25

Show and Tell Surprise

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It had been a long winter at Northland Elementary School. There was a ban on recess until the worst of the snow storms had passed. Being inside was making everyone stir-crazy.

Ms. Beaver: That’s it for math today. Does anyone have any questions?

Pete Seal: Can we go outside after lunch?

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Ms. Beaver: You know we can’t Peter. The school says we can’t go out until the weather gets better.

Annie Fox: What does the weather have to do with anything? We’re northern animals. We live in the snow.

Ms. Beaver: It’s not really the snow. It’s that Brian Brown-Bear ran away during the first heavy snow of the season and no one knew he was gone until everyone got back inside. By the time they found him, he was asleep in his home den.

Jeffrey Otter: So what? Because he went home, no one can go out?

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Ms. Beaver: They’re afraid that someone might get lost or taken by a bad human, and we wouldn’t know in time to do anything.

The children groaned.

Billy Beaver: It’s only February! That means it’s forever until we can go out.

Ms. Beaver: Don’t be dramatic, Billy. It’s only during heavy snowfalls or storms that we can’t go outside.

Suzy Ermine: I’m bored.

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Ms. Beaver: I have an idea. Do you know what show-and-tell is?

The children shook their heads that they did not.

Ms. Beaver: Everybody brings in something special from home and tells the rest of the class about it.

Billy: What kind of stuff?

Ms. Beaver: It can be anything, really. Your favorite toy. Something from a hobby. Something that someone has given to you.

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Billy: Is there stuff we can’t bring?

Ms. Beaver: Anything that might offend or scare the rest of the class. And nothing dangerous.

Pete: No trophy kills, right?

Ms. Beaver: Definitely not.

Annie: When should we bring our things in?

Ms. Beaver: Why don’t we do it tomorrow? It’s still supposed to be storming and it will give us a nice break.

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The children were excited about the idea and talked about their ideas during lunch and after school. On the way home, three of the boys were bragging about who would bring in the best thing to show.

Egbert Bear: I think I’m going to show my collection of eagle feathers.

Joey Hare: Bert! She said no prey.

Egbert: They’re not prey. I pick them up off the ground.

Joey: Oh. I think I’ll bring in the empty nest I found. That’s a lot better than a bunch of feathers.

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Egbert: Is not! You probably don’t even know what kind of nest it is!

Joey: Is too!

Egbert: Is not! What about you, Mike?

Michael Moose had no idea what he was going to bring. He didn’t have anything as good as feathers or a nest. But he didn’t want to tell the guys that.

Mike: It’s a secret. But it’s tons better than either one of those.

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Next week: Will Mike find something special by the next day to show his class?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

12

Who’s Our New Neighbor? – Part 2

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Where we are: There’s a new family moving into Calico Corners and they sound a little strange. They have a lot of children and requested that the lawn be replaced with extra dirt. You can see Part 1 here.

The family moved in a few weeks later. The next day, several residents went to Cielle Calico’s office. Cielle had been expecting them ever since he learned more about the new residents.

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Cielle: Good morning, all. It’s nice to see everyone so bright and early.

Sammy: Good morning, Cielle. You sold that house to a family of lions.

Tammy: It looks like they brought their own prey. It’s disgusting.

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Frankie: I’m not sending my kids to school with lion cubs. What if the cubs get hungry?

Sammy: What about us? We’ll probably be next after they run out of what they brought.

The cats all began to talk at the same time. There were even some growls.

Cielle: Please calm down everyone! I did not sell the house to lions. You should know me better than that.

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Sammy: So why are they living in the house?

Cielle: That’s just temporary. They’ll only be here for a few weeks to finalize the paperwork for the new business.

Tammy: Who did you sell the house to?

Cielle: Mikki Meerkat, the owner of MM Construction.

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The cats looked confused.

Morrie: What’s a meerkat?

Cielle: They’re the other animals you saw.

Morrie: Those skinny things? They don’t look like any cat I’ve ever seen. They did tunnels and sleep in them.

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Cielle: They’re not cats. They’re more like weasels. They’re very nice. You should go introduce yourselves.

Morrie: Maybe tomorrow. I need to think about this.

The other cats nodded in agreement.

Later that day, Tammy’s two kittens came racing home from school.

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Abby: Mom, guess what happened at school today.

Before Tammy had a chance to answer, Andy broke in:

Andy: We got new students today. But they’re not regular cats. They’re meerkats.

Abby: And meerkats aren’t really cats at all. They’re totally pawsome! They can stand on their back legs and look around.

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Andy: And they make tunnels! Can we invite them over?

Tammy: Not until I meet their parents.

