Friday, March 30, 2012

Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Zoo: March Blog 5- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie Bean,

You are having a very busy and wonderful week!  You had your very large birthday party with fifteen of your closest friends at a gym.

And now, we are in Florida visiting Gigi and Joanne.  It’s been a fun few days and you love your Florida family so much (and you have been the best medicine for Gigi).
 (First time in your own airplane seat now that you're 2!)

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 5

When Lion dropped to the ground, he realized he was in a large clearing in the middle of Mannie Monkey’s Lair.  Lion looked around and was very shocked to see all the decorations for a party.  There was a happy birthday sign, colored balloons (and many were filled with water for a balloon fight), streamers, and confetti.  There was a cake on a table next to the ice cream sundae bar.  Lion saw that there were no napkins, plates, spoons, or forks so he deducted this must be a party for an animal. 

He was just about to radio Ellie on his walkie-talkie but as soon as he hit the button to talk, a whole bunch of animals all jumped out of the their hiding places.

Ellie could hear a loud, “SURPRISE!” through her walkie-talkie and she tried to respond back to Lion, “Are you ok?  Where are you?” she cried into it.

A large bear then stepped forward towards Lion, “You’re not Zoe Zebra,” he roared, “We just wasted the surprise on you.  Is it your birthday too?”

“You must be Benny,” Lion said matter-of-factly offering his orange paw to shake, “We have been looking for you.  Ellie and I have a few questions to ask you.  And no, it’s not my birthday but I could pretend it is,” he said eyeing up that delicious cake (and noticing it had extra thick cream cheese icing with his keen sense of smell).  But then he noticed the many pairs of animal eyes that were “eyeing” him up.  He gulped and picked up his walkie-talkie for a second try, “Ellie,” he whispered, “I need you!”

Just then, Lion could hear Ellie racing toward the clearing.  He was the only one who knew it was Ellie because she was singing Ring Around the Rosie as she skipped in!  All of sudden, the animals went back to their hiding places.  As soon as Ellie came to meet Lion, the animals again shouted, “SURPRISE!”

“Not again, I am getting verrrrrry tired,” said Tom-Tom Turtle obviously disappointed by Ellie’s appearance.

Ellie glanced around, “Hmmmm… this is all very interesting,” she noted as she saw a lone present in the corner.  She looked at the animals more closely and could see everyone she interviewed or wanted to interview.  There was Tom-Tom Turtle starting to fall asleep in his shell, Benny the Bear was talking to Penny Penguin near the ice cream, Edna Elephant was whispering to Gerry the Giraffe near the water balloons and Toucan Tillie was practicing the Happy Birthday song with Mannie Monkey. 

It was then that Ellie realized one animal was missing, the only one she had made a promise to.  She looked at Lion noticing he came to the same conclusion.  Just as she was about to set up her detective kit, Zoe Zebra came prancing through the clearing.

“Well, now what have we here?” asked the very stripeless zebra.

“Quick, hide!” squawked Toucan Tillie.  All the animals hid (some under tables, some behind the trees on the edge of the clearing, and some just turned their backs thinking that if they hid their eyes no one could see them). 

And on Toucan Tillie’s count of three, they all jumped out and yelled, “SURPRISE!” followed by a very crazy rendition of the Happy Birthday song (there were many squawks, ooh-eeees, roars, and flapping through out). 

“Is this for me?” Zoe Zebra asked as she turned bright red from all the attention.  Ellie felt bad for her because Zoe Zebra’s redness would have been hidden had she had her coat.

“I’m confused.  Toucan Tillie told me she thought she saw my coat here.  I would never have come without making sure I looked fit to see you all,” Zoe seemed to then get very upset.  “I would have liked to have had some notice!” she huffed, “And now look at me, I don’t look at all ready for a party without my coat!  I think I will just go.”

All the animals seemed perplexed as Zoe Zebra stuck her snout in the air, turned around and strutted out.

“Wait, you can’t go!  We didn’t cut the cake yet,” Penny the Penguin flapped after her.  He was waiting so patiently for cake and ice cream!

Through all the commotion, Ellie knew she had a job to do, “What’s in that present over there,” Ellie asked Gerry Giraffe as she tapped her pencil on her notepad.

Giraffe quickly looked away at Mannie Monkey.  Mannie started to jump up and down nervously.

“Lion, bring Zoe back here, I think we are about to solve our puzzle,” Ellie said keeping her eye on the animals and the present.  She was so close to solving this mystery that she wasn’t about to let anyone or anything out of her sight now!  

“Oh and Lion, can I have my shoe back?  I don’t think we need the walkie-talkies anymore now that we are back together,” she called to him as she realized how dirty her socks had become...

