Friday, March 9, 2012

Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Zoo: March Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

My Dear Darling Baby Girl,

We need to wish your Mimi a very happy birthday today!  We got to celebrate early with her because your Mimi and Great-Gram Bubbles (who you call Gama) came to visit for six days (sadly they had to leave on Wednesday)… the week was packed with a tea party (4-generations with an animal hat theme), homemade dinners (you and Mimi made the butterfly birthday cake for our party), shopping (where Mimi bought you a stroller for your baby as an early birthday gift from her and Poppy), and girl time (with trips to the pool, park, children’s museum, and relaxing at home)!

And now here is our yearlong bedtime story/stories (with many chapters to write!) for you. 

We have specific weekly guidelines.  I will write a piece, then your Mimi has to finish it and we will do this every week (your Mimi’s part is in italics and mine is in regular font).  The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot.  Anything else is fair game.  However, we are giving ourselves a time limit (because we know otherwise we will fall in love with this creative writing project and get nothing else done)- 45 minutes for me and 90 minutes for your Mimi (so whether that means 3 sentences or 3 pages, that’s what the other person has to work with).  And we each have an additional 30 minutes every week to figure out an illustration to go with our part.  Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime tale for you and future generations.   

And thus begins our journey. 

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Zoo- Part 2

“Hmmmm, now that is very curious,” Ellie said with her finger on her chin, “Good thing I brought along my detective kit.”  Ellie’s Mimi had given it to her as a birthday present a few weeks before.  She hadn’t had an opportunity to use it yet. 

“Where is it?” asked a surprised Lion looking around for a large suitcase.  He couldn’t remember Ellie taking any luggage with her on this adventure.

She pulled a small box out of her pocket and unfolded it several times.  It popped up into a table with a drawer. 

Lion’s jaw dropped, “How cool!”

Ellie pulled out the drawer to reveal a notepad, pencil, a magnifying glass, a detective hat, and a trench coat.  Ellie dressed to play the part and cleared her throat, “Now, I need silence as I observe the crime scene!  Come on Lion, you are my assistant and I need your careful eyes to help me look for clues.”

They tiptoed around Zebra’s area.  In the corner, they saw the brush and the mirror where Zoe told them she last saw her missing coat.  But the mirror was smashed into many tiny pieces.  “Now this is curious,” Ellie observed as she looked at it more closely with her magnifying glass.  She saw a shard with purple paint splattered on it. 

Next, Ellie peered down at the brush, again with her trusted magnifying glass, and saw cupcake sprinkles in between the bristles.  She jotted this information down in her notepad when she looked up and saw Lion jumping up and down excitedly.

“I found a clue!” he exclaimed pointing to the empty hook.  Draped over the hook was a red ribbon.  Ellie ran her fingers over it and noted a smudged brown print on it.  She looked at it more closely through the magnifying glass but couldn’t tell what kind of animal it belonged to.  She sniffed it and her nose didn’t fail her, “Aha- chocolate!” 

“Hmmmm, now this is a mystery,” said Lion as he and Ellie walked back over to Zoe.

“Zoe, you’re going to have to pull yourself together as I ask you some very important questions,” Ellie said matter-of-factly as she flipped to a new page in the notebook.

Zoe sniffled one final time before collecting herself as Ellie asked the first question,
“Was the mirror broken when you last saw it?”

Zoe started crying again, “My mirror is broken too?  Why would someone be so mean?”

Ellie tried to calm Zoe by petting her stripeless back.  That only seemed to remind Zoe that her coat was missing and she started sobbing.

“How about the sprinkles and ribbon?” Ellie asked Zoe ignoring her tears.  That question seemed to distract Zoe from crying and she became very perplexed.

“What sprinkles and ribbon?” she asked.

“Were you eating any chocolate last night?” Ellie questioned her.

“No, but I sure could use some now,” Zoe said as her eyes filled with tears.

Ellie rushed on because she knew time was of the essence, “Do you know anyone who would take your beautiful coat?”

Zoe thought for a moment before answering, “Well, Mr. Tom-Tom Turtle next door is very old and forgetful.  Sometimes he wanders in here and can’t remember why.  Maybe he took my coat by accident?”

“Zoe, now you wait here while we pay Mr. Tom-Tom Turtle a visit,” Ellie said hugging her, “I promise that we will find your coat.  No job is too hard for Lion and I to solve,” she said with her pointer finger in the air.