Abby: Can we all go over there now?

Tammy: It’s not polite to just show up at someone’s front door.

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Andy: But, Mom. The parents are really nice. They dropped their kids off at school and stayed to talk to us. They speak pretty good Cat, too.

Abby: Please, Mom?

Tammy: Let me call over there and invite the family for dinner.

Abby and Andy: Thank you!

Andy: By the way, their favorite food is beetles.

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Tammy: Oh. I wonder where you buy those?

Mikki and Giselle Meerkat came over with their three pups. Abby and Andy were right; they were extremely nice and told wonderful stories about living in Africa. The kids had a great time. Tammy promised they would do it again soon.

Tammy spread the word to the other cats about the great time they’d had with the Meerkats. She organized a welcome party for the entire clan. Before long, the Meerkats were part of the group.

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Next week: Did everyone live happily ever after?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

10

Llama Drama

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Lizzy Llama was standing outside school one day with her friends. They had been back for a couple of weeks, so there was a lot to talk about.

Elsa: Pickles! I hate this phone!

Rosa: What’s wrong with your phone? I thought your parents just got you a new one.

Elsa: It is a new phone. It’s the latest Elkheart.

Tiffany: Ooh! Those are really expensive. What’s wrong with it?

Elsa: The stupid thing keeps saying it doesn’t understand what I’m saying. I mean, seriously? Do you guys think I talk funny?

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The other girls look at her in disbelief.

Lizzy: Uh. Yeah. You talk so fast with that weird alpaca accent, that we can’t understand you half the time.

Elsa: It’s not a weird accent. I just spent a lot of time with alpacas when I was little, and some of it stuck.

Tiffany: OK, it’s not a weird accent. You could talk a little slower and see if that helps.

Rose: You know those phones default to camel, right? Did you check the language setting?

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Elsa: Why does it default to camel?

Rosa: That’s their biggest customer base. Let me see it.

Rosa spoke a few phrases into the phone and handed it back to Elsa.

Rosa: That should fix your problem.

Elsa: Thanks. Stupid phone.

The bell rang, and they didn’t see each other until lunch.

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Tiffany: Did you hear that Jeremy asked Shelley to the Homecoming Dance?

Lizzy: No!

Tiffany: Yep. She told me herself.

Lizzy: Does Rosa know? She has a crush on him.

Rosa stomped up and sat down.

Rosa: Can you believe that idiot Jeremy? Shelley? Seriously? She never says two words. What does he see in her?

Tiffany: Don’t worry, Rosa. Someone better will ask you out. There’s plenty of time.

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Rosa: Easy for you to say. You’ve got a boyfriend. Stewart is such a sweetheart.

Tiffany: Yeah. He’s really a great guy.

Lizzy: Elsa, who do you want to go with?

Elsa: I really like Brian. He talked to me in Biology. He’s really smart.

Lizzy (whispering): He’s looking over here.

Elsa: Don’t look! He’ll think we’re talking about him.

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Rosa: You are talking about him.

Elsa: That’s not the point. What about you, Lizzy?

Lizzy: I can’t think of anyone who might ask me. I think I might just go with some of the other girls.

Rosa: Ooh. If you do that, I’ll go with you. It sounds like fun.

Lizzy: Deal.

A few days later, Elsa came to lunch excited.

Elsa: Guess what? I found out that Brian doesn’t have a girlfriend.

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Tiffany: How’d you do that?

Elsa: I asked him if he was taking his girlfriend to the dance.

Tiffany: Smooth. Very subtle.

Elsa: So what? I don’t want to waste my time on someone who’s not available.

Tiffany: Good point.

Elsa: Maybe I should ask him to hang out with us after school.

Lizzy: I guess. That sounds a little weird.

Elsa: Maybe you’re right. How about inviting him to the soccer game?

Tiffany: That sounds more normal. That way there’ll be a lot of people around.

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Next week: Does the soccer game bring Elsa and Brian closer?

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

13

Ranger Bob – Conclusion

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. Somehow the school has lost track of its former safety adviser, and he is living across the river with his daughter. Upon discovery, Ranger Bob is invited to visit the school. You can start the story here.

Ranger Bob steps onto the stage and hugs John The young animals clap and sit down.

Ranger Bob:  Hello, everyone! It’s nice to see you.

Students: It’s nice to see you too, Ranger Bob.

Ranger Bob: I want to thank Ms. Porcupine for inviting me to speak. I used to come to the school a lot. I know most of your parents.

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Timmy Chipmunk: My mom was really excited that you’re here She says you know everything about safety in the woods.

