I have brought you a gift, for which I hope you will give me two of those lovely swans.” He said the word slowly, trying to make the right sound. The King replied, “Well, let’s see what you brought.” So they all walked out to the spaceship, where a much bigger door began to open. As they got closer they saw something coming down the ramp. It had a long gray nose that looked more like a bendy tree trunk, two long white pointy things (like horns, but on the front of the animals face instead of the top of its head), and very large ears. All these things were surprising to the king and queen – they had never seen anything like this animal. They also couldn’t believe how big the animal was! Its legs were as big as trees and its body was as big as a barn! Then, out came ten more! No wonder the spaceship was so big! Finally, when all of the elephants (that’s what the alien said the animals were called) were standing in the grass, the alien said, “I will give you all eleven of these elephants, if you will give me two of your beautiful swans. You can use these elephants for many things like gardening, travelling, and reaching up high. They are not as beautiful as the swans, I know, but I think you will come to love them also. They are very gentle and kind.” After thinking for a minute the King said, “Why don’t you come inside and stay with us tonight while

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we think about your offer. I’m not quite sure where we could keep these animals, and if we decide to keep them, I would like you to teach us more about caring for them.” So they all went in the castle and enjoyed a lovely dinner, with games afterward. The next morning the king and queen met with the little alien again. They said, “We have decided that we will accept your offer. “ Over the next few days the alien taught the King and Queen all about elephants, and the King and Queen taught the alien all about swans. After the alien went back home, the King and Queen soon discovered that now they were living even more happily ever after! This story was written using the Story Game™ cards shown below:


The Story Game

The Alien Visitor is a story that was written using the Story Game cards from the September issue! The Story Game is a fun game that helps kids and parents come up with new stories, any time, anywhere. To play the Story Game, simply cut out the cards provided in each issue, then stick them on a cardboard backing or laminate them, to preserve their life. Don’t forget, you can make your own cards, too! Next, put all the cards in a hat or box and let each person of the family choose a card. The goal of the game is to make up a story using each card pulled from the hat! A couple of variations for telling a Story Game story are as follows: 1 - Choose all the cards first, and have mom or dad tell the story using all the cards chosen in the beginning. This works especially well at bedtime. 2 - Tell the story in a circle, and “pass” the story to the next person. When it’s the next persons turn, that person then chooses a card and must work that card into the story. 3 - Combination: Dad or mom starts the story with cards pulled at the beginning, and then, as the story progresses, each child takes turns pulling a new card from the hat. Mom or dad now has to work the new card into the story. For this month’s new Story Game cards, go to page 124. And don’t forget to submit your new stories to knowonder!

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Storytime, day 10

Happy Town Written by Dulcinea Norton-Smith


From Lancashire, UK

Welcome all to Happy Town. Come along and look around.

He teaches children how to draw and how to count and spell.

Here is Pam the policewoman, she’ll help you if you’re lost.

When you grow up and go to school he will teach you as well.

She’ll help you find your mum and dad so they do not get cross.

Let’s help builder Becky. She builds houses and walls.

She also catches burglars and puts them into jail.

Towers, castles, sheds and schools; she can build them all.

“Boo hoo” they cry “please let us out. We will be good,” they wail.

In her yellow hat and coat you can see her on her site.

Here’s Dorothy the doctor and whenever you are ill,

When she builds your special home she’ll work both day and night.

She’ll look into your ears and throat then heal you with a pill.

Let’s wave to Shaun the sailor, who sails on the high seas.

Sometimes she will say “You’ll be fine but maybe if you’re wise,

He carries food across the world like mangoes, plums and peas.

“You will stop eating all those sweets and take some exercise”.

He waves to whales and smiles at sharks as his ship sails along,

Here is Fred the fireman and water is his friend.

And as he sails he whistles loud, and sings a sailor’s song.

When he sees a big fire, he puts it to an end.

There is Bert the baker. He makes dough and bread.

When cats are stuck up in a tree or people in a tower,

He wears a clean white apron and a hat upon his head.

His handy ladder helps him out just like a super power.

He makes buns, chocolate éclairs and lots of tasty treats.

Here is Tim the teacher and he knows many things.

Take him smiles and money and get a cake to eat.

Why cats have fur and fish have scales and why all birds have wings

Let’s visit Ben the bookshop man who helps us find good stories,

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Of circus clowns and pirate ships and thrilling tales of glory. Tales of fun and legends of old and picture books large and small. Dragons, fairies, witches and wolves, he has tales of them all.

ACTIVITY: Who are the people in your neighborhood? Have you lived in your neighborhood for years but still don’t know many people there? Have you been meaning to get out more and connect with more people in your neighborhood and city? Here are some tips for easy ways to get out and get to know your neighbors. 1) Take a Walk - You’d be surprised at how many social opportunities can present themselves to you simply by taking a stroll around your neighborhood. Get out, nod and say hello to everyone that you pass; greet people watering their lawns, washing their cars, or just standing around

Last to Hank the hairdresser to keep your hair nice and neat. Say “hello”, put on a gown and sit down in his seat. Watch him in the mirror as his scissors snip, snip, snip. When your hair is tidy, then off you can skip, skip, skip.

2) Patronize Local Businesses Stopping at the local donut shop on your way to work or hitting up the local barbershop for a trim present ample opportunities to get to know and establish new friendships with people in your neighborhood. The goal is to be a frequent customer so you can build up a rapport with the staff as well as the customers.

Its getting late, the shops are closed, the sun is going down.

3) Check out the Parks Neighborhood parks can be great places to socialize and meet new people. Talk with other dog walkers, or joggers, or other familiar faces; who knows what could develop!

It’s time to say goodnight now and hello to Mr Moon.

Source: more-people-neighborhood.html

So now you’ve met our busy friends and looked around our town,

I hope you had a lovely day and come back really soon.

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Storytime, day 11

The bad case of “need-an-adventure-itis” Written by Ivy Walker

“Mom, I’m bored!” Chase said one cold winter day. The snow had drifted high outside their front door, meaning he would have to play inside today. “Go play with your brother,” mom called from the kitchen. Chase could hear the water running as mom did the dishes. “Tanner’s not any fun,” Chase complained. He lay on the living room floor and stared at the ceiling. All Tanner wanted to do was put together puzzles, and Chase did not like puzzles. “Go find your dinosaurs, then,” mom said, turning on the dishwasher. “They don’t have any batteries,” Chase complained. Mom came into the room, drying her hands on a dishtowel. She cocked her head and said “It sounds like we have a case of ‘need-anadventure-itis’. “What?” Chase asked, rolling over to look at her. He had never heard of that before. “Need-an-adventure-itis,” she said again. “It’s pretty common for little boys to get on cold snowy days,” “Do I have it?” he asked. “Yep. A raging case of it,” she grinned, and tousled his hair. Chase relaxed a little bit. If it was something dreadful, mom wouldn’t be smiling. But still he wondered. “How do I get rid of it?” he asked. “You have to find the antidote – the cure.”


From Sandy, UT, USA

“Oh, I get it,” said Chase. “What is the antidote for ‘neenanadventruitis’?” She bent down low and whispered in his ear. “I have a sneaky feeling it’s upstairs, hiding in your closet.” Chase’s eyes lit up. “In my closet?” he asked. “Yep. It’s something green. Go find it.” Chase dashed up the stairs to his bedroom. Something green. Something green. He tore into his closet. He found a small, squishy green frog that he had gotten from McDonald’s last week. He dashed down the stairs with it, to find mom waiting for him in the living room. “Is this it?” he asked, breathlessly. Mom reached out and put her hand to his forehead. “Hmm,” she said. “I don’t think that’s it. Go find something else.” Chase pounded back up the stairs. Something green. Something green. He reached even farther into his closet and pulled out a dark green shoe box full of building blocks. He opened it up. He stuck a few together. Then he remembered what he was looking for. Down the stairs he raced, bringing the box to mom, who was down in the basement sewing on her noisy sewing machine. “Is this it, mom?” He held up the box for her to examine. She took it from him, looked at it closely, and then said “Stick out your

tongue and say ‘ahhh’.” “Ahhhh,” said Chase. “Hmm,” said mom. “I don’t think that’s it either. Better go try again.” Feeling a little discouraged, Chase once more ran up the stairs. How was he ever going to find the antidote? He didn’t even know what he was looking for. All he knew was that it was green. He got to the main floor and saw Tanner, still putting puzzles together. He suddenly had a very good idea. Four hands would be a lot faster than two hands. “Tanner, come help me! I need to find the antidote!” he called as he raced up the second flight of stairs to his room. Tanner looked up from his puzzle and his eyes lit up. He wasn’t quite sure what Chase was up to, but Chase was excited, so it must be fun. He put down his puzzle pieces and clambered up the stairs after his older brother. Chase was digging through his closet when Tanner came into the room. “Tanner, you look over there, and I’ll look over here,” came the voice from deep inside the closet. “What are we looking for, Chase?” “Something green. I don’t know what it is, but it’s something green.” They dug through the toys for a few minutes, then Tanner held up something for Chase to see. “Is this green?” he asked. Chase looked out of the closet. Tanner held up a long plastic sword. “No, Tanner, that’s a sword. That’s gold.” “Oh.” Maybe Tanner wouldn’t be so much help after all. He was only two and a half. Chase pulled the next thing out of his closet and held it up. It was

his pirate hat! He hadn’t seen this in forever! He happily put it on his head, and suddenly he was Captain Chase looking for buried treasure. “Arrrgh, Tanner, help me find me treasure,” he growled at his brother. Tanner giggled and poked Chase with the sword he’d found earlier. Chase picked up a nearby foam bat, and ran over to the bed. He climbed up it and yelled “You’ll never catch me, you bad pirate!” Tanner jumped up on the bed with him and the two of them started a sword fight. Clang, Clang, Clang, went the swords. Squawk, Squawk, Squawk went the seagulls. Swish, Swish, Swish went the ocean. Chase poked Tanner in the stomach,

and Tanner fell to the bed, laughing. “You’ll never have me treasure,” Chase crowed. “What treasure?” Tanner asked. Oh yeah, thought Chase. I need to decide what my treasure is. He jumped off the bed with a thud and began rifling through the toys that he had pulled from his closet. “Aha!” he said, picking up his stuffed elephant. “This is my treasure! Now I need to bury it! Tanner, come help me dig!” The two boys began digging farther and farther into their closet. When they got to the very back, they placed the stuffed elephant in

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Storytime, day 11 continued

the corner and piled lots of toys on top of it. “Now, we need a map so we can find it again,” said Chase. He dashed downstairs to find the markers and a piece of paper. He sat down at the kitchen table and Tanner came to join him. They both drew maps, and Chase remembered to mark his with a big green ‘X’. ‘X marks the spot’ was the one thing he knew for sure about treasure maps. He laid his map down on the table to admire his work. Then, suddenly, the big green X reminded him that he was supposed to be searching for something green for an antidote! Hopefully it wasn’t too late! He grabbed his map and raced off to find his mom. She was in the bedroom, folding a pile of laundry. “Mom, is this the antidote?” he asked, holding up the map. She took it from him and smiled. She felt his forehead. “Hmm,” she said. “Stick out your tongue and say ‘aaaah’.” Chase obeyed and said “’Aaaah’,” “Hmm,” she said. “I think you’re on the mend. That pesky ‘need-anadventure-itis’ looks like it’s headed for the hills. There’s just one more question I have before I can say you’re cured.” “What?” Chase asked. “Did you have an adventure today?” Chase thought back over his morning. He smiled. “I did, mom! Tanner and I played pirates. We even buried treasure!” “I see you even made a treasure map,” mom said, smiling. “Yeah, and mine has a big green X, see?” “Well, Chase, I think you’re


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officially cured. No more need-anadventure-itis for you!” “Hooray!” shouted Chase. “Now, I need help. I have ‘don’twanna-fold-the-laundry-itis’” mom said. “Don’t worry, mom. I can help,” said Chase. “We can make it an adventure.”

TREASURE HUNT Activity Ideas...

Some easy ways to make a tresure hunt for your kids can include: Draw clue pictures that lead the child from one room or household object to another, ending at the “buried treasure” -- perhaps a candy bar or a quarter. Hide each penny from a fifty-cent roll all over the house and yard. Kids will be occupied for a while making sure they’ve found all of the lost “gold.” Make a treasure map and mark out distances and directions in “paces.” Be sure to remember that kids’ steps are smaller than yours!

Storytime, day 12

Nattie’s Adventure Written by Lance O. Redding

Nattie was a little black bear cub. She was just a little kid, as far as bears were concerned, and like all little kids, she loved to explore! One day, Nattie was playing in the forest just outside her family’s cave. Her mother was fishing at the river so they could all have dinner later that day, and so Nattie decided to do some more exploring, since it was her favorite thing to do. She explored the meadow, then the river where it wasn’t too deep, then an old tree that had fallen over and had lots of bugs crawling in and under it, and she even explored a family of beetles that was making it’s way to a new home on the other side of the meadow. She stopped at the edge of the meadow, though, cause Mama always told her it was dangerous in the forest, and never to go in there alone. She turned around and went back to exploring in the meadow, but after a couple more minutes, she sat down and realized that she had explored all these things before, and it suddenly seemed to her that there was nothing new to see! She told her brother what she was feeling. “Ah, you’re just bored,” he said. “Happens all the time. When you’re bigger, though, you get to catch fish in the deep part of the river, you get to go on your own into the forest... life gets a lot more fun and interesting when you grow up!” Well, Nattie didn’t want to wait that long to have fun again! She decided that what she needed was a new friend to play with. She looked around the meadow at all the other 38

From Utah, USA

bears, but they were either already her friends, or they were too old to play and romp and run and wrestle with. She turned her head to look the other way, when suddenly a bright, orange, yellow, and blackstriped butterfly landed right on her nose! She was so surprised that she jumped back, which surprised the butterfly. He flew up in the air, but instead of flying away, he gently floated down with soft, light flaps of his wings, and landed on Nattie’s nose again. Nattie could feel his teeny, tiny feet as they moved on her nose. It tickled, and made her giggle. It also made her need to sneeze. She tried to keep it in, but the sneeze just kept growing and growing and growing inside her, until finally, it burst out into the open air. “Aaachooo!” This time, the butterfly did fly away! He must have been very scared from such a loud noise, thought Nattie. She felt bad, and didn’t want to lose her new friend. So she followed the butterfly as he glided on the soft summer breeze. What Nattie didn’t realize, though, was that the butterfly was flying away from the meadow, and straight into the forest! She followed the butterfly as fast as she could, but he was a very fast butterfly. The warm breeze carried him up, up and away over the tops of the trees until she couldn’t see him anymore. Suddenly, she realized that she was all alone, in the middle of the forest, and she didn’t know which way to go to get back

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to her mom! Little Nattie was scared for about three seconds, but then she said to herself, “Nattie, don’t be a sissy.” That’s what her brother always said to her when she fell and got hurt and wanted to cry. “Be brave, like me!” he would say. She decided to do just that! But what do brave people do? she wondered. Her tummy rumbled. That’s it, she thought. Brave people always find food to eat! She sniffed the grass and sniffed the trees, but nothing smelled very good. She looked around and wondered which way to turn, but no direction looked better than the other, so she just went the direction she was facing, and kept sniffing for food. Soon, she saw some berries that were a deep red. She had never seen berries like this, but they sure smelled good! She touched one of the berries with her tongue as if it were as fragile as the butterfly. She didn’t want to smash it and get it all over her mouth if it wasn’t really yummy. But as soon as her tongue touched the berry, the zingy flavor raced through her body and she knew she would never be satisfied with normal berries again! She sat down and gobbled up as many berries as she could find on the berry bush, then she went on the other side of the bush and found even more. Her tummy growled again. “I want more!” it said, and she giggled, because she wanted more, too. She explored around the area and soon found another bush. It was even bigger than the first bush, which made her tummy very happy! Again, she ate and ate, and red berry juice got all over her paws and mouth as she tried to get every last berry off the bush.

