Grasshopper and Cricket Go on a Picnic

IMG_0983

I created these characters a few years ago when my sons played in a garden park down the road from our apartment in St. Louis. One of their favorite things to do in the park was catch grasshoppers, and there were always plenty. When we would do our bedtime routine, my oldest son asked me to tell him a story about a grasshopper. We had been reading (and still do) a lot of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel, so I naturally added Cricket to the story. Recently my son asked me to tell him this story again and so I decided to revisit it and share it with you all. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

Grasshopper and Cricket are best friends. They live in the same house together. Grasshopper loves the mornings, but Cricket loves nights. So most of their time is spent together during the day. One of their favorite things to do is to go to the park. Most days the park is scarcely populated with people, but once every year many people go to the park to celebrate the city. Grasshopper and Cricket never went on that day because Cricket, being small, thought he might get stepped on or picked up and caged.

This year Grasshopper wanted to go. During the morning while Cricket was sleeping, Grasshopper planned their day at the park. As he thought about the things they would need to bring for a picnic, he made some lemongrass tea. Lemongrass was their favorite tea. He made some mudgrass sandwiches and packed some bluegrass chips. For dessert he made a sweetgrass cake.

The morning was almost over and Cricket came out of his bedroom sleepy eyed and yawning. He sat down to drink tea and saw Grasshopper with a big smile on his face.

“Why are you smiling, Grasshopper?” asked Cricket.

“I have a wonderful idea of how we can spend the day,” Grasshopper replied grinning.

“What’s your idea?”

“It’s a superbly wonderful idea,” Grasshopper repeated, dreaming of what it would be like.

“What did you plan for today?” Cricket asked again.

“Oh what a tremendous idea!” Grasshopper announced as he rubbed his hands together.

“Well what is it?” Cricket asked again with frustration.

“We will go to the park!”

“Today?” Cricket asked anxiously.

“Of course.”

“But it’s the big celebration day,” Cricket replied with a shaky voice.

“Yes it is, and we should see what it is like. I have packed a picnic, and we will go as soon as you finish your tea.”

“But, Grasshopper, I don’t think I want to go. It is too scary just thinking about it.”

“We will go and you will enjoy it. I promise.”

“You promise nothing bad will happen.” Cricket was still unsure, but he trusted Grasshopper.

“I promise it will be a great day.” With that Cricket folded reluctantly but finished his tea, and they were off.

When they got to the park, they stayed close to the flowers. They didn’t want to venture too far out. There were tons of people. There were feet and little hands everywhere.

“This doesn’t look good, Grasshopper,” Cricket said nervously.

“We will stay in flowers and look for a place to have our picnic. Everything will be fine, Cricket.” Grasshopper said patting cricket on the back comfortingly.

Just then Bee flew over. He was looking in the flowers for nectar.

“Hello, Grasshopper. Hello, Cricket. I didn’t think I would see you here today.” Bee greeted them knowing they usually don’t come to the park on this day.

“We decided to be brave today,” Grasshopper said flashing a smile and winking at Cricket who smiled sheepishly.

“Enjoy the celebration,” said Bee, “I found the flower I was looking for.”

“Bye Bee,” Grasshopper and Cricket replied.

They walked some more in the flowers, when Butterfly flew by and landed on one.

“Hello, Grasshopper. Hello, Cricket. Going on a picnic?” Butterfly asked looking at the basket in Grasshoppers hands.

“Yes, isn’t it a beautiful day?” Grasshopper responded.

“Yes, but there sure are a lot of people and kids. I almost got caught in a net earlier by a young boy.” Butterfly continued while Cricket listened horrified.

“That’s awful!” Cricket said. “Grasshopper, maybe we should go home before anything dangerous happens.”

“Nonsense and spoil a perfectly good day for a picnic,” replied Grasshopper trying to encourage Cricket and looking disapprovingly at Butterfly.

