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2019-01-01 Cricket Magazine Fiction and Non-Fiction Stories for Children and Young Teens

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January 2019
Volume 46
Number 4
cricketmedia.com
$6.95
the realm of imagination
the realm of imagination
J a n u a r y 20 19
Vol u m e 4 6
Number 4
COV E R A N D B O R D E R
by Lydia Hess
“Hibernation ”
Carved clayboard illustration, digitally collaged with monoprint
textured papers
Is it time to renew?
shop.cricketmedia.com
1-800-821-0115
Educational Press Association of America
Golden Lamp Award
Distinguished Achievement Award
Academics Choice
Smart Media Award
International Reading Association
Paul A. Witty Short Story Award
1988–1993, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2006,
2007, 2009, 2011–2015
8
8
As long as I can remember I have always drawn pictures.
I would sit for hours making up stories in my head and
drawing out the scenes at the kitchen table. I like to look
to the natural world and iconic symbols for inspiration in
my artwork. I love folk art traditional imagery and like to
incorporate that aesthetic in my pictures.
My work has appeared in coloring books, trade books,
editorial magazines, calendars, and greeting cards. My
favorite medium is carved clayboard, but I like to mix it
up with digital montage and printmaking. I also enjoy
using acrylic and watercolor painting.
As well as illustrating, I am currently the senior art
director and graphic designer at Amber Lotus Publishing. I
have five published coloring books with HarperCollins
Publishing—Sacred Nature, Sacred Symbols, Sacred Animals,
and others in that series. I live in Portland, Oregon, with my
husband, photographer Robbie McClaran, and our two very
smart daughters.
CRICKET ADVISORY BOARD
Marianne Carus Founder
and Editor-in-Chief from 1972–2012
Kieran Egan Professor of Education,
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Betsy Hearne Professor, University of
Illinois, Champaign; Critic, Author
Sybille Jagusch Children’s Literature Specialist
Linda Sue Park Author
Katherine Paterson Author
Barbara Scharioth Former Director of the
International Youth Library in Munich, Germany
Anita Silvey Author, Critic
Sandra Stotsky Professor of Education Reform,
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Roger Sutton Editor-in-Chief of
The Horn Book Magazine, Critic
Ann Thwaite Author, Critic
8
PHOTO BY ROBBIE MCCLARAN
CRICKET STAFF
Lonnie Plecha Editor
Anna Lender Associate Art Director
Patrick Murray Designer
Carolyn Digby Conahan Staff Artist
Deborah Vetter Senior Contributing Editor
Julie Peterson Copyeditor
Emily Cambias Assistant Editor
Adrienne Matzen Permissions Specialist
National Magazine Award
finalist in the category of
General Excellence
Society of Midland Authors
Award for Excellence in
Children’s Literature
Parents’ Choice
Gold Award
January 2019, Volume 46, Number 4, © 2018, Cricket Media, Inc. All rights reserved,
including right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form. View submission
guidelines and submit manuscripts online at cricketmag.submittable.com. Please
note that we no longer accept unsolicited hard copy submissions. Not responsible
for unsolicited manuscripts or other material. All letters and competition entries are
assumed for publication and become the property of Cricket Media. For information regarding our privacy policy and compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy
Protection Act, please visit our website at cricketmedia.com/privacy or write to us at
Cricket/COPPA, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601.
continued on page 47
5
6
14
22
23
26
27
34
38
39
First Snowfall by Yvonne Gleason
A Wind-Tossed Spell by Maggie Murphy
Magnus by Sara Rajan
The Pack by Jennifer Cole Judd
The Box Cat by Quillon Dayton
Cricket Readers Recommend
In Search Of . . . by Joan Lennon
The Tiger Son by Sue Cowing
I Am a Baby Porcupette by Joyce Sidman
Hans Hedgehog by Quillon Dayton
cover and contents page art © 2018 by Lydia Hess
2
4
13
45
46
48
Letterbox
Cricket Country by Carolyn Digby Conahan
Ugly Bird’s Crossbird Puzzle
Cricket League
Cricket and Ladybug by Carolyn Digby Conahan
Old Cricket Says
THIS ONE’S
FOR YOU.
Dear Everybuggy,
I have been reading Cricket for two years. It is
amazing!
I play the cello and take ballet. I love to cook,
sew, draw, write, dance, garden, and read. Thank you
for your amazing mag. I always look forward to it.
Zoe Ashbaugh, age 11
Lafayette, Colorado
MEWY YAY!
Hi!
Hi
Dear Cricket,
I’m new to the Chatterbox. I just got my
I really like gold, silver, blue,
July 2018 issue of Cricket, and a bunch
purple, red, and turquoise. My
of the Letterbox was about how great
favorite buggies are Ladybug,
Chatterbox is, so I thought I’d try it out.
Pussywillow, and Cricket. I have
I’m going into seventh grade and I’m
had your mag since November
obsessed with reading, writing, running,
2015. I love sports.
CRICKET STUDIOS
and my ten-month-old yellow Lab, Blue,
Here at Cricket Studios we
IS IN MY DREAMS,
who my family thinks may be my long-lost
make films, music videos, songs,
FOR SURE!
Dear Cricket,
twin, since we can read each other’s minds
and commercials, and it includes a
I just got my first Cricket magazine! It’s the
and a bunch of other things. When I grow up, I
shopping mall, a hotel, and restaurant/
best. I can’t wait to get the next one. I was sad
want to be a teacher, author, president, dog trainer,
café. Do pay a visit to Cricket Studios—in your
that Ask had gone away because my mother did
and, well, basically everything else. My grandma
dreams, please. It doesn’t exist.
not renew it. So I was sooooo happy when I saw
says I have a lot going for me.
Animal Girl, Actress at Cricket Studios
Cricket. How do you make the magazine? I’ve
I have a little sister, Clara, and a bunch of
Sunnyvale, California
always wanted to make a magazine. Where do you
friends, but my three best ones are Kendra, Ollie
get the pictures on the cover?
(Olivia), and Charlotte. My parents separated over
Dear Cricket readers,
Nathan, age 8
April vacation, so that’s why I’m listing two states.
First question: Can we come up with some
Clearwater, Florida
Elise K., age 12
new letter beginnings? The old one (“I know
Massachusetts and Rhode Island
you’ve heard this _____ times, but . . .”) is just getDear Nathan,
Down to Earth, Chatterbox
ting boring. Write in with any other ideas!
Welcome to Cricket! Writers from all over the
Second question: Any book ideas? Lots of
world send us stories and poems, and we choose
We just got two new kittens, IT’S SCARY WHEN
you like the same books I do, so I trust your
A PET GETS LOST.
the best for our magazines. We also reprint some
and they are adorable! One
opinions. I like books like Harry Potter, Echo by
NEVER
RUN AWAY,
things from books in our library. Our art director
really cute thing they do is
Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Butterflies by Susanne
PUSS!
then selects an artist to illustrate each story or
sleep in this little basket we
Gervay. The last two are really unique books
poem and the cover.
have on the porch where
that I don’t expect a lot of people have read. If
Love,
they are right now together.
anyone knows of more books like them, please
Old Cricket
They also are escape artists!
send them in! I would like suggestions from
The minute you open the
people around my age. Reply to either question
Dear Cricket,
door, they’ll be by you. And
if you can!
MEWY
I have 229 pets: 36 chickens, 10 chicks, 5 ducks,
they love to jump onto the
Lacie D./Luna Lovegood (my favorite Harry
MEW!
9 goats, 7 pigs, 90 meat chicken chicks, 3 turkey
windowsill and usually end up fallingg off.
Potter character), age 14
polts (chicks), 9 big turkeys, 50+ big meat chickens,
My Aunt A had cancer a few year ago, and my
Kentucky
P.S . Thank you to all the sixteen-year-olds who still
2 cats, 5 kittens, 1 guard dog, and 2 house dogs. All
Aunt MJ, who lives in the Dominican Republic,
subscribe to Cricket! I’ve always dreaded the day
our cats are barn cats. Some of our chickens will
came home to take care of her, and she brought
when I’ll feel too old to get this magazine, and you
have more chicks soon! We also have a garden and
one of her many dogs, Lola, with her. Aunt A fell in
guys have shown me that I won’t be the only one
we take good care of our plants. Part of our garden
love with Lola and asked if she could just keep her,
still subscribing at sixteen.
is mine, and I like to grow zinnias. I also am
and Aunt MJ said yes because she had like ten dogs
growing an herb garden this year.
back home. Fast forward a few weeks (after MJ
I LOVE LISTS, TOO!
Dear
Lacie,
I am a list person. I almost always
had flown back home), and Lola gets out and runs
I’M MAKING A
I hope you enjoy the beginnings
have a list to make sure I don’t
and runs and runs. They put notices on Facebook
LIST OF MY LISTS.
of the letters in this issue! And we
miss anything. I also like to draw a
and everywhere. Finally they found her at the
have many adult subscribers. No
diagram of things like my garden. I
airport, which means she must have run across a
one is ever too old for a good story!
have two brothers and two sisters.
highway! Anyway, she is safe and happy now.
Love,
Maria
Bluebird, Ask CBers Questions!
Cricket
Wooster, Ohio
Chirp at Cricket, Chatterbox
2
Hello,
I’m new! My cousin Kyoto and I have
always liked to write together, so she told
me about this creative writing website
called Cricket, and here I am! I love writing, but I’m honestly terrible at poetry.
I’ve been playing hockey for nearly all my
life and I also love football (not American
football, and concerning the World Cup: Goo
France!). I’m a Japanese boy and I’ve been too
Japan a few times. I love Marvel, I like Star Trek more
than Star Wars, and I like watching Steven Universe.
My favorite childhood show is Phineas and Ferb.
I write in what I call “proper” English (UK English), just because I was brought up that way. I can
be quite random and hyper at times, so bear with
me. I can’t stand figure skating or ballet, although
I have utter respect for all those who do it. I play
on my high school’s hockey team up north. My
favourite colour is forest green, and my favourite
animal is a husky. I have two!
Sendai, age 15
Chirp at Cricket
Welcome, Sendai! Wow, you have such a cool
name! I live in Australia, but I have been to Japan
once, and it was amazing! I’m also learning to speak
Japanese at school. I play soccer and am also kind
of obsessive over the World Cup (getting up at one
o’clock every night to watch the quarter finals).
I love Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star
Wars, and pretty much any book you throw at me.
I can’t say much about Star Trek, because I’ve only
seen like half an episode in my entire life.
Lilypad
Australia
Chirp at Cricket
Hi!
I’ve been on the CB (Chatterbox) for about a
year and a half now. I’m going into high school. I
draw a lot of pictures and write a lot of stories and
am an introvert. I quit dance a couple years ago
and am now focusing on year-round swimming.
It’s the only sport I seem to enjoy. Four years ago
I quit soccer (or football, whichever you prefer) to
do year-round swim. I’ve been playing piano for a
really long time, I think eight or nine years.
Lucy B., age 14
YEAR-ROUND
Emmilvien
SWIMMING?! YOU MUST Chirp at Cricket
BE VERY BRAVE.
Hi,
SOME PEOPLE
ACTUALLY LIKE
TO SWIM, GEORGE.
I’m relatively new here.
I love nineteenth-century
writers like the Brontës,
Jane Austen, and Charles
Dickens. My interest in
Tolkien has led me to some
of the really interesting stuff
A HARP!
NEATO.
he was inspired by: Beowulf, the Kalevala, the Mabinogion. Just the names of
these books are awesome! T. H. White
is another great author. Has anyone
else read his King Arthur books?
I am incredibly lucky to live with a
beautiful harp. I have been taking lesssons for three years. My other interests
incclude eating chocolate, learning French,
and w
writing poetry, and I can speak Russian.
Everlid, Introduce Yourself
Inkwell, Chatterbox
. . . After that small commotion, I watch and
listen to people talking. I catch two kids my age
talking about—I gasp—their POWERS. “Can you
keep a secret, Jax?” the girl whimpers. Jax nods.
