Faith grabbed a rope and swung across the ravine. Faith fed elephants right out of her hand. Faith let a snake twirl around her neck. But, Faith was afraid of dogs.
“Let’s try going to a movie about dogs,” suggested Faith’s mom.
“No thanks, Mom” Faith sang as she swung by on a chandelier.
“Let’s try going to the pet store,” said Faith’s dad.
“No thanks, Dad” Faith shouted as she climbed down from the highest branch on the walnut tree, her back pack full of walnuts.
“What can we do to make you less afraid of dogs?” yelled her mom and dad loudly, as Faith parachuted out of a plane.
“NOOOTTTHHHIIINNNGGG…” screeched Faith as she hurled toward the ground.
“Would you like us to get you a puppy?” Faith’s mom and dad hollered over the sound of three foot waves in the ocean.
“No thanks, dudes!” screamed Faith as she surfed by on her cool board.
Her mom and dad tried again. “Would you like to try patting the neighbour’s dog?”
“No way, man!” Faith sputtered as she rode by on a dolphin.
Faith’s mom and dad looked tired. Really tired. Raccoon circles under their eyes tired. “Could we take you to a dog kennel for a visit?”
“Not on your life!” gulped Faith as she wolfed down her dinner of frog’s legs and octopus.
The next morning Faith was doing a handstand on the seat of her bike when she saw an old dog lumbering down the street. Faith cartwheeled up into a pine tree hoping it wouldn’t see her and would just keep walking.
The dog got to the tree and just stood there looking up at Faith.
Faith shook like a leaf.
The dog sat down and watched her. Faith sat down and watched him.
The dog laid down in the grass. Faith laid down on the branch.
Faith scratched her ear. The dog scratched his ear.
Faith laughed. The dog wagged his tail.
“Can you do any tricks?” she yelled down to him.
The old dog drooled.
Faith climbed down. “C’mon old dog. Let’s teach you some new tricks.”
Faith’s mom and dad hollered out the window. “I guess you’re not afraid of dogs anymore!”
“I guess not” Faith’s voice drifted behind her as she and the old dog skateboarded by.
A bedtime read, for three to eight year olds…..
Sweet Dreams, Pumpkin Pie
Grandma gently tucked a fluffy comforter around Sophia.Sophia sighed. “Seven nights is a long time to go without hearing my mom say ‘night, night, bright light. Sleep tight!’ ”
Grandma climbed onto the bed beside Sophia and began to read. Sophia felt herself getting sleepy, so she propped her eyes open with her fingers.
Sophia could hear Grandma’s loving whisper as she drifted into dreamland.
“Sweet dreams, pumpkin pie.”
The second night of Sophia’s visit, Grandma was already on the bed waiting for her when she finished brushing her teeth. Sophia curled up beside her as cozy as a bird in a nest.
Sophia’s eyes started to flutter like butterfly wings. They closed…and opened…and closed…and opened…
The last thing Sophia heard was “sweet dreams, shoo-fly pie.”
On the third night, after a long day helping Grandma plant poppy seeds in little pots, folding paisley pillow cases, and picking fluffy pink peonies the size of powder puffs, Sophia crawled into bed.
Her eyes were already shutting, and her breathing was slower, when she heard Grandma’s voice. “Sweet dreams, lollipop.”
When the grapefruit sun rose the next morning, Sophia had a question. “Why do you always say ‘sweet dreams pumpkin pie’ or ‘shoo-fly pie’ or ‘lollipop?’ ”
The edges of Grandma’s mouth crinkled. “Why, because they’re my favourite sweet things, angel cake!”
Sophia hatched a plan while she lay watching the twinkling stars. Two could play at this game! When Grandma was done reading, Sophia sang out “Sweet dreams, cotton candy!”
Grandma’s laugh filled up the room and bounced off the walls. “Sweet dreams, caramel corn!”
On the fifth day of Sophia’s visit, she could hardly wait for Grandma to finish her story. She giggled when she said, “Sweet dreams, banana split!”
Grandma giggled, too. “Sweet dreams, chocolate fudge sundae!”