When all the berries were gone, her tummy told her “thank you,” and she laid down in the grass to lick the berry-juice off her paws. She rolled on her back and looked up into the sky. The warm sun shone through the tall forest trees in beautiful rays of light. She felt so cozy and comfortable that she wondered why her mother had ever said the forest was a dangerous place. It didn’t seem dangerous to her! Instead, it seemed like a magical place, and she never wanted to leave. Until she woke up. When she woke up, it was dark. Night had fallen and the day was gone. She looked around in fright, because she didn’t know where she was! After a moment, she realized she was in the forest, by the berry bushes, but it didn’t look like the same, lovely forest anymore. Now, it looked scary and frightening. She cried out in fear, and started to cry. “Oh, what’s all this fuss about,” said a voice above her. “Whoooo are you?” Nattie looked up and saw an owl. “My name is Nattie, Mr. Owl, and I’m lost. Can you help me find my Mama?” The owl nodded his head. “Follow me,” he said, and lept off the branch with his wings open wide. Nattie followed him as he led her out of the forest and to the meadow. When Mama saw her, she cried out with joy. “Oh, Nattie, there you are! We were so worried about you!” Nattie ran to her Mama and they hugged tight for ten whole minutes. “I thought exploring on my own would be fun, Mama, but I promise to never go off without you, again!” Mama smiled and hugged Nattie close, and they both went into the cave to sleep where Nattie felt safe.

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Storytime, day 13

The Monkey and the airplane

Written by Johann Troskie

Once there was a little monkey who lived in a very tall tree, in a very large forest. His tree, though, was on the edge of the forest, and from the top of it, he could look out over a fence and onto the runway of a large airport, where planes landed and took off, every day! The monkey loved to watch the planes land and take off. Sometimes he sat for hours and hours, just watching. His friends and parents all thought he was a bit odd. “Don’t look at those people machines,” his father would say. “There’s nothing there for us. We can’t eat those things, even if they do look like big bananas.” Or Mother would say, “Son, come down and play with your friends. You’re not making enough noise, today.” Even his friends tried to get him to come down by offering him snacks, games and even the first ride on a new log they wanted to push down a big hill. All these things sounded like a lot of fun, and normally, the little monkey would have been gone in a flash to play with his friends. But today was different. Today, the little monkey had decided that he was going to go look at the airplanes up close, and see what made them fly! They didn’t flap their wings, like birds, so how could they stay up in the air? Well, he was going to find out, and today was the day to do it. The little monkey climbed down his tree, and without even asking permission or looking back, he ran over to the big fence, climbed up


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one side and down the other, and ran across the runway to where a big, brown airplane was sitting. He looked around and made sure none of the tall people were around, then jumped up on the stairs that led into the belly of the great big birdmachine. At first, all he saw were great big chairs where all the people would sit, but those were boring. So, instead, the monkey turned to the left, opened a door, and looked in wonder and amazement at all the buttons, knobs, dials, switches and lights! There was so much to look at that the little monkey jumped for joy and clapped both his hands and his feet together at the same time. He ran over to the nearest button, and pushed it. Nothing happened. He flipped a large switch poking up. Nothing happened. He tapped his fingers on some of the dials, and still, nothing happened. That’s when the little monkey saw the red button. It was bigger than all the others, and it was right in the middle of all the other buttons and knobs. He pushed the red button and suddenly a loud, rumbling roar sounded as the engines came to life. The loud noises scared the little monkey and he pushed the red button again, hoping to turn the engines off, but that didn’t work. Frantically, he pulled knobs, turned dials, tapped screens and pushed even more buttons. That’s when the plane started to move. Now the monkey knew he was really in

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trouble. As the plane rolled down the runway, he knew if he didn’t stop the plane soon, it would take off into the big blue sky and he would never see his family or friends again! He tried everything he could think of to stop the big plane, and just as the plane approached the fence at the end of the runway, the little monkey did the only thing he hadn’t done yet, and pulled back on the big stick coming out of the floor. The plane soared into the air, just clearing the fence. It barely cleared the trees, and the little monkey could see all his friends in their trees. He tried waving to them, but they weren’t interested in planes, and didn’t know he was there. The little monkey sat down in the chair, then, as the plane took him away from his family. He didn’t know where the plane was taking him, so he sat down and put his head in his arms and started to cry. “Little monkey,” said a big voice inside the airplane. The little monkey looked around, but no one was with him in the airplane. “Little monkey, what are you doing?” It asked. “I’m sorry,” said the monkey. “I just wanted to pretend. I don’t know what to do now. I want to go back home to my family.” “Just listen to what I tell you,” said the big voice, “and you will be ok. I am the control man, in the big tower. Do you remember seeing the big tower?” The little monkey nodded, yes. “Good. I know how to fly these big planes,” said the man with the big voice. “I will help you come back home.” The little monkey was overjoyed. He listened closely as the big voice told him which buttons to push, and which switches to flip. The little

monkey pushed and pulled and flipped and switched. He turned and turned, and just when he thought there couldn’t be anything more the big voice could tell him, he heard the man say, “Now, there is just one more thing. You know those big wheels under the plane?” Monkey nodded his head, yes. “Good,” said the big voice. “Push the blue button on your left-hand side and those big wheels will come down. Now, push the stick coming out of ground forward. Good, little monkey, you’re doing very well.” The airplane flew low, closer and closer to the ground until finally the wheels touched down on the runway. Screeech! The rubber made a loud noise for just a few seconds, but soon everything was quiet and the airplane was slowing down quickly. Before long, the airplane stopped and the little monkey hurried to the door. He climbed back down the stairs, and there, at the bottom, stood a very big man. “Hello, little monkey,” said the man. It was the man with the big voice! “I will take you home to your family, now.” The little monkey jumped into the big man’s arms and together they went to the fence, where the monkey’s family was waiting for him to come home.

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Storytime, day 14

Sir Freddy

and the Golden Poppy Written by Jacob Paulson

Once upon a time, a young squire named Frederick lived in a beautiful house at the edge of a beautiful countryside. His family had a small farm, where they raised goats and chickens, and there was a barn for Frederick’s horse. In the countryside where they lived, there was a shimmering creek that ran through a wide meadow ringed with a think wood. The creek flowed from the majestic mountain range that rose from the horizon just beyond the distant edge of the forest. Frederick was very happy, and so was his family. One day, the wise old wizard from the nearby village was passing through the countryside where Freddy lived. (Only his parents and teachers called him Frederick, and he quite preferred it that way.) Freddy had just pulled his horse from the barn and was preparing for his daily ride through the meadow and into the forest, where he loved exploring. It was always slightly dangerous to venture into the forest, but Freddy was eager to do it, as he considered it to be a great preparation for his duties as a knight, which he was sure to become, due to his family’s noble heritage. “Hello Freddy!” the wise wizard said as he approached the homestead. “Hello Wizard,” Freddy replied. “Preparing for your daily ride?” the wizard asked. Freddy nodded. “Good. You will have many experiences in the wood which will


From Utah, USA

prepare you well for the noble life you have before you. Be warned, however! There are dangers in the wood that do not at first appear to be dangerous. Indeed, they may look to be quite appealing and beautiful, but do not be deceived. You will know, if you listen to your heart, which is the correct path. Listen to that voice inside you, and it will never lead you astray.” “Thank you for your wise counsel, Wizard,” Freddy replied. “I will try to remember it as long as I live.” Freddy continued to grow into a young man, and became quite skilled in riding, sword fighting, jousting, and courting maidens – all valuable skills for a knight to know. The day came for him to be presented to the kingdom and receive his knighthood. “Sir Frederick,” the King said. “You have proven your skills to be well above those required of a knight, and I shall be pleased to welcome you to the knighthood. Yet one final test remains. You must journey through the wood to the Majestic Mountains and find the golden poppy flower, which you must return to me. This final test will prove your worthiness, and I shall then be pleased to bestow upon you the noble order of knighthood!” Freddy mounted his loyal horse at once and set off for the mountains beyond the forest. The way was easy going, as he knew the forest well from his youth. Then he came to a fork in the road. To the

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left, there appeared to be a wide, well-traveled path that seemed to head directly towards the Majestic Mountains. Freddy even thought he could see golden flowers at the end of the path at the base of the mountain. The path on the right seemed to lead over boulders and rough rocks, through deep mud, and across wide rivers. There was no sign that way to give Freddy the idea that it would lead anywhere near the Majestic Mountains or any golden poppies. The path to the left seemed like the obvious choice. As Freddy urged his horse towards the path on the left, he felt a voice inside him that seemed to say, “This isn’t right.” Of course it’s right, thought Freddy. I can practically see the golden poppy flower from here. As he ventured further down the wide path, the inner voice became more insistent. It was almost as if he could hear the voice screaming at him, but it wasn’t an audible voice. “Do not go that way!” it shouted at him silently. Freddy remembered the wizard’s long ago warning about things in the wood appearing to be beautiful and right that weren’t. Freddy turned his horse around and headed back to the other path. Over the boulders he led his trusted steed. Through the deep mud and across the wide rivers they made their way. Slowly he noticed that the path was turning ever so slightly back towards the Majestic Mountains. After several days of struggling, he came at last to the base of the mountain, and there, growing in a meadow just up the trail, was a beautiful golden poppy. This poppy was much brighter and more beautiful than the ones he thought he’d seen at the end of the wide path. Very carefully he plucked the plant from the dark soil and placed it in his saddlebag.

When Freddy returned and presented the golden poppy to the King, His Majesty was very pleased. “You did well, young squire,” he said. “You surely saw that there were golden flowers that were easier to obtain than this one. You could have taken the easy path and brought me back one of those golden poppies, but then you would not be ready for the honor which will now be yours. By conquering the difficult path, you have found the flower whose beauty is pure, and in so doing, you have proven your worthiness. Rise, Sir Frederick, for now you are a knight!” As Sir Frederick stood before the cheering crowds in the palace courtyard, adorned in the tunic of the Royal Knighthood, he was very grateful to an old wizard and the very good advice he received as a very young squire. Sometimes, he thought, the best advice comes when you’re very young, long before you’ll ever need it. “Thank you, Wise Wizard, wherever you are,” Sir Freddy said to himself.

Talk Time: Topics: Conscience and Completing your task Why did Freddy choose the easy path at first? What might have happened if Freddy had brought back the wrong flower? How can Freddy’s story help you the next time you’re going through a difficult path?

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Storytime, day 15


and the Old Trunk Written by Sven Hensel

Anna was with her parents in the citycenter at a flea market. A person could buy almost anything at a flea market. To her, though, it all looked like garbage. How could anyone call all these rusty, old things anything else? she wondered. Who would buy such stuff? She also thought the smell at many of the tables and tents was too musty and old. All the old things were making her feel sick to her stomach! The toys that were on some of the tables were a bit more interesting, though. It was interesting to see what children used to play with, before she was even born. For example, old board games that had to be studied before one could even know where to begin, or how to play. Some plastic toys caught her eye because they looked similar to Transformers from the movie, and she also stopped to look at worn out VHS movies being offered. All of those things made her smile. At the next table Anna came to, something caught her eye. She strained her eyes for a closer look at the little, old travel trunk. It was obvious that it was very old, and had been used a lot. All the corners were battered, and it was impossible to tell what the original color of the trunk was. But what Anna liked the most were the many stickers from cities across the world that were stuck on the trunk. She liked those, very much! She asked the lady how much she wanted for the old trunk, and because Anna was so young, and was so interested in the trunk, the lady gave it to her for free. Then she told Anna, “If this old trunk could talk, you wouldn’t believe


From Dagebuell, Germany

the fantastic stories it has lived through!” Anna’s eyes lit up. She took the trunk and thanked the lady. Her brothers and parents couldn’t understand what Anna saw in such an old trunk, but they were happy, at least, that she hadn’t paid anything for it. At home, Anna gingerly cleaned the trunk. When she was almost done, she thought she heard someone moan. She turned to see who was making the noise, but there was no one there. She finished cleaning the trunk and stood back to inspect her work. “Thank you,” said the trunk. She sprang back in surprise. She started backing away, but the trunk spoke again and asked her to please stay. “I promise I can explain everything,” it said. “I am a special trunk. You could say I am a magic trunk. I have lived through many things, and seen even more. If you would like, I will tell you some of my stories.” Excited that she made such a lucky choice at the flea market, Anna sat down in front of the trunk and asked him to please share. She listened as he began. “When I was new,” started the trunk, “I accompanied my first owner from April 30th until the first of December, in 1904. We went together to St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States. The World Fair and the Olympics were happening at the very same time. “200,000 people came together for the Opening Ceremony. First there was a speech, and then a radio signal was sent to Washington, D.C., where the President of the United States then pushed a button that activated the generators - the World

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Fair was open! My owner played in many concerts at the world fair, but my favorite part was the many walks we took, and the many things we saw. We even got to see some of the Olympic competitions. Back then, the Olympics weren’t so popular as they are today, but, there were still teams from twelve different nations that totaled 646 men, and 6 women. “Many years later, my owner and I found ourselves in Vienna, Austria. Vienna is a breathtaking city with stories beyond comparison. Vienna is also known as a city for classical music. Some of the most famous musicians came from there, like Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven.” Anna knew all those names from school, and had even heard some of their music at home, but only seldomly. She decided that she would have to listen to it more often! The trunk then spoke about the Christmas Festival in Vienna. “At this time of the year, Vienna is covered in snow, and it was bitterly cold. My owner and I took a ride with a horsedrawn carriage to our hotel. I can still recall the sound of the horses’ hooves on the cobblestone roads. A large Christmas tree decorated the entrance of the hotel. It was at least fifteen feet tall, and it was covered in decorations. The tinsel was gold, and the large, colorful, glass balls reflected the light in the lobby in every direction. Presents even lay under the tree, though they were only decorations. Still, it looked and felt like Christmas. “Luckily, my owner set me down by the windows where I could watch all the winterly goings-on. My owner had been invited to come play in a New Year’s Concert. The first concert took place on December 31st, 1939, and the second took place on the real New Year’s Day, on January 1st, 1940. Many people came to the Concert Hall, dressed in their best Christmas clothes. The men wore tailcoats and the women in resplendent dresses.

“Unfortunately, my owner forgot me.” “Oh, no!” Anna said. “It’s alright,” said the trunk. “I already had many stickers, but I was soon to get even more. “My next owner was a Pilot, and I went places with him I never dreamed of going! In Rome, I saw the Colosseum. It looks much prettier at nighttime. I saw Vatican City, where the Pope lives and works. We flew over Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano! Every once in a while it will erupt again, and spit out small, glowing stones. It was the same with Mount Vesuvius in Italy, the volcano that buried the city Pompeii. I also saw many lands in Africa. One time we visited the city Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The pilot took me with him on a safari, where we saw Giraffes, Zebra, and more! We stayed overnight in the National Park, in the middle of where the animals lived. I hardly slept that night because I could hear all sorts of animal sounds that made my ears prick up. We even had an unwelcome visitor that night. A small Gecko decided I made a good bed, but in the morning, the people shooed him away.” Anna listened in wonder, but she was also very tired. She yawned, and the trunk said, “It’s OK, Anna. You sleep now. I can tell you about more places tomorrow.” Anna nodded her head. That sounded like a wonderful idea.

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Storytime, day 16

Not Until Pigs Fly Written by Katie D., age 11

Once, there was a small farm boy named Jerry. He lived with his father on a farm in Wyoming. He had blonde hair, brown eyes, freckles, and was small for his age. He always had a red shirt with overalls on and his hair was never brushed. BEEP! Jerry heard the school bus just outside his dad’s farm. “Bye Pa!” waved Jerry as he pushed the swinging screen door aside. His father just kept reading his newspaper and muttered, “Uh, huh.” Jerry ran along the wet, muddy, stone path to the gravel road. The doors of the school bus swung open and he hopped into the bus. He started walking down the aisle and looked around. No one had saved a seat for him. Again. He walked towards the back of the bus. Three empty rows were in the back. He sat down and enjoyed the ride to school. It was a cold, dark, cloudy, rainy day. Fields and animals passed by as they went. He put his hand on the cold window. He took his hand off and watched his handprint fade away. “Hey, lonely today?” sneered a boy. Jerry looked at the person that stood by his seat. A stubby, big boy with black hair was towering over him. It was Aarold. He always picked on Jerry. “I guess I am,” said Jerry. “What do you have?” asked Aarold, reaching for the bag Jerry had by his side. “Nothing,” Jerry said. He hid his bag. “If it’s nothing, you wouldn’t have it.” “It’s my lunch”, Jerry said.