“OK then. I can shapeshift into a wolf, but it gets
a little out of hand on the full moon. I can also
control wind currents to some degree, but I am
not very good at it.”
Rogue Wildling
Inkwell
CHIRPS FROM CRICKET’S
LET TERBOX AND CHAT TERBOX
My favorite season has always been winter.
I love the snow and the holidays and the warm,
cozy nights by the fire and hot cocoa and fuzzy
socks and sweaters and fur coats.
Leeli
Pollen & Allergies
Chirp at Cricket
A couple of weeks ago, my friends woke me up
early and took me out to breakfast and the library.
Basically, I got kidnapped—and I had so much fun
in the process!
Starseeker, age 168 moons
Enterprise
Down to Earth
I’m actually not that good at skateboarding,
but I like to think I am. Snowboarding sounds a lot
funner anyway! Some advice for learning how to
skateboard: Be really careful. Also, start
sitting down on a small slope.
Agent Winter
THE INTERNATIONAL
Chirp at Cricket
I fly to the trout stream. . . . My accordion hangs around my neck as I lie down
SPY MUSEUM? HOW
next to the stream. And suddenly there
IS IT I DIDN’T KNOW
Yesterday I visited the
is a mermaid. She’s extremely lovely,
ABOUT THAT?
International
Spy Museum,
and there is a flower unlike any other in
which was totally amazing!
her hand. She places one of its golden
Soren Infinity,
petals in my palm, curling my fingers
age 27 eons
over it before gliding down the stream
Beacon
Town
again.
Happiness Thread
Suddenly, I feel a connection with
Down to Earth
six other beings, much like me. And an
understanding of herbs and a connecBECAUSE IT’S TOP
My Hogwarts house is Huftion with a certain wolf named Yin. And
SECRET!
DUH.
flepuff.
And for some odd reason,
then suddenly a map appears in my mind,
my patronus is a buffalo.
leading me to a meeting place—to find the
Fireburst
other Sages. Because that’s what I am now: a Sage.
Ask CBers Questions,
Sybill
Chirp at Cricket
Sage RP Thread
Kyngdom, Chatterbox
Do any of you guys play tennis? Making the
team
in high school has been my dream for a
Keenthieves are the offspring of magic and
while.
I’ve been playing since I was six. What
darkness. It may seem like they are evil, but they’re
sports do you play?
not, I promise. In their normal form, they look like
AutumnArtist, age 14
dragons without wings. Their basic body shape is
Chirp at Cricket
like that of a wolf, and their horns are as sharp as
knives and as white as snow. The rest of their body
can range from black to blue to red. They once
possessed miraculous powers, but when they failed
to use them for good, all but shapeshifting were
Send letters to Cricket’s Letterbox,
stripped away. They understand many languages
P.O.
Box 300, Peru, IL 61354, or email us at
and speak fluent Latin and English. Their first
cricket@cricketmedia.com.
language, however, is Keenthief. This language is
Letters may be edited for length.
composed mainly of mental communication.
Piiri (Shadowkiller)
Visit the Chatterbox at:
Myths and Legends
c r i c ke t m a g k i d s .co m /c h a t te r b ox
Kyngdom
3
STOP LOOKING AT ME!
HOW ABOUT YOU STOP
LOOKING AT ME!
WE’RE
CONNECTED!
I CAN’T HELP
TOUCHING YOU.
YOU SHOULD
STAY ON YOUR
SIDE OF US. AND
HOW ABOUT YOU
STOP MESSING
WITH MY STUFF?
YOU’RE
TOUCHING
ME!
GOODNESS!
YOU
THINK
SO?
IF IT WAS
EASY, WE’D
HAVE STOPPED
OUR BICKERING
A LONG TIME
AGO.
BESIDES–FRIENDS FIGHT.
SIBLINGS SQUABBLE.
YOUR STUFF
IS ALWAYS
IN MY
WAY. YOU’RE
SO MESSY!
MY POINT
EXACTLY! BUT
WE’RE GOING TO
WORK THIS OUT
ONCE AND FOR
ALL! OFFICIALLY.
IN COURT!
AM NOT!
WE
HAVE A
COURT?
WE DO
NOW!
IT
HASN’T
HELPED.
JUST
LIKE
THAT?
WHY NOT?
THEY ARGUE,
WE DECIDE.
BOOM! DONE!
THEN THEY
WORK IT OUT.
BUT
WE’VE
BEEN
ARGUING.
ENOUGH! I’M
SICK OF THIS
SQUABBLING!
WE’RE GOING
TO SETTLE
THIS RIGHT
NOW!
YOU NEED A JUDGE AND JURY
TO MAKE IT WORK. DUH! SO YOU
ARGUE YOUR CASE. I’LL BE THE
JUDGE—OBVIOUSLY. THE REST
OF YOU CAN BE THE JURY.
DO WE
HAVE
TO?
YOU CAN’T
JUST SAY
YOU’RE
A JUDGE.
THERE’S A
PROCESS.
I
OBJECT!
YOU’RE THE
JUDGE. YOU
CAN’T OBJECT.
WAIT!
WHAT?
YOU
CAN’T
TELL
ME IF I
OBJECT
OR NOT!
THAT’S NOT WHAT
A JUDGE DOES. AND
WHAT ARE YOU
OBJECTING TO?
OF COURSE I
CAN. I DO!
NOW I DON’T REMEMBER!
GRRRRR! I SHOULD PUT YOU
IN A TIME-OUT FOR THAT.
UMM, HELLO!?
JUDGES DON’T GIVE TIME-OUTS.
OR MAYBE A SUSPENDED
SENTENCE!
I OBJECT
WHEN DO
WE GET
TO TALK?
YOU TALK WHEN I SAY!
UNTIL THEN, PIPE DOWN!
ARE WE
DONE HERE?
I HAVE LIBRARY
BOOKS TO
RETURN...
NOBUGGY
LEAVES!
ANYBUGGY
MOVES AND
I’LL THROW
’EM IN THE
SLAMMER!
TALK ABOUT
BLIND
JUSTICE.
(SIGH)
4
S
by Yvonne Gleason
The sky exhales in snowflakes
and we breathe in cold puffs of air
through the woolen scent of scarves.
Snow crystals land with hardly a sound,
as if holding on to secrets;
and in this hushing, we stand,
and listen
to their
whispers.
text © 2018 by Yvonne Gleason
5
by Maggie Murphy
IN A TOWER
on a rocky island lived a wizard whose enchantments
centered on the four winds. He made a modest income selling bags
of fair breezes to sailors. One day, a sailor brought him a letter from a
faraway faerie king. Two scant lines, it requested a difficult windspell.
With a thankful heart, the wizard accepted the silver sent in payment,
delighting in thoughts of the intricate spellwork ahead of him.
That afternoon, he searched beaches and scrubby fields, collecting
feathers lost by sea birds: strong fliers. Using the feathers as quill pens,
and colorful potions as ink, he created twelve squares of illustrated script
on parchment. Next, the wizard donned ragged half-gloves to wrap
thread in wisps of icy wind and stitch the pages together to make a book.
Then he climbed to the tower’s roof and tossed the book to an
enchanted whirlwind that tore it to scraps. Countless bits of bright parchment swirled in glorious patterns until magic knit them together, forming
one lovely page. Graceful as a well-handled kite, it soared and dived.
A north wind whisked it across the ocean. Finally, it settled writtenside down on a stony beach backed by a blue granite cliff. And if words
can be said to wait, the parchment’s words waited.
6
Illustrated by Tif fany England
text © 2018 by Maggie Murphy, art © 2018 by Tiffany England
HO URS LA TER, P E GEEN came strolling along the beach. Fourteen
years old, she lived with her grandfather nearby. They’d had years of lean
harvests on their small farm. Pegeen loved to walk beside the sea: breathing in the cool salt air felt like a tonic for her troubles.
She loved to read, too, but owned only three books, so she ran to the
mysterious parchment. Unhappily, she didn’t seize it because it rested
upon a certain green stone. Flat and oval, veined in white, the stone lay
flush to the cliff’s face.
When Pegeen was a child, walking with her grandfather, she’d seen a
spiral shell on the stone. As she reached to scoop it up, Granda swung her
into his strong arms. “The pretty shell belongs to the faeries, love. That’s
their doorstep, like the flagstone in front of our cottage.”
“Where’s their door?”
“We can’t see it.”
“Have you ever seen a faerie?”
Granda shook his head. “In the old times, they used to visit our world
more often.”
“Do you know what they’re like?”
“Many faeries are helpful. Others might deceive us. They’re as different
as people, Peg. Anyway, sometimes you’ll spy things on their doorstep:
once Great-Gran saw a golden egg. But nothing on the faeries’ flagstone
is ours.”
Now, Pegeen longed for the parchment as light winds ruffled it, showing precise lettering so tiny a mouse might have penned it. Sshhh! A breeze
blew it toward her. Jumping, she plucked it from the air to put it back—
and it crumbled into dust that sprinkled a cresting wave.
Something enormous writhed in the ocean. Spiny fins tall as ships’
masts burst skyward. Up rose a sea serpent, pointed ears twitching. Before
Pegeen could flee, it slid across the sand, trapping her between the cliff’s
sheer wall and a dripping wall of emerald scales. She snatched up a rock.
The creature opened a toothy mouth twice her height.
“You are safe, Pegeen,” it said in a surprisingly soft voice. “I come here
to announce: ‘His majesty the faerie king invites you to attempt a task.
Succeed, and you shall receive ten gold coins.’”
It waited in silence. Pegeen decided it truly meant no harm. “Forgive
me, Serpent.” She dropped the rock. And then dropped a curtsey. “The
7
gold—if I can win it! —would help me, my grandfather, and others.
This is strange good luck beyond my dreams.”
“It’s good luck, and bad.”
“How is it bad?”
“The king is untrustworthy,” said the serpent. “He must risk the
gold, having burdened himself with a grievous debt. Long ago, a mortal
knight’s courage and kindness enraged him, his own nature being so
opposite. One terrible day, he made himself look like the knight, rode
into your world, and ruined his victim’s reputation. Laws of magic that
preserve order between the faerie realm and yours forced him to make
amends. His actions caused lasting sorrow, though. Balancing things
again has required centuries.”
The serpent took a polite sip of saltwater—drinking a rain barrel
full, by Pegeen’s reckoning—and continued. “This is the tail end of a
string of spells, a last ripple of a reminder to the king. He had to hire
a master wizard to waft the parchment here to find the knight’s
nearest relation.”
“I can’t be his kin,” said Pegeen. “We’ve no knight in our family
line. Sad as this story is, Granda wouldn’t have
kept it from me.”
“He didn’t know the tale
to tell it. The knight forsook his own country
and even his true name.
Pegeen, the wizard’s
wind-tossed spell has
chosen rightly. The
parchment drew you
here today. When
you touched it, magic
summoned me.”
“You are enslaved?”
Pegeen felt horrified.
“I’m as free as merrows and minnows.
The spell asked me to
8
A MERROW IS
A MERMAID OR
MERMAN IN IRISH
FOLKLORE.
GOING FOR
A SWIM,
MARTY?
serve as a messenger. I consented, hoping to pass along what I know about
the king’s duplicity in confidence.”
“I’ll keep your words close.”
“That’s wise. You’re to unlock sixty doors swiftly, using a key ring
whose keys are unmarked.”
“Are the keys enchanted?”
“No. However, an ancient protective spell ensures they can’t be
removed from the ring. Unfortunately, it’s creaky old magic that did not
disallow adding keys, which the devious king has done. Now the ring
holds sham keys as well as useful ones.”
“I don’t understand why he’s bent on cheating.”
“It’s not the gold he may lose that troubles him. The doors picture
maps showing parts of his realm. If you pass the test, an enchantment
hands over those portions of his kingdom to better faerie kings and
queens.”
“Suppose I best him. He may grow angry enough to stir up fresh
problems for people.”
“Magic prevents that,” said the serpent. “There is danger, nonetheless. This spell of atonement should have held no peril for you. It does.