Ranger Bob (embarrassed): Well, I don’t know everything. But I’ve learned a lot over time.

Ms. Porcupine: I invited Ranger Bob here to share some of what he knows about forest safety.

Ranger Bob: What’s the most important thing to remember in the woods?

The children shout out answers:

Don’t get lost!

Don’t eat poison plants!

Don’t eat poison bugs!

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Don’t eat each other!

Everyone laughs.

Ranger Bob: The most important thing to remember is to be prepared. Be sure you have enough water available. Know how to get back to where you started. Questions?

Wally Weasel:  Is it OK to go out by ourselves?

Ranger Bob: I recommend that you always take at least one friend with you. But if you do go alone, be sure someone else knows where you’re going and when you plan to be home.

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Becky Beaver: What do I do if I get lost?

Ranger Bob: If you’re sure you’re lost, find a safe spot and stay there until someone finds you.

Rikki Raccoon: I’d climb a tree to see if I recognized anything.

Ranger Bob: Excellent idea!

Sheila Squirrel: I’d use the squirrel chatter network to tell my parents where I was.

Ranger Bob: Wonderful!

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Louie Wolf: I’d howl to give my position.

Ranger Bob: Another excellent idea! You children are doing great!

Mama and Papa Raccoon are sitting at the back of the room with Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: He really gets along well with the children, doesn’t he?

Mama: Oh, yes. He always has.

Ms. Porcupine: He’s so big. I wonder why they aren’t afraid of him.

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Papa: They know he won’t hurt them. I don’t think they even think about his size after a while.

Mama: He’s very gentle. And talks to them as if they were all the same size.

They watch Ranger Bob and the children for a while.

Ranger Bob: Kids, I’m having a great time, but I think it’s about time for me to go. Any last questions?

Anna Raccoon: Are you going to come back soon and teach us more?

Ranger Bob: That’s up to your school.

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The children turn to look at Ms. Porcupine.

Ms. Porcupine: What types of things did you have in mind, Anna?

Anna Raccoon: I don’t know. Safety stuff. Like swimming.

The others join in.

Forest fires

Snakes

Floods

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First Aid

Building shelters

Finally, Ms. Porcupine holds up her paw, laughing.

Ms. Porcupine: Ranger Bob, it seems that the children have become very interested in safety all of a sudden.

Ranger Bob: They were very good listeners. And it is important that they know how to stay safe. We want them around for a while.

The children giggle and nod.

Ms. Porcupine: You seem to get along well with them and enjoy teaching them.

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Ranger Bob: I’ve enjoyed teaching kids about safety for as long as I can remember.

Ms. Porcupine: Would you be available to come in one afternoon a month for a presentation?

Ranger Bob: I’d be honored.

Ms. Porcupine: Just tell me the subject ahead of time so the parents will know. They might want to come too.

Ranger Bob: Of course.

Ranger Bob turns to the children.

Ranger Bob: OK, kids?

They race up and hug him. It looks like there might be tears in Ranger Bob’s eyes.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

11

Ranger Bob – Part 3

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So far: Four raccoon kits have met a bear at the park. The bear turns out to be the beloved Ranger Bob. They go back to invite Ranger Bob to dinner, but he is gone. The family finally finds him living with his daughter across the river. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Ranger Bob: James Raccoon! How are you? It’s been a long time.

Papa: I know. I know. I didn’t realize how long until my kits said they saw you at the river.

He points to Jimmy, John, Anna, and Sally.

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Ranger Bob: James, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare them. I just didn’t want them to get hurt in the river. You know I wouldn’t hurt them.

Mama: Of course not. We all love you, Ranger Bob.

Ranger Bob: Maria! How are you?

Mama: Life is good. How are you?

Ranger Bob: I guess I’m getting old. It seems that all you kids I knew have grown up and had kids of their own. You can pass on what I’ve taught you. You don’t need me around anymore.

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Mama: That’s not true! We still need you.

Ranger Bob (sadly): I didn’t help your children. I scared them.

John: Only because you’re so big and have such a deep voice.

Sally: Jimmy would have done something stupid if you hadn’t stopped him.

Jimmy: It wasn’t stupid! I was hot.

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John: You could have drownded.

Jimmy: Well . . . Maybe it wasn’t really smart.

Ranger Bob: Your brother’s right. It’s not safe to swim alone. Didn’t your parents tell you that?

Papa: We thought he knew.

Mama: I knew it was a bad idea to let them go to the park by themselves.

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Ranger Bob: They’re old enough, Maria. They just need to follow the rules. Kits, who’s teaching you about safety?

Anna: Mama and Papa teach us stuff.

Papa: And we thought you were still around the school and parks.