From Utah, USA

“Give it to me!” said Aarold. “No!” Jerry said. Aarold made a fist just as the bus came to a halt “You kids quiet down!” yelled the driver. “Or I’ll make you two walk the rest of the way to school!” Jerry sat down and Aarold returned to the front of the bus. The bus started going again and they were quiet the rest of the way to school. It was pretty common for Jerry to get picked on. Riding the bus was not a pleasant thing. Later that day, Jerry dropped his backpack at the front door. He’d had another horrible day at school. He was glad to be home, again. The house was empty and silent. A plate of cookies was sitting on the counter. He quickly ate 3 cookies and headed up the wooden stairs. Jerry found his father in his room. He was slowly strumming a song on a guitar. “Pa,” Jerry said. “Could I go to a different school?” His father stopped playing. “Not until pigs fly.” He said. “We’re never going to leave our farm.” “OK,” Jerry said. He walked out of the room. The next day was a bright, sunny Saturday. Jerry had his Saturday farm duties to do. The chore he had now was to take care of the pigs. Jerry’s only friend was a pig called Sugar Plum. Although sugar or plum was a girl name, and his pig was a boy, Jerry liked the name anyway. The pig was a very pale pink, and had big black spots. “Oink!” squealed Sugar Plum, as he slipped in the mud. Jerry reached for the pig and pulled him out of the mud.

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The pig’s big glossy eyes stared at him. “You’re OK,” said Jerry. He put the tip of his nose to the snout of the pig, and closed his eyes and relaxed. At least Sugar Plum was glad to see him. That night, Jerry was in bed looking at the sky. There were no stars, yet. Suddenly, a bright dot shined. It was a star! He could make a wish! He hopped out of bed and ran to the window. He hadn’t ever made a wish on a star before, and he said, “Bright star in the night, oh star, star so bright, please grant my wish tonight, I wish…” He thought, and said his wish in his mind. He looked at the star. He was positive that the star blinked. Weeks pased and it was now Fall Break. It was incredibly hot! One morning, Jerry went out at 6:30 am to take care of the pigs, but when he got to the sty, the pigs weren’t there! He ran around the farm in search of the pigs. Then he heard a squeal. He searched everywhere, but he couldn’t find a single pig. He looked up at the hot sun baring down on him, and to his great surprise, he saw a pig with wings flying overhead. “Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed.. The pig landed on the ground. It was Sugar Plum! He had doubled his size and could speak! “Hey Jerry!” said Sugar Plum. “Wow! Can I get a ride?” asked Jerry. “A ride?” asked Sugar Plum. “But I don’t know how to drive!” “I mean, can I have a flight?” asked Jerry. “Sure!” Sugar Plum said. Sugar Plum crouched down. Jerry slowly got on the pig’s back. “Are you ready?” asked Sugar Plum. “Sure.” said Jerry with his eyes closed. Sugar Plum blasted into the air. Wind blew against Jerry’s face and made his hair go flying. He opened his eyes. He sat up, lifted his arms and sang, “I can’t believe pigs can fly!” They soared through the air like an eagle. It was fantastic and

unbelievable! “Yahooo!!!” he screamed. They flew to the city. People were going about their business, unaware of the goings-on above them. Then a woman spotted them in the air. “Is that a plane?” she asked. “No, it’s an eagle,” someone else said. A little kid yelled, “It’s a flying pig!” Jerry smiled, and they headed for less crowded areas before they caused a real commotion. They flew and flew. Jerry wondered if he’d ever get enough. Then, suddenly, he remembered something. “Let’s head back home, Sugar Plum,” he said. “Okay,” Sugar Plum replied, and they headed back for the farm. When they landed, Jerry hopped off the pig and ran inside to get his dad. “Dad! Dad! Come here quick!” he yelled. He grabbed his dad from the couch and pulled him outside. “See, look dad!” he said pointing to the pen. Pigs with wings were in there. His father’s face went white. “This is WAY out of the ordinary,” he said. “Can I go to a different school now?” Jerry asked. His father looked at him and smiled. “Alright,” he said, “But, we’re staying on our farm, too.” Jerry hugged his father. “Thanks, Dad.” So after Fall Break, Jerry went to a different school. He liked his new school. He even made a couple of friends. But the very best part of his days was when he could come home to Sugar Plum and go flying. No other boy ever loved his pig as Jerry did, and he and Sugar Plum lived happily ever after.

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Storytime, day 17

MONSTER!! Written by Andrew, age 8

Devin was playing computer. He loved to listen to the music on it. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! “Ugh!” he thought. “Why does my older brother have to play his drums so loud?” He ran upstairs. “Eddie!” he shouted. “Why do you have to do your drums so loud?!” “Oh sorry,” Eddie said.

From New York, USA

town started fighting! The news spread quickly, and soon, all of UTAH was fighting! Utah called in other states, like California, Texas and Louisiana. Soon, the whole COUNTRY was in! The Continent! The WORLD!!! Aliens from Jupiter came, and started attacking the monster with the next generation Ion cannons and Plasma bombs!

He ran back downstairs. THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! “Eddie!” He ran upstairs. Eddie was staring out of the window, face white in terror.

I ain’t saying who won, but all the people lived happily ever after... In the monster’s stomach!

Devin looked out the window and almost fainted. There it was; a huge, hulking, green blob, with three gigantic, yellow tentacles coming out, and orange spikes everywhere! And five massive, muscly arms! It was a tsunami, as it spit drool out, that wrecked cars and covered streets! It was a tornado, as it crushed houses beneath it’s palms! Devin knew he had to do something. He had to fight! He went outside and started charging the monster! His brother joined him by chucking his drums and drum sticks at the monster. His mom grabbed the broom and started poking it. Seeing their bravery, the rest of the


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Illustration by the author *see more illustrations in the For Kids by Kids section on pg. 86

Bonus Story, day 17

Afternoon Pierogi Written by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Visiting Grandma was always fun because we would do something I’d never do at home. Sometimes we’d go through old photo albums and she’d show me pictures of her dad and brothers and sisters. I liked to look at the old wedding pictures so I could see all the dresses the brides wore, but my favorite thing to do at Grandma’s house was to help in the kitchen. We made cookies sometimes, but usually Grandma let me help make dinner. My favorite thing to make was pierogi (purr-oh-gee). It’s kind of like Polish ravioli without any sauce on it. Making piergoi was fun because you got to roll out the dough and then make little pouches to put the fillings in. “Stacia, I could never get your mother to do this with me,” she said. “She’s more into hamburgers than this kind of food.” Grandma usually put potatoes in, but sometimes we had Farmer’s cheese which is sweeter than regular cheese. After we filled them, we’d close them up and crimp the edges with our fingers. Then she’d put them in the frying pan and fry them with butter. I liked to put sour cream on them. One day I was supposed to go over to visit, but Mom said Grandma wasn’t feeling well. Instead, Mom and I went over to help clean her house. Mom vacuumed while I

From Michigan, USA

dusted. Grandma stayed in bed and napped. When it was dinnertime, my mom got out some frozen dinners to heat up for Grandma. “Let’s make her something instead,” I said. “It’ll make her feel better. “Okay, what should we make?” Mom asked. “Chicken soup?” “Pierogi. It’s her favorite.” Mom didn’t even know how to make them, so I went through the cupboards to find what we needed. Grandma had farmer’s cheese in the fridge so I decided we’d use that instead of using mashed potatoes. I helped roll out the dough and Mom watched as I showed her how to close the little pouches. “You have to kind of smoosh the edge. Grandma calls it crimping,” I said as I closed up one. “Grandma says she likes when they have fat little bellies.” Mom burned the first batch in the frying pan, but the next ones turned out just right. Grandma was out of sour cream, so we put some applesauce on her plate and took them into her bedroom. “Pierogi! I never would have guessed!” she said. ““Stacia, you did something I never could. You got your mother to make pierogi.”

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Storytime, day 18

Carboy Written by Lance O. Redding

Nathan wasn’t usually too excited about school, but today was different. Today was Show-n-tell. And what made it even more special than a normal shown-tell day, was the fact that Nathan was going to tell the class about his summer adventures with his dad, and how he got the best job in the world. He tried to wait patiently in his seat for the teacher to go through the roll and the announcements, but it was very difficult. Finally, she looked at him with her eyes narrowed to slits and mouthed, “Sit Still!” Nathan folded his arms on the desk and put his head down to try to look like he was holding still, but he couldn’t stop his leg from wiggling and bouncing up and down. Finally, after an eternity, the teacher said, “Now, children, it’s time for Shown-Tell, and today is Nathan’s turn.” She gave Nathan one last pained look that communicated her pleading desire for a quiet and normal presentation, and took her seat. Yes! thought Nathan. He grabbed his secret bag of cool surprises and headed to the front of the room. “Hello, Class,” said Nathan, trying to remember his manners. “Hello, Nathan!” said the class. They were excited to see what he had brought because he hadn’t stopped talking about what he was going to bring for two whole weeks! “For Show-n-tell today,” said Nathan, “I want to show you what I’m going to be when I grow up.” “Oooo,” said the class. “I’m going to be a Carboy!” said Nathan with flair, as he pulled his mechanic’s hat


From Utah, USA

and put it on his head. “A carboy?” asked Cindy, who sat in the front row. “Don’t you mean a ‘cowboy’?” “No,” said Nathan as he shook his head. “I want to be a Carboy. Like my dad.” Nathan pulled out his mechanic’s overalls and put them on over his school clothes. Then he put his worker gloves on. His clothes were dirty and greasy, just like a good Carboy’s clothes should be, and he was proud to be wearing them. But not everyone thought they were special. “Eeeww, those are dirty!” said Julie. “Don’t come close to me while you’re wearing those!” “Yeah,” said Brian in the back row. “Besides, Cowboys are what’s really cool! Not a car mechanic. Cowboys have guns and horses!” Nathan had known the other kids might not think being a Carboy was cool, so he had come prepared. He pulled out his air-powered drill. “Now this is a gun!” he said. “With this gun, I can screw tires on so tight that no cowboy anywhere could ever take them off again! Plus, I can put four tires on a car faster than any cowboy can shoe his horse.” “Aaaaahhh,” said the class. They were impressed. “Oh yeah?” said Brian, “Cowboys have horses!” “I thought you’d say that,” said Nathan. He pulled a long tube out of his bag and took off one end. “I will need an assistant for this demonstration,” he said. He looked at Debbie and winked. He had a secret crush on Debbie and hoped she was enjoying his presentation. She wrinkled up her nose and made a yucky face.

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“I’ll help!” said Jeremy. Together, the two boys took out a poster from inside the tube and unrolled it for all the class to see. On the poster was a glossy, sleek, and very large engine. “What is that thing?” said one kid. “Yeah, what is it? I’ve never seen one of those!” “This, my friends, is much better than just one horse. It is even better than 10 horses. This is 350 horses! And my dad and I built this engine over the summer.” “Oooo,” said the class in unison, this time even more impressed. Next, Nathan pulled out another poster. As he and Jeremy unrolled it, “ooo’s” and “aaahhh’s” began erupting from around the classroom before Nathan even started talking. “Now, you want to talk about horses? This is the 1965 Ford Mustang.” The red car on the poster gleaned with a shimmering power that captivated the children. It raced down a windy mountain road with deep green colors in the trees and grass in the background, and a profound blue colored sky above. “This is the car my dad and I built over the summer. The grease you see before you on my overalls and gloves is the same grease that lubricates this well-oiled machine. The dirt and smudges you see are dirt and smudges that came from

tender, loving care as we nursed this poor stallion back to health. The holes and tears you see in my overalls are wounds of passion as our Mustang’s health improved and he began to fight against us so he could be free to race again in the wind! And the tanned skin on my arms and face are evidence of the many hours of joy we have spent in the summer sun, riding and roaming the wild countryside of the west!” Nathan finished his speech and the class erupted in cheers. They swarmed from their seats and thronged to the front of the room to touch the grease marks on his overalls, to hold the tools that had rebuilt the car, and to pour over the Mustang poster up-close. Even Debbie came forward, took Nathan’s hand, looked him in the eyes, and said, “I love you! Let’s run away together and start a ranch, where we raise lots and lots of Mustangs!” Yes, thought Nathan. I am a Carboy, and nothing can stop me now! Something grabbed Nathan’s ear and pulled hard, bringing him out of his reverie. “Ouch!” he said. “Come on, young man. You’re going to the principal’s office,” said his teacher. “Huh? Why?” “For disturbing the peace.” Nathan grinned. Yep. A true, wild Carboy.

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Storytime, day 19

The Monkey and the popcorn

Written by Johann Troskie

Once there was a monkey who lived at the top of a very tall tree. Every day he would look down and watch the people that lived in the house next to his tree. His favorite thing usually happened at night. That’s when he would hear pop. ...pop pop......pop pop pop, and there would always be a delicious smell. Sometimes, he would ask his mom and dad what the sounds were, and what made the smell. They always told him to eat his bananas and stop thinking about the people. One day, when his mom and dad were visiting their friends in a different part of the forest the little monkey climbed down down down, out of his tall tree, and slowly sneaked over to the house. He knew the house was empty - the family always left every morning and didn’t come back till later in the day. So he went in the house! He started to look around in the front room and even jumped on the couch for a minute. But that wasn’t what made the noise or the smell, so he started looking again. He was lucky because next he found the kitchen. It was much more interesting - there were so many doors and drawers to open. Plus there were lots of smells. He decided he would smell everything until he found the smell he loved. First he started smelling everything in the fridge. The milk didn’t smell right, and the eggs weren’t it either. None of the fruits,


From Gauteng, So. Africa

vegetables, bread or cheese had the right smell. Finally he tried some cupboards, way up high, and that’s when he found the popcorn! Now he just had to get it to make that popping sound! He tried hitting it on the floor, he tried jumping up and down on it, and he even tried throwing it up in the air, but it didn’t pop. It was just lucky that he even tried the microwave (monkeys love pushing buttons) and then... pop! POP POP. Pop, pop, pop! Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop! Soon the popcorn was popping like crazy! The monkey got so excited that he got all the popcorn he could find and put it in the microwave. Big bags, little bags, a container full of kernels, and more. He kept popping the popcorn. Well there was lots of popcorn! It started coming out of the microwave and spilled out on to the counter. But it didn’t stop. More popcorn came out and it started to fill up the kitchen. Then it went out of the kitchen and down the stairs. Then it filled up the basement and started going upstairs. Soon the popcorn was filling up the whole house! Even the doors and windows couldn’t stop the popcorn. It started coming out of the house everywhere. That’s when the monkey knew he was in trouble! He quickly ran into the forest. But he wasn’t running away! He was asking his friends for help. He got all of

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the animals he could find and told them to come help him eat all of the yummy popcorn. They all came as fast as they could and they all started eating. The bears were eating in the family room, the porcupines were in the bathroom, the birds were in the bedrooms upstairs and the deer were in the kitchen. Lots of animals were all over in the house eating as much popcorn as they could! Luckily the animals finished just in time. As the little monkey went out the back door the family came home. They all went inside the house and looked around. “Hmm” said the mom as she sniffed the air, “did somebody make some popcorn?”

Popcorn...Yum! Haven’t had popcorn in a while? Here are some yummy recipes that will get you excited about popping up some popcorn again.

Monkey Munchies 1 cup white corn syrup 1 cup sugar 1 package gelatin 3 quarts popped popcorn 1 cup salted peanuts Mix syrup, sugar and gelatin together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Pour over popcorn and nuts. Mix well. Drop on waxed paper to cool. Source: Calvin Smith Elementary, UT

Nutty Popcorn Fudge

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4 cups popped popcorn 1 (18 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk 2 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 cup toasted slivered almonds 1 teaspoon vanilla Line 9” x 13” pan with foil; set aside. Melt chips, condensed milk and butter in large saucepan, stirring until smooth; remove from heat. Stir in popcorn, nuts and vanilla. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan and cut into squares. Yield: 32 squares Source: recipes/index.cfm


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Storytime, day 20 19

The Widow’s Wood by Robin Clayton

Living near the edge of the forest had its advantages. There were all sorts of things to discover like animals and mysterious pathways. Today was a Saturday and I had some chores to do. The maple leaves in my yard had all turned a tawny color and had spread out along the ground. It was my job to rake the leaves. I enjoyed gathering the leaves into piles, jumping into them and then laying there for a while feeling the sun on my face. After a while a breeze scattered the leaves toward the forest. I could hear the crunch of the crispier leaves as I followed this wind-blown path that led me to a wall of Evergreen trees laced together like shoe strings. Being eight years old left me small enough to see a passageway hidden by the skirt of tree branches. I crawled along the ground like a squirrel eager to scurry away at the sound of a snapping twig (even if my own feet were the noise makers). I travelled so far it was days before I could see daylight again. Okay, maybe it was only five minutes but I was already wishing I had brought some sunflower seeds to snack on. Just then I was ducking even lower to fit under a longer branch that was partly resting on the ground when CLANG. I reached up and rubbed my forehead. Ouch! I looked up and there were metal roses wound in vines


From Washington, USA

forming a tall iron fence. Green ivy filled in the spaces around the roses blocking my view to what it was guarding. I traced my hands along the fence feeling for a gateway that would lead me to the other side. Then I heard something. At first it was a gentle SWISH. Oh, how I wished I could climb up and peek over the side of the fence but the tree branches above my head created a ceiling I couldn’t break through. I kept crawling along the vines and the SWISH sound grew louder and sounded more like a large bathtub with water gushing from the tap. It got so loud I wondered if I was going to end up in a river soon. I wondered if the water was going to attack me and push the fence over and I would have to sit on it like a raft so I wouldn’t drown. But wait, iron can’t float, can it? I felt my arms and legs shake. Oh this is silly! If there was a river over there it couldn’t race at me now. I closed my eyes and I thought, I wished, I pleaded to find a way to see on the other side of the fence. Then I opened my eyes and shouted, “Could I please come inside?” and I heard a voice singing: “You can play, you can swing, You can do most anything, But you can never speak Of the place that you seek. For, you will never find A place of this kind.