Between the doors, you were meant to see an unbroken stone corridor.
The king has used an imp-brewed potion to eat away a number of stones
in one wall. While no creature can enter the corridor to hinder you, the
gap opens into the king’s castle. You might look into it and linger, or
worse, slip through, and—”
“Make a careless mistake,” said Pegeen. “Granda has told me that a
person who eats the faeries’ food is bound to stay in their underground
kingdom forever.”
“That’s the hazard, indeed,” said the serpent. “Despite the king’s
tricks, do you want to try?”
Feeling excitement mingled with fear, Pegeen said, “Yes.”
“Knock on the cliff, then. The king awaits you. My twenty hearts
wish you good fortune.”
“I’m ever grateful.” Pegeen watched the serpent swim away before
trotting to the faeries’ flagstone and stepping onto it boldly. Mindful of
protecting her hand to turn keys, she tapped on the cliff ’s face with
two fingers.
DUPLICITY IS
DISHONESTY OR
DECEITFULNESS.
ATONEMENT IS
MAKING UP FOR
A WRONG ACT.
9
A KEY FOB IS
AN ORNAMENT
ATTACHED TO
A KEY RING.
10
An oak door carved to resemble a faerie ship appeared.
The king opened it and bowed, his engraved gold crown
and crimson robes clearly beyond the craftsmanship of
mortals. Pegeen curtsied, suddenly conscious of her windblown curls, mended skirt, and boots missing buttons.
“Come in, my dear,” said the faerie man, his cheerful welcome easing her worries. Surely, thought Pegeen,
someone lied to the serpent. Maybe imps tampered with
the keys and the wall on their own. She stepped into a
room cluttered with magic mirrors, heaps of coins, baskets of sapphires, and marble boxes. Seeing her eyes grow
wide, the king said, “This is only an old storeroom.”
He lifted a box’s lid, revealing a silver key fob crafted
in the shape of a dragon whose jaws gripped a bronze
ring. The beast’s long body provided a handle that
tapered to a slender tail bristling with twisted spikes.
Encrusted in jewels, the ornate fob looked more valuable
than a merchant ship’s entire cargo. Still, it didn’t intimidate Pegeen as much as the ring’s daunting collection of
identical, plain gold keys.
As she listened to the king tell her what the serpent
had already shared (“Strive to open sixty doors as fast
as you can”) she tried and failed to spot differences
between the true keys and their false fellows. “Don’t be
afraid to take the key ring,” said the king.
Pegeen made a brave show of plucking up the glittering dragon, but
her fingers trembled; keys jingled like chimes.
“Lass, you are nervous,” said the king. “Rules of the spell allow me to
reward you with ten copper coins if you agree to skip the test altogether.
Perhaps you’d prefer to forfeit your chance?” He beamed at her.
Pegeen returned his smile. “Perhaps I wouldn’t. But thank you very
much, your majesty.”
The king’s smile vanished as fast as a hidden door swung open in a
wall. “Go through there,” he said, “and music will begin measuring out
your allotted time.”
“How many minutes are given?”
“The enchantment decides, taking into account how fast your legs,
how nimble your fingers. You’ll find things challenging, yet not impossible.”
A crystal goblet of mulled wine appeared in his hand, filling the air with
the scents of nutmeg and cloves. “No more chatter. Begone!”
Anger welling, Pegeen turned away. Instead of walking meekly to the
door, she retreated as far back as she could amidst the riches. In a running
start, she pelted through the doorway and down a candlelit corridor whose
walls were hung with musical instruments made of gold. Tralalee! Fiddles,
drums, pipes, and whistles spun out a reel.
Moments later, a door emblazoned with a scrolled map of a faerie
province blocked her path. She sorted keys quickly, opened it on her
fifteenth try, and passed through eleven similar doors not long after.
The keys, the running, the magical reel might have seemed like a
dream. They didn’t. She stubbed her toe,
and her boots lost buttons, and the smell
of melting beeswax made her think of
time slipping away.
At each door, she turned keys faster,
fingers dancing as deftly as if she were
playing one of the gleaming faerie whistles. She discovered as she went along
that certain keys unlocked several doors.
Pegeen marked two of these with threads
torn from her skirt’s hem. Regretting the
time it took, she resolved to memorize
true keys’ places.
On she ran and opened dozens of
doors; on ran the reel. After she leaped
through the fifty-ninth door, the drumsticks froze, then the fiddles’ bows. Next,
the pipes’ music ceased, leaving only a
few scattered whistles playing slow, sweet
melodies.
Boots clattering in the sudden hush,
Pegeen raced up to the sixtieth door—
and a forgotten danger. To her left, light
11
spilled from an archway that she at first mistook for a
branch in the corridor.
By the time she’d realized the truth, she found herself
staring through the gap in the wall into a gilded room
thronged with faeries. They wore everything from gowns
to hooded cloaks. A young faerie began dancing, the rapid
taps of his shoes at odds with the whistles’ languorous
melody. The king entered the room, followed by cooks who
uncovered trays of warm, wheaten honey cakes. Pegeen had
never smelled anything so delicious.
“Granda warned me,” she whispered, and gaining
strength from the memory, forced herself to whirl and face
the last locked door. Painted in rich blues, it showed clusters
of islands. None of the keys she’d marked or memorized
opened it, nor did their counterparts. The whistles’ voices
grew faint. She pushed on the door, and even kicked it.
Despairing, she gripped the key fob so hard her palm
stung . . . and she had an idea. Noting the perfect spikes
on the dragon’s tail, Pegeen wondered, Could the fob double
as a one-of-a-kind key?
She plunged the tip of the tail into the lock and turned
the dragon’s body. The lock clicked open, the key ring disappeared, and she jumped through the doorway just before
the music died.
Pegeen landed on the faeries’ flagstone, five gold coins in each hand.
She needed no reel to twirl in joy.
IN TIME, A windsprite told the wizard what had happened. She’d
heard the story from a selkie, who knew the serpent, who’d asked a faerie
sailor. The wizard felt duped to learn about the king’s dishonesty and
thrilled that Pegeen had won the gold anyway.
To celebrate, he recreated a picture of the four winds twined around
three words: his lost magic book’s elaborate title. He wrote the story down
and read it to sailors who shared it again in many lands. In the end, the
tale of “A Wind-Tossed Spell” traveled farther than the wizard’s wondrous
parchment.
12
HA! THIS SNOW-SCARECROW WILL
MAKE UGLY THINK TWICE BEFORE
TRYING TO BOTHER US!
2
1
3
4
5
6
8
7
9
12
10
11
14
13
15
17
16
18
19
20
21
23
22
24
Solution on page 47
Across
1. Cold-storage room or chest
3. Thin coating of ice needles
5. This kind of tea is best on hot days
6. Icicles form _______ by drop
8. A _______ of cocoa is great on a cold day
9. Flurries from the sky
12. Indoor cooling machine: air _______
16. Cooled magma
18. Hip or trendy person: cool _______
20. Northernmost point on earth: North _______
21. The dark side of the _______ is extremely cold
23. Frigid region beyond Earth’s atmosphere:
outer _______
24. “Just settled down for a long _______ nap”
Down
1. Short for refrigerator
2. _______ code
3. My toes were so numb with cold,
I couldn’t _______ them
4. Temperature (abbreviation)
7. Postscript (abbreviation)
8. Cool hollow in the earth
10. Head movement used as a greeting
11. Melted ice
13. Leave out
14. Over-the-counter (abbreviation)
15. Large bodies of water
17. Kitchen police (abbreviation)
18. Unheated meats: cold _______
19. A dog’s _______ should be cool and moist
22. Egg-laying chicken
OR NOT...
EEEK!
HE’D HAVE TO
THINK ONCE
BEFORE HE COULD
THINK TWICE! SO
RUN FOR YOUR
LIFE, LADYBUG!
13
G
by Sara Rajan
Part 3
The summer before she will start high school,
Gretal moves with her mother and brother
Bat from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Everett,
Washington, where they live in the nearby town
of Granite Falls. Gretal and Bat are aghast that
their mother, an aerospace engineer, has to relocate the family for her job, especially because they
leave behind the grave of their father, who died
two years earlier in a boating accident on Lake
Michigan.
After a week of unpacking, Gretal takes a
bicycle ride to explore her new, heavily wooded
neighborhood. An animal dashes across her path,
causing her to crash her bike. A boy, Magnus,
comes up to help and tells her that the animal
was a bobcat.
Gretal’s mother really likes her new job, and
Bat has quickly made some good friends. But
Gretal has met only Magnus. A few weeks later
14
Illustrated by Anna Bron
text © 2018 by Sara Rajan, art © 2018 by Anna Bron
Gretal is confronted by a huge catlike animal
while she is walking alone on a remote hiking
path. Suddenly, an enormous wolf rushes past
and pounces on the weird cat. The wolf has the
same piercing gray eyes Gretel has seen before—
on Magnus.
Magnus confesses that he’s a werewolf. He
also tells Gretal that the animal that stalked
her was a werecat, which probably returned
to its human form after being chased off by
Magnus.
That night Gretal wakes up in her bed,
thinking an animal may have gotten into the
garbage canisters outside. When she looks out her
window, she sees two gleaming yellow eyes and
the fangs of a diabolic face against the glass. She
shuts her eyes tight, and in the morning awakens in a cold sweat, still rattled from what she
thinks was a nightmare.
“ G O O D M O R N I N G ,” Mom greeted
cheerfully when I entered the kitchen next morning. She was checking work emails on her tablet.
“Morning,” I said, forcing a smile. I poured
myself a bowl of cereal and sat down at the table.
“By the way, did you hear anything last
night?” she asked, without looking up from
her tablet. “Your brother didn’t lock the canisters, and some animal made a huge mess of
the garbage.”
M A G N U S C A M E O V E R that afternoon.
I was sitting by the stream in our backyard when
he plopped down beside me in the grass.
“Hey,” he said.
“Hey.”
“Your mom told me you were out here.” He
began picking nervously at the grass. “Listen,”
he said, “about what you saw yesterday—”
“Yeah, it was creepy,” I remarked with an
edge.
He flinched, and I felt a twinge of regret.
“Sorry, I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“Look,” his voice was calm, “I told you
we’d talk about it, and that’s what I came
here to do. So, ask me whatever you like.”
With a myriad of questions buzzing in my
head, I didn’t even know where to begin, so I
simply started with, “How—what makes you
a werewolf?” It almost sounded ridiculous out
loud.
“I was born that way, I guess.”
“And your parents?”
Magnus shrugged. “Probably werewolves.
I’ve never met my biological parents.”
“So you’re—”
MYRIAD MEANS
MANY AND VARIED.
“Adopted, yes, and into a non-werewolf
family.” He chuckled at this.
I thought about what he said for a moment
before asking, “So how did you find out you
were a werewolf?”
“You just always know, in the same way
you’ve always known you aren’t one.”
“Interesting,” I muttered. I compressed
my lips and was quiet for one long minute.
Another question lingered at the tip of my
tongue, but I didn’t know how to pursue it.
“Utter it,” Magnus encouraged, smiling.
His eyes were steadfast on my face, trying to
read my thoughts.
I drew in a breath. “Werewolves and
werecats,” I started slowly, “how are they different, aside from the obvious? That werecat
yesterday, it was hunting me, right? What’s
to say that the werewolf, er, you know . . .” I
fumbled for the words.
Magnus flung himself back on the grass
and laughed. He plucked a long green stem
and stuck it between his teeth. “And you
want to know if I intend to do the same,” he
said, looking up at me, his prominent eyes
sparkling with amusement. “You could’ve
just asked about my favorite foods. I like
deep-dish pizza, grilled salmon, soda, and
strawberry ice cream, for starters. Rest
assured, Gretal, I’m not going to eat you. As
for the werecat,” he sighed deeply, “all I know
is that they’ve been extinct for more than
a hundred years—or so I thought. But this
one has somehow managed to survive, and
has kept a low profile all these years. Makes
me wonder if there are others. The accounts
15
I’ve heard regarding them are dreadful. Since
the beginning of time the werecat and the
werewolf have been natural enemies. Werecats
are merciless fiends, really, and yesterday confirmed that.”