“I’m sure I was just flying were I shouldn’t have,” added Butterfly to assuage any fears Cricket might have from what was said earlier.

“Well I’m sure you are looking forward to that nectar as we are looking forward to our picnic,” continued Grasshopper hinting that they would be moving on.

“Oh, yes,” responded Butterfly catching the hint. “There are some very good bushes just up the way that would be ideal for a picnic and keep you hidden.” With that he flew away.

“Let’s go there, Grasshopper,” said Cricket more excitedly.

When they reached the bushes, they sat down to eat their mudgrass sandwiches and bluegrass chips. Soon balls of all sorts and sizes were flying and rolling past the bushes making Cricket nervous. Grasshopper looked on with amazement at all the action. Cricket started to eat quicker hoping Grasshopper would agree to go home when they had finished. Grasshopper lazily ate his food and interrupted his eating with an occasional, “Ooh! Look at that, Cricket!” and a “Wow! Did you see that, Cricket!” Cricket was onto the sweetgrass cake way before Grasshopper had finished his mudgrass sandwich. After what seemed like forever for Cricket, Grasshopper finished his lunch and dessert.

“Are you ready to go, Grasshopper!”

“Well it does look like the sun is beginning to set,” began Grasshopper, “maybe it is time to go.”

Cricket hurriedly cleaned up the picnic before Grasshopper could change his mind. Then they started to walk home.

Where’s My Home?

You Are My Home Blog

In light of the recent developments within America and because I have worked with many immigrants, taught many international students, and traveled to countries in the Middle East, I decided to write a story about a family that is caught in the midst of war and the father wants to get his family out. It also includes some Arabic vocabulary in order to expose children to a different language. The topic is a heavy one, but my thought was that it would stimulate discussion amongst parents and children which would create space for teaching children about situations in the world in which other people find themselves of no fault of their own. I have included her an excerpt from that story. I hope you enjoy.

Where is My Home?

“Good morning, Abbi!” Aziza said coming the hall.

“Good morning, Habebti!” Her father greeted her.

“Where is Ahmed?” She asked taking a bite of the breakfast her father had made.

“Still sleeping,” he answered. “It was a long night with all the noise coming from the city.”

“Are you going to work today, Abbi?” Aziza asked.

“No,” he replied taking a drink of coffee. “It’s not safe enough yet to walk the streets in that part of the city.”

“Abbi,” asked Aziza, “Why is this happening?”

“Because men are too easily lured by the greed of power and money.” He answered looking lovingly at his daughter. Fahad worried everyday about his children. Ever since Fatima was killed in a bombing coming home from the store, he had worried about their safety. What if he were killed too? How would they make it as orphans? Who would care for them?

“Hello, Abbi,” said Ahmed said interrupting his father’s thoughts.

“Good morning, Ahki,” said Aziza.

“I’m starving,” said Ahmed as their father pushed a plate full of food over to him.

“Do you think you can be on your own for an hour or two this morning?” Fahad asked his children worried about what he was going to do.

“Where are you going?” Ahmed asked. “Every morning since Ummi died you leave us alone and go somewhere. You don’t go to work. I know that because the building where you worked is gone, destroyed by the army.”

“I cannot tell you yet,” he said sadly.

“Go!” Ahmed said upset, “we will be fine like always.” Tears rolled down Aziza’s face. She never liked when her brother and father argued.

“We will be ok, Abbi,” she said hugging him tightly. “Be safe”

“I will,” he whispered to his daughter hoping this to be true.

Fahad left and Aziza hugged her brother bursting into tears.

“Why do you get so upset with Abbi?” She asked him.

“He’s so secretive,” said Ahmed softly hugging his sister. “I just don’t understand. It feels like he doesn’t trust us.”

“Oh Ahmed, Abbi loves us!” She responded lovingly, “he will tell us when he can.”

The brother and sister passed the time playing backgammon and then cards. As time passed Aziza looked at the clock on the wall. Then the door opened. Fahad had come home.