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There’s a magic and a wonder That’s not like any other. But you must promise first (Or this land will be cursed) To adhere to this rule And must never be cruel To the marvels within. Now if you still wish to come in… Say aloud, ‘I’ll be good!’ And then enter the Widow’s Wood.” My eyes were wide open scanning my surroundings. Nervously, I stuttered, “I’ll be good.” The gate slid open and the sun was shining on a glorious glen. It wasn’t like anything I had ever seen. There were trees that were growing on their sides, whose leaves were still green, and resembled plush pillows. A river of water flowed through the meadow making its own bridge over trees, flowers, and swirling into a fountain in the center of the garden. Off to one side there was a hill that had its own moving pathway – up and down. It seemed so busy. Everything kept shifting and changing. I looked over at a park bench just in time to watch a cloud drop from the sky and cover the seat like a blanket. How would I ever explain all this? Oh wait, the rules said I couldn’t talk about it. What was I going to do? Just then, I noticed a very small box at my feet. I picked it up between my fingers, and saw my name written on it. How strange! Should I open it? A tiny breeze blew at me from behind and I turned back toward the gate. My stomach growled a monstrous sound. Is it getting late? I put the small box in my pants pocket and walked back to the gate. As I got down on my knees to cross the threshold

- back under the cover of trees, I heard a little POP (like when a bubble meets the tip of a needle). I reached down to check my little box and it was gone. The gate clanked shut and a voice began singing: “Don’t forget what you’ve heard. Don’t breathe a word. For, the treasures within Will only exist again When you reenter the gate Waiting for you on another date. Hurry back, don’t be long For, this land may be gone. Be sure to dream, if you will, Your mind can unlock more treasures still. The power is in your mind As I’m sure you will find, Just trust yourself and then You can make anything happen. Now remember to be good As you’ve told the Widow’s Wood.” When the song was done I could hear my mom calling in the distance. Her voice seemed so distant at first and then got louder and louder. “Wake up! Wake up!” She jostled me. I opened my eyes and was lying in a pile of leaves just under a maple tree. How strange. “It’s time for supper.” She said still rubbing my arm. “Have you been sleeping out here all this time? I thought you were going to rake my leaves?” I glanced around the yard to see leaves blown in every direction, still a hint of sleep in my eyes. “I’m sorry Mom…” I yawned. “That’s alright, Sweetheart. Let’s go get you cleaned up for supper.” I took one last look toward the forest and wondered what I would dream about tonight.

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Storytime, day 21

Dewi, the red dragon Written by Maggie Lyons

The following is an excerpt from the story Dewi the Red Dragon. You can read all about Dewi’s adventures at: CHAPTER 1 A FIREWORKS FAILURE Dewi and his father landed on the rocks above their cave. Dewi closed his eyes and breathed in so deeply the scales almost popped off his scarlet chest like loose buttons. “That’s right, son. Now, blow as hard as you can.” Dewi’s cheeks bulged like a pair of underpants blowing in the wind. A torrent of air shot out of his mouth, but no flames. Not a single one. Dewi squinted down his tail in case the flames had gone the wrong way. “Sorry, Dad!” Dewi shook out his wings and tried to appear optimistic. This was the day he’d been looking forward to for so long, the day he’d learn to breathe fire like a proper Welsh dragon. Yet there he stood, a dud in the fireworks business. “Did you remember to grind your molars?” “Yep!” “Did you concentrate on an exciting thought?” “Like whirling by woolies——I mean, buzzing sheep? “Son, when I was your age . . .” Dewi cringed at the thought of


From Virginia, USA

another boring when-I-was-yourage lecture from his father. “We young wingsnappers didn’t do undignified things like diving on sheep. For excitement we rolled up our sleeves . . .” Dewi thought that was a weird thing to say, as he’d never seen a dragon wearing clothes. His father continued, “and stoked fires to help our valiant knights . . .” “Roast sausages?” “Forge mighty steel swords. Dewi, can’t you think on a higher level just for once? Let’s see if I can inspire you.” Dewi’s father closed his eyes and concentrated. The scales on his neck spread out like hundreds of small red sails in a Welsh sunset. He breathed in through his mouth, ground his molars, and drew back his long neck. At that point Dewi backed up because he knew what was coming next. As his father thrust his head forward, a gigantic ball of fire roared from his jaws. It hurtled two hundred yards from the hilltop before being swallowed up in a cloud of black smoke. The intense heat left a shimmering trail. A hot wind whipped past Dewi’s head, taking his breath away. His father laughed. “That should clean out the sinuses!” Dewi wondered if the fireball had burned a hole in the air. Would the hole be there forever? Could he fly through it? His father’s voice rang out like

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a massive dinner gong. “Time to eat fire, son. Have another go.” Dewi tried again and again. It was no use. He couldn’t throw a flame any more than he could toss a ton of Welsh bluestone. Dewi’s father placed a paw as big as a Celtic shield on his son’s shoulder. “We may be trying too soon, Dewi. Let’s wait another week and see what happens.” Ordinarily Dewi would have been happy to give up. Flamethrowing was too much like hard work for him. The problem was, if he couldn’t put on a roaring fireworks show, polite Welshdragon society would think he was a wimp. Worse still, his friends wouldn’t ask him to play “Who can spit fire the farthest?” or “Who can burn the rudest words on a tree trunk?” He had to find a solution. CHAPTER 2 BLOW THAT HORN Dewi ran to find Billy Know-All because he couldn’t wait a whole week to find out if he had any fire-blowing talent. Billy Know-All had an answer for everything. He was even good at giving advice nobody asked for. Dewi found the goat on the cliff top, munching what appeared to be everything that got in his way. Dewi had once seen Billy gobbling down a scarecrow’s old, smelly pants. Billy insisted he liked the taste, but Dewi doubted Billy had any taste. When Dewi explained his problem, Billy said, “You need to strengthen your lungs. Try blowing an old ram’s horn.”

Billy often spoke before he had properly thought about something. “Billy, I don’t know any old rams.” “You could try one of my horns, except it’s still attached to my head. Ha, ha, ha. You need to find a horn that doesn’t have an owner.” “That could take days.” “Hmm. Since you’re in a hurry, why don’t you find a nice hollow cattail stem, and practice blowing through that?” This was the most practical advice Billy had given in months. “There are lots of nice, big cattails growing by the river,” Billy added. Life was busy on the river Nevern. Otters were chasing fish. Herons were chasing frogs. Kingfishers were chasing dragonflies, and water voles were trying to keep out of everybody’s way. When Dewi arrived, this activity came to a stop with such speed that his ears all but popped from the sudden silence. A hundred

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Storytime, day 21 continued

eyes peered at him from the safety of the reeds. He found some cattails and picked one. He tried to blow down the hollow stem. It made a really disgusting noise. Then he remembered a panpipe he had once seen. He cut the reed into seven pieces of different length and tied them together with a piece of vine. Each piece of reed made a different sound. Soon he was playing a tune. He would have danced a jig except that he kept falling over his tail. A little audience of frogs, newts, otters, and other river folk gathered around him. Dewi was so pleased with his progress he forgot why he was blowing through the reed. He was reminded when a fiery red dragonfly flashed past. As he took a deep breath and threw back his head, his audience guessed something not very nice might happen and disappeared into the reeds. Dewi ground his flinty molars and blew a mini tornado. Nothing happened. Dewi growled and thumped his tail. A heron stuck her long neck out of the reeds. The sound that came out of her beak reminded Dewi of a sword being dragged along a stone floor. “Pleased to meet you——at least I think I am. I’m Rees the Shriek. When we saw you pull back your head we thought you were going to blow fire.” “I would if I could, but I can’t.” “Well, at least you can be proud of your musical talent, boyo,” Rees said. “We all enjoyed your playing. To tell you the truth, I’m glad you can’t breathe fire. Much too scary for me.”


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“Scary or not, that’s what dragons are supposed to do.” “Look,” Rees said, “I know a salamander who just might have the answer. I’ve heard that salamanders know all about fire.” “A salamander? My dad told me there aren’t any salamanders in Wales. Perhaps he hitched a ride from France. My dad said there are lots of salamanders there.” “Freddy told me he’s a salamander.” “Really? Let’s go!” Off they went to see a mysterious salamander called Freddy the Fabulous.

Illustration by: Eliah, Age 7 From: Salt Lake City, USA *see more illustrations in the For Kids by Kids section on pg. 86

Storytime, day 22

The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters: Chapter 1

Piñata’s Secret Weapon Written by Frank Cole

Every night just before bed, my mother always told me, “Hashbrown, one day you’ll do great things.” As I sat there, hiding next to a large, reeking dumpster with my best friend Snow Cone on one side and my pal Measles itching his armpits on the other, I couldn’t help but wonder just what she meant by that. “I think they spotted us, Hashbrown,” Snow Cone said as several red paint balls exploded on the ground next to our hideout. “Perhaps hiding behind the dumpster was a poor choice.” “Don’t I know it,” I said. “We’re standing out like one of Lips Warshowski’s cold sores. How could I be so stupid?” Measles grabbed my collar, pressing his red splotched face practically in my ear. “They’re using red paint. Red paint, Hashbrown! I’m allergic to red paint. I’m going to break out in hives!” “I thought you were allergic to all paint,” Snow Cone said. Measles blinked. “That’s right, I am! Oh boy, this is not good. Why are we playing paint ball again?” “Because we always play paint ball on Saturdays, Measles,” I said, scratching my head in frustration. “Yeah, but not on my birthday,” Measles moaned. “Your birthday’s in March,” Snow Cone said. “Oh yeah. What month is this?” “October!” Snow Cone and I shouted in unison. I guess you couldn’t blame him. Memory loss is a common side effect for someone


From Utah, USA

who’s had measles on three separate occasions. Several more paint balls burst on the rocks next to the dumpster. “These guys are terrible shots,” I said. Snow Cone craned his neck to get a better look and smiled. “What do you expect from Pot Roast and Stilts?” “You’re kidding me. That’s who’s shooting at us.” Snow Cone nodded, a big grin stretching across his lips. Gregory “Pot Roast” Oberham and Ethan “Stilts” Drubbers were legally blind, and their helmets wouldn’t allow them to wear glasses. They couldn’t pass an eye exam if the letters were written on a billboard. A warm breeze whipped around the dumpster bringing with it a ray of hope for our small team. It also brought a very disgusting odor of rotting tuna fish. Snow Cone pinched his nose closed. “Seriously, Hashbrown, why a dumpster?” I ignored his comment. “Look, If they’re the only two left, I think we should take them,” I said. “I don’t know, Hash,” Snow Cone said. “Whiz nabbed Hopscotch by the rope bridge about two minutes ago. Roast and Stilts are the only ones I can see guarding the flag, but there could be more out there. It’s too risky.” Suddenly the sound of heavy wheezing cut through the air. I flinched, expecting the worst, but

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was relieved to see Four Hips Dixon crawling toward me, his enormous belly pouring out from beneath his camouflaged T-shirt. “Four Hips is here,” I said, grabbing Four Hips by his sleeve and dragging him up beside us. “Yeah, I know. I saw him coming for a while,” Snow Cone answered. “I just assumed the battle would be over by the time he arrived.” “Hey, that’s not funny,” Four Hips said, coughing into his hands. “I’ve never ran so much in my life.” “What are you talking about?” Snow Cone squawked. “You crawled the entire time.” “So?” I looked over at my portly friend. “Ah Four Hips you’re already out!” I hissed, glancing down at his shirt.

“Huh?” He looked up at me in confusion. “You’ve been hit like three times.” I pointed to several obvious stains tagged around his midsection. “What?” Four Hips shouted in panic and examined his shirt. He wiped sweat from his forehead and gave a sigh of relief. “No, that’s just jelly. You had me going there for a second.” “Jelly? Where did you get jelly?” Measles asked. “I brought my own jar, duh. Do you want a spoonful?” Measles shook his head. It figured Four Hips had found a way

to bring along the most unusual snacks for our battle. “Look, I say we make our move.” I crouched and checked my hopper for paintballs. “Hashbrown wait for reinforcements!” Snow Cone ordered. “Don’t you remember what Piñata Gonzales said? They have a secret weapon on their team. Besides, Whiz should be here any second now. Where is he?” “Piñata was bluffing as usual. If they had a secret weapon we would have seen it by now,” I argued. “It’s now or never.” Readying my weapon, I plucked a small glass orb from my pocket and gave it a kiss. It was a marble, but not just any old marble. It was my bull basher; my most prized possession. It brought me luck. “I say we wait for Whiz,” Four Hips wheezed. “I don’t feel like crawling anymore and I think my can of Easy Cheese just exploded in my pocket.” Refusing to listen to the advice of my friends, I sprung up from behind the dumpster with paintball gun blazing. My sudden attack surprised our enemies and Pot Roast was the first to drop due to Stilts’ friendly fire. Red paint splattered across his chest as he belched out an agonizing groan. “I’m done for!” he shouted. “Tell my ma’ I went down fighting!” Stilts spun around, finger squeezing the trigger, sending a spray of red balls whizzing through the air like kamikaze hornets. I was quick on my feet and barrel rolled just as the bullets cut above my helmet. With lightning speed I aimed at Stilts and sprayed him with thirty rounds of my own periwinkle blue paintballs. “Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant,” Snow Cone shouted from behind the dumpster. I couldn’t help but grin. Clearly my moves had impressed Snow. I gave him a triumphant thumb’s up, tapping

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Storytime, day 22 continued

my trusty paintball gun against my chest. “Retreat!” Snow Cone screamed, issuing a new order. I smiled, but shook my head. “Say again, good buddy?” I dug my finger in my ear. Retreat? What was he talking about? Shouldn’t he be screaming something like victory or three cheers for Hashbrown or. . . ? “Retreat Hashbrown!” Four Hips appeared from behind the cover of the dumpster hopping up and down like a possessed orca. Four Hips, Snow Cone and Measles flung their paintball guns into the air and charged off in the other direction. Out of the corner of my visor, a giant figure blazed into view. It was a set-up. Pot Roast and Stilts were only decoys and now Hambone Oxcart, Pordunce Elementary School’s number one bully was barreling down upon me toting a massive cardboard tube in his arms. He was the secret weapon! Hambone looked like a bearded brontosaurus, crashing through the trees and trampling anything standing in his way. Where did he come from? How did Piñata Gonzales convince Hambone to play on his team? More importantly, what in the world was he holding? I tried to run, but it was useless. Hambone covered the distance in a matter of a few lumbering strides. In a final attempt to save myself I fired my paintball gun directly at Hambone. The bullets simply bounced off his muscular chest as if it were bulletproof. Grinning, he positioned the tube on his shoulder, revealing a can of fluorescent yellow paint emptying into the rear. It was no ordinary cardboard tube. No, it was a paintball bazooka! Ka-blam! I blacked out for a solid minute. When I awoke, Piñata Gonzales and Staples Ardmore stood dangling our captured flag above my head like a kite. I looked like one of my younger sister’s finger paintings.


