1 The Best PetBy Laurie Krasny Brown “Now that you do your own jobs, you can have your own pets!” said Dad. “Let’s get them now!”said Rex and Lilly. “Dad, may I have a dog?” asked Rex. “A dog is too much trouble.” “Dad, may I have a cat?” asked Lilly. “A cat is the best pet.” “No, Lilly, not a cat,” said Dad. “A cat is too much trouble.” “How about a bird?” asked Lilly. “A bird can be the best pet!” “No, not a bird either,” said Dad. “Too much trouble.” “No dog! No cat!” said Rex. “Then what pet can we have?” “Fish!” said Dad. “Fish are the best pets. And they are not too much trouble.” “I like yellow fish,” said Lilly. “I like the blue fish,” said Rex. Lilly put her fish in the tank. Rex put his fish in, too. The fish swam and swam. “Is that all they do?” asked Rex. A week later, Lilly said, “Look Rex! Look at all the fish!” “Wow!” said Rex. “Fish are the best pets!” said Rex. “And we get more all the time!” said Lilly. 2 A Dog’s TaleBy Seymour Reit When I was a tiny puppy, I lived at the pound. But I was very lonely. I wanted a person to love – a person all my own. Then, one wonderful day, I saw Wendy. She was just right for me! So I let her take me home. Wendy was a good kid, but she never had a puppy before. She had lots to learn. Luckily she had me to teach her! First I helped her pick my name. She called me Spot, then Skippy. When she called me Ruff, I barked, “Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!” I had to teach her that puppies eat at least three times a day. I always remind her if she forgets! I even had to teach Wendy that puppies need lots of fresh water. Wendy finally gotthe hang of it. She found a big box and made a warm, cozy bed for me. But sometimes I just have to snuggle in Wendy’s bed. It makes her so happy! 3 Happy Birthday, Mom!By Laurie Krasny Brown “Surprise, surprise, surprise,” said Rex. “This will be Mom’s best birthday!” “Shh!”said Lilly. “Mom will hear you!” “This will be the best frosting,” said Lilly. “Yellow!” “Or blue. I like blue frosting,” said Rex. “Can I help?” asked Mom. “Please, Mom!” said Rex. “Don’t help! Don’t look!” “Can I draw on Mom’s card?” asked Rex. “Draw something Mom likes,” said Lilly. Rex tried to think. What does Mom like? “Can I help?” asked Dad. “Please, Dad!” said Lilly. “Don’t help!” “This is a surprise!” “Let’s set the table,” said Lilly. “Forks here, spoons here.” “Hats here!” said Rex. “Mom,” said Rex and Lilly, “you can come in now!” “Surprise! Surprise! Happy Birthday, Mom!” “Oh, my!” said Mom. “This is my best birthday! And you did all thiswith no help!” “Oh, Mom,” said Lilly, “you can help us now.” “Can I?” said Mom. “You can help us clean up!” said Rex. 4 Dragons and GiantsBy Arnold Lobel Frog and Toad were reading a book together. “The people in this book are brave,” said Toad. “They fight dragons and giants. And they are never afraid.” “I wonder if we are brave,” said Frog. Frog and Toad looked into a mirror. “We look brave,” said Frog. “Yes, but are we?’ asked Toad. Frog and Toad went outside. “We can try to climb this mountain,” said Frog. “That should tell us if we are brave.” They came to a dark cave. A snake came out of the cave. “Hello, lunch,” said the snake to Frog and Toad and opened his mouth. Frog and Toad jumped away. Toad was shaking. “I am not afraid!” he cried. They came to the top of the mountain. The shadow of a hawk fell over them. Frog and Toad jumped under a rock. The hawk flew away. “We are not afraid!” screamed Frog and Toad. Then they ran down the mountain very fast. They ran all the way to Toad’s house. Toad jumped into the bed and pulled the covers over his head. Frog jumped into the closet and shut the door. Toad stayed in the bed and Frog stayed in the closet for a long time, just feeling very brave together. 5 School By Jean Little On Monday, Sally read first. “Very good, Sally,” Mr. Kent said. “Now it is your turn, Emma.” Emma hung her head and whispered. “Try to speak up, Emma,” said Mr. Kent. The recess bell rang. “Emma can read after recess,” Mr. Kent said. Sally and Emma went outside. “Reading at school is hard,” Emma said. “Why?” asked Sally. “When they all looked at me, I tried to speak up,” said Emma. “But only a whisper came out.” Sally looked at Emma for a minute. “I have an idea,” she said. “When we go in, keep your boots on. Say “Magic Boots, make me a good reader.” “It won’t help,” said Emma. “It can’t hurt to try,” Sally said. Emma kept her boots on. Mr. Kent gave her the book Emma whispered, “Magic Boots, help.” Then she began to read. She read in a loud, clear voice. “Good for you,” said Mr. Kent. “Way to go, Emma!” Sally said. “Your magic boots did it.” “With the help of my magic friend,” said Emma. 6 Nick’s Trick By Nancy Leber and Amy Levin Meg looks for her dog, Nick. “Here, Nick. Here, Nick.” Where is Nick? Max looks for Meg’s dog, Nick. “Here, Nick. Here, Nick.” Where is Nick? Meg picks up Nick’s stick. “Here is the stick, Nick,” she calls. Max picks up Nick’s ball. “Here is the ball, Nick,” he calls. Meg picks up Nick’s sock. “Here is the sock, Nick,” she calls. Max picks up Nick’s bone. “Here is the bone, Nick,” he calls. Meg calls, “Look!” “Look at the big rock!” Meg and Max got to the rock. There is Nick. Is Nick sick? “Here, Nick. Here is the stick. Here is the sock,” calls Meg. “Here, Nick. Here is the ball. Here is the bone,” calls Max. Nick likes her stick. Nick likes her sock. Nick likes her ball. Nick likes her bone. Nick likes to lick. Nick likes to lick Meg and Max. Best of all, Nick likes to lick…her puppies! Nick is a mom. She likes her puppies the most!