Ranger Bob: The school hasn’t called me in a long time.

Mama: Susie Squirrel and I just heard about that from the principal. It seems that no one told her that you ran the safety program. She feels terrible about it.

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A smaller bear walks up.

Bear: Daddy, who are all these raccoons?

Ranger Bob: The parents are friends from across river. The others are their kits. Maria and James, this is my daughter Alicia.

Alicia: Nice to meet you. I hope nothing’s wrong. Daddy was pretty attached to quite a few animals over there.

Mama: Not at all.

Sally: We wanted to invite Ranger Bob to dinner to thank him for keeping Jimmy from doing something stupid.

Jimmy: Grrr

Ranger Bob: Really?

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John: And apologize for running away.

Ranger Bob (to John): Could I have a hug?

John runs up and tries to hug Ranger Bob. His arms only go a little way around the bear. Ranger Bob laughs.

Ranger Bob: I guess I do look pretty big to you.

John: That’s OK. You’re a nice bear.

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Sally: Will you come to dinner? Please?

Ranger Bob: I’d love to.

The next week, Ranger Bob and Alicia visited the raccoons. Ranger Bob entertained them with stories about his adventures and the time he met Smokey the Bear. A few days later, he called to thank them for dinner.

Mama: I’m glad you called. I talked to Ms. Porcupine. She’d like you to come and talk to the students.

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Ranger Bob: Are you sure?

Mama: She said the kits were telling everyone about his stories, and they want to meet him.

Ranger Bob: That would make me very happy.

A few weeks later:

John: We like to introduce you to our friend, Ranger Bob.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

10

Feral Purrfessional – Part 4

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech where she will study providing medical care to the feral cat population. She has discovered that one of her professors is her roommate’s father. Rose is much calmer about leaving Katie since she met the Professor. You can read the beginning of the story here.

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After the first day of school.

Katie: That was tough. I can’t believe how much homework we got on the first day.

Elise: And we have two quizzes on Friday!

Katie: Cats’ vital signs and the systems in the cat’s body.

Elise: Guess we better get started.

Katie: Can you believe some of the cats are going to a nip party tonight? It’s not even the weekend.

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Elise: I know. Maybe they don’t know how hard the program is.

Katie: Did you see that cute boy cat that was looking at you?

Elise: How could I miss him? Every time I turned around he was there.

Katie: Did you talk to him?

Elise: Yeah. All he wanted to talk about was my father, the professor.

Katie: That stinks.

Elise: It’s OK. I’m used to it.

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Katie’s phone rings.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How are you?

Rose: How was your first day of school?

Katie: Great! I think I’m going to like it here.

Rose: Were you OK after we left?

Katie: Yes, we were fine. (Rolls her eyes.)

Rose: What are you doing now?

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Katie: We’re getting ready to study.

Rose: OK. I won’t keep you. Say hello to Elise and her father. Talk to you tomorrow.

Katie: Bye, Mama.

Katie looks at Elise.

Katie: She is going to drive me crazy. I think she’s going to call every day. She says hello to you and your father.

Elise: She just misses you.

Katie: I guess. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything very interesting every day.

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Elise: She seemed to like Daddy. I’ll see if he has any ideas.

Katie: That’s a great idea. Thank you!

They decide to go to the cafeteria and eat before studying. After salmon mousse and cream, they return to their room and work until bedtime. The next afternoon, Katie gets another call.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How is everybody?

Rose: We’re all fine. How are you?

Katie: I’m good. Elise and I are going to see a movie tonight. Take a break after studying.

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Rose: You’re not going to be out after dark are you?

Katie: I’m a cat. Dark doesn’t bother me.

Rose: But it’s not safe.

Katie: Don’t you remember what Professor Khatt told you? It’s perfectly safe here. Besides, it’s just down the block.

Rose: OK. But call me when you get home. I want to make sure you’re safe.

Katie: All right. I’ll talk to you then.

Katie disconnects the phone.

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Katie: Meowsers! She is crazy. I have to call when we get back. Did you talk to your dad?

Elise: I almost forgot! He said that he would call her tonight and explain how distracting it would be for you if she called every night.

Katie: I hope he doesn’t hurt her feelings.

After the movie, Katie calls her mother.

Katie: Hi, Mama. We’re home. All safe and sound.

Rose: That’s nice dear. I hope you enjoyed the movie. I got the nicest call from Edgar. He told me that you are adapting well, and I don’t need to worry so much. He is going to call me every Friday to let me know how things are going. He suggested that you call me once a week since you will be very busy. I think Monday.