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“I told you to wait,” Snow Cone said, slugging me in the shoulder as the two of us, heavily plastered with paint, exited the course and headed toward our bicycles. It was a heartbreaking loss. My team had gone undefeated two years in a row. “I don’t get it,” I said, skimming paint from my chin with a squeegee. “Since when did Piñata become friends with Hambone? Hambone doesn’t have any friends. He beats everyone up.” It just didn’t make sense. Hambone Oxcart ruled elementary school. No one messed with him. Not even the teachers. Snow Cone grabbed my arm and pulled me behind a tree. “There’s the reason,” he whispered. Through the cover of branches we saw Piñata Gonzales, Petrol Giminski, and Staples Ardmore handing Hambone a stack of comic books and some green dollar bills. “They paid him off.” “Dirty little boogers,” I said. “They stepped over the line.” “Yeah but what are we going to do about it? We can’t cross Hambone.” My blood boiled as we crept away from the trees. “Where was Whiz anyway?” I asked. “Nature called,” Whiz said, poking his head up from behind his bike. In his hand he clutched a plastic bag filled with a dampened pair of his blue jeans. He now wore a pair of pink and green shorts, two sizes too small and decorated with tiny paintball helmets. “I got these for cheap at the gift shop,” he said, staring down proudly at his new clothing. “That’s gross, Whiz,” I said and took a step back to give him some room.

Hashbrown Winters is the first book of local author, Frank Cole. It’s all about Hashbrown, and how he crosses the biggest bully of the school, Hambone Oxcart. Learn more about it at:

Storytime, day 23

Cat Got Your Tongue? Written by Billy Burgess

A gray and white cat named Tom lived on the Miller farm, and this is how he became Farmer Miller’s favorite cat. Tom was just like all the other cats of the farm. He loved to chase his tail and take his daily tongue bath. He liked to lay in the sunlight on summer afternoons. He loved to search for field mice through the corn stalks. On most days he took several naps on the front porch of the farmhouse. But Tom had one problem in his life -- Tom couldn’t meow very loudly. All the other farm cats teased him. This made Tom feel sad, so he decided to never meow again. There was one cat on the Miller farm that didn’t laugh at Tom. Her name was Molly. When Tom walked past Molly, she always giggled and smiled at him. This made him feel special. He liked Molly. Tom left the farm one day in search of a flower for Molly. He picked the prettiest sunflower he could find. On his way back to the farm, Tom heard a familiar voice. “Help!” “Help, me!” He dropped the flower and ran towards the voice. In front of him was a creek. Like other cats, he was afraid of water, so he stopped at the edge of the creek and looked. He saw the Miller’s little boy, Sam, in the creek, hanging onto a rock. “Someone help me. I can’t swim!” Sam yelled. Then Sam


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From Missouri, USA

saw Tom. “Tom, please help me! Go get my father!” Tom ran back to the farm as fast as he could. Farmer Miller had just stepped out of the house. Tom started yelling, “Farmer Miller!” The other cats laughed and said, “He doesn’t know cat talk, Tom.” “Meoooooow!” Tom screeched The other cats stopped laughing. “Meow! Meow! Meow! Meow!” “You’ve never meowed before. What’s wrong, Tom?” asked Farmer Miller. Tom headed toward the creek at a run, and Farmer Miller rushed to follow him. All the Miller farm cats decided to follow. “Help!” shouted Sam. Farmer Miller spotted his son in the creek and called, “I’m coming, son!” He jumped into the muddy creek, swept Sam up into his strong arms, and carried him out of the water. Tom and the other cats were quiet and waited patiently for Farmer Miller and Sam to come out of the creek. Farmer Miller petted the cat, “Thank you, Tom.” Sam hugged Tom. Farmer Miller carried Sam back to the farm. All the Miller farm cats gathered around Tom. Molly even gave Tom a kiss. From that day forward, Tom meowed every day. And that’s how Tom became Farmer Miller’s favorite cat!

Bonus Story, day 23

Gary the Greedy Goat Written by George Anthony Kulz

Gary Goat stopped by Hailey Hen’s house. “I’ve come to fix your swing,” he said. “Go right out to the backyard,” Hailey said. While Gary replaced some old boards on the swing, Hailey Hen placed a sheet of sugar cookies on the windowsill. “Help yourself to a cookie,” Hailey said, and then she popped back inside. As soon as Gary was finished with the swing, he took a cookie and popped it into his mouth. The cookie was delicious and still warm from the oven. Gary decided to take another, and another. Before long, all the cookies on the sheet were gone. Embarrassed, Gary rushed off. Meanwhile, Tonya Turtle was pulling chocolate cupcakes from the oven when a knock came at the door. I’m not even dressed yet, Tonya thought. “Who is it?” she asked. “It’s me,” Gary replied. “I have the plants that you wanted.” She rushed down the hall to her room. “Come in, I’ll be right out.” Gary opened the door to the smell of fresh chocolate cupcakes. He saw them lying on the kitchen table. “Help yourself to a cupcake,” Tonya called from her room. After Gary carried Tonya’s plants into the house, he grabbed a cupcake and popped it into his mouth. The cupcake was so tasty that he had to have another, and another. Before long, all the cupcakes were gone. Embarrassed, Gary ran from the house, leaving the door open behind him. The same thing happened when he arrived at Gertrude Goose’s house

From Rhode Island, USA

to fix her lawn sprinkler. Gary wound up eating all the sunflower seeds Gertrude had offered him. At noontime, Gary arrived at Hailey Hen’s house for lunch. “Have a seat while I finish preparing the food,” Hailey said. Hailey entered the kitchen, and then returned with all of Gary’s friends. “Happy birthday!” they shouted. Hailey brought out Gary’s favorite – a white cake with chocolate frosting. “I also had sugar cookies for you, but while they were cooling, someone ate them,” Hailey said. Gary gulped. “I had made chocolate cupcakes, but after you left my house, someone came in and ate all of them,” Tonya added. Gary squirmed in his seat. “I wanted to make the most delightful sunflower seed treats to offer as a snack, but someone took them from me before I had a chance to make them,” Gertrude chimed in. “Oh, I hope whoever it was doesn’t drink any water right after. I heard sunflower seeds grow into sunflowers in your belly.” Everyone else snickered, all except Gary, whose face turned bright red. “I have a confession to make,” Gary announced to his friends. “I ate Hailey’s cookies, and Tonya’s cupcakes, and Gertrude’s sunflower seeds. I’m really sorry. I guess I shouldn’t have been so greedy.” “That’s okay,” Hailey said. “We forgive you. Let’s have some cake and enjoy your birthday.” “If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll pass on the cake,” Gary said. “My stomach’s not feeling so well.” “It must be the sunflowers in your belly,” Gertrude said. Gary rolled his eyes, and everyone else laughed. rate this story!


Storytime, day 24

Gus’ Big Adventure Written by Donna Jean McDunn

Gus sat on Billy’s shoulder, his long tail wrapped around Billy’s neck. Story time was Gus’s favorite time. He always pretended he was part of a great adventure. Today he was a sea captain, fighting pirates. The story ended and Gus was a hero. Gus was always sad when the story ended. Billy put the book down. “Did you like the story?” Billy asked. “Yes,” Gus squeaked. “I wish I understood mouse,” Billy said. “But, I’ll take that as a yes. We will find a new book to read tomorrow.” He plucked Gus off his shoulder and put him inside his cage. “Sorry, Gus,” Billy said. “I’m going outside with my remote controlled truck.” Gus stared at the cage door as Billy walked away. It wasn’t fair. He was in a cage. He would never have an adventure locked in here. He ran at the door—it opened. He fell and landed on the floor. He was free! Gus’ heart raced. He scurried out to catch the truck. Gus hopped on just as the truck zoomed into the hallway. It was the most daring thing Gus had ever done. The truck hurdled toward the stairs. It bounced down the steps, nearly throwing Gus out. At the bottom, the truck turned the corner on two wheels. It bounded outside and down four more steps. Making another sharp turn, the truck sped through the tall grass. The grass whizzed by at an amazing speed. Now, this was an adventure!


From Idaho, USA

“Hey, Billy,” the neighbor boy yelled from across the street. “Do you want to come over and play some games?” Suddenly the truck stopped. “Sure, Steve,” Billy said. He dropped the remote on the step and ran across the street. Gus had never been outside. He did not know his way home. He couldn’t see over the top of the grass. So, he curled up inside the truck, and waited for Billy. Suddenly, he noticed a loud buzzing noise. It began to worry him. It was getting louder. Now it was a roar. He imagined it to be some kind of monster. Then the noise began to move away. Gus relaxed. That was close! “Hey, kid,” a voice called to him from the hedge that separated the yard from the alley. “You need to get out of there. That lawnmower will chop you up.” Gus’s heart skipped a beat. All Gus could see was a shadow. “Who are you? And what is a lawnmower?” “It cuts grass,” the stranger said. “And anything else in its way. Come with me. You will be safe on the other side of the hedge.” The lawnmower was coming back. Gus jumped out of the truck and ran. He followed the sound of the stranger’s voice through the hedge and into the alley on the other side. “You are a…cat,” Gus stammered. “I…guess I owe you my…life.” The cat smiled. Gus swallowed hard. He knew

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about cats from the stories Billy read, but he had never met one. Gus took a step back, then another. He did not like the hungry look in the black cat’s green eyes. He took another step back. “I need to go home now,” Gus said. “Billy will be looking for me. Thanks for helping me.” He took another step. “Leave the kid alone, Axel,” a fat brown rat said. “You are hunting on my side of the alley. We had an agreement.” “Drek,” Axel said. “I was just doing a good deed. I saved the kid’s life. He owes me.” “You broke our agreement. Me and the boys don’t like that,” Drek said. “Give me the kid.” Gus had heard enough. He ran. He looked for a place to hide. He spotted a small hole in the side of a shed, and dashed in. Just when he thought he was safe, he crashed into something soft and furry. Gus looked up into the blue eyes of—another cat. “Hi, friend,” the cat said. “My name is Toby.” Gus took a step back. This one seemed friendly, but so had Axel. “Is this your home?” Gus asked. “I do not have a home,” Toby said. “I was hiding from Drek. But when he saw you and Axel, he forgot about me. Do you have a home?” “I live on the other side of the hedge. I think I am lost. I just want to go home to Billy.” “Is Billy your friend?” Toby asked. “Yes,” Gus said. “He takes care of me.” “That is good,” Toby said. “You should leave here. This is a dangerous place for a mouse. Axel, Drek, and the others are not nice.” “I want to go home,” Gus said. “But I do not know my way.” “It’s okay,” Toby said. “I can help

you. I know a way through the hedge. Climb on to my back.” Gus hesitated. “Why do you want to help me?” Toby’s eyes grew sad. “Everyone should have a safe home and someone who loves them.” His face brightened. “I know I will find a home someday. Now, climb on and I will help you find your Billy.” Gus climbed onto Toby’s back. Toby crept out of the shed. There were no signs of Axel and Drek. He scurried across the alley and into the hedge. In seconds, the two friends burst through on the other side. “Look!” Gus said. “There’s Billy!” He was sitting on the front steps, his dented truck at his feet. His elbows were on his knees and his hands covered his face. Toby stopped in front of him. “Billy,” Gus squeaked. “It’s me, Gus, and my friend, Toby.” Billy raised his head. He saw Toby, and frowned. “Gus?” Gus jumped to the ground. “I’m right here, Billy,” he squeaked. “Gus, I thought I lost you forever.” He swept Gus up into his hand. “Thank you for bringing Gus home,” Billy said to Toby. With his free hand, he scooped Toby up. “I hope Gus invited you to dinner. Are you hungry?” Toby meowed. “I’ll take that as a yes,” Billy said. He flung open the door. “Mom, Dad, I found Gus. And you will not believe who Gus invited for dinner!”

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Storytime, day 25

Courageous Katie Written by Rachel Riley

Sitting on her favorite blue checkered blanket, Katie sighed. Normally she liked homework but not today. Katie pushed aside her notebook as her Grandma walked into the room. “All done sweetie?” her Grandma asked while offering Katie a warm chocolate chip cookie. “No,” Katie sighed and nibbled at her cookie. “Can I help somehow?” Grandma sat beside Katie on the bed and took a bite out of her own cookie. Licking the gooey chocolate off her fingers Katie replied, “I doubt it. I’m supposed to draw a picture of what I like most about Halloween. But I don’t like Halloween” “You don’t?” Grandma said smiling. ” What is it that you don’t like about Halloween?” “I have to wear my coat every year, and so no one can see my costume,” Katie said. “And sometimes, it’s scary.” “Well you know you can always stay home with me and hand out candy,” Grandma said as she stood up with the empty cookie plate. Katie wrinkled her nose. She didn’t want to miss trick or treat. “I don’t know,” she replied, “I’ll think about it.” Later that afternoon looking through an old costume box Katie found a flash light. She must have used it a Halloween before since the flash light had a pumpkin on top. Katie liked how the pumpkin’s face lit up and that it was smiling. Slipping the flash light into her treat bucket she continued to poke inside the box. When Katie finally reached the bottom she found an orange sweater that had been two sizes too big on her the year before. Katie smiled. The orange would look perfect with her princess gown.


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From Pennsylvania, USA

That evening Katie and her daddy walked up to the first house and she thought it wasn’t too scary. All the lights were on in the house which made Katie feel better. After saying “thank you” for a lollipop she walked away thinking maybe Halloween wasn’t that bad. Dropping her treat into her bucket beside the flashlight as she walked up to the next house Katie thought it looked dark and scary. She pulled out her light and shined it on the front porch. It didn’t look spooky anymore. The giant cobwebs and the skeletons hanging all around didn’t look real at all in the light. When Katie heard the front door open she shouted, “Trick or Treat!” A giant werewolf stood in the door holding a bucket in two paws. Katie shined her flash light at the werewolf and laughed when the person pulled off a silly rubber mask. “Trick or Treat to you, Katie,” said Ms. Jones while holding her mask and handing Katie a giant chocolate bar. After stopping at every house on the block, Katie’s daddy was tired and said it was time to go home. Grandma smiled at Katie as she skipped into the living room. Sitting down next to her, Katie rooted through her bag of goodies. “Did you have fun, sweetie?” Grandma asked. “Yes, it was so awesome!” Katie squealed. “Was it scary?” Grandma asked. “A little bit, but I used my flash light and wasn’t scared anymore. And I wore my sweater so everyone got to see my princess dress,” Katie said as she jumped up and twirled around. “But the best part is, I can’t wait for Halloween to come next year!”

Bonus Story, day 25

Peep, Peep, Peep! Written by Sharon Mayhew

“Peep, peep, peep.” “Did you hear that?” Sara asked. “I did, it sounds like it’s coming from the tulip tree,” Mom said. “Do you think there’s a bird’s nest in our tree?” “Let’s sit quietly and watch for a while.” Mom and Sara sat on the grass. They sat very still. They saw a beautiful red cardinal fly into the tulip tree. “It has a bug in its beak!” “Peep, peep, peep.” The brilliant red cardinal quickly flew back out of the tree without the cricket in its beak. “What happened to the bug?” Sara asked. “What do you think happened to it?” Mom asked. “I think there are baby birds in our tree.” “You might be right.” “Look, Mom! There goes another bird!” A reddish gray cardinal flew into the tulip tree with a moth larva in its beak. “Can we look for the nest?” “Yes,” Mom explained, “but we must not disturb it. Let’s find somewhere to sit so we can see the nest without upsetting the birds.” Mom and Sara found a spot on the deck where they could see the nest. “Peep, peep, peep.” “Here comes the bright red cardinal with another bug!” “Shhhh, let’s watch,” Mom whispered. The bright red cardinal with a black beard landed on a thin branch beside the nest. Three little heads popped up. The heads peeked over the edge of the nest. “Peep, peep, peep.” The baby cardinals tilted their heads up and opened their mouths’ wide. The bright red cardinal put

From Iowa, USA

its red beak inside each baby bird’s mouth. When all the babies were fed it flew away. “Wow, Mom, we have three baby birds! Can I hold them?” “No, Sweetie. We can watch and listen, but we mustn’t touch them.” The reddish gray cardinal flew back to the nest with a beetle in its beak. “Peep, peep, peep.” The babies all raised their heads up and opened their mouths wide again. “Mom, why is one of the cardinals a pretty red color and the other one a yucky color?” “The bright red cardinal is the daddy. The reddish gray cardinal is the mommy.” “But why is the daddy different than the mommy?” “The daddy cardinal is a bright color so that the mommy cardinal will really like him. Do you remember when we went to the zoo?” “Yes, it was fun.” “Do you remember seeing the peacocks?” “Uh huh, they had really long blue and green feathers.” “That’s right! The boy peacocks had long colorful tail feathers. The girl peacocks had short brown feathers. Who do you think can hide easier?” Mom asked. “I think the mommy can, cause she’s brown like a nest.” “Good job, Sara! The mommy bird’s coloring helps to keep her safe.” “I hope my baby cardinals grow up to be pretty.” “They will, Sweetie. They’ll be pretty to each other.” “Look, Mom! Here comes the daddy again. I bet he has more bugs for his babies.” “Peep, peep, peep.”