I exhaled. I believed him and was grateful
that my new friend didn’t want to eat me. But
something else still plagued my mind.
I was thinking about last night.
Magnus folded his arms behind his head
and bit down on the stem. “What is it?” he
queried, narrowing his eyes.
I decided to tell him, and he listened with
sustained attention while I related last night’s
scene to him. “I thought it was a nightmare at
first, but now I’m not so sure,” I said, gazing
absently across the stream.
“That’s weird,” he mumbled. He sat up on
his elbows and was thoughtful for a moment.
“It was probably just a nightmare, especially
after your horrific adventure in the woods.”
“But if not a nightmare,” I said, a vague
shiver creeping through me, “then why would
the werecat target me?”
Magnus’s features hardened as he considered this. “I don’t know,” he responded
gravely. “Like I said, werecats are fiends, merciless and terrible, though I couldn’t tell you
why. That’s just the way they are. I guess it
knows I’m too much of a match for it, and it’s
determined to satisfy its hunger for any power
over me by at least getting the very thing I
kept it from.”
“Which is me,” I said faintly. “Well, I’ve
never been much of a cat person anyway,” I
added, in an attempt to lighten the mood. But
16
Magnus’s expression remained unchanged.
Something in his face appeared troubled. I
wanted to probe further when we both heard
footsteps walking across the lawn toward us.
“Mom says lunch is ready,” Bat
announced when we both turned at his
approach. Magnus tossed aside the stem and
rose to his feet to take his leave.
“Mom also said to invite your new friend
inside to join us,” my brother added with a
playful little smirk.
Magnus smiled as he looked from me to
Bat. “Can I take a rain check?” His demeanor
was friendly and resigned, but his eyes
betrayed some disturbance.
Bat shrugged. “Suit yourself, but you’re
missing out on the best grilled cheese on the
planet.”
I rolled my eyes and followed Bat inside.
I D I D N ’ T S E E Magnus for the remainder of that day, and all I could think about
was that look in his eyes. Why did he seem so
worried? Did it have something to do with my
nightmare?
I shuddered as I recalled that menacing
yellow glare and fangs.
I went to bed that night but didn’t sleep. I
was filled with too much foreboding. Once or
twice I drifted, but something in my subconscious would jerk me wide awake again.
I climbed out of bed and walked around
my room for a few minutes to keep myself
alert, then went and stood near my window.
My heart palpitated nervously. What in the
world was I waiting for?
DEMEANOR MEANS THE WAY
SOMEBUGGY ACTS AND APPEARS.
Looking out into the gloomy night, I could
make out part of the half-moon through the
trees. A light quivered from a street lamp far
down the road.
At one point while I stood there, I considered telling Mom everything. Only the words
that formed in my head were preposterous.
“Hey, Mom, Magnus is a werewolf. But don’t
worry, he doesn’t eat humans. He prefers
pizza and ice cream. Oh, by the way, there’s
this werecat.”
I laughed out loud at the lunacy of it
when the startled cry of a killdeer emerging
from a tree silenced me. Something moved
in the shadows across the street. It was the
massive form of a canine, pacing the tree line
with a lowered head.
I wasn’t afraid. I knew it was Magnus.
But what was he doing out there?
Suddenly, he stopped short, stiffened, and
perked his head up. He wasn’t looking at me,
but through the lonely woods behind him.
A second later, he bounded through the trees
and vanished from sight.
I waited anxiously for his return. Fifteen,
twenty minutes passed with no sign of
Magnus. That foreboding feeling redoubled
when I heard, somewhere deep in the night,
a distraught howl followed by a continued,
agonizing silence.
My heart raced. Magnus was in danger. I
could feel it.
Snatching my sweater from the back of
my chair, I made up my mind to go to him.
Mom and Bat were fast asleep when I slipped
out of the house and hastened across the
road to where I saw him last. The night was
much colder than I imagined it, and I could
even see my breath as I stood staring into the
pitchy woods.
Without wasting another moment, I
plunged inside.
There was no trail this time. I had to
forge my way through the bramble and
dense undergrowth, stopping every now
and then to free my sleeve from a blackberry thorn. I did a little dance as I walked
straight through a spider’s web, and scolded
18
myself afterward for being ridiculous. I was
about to face a much bigger antagonist, and
it wasn’t a spider.
The deeper I trekked inside the woods,
the steeper the ground became. I was feeling winded and had no idea where I was.
Everything looked the same, especially in
the dark. I was completely disoriented. And
just as I wondered if I had made a mistake, I
detected a yelp in the near distance, accompanied by a terrible, panther-like scream. I
quickly pressed on, following the cries until,
at last, there sounded the unmistakable scuffle of two large animals in combat.
They were about fifty feet away. I could
just make out their shadowy forms in the partial moonlight. I concealed myself behind a
tree and watched in horror as the werecat had
Magnus pinned to the ground, with its large,
hooked claws pressed to his throat.
Magnus bared his teeth threateningly. He
snapped at the foe’s foreleg, but was met with
a powerful swipe across the face.
I looked around frantically for absolutely
anything that might help save Magnus when
I observed, through a clearing in the trees, a
place where the ground abruptly dropped off.
I slipped out unnoticed from behind the tree
and swiftly made my way in that direction.
Sure enough, there was a steep descent where
a shallow rapids glittered in the pale moonlight about a hundred feet below.
Another dreadful howl rang out, and I
knew I had better act fast.
Summoning up all my courage, I planted
myself about fifteen feet from the edge,
and raising two fingers to my lips, whistled
sharply.
The werecat reeled around, and when it
saw me, instantly relinquished its grasp on
Magnus. It stalked forward a few steps, its
ears pressed flat against its head, and its
hateful eyes and fangs yellow and glowing.
“Here, kitty, kitty,” I mocked through
my teeth.
Boy, that sure did it.
It lurched straight for me. When it
was about ten feet away, I lunged left, and
wheeled around just in time to witness that
horrible creature plunging into the void.
Magnus staggered to his feet and looked
at me, confused. I guessed he was still dazed
by the blow he’d taken. After a few minutes,
however, he shook the debris from his great,
THANK
GOODNESS
THAT
WERECAT
IS GONE!
MEWY
WHEWY!
20
shaggy coat and ambled up to me, his long
tail swinging low and his eyes glowing with
recognition.
I threw my arms around his neck and
nuzzled my cheek close. He panted heavily,
and through his snout he huffed silvery puffs
of breath into the chilly night air. His heart
thumped rapidly in his massive chest.
“It’s all right, Magnus,” I soothed, my
voice muffled within the folds of his fur. “It’s
all over. There’s no chance that cat landed on
its feet from that height! It won’t be bothering
us anymore.”
Magnus gave a little whimpering yawn of
relief, and swinging his tail with more gladness
now, he led me out of the woods and watched
me until I was back inside the house.
For a moment longer he stood there, then
turned and trotted toward home, always keeping under cover of the trees.
T W O W E E K S L AT E R high school finally
started, and I was nervously drumming my
fingers over the top of a table as students I
had never met before filed into the classroom,
laughing and chatting familiarly among
themselves. The first class of the morning was
chemistry.
Too bad Magnus was a grade ahead
of me, I thought, wishing so much for the
comfort of one familiar face in a crowd of
strangers.
I sighed. At least I’d be seeing him after
school. Mom invited him over for dinner, and
despite my dire warning that meatloaf was on
the menu, he happily accepted.
But then again, I told myself, high school
can’t be that weird, can it? And if I can overthrow a murderous werecat without the aid
of any weapon other than my quick thinking,
then I can certainly overcome this silly fear of
making friends at a new school.
With this encouraging thought, I relaxed
in my seat.
“You must be new,” a cheerful voice said
in my ear. I glanced up just as a girl with long
brown hair scooted into the chair beside me.
“I’m Jana.”
“Gretal,” I returned with a grateful smile.
“I moved out hear from Wisconsin this
summer.”
“Hey, my aunt and uncle live in
Wisconsin!”
We then launched into a happy conversation about my former home state.
“My sister said we’ll like Ms. Davis,” Jana
told me, nodding to the desk at the front of the
room. And no sooner had she spoken the words
than Ms. Davis walked through the door.
“Good morning!” she sang in a cheery
voice. She was a tall, slender woman, with
cropped, inky black hair and dark eyes;
almost like coal, I thought. She put her bag
down on the chair and quickly arranged some
folders on the desk. “I hope everyone had a
wonderful summer break.”
Her dark eyes swept the classroom, and
when they fell on me, she flashed me a grin
and waved me to the front. “You must be the
new student I was told about,” she said. She
put her hand on my shoulder and urged me
to introduce myself to everyone.
YIKES!
“Thank you, Gretal,” she said when I
had finished. She gave my shoulder a little
squeeze—a squeeze that made my blood curdle and all the color drain from my face. “I
think you’ll enjoy Granite Falls High School,”
she purred in my ear.
SHE SHOULD GO BACK
TO WISCONSIN!
I clumsily made my way back to my seat
clutching my shoulder, aware of a sensation that
felt like five needles had just pierced my skin.
For the remainder of the class I kept my
eyes down on my textbook. But somehow, I
knew she was always watching me.
21
On whisper paws, coyote prowls,
scanning fields in evening’s hush,
hunting rustlings in the brush.
Lonesome in the dusk, she howls.
The Pack
by Jennifer Cole Judd
22
In the shadows, one, then two,
then choirs of calls from hills unknown,
assure her that she’s not alone—
Arooooo! Arooooo! Arooooo!
text © 2018 by Jennifer Cole Judd
The
Box Cat
by
Quillon Dayton
CHESTER THE CAT
was born in a cardboard box with four other
kittens. He was in a smaller cardboard box marked “free kittens” when
Sasha met him and took him home. And from that moment on, he loved
boxes. In the mornings he sat, licking his paws and fur with his tongue, in
the rainbow-colored sunbeam that shone through Sasha’s aquarium.
When he finished grooming, he would watch the fish for a while
and dream of eating them all. Then he would look around for
a box to sleep in.
He slept in hatboxes and shipping boxes, gift boxes and
takeout food boxes. He slept in Sasha’s sock drawer, if she
left it open. When he was a kitten, the size of a small
loaf of bread, he had slept in shoeboxes. But he grew and
grew, and now he was a lot bigger than a loaf of bread.
When he tried to sleep in a shoebox, his furry tummy
hung over the sides. He still fit in Sasha’s sock drawer, but
she remembered to close it now—most of the time.
Chester didn’t just sit in boxes, though. Sometimes
he sat in flowerpots, casserole pans, or laundry baskets.
One year Sasha got a beautiful dollhouse for her
birthday, a dark green three-story house with lots of furniture. Sasha loved it. So did Chester. He liked to push
the furniture out of all the rooms and sit in the bedroom
Illustrated by MIchael Cheswor th
text © 2018 by Quillon Dayton, art © 2018 by Michael Chesworth
23
on the second floor. Sasha had to redecorate the dollhouse every day, but
she didn’t mind as long as Chester was happy.
One day Sasha came home from school, and she couldn’t find Chester.
He wasn’t in the dollhouse, or her sock drawer, even though she’d forgotten to close it.
“Mom, Dad!” Sasha wailed. “Chester is gone!”
Sasha’s mom looked in the attic. There were boxes and dust bunnies,
and even a mouse that had escaped Chester’s notice, but no Chester.
Sasha’s dad looked in the kitchen cabinets. There were pots and pans,
cans of soup, and the lemon zester he thought he’d lost, but no Chester.
Suddenly—
“I found him!” Sasha cried.
The big orange tabby was inside her mom’s new glass
vase, and he didn’t look happy at all. Even his whiskers
looked sad. Sasha tipped the vase over gently and tried to
pull him out, but Chester just yowled.