“I think we will leave this city,” Fahad said abruptly to his children. They looked at him in shock.

“Why, Abbi?” They asked together.

“It is not safe,” he answered. “We must leave.”

“But Abbi,” Aziza began trying not to cry, “this is our home. Where will we go?”

“We will go to America,” he answered. “We must go to America. It is our only way to be safe. It is the only place we can start again away from war and danger.”

“But they are the ones who killed mother!” Ahmed shouted.

“It was an accident,” Fahad said clenching his fists and pushing back his anger. “She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I told her,” he broke off pushing back tears in his eyes. “I told her,” he repeated as his children embraced him.

“We must go,” he continued after he gathered himself. He held up the plane tickets and visas with resolve.

“How did you?” Ahmed said in awe. “But they are so hard to get.”

“Is this where you have been going in the mornings, Abbi?” Aziza asked.

“Yes but until today I was unsuccessful,” he began.

“But there are only two tickets, only two visas,” Ahmed interrupted shocked by this fact.

“You will go to Ammik Ali’s,” Fahad said. “My brother will take care of you until.”

“No!” Aziza said defiantly. “We will not leave you!”

“You will go to your uncle’s,” said Fahad sternly. “We will discuss this no more. It’s not safe for you here. You must leave!”

“But what will you do?” Ahmed asked. “Who will take care of you?”

“I’ll be fine,” said Fahad assuredly. “I will come when I can get a visa and a ticket.”

“But when will that be?” Aziza asked through tears.

“A month or two,” said Fahad gently knowing that it was a lie. “I will make your favorite food to celebrate,” he added trying to lighten the mood, “Kibbeh.”

“I’m not hungry,” said Aziza running down the hall to her room.

“She will be ok, Abbi,” said Ahmed solemnly. “We lost Ummi less than a year ago, and now we are losing you.”

“You’re not losing me,” said Fahad. “I said I will come in a month or two when I get my ticket and visa.” He reminded his son this time almost believing it himself.

“Abbi,” said Ahmed gently, “we know that is a lie, but I didn’t want to say it in front of Aziza.” Fahad turned and embraced his son.

“You will take care of her,” he said looking into his son’s eyes, “won’t you?”

“Of course,” replied Ahmed reassuringly but softly.

The smell of the Kibbeh cooking brought the tearful Aziza back to the kitchen. They ate the celebratory meal in silence cherishing the time together.

“You leave tomorrow.” said Fahad gently after the meal had finished, “now go, pack your bags.” Aziza looked surprisingly at her father, hurt by this abrupt announcement and command.

That night in the house no one slept being kept awake by their thoughts of tomorrow and the sounds of war outside in the streets.

The joy that once filled the house was gone in the morning as Abbi prepared to take his children on the dangerous trek out of the town and to the airport. The journey was made in silence. No one knowing what words to speak. Each knew it could be the last words they said to one another.

When they reached the airport, Aziza embraced her father stronger than ever with tears streaming down her face.

“I love you, Abbi!” She said. “You are my home.”

“I love you, Habebti!” Fahad said. “You are my home.”

After Ahmed and Fahad had hugged each other, Ahmed put his arm around his sister, and they walked the most difficult path they had ever walked away from their father not knowing if they would ever see him again alive or dead.

When It’s Not Your Day Job

whitewater

I had grand plans to focus more on my writing. I started to jot down ideas and spend more time thinking of possible stories. I got excited to participate in Storystorm (put on by Tara Lazar), which is a challenge for the month of January to let the creative ideas flow and collect at least one possible idea for a picture book everyday. I started off well, jotting down ideas and actually having time to think. That worked for the first 3 days in January. Then we returned from the holidays and I realized when writing isn’t your day job, it is hard to find time.