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Storytime, day 26

Peaches For Breakfast Written by Holly Robbins

Quite honestly, I can’t tell you how it all started, but I think it was the breakfast. On the morning my adventure started, I got up, looked at my reflection in the mirror, dragged a comb through my hair and went downstairs. Mom was talking on the phone. I sat down at the table and she put a large bowl of cut-up peaches in front of me and kept right on talking. I ate it all gone and licked the bowl because I had a feeling I was going to need my energy. When she got off the phone, I finished breakfast. “Good morning, sweet heart,” she cooed as I stood up. “How are–AAAAGH!” she screamed. “‘Aaaaagh?’” I replied. “Who are ‘aaaaagh’?” “You! My darling, what’s happened to you?” “Now, what kind of way is that to tell me you don’t like what I’ve done to my hair?” I asked. “Why not just say, ‘How are you, son? And by the way, will you go back up stairs and straighten up your hair before you go to school?’ I’m a big boy. I can take it.” “No you’re not! You’re not a big boy at all,” she screeched, “I mean . . . you should be, but . . . my darling . . . My how you’ve shrunk!” Now if you think you don’t like it when someone squeezes your cheeks and says, “My, how you’ve grown,” believe you me, you’d like it even less if they said, “My how you’ve shrunk.” “What are you talking about, mom? You’re scaring me.” “Well you’re scaring me!” she cried frantically. “Go look in the mirror!” Unfortunately, by the time I got to


From Utah, USA

the bathroom mirror I had shrunk so much that I couldn’t even reach the sink, let alone look in the mirror. My mom had to bring me a stool. “I’m calling the doctor. No. No. I’m... I’m calling 911.” By the time the ambulance got there, I was sitting in the palm of my mother’s trembling hand, and I was growing smaller by the second. “What seems to be the problem, ma’am?” said the paramedic nonchalantly. “My son is . . . is . . . is shrinking!” she shrieked. “Look at him!” “Why, that looks like a ten-year-old boy who’s . . . three inches high. How’d he manage that? You in any pain, son?” “Are you in any pain, son?” my mother screamed in my ear. Her breath hit me like a fifty-mile-an-hour wind and nearly knocked me over. The tears were flooding down her worry-stricken face and dropping on me like water bombs. “No, mom. None at all. I’m just a little . . . wet. And no offense, mom, but I’m just small–not deaf,” I replied as I recovered from the blast. And then I shrunk yet another inch. “You’ve got to help him! At this rate, he’ll disappear altogether within the next five min-utes!” “Ma’am, with all due respect, I don’t think that can happen. You see, according to the laws of physics,” he said proudly, “matter can neither be created nor destroyed–only transformed.” “Transformed?!” she screamed. And then she fainted. Somewhere on the way to the floor,

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I must have shrunk all the rest of the way because I landed lightly; kind of like an ant does when you blow it off the table. Quite suddenly, I felt like I was in a whole new world. I knew this had to be my kitchen because that’s where we’d been, but now it was a whole new terrain! The patterns in the linoleum floor were so deep that I had to stay on the white part if I didn’t want to have to climb out of the knee-deep pits in it, and every-thing looked way different from down here. At first I wanted to get the paramedic’s attention, but decided against it when I realized that his big toe all by itself was probably the size of a Boeing jet compared to me, and I didn’t want to get squashed. So when Sniper, my cat came by to investigate me, I took the opportunity to climb onto one of his whiskers and we headed out the cat door. What I felt in that moment was a mixture of terror and joy. I didn’t think I could live a very successful or long life at that size. I might get eaten up by some small rodent before the end of the day. On the other hand, I felt a bit adventurous and soon this feeling won out over the fear. “All this, from peaches. Wow! I’m going to have to remember that.” I exclaimed as Sniper tore after a mouse through the long grass behind our house. I didn’t want to get too far out, so I let go of the cat when I saw our swing set. I’d have to stay close by, I thought, otherwise I’d get lost, which is the last thing someone who is only half a centimeter tall wants to do. I figured it’d take me ‘til dinnertime to get back to the house from there. Luckily I’d had a good breakfast, because when I turned to head toward the house, the first thing I needed to do was run. A giant brown spider had just spotted me and was looking a bit too curious for comfort. Although I was frightened, I felt curious about him too, so I was really happy to find refuge in an

up-side-down plastic cup. There was a hole in the side of it and it was just big enough for me to get through and not big enough for the spider. (I was really glad that at least one member of our family–me–had not thrown away my garbage after the back-yard picnic the week before.) What an opportunity! I thought. I absolutely love spiders. Who would have ever thought I’d get to see one this close up! He was as big as a refrigerator. He aggressively started climbing all over the cup, looking for a way in. His whole body was covered in hair and his eight legs ended in graceful pinpoints. I felt perfectly safe, so I just enjoyed seeing his predatorial in-stincts take over. He had more eyes than I could count, stripes on his underbelly and a set of fangs at least as long as my legs. Pretty soon a bunch of soldier ants went marching by; he lost interest in me and off he went. I got out from under the cup and took a look at the forest. It was still morning and the enormous tree-sized blades of grass were glistening with cool silver globes of water that sparkled like diamonds. Dewdrops! They looked so good, I suddenly realized how thirsty I was. I went to drink up the one right in front of me and the second my lips touched it, it burst like a water bal-loon all over my face. It was delicious! By the time I’d finished drinking the sweet morning dew, I was soaked from head to foot, but I was sure refreshed. It was the best water I’d ever tasted! I was both grateful and discouraged at the same time when suddenly I realized that I was almost as tall as most of the blades of grass. The light of the sun must’ve been making me grow. This was after I’d spent about three hours walking back to the house. I was back to three or four inches, and before nightfall I’d probably be back to normal size. What’s small must grow up, I thought. “Oh, well. I’ll just enjoy what time I’ve got left.”

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Storytime, day 26 continued

I continued to marvel at the landscape. I got to see a colony of ants working on their hill, I saw a dandelion starting to poke its green buddy head out of the ground. I felt the moisture of the earth between my bare toes. (I’d taken off my shoes so I could enjoy the whole experience as much as possible.) I saw delicate bird feathers that had been left behind, a thick, hard fragment of a blue robin egg, a snail climbing on a tire, a butterfly drinking dew from a buttercup, a humming bird investigating a fallen hollyhock, and at one point, a daddy long legs who peacefully regarded me before going on his busy way. He touched the palm of my hand with the tip of his straight, long, graceful leg–almost like a handshake– and then he was gone. What a beautiful and delicate creature he was! At five inches I climbed the raspberry bush just for fun and ate some delicious berries. What kid has ever had the opportunity to climb a raspberry bush?! And it was growing right next to the glorious pink and yellow peace rose bush, what a fragrance! Had I not been concentrating, the glory of that wonderful sweet scent might have put me right to sleep! From the top of the pole, I looked down over the vast landscape that was my own back yard, the breath of the roses wafting up into my nostrils, and observed the myriad creatures that called this lovely world home. I heard a chomping noise and turned to see a praying mantis chewing on a raspberry leaf. He cocked his head and seemed to smile at me. “Good day to you too, Mr. Mantis!” All of these beautiful insects and plants! I had always liked bugs. I had always enjoyed flowers. But never before had I seen myself as one of them– fellow creatures in our own heavenly back-yard garden. What a wonder-filled experience! What a lovely world! What happened next was a bit of


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a shock. My little brother, Steven, had come out with my friend April, who was babysitting him. Steven wanted to show her the bush and share some berries with her. He took one look at me–almost ten inches tall and perched on the raspberry bush–and let out a squeal of delight. “Mitchell! Dolly!” April let out a screech. “No! No, Steven! I’m not your dolly!” I squeaked as he grasped me roughly around the wrist and dragged me not at all carefully like a Raggedy Andy toward the back door. “Mitchell! Dolly!” And just as he got me to the back steps, I sprang back to full size and landed right on top of him. He let out a yowl of surprise and disappointment. “Mitchell not dolly. Bad Mitchell! Go back. Be dolly.” “Aw, I’m sorry, buddy, but I can’t. Mom’s probably worried about me. We’ll play catch later.” He let out another wail and pouted on the back step while I ran inside. Just as I walked in the back door, dad was helping mom through the front door. When she saw me, she burst into tears. “See, honey. I told you he’d be alright,” dad comforted. “Oh, my darling!” she cried. “My darling! I promise I’ll never feed you peaches for breakfast ever again.” She threw her arms around me and I told her all about my adventure. After listening and crying for over an hour, she said that for all the grief I’d caused, she was certainly glad that I at least had a new appreciation for nature. A week later my Aunt Mabel came over. “Why, hello, Mitchell,” she said when she saw me. Then she mussed up my hair and pinched my cheek real hard. “My how you’ve grown!” This time I knew exactly what she meant; and I took it as a compliment.

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Storytime, day 27

Singing in the Garden Written by Ginger Rodeghero

“Aren’t you done?” whined Josie. “Can we go to the park?” “When I finish weeding the flowers,” Mom replied. Everyday Mom said the same thing: “Josie, find something to do while I work in the garden.” Mom would sing as she worked. Josie didn’t know what there was to sing about. It didn’t look like any fun. “When will you be done?” she asked impatiently. Just then a cool breeze rustled the leaves and that’s when Josie heard a soft whisper, “Hello.” “Who said that?” Josie looked closely at the daisies. Again she heard, “Hello.” Then Josie saw the bright, smiling faces. “Who are you?” she asked. “We’re the Flower Elves,” came a reply. “What are you doing in Mom’s flowers?” “We are the flowers,” an Elf said. “I didn’t know you were there!” “Can you help us? We are very thirsty,” said the small Elf. Josie got a sprinkling can and gave the flowers a big gulp. There was a quiet sigh, and then, “Thank you.” The next day Josie made a beeline for the flowerbed. Peering into the daisies, she saw her friends. “Do you need a drink today?” she asked. “No, we need fertilizer,” replied the elf.


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From Florida, USA

“What’s that?” It’s the smelly stuff your Mom gives us. It’s full of vitamins.” “I didn’t know you took vitamins.” Josie ran off and lugged back a big bag. She mixed the fertilizer into the soil like she’d seen Mom do. “Is there anything else I can do?” asked Josie “Could you pull out some of the weeds? They squeeze our roots and we can’t grow.” Josie pulled wildly at the weeds flinging them behind her. When finished, she smiled at the flower elves. “Sing to us,” they said Josie burst out with her favorite song. Like magic, the daisies began to glow. “Are you ready to go to the park?” asked Mom. “No, we can later. I want to help in the garden.” “What’s gotten into you?” “Nothing.” smiled Josie, “I’m just singing to my friends.” The Flower Elf gave her a quick wink and vanished.

Storytime, day 28

Mom’s Big Helper by James H. Thuesson

Steven sat in his time-out chair and pouted. Life just wasn’t fair! All the other kids in third-grade had pets, and so naturally Steven wanted one, too. Bobby had a pet frog, and Suzanne had a turtle. Jimmy had a cat and Laura had a puppy. Steven wanted one so bad that he asked his mom for a dog, cat, snake or bird at least ten times a day. Well, today was the fifth day, and Steven’t mom had finally had enough. “Steven Finnigen Motley, I have had enough! Time Out!” Steven knew she was being serious because the veins in her head were popping out again. That, and she was using her crooked pointer-finger; the one that was bent because Steven had accidentally closed it in the car door a year before. Mom only used that finger when she was really upset. So off he had gone to his time-out chair, and now, here he was, pouting and feeling sorry for himself. Steven thought of his mom’s funny, bent pointer-finger and laughed. It really did look funny, and when mom was in a good mood, it made them all laugh to look at it. Deep down, though, Steven felt bad. He knew mom was very busy. She had to work a full-time job and take care of three kids, almost all by herself. She got up early in the morning and went to bed late at night. Sometimes, Steven wondered if she ever slept at all! Maybe she was some sort of zombie, or a robot from the future! Steven giggled


From Rhode Island, USA

again. No, she was just mom, and even if she didn’t always give Steven what he wanted, she was still a great mom. And, Steven realized, she was a very stressed-out mom! She’s always doing stuff for me and the other kids, non-stop, every day, Steven thought. She needs my help. She’s trying to do everything on her own, but I can help her out. I just know I can! Steven was so excited about helping his mom out that he forgot all about wanting a pet. In fact, he even forgot he was supposed to be in time-out! Instead, he jumped off his chair and went to the cleaning closet where he found some cleaning wipes. His first stop was in the bathroom, where he wiped down the toilet and sink - but he was careful not to use the same rag on both! Next, he ran to the kitchen and helped put the dishes away. Last, he went back to his room and picked up all the toys and clothes on his floor, and made sure his covers were pulled up on his bed. Steven felt very good about all that he had accomplished. In fact, Steven enjoyed helping his mom so much that day that he decided to help his mom every day from then on. Right after he got home from school he would ask his mom, “What can I do to help today?” Without fail, mom could always think of a new job, like vacuuming, or dusting, or picking up his toys. And every day, when he was done, his mom wrapped him up in a big bear-hug. “Thank you, Steven,” she said. And then she would

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kiss him on the cheek. Steven tried to squirm away, but deep down, he felt special, warm and happy. Well, after two whole weeks of helping, his mother sat him down one day and said, “Steven, I have a surprise for you.” Steven’s eyes lit up with excitement. “What is it, Mom?” His mom said, “You have shown me that you are a very responsible young man. So how would you like one more responsibility? How would you like a pet?” Steven couldn’t believe his ears! “A pet? Really? Like a snake? Oh, please, can I have a snake?” Steven watched as mom’s whole body shivered. “Well,” she said, “maybe not a snake. But how about a puppy?” Steven ran over and hugged his mom, then kissed her on the cheek. “You’re the best, Mom,” he said. “I love you!” “No, Steven,” she said. “You are the best. Thanks for being such a big helper. And I love you, too.”

CHORE TIME Helping children want to do their chores is a chore itself. Use the following tips to make chore time fun! 1) Make a game of it. Children love to play games, and chore time can be fun if it’s disguised as play time. Have a race. See if one child can pick up all the blue toys while another child picks up all the red toys. Or play “5 Minute Queen.” Set a timer for five minutes, and let one child sit on a “throne” and order the other child to clean. To avoid abuses of power, remind the children that when the timer goes off they get to switch places, and the Queen becomes the servant. 2) Have a chart, and keep it in a visible place. Having a chart and staying current with it will help to avoid arguments, such as whose turn it is to do the dishes or take out the trash. 3) Tie allowance money (or privileges) to the successful completion of the daily or weekly chores. Let the children know that jobs must be done before play time can happen, and stick to it. Then the children can earn money or privileges such as watching a movie or playing computer games by doing their chores. Whatever you choose to make chore time less of a chore for you, it is important to be consistent. Children need a stable, rule-oriented environment.

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Storytime, day 29

Dancing Cloud and the Buffalo Written by Katrina B., Age 10

There once lived a little boy named Dancing Cloud. He lived with his mom, Sunshine, in a beautiful valley next to beautiful mountains and beautiful plains. They were very poor, but generous and kind. One day, Dancing Cloud went hunting for buffalo. Dancing Cloud came upon a plump buffalo with tons of brown, silky fur. “My mother shall be proud to have such fine fur!” he said. He wanted to give her a warm, fur coat because soon the winter snows would be coming, and he didn’t want his mother to be cold. Dancing cloud went under the great oak tree to hunt his prey. He took an arrow out of his quiver and put it in the bow. He pulled back the arrow and aimed at the buffalo. When he was ready to kill the buffalo, the buffalo turned and saw him. Dancing Cloud looked into the buffalo’s eyes and didn’t have the heart to kill him. The buffalo looked too kind and loving. He went to the buffalo and started petting him, instead. “Dancing Cloud, you show a good heart,” said the buffalo. “Come here tomorrow and there will be a teepee made out of gold.” Dancing Cloud was so happy he ran home and told Sunshine. The next day, Dancing Cloud went back to meet the buffalo but the buffalo was not there. Instead, there was a golden teepee, just as the buffalo had promised. So Dancing Cloud got his treasure and bought many great things,


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From Nevada, USA

including a nice, warm coat for his mother. When the story got around the village, a greedy man wanted to be rich, too. So he did what Dancing Cloud had done and went to speak to the buffalo. This time, though, the buffalo said, “You are a rotten, greedy, selfish man. Tomorrow, you won’t be a man. You will be a buffalo!” The greedy man stomped back to the village, and the next day he turned into a buffalo. Dancing Cloud remained a kind, loving person. But the greedy man is cursed forever as a buffalo because of his cruel, selfish heart.

