It’s my birthday party. There’s my birthday cake – and it has a monster truck on it!
Everybody’s singing, “… Happy Birthday to Mike,
Happy Birthday to you!”
Time to blow out the candles. I take a deep breath. I blow some of them out. Mom helps me.
My big brothers bring the presents.
Mom helps me read the card on the first box.
It’s from her. “To my great big Mike, 5 years old.”
I smile. She says that a lot.
I pull the Birthday bow off the box and open it.
It’s a bright red shirt with big writing on it.
Red is my favorite color. I hold it up.
My big brothers yell, “Hey, little Mike!
It says Mighty on it! Ha, ha!”
Mom helps me with the letters saying,
“M is for Mighty which means strong.
I is for Intrepid, which means brave.
G is for Great, which means big.
H is for Heart, which means love.
T is for Terrific which means good.
Y is for yippee, which is a happy yell.”
I pull the red shirt over my head.
It hangs down to my knees.
But suddenly I feel different.
I feel almost as big as my brothers!
I feel strong. I feel brave...
The Watching Tree
The Watching Tree has eyes that see,
And every day they look at me!
They see me when I’m walking,
And they see me when I’m talking.
They watch me when I go to school,
And when I’m playing in the pool.
They see my Daddy raking,
And they see my Mommy baking;
They see us playing in the snow,
And watch us as we come and go.
They watch our puppy run and play,
I know they watch us every day!
The Watching Tree has lots of eyes,
Different colors, different size.
Some are tiny, some are narrow;
This one’s on a little sparrow!
Some of them see in the dark;
This one’s on a little lark!
This one’s on a bumble-bee,
I don’t want him to see me!
The Watching Tree is so exciting,
Full of life and so inviting;
My Watching Tree is where I’ll be,
When they let me climb a tree!
LeslieJean Anderson's Books for Children
Copyright © LeslieJean Anderson's Books for Children . All rights reserved.
THE JUSTICE CLUB
"I’m going to catch ‘em in the act, Kaylee! I have my cell phone, and I have a plan,” Roger whispered into Kaylee’s ear. “You and Price sit together close to the front of the bus and jump off quick at our stop. Then run home as fast as you can, OK? I’ll be right behind you. Tell Price.”
Kaylee looked up at her tall friend and nodded. Then she turned to her younger brother and whispered in his ear. Just then the line moved and the 6th and 7th grade students got on Bus #22 to go home. Some of the kids pushed and shoved each other to get out of the cold late November wind, but the bus driver said nothing to them. Wrapped up in a hat and a scarf, he held the door open for the students clambering up the stairs and running down the aisle.
Kaylee and Price got the first two seats, and when Kaylee turned around, she could see Roger sitting farther back in the bus on a seat by himself. She could see that he had his head down, intent on something in his lap. What was he doing?
Roger pulled out his cell phone and set it to record video. He aimed it up the aisle toward the bus driver, and took a deep breath. He hoped nobody could see the forbidden phone. All cell phones were supposed to be off and stowed inside book bags.
I can’t mess this up – I probably only have this one chance. Just aim and shoot between my fingers. Somebody has to stop what’s going on. Some good video shots ought to do it. Then they’ll believe us when we tell them. There. I think I got the right angle. Let the commotion begin!
Roger sat back against the window, adopting a casual pose of indifference as he put one leg up on the seat to discourage anyone from sitting near him. As the bus moved forward, the noise level rose in the back of the bus and students moved around. In the front of the bus, Kaylee whispered to her brother, “We have got to tell someone about what’s going on. How can they get away with all those terrible threats?”
Price glanced back for a second then whispered back to Kaylee, “Kids are running to the back of the bus all the time. Just a matter of time before somebody falls and gets hurt. Or drops those things they’re selling.”
“What’s Roger doing?” Price glanced back again. “His legs are stretched out, and his arm’s on the back of the seat. He’s got that grin, like when he’s about to cream me at chess. He’s up to something.”
As the bus stopped to let off some students, Kaylee stared straight ahead. Then she whispered, “I always wondered why Mom calls him ‘the quiet genius across the street.’ Who knows what he’s thinking. I just hope he doesn’t get into a fight. Those mean twins in the back are as heavier than he is and they’ve bullied him before.”
Price snorted. “But Roger is faster. Have you seen him run on the track? He looks like a gazelle. He even passed up the coach in a race one time.”
As the noise level increased, Kaylee closed her eyes and counted the number of stops still to go. Then at the stop just before theirs, a group of boys passed by their seat and the last one tossed lunch box trash right at Price’s head.
“Food fight,” the boy shouted as he jumped off the bus.
“Hey! Stop it, you jerks! I’m going to tell!” Kaylee yelled.
The driver slammed the door shut behind the trash-throwing boy and continued on his route, ignoring the uproar behind him. He did not seem to notice Roger running up the aisle to stand directly behind Price and Kaylee. The driver didn’t even react when Kaylee began crying and Roger started shouting.
At the next stop, the driver barely moved his head as Kaylee clamored past him and down the stairs, followed by Price and Roger. But a few seconds later his head did snap around when he heard a loud horn, a bang and screeching tire noises coming from just around the corner. And his earphones came out when he heard Kaylee’s hysterical screaming...