I am also in the midst of changing positions at my day job, moving to a new city, buying our first house, traveling to train for the new position, expecting our fourth son in late June, and trying to market and sell my first book while finishing up working on the second. All this does not leave much time for thinking, let alone writing. This is partly why I have been quiet on my blog and desperately trying to work on a story for the month of January. I have ideas that I would like to pursue, but getting a moment to sit down and pour those thoughts out onto any type of page is tricky.

It probably would be easier if I didn’t enjoy my day job, but I do, which means much of my creativity and innovation flow into it. I am learning new information everyday, thinking through creative solutions, and learning a new side of the business. That is what I enjoy. When I come home to sit and write, my mind wants rest and to be honest so do I even if home for the past couple of weeks has been a hotel. I miss my family and spending time with them. They are a huge part of my storytelling. I feel it most when I sit down to write and my mind wanders wondering how they are doing, what they are doing, and how bedtime is going. I know I don’t sleep as well when they aren’t around to kick me and stick a hand in my face.

I still hope to post a story for my blog in the coming weeks, but I don’t want to post for the sake of posting. I want to be able to sit with the story, tell it to my sons (my first critics), allow my wife to give me feedback, and revise it some more. So here’s to finding time to think and write when much of life feels like riding a canoe down a raging river and you just want to make sure no one in the boat falls out.

Story Boarding

img_3248-1

It’s a new year and the last month and a half have been really busy with life, travel, and holidays. However, Timmy’s Show and Tell is progressing well. Rose has completed the storyboarding and character sketching stage, and has moved onto the full page illustrations which I have been excited to see develop from the sketches.

The storyboarding happened in two stages. Rose and I communicated about how the illustrations would appear in terms of full, half, or multi spreads. She designed a large canvas where she drew out the pages and sketched very bare images as we continued our discussion of the illustrations. Some pages were more difficult this time to relate the images in my mind, but dialoguing with Rose helped us think through how the words and the images would work together to communicate the story.

After designing the one page storyboard, she took the illustrations and created a storyboard book sketching more detailed pictures and scribbling in words to see how the space would work. The book was great to start to see how the story would come alive in readers’ hands.

While creating the storyboard, Rose also worked on character sketches. The two main characters, Timmy and Flippy, were the ones I had the most opinions about. She had my sons demonstrate different poses that Timmy might be in at different points in the story. Sometimes they posed more reluctantly than other times. They enjoyed being part of the process though and asked many questions. It was fun seeing them become a larger part of creating the story they inspired. In terms of Flippy, I thought about a bullfrog first, but after researching bullfrogs, it appears they do not make good pets. So we went with a smaller version: the green frog (not a tree frog).

green-frog

I hope you enjoy the video of the sketch book below!

 

Sherman the Shark

tiger-shark

The first book that came out of the challenge for the month of December is Sherman the Shark. This story follows the life of a tiger shark that eats trash and stinks so bad that no other sea creature will stay around long enough to make friends. Sherman isn’t bothered by this at first, but eventually, he becomes lonely and longs for a friend. Enjoy the excerpt!

Sherman smelled. He smelled awful. He smelled so badly that other fish and sea animals would swim away when he came near them. Sherman didn’t know how he got this stinky, but he thought he was always this way.

Sherman loved to eat. He loved to eat trash. He also loved to eat other shark’s leftovers. He could smell a good trash dump or a decaying animal from miles away. He rarely hunted living animals. He didn’t need to. He observed not many other sea animals ate the trash. When he came on the scene of a kill, the other sharks would flee because of his horrendous stench.

Sherman didn’t have any friends. No one stayed around long enough to exchange names. Most other sharks it seemed knew him as Stinky the Shark. Or at least that is what he heard the other sharks say when he came close, “Swim away! It’s Stinky!” It is hard to make friends when everyone swims away. Sherman didn’t mind at first. It meant more food for him. But after a while he got lonely and wanted a friend.