Illustration by: the author, Katrina B. From: Las Vegas, USA *see more illustrations in the For Kids by Kids section on pg. 86

Storytime, day 30

Flags for Katie Written by Linda George

White house with pink trim. Blue house with white trim. Yellow house with orange trim. Where was Katie’s new house? Green house with yellow trim. Purple house with white trim! There it was! Katie’s new house! When Daddy stopped the car, Katie ran to the front porch. A swing! Katie climbed into the swing and leaned back. The swing swayed gently in the breeze. All around the porch grew shrubs and vines with flowers. White! Red! Pink! Yellow! Orange! Blue! Katie smelled honeysuckle—her favorite smell in the whole world! Daddy stood on the porch. He frowned at the house next door. It was pink with white trim. Mom had told Katie a Tibetan family lived there. They had a little girl about Katie’s age. Katie couldn’t wait to meet her! From the front porch of the pink house hung a string of colored flags. Red. Blue. Yellow. Green. The flags had scribbles on them. Daddy shook his head. “What’s wrong, Daddy? Don’t you like the flags?” Daddy shook his head again. “They look like the flags on a used car lot.” Katie thought the flags were wonderful, fluttering in the wind. Watching them made her feel happy. “They don’t match the pink house,” Mommy said. “They’re ugly,” Daddy said. Katie wiped tears from her eyes. The next day, Katie saw a girl playing in the yard of the pink house. “Hello!” Katie waved at her. The flags seemed to wave back. The girl waved, too. “I’m Katie!”


From Texas, USA

“I’m Lin. Do you like the flags?” “Yes, but Daddy thinks they’re ugly. He thinks they look like a used car lot.” Lin stopped smiling, dropped her chin, and looked away. “Why do you have them on your porch?” “They’re prayer flags. They let the universe know that we wish happiness and love to all living things.” No wonder they made Katie feel happy! “Maybe they will bring rain. It is too dry here because of the drought. There has been no rain here for months,” said Lin. “Do you really think they’ll bring rain?” “Maybe. Would you like to have lunch with us? My mother is fixing her special egg rolls.” “I’d love to try them!” Lin smiled again. Katie and Lin went to Katie’s house to ask permission. Mom said yes! The egg rolls were yummy. Katie thanked Lin for lunch and promised to invite her over for lunch sometime, too. That night, Katie told Daddy about the prayer flags and what Lin said about them. “I still think they’re ugly.” “That’s what I told her.” Daddy frowned. The next day, Lin’s father began taking the flags down from their porch. Katie asked why. “Because your father doesn’t like them. We have no wish to cause him displeasure. The flags are meant to bring happiness.” Katie ran home. “Daddy! Lin’s father is taking the flags down! Now the universe won’t know about the

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happiness and love and the rain we need! Everything will dry up and blow away!” Daddy and Katie went out on the porch. Daddy watched Lin’s father taking down the last of the flags. Katie took Daddy’s hand and led him next door to meet Lin and her father and mother. “Katie says the flags may bring rain,” Daddy said. “Is that true?” Lin’s father smiled. “By wishing love and happiness to the universe, the earth will eventually receive what it needs to stay alive and flourish.” Katie tugged at Daddy’s sleeve and pulled him down to whisper in his ear. Daddy smiled and nodded. An hour later, everyone stood between the purple house and the pink house to look at the string of prayer flags. They were tied to the corner of Katie’s house, and to the corner of Lin’s house. Between the houses, they waved and fluttered their message of happiness and love. Now, they were Katie’s flags, too! “Pretty flags,” said Lin. “Happy flags,” said Katie. Big drops started falling from the sky! Katie grabbed Lin’s hand and they ran to the porch to sit in the swing and watch the flags waving happily in the rain.

Talk Time Topic: Differences Did you know that not all kids look the same? Some have brown hair, some have blonde hair, and some have red hair. Some even have different colored skin! Have you ever met someone with very fair white skin? How about someone with very dark brown skin? Or perhaps someone with olive-colored skin? Where do these people come from? Should we treat people any differently because they look different? Some people come from other countries or lands where they have different traditions than you may be used to. What are some ways you can learn more about traditions in far away places? How did Katie show her new friend Lin that she was going to be her friend, regardless of what different traditions Lin may have had?

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Storytime, day 31

The Master Violinist Written by Sven Hensel

At the auditions for the big Midsummer Night Concert, which was always held outside, all the musicians sat still in their chairs as they waited for the beat that the first violin would initiate. When the first violin began playing, however, it sounded so atrocious that everyone there was startled by the horrible sounds coming from the instrument. The Conductor, Kobajaschi, held his hands over his ears and shouted loudly, “STOP!” He looked at the violinist and said, “If that’s the best you can do, then you are in the wrong place. Now, get out of my Orchestra!” With his head hanging low, the master violinist left his place and dragged himself out of the auditions. He turned one last time and looked back on the other musicians and there were tears in his eyes. Once outside, he sat down and thought regretfully on the day he accidentally left his beautiful violin in the rain, all because he had wanted to go for a swim. The rain had ruined his instrument, and now the violin didn’t sound like a violin. Now, the strings just gave off loud screeches and scratches when he tried to play. The violinist wanted to play in the orchestra so badly that he had practiced tirelessly and could even play all the pieces from memory. But it was all for nothing. He walked away from the audition, and when he was far enough away, he tried his violin again. It sounded like a dying hippo, but the violinist didn’t even hear it. In his mind, he imagined he was at the big concert, and he was playing the solo!


From Dagebuell, Germany

Suddenly, he was hit in the head by a nutshell. Another came and then another, waking him out of his daydream. A chipmunk yelled at the violinist to stop making such horrible noises. “Think about all the other animals,” it said. “They deserve some peace and quiet!” The violinist tried to explain to the chipmunk, but the chipmunk had no patience for him and ran away. Sad and depressed, he walked further, until he came to a large lake. Frogs were croaking all around the lake, making a beautiful orchestra of their own. He wanted to play with them, so he took out his violin again and began to play very carefully and quietly, so as not to disturb any more animals. Before long, the frogs all stopped their croaking as they heard the violin play it’s ugly tune and they jumped off their lillypads into the lake. But the violinist didn’t even notice. Until, suddenly, a great big, dark-brown toad jumped onto his lap! The violinist jumped with surprise. The toad demanded to know what was wrong. He said that he and all the other frogs had only ever heard beautiful music coming from the concert stage, but the violinist’s music was wretched. Why? The violinist sat down and again spilled his heart about his misfortune. He told the toad everything; how he left the violin in the rain, and how he was thrown out of the orchestra auditions to play in the great Midsummer Night Concert. “Hmmm...,” the toad said. “Ask the owl in the forest. He is very old and has seen much with his large

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eyes. Perhaps he can help you further.” The violinist thanked the toad and, with hope in his heart for the first time that day, skipped into the forest to ask the Owl. He found the owl fairly quickly and told him exactly all that had happened. The Owl thought, and thought, and thought. Then he said, “Ask the mole. He can help you. He collects everything, and if you’re lucky, he might even have a new violin for you.” Feeling even more excited and filled with even more hope, the violinist went off in search of the mole. After a long walk he came to the first molehill, but the mole was nowhere to be seen. He called out with a loud voice for the mole, and suddenly the earth beneath the violinist’s feet began to move and tremble. Out popped the mole before him. The mole looked at the man and asked, “Okay, what is it? What’s wrong?” Again, the violinist explained his situation. The mole laughed out loud to hear his predicament, but then said that he could probably help. “Wait here,” the mole said, just before he disappeared down his hole. Morning turned to afternoon and afternoon turned to evening before the mole finally came back to the surface. “Sorry,” said the mole. “My filing system still isn’t quite where I want it...” Then the mole lifted a new, white-as-snow violin out of the hole. As payment, the mole asked the violinist to play a song, which the man readily agreed to. He began to play and the beautiful music lifted high into the forest air. Full of deep feeling he played, and and the mole was very impressed. When he was finished, he bade the mole farewell and hightailed it back to the concert before it was too late. Now, because the Conductor

had thrown the violinist out, he disguised himself with a fake beard and a new hat. Then, he snuck into the concert just as it was about to begin, and sat down in an open seat next to the first violin. No one even recognized him. Conductor Koajaschi opened the concert with a few words, then tapped his baton on his stand and the music began. Each instrument played it’s part, and the violinist played his white violin. Next to him sat the musician who played first violin, but he was turning green with sickness. He said, “You play this piece for me, ok? I know who you are, and I know you are good enough to do it.” Stunned, the violinist nodded his head, and prepared himself to play the part of the first violin. Before long, the time came for the solo. He stood up and played his white violin like an angel. All the animals in the meadow and forest, and all the people in their seats, sat intoxicated as they listened to his beautiful music. Even the Conductor was taken by surprise. The concert was a huge success, and everyone was thrilled. The Conductor apologized to the violinist for throwing him out, and admitted that yes, he knew who the violinist was because the disguise really wasn’t that good. And from that day on, the violinist played the first violin in the Orchestra.

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Storytime, Bonus Story

The Boy

who was allergic to sweets Written by Adam Haver

There was once, long ago, a peculiar little town called Merryville where all children enjoyed the best things in life, or so they thought. They never had to do any homework or attend classes, and they didn’t have any pesky teachers getting after them. Instead, all the children enjoyed a school-day consisting of recess to start things off, lunch, more recess, snack time, and yet another recess before going home. At every dinner table in Merryville, dessert was always served first and vegetables were, of course, optional. The greatest part of all was that children never had to go to bed early. Every child could stay up as late as they liked, playing all sorts of games and enjoying the many, many toys they had. The children were even offered chocolate cake, cotton candy, and other delicious sweets late into the night. Needles to say, all the children in Merryville were quite content with their lives, that is, all except one little boy named Michael Christopher Dixon. For you see, he was never very happy about his life, and for one very good reason: He was allergic to sugar. He wasn’t able to go to school because he couldn’t eat anything there; everything was sugary sweets. So he really never had any friends at all. In fact, he considered himself quite lonely. One day, to make things a little


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From Utah, USA

more bearable, he started to teach himself to read. He had found an old, dusty shelf of library books in the attic of their home and decided he would read every single book on the shelf. There were small books, thick books, green books, red books, and ones that had words so long he couldn’t even say them. One day, on Michael Christopher Dixon’s twelfth birthday, something unexpected happened. He had been wandering outside Merryville, miserable and sneezing, because he thought he’d try eating a piece of his birthday cake this year, when a gigantic, hairy beast burst through the trees near town. It started stomping towards the houses, shops, and people of Merryville. It was a creature known as a Growl-a-lot, named so because, well, they growled...a lot. “Grrr!” the Growl-a-lot bellowed as it approached the town. Many of the townsfolk came out of their houses to see what was causing the ground to shake and quake and rumble. Some people shouted in fear and others tried running away. Michael Christopher Dixon, however, just smiled. Just before the Growl-a-lot reached him and the town, he pulled a red hanky from his pocket, one he had been sneezing in, and held it high above his head. The Growl-a-lot skidded to a stop and

staring at the little boy before him with wide eyes. “Wed! He has sumtin’ wed. I no like dat color wed!” The Growl-alot didn’t growl, but whimpered instead. It backed away from the boy and the red handkerchief. Michael Christopher Dixon gave it a little shake, and a strange sound came from the Growl-a-lot that must have been some kind of whimper. The creature tossed it’s hands in the air, quickly turned around, and ran back into the forest. Just moments later, the townsfolk surrounded the boy, who was still holding his red hanky. They couldn’t believe what they had seen. “How did you do it?” the mayor asked. Michael Christopher Dixon just stood there, unsure of what to say to everyone. Nobody usually paid him any attention at all. Now, several kids came over to him telling him how amazing it was to see him scare away the creature from the forest. “Well,” he finally said, “If you’ve ever read anything about Growla-lots, you’ll know they are absolutely terrified of the color wed...I mean red,” he said. Everyone in the town laughed. For the very first time ever, Michael Christopher Dixon felt good about things, and he realized he would have never been able to save the town if he had been like the other kids who had never read a book and ate far too much sugar. Suddenly, Michael wasn’t sad anymore that he was allergic to sugar.

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For Kids by Kids

This is the wonderful and whimsical section in which we proudly display the amazing artwork submitted by our very own little readers. Every month we will include all new submissions that we recieve through our website at Inspire your child’s imagination™ and submit their artwork today! Also, don’t forget to vote for your favorite artwork! The top three winners will win prizes worth hundreds of dollars. Prizes may include art supplies, books and more, so go to today to vote for your favorite artist.

Title: “Penguin” Name, Age: Truman, 5 yrs. old From: Riverton, Utah, USA Favorite Foods: Tacos Favorite Activity: Playing with chickens


Title: “Our Planet” Name, Age: Charley, 8 yrs. old From: Woods Cross, Utah, USA Favorite Hobby: Reading Favorite Food: Pizza

Title: “Family Vacation” Name, Age: Emmy, 6 yrs. old From: West Jordan, Utah, USA Favorite Animal: Kitty Favorite Color: Yellow

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Title: “Princess” Name, Age: Kiyah, 5 yrs. old From: West Jordan, Utah, USA Favorite Food & Color: Watermelon Favorite Hobby: Swinging, dancing, & drawing

Title: “Mama Bird” Name, Age: Halle, 7 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Hobby: Playing outside Favorite Color: Tidal-wave blue


Title: “Belle” Name, Age: Tara, 11 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Applesauce Favorite Animal: Tyrannosaurus Rex

Title: “The Desert” Name, Age: Luke, 6 yrs old From: Woods Cross, Utah, USA Favorite Food: Hot dogs Favorite Color: Black

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Title: “Spaceman” Name, Age: Watson, 8 yrs. old From: Riverton, Utah, USA Favorite Food: Pizza Favorite Color: Jumping on the trampoline

Title: “Mountains at Night” Name, Age: Lucas, 8 yrs old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Animal: Tiger Favorite Color: Dark blue

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Title: “The Tiny Seed” Name, Age: Hailee, 8 yrs. old From: Herriman, UT, USA Favorite Food: Vegetables Favorite Hobby: Playing with Friends

Title: “Robert and a Monkey” Name, Age: Mia, 4 yrs. old From: Kaysville, UT, USA Favorite Food: Bratwurst Favorite Color: Pink


Title: “Snowman” Name, Age: Samantha, 10 yrs. old From: Bountiful, UT, USA Favorite Foods: Magenta Favorite Activities: Drawing

Title: “Playing in the Park” Name, Age: Ella, 5 yrs. old From: West Jordan, UT, USA Favorite Subject: French Favorite Activity: Dancing

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Title: “Rose’s Rose” Name, Age: Michaela, 11 yrs. old From: American Fork, UT, USA Favorite Food: Chili Cheese Dog Favorite Activity: Reading

Title: “Shark” Name, Age: Jackson, 4 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA Favorite Animal: Zebra Favorite Food: Hot Dog


Title: “Nerissa the Mermaid” Name, Age: Haley, 8 yrs. old From: West Jordan, UT, USA Favorite Animal: Horse Favorite Hobby: Monkey bars

Title: “My Family” Name, Age: McKinley, 7 yrs. old From: Sandy, UT, USA Favorite Color: Light Blue Favorite Hobbies: Karate & Collecting Rocks



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Title: “Imagination” Name, Age: Chelsea, 8 yrs. old From: Chelmsford, UK Favorite Food: Splenda Favorite Hobby: Reading and writing

Title: “The Village” Name, Age: Kara, 6 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Peanut Butter Favorite Color: Purple


Title: “My Family” Name, Age: Aaron, 4 yrs. old From: Provo, UT, USA Favorite Color: Orange Favorite Animal: Cheetah

Title: “Beautiful Beach” Name, Age: Sophie, 8 yrs. old From: Cottonwood Heights, UT, USA Favorite Hobby: Motorcycling Favorite Color: Green & Blue

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Title: “Beauty” Name, Age: Cami, 8 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Pancakes Favorite Activity: Reading & Barbies