“We’ll have to break the vase to get him out!” Sasha
cried.
Now her mom didn’t look happy. It was a beautiful vase,
clear glass with blue and green swirls.
“No,” said her dad. “If we break it, the glass shards
might hurt Chester. Maybe we can put butter on the inside
of the vase and slide him out, like the time you got that ring
stuck on your finger.”
Sasha’s mom buttered as much of the inside of the vase
as she could reach, and her dad tried to pull the unhappy
cat out. Chester put his paws against the sides of the vase
in protest. Now they had an annoyed, buttery cat stuck in
a vase.
“We could call a glass cutter,” suggested Sasha’s mom.
“We could call the vet,” offered her dad.
Soon they were at the vet’s office with an annoyed,
frightened, buttery cat in a vase. The vet almost laughed out
loud when she saw Chester’s predicament, but she managed
to pretend to clear her throat instead.
24
GOOD THING PUSSYWILLOW IS TOO
SMALL TO GET STUCK IN A VASE.
TOO SMART, TOO.
“Possibly one of the stranger things I’ve seen,” she admitted. She had
Sasha and her parents wait in the lobby while she gave Chester a shot to
make him sleepy.
An hour later, a very sleepy—and washed—Chester was brought out
to his anxious family. Not only Chester, but the vase, still in one piece!
When they got home, Sasha’s mom washed the butter out of the
vase and put it on a high shelf that Chester couldn’t reach. The next day,
Sasha’s dad brought home a refrigerator box and helped Sasha make it into
a rocket ship. He cut out round windows along the sides and attached
cardboard wings, and Sasha painted planets and galaxies all around the
outside. Her mom put pillows inside for Chester and Sasha to sit on.
Now Chester and Sasha have exciting space adventures together every
day in their ship, and when Sasha’s not home, Chester sits on his pillow
in the rocket ship and dreams of hunting space mice that live on a moon
made of green cheese.
25
GREAT!
ADD THEM
TO THE
PILE.
I’VE GOT
SOME MORE
READER
SUGGESTIONS
FOR YOU.
S e e Yo u i n t h e
Co s m o s
by Jack Cheng
See You in the
Cosmos is about a
boy named Alex and
his crazy life. Alex
goes to a rocket
festival, finds out
he has a stepsister, loses his dog, gets
seriously injured, and travels around the
country in one story, while recording
his adventures on his iPod to send to
space. This is one of the best books I’ve
ever read, and I seriously recommend it.
Maiah Weidemann, age 11
Kingston, New York
W
Wa r r i o r s :
Omen of the
SSt a r s (s e r i e s)
bby Erin Hunter
In this series,
F
Firestar’s three
ggrandchildren find
t hemselves facing a
d
dark force among
tthe powers of
good. StarClan is divided, and certain
cats are being picked out by the Place
of No Stars to destroy the clans that
live by the lake and for a mission to
destroy StarClan. StarClan is facing
26
SHOULDN’T WE
PUT THEM ON
THE SHELVES?
WE HAVE
TO READ
THEM
FIRST!
the first leaf-bare they’ve ever known,
and Joyfeather has the task of uniting
StarClan. A great hero will die, but
new leaders rise.
Kate S., age 11
Kalamazoo, Michigan
T h e C r i c ke t i n T i m e s S q u a r e
by George Selden
I like The Cricket
in Times Square
because it sticks
in your heart like
gum stuck to the
floor. The story
is about a cricket
who got lost and
ended up in Times
Square, New York. He makes friends
there that are kind and loving. The
question is: Does he get back home?
Waylon O’Brien, age 9
Birmingham, Alabama
A Ye a r W i t h o u t A u t u m n
by Liz Kessler
A girl named Jenni and her family
go on their yearly trip to Riverside
Village. Jenni meets up with her best
friend, Autumn, at Riverside Village.
But when Jenni goes to visit Autumn’s
condo and takes an unfamiliar elevator, everything looks and feels differ-
WE
GET MORE
EVERY DAY!
WE’LL NEVER
FINISH THEM
ALL.
YAY!
ent. It’s up to Jenni
to find what’s been
lost and fix what’s
been done. I know
once you pick up
the book you will
not be able to put it
down!
Adrienne A.,
age 13
Boise, Idaho
T h e M y s te r i o u s B e n e d i c t
S o c i e t y (s e r i e s)
by Trenton Lee Stewart
This exciting series is a daring, scary
tale about a group of four kids who are
on a mission to save the world. Each
of them has been
through lonely
times, but they’re
working together
to save their lives.
Nothing is safe,
not even their
homes. They have
to leave their loved
ones behind and
venture into dangerous zones undercover. This is a time
to remember, and it will change their
memories forever.
Jacob Santiago
Suffern, New York
Do you have a favorite book? Email your review (75 words or less) to cricket@cricketmagkids.com or mail to
Cricket Readers Recommend, P.O. Box 300, Peru, IL 61354. Please include your name, age, and address.
Visit Cricket Readers Recommend online at www.cricketmagkids/books
or Blab About Books at www.cricketmagkids.com/chatterbox.
In Search Of . . .
by Joan Lennon
“ACT YOUR AGE, Tay!”
Part
1
Her father was managing (just) to keep his temper, but she knew
that wouldn’t last.
“You’ve got to learn there’s more to life than floating around with
your friends!”
Any minute now, and he’d start really yelling and then slam out of
the air lock without sealing it properly. Which meant their pod would
begin taking on water, which meant she and Mum would have to spend
the rest of the morning mopping and pumping it out again.
It was all so familiar. She could do entire arguments with her dad
on automatic.
Then her mum spoke.
Illustrated by Renato Alarcão
27
“Tay, this isn’t helping. We have something to tell you. Now.
Something you need to hear.”
Tay stared. This wasn’t part of the routine. Mum usually stayed
right out of the quarrels with her dad.
Her mum took a deep breath, then let it go.
“We’re going to have another child, Tay,” she said. “When it’s born,
you know there won’t be enough air in the pod for four. You’ll have to
leave. I . . . we’re sorry.”
There it was—as bald as that.
She’d known this would happen. Of course she did. It happened
to everybody—and still her knees went weak, and she shivered with a
sudden sick chill.
“You don’t need to look like that. It’s not as if you aren’t old enough.”
Her father’s voice was quiet, almost pleading. “You’re fifteen, after all.
Your mother and I weren’t any older when we left our home pods.”
I don’t care! Tay cried silently. I’m not you—I’m not ready!
“Forth’s and Eden’s parents have applied formally to us,” said
Mum. “Either would make a good mate for you. And there’s always
Esk. I could easily speak to his mother about him.”
Mum was still talking, but Tay couldn’t bear to listen anymore. She
wasn’t stupid. She’d known that one of the three boys would be her pod
mate. There had never been any other choice. And since Widow Lunan
had died, a pod was sitting empty, deactivated, waiting for a new couple
to start their life there. To start breathing there. The pod membrane system, which extracted oxygen from the surrounding water and expelled
carbon dioxide from within, was able to process breathable atmosphere
for up to three people. Which had always meant a couple, and one child.
And Tay had had her turn being her parents’ baby. It was someone
else’s turn to breathe the home air with them, to be the center of their
love, to belong. Air. Love. Belonging.
It was all rationed on Planet Rannoch.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t love you,” Mum said quietly, as if she’d
heard her daughter’s thoughts. “It just means it’s time for you to move on.”
Suddenly, Tay couldn’t stand it. She couldn’t stand them—her
parents—with their oh-so-concerned faces and their careful voices and
their horrible power. She had to get out. I won’t cry, she told herself.
28
I swear I won’t cry. But she was already sobbing as the air lock sealed.
Too late it occurred to her that this was her chance to try Dad’s trick.
See how he liked mopping up after her for a change.
As the water swirled over her face, she shoved the portable breather
into the slot in her throat, hard, so it hurt. Angry and sore, Tay swam
away from the pod.
She didn’t know that her mother was watching from the porthole,
admiring even then her daughter’s grace and strength, until the glow of
her skin disappeared into the dimness. Then, with a sigh, Mum turned
away.
“Should I . . . ?” Dad let the question trail off as she shook her head
sadly.
“Leave her be,” she said. “I remember feeling just the same.”
AS SHE SWAM past the school, Tay could see the Grouping
below hers in class. She let herself drift for a bit, watching, thinking,
That used to be me. I used to roll up every day, like them, plug in my
audio helmet, listen to Mr. Lomond maundering on. . . . I wonder what
they’re doing today?
She kicked a little closer.
It was history.
Every child in the Enclosure was taught history. That was required
in the original Charter.
The Charter covered every part of life. It was so old, it had the
actual signature of Ensign Leith, the last living member of the starship
Macmillan’s crew. Every child was shown that signature specially. It
was spidery, and shaky, and pale. Leath was an old man by then.
There was something a little forlorn about that signature.
Anyway, the Charter held firm, even after all this time, and children were taught the events of Year 0, simply at first, with stories and
drawings, and then, as they reached their teens, with the Video.
The Video lasted only a few moments. It had survived the crash,
when so much data had not, by some fluke that no one understood,
and then it had been transferred to equipment developed to operate
in seawater and at depth. The school was situated behind the
Administration Pod and made use of its outlets to power the audio
MAUNDERING
MEANS SPEAKING
IN A RAMBLING
WAY, BLAH,
BLAH, BLAH...
FORLORN MEANS
FEELING LONELY,
SAD, AND
ABANDONED,
WITHOUT HOPE
OR COMFORT.
(SOB!)
29
helmets that allowed teacher and pupils to communicate. Seaweed
anchorage kept the pupils more or less in place, and the screen let into
the back of the Admin Pod was their blackboard and book.
Tay remembered the day Mr. Lomond had shown her Grouping the
Video. His voice, as it came over the audio helmets, had been unusually
solemn. He began by reminding them of what they already knew.
“When the Survey Starship Macmillan first arrived, our sun didn’t
even have a name. It was only N3317 on the long-range maps. So they
decided to call it Beten, after the newest member of the crew, a baby
born just as the ship reached the outermost planet. That baby was probably toddling by the time they came to Rannoch, our world. Along the
way they would have been surveying each planet from orbit, building
up a detailed picture of our solar system, and correcting the inevitable
minor mistakes the long-distance chartists had made.
“One of those mistakes, however, turned out to be anything but
minor.
“The mapmakers had hoped that this system might just be one of the
special ones, near enough like the star system that contains Earth. A Class
G sun, a collection of gas and rock planets, and in the optimal orbit (not
too close to the center star, not too far), a possible place for life. Ninetynine point nine nine nine systems out of a hundred don’t conform—but
in a universe as big as this one, that still left some that did. Then again,
not all of those systems had produced life. And not all of those that did
had moved beyond the stage of one-celled organisms. But sometimes . . .
“This time their guess was good. There was life on Rannoch, but
they didn’t realize how dangerous discovering it would prove to be.”
The teacher paused and then ran the Video.
The screen showed a view from space, from a starship. A planet
spread out below like a milky ball. Cloud cover was almost complete,
but the occasional break gave tantalizing glimpses of blue.
“What I wouldn’t give for a swim in a sea,” sighed a woman’s voice.
She sounded weirdly breathy and she pronounced her words in an odd
way, too, but it was still possible to understand her.
“Yeah,” a man answered. “Still, it’s ‘look, don’t touch’ in our line of
work. Get it mapped and get on to the next one. If we find life signs,
they’ll send a Landable.”
The woman grunted. She seemed fed up.
“I can move in for a closer look if you like, though,” the man
suggested.
“Yeah. That’d be nice.”
The milky sphere grew until it almost filled the screen.
“Nice,” came the woman’s voice again. “Thanks.”
“H’m. Now, that’s an unusual solar flare,” said the man. “It wasn’t
showing up before. You’d better get an analysis of that.”
They heard the woman yawn. The chair creaked, as if she were
stretching.
“No thanks. Tell Sam about it. There are exactly two minutes of
my shift left, and I’m not starting anything that’ll keep me away from
my bed a second longer.”