And with her pointer finger, Ellie changed its direction pointing straight ahead to Mr. Tom-Tom Turtles house and shouted out, “Follow me Lion… Onward… march, march, march!”

And off they marched.  When they arrived at his front door, Ellie knocked three times.  It seemed to take Mr. Tom-Tom Turtle forever to answer, so much so that Ellie and Lion began to wonder if he was hiding something inside.  But that was not the case, he just moved very, very slowly.  When he finally opened the door, Ellie and Lion were welcomed by a very old and very wrinkled turtle wearing huge thick coke-bottle type glasses framed in a wide strip of black plastic.  His glasses were definitely too big for his face, and actually they were too big for his head as he had to keep sliding them up before they fell down and off completely.  Ellie got right down to business.  She asked him if he saw anyone or anything unusual over at Zoe’s house last evening.  But while looking at Tom-Tom, and his glasses being an obvious and constant distraction, Ellie already knew that his answer would be a “No.”  He couldn’t possibly have any helpful information.  But she knew a good detective would ask the questions anyway.  And to her surprise he had some interesting answers.

Pulling the red ribbon out of her deep pocket, Ellie cleared her throat while asking her next question.  “Mr. Tom-Tom Turtle, even though you didn’t see anything unusual, do you have any idea wear this red ribbon could have come from?”

“Hmmmmmm, may I have a closer look?” Tom-Tom questioned while inching his face as close to the red ribbon as possible.  “Why yes, I have seen ribbon like this recently, but not in red.  Nooooooooooo, I think I saw it in yellow… or maybe it was blue… hmmmm.  Let me think about it.  I remember last week, or was it the week before???? Oh no matter… it was just that Toucan Tillie stopped by and she seemed to be in a tizzy of sorts.  In her excitement she kept squawking about a surprise or something that she had to work on quickly.  She was helping a friend with something but she was so secretive about it and whom she was working with.  Anyway, she was flying around in circles and trying to hide from the children in the zoo.  Apparently while mommies were walking their daughters around the park, Toucan Tillie would sneak up, then swoop down and steal the fancy ribbons out of their pretty sunhats.  She thought she could hide out inside my house asking me to be the lookout turtle until the coast was clear for her to leave unnoticed!  I told her that I would not participate in such behavior and that she needed to return those items immediately!  So she flew off in a huff.”

After a long silence and no additional conversation Ellie was not sure what to do or say next.  So shrugged her shoulders while looking at Lion.  Lion shrugged back and then stepped forward peering in to Mr. Tom-Tom Turtles face.  He motioned Ellie to come over.  She too peered into his face.  They both could see Tom-Tom’s eyes, magnified through the glasses, were closed.  Apparently he fell asleep.

“Now what do we do?” Ellie questioned.   “We can’t have hit a dead end already!” she pouted.

Lion was deep in thought.  Pacing back and forth, and looking down at the ground as well as up in the air while thinking; a thought of finding another possible clue struck him.

“El, I’ve got it!”  He roared excitedly.  And before she could question him, he quickly climbed up the tree.  He carefully slid across one branch changing his footing to follow another all the while examining the leaves that protruded outward.  Gazing west, Lion found his answer.   Quickly scrambling back down the tree, Lion pounced over to a perplexed Ellie.  “Ellie, when Tom-Tom said Tillie flew off I had a feeling that maybe she was traveling to the secret friend’s house.  That is why I climbed the tree.  I figured the bent branches and broken leaves would tell us which direction she flew in. 

“And?” Ellie questioned breathlessly with pencil and notepad in hand ready to write.  “Did you figure out which way?”

“Looks like she was flying towards Benny Bear’s Den,” Lion said with a frown, “And from that height I could also see that some kind of commotion is going on over there as we speak.”

Ellie finished jotting down their findings and slid the pencil and notepad back into her right pocket.  She then reached into her left pocket and pulled out a flashlight.  Pushing the on and off switch back and forth to make sure it worked perfectly, which it did, she replaced it back in its pocket.   She then swung her arm in a full motion beckoning Lion to follow her.  “A good detective’s eyes are everywhere Lion.  So be on the lookout!” she cried out.  And with that, her little apprentice Lion saluted her and they both marched off towards Benny Bear's Den in search of another clue….
Where shall the next clue take us?  You will find out soon enough.
Till next week Ellie Bean!
Mom & Mimi

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