8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos

BOOK: 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos
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8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog=CHAOS
by
Vivian Vande Velde

illustrated by

Steve Björkman

Holiday House / New York

Text copyright © 2012 by Vivian Vande Velde

Illustrations copyright © 2012 by Steve Björkman

All Rights Reserved

HOLIDAY HOUSE is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

www.holidayhouse.com

ISBN 978-0-8234-3090-1 (ebook)w

ISBN 978-0-8234-3091-8 (ebook)r

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Vande Velde, Vivian.

8 class pets + one squirrel [divided by] one dog = chaos / by Vivian Vande Velde ; illustrated by Steve Björkman. — 1st ed.

p. cm.

Title uses division sign.

Summary: A dog chases a squirrel into an elementary school one night, creating monumental chaos.

ISBN 978-0-8234-2364-4 (hardcover)

ISBN 978-0-8234-2594-5 (paperback)

[1. Schools—Fiction. 2. Animals—Fiction. 3. Humorous stories.]

I. Björkman, Steve, ill. II. Title. III. Title: Eight class pets plus one squirrel divided by one dog equals chaos.

PZ7.V377Aag 2012

[Fic]—dc22

2010048153

To those teachers

who are bold enough

to have a class pet

in their rooms

Contents

TWITCH (school-yard squirrel)

GREEN EGGS AND HAMSTER (first-grade hamster)

MISS LUCY COTTONTAIL (second-grade rabbit)

SWEETIE (library rat)

A SCHOOL OF NEON TETRAS (third-grade fish)

LENORE (fourth-grade parrot)

NANCY (art room turtle)

ANGEL (fifth-grade corn snake)

GALILEO AND NEWTON (science lab geckos)

CUDDLES (the principal's dog)

TWITCH (school-yard squirrel)

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog=CHAOS

TWITCH
(school-yard squirrel)

Being a squirrel is the best thing in the world.

The next best thing in the world is living where I live—which is near School. School is where humans send their young to learn things.

I don't know why.

Squirrel mothers teach their own young. These are things my squirrel mother taught me:

*
how to climb

*
how to land when I jump or fall

*
how to find food

*
how to bury food

*
how to find food after I've buried it

*
how to look cute enough that humans will give me food, so I don't have to find it, bury it, or find it again

*
how to get along with animals
that don't eat squirrels (Not eating squirrels is something I admire in those I meet.)

*
how to get away from animals that DO eat squirrels

These are all valuable lessons for a squirrel.

I'm not sure why humans can't teach their own young.

A few of the children are all right at climbing, but most aren't good at finding food, and they're hopeless at burying food.

A squirrel mother teaches her young all they need to know by the end of summer, but human children spend
five years
in School. Five years is long enough for a squirrel to grow very, very old, so it's a good thing we're faster learners.

And the humans aren't even truly finished in five years!

I have heard them talking, and I know. Before they go
to School, they go to Kindergarten. And after they leave School, they will go to someplace that is called Middle School. And after
that
, they will go to High School.

I haven't seen any of these other places. I have no idea what Kindergarten is. But by their names, I'm guessing Middle School is halfway up, and High School must be at the very top of a tall tree. I suppose that's the only way the humans will ever teach some of those young ones to climb.

But School and the yards around it are a good place to live.

It's fun to climb up the School building and to play on the playground equipment when the children aren't using it. There are also trees for climbing, and some of them are nut trees and some of them are fruit trees. That's two of my big interests rolled into one: climbing and eating.

And the people who live here love squirrels.

They're always buying toys and exercise equipment for us, and they set these things up around a feeder to make sure we notice them—it's a mini-playground with a snack bar in the middle. Some of the toys are for twirling on, and there are ropes to shinny up and climb down, and balance beams to walk across. Sometimes, to make things extra-challenging for our benefit, the ropes and poles are greased to make them slippery. Whee!

It's very considerate of people to give us these jungle gyms so we don't become fat and lazy, like, for example, the groundhog.

One day I was exploring a new bird feeder in the yard next door to School. It had a big slippery disk for sliding on, and I was having so much fun, I lost track of the time.

Then I realized that the air had turned cool, and shadows were growing long. Evening is a dangerous time of day because certain creatures who are not squirrels and who are not fat and lazy groundhogs start thinking about dinner. Or breakfast. Some of them start thinking of a meal that involves squirrel.

I looked up. And there was an owl, and she was flying straight at me—as though
I
was the main course on the snack bar!

All I could do was start running in a zigzag pattern to try to confuse that owl.

I didn't even notice the dog who was napping in his front yard.

Now, it's easy to point a finger—or paw—in blame, but I say; if that dog didn't want me running over his nose, he shouldn't have had it resting on the ground between his paws. But, anyway, the next thing I knew, the dog was chasing me, too. He ran so hard, he broke the leash that was supposed to hold him in his yard.

Luckily, one of the humans who works at School had left the door propped open.

I noticed the big banner:

WELCOME!

This is the same banner that tells the children School is open again after the summer.

Someone was obviously telling me School was open for me to escape from the dog.

Didn't I say the people here love squirrels?

So for the first time in my life, I ran into School.

That owl veered away and flew off into the evening.

But the dog followed me in.

GREEN EGGS AND HAMSTER
(first-grade hamster)

BOOK: 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos
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