The sixth day, Sophia helped Grandma dig up some lily-of-the-valley plants, and move them to a shadier spot under the Maple tree. They took turns tweeting to blue birds and ruby cardinals using the bird caller Grandpa had given her.
That night, Sophia burst out laughing before Grandma even entered the room. “Sweet dreams, popcorn ball!”
Grandma bellowed back. “Sweet dreams, licorice stick!”
The morning of the seventh day, Grandma and Sophia took turns using her binoculars. They spotted a Baltimore Oriole with a chest the colour of the orange she’d eaten for her snack. They baked a marble cake, that didn’t even have marbles in it, and iced it with creamy frosting.
After her bedtime story, Grandma kissed Sophia’s forehead. They both cried out at exactly the same time. “Sweet dreams, marble cake with creamy frosting!”
As Grandma set out a pitcher of maple syrup the next morning, Sophia sounded surprised. “Is it my last day here, Grandma?”
Grandma nodded. “I’m afraid it is, pancake face.”
Sophia tried as hard as she could not to smile. “Okay, syrup lips.”
Grandma read longer than usual on their last night together. Finally, even Grandma was nodding off, as they had stayed up late talking while the crickets chirped in the background. Suddenly, out of the inky dark, sprang Grandma’s voice. “Sweet dreams pumpkin pie, shoo-fly pie, lollipop, cotton candy, caramel corn, banana split, chocolate fudge sundae, popcorn ball, licorice stick, marble cake with creamy frosting, pancake face, syrup lips!”
Sophia snuggled so close to Grandma she could hear her heart beating.
She whispered. “Sweet dreams, sweet Grandma.”
“Sweet dreams, sweet Sophia.”
For kids who know being different can be special…
She did NOT like her name. It was the dumbest name she had ever heard of!
The first day of school all the kids giggled and snorted when they learned what it was.
She decided she would tell the kids her nickname was Moonie.
The kids laughed hysterically when they heard that.
The next day, Moonlight tried again. “Actually, my name is Moonica.” Maybe that would be better.
Her classmates shrieked. “Are your mom and dad cows, Moo-nica?”
Moonlight lay in bed that night wondering what she should say to kids who asked her what her name was. When her mom came to tuck her in, Moonlight asked her what her very favourite name was.
Her mom didn’t hesitate. “It’s Moonlight, of course.”
Moonlight rolled her eyes, then coaxed her. “Other than that.”
Moonlight couldn’t believe her ears. “Gertrude?”
Moonlight’s mom smiled. “That was my grandmother’s name. I always thought it was special, just like her.”
Moonlight thought some more.
In the morning she climbed onto the school bus and told everyone she had just been fooling them. “My name is actually quite special. It’s Gertrude.”
The kids howled. “Gertrude? That sounds like a witch! Do you have a sister named Wicked?”
She looked around and saw that everyone had gone back to what they were doing.
Moonlight smiled at the boy. “What’s your name?”
The boy with the beautiful chocolate brown eyes answered. “River.”
Moonlight’s eyes were like saucers. “Cool name.”
River’s face grew serious. “My father named me River because he wanted me to be strong, beautiful and powerful. Like a river. So, that’s what I try to be.”
Sitting at the dinner table that night, Moonlight asked her mom and dad why they had chosen the name Moonlight for her.
She had never seen her mom’s smile so soft and pretty. Her mom took her dad’s hand and they looked at each other. They looked like they were remembering something. Something very special.
Moonlight’s mom answered her question. “The night you were born, Daddy and I went into the nursery to see you. The room was jet black, except for one shimmering, glimmering moonbeam, right on our precious baby. You. Daddy leaned over you and I heard him whisper, ‘may you always shine as brightly as this moonlight.’
Moonlight decided she had even more thinking to do.
Her face was gleaming when she saw River at the bus stop the next morning.
River grinned and waved at her. “Hi, Moonlight!”
She waved back to her new friend. “Hi, River!”
Moonlight waved to the other kids, too. “Morning, everyone!”
The kids all waved back while they yelled over to her. “Who are you today?”