One day Sherman smelled one of the best aromas he had ever smelled. He quickly swam to the stench. When he arrived, he saw all the other sharks swim away. It was rotting whale blubber. As he sank his teeth into the decaying fat, he saw one of the largest sharks swimming toward him. Sherman didn’t understand. Why was this shark swimming toward him and not away? Sherman was scared. The other shark swam right up to the decomposing animal and took a tremendous bite!

“You didn’t swim away?” Sherman asked hesitantly not knowing if the other shark would attack.

“Why should I have?” The other shark asked through a mouth full of food.

“Because I stink,” Sherman informed him, “really badly.”

“I can’t smell very well,” the other shark replied taking another bite.

Sherman stared not knowing what to do. Then he took another bite thinking maybe this is what it was like to have a friend.

“Name’s Graham,” said the other shark. “Sharks call me Scarnose.”

“Sherman,” replied Sherman. “Sharks call me Stinky.” He took a bite, then asked, “Why do they call you Scarnose?”

“Because of this,” Graham replied showing Sherman the large jagged gray scar across his nose. “Got this in a fight with another shark when I was younger. I guess you could say I stuck my nose where it shouldn’t have been. Haven’t been able to smell very well since.”

“Lucky for me then,” whispered Sherman to himself.

“What’s that?” Graham asked eating more blubber.

“Oh, I said nice to meet you,” answered Sherman.

“Nice to meet you too,” replied Graham. Then he asked, “Why do others call you Stinky?”

“Because I stink horribly,” answered Sherman, “I guess.”

Graham stared at him and then laughed. Sherman would have blushed if sharks could blush. Then he asked timidly, “What’s so funny?”

“You stink,” Graham began still laughing, “but I can’t smell you. I usually scare others away, but not you. It looks like we found the perfect friendship.”

Sherman didn’t understand, but he liked the idea of a possible friendship. He’s never talked much with others since they never stayed to chat. Graham noticing Sherman’s confusion continued.

“We can help each other. I can hunt food and you can smell food. I can sneak up on the fish, and you can keep others away.”

Sherman understood now and agreed. When they finished the meal, they swam away together.

However, the first meal Sherman led them to was a deliciously large garbage spill from a barge. Sherman swam in and devoured everything, he could get his mouth on. He ate so ravenously that he didn’t notice his new friend not join in the meal. Instead, Graham looked shocked while Sherman feasted.

“What are you doing?” Graham finally asked.

“What do you mean?” Sherman responded with his mouth full of trash.

“I mean,” Graham emphasized, “Why are you eating trash?”

“What do you mean?” Sherman replied still not understanding his friend. “Have you never eaten trash?” Sherman asked in wonder.

“No, never,” said Graham.

“It’s amazing!” Sherman exclaimed. “You should try some.”

Writing Challenge

img_3336

I have always wanted to write more, but time, life, and work always produce excuses to not take time out and write more. In the past I have written manuscripts on my phone while bouncing on a ball putting one of my sons to sleep, in a notebook while my kids play outside, or on my iPad while a sleeping child is lying on me. Finding time and making time to write more is always difficult not because there isn’t time, but because there is always something else to do in that time. It isn’t always something that has more priority like reading a book, playing a game, spending time on the internet, or watching a movie/show. These are just easier to start and more immediately gratifying. However, I am going to challenge myself publicly to write more.

After reading about a project by one of my favorite artists, Sleeping at Last, and his commitment to writing better music through his Yearbook project, I was inspired to attempt to write one good picture book manuscript a month for the next year. Setting up this challenge will provide extra motivation and blogging about it will create accountability for me. I hope to start in the month of December with the first manuscript. The greater purpose of this project is to focus on developing my writing skills as well as to produce 12 new manuscripts that I can be proud to have written.

In each of the manuscripts I will try to focus on current areas where I feel I have weaknesses and explore new topics and themes I haven’t written about previously. It will also provide me more time with my sons telling them stories in the evening before bed or during bath time since it is my sons who inspire me. This will also help me schedule my time around writing more. I have some stories I am telling my sons currently that I just haven’t had time to sit down and write.