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Katie (confused): Sure, Mama. Mondays will be fine. Are you sure you’ll be ok with once a week?

Rose: Oh, yes. I don’t want to interfere with your studies. Love you.

Katie: Love you too.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: Your father is a magician! I only have to call once a week.

Elise: How’d he manage that?

Katie: He’s going to call her every week to reassure her.

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All goes well for several weeks. Everyone is making plans for the Thanksgiving break. Katie is talking to her mother during the weekly call.

Rose: Edgar tells me you’re doing very well in school.

Katie: So far, everything is fine.

Rose: Did you know he and Elise will be spending Thanksgiving alone?

Katie: She says that’s the way they always do it.

Rose: Well, I think it’s terrible. So, I invited them down here.

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Katie (in disbelief): Really, Mama? I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend that much time with one of my professors. It would look strange.

Rose: Don’t be silly. Cats shouldn’t be alone on holidays. Besides, you can spend your time with Elise.

Katie: I guess, Mama.

Rose: It’s set then. You can all take the train down on Wednesday.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: That’s weird. She invited you and your father for Thanksgiving.

Elise: That sounds like fun. I’ve never been south.

Katie: I’m so glad you’re going to be there.

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Rose makes a huge Thanksgiving dinner with an entire turkey. The kittens love Edgar. He has brought some of his cat models down and plays with the kittens. On Sunday, Rose drops Edgar, Elise, and Katie at the station.

Elise: Thank you, Mrs. Kitty. I had a wonderful time.

Rose: You’re very welcome. I enjoyed having you.

Katie: I guess this wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be.

Rose: I told you everything would be fine.

Edgar: You were a wonderful hostess, Rose. I’m so glad you invited us.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I’m looking forward to seeing you both at Christmas.

Edgar: We’ll see you then. I’m planning special gifts for both you and Katie.

Katie and Elise look at each other.

Next week: The finale. What is going to happen on Christmas?

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30

Cat Forum: Surviving Back to School

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. If you live with small (or not so small) human children, you may have noticed that they are not around as much as usual. That’s because they have gone off to “school”.

Humans are a little odd in the way they teach their children (among other things). Instead of teaching them how to survive in the world, they send them to “school” to learn “facts” and “socialization”. And they only do it for part of the year. Very strange.

Anyway, life around the house changes when school begins. We’re going to talk about some of those changes and how they may affect you.

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Getting up Early – Your young human will probably start getting up earlier than usual.

Downside – They will use some loud noise to wake up. It’s called an alarm, and it makes an awful sound to wake the small human. You will not enjoy it. Also, you will lose your warm sleeping companion.

Upside – You get the warm bed to yourself.

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Buses – Your young human may take a “bus” to school. They are yellow. An alligator friend of ours refers to them as a can of people.

Downside – Young humans rarely are ready for the bus. They run around the house looking for things. There may be yelling. And buses make a very loud noise when they stop.

Upside – None

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Backpacks, Books, Shoes – Humans need a lot of stuff to go to school.

Downside – They will probably leave their stuff all over the house. You will either need to walk around it or over it. Often the adult humans will yell at them to put their stuff away. (School seems to cause a lot of yelling.)

Upside – Some of the stuff is really comfy to lay on. In particular, backpacks and books are good for relaxing. The shoes can be used as containers for gift mice.

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Pencils, Pens, Crayons – School also requires a lot of stuff to write with.

Downside – Crayons taste awful. Pens can leak ink onto your paws. Sometimes humans get cranky if you play with them.

Upside – It’s a lot of fun to bat any of them around and watch them roll. If you’re lucky, the small human may play with you.

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Lunch – A lot of small humans take food to school. An adult human usually makes a lunch.

Downside – The humans will spend a lot of time in the kitchen totally ignoring you. Some of the food is really icky, like celery. And they won’t let you give a sniff test to make sure the food is good.

Upside – Once in a while, you may get a piece of the meat that’s going on the sandwich. Don’t be fooled if they offer you peanut butter – it does not taste like butter.

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Gym Clothes – Sometimes the schools make the small humans exercise. They wear special clothes for exercise.

Downside – When these clothes come home, they smell terrible.

Upside – None. Avoid them.

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Baths – Parents make children bathe more often for school.

Downside – Small children don’t always want to bathe. (Disgusting, isn’t it?) There may be yelling (again). If you like to be in the bathroom, you may get dragged into the water.

Upside – Less chance of sticky fingers in your fur.

As you can see, school doesn’t really do much for us cats. In exchange for having a quieter house for a few hours a day, we get more yelling and running around for the rest of the time.

We highly recommend that you find a nice, quiet spot and ignore them all.

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