The man chuckled. “Fair enough,” he said. “See y—”
And that was where the Video stopped.
“Just like that,” said the teacher to the unusually silent class. “The
end of the Macmillan.”
31
A BIENNIAL
CYCLE DESCIBES
SOMETHING THAT
HAPPENS EVERY
TWO YEARS
INTEGRAL MEANS
BUILT-IN, A
NECESSARY PART
OF THE WHOLE
32
The ship had slammed into the shock wave from the solar flare
and immediately begun to break up. Two hundred escape pods had
launched; less than a hundred made it to the layer of the clouds. They’d
ripped through, one by one, heading for the sea below, and the clouds
lazily closed up behind them.
“Distress messages were undoubtedly sent out, both from the
Macmillan at the time of impact and automatically from the escape
pods at the moment of ejection. It is believed that the solar storms
interfered with their transmission. At any rate, no answer was ever
received nor, as far as we know, was any attempt ever made to retrieve
the Macmillan’s crew.”
Mr. Lomond had looked around at them carefully, she remembered.
He must have been worried we’d be a bit freaked. Knowing the story
and seeing the Video—well, they weren’t the same thing.
“We now know that, at certain times of a biennial cycle, the solar
winds in this system become fierce enough to destroy just about anything smaller than a planet.”
“Even a starship,” murmured Tummel.
Their teacher nodded. “Even a starship. The Macmillan arrived
at the right place at the wrong time. But, of course, all was not lost.
“Being entirely covered by water meant that surviving on this
world was going to be a challenge. It meant that we would have to
be adaptable—we would even have to adapt ourselves, to work with
the basic human design to make it more suited to our new environment. How big a change are we talking about? I have here a picture of
Ensign Leith’s family, taken on Earth, which he managed to save from
the wreck of the starship. He had it with him to the day he died. We
understand them to be typical of their kind.”
He’d screened the picture, and Tay grinned to herself as she
remembered their reactions.
“But . . . they’re so UGLY!” exclaimed Carr.
Mr. Lomond had smiled. “The decision to genetically tailor your
predecessors for better low-light vision, phosphorescent skin, increased
red blood cell count and lung capacity, and integral throat vents for
portable breathers was made at the time of the Charter.”
“And the increased physical beauty? Mine, for example?” asked Esk,
posing.
“An unforeseen side effect,” the teacher answered dryly.
The class hooted.
“Never mind, Esk, we really just love you for those sexy red blood
cells of yours.”
“Sexy blood cells? What about these great pecs?”
“But look at those people!” Carr was still fixated on the picture. She
couldn’t get over it. “Imagine . . . being pod-mated to something like that!”
And it all came flooding back to Tay—what she was swimming away
from, the future that she couldn’t escape. She powered off, kicking hard,
her strokes fueled by anger and frustration.
She didn’t even know where she was going.
to be continued
WE SHOULD ASK OLD
CRICKET HOW CRICKET
COUNTRY CAME TO BE.
I THINK A LONGAGO LADYBUG
FOUND IT ON
A VOYAGE OF
DISCOVERY.
AND CALLED IT...
CRICKET COUNTRY?
YEAH, RIGHT.
33
The Tiger Son
A TALE FROM CHINA
R ETOLD BY SUE COWING
Hundreds of years ago, tigers roamed the
forests of China. Almost everyone had seen one sometime
in his or her life, and everyone knew someone who knew
someone who had come to harm in a tiger’s jaws.
In the village of Zhaocheng, a man who was too poor
to marry lived with his widowed mother. He took good care
of her, making repairs on her house and providing her food.
But to hunt for their meat and firewood, he had to go into
the forest beyond their village, and in that forest he had often
seen a large tiger hunting and swimming in the stream.
The widow warned her son to be careful.
He laughed. “Don’t worry, Mother,” he said. “Wasn’t I
born in the Year of the Tiger? I will always return.”
But one day as she waited for him, dusk fell around her.
Her son did not come home all night.
The next morning, some neighbors came running to tell
her the terrible news. The tiger had pounced on her son and
eaten him. All that was left of him were his bloody clothes.
The old widow’s grief was very great, but so was her
anger. She went straight to the local magistrate and beat on
the drum at his gate with her cane, demanding that the tiger
be arrested and put to death.
“I deeply respect your loss, Old Mother,” said the magistrate, “but a tiger cannot be held responsible for what he
does by nature. Shall we arrest bees for stinging?”
But the old woman would not leave until something was
done. At last the magistrate asked his court, “Who will go
and arrest this tiger?”
ARREST BEES FOR STINGING? WHAT A
GOOD IDEA!
34
Illustrated by Sue Todd
text © 2018 by Sue Cowing, art © 2017 by Sue Todd
Ad
deputy named
d i eng, who
h
h t
i t
k i t t
would, and the old widow went home.
Of course Li Neng was just saying this to quiet the old lady, and he did nothing about the tiger. But the magistrate scolded him.
“You have given your solemn word. As a matter of honor, you must go get the
tiger and bring him here.”
For weeks Li Neng searched for the tiger, but could not find him, much less
catch him. The magistrate had the deputy beaten for his failure. Desperate, Li Neng
went to the village shrine and threw himself on the ground. What was he to do?
Suddenly a large tiger appeared in the doorway of the shrine. This is surely
the end of me, Li Neng said to himself. But I might as well die, since I cannot
fulfill my duty.
The tiger did not attack. Instead, he sat quietly, showing neither teeth nor claws.
Li Neng took a deep breath and said, “If . . . if you are the tiger who killed
the widow’s son, you must come with me. You are under arrest.”
To his surprise, the tiger lowered his head so Li Neng could put a loop of rope
around his neck.
SHOULD WE ARREST
UGLY FOR BEING . .
. UGLY? EVEN IF IT’S
HIS NATURE?
ESPECIALLY
IF IT’S HIS
NATURE!
35
REMORSE MEANS
REGRET FOR DOING
SOMETHING WRONG.
36
ep p
o
r a
y r ur
ttoo t
e
with the tiger walking behind him.
The magistrate quickly set up court and said to the tiger, “Did you eat the
widow’s son?’
The tiger nodded.
“How did you expect her to live after you killed her only son?”
The tiger closed his eyes.
“If you take a life, your own must be taken. That is the law . . .”
The tiger nodded again.
To tell the truth, the magistrate was impressed by the animal’s show of remorse.
“. . . but the law does not say how you must give your life. If you are willing to
serve the old woman as her son, I will spare you.”
The tiger nodded once more, solemnly.
So they released him and sent him on his way.
When the old widow learned of this, she was furious. “Now I have no son and
no justice either,” she said.
But the next morning she awoke to discover a freshly killed deer at her gate. She
kept some of the meat for her supper and traded the hide and the rest of the meat for
things she needed.
PITEOUSLY MEANS
WRETCHEDLY SAD
AND SORROWFUL.
e ne
nex day she found a fresh
nex
wild pig in the same place.
Day after day the tiger brought
fresh meat to the widow. It was
always more than she herself could
eat, so she always had some to
trade or sell. Before long she was
living very comfortably, and she
was grateful to the tiger. She began
letting him into her garden in
the mornings to rest in the shade.
Soon no one in the village was
afraid of him, in spite of his fierce
appearance.
After several years, the old
widow died. The tiger came to her
graveside and bellowed piteously
for days. Then he left and was
not seen again in those parts. The
people of the village built a shrine
to honor him, “The Shrine of the
Ethical Tiger,” because he had been
like a son to the old woman.
Author’s Note The Chinese have always loved stories about animals who behave like—and
som imes better than—people. Their ancient sage Confucius believed that we humans,
through education, can learn to rise above the animal or brutish side of our natures to do
what is proper and right. To the Chinese, the most important duty has always been to care
for your parents in life and to mourn for them respectfully after their death, as the tiger in
this story demonstrates when he honors the old woman, fulfilling the duties of her lost son.
“The Tiger Son” is a favorite story in China that the writer Pu Songling (1640–1715)
included in his book Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. The tale has survived better than
the
h actuall animals.
i l Once
O
numerous in
i China,
Chi tiigers are now nearly extinct in the wild.
I WONDER IF UGLY WOULD
BECOME ETHICAL IF WE
ARRESTED HIM AND MADE
HIM DO COMMUNITY
SERVICE...
AN UGLY BIRD
DOESN’T CHANGE
HIS STRIPES! ER,
FEATHERS.
37
by Joyce Sidman
I am a baby porcupette.
My paws are small; my nose is wet.
And as I nurse against my mom,
we mew and coo a soft duet.
I am a baby porcupette.
I cannot climb up branches yet.
While Mom sleeps in the trees, I curl
beneath a log till sun has set.
I am a baby porcupette.
I nibble in the nighttime wet:
a sprig of leaves, a tuft of grass,
in hidden spots I won’t forget.
I am a baby porcupette.
My fur is soft; my eyes are jet.
But I can deal with any threat:
I raise my quills
And pirouette.
38
A baby porcupine—called a porcupette—
spends the day hidden under a stone or log
while its mother sleeps on a branch above.
When evening falls, the mother comes down to
greet her baby, and the two “sing” to each other
while the porcupette nurses.
As the mother forages, she leads her baby
to delicacies such as raspberry leaves or tender
twigs. The procupette also practices climbing on
small logs, to prepare for a life in the trees.
Within four months, the porcupette has
become a full-grown porcupine, ready to
wander the nighttime woods on its own.
Hans Hedgehog
A GERMAN FOLK TALE
as told by Quillon Dayton
Once, in a small town, there was a
rich merchant and his wife who could have
anything in the world that money could buy.
But there was one thing they wanted more
than the world itself, and money couldn’t buy
it. They wanted a child of their own.
“Be patient!” the merchant’s wife soothed.
“Time will bring us a child.”
But years passed, and more years, and no
child came.
The merchant became grumpy and shorttempered. He worried about what his friends
would think of him—he, who had no child
to carry on his name and inherit his money!
Anytime he looked down from his high window he could see peasants hurrying past, each
with six or seven children in tow.
“It’s not fair!” he’d complain to his wife.
“It’s not right! Those ragged peasants without two pennies to rub together have more
children than they can feed. Here am I, a
man who could feed and clothe a child like
a prince, but do I have a child? No, not me!”
His wife would sigh. “Time will bring us
one,” she’d say, but even she didn’t believe it
anymore.
One day, grumpier than usual and at his
wit’s end, the merchant cried, “It’s not fair!
God above or devil below, why don’t you send
me a child? Any child! Let it be as ugly as a
lump of coal. Let it be a hedgehog, I don’t
care! Just send me a child!”
Illustrated by José Sanabria
text © 2018 by Quillon Dayton, art © 2018 by José Sanabria
Now you know and I know that there are
things you shouldn’t say, for tempting fate is a
risky thing. But the merchant wasn’t thinking
of that. Fate hadn’t been kind anyway, had
it, sending children to everyone but him? At
any rate he soon forgot his angry plea, for to
his joy his wife found that she was with child.
The merchant started smiling again, and the
happy couple assembled everything a child
could need.
Finally, the child was born. From tummy
to toes he was a normal baby boy, but—heavens! From nose to navel, he was a hedgehog!
They christened him Hans Hedgehog, and
they couldn’t stand the sight of him.
39
I CAN’T
BELIEVE
THEY’RE SO
MEAN TO
HIM!!
I THINK
HEDGEHOGS
ARE CUTE.
40
They couldn’t put Hans in a cradle, for
his quills stuck through the blankets. So
they filled an old wooden box with straw,
put Hans in it, and hid the box behind the
stove so visitors wouldn’t see their strange son.
They fed him scraps—when they remembered
he was there—but for the most part, they
ignored him. Never once did his mother hold
him to her breast and coo to him. Never once
did his father reach out a finger to Hans, to
be grasped by the baby’s tiny fingers and take
pride in his son’s grip.
Hans’s father, who had once wished for
a child at any price, now wished perhaps the
most terrible wish anyone could wish. He
wished that Hans would die. But Hans didn’t
die. He grew strong despite the neglect, and
soon he had outgrown his box behind the
stove.