Luckily for me, my sons like me telling them stories enough that I don’t forget the stories because they remember them for me. Telling them the stories over and over again allows me to also “rewrite and revise” these stories each time I tell them. However, when I feel they are at a point of being “good enough” to write down, I often am lying in bed with one of my sons trying to get them to go to sleep. It’s never an ideal time to write.

At the end of each month I will post the manuscript (or excerpts of stories) I have written for that month. I would appreciate any comments or feedback about the stories. Thank you for holding me accountable to this challenge.

And the Winner Is…

img_3256

Timmy’s Show and Tell! It was close in the voting. Thanks to everyone who participated! Rose has already started on the storyboard for this book, and it is coming along great. For those of you who voted for Forest Friends in the Fall and Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball, you may be interested in knowing that as a consolation prize for those manuscripts I submitted them to Chronicle Books.

Chronicle Books is a traditional publishing company that still takes unsolicited manuscripts, the catch being that they read thousands of manuscripts a day. It can take up to six months to hear back, and you only hear back if they select your manuscript. I understand they are busy. I understand that I am probably one of a million authors submitting manuscripts to them. But they also say if you don’t try, you won’t succeed. So here’s to throwing my hat in the ring.

Rose and I have begun to collaborate again with the story Timmy’s Show and Tell (if you haven’t read the excerpt you can read it here). My plan is to blog about our stages as we go along for anyone interested in the process behind the creation.

The first stage has been finished, which is writing the initial draft of the manuscript. This manuscript I wrote a while ago, but have recently come back to it and edited some of the sentences. The editing process of the manuscript for a picture book can be layered over the process of illustrating because as the stages of illustration begin, the manuscript will be revisited over and over again to make sure the words and the illustrations complement each other in the best possible way.

The second stage has also been completed, which is designing the page layout in the book. This involves deciding what kind of spreads the words will go with in the book. Spreads typically come in three major formats: full spreads where the illustration covers two pages of the book; half spreads where the illustration covers one page; and multiple illustration spreads where 2 or more small “snapshot” illustrations cover one or two pages.

The third stage is creating the storyboard, which is where we are currently. I will follow up with a blog about that process upon completion of the stage.

A Lesson from Frog and Toad

img_3237

The other day I was riding in the van with my son Liam. We were going to his doubleheader soccer game on a Saturday which he had been talking about since we signed up for soccer this fall. I turned on the audiobook of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel for him to listen to on the way to the field. Frog and Toad is one of his favorites. He will go on and on retelling different adventures they share in the books.

When the story about Frog and Toad going sledding came on, he reminded me again of how I told him that story when I was teaching him to ride his bike earlier this year. In the story, for those of you who haven’t had the privilege of reading it yet, Frog convinces Toad to go on a sled ride. Toad is hesitant and unsure feeling that it may not be safe. Frog suggests they do it together, and then it will be safer. Toad reluctantly agrees. Part way down the hill, they hit a bump, and Frog flies off the sled leaving Toad alone to navigate the hill by himself. Toad continues down the hill having fun, not realizing Frog is no longer on the sled. He tells Frog, who is no longer behind him, how great it is that they are doing this together until a bird comes by and tells him he is on the sled alone. Toad panics, looks behind him to confirm what the bird has said, and crashes the sled. Toad then decides that bed is a better option than sledding.

I used this story to help my son ride his bike alone. I told him not to worry about whether I was holding onto the seat or not while running beside him. I reminded him that Toad was doing great sledding down the hill by himself. It wasn’t until he got nervous that Frog wasn’t with him and looked back that he crashed the sled. It took about another fifteen minutes and he was riding like a professional 3 year old. Liam smiled and laughed, and apparently he has never forgotten the time I used this story the teach him how to ride a bike because there are many times in the van, at the dinner table, on walks, during bedtime, etc. that he says, “Remember when you told me about Toad when you were teaching me to ride my bike…”

Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball

img_3228-2

The last option is Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball. This is a book that travels through the imagination of a child after the daddy bounces his rubber ball and loses it. It is geared toward 2-4 yr olds, but with the illustrations could be more 6 months to 4 years old. This book could be a board book as well as a picture book. The excerpt is the beginning and the end of the story. Enjoy!