Title: “Tree and Flowers” Name, Age: Kandice, 8 yrs old. From: Herriman, UT, USA Favorite Food: Ramen noodles Favorite Activity: Ballet


Title: “Mountain Top” Name, Age: Rhett, 4 yrs. old From: Woods Cross, UT, USA Favorite Food: Chocolate Favorite Subject: Art

Title: “Me” Name: Riley, 6 yrs. old From: West Jordan, UT, USA Favorite Color: Blue Favorite Food: Pepperoni Pizza

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Title: “Ice Cream Cone” Name, Age: Duncan, 5 yrs. old From: Ogden, UT, USA Favorite Food: Chili Mac & Cheese Favorite Animal: Dolphins

Title: “Flowers In A Vase” Name, Age: Sami, 9 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Pizza Favorite Activity: Arts and Crafts



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Title: “Rubber Duck” Name, Age: Hannah, 5 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Macaroni & Cheese Favorite Color: Pink

Title: “Scar” Name, Age: Eliah, 7 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Apples Favorite Subject: Art


Title: “The Chicken Planter” Name, Age: Kaitlin, 6 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Peanut Butter Favorite Color: Purple

Title: “Alien Tiger” Name, Age: Baden, 6 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Color: Dark colors Favorite Hobby: Wrestling with Dad

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Title: “Flowers” Name, Age: Brecken, 8 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Rootbeer float Favorite Color: Baby blue

Title: “AJ’s Forest” Name, Age: AJ, 6 yrs. old From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA Favorite Food: Watermelon Favorite Activity: Playing Nintendo Wii


For You by You

A Place for Everything Written by Ashley Pettit

Can you remember the last time you saw the carpet in your child’s room? Was there a rug under all of those toys? It’s not as hard and scary as it seems to get your child’s room cleaned up. Here is a step by step plan to get organized and keep it that way! Start with making 4 piles; Keep, Toss, Donate, and Sell Note: Do this without your child, as they will LOVE every toy and won’t be able to part with things they didn’t even know they had. Keep: all toys that your child regularly plays with. Toss: all toys that are broken, faded, or unsafe (lead, small pieces, etc). Donate: all toys that your child may be too old for that may be of small value ($). Sell: all toys that may be of large value ($) that your child no longer plays with or is too old for. You can make a good profit selling the toys online or at a garage sale- or get all of your friends together and have a to-swap. Toy recycling is great because it helps your child learn to give, it benefits lower income families, and it helps reduce the garbage in landfills. Once the “keep” inventory is smaller and more manageable, you will be able to sort it into “like” piles, such as Lego’s, Dinosaurs, Games, or Dolls. It is easiest for children to put toys away in places that have a home. Make a home for each “like” pile. You can make these out of old shoe boxes, hampers, or plastic organizers from your local discount store. Label each home so that there is no confusion on where the toys belong. For smaller children, draw or print pictures of the toy on the label next to the word. This will also help them with word association. Note: Include your child in this step. He will learn by doing, so don’t clean up and organize your child’s room for him. He’s got to put it away to remember where it is! Encourage your child when she is done playing with a toy to put it in its home before a new toy is brought out. Each time your child is given a gift, purge an old toy and replace it with the new shiny one. This will keep the clutter down, so that each toy still has a home. This will teach your child the importance of being organized and you will also gain quality time with your child. Cheap Organizer Ideas • Old Boxes covered in wrapping/contact paper can match any décor. • Baby Wipe Tubs - Great for keeping hot wheels, plastic figurines, and the little pieces to games! They snap shut tightly, and you can decorate them if you wish to make them more attractive. • Behind the Door Shoe Holders-Perfect for out of site organizing. They fit flash cards, small puzzles, stamps, and stencils. • Spray Painted Egg Cartons make great jewelry and Barbie shoe holders • Old Drawers - Have an old dresser that’s falling apart? Save the drawers and use them as under bed storage. You can even paint/stain them to match your furniture. Use to store books, art and craft supplies, or out of season clothes.


31 Ways to

enjoy October Written by Dulcinea Smith-Norton from Lancashire, UK Mother of 2 boys, children’s author, and owner of pregnancy-planning website

Whether you call it ‘autumn’ or ‘fall’, the months leading up to winter can be some of the coziest and most colorful months in the year. Though the light, bright colors of spring and summer are gone, a new patchwork quilt of browns, russets, flame, and orange appears. Autumn is a wonderful time of year, and is known around the world as a plentiful time when many crops are harvested. But it can bring unique problems to parents as the nights grow darker and the days grow colder and wetter. After a summer of being able to play in the sun, what can children do once autumn draws in and brings with it less sociable weather? In keeping with our “every-day theme”, here are 31 ideas for things to do and tips to remember in autumn -- one tip for every day of October. Tip 1 - During those dark, wet months it is essential that you remember the dangers that autumn can bring. Make sure that your child has a good grip on the soles of his shoes and wears reflective clothing when outside after dark. If you don’t want to buy reflective clothing, then buy reflective stickers which can be temporarily stuck to his coat or bag. Tip 2 - On a dry day, take a trip down memory lane and build a mountain of leaves with your child, then jump in them together. You could also use the leaves to make a maze on the ground to race around. Tip 3 - You can collect leaves on dry days and show your child how to make leaf pictures – either as a colorful collage, or by painting trees on paper, then sticking real leaves on the branches. Tip 4 - Have a cooking day. Make seasonal dishes such as pumpkin pie, apple crumble, and cinnamon buns. Allow your child to make as much mess as they want and take your time over the activity. If you resign yourself to the knowledge that there will be a lot of cleaning up to do at the end, then this can be a very fun day. Tip 5 - Colds, sniffles, and aching bones can affect us all in the colder months, so if you or your child have a cold and are feeling a bit blue, use this as a good excuse for a Duvet Day. Get out of your pajamas only to put nice clean ones on in their place,

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then spend the day on the sofa with your little ones eating comfort food and watching movies. Tip 6 - Pack a flask of hot chocolate drink and wrap up warmly, and then set out on a family walk. It’s even better if the walk can end at a place where you can have a hot snack, such as a hot dog stand or a small cafe. Tip 7 - Have a backyard bonfire. Build a small bonfire or light a barbeque in your garden or yard. Wrap the family up warmly, then bake potatoes, chestnuts, and apples. Don’t forget your gloves, and of course hot chocolate with marshmallows. This can be a good opportunity in a safe environment to teach your child about fire safety and not touching things that will burn. Tip 8 - Don’t waste the warmer days of spring on spring cleaning. Do it in autumn instead! Give your child a box and a bag, and while you clean out the cupboards and closets, set them to work putting the toys they want to keep in the box and the toys they want to give to charity in the bag. Just be sure to check the bag before getting rid of the toys for any old favorites that you know will be missed. Tip 9 - Make salt dough. Take 2 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 cup of water and mix together. Once you have made your objects, leave them for 48 hours to harden. If your family celebrates any festivals or dates such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, or Christmas, you can use the salt dough to make decorations to include in the wall decorations or table settings. Tip 10 - Have a dress up day. Spend the day making different fancy dress costumes and indulge in role play to keep your little one’s imagination active. Tip 11 - Feel like you never have time to teach your child how to read or help them with their homework? Let a rainy weekend day force you to spend a little quality time working together, and try to make it fun by sharing stories about your life at school. Tip 12 - Go puddle-jumping. Choose a very rainy day and don your raincoats and Wellington boots and go jumping in muddy puddles. Follow it with a nice warm bubble bath. Tip 13 - For older children, teach your child how to knit and set about making a scarf for winter together. Tip 14 - Find some old material and use it to make a teddy bear together. At the end of the day you can name the bear together, and you may even get a second day of entertainment from making clothes for the bear. Tip 15 - Write a magazine, newspaper, or story book together. You can do the writing, or use it as an opportunity for your child to practice hers. You can also let her decorate it with pictures. If you have the time and money, you can photocopy it a few times to give to relatives as a gift. Tip 16 - If you have young children and have access to a video recorder or


camcorder, get all of your child’s dressing up clothes together and set about making a movie, with you as the camera person and your child as the leading actor. It may seem like hard work at the time, but believe me, it will provide years of entertainment for your child as they re-watch the movie until they hit their easily embarrassed “tween” years. Tip 17 - Collect various cooking ingredients from your kitchen and let your child’s mind run wild as they create potions and experiments. Tip 18 - If you have an old wood, stone, or slate floor, buy some blackboard chalk and let your child create a snakes and ladders game on the floor. If they are too young, draw it for them and then use toys as game pieces Tip 19 - Step back in time! Get those building bricks out and see if you can build a whole town together, or root out a game from your own childhood and teach your child how to play. Tip 20 - Have some “You Time”. “What?” you may ask. “Me time? Are parents allowed that without being selfish?” Absolutely! In fact, a little selfish time to indulge your own needs will make you a better and less stressed parent and autumn is a great time to do it. After a long walk or afternoon outside and a warm bath, your little ones will be exhausted, and the fact that the nights are getting darker earlier means that it can be easier to get the little ones settled for bedtime. This means a nice, long, childfree evening. Ditch the housework and any non-essential jobs and RELAX! Tip 21 - Create a scrapbook using any empty notepad or drawing pad. Let your child stick whatever he wants in it and if you have any spare family photos, give them to your child to add as he wishes. Tip 22 - Make a hiding den. Use a table, cushions, blankets -- whatever you can find. Then you can use these to make a castle or house to keep your child busy all day. Tip 23 - Boxes! Ever heard the saying about children getting more fun out of the boxes than the gift inside? Get all the cardboard boxes you can find and set your child to work. They can make cars or houses out of huge ones and treasure chests, robots and microwave ovens out of smaller ones. Tip 24 - Give your child pots, pans, and spoons and send them to a far corner of the house to rehearse being in a rock band. This will keep them entertained for a while, but be ready for a few moments of torture as you listen to the actual performance. Tip 25 - Go foraging for berries and make jam. Tip 26 - Go hunting for chestnuts. Tip 27 - Make a family tree. Family ties can be confusing to young children, so get a big piece of paper and some coloring pens and help them to figure it out in a fun way. Tip 28 - Get some soft pencils, chalks, or charcoal and a lot of paper, and take your child out to do tree rubbing and leaf rubbing. Tip 29 - Make a bird feeder with your little one, and then hang it outside of your window. Whether you live in a cottage or in a top floor apartment, almost everyone has a window, and where there is food, birds will soon follow. Tip 30 - Do an autumn alphabet picture or book with a seasonal picture for each letter. Tip 31 - Get cutting and sticking. Gather some catalogues or brochures together and get cutting and sticking with the pictures. You can make a collage of the toys your child wants for Christmas or create scenes such as a house and garden or a beach scene if you are in need of a little sun. Most of all, just take pleasure in this snugly, cozy, colorful time of year and live the season through choosing fun activities and foods you can all enjoy together.

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Help for the Reluctant Reader Written by Max Elliot Anderson Published author of books for boys

As a child, I never liked to read. When I mention this to someone who knows me, I can anticipate the reaction. Their mouth drops open in disbelief, followed by a gasp. “You’re kidding!” often follows. That’s probably because I’m also the author of a number of action-adventures and mysteries especially written for other boys who may be facing similar difficulties. Even as an adult, reading for enjoyment continues to be a problem for me. I find it ironic because my father has published over 70 books. Several of these were children’s books, and I never read any of them. I grew up in a family of seven children. We had avid readers, nominal readers, and me. Still, I managed to finish high school and graduated from College with a degree in psychology. But I have always been more interested in, or stimulated by, things visual. I do read in order to gather information, but not for pleasure. I used to think that a reluctant reader was simply someone who hadn’t found the right book yet. But the causes may go deeper than that. The word reluctant is defined as opposed in mind, unwilling, disinclined, struggling, or resisting. At the outset, it’s important to understand our terms. Parents must be certain that, if facing a struggling, reluctant reader, there aren’t any problems with vision, neurological issues, or other medical conditions that might hamper reading. These should be diagnosed by professionals, but here are some things to look for. Difficulty with vision is a big one. The transposing of letters or numbers may indicate a vision problem. You might notice that your child sees 14 when the actual number on the page is 41. The same can happen with small words. Does the child use a finger to keep his place on the page? I always did this as a child. Does he have a short attention span, or hold the book too close to his eyes? Does he have good posture while reading, or does he move his head from side to side during reading, rather than moving his eyes? This may indicate binocular trouble because both eyes aren’t working together. Again, I suffer from this. One of my eyes sees distant objects better, while the other sees closer items with more clarity. A child with this problem may slouch in the


chair, or turn his head to one side in order to favor the eye that can see the book best. In addition to vision, a child may suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. It’s only my opinion, but I think many of the hyperactivity problems, found more often in boys today, could be greatly mitigated by allowing them to run off much of that energy for an hour outside, or in some other physical activity. Based on my own background, I expected that reading difficulties came from what I had experienced. Readers would struggle because they were intimidated by large blocks of words on a page. Or they were likely to be more visual than linear, as I am. My research took me through nearly two hundred children’s books. I found that some were just silly. Others seemed too unrealistic, while quite a few were simply slow and “Children spend an average boring. I wanted exciting, realistic, and very visual of 49 minutes a day with a things to be happening. book... compared with 2 hours Recently a study was released which noted that and 22 minutes in front of a nearly 80 percent of children television or computer screen.” 6 and under, read or are read to in an average day. But it went on to say that children spend an average of 49 minutes with books in that same average day, compared with 2 hours and 22 minutes sitting in front of a television or computer screen. My research into reading difficulties began about eight years ago. I truly wanted to understand why it was that I grew up as a reluctant reader. I found some interesting patterns in several of the books I selected for research. In many cases they defied a person like me to get into them. The style was boring, the dialog was sometimes sparse, or when it was used, seemed too adult. As I looked around for books written especially for boys 8 – 13, I found The Hardy Boys, and a few others. An attractive book to a reluctant reader is one that is larger in size than most. The type in these books is also larger, with lots of white space, on high quality, bright, white paper, inviting even the most reluctant reader to come in, kick his shoes off, and stay for awhile. My work with reluctant readers often allows me to speak in schools. One of the first questions I like to ask is, “Is there anyone here who doesn’t like to read?” A few hands go up, and then others follow. There may be two or three girls who raise their hands, but predominately it’s the boys who respond. Next I ask, “Why?” “Books are boring,” one will say. Another suggests, “They’re too slow and nothing happens,” or, “I’d rather do other things.” “Like what?” I’ll ask. The answers always include watching television, playing video games, and spending time on the computer. This is interesting since research by others

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arrives at the same conclusions. For the purposes of exploring reluctant or struggling readers, let’s say that you’ve had your child tested, and we can rule out vision or medical problems. What is your next step toward getting him interested in reading? This suggestion may seem odd at first, but parents, teachers, and librarians are reporting that they’ve found success by starting with audio books. In some cases, this is used while also holding a copy of the same book. A child is able to both see and hear the words at the same time, and practice following along. Don’t be afraid to select a book that is below grade level. You may also want to experiment with comic books, or graphic novels. The most important objective is to find something he’s interested in and wants to read about. This could include the sports page in your local newspaper, or magazines like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, Highlights, and others. Some have found success by using electronic readers like Kindle. Your child is already comfortable with a computer, or video games. The e-reader allows him to change the font, make it larger, change colors, and even look up words in some cases. It’s easy for parents to forget the power they have over their children’s behavior. If your child avoids reading in every way possible - choosing video games, or the computer over reading, you might set those activities aside as rewards. You can say, “After you’ve read for thirty minutes, or an hour,” for example, “then you may spend time doing those other things.” Read aloud with your child, and make sure he sees you model that reading is important in your life. This has added influence if the dad is involved. Get rid of distractions. Again, in my case, I find it difficult to concentrate if there are other noises around. This is compounded if there are lyrics in a song on the radio, or stereo, voices coming from the TV, or from nearby conversations. Set up a quiet, comfortable reading place. Above all, make reading fun. Have your child try reading to a dog, a cat, a doll, or some other stuffed animal. In this way, children aren’t intimidated or judged by an adult. At the same time, you can monitor their progress. Also look for high interest, low vocabulary books called Hi-Lo. Not only is it important for books to be constructed in order to be more user friendly for struggling readers, there should be lots of humor, dialog, and heart-pounding action and adventure, plus chapters ending with a cliffhanger. Anytime I’m asked if reading is really all that important, I give several reasons why it is, and add that readers are the leaders others follow.


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knowonder! October 2009  

October issue of knowonder! magazine. This FREE magazine features a new story for every day of the month to help promote a love of reading,...

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