Hans spent his days in the barnyard now,
singing to the animals, feeding and stroking
them, and making sure they knew they were
loved. They thrived on the attention. One
rooster grew to the size of a small pony, and
Hans used to ride it through town, never
minding that folks laughed and pointed at
him. None of the village children would
play with him—even if they wanted to, their
mothers would spit on the ground when the
hedgehog boy was mentioned.
“Who really knows what he is, or where
he came from? Safest to stay away,” they’d say,
and go back to their spinning or cooking.
So Hans grew up to be the loneliest boy
in town. Even the village hermit got more
visitors than he.
When Hans was twelve, his father traveled to the big city. “What would you have
me bring back for you, my dumpling, my
dove?” the merchant asked his wife.
“Oh, pots and pans and pantry goods,”
she said.
“What would you have me bring back
for you, my dainty, my dear?” he asked the
housemaid.
“Oh, bracelets and baubles and bonny
trinkets,” she said.
“And you?” he asked his son.
“Once,” said Hans, “a bagpiper came
through town, and he made the sky buzz with
music like all the world’s bees were singing
together. I would like a bagpipe, that I might
learn to play like that.”
His father harrumphed, but he brought
back a bagpipe for Hans. Soon the boy could
play as well as one of the queen’s own guards,
and he would spend his days in the barnyard
playing to his beastly friends.
When Hans was fourteen, he approached
his father.
“Father,” he said, “it’s no secret that you
don’t love me. Well, if only you’ll have a saddle made for my rooster and let me take the
animals that like me best, I’ll go away, and
you won’t have to see me, not ever again.”
So his father went to the saddler’s shop
and had a saddle made for Hans’s rooster,
and Hans rode away playing his pipes, with
his pigs and donkeys and goats and geese
following behind.
Now, most people are terrified of the
Great Forest, but when Hans came to it, he
41
rode right in and made his home deep in its
acres of tangled dark trees. During the day, he
would hunt for nuts and berries with his band
of animals. At night his rooster would fly him
up into the branches of an enormous oak tree,
and Hans would play the animals to sleep
with his bagpipe.
Life went on for years like this, until a
king came along.
This king ruled over a small kingdom—
which he knew was somewhere to the north,
but at the moment he was quite lost. Night
was coming on, and he was afraid, for
everyone knows the Great Forest is terribly
dangerous at night, when all the beasts come
out. He and his men wandered in circles, with
42
the dark getting darker and their eyes getting
wider with fear, until they heard the sound of
. . . bagpipes? In the Great Forest?
They followed the sound and found,
much to their astonishment, a half man–half
hedgehog perched in the branches of an oak
tree, playing his bagpipe to the band of barnyard creatures that milled below.
“Er—hedge-beast?” the king called up. “I
don’t suppose you know the way out of this
dreadful forest?”
Hans laid his pipes aside and stared down
at the king. “I know every inch and acre of
this lovely forest,” he answered, “and you are
lost. I’ll show you the way out, if you promise
me one thing.”
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT
OF GETTING A ROOSTER,
INSTEAD OF A HORSE?
YOU’RE KIDDING, RIGHT?
ROOSTERS EAT BUGS!
“Anything, anything!”
“You must give me whatever living creature
first greets you when you are close enough to
see your castle gates.”
The king thought carefully. Whenever he
got home, his pack of hunting hounds raced out
to greet him. Surely he could spare one of those!
“I promise,” said the king. So Hans fluttered down on his rooster and led the king
and his crew north through the tangle of trees.
At daybreak they were in sight of the castle,
and the king rode up to the gates. Out came
his band of dogs to greet him, and so did his
daughter, the princess, who outran the dogs
and flung herself, laughing, into her father’s
arms to hug him.
Hans, astride his rooster on a nearby hill,
nodded. “I’ll be back in a year and a day for
what you promised!” he called and rode back
into the Great Forest.
After a year and a day, Hans returned.
The king had ordered that if a half man–half
hedgehog should ride into town on a rooster, he
was to be greeted like a prince. So Hans had a
procession of men lead him to the castle, right
into the throne room, where the princess was
hiding behind her throne sniffling, and the king
and queen both looked like they’d eaten frogs.
“King, will you give me what you promised?” asked Hans.
“Yes,” said the king, and a tear rolled down
his cheek.
“And what is that?”
“My daughter the princess,” the king
answered, and a tear rolled down his other
cheek.
Hans turned to the princess. “And you?
You are what is promised. Do you stand by
this decision?”
The princess peeked out from behind her
throne. “Yes,” she said, swallowing hard. “A
promise is a promise!”
So they were married.
It was the saddest wedding you ever saw!
The bride and the bridesmaids cried until
the carpets were damp, the king and queen
wrung their hands, and Hans looked grimly
from one unhappy face to the next. When the
wedding was over, Hans called the king aside.
“Promise me this,” he said. “Tonight, have
two guards stand outside our chamber door
and light a great fire. Anything that comes out
of the room before daylight, they are to throw
into the flames until it is consumed. Promise?”
The king shuddered at what this might
mean, but he promised.
Hans called the princess aside. “Promise
me this,” he said. “Have your maids put a great
tub of hot water in our chamber this night,
with rags and sponges close by. Promise?”
The princess shuddered at what this
might mean, but she promised.
That night the princess huddled under
the blankets, waiting for the hedge-beast. In
he came, but not to her! He stood in the middle of the room and began to tremble, then to
shake most fearfully. The princess peeked out
from under the covers.
“Husband! Are you all right?”
Hans didn’t answer. He shook and
flailed, and the coat of quills fell away
from him like a cloak. Hans caught it up
43
OHHH, YEAH. A NICE HOT BATH
MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A NEW BUG!
and flung it out the door where the guards
waited. They flung it into the fire and
pushed it into the flames with their spears
until it burned to nothing.
Hans stood looking very cold and lost,
and suddenly the princess knew what to do.
She leaped up and led her husband to the tub
of hot water, where she scrubbed him with
rags and sponges. When she was done, the
man who rose from the water looked every
inch an ordinary prince, and he smiled and
took his bride by the hands.
44
MEWY ME, TOO!
“Your kept promises and care broke my
curse,” he said, “and I will spend every day of
my life thanking you!”
They were married again—since Hans
was certainly not the same man the princess
had married!—and it was as joyous a wedding
as you could ever hope to see.
In the evenings Hans and his princess
sit out on the royal balcony, and the princess
smiles to hear Hans playing his bagpipe to
her—and to his band of faithful animals,
milling below in the courtyard.
WHAT
DRAMA!
WHAT
TALENT!
WAIT FOR ME!
WINNERS
S E PT E MB E R 2 0 18 ST OR Y CO N T E ST
Act of Kindness
First prize 10 and under
Lydia Rosenburg, age 10
Bellingham, WA
First prize 11 and up
Eliana Aschheim, age 12
Santa Clara, CA
“It’s my pleasure,” she replies. Everyone else has left
for the afternoon, so I am alone as I exit the classroom.
Mrs. Araule is a good teacher. She really is.
The boy curled against the rundown brick wall, too
weak to even sit up. The pain behind his eyelids had
dulled to a throb, but now his world was nothing but
darkness. How long ago had it happened?
Day and night, darkness and light were all the same
to him now, but he guessed that it might have been a
few weeks ago. The thin cloth of his tunic did nothing
to protect him from the cold winds and icy snows of the
mountain winter, and he couldn’t remember the last time
he had tasted food. His home was gone; all that was left
of Kanjaro Village was smoldering ruins. He had no family, and the people who cared for him had not realized he
was gone until too late.
He was snapped out of his half-conscious memories
by a barely audible gasp. Soft hands caressed his thin
ones as someone knelt beside him. The person, a girl of
about his own age, pushed something into his hands.
Bread! He struggled to raise his hands to his mouth, but
the girl guided them, her gentle touch a reassurance
to his numb arms. One bite . . . another . . . he felt his
strength returning with each mouthful.
“Th-thank you,” he gasped.
“You’re welcome,” the girl said, her voice as soft
and gentle as her touch. She pulled him to his feet and
wrapped a warm blanket around his narrow shoulders.
Then, she supporting him, he leaning on her arm, they
made their way out of the alley.
Simple Gratitude
Second prize 10 and under
Mei-Li Mann, age 8
Cleveland, OH
The sound of the bell enters bored students’ minds.
They shove binders into open and waiting backpacks and
stampede to the door. With all the rush, I almost couldn’t
see her. Mrs. Araule. It’s her first year of teaching, and
she seems very stressed. She always has something to
do. I pity her. My class is a tricky bunch. Way too many
kids caring nothing for their education, squandering
it and their teacher’s patience by talking. All the time.
She must love to teach to be teaching my chatty class.
She’s done a fair job! Interesting lessons, explanations of
important—but little—things. Most teachers skip the
confusing little bits, but not Mrs. Araule.
I carefully put my binder in my backpack and slowly
zip it up. I sling it around my shoulder and walk down the
aisles. I’m the last kid to pack up. There’s a slowdown at
the door, too many kids pushing to get away.
Mrs. Araule looks exhausted and has already started
to grade our homework, caring nothing about the
aggressive kids at the door. My classmates’ desks are
scratched with swear words and pencil marks. I reach
hers. It has a cup holding an assortment of pens and a
stack of papers on one side. There are lines under Mrs.
Araule’s eyes and white hairs mixed under her black ones.
Behind her is the whiteboard scattered with pronunciation tips and accent mark rules from today’s lesson.
“Mrs. Araule?” I ask.
From hunched over, Mrs. Araule sits up and looks me
in the eye with a small smile. Despite her weariness, her
eyes are sharp and smart, like her personality. Maybe she
thinks I have a question. I don’t.
“Thank you,” I say, and give her a small smile of my
own. Hers broadens. Mrs. Araule’s eyes are appreciative.
She sighs a small sigh of relaxation.
Hanging with My Cousins
“Do you want to do gymnastics in your basement?” I
asked my cousin, Lorena.
“Sure! I have a panel mat we can use.”
“Let’s change into something more comfortable,” I
added.
In the basement, which was half carpeted, half not,
Lorena and I did different routines that we made up on
the spot. We played music on my aunt’s iPhone as we
took turns doing front handsprings, handstands, forward
rolls, cartwheels, roundoffs, backbends, and more in our
routines. We watched each other, and we piggybacked
on each other’s moves.
A few minutes into our first routine, Alonzo, Lorena’s
older brother, came downstairs to watch us. When he
saw what we were doing, he asked if he could join.
“Yes, Lorena just did her routine, so now it is my
turn. You can go after me,” I replied, and Lorena started
the music. A few seconds into the routine, Alonzo started
distracting me with silly noises. I fell hard on my ankle. I
was able to get up right away, but when I was done with
my routine I told my cousins I needed to take a break to
rest my ankle.
Alonzo did a routine next, but since he didn’t know
many gymnastics skills he just kept falling down.
“Can we show you some moves you could use in
your routine?” I asked Alonzo when he had finished.
“Yes,” he replied. “I might not get everything right,
but I’m going to try.” As Lorena and I were showing
Alonzo some moves, Lorenzo came downstairs.
45
“Can I join?” Lorenzo asked. “I heard your music, so I
assumed you were doing gymnastics.”
“Sure!” Lorena, Alonzo, and I all answered at the
same time. I was surprised by everyone’s quick response,
since usually my cousins argue. I was happy that my
example of being nice to each other was being taken
seriously. We had the best time that day because we
were kind to each other.
Second prize 11 and up
Ebba Cha, age 12
Herndon, VA
Shining Shoes
A frayed cloth. A bottle of flaxseed oil. A foldable
chair. Unlike my friends who carried a backpack to
school, I carried these to the military base in Busan. I was
fifteen and I was a shoe shiner. As the sole provider for
my family, I set out to work every day.
On a good day, I had seven customers. My customers gave me chocolate and powdered milk. At the market
I would trade these for rice and vegetables for my family.