Moonlight’s face was shining brightly, and her voice was crystal clear. “Moonlight, please. That’s who I am.”
Beaming, Moonlight bounced onto the school bus, ready to start a new day.
Below is a story for all those children who are “reluctant readers!”
Dylan Floats a Book
Dylan’s mom pointed excitedly to a book on the library shelf. “How about this one?” Dylan was balancing a book on the very tip of his nose. “Nope.” Dylan’s dad, teetering on a step stool, offered a different choice about circus performers, from the top shelf. “How about this one, Buddy?” Dylan was standing on his head whistling Jingle Bells. “Nope, but thanks anyway.”
Dylan’s mom sighed. Dylan’s dad sighed louder.
Dylan’s big sister Emma rolled her eyes at him. “You’re such a little loser.”
Dylan piled up enough books so he could look his sister straight in the eye. “Takes one to know one.”
That evening Dylan confessed to his mom and dad that he LOVED getting lots of books from the library. Dylan’s mom shone like sunshine on a summer morning. Dylan’s dad strutted like a peacock.
“Come see!” Dylan pulled his mom upstairs to his bedroom taking two steps at a time. Dylan was excited showing his mom the cool ramp the books made for his motorcycles to vroom up and down on.
Dylan’s mom sighed.
Dylan yanked his dad down to the basement, jumping off the third last step like he always did. “Check this out!”
Dylan took a slap shot with his hockey stick and scored on the net he had made from the rest of the books. Dylan’s dad sighed. “Nice shot, Dyl” he said mustering enthusiasm before shuffling back upstairs, muttering under his breath. Sounds of Dylan shouting “He shoots! He scores!” floated after him.
At school the next day Dylan’s teacher was glowing like a fireplace ember. “Look at all the books on your desk!” she shouted triumphantly. All the kids mouths dropped open when they heard that.
Dylan grinned wider than he had since his last birthday party. His teacher had never sounded so proud of him.
“I’m designing a baseball stadium with them!” Dylan explained as he carefully balanced another book behind home plate.
“Oh,” sighed his teacher. “I think it’s time we get the principal involved.”
“Sure thing!” said Dylan happily.
The principal took a new approach with Dylan. “Why don’t you show me the book you’ve gotten the most enjoyment out of?” he coaxed gently. “And you can tell me why.”
Dylan couldn’t believe his ears. “Wow! Follow me, Mr. Stubby!”
The principal started to pant as hard as Dylan’s dog on a hot summer day. He was sprinting fast enough to keep up with Dylan, who was running like a gazelle down to the creek.
“Now THIS is fun!” crowed Dylan as he placed a large picture book in the creek and jogged along beside it, while it bobbed up and down in the waves like a sailboat in choppy waters.
Dylan watched in shock while the principal turned as red as a tomato from his grandpa’s farm.
The principal hit his own head with his hand. He blew air out of his mouth like a fat balloon deflating. And then he sighed.
After school while Dylan was sitting in detention, he wrote down all the reasons he hated reading, just like he had been ordered to do.
1. I wouldn’t have time to build ramps for my dirt bikes.
2. I wouldn’t have time to play hockey and for sure I wouldn’t have gotten that wicked hat trick at my last game.
3. I wouldn’t have time to design things like baseball stadiums and half pipes for my skateboards.
4. I wouldn’t have time to try new things. Like seeing how stuff floats and where it ends up and stuff.
At the end of Dylan’s detention, he read the reasons to his principal, his teacher, and his mom and dad who had been summoned IMMEDIATELY, to Martin Street School.
This time, no one sighed. The air felt crystal clear. Finally, Mr. Stubby spoke.
“Well, we’ll just keep working at it, right Dyl?” He smiled while he patted Dylan as softly as the skin on a softball and led him toward the door.
“Yup,” Dylan said as he wobbled out balancing his homework books on top of his baseball cap. As he piled one more book on top of his hat, he looked up at his mom and dad. “Nobody could like books more than me, right guys?”
They looked down at their son and smiled. “You got that right, Kid.”