 

Once My Daddy Bounced a Ball…

Once my daddy bounced a ball…

Which bounced off a giant flower shade in a garden…  

And then it bounced off a speeding car driving down the road too fast…

And then it bounced off a school bus taking children to school…

And then it bounced off a train taking people to work…

And then it bounced off a helicopter taking off from a hospital…

And then it bounced into a baseball stadium…

And then it bounced off a baseball bat swung by a player…

Which made me sad because I liked my bouncy ball…

But the next morning, I found it in my backyard.

 

Just a reminder if you haven’t already to read the other posts and vote by liking or sharing whichever one/ones you feel are the best. Thank you for helping me decide which book I should pursue next!

Forest Friends in the Fall

img_3225

The next option is Forest Friends in the Fall. This book is a combination of 3 short stories about Red the cardinal, Squeaky the Squirrel, and Monk the Chipmunk. These stories would be geared toward 3-8 yr olds and could be used as readers in a school setting. The following excerpt is the first of the three stories. Enjoy!

 

Forest Friends in the Fall

Squeaky and Red Play Hide and Seek

“Good morning,” said Squeaky as she came out of her leaf nest high up in a tree.

“Good morning,” said Red coming out of his nest and hopping onto a branch. “It looks like it is going to be a beautiful day. It’s a little cold, but sunny.”

“What do you want to do today?” Squeaky asked.

“Let’s play hide and seek,” replied Red.

“Ok, but you know the rules, no flying,” said Squeaky.

“And no climbing trees,” answered Red.

“Right,” said Squeaky, “I’ll hide first.” Squeaky scrambled down the tree to the forest floor. Red glided down from his branch.

“I’ll count over there. You go hide,” said Red.

“Ok,” said Squeaky and she scurried off.

“1, 2, 3,” Red started to count. Squeaky saw a hole in the bottom of a tree. “I could hide over there,” she thought. “No. Red will look there first.” She ran farther down the path.

“4, 5, 6,” she heard Red counting. She saw a bush and thought, “There is a good hiding place.” Then she thought, “No. Red will look there next.” She ran still farther down the path.

Then she saw it; a hole in the ground, and she quickly scurried into it backwards to hide her tail.

“7, 8, 9, 10! Ready or not here I come,” yelled Red.

“He’ll never find me in here,” whispered Squeaky to herself.

“Who won’t find you?” A voice in the hole said.

“Ahhhh!” yelled Squeaky jumping from the hole.

“Found you!” Red yelled seeing Squeaky jump from the hole.

“That’s not fair,” said Squeaky.

“What’s not fair?” said the voice in the hole.

“You scared me,” answered Squeaky. “So you found me.” She said to Red.

“Who scared you?” Red asked.

“The voice in the hole,” answered Squeaky.

“My name in Monk,” said the voice in the hole. “Why did you come into my house?”

“Sorry,” said Squeaky. “Red and I are playing a game.”

Monk poked his head out of the hole. “What game are you playing?” He asked.

“Hide and seek,” replied Red.

“Can I play?” Monk asked.

“Of course,” said Squeaky, “but first you have to come out of your hole.” Monk came out.

“It’s your turn to count, Squeaky,” said Red. “I found you even if you were scared.”

“Ok, fine,” said Squeaky walking over to the nearest tree and covering her eyes.

“Remember the rules, Red, no flying or climbing trees.”

“Ok,” he replied. “Come on Monk let’s go hide.”

“1, 2, 3,” Squeaky started to count while Red and Monk hid.

The new friends spent the rest of the day playing hide and seek together.