I could have survived with this, but no one treated me
kindly except for John. Sergeant Wilson, to be exact.
Unlike others who didn’t look at me, John looked at me
with a kind tint in his eyes. At the end of the shoe shining
every day, he would shake my hand and thank me for my
hard work. I shined John’s shoes brighter than anyone
else’s. We were like family for each other.
One day, John gave me a page out of a newspaper.
He wanted me to learn English. After long nights of
studying, I could read the whole newspaper page. The
following week, John left. I was determined to speak
English with John in the future.
I started school a month later. I started as the dumbest in class and graduated the smartest. I went to college
in Seoul and came back to Busan years later and became
an English teacher. Through the Revisit Korea Program
by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, I volunteered every time veterans came to Korea, hoping to
meet John. Each time, John never came.
During my service on the 6.25 Korean War Memorial
Day, I saw a man resembling John. “Excuse me, sir,” I said.
He turned around. “John?”
We gasped. “Yeong-sik?” Both of us had changed, at
least on the outside.
“I’m an English teacher now,” I said.
“Wow,” he merely replied.
I dropped down to my knees and pulled out my
handkerchief.
“No . . . ,” he began.
“Yes.” I scrubbed John’s shoes shinier than anything
else, like always.
“Thank you.”
THE JURY CAN’T LEAVE UNTIL THE CASE IS
SETTLED. (WOW! THIS GAVEL IS GREAT!)
WHAT
CASE?
SHE WON’T
LET
ANYBUGGY
TALK.
YOU WON’T
EVEN LET
US TALK.
Third prize 10 and under
Jonathan Samulak, age 9
Cleveland, OH
An Act of Kindness
Over summer vacation, my family went on a camping trip. On the way back we stopped at a restaurant. I
was attracted by the arcade games and saw many people
playing. I snuck in the arcade and took a look around. I
found one game that really interested me. It was a crane
game with different types of ducks that squeak. Some
were yellow and others had patterns. A few were even
Minecraft characters! The game gave players unlimited
tries until they won! Sometimes the sensor didn’t see
the duck fall, so they could play again and win two prizes
instead of one.
While my dad was ordering, I went to the crane
game. Three children were already playing, so I decided
to watch. After thinking it over, I decided to ask Dad for
some money to play the game, but I figured he would say
no. I then wondered if I could ask the kids if I could play
one of their turns, but I was too shy. I watched them play
until it was time to eat.
Near the end of our meal, those same children came
over to me and handed me a one-dollar bill to play the
game. Since they had left to eat earlier, I thought they
were gone. I was amazed at their kindness. They must
ORDER! ORDER IN THE COURT! (I SHOULD HAVE GOT ONE OF
THESE A LONG TIME AGO!)
SO, ARE
WE DONE
HERE?
ABSOLUTELY!
THIS IS WAY
MORE ANNOYING
THAN YOU!
EEP!
HELLO,
EVERYBUGGY? YAY!
TAIL AND I
HAVE COME
TO AN
AGREEMENT.
46
WELL DONE!
BIG FUSS ABOUT
NOTHING. NO HARM,
NO FOUL, ALL FRIENDS!
SOOO... BUH-BYE!
HEY! I DID NOT
SAY YOU COULD
AGREE! I NEED TO
MAKE A RULING!
I NEED TO DISH
OUT FINES AND
PUNISHMENTS
AND TIME-OUTS.
COME
BACK HERE!
HEY! HEY!
SORRY! CASE
DISMISSED.
WE’RE CALLING
A RECESS.
I PLEAD GUILTY—
TO CONTEMPT OF
COURT!
Solution to Crossbird Puzzle
A
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C
N
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S
R
24
S
T
O
U
M
N
O
21
C
A
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E
A
H
22
T
P
N
18
19
O
L
E
20
R
I
O
K
C
16
C
17
T
E
M
O
15
C
12
O
D
N
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O
N
G
S
9
R
O
6
O
N
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R
14
E
D
T
I
13
V
A
A
W
O
10
11
L
P
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7
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8
P
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E
D
M
I wake up to the thud of my mother’s feet on the
bike path. I huddle deeper into the faded blue jogging
stroller my mother is pushing. Fat, icy drops of rain pelt
down on me. The drops sting, leaving a red mark where
they hit me and chilling me to the bone.
Bikers whiz by, splashing dirty water from their wheels
onto me. I guess they weren’t expecting the rain either.
“Are you OK?” my mom asks. “I’m going as fast as I
can. We’ll be home soon.” I try to go to sleep, but I can’t.
The whirring of the wheels on the wet bike path makes
an annoying buzzing sound.
To s e e m o r e w i n n i n g C r i c ke t L e a g u e
e n t r i e s , v i s i t o u r we b s i t e :
c r i c ke t m a g k i d s . c o m /c o n t e s t s
P
The Warmth of Kindness
Honorable Mention
Zain Abbas, age 9, Westlake, OH. Ted Alten, age 9,
Avon Lake, OH. Zain Daoud, age 8, Avon Lake, OH.
Kartik Gulati, age 9, Moreland Hills, OH. Lydia HesselRobinson, age 11, Elkins Park, PA. Katya Keseman, age
13, West Richland, WA. River Shields, age 12, Bozeman,
MT. Summer Ventura, age 10, Florence, MA.
S
Third prize 11 and up
Lucia Gomez-Ibanez, age 11
Woods Hole, MA
Suddenly, one of the bikers slows down and stops by
the side of the bike path. She calls for us to stop, and we
do. I can tell my mom doesn’t want to talk to this woman.
She wants to go home. The woman’s bright red frizzy
hair sticks out of her hood. My mother stands looking at
her. I start shivering. The woman takes off her back pack.
She rummages in it and sticks her hands down to the
very bottom.
“Hi,” she says. “My name is Elaine.”
“Look,” says my mom. “We gotta go.”
“Wait!” Elaine calls. “I just need to find it.” She rummages more, feeling around for whatever she’s looking for.
“My child is soaking wet and shivering!” Mom says.
“I just need to find this one thing.”
My mom starts running again. “I don’t know what
that woman was thinking,” she mutters under her breath,
“holding us up like that.”
Elaine passes us without saying anything. Around
the next curve, there she is again with her blue bicycle
and black backpack. Before we can pass her, she jumps in
front of us and tucks me into a warm, woolly blanket.
“I just wanted to give you this, because I felt sorry
for your poor girl.”
“I’m so sorry that I left you!” Mom says. “Thank you
so much.”
“No problem, “ said Elaine.
We never saw her again.
23
have seen the expression on my face that showed I
wanted to play the game really badly.
I happily thanked the children and excitedly rushed
to the arcade to play the game. I caught three ducks and
thought I should give them to my siblings. It was as if the
kindness from the three children had spread to me.
As I returned to our car, I considered what these
three boys had done was one of the kindest things that
anybody had ever done for me in my life. I will never, ever
forget about those children’s kindness.
5
1
E
Z
2
E
E
F
R
3
E
R
O
S
T
4
4. Only one entry per person, please.
5. If you want your work returned, enclose a self-addressed,
stamped envelope for each entry.
6. Your entry must be received by January 25, 2019.
7. Send entries to Cricket League, P.O. Box 300, Peru, IL
61354. (No faxes or email submissions, please!)
8. We will publish winning entries in the April 2019 issue
and on the Cricket website.
E
Contest Rules
1. Your contest entry must be your very own original work.
Ideas and words should not be copied.
2. Your entry must be signed by your parent or guardian,
stating that it is your own work, that no help was given,
and that Cricket has permission to publish it in the magazine and on our website.
3. Be sure to include your name, age, and full address on
your entry.
R
This Cricket features several amazing transformations. Magnus transforms from a highschool student into a werewolf. Hans is born with the characteristics of a hedgehog but
transforms into a man. The survivors of the starship MacMillan evolve partly into sea creatures as they adapt to their new home underwater. Even a baby porcupette transforms from
a soft ball of fur into a prickly adult. For this month’s contest, everybuggy would like to read
your best story about a remarkable change or transformation.
Maybe you will write a fantasy story about a hero with the power to transform into
an animal, or who is trapped in a nonhuman form by a wizard’s spell. Or you might write a
science fiction story about how people and the Earth are transformed in the future. Perhaps
you will write about a character who experiences a change of heart or point of view, like
“The Tiger Son” who transforms from a vicious predator of humans into a devoted son. You
might even write about a place that transforms over time or with the seasons.
Whether you write about a frog who turns into a prince, a miserly Scrooge whose
heart is transformed by love and generosity, a rival at school who becomes a friend, or a
nerd who transforms into a football star, everybuggy will be transforming into each other
around the Cricket Country mailbox as they await your best story—of 350 words or less,
please—about a transformation.
F
N E W S TO RY CO N T E S T: T R A N S FO R M AT I O N
Acknowledgments continued from inside front cover
Grateful acknowledgment is given to the following publishers and copyright
owners for permission to reprint selections from their publications. All
possible care has been taken to trace ownership and secure permission for
each selection.
“In Search Of . . .” text © 2006 by Joan Lennon, art © 2006 by Renato Alarcao.
“I Am a Baby Porcupette” from Dark Emperor and Other Poems by Joyce
Sidman. Text copyright © 2010 by Joyce Sidman. Used by permission of
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Photo acknowledgments: 5 (BG) Wolkenengel565/Shutterstock.com; 7
(spots) Idea Trader/Shutterstock.com; 7-12 (spots) Dn Br/Shutterstock.com;
22 (BG) mossolainen nikolai/Shutterstock.com; 28-29, 32-33 (TC) white
snow/Shutterstock.com; 35-37 (BG) Thanantorn Kainet/Shutterstock.com;
38 (BG) Illg Gordon & Cathy/Animals Animals.
CRICKET magazine (ISSN 0090-6034) is published 9 times a year, monthly
except for combined May/June, July/August, and November/December issues,
by Cricket Media, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601. Additional
Editorial Office located at 1751 Pinnacle Drive, Suite 600, McLean, VA 22102.
Periodicals postage paid at McLean, VA, and at additional mailing offices. For
address changes, back issues, subscriptions, customer service, or to renew,
please visit shop.cricketmedia.com, email cricketmedia@cdsfulfillment.com,
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POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to CRICKET, P.O. Box 6395, Harlan,
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From time to time, CRICKET mails to its subscribers advertisements for other
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receive such mail, write to us at CRICKET, P.O. Box 6395, Harlan, IA 51593-1895.
Printed in the United States of America.
1st Printing Quad/Graphics
Midland, Michigan December 2018
47
I N O N E O F his many adventures, the Greek hero Theseus found
himself creeping along the winding passages of the Labyrinth on the
island of Crete. He listened intently to the bellows of the Minotaur, and
when he saw the monstrous beast charging toward him, he raised his
dagger and plunged it into the Minotaur’s neck. The creature howled,
then staggered and fell lifeless to the ground. Following a trail of thread,
Theseus then made his way out of the most famous labyrinth in history.
But my friend Helen Landalf tells me that, strangely enough, the baffling maze described in Greek myth was not a labyrinth at all. If it had
been a true labyrinth, Theseus would have had no trouble finding his
way out. A labyrinth is amazing, but it’s not a maze.
Labyrinths and mazes have an important difference: If you follow
the path of a labyrinth, you will always end up in the center. In a maze,
you’re just as likely to find yourself stuck at a dead end.
While mazes are meant as challenges to the mind, labyrinths serve
as tools for prayer and meditation. Unlike the false paths and dead ends
one finds in a maze, a labyrinth contains one long, winding path that
leads toward the center, then back out again. Since there are no decisions to make when following the course of a labyrinth, the mind can
become quiet. People throughout history have walked labyrinthine
paths to help them focus their thoughts and find inner peace. In fact,
labyrinths can be found in virtually every world religious tradition.
The labyrinth has been with us since the beginning of civilization.
Twisting and turning like a maze, yet always leading toward a single
goal, the labyrinth truly is amazing.
48
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