Toucan Tillie flew in and perched herself on Ellie’s left shoulder.  “Why don’t you just let her go home?  She is never nice and she thinks she is prettier, smarter and more appealing to all the Zoo’s visitors than the rest of us.  I for one am tired of trying to please her.  I don’t know why I even bothered gathering all those pretty ribbons from the children’s bonnets…I guess I just thought that Zoe would finally get to see and maybe be impressed with my very colorful and creative side.  Silly me… I don’t ever want to be in charge of the decorating committee again!  ” She squawked.

“Yup… I agree… that goes for me too... I think.  Ahhhhhhhh… what is it that I am agreeing to?” Tom-Tom turtle questioned in his usual confused state.

“Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!  Now hold on a minute,” trumpeted Edna Elephant, “I worked hard for this party!  Trying to stretch those tiny balloons to fit over my large trunk just so that I could fill them up with water was not an easy feat!  Just look at what I have to work with…. Instead of nimble fingers, I’ve got KANKLES to work with… HUGE  kankles at that!  And do you think Zoe appreciates my hard work?  I don’t think so.  How dare she leave her own party!  Someone had better get her back here because I want ice cream and I want it now!”

“Well how do you think we feel Edna?” stammered Penny Penguin, “The penguin house was given the job of catering, and since we are basically the “freezer” of the zoo, it only made sense for us to supply the ice cream.  So we’ve been “borrowing” as much ice cream from the ice cream stands that we could sneak out with, hold onto and waddle away with.  And let me just say that we “borrowed” lots and lots of gallons!   If the zookeeper ever finds out, we penguins are going to end up as jailbirds!  That Zoe better get off her high horse and return to her party now!”

“I agree!”  Crooned Gerry Giraffe.  “I’ve stretched my neck out for her so many times and I don’t think she even cares.  Talk about ungrateful!”

“Yeah?  Well how would all of you liked to have had my job?  I was in charge of birthday cards!  And do you know that half of our zoo friends refused to make Zoe a card?  They said she is not nice most of the time and doesn’t care about anyone but herself.   I was feeling so guilty about that that I started making and signing cards by pretend animals.  If Zoe ever finds out, I will feel really bad,” grumbled a stressed Benny Bear, “And you all know that I am a stress eater.  By the way, I am so sorry about the birthday cake over there on the table.  I know, I know there is only half of one.  I was going to fib and tell everyone that I used a very “beary” mini-baking pan.  But the truth is, with all this stress around me, I couldn’t help myself and before I knew it, I had eaten half of the chocolate cake I made, (of which I must say was very delicious)!”

Now it was all starting to make sense to Ellie and Lion.  Each clue they found had something to do with a zoo animal’s participation in a party for Zoe.  Not entirely sure of whom was behind it all, they both turned to Manny Monkey.

“Oooo, Oooo, Eeeee, Eeeee…. I will see no evil, I will hear no evil and I will speak no evil about my Zoe,” said a sincere Manny, “I just wanted to give her a birthday party to make her happy.  I wanted all of our zoo family to see Zoe for who she really is.  Yes, she can be selfish, self centered, whiny, and snobby, but she can also be very kind, caring and a good friend too!  Yes I said GOOD FRIEND, so all of you stop looking at me like I am crazy.  I never told any of you but when I was in the wild, a few jungle animals that I thought were my friends, tried to get me in trouble by throwing a few monkey wrenches my way.  It was Zoe who helped free me of them and avoid a life with no parole behind the Monkey bars!   Oooooooo, ooooooooo… This party did not start off the way I wanted it too,” Manny began to cry.

Ellie patted Manny’s head and in a soothing voice asked him a question, “Manny, Lion and I are still a bit confused.  We understand why you are giving Zoe a birthday party but we still don’t know who stole Zoe’s striped coat.  Do you have any idea who it might have been?” she asked.

Manny Monkey lowered his head and whispered, “Yes, I know who it was.  It was me.”

Now Ellie and Lion were shocked, as they never suspected Manny. 

“Why?” Asked Lion, “If she is your friend, why would you take something from her without her permission?

“Because she wasn’t suppose to ever find out.  You see, the one thing Zoe always wanted for Christmas but Santa never brought her was a matching striped hat.  I figured Zoe might be on Santa’s naughty list because of the way she treats others and may never get her dream hat, so I was going to get one for her.  But I don’t know anything about zebra hats, and black stripes verses white stripes.  Heck, I really don’t know anything about fashion at all.  So after checking on the party arrangements last night with Tillie and Benny, I stopped by Agatha Aardvark’s mound and coaxed her to escort me over to Zoe’s after Zoe went to bed of course. With Agatha’s fashion sense and her long needle-nose snout, I knew she could stitch up the perfect hat for Zoe in no time.  What I didn’t know was that Zoe rearranged her furniture earlier in the day.  So when we snuck into her home to retrieve her coat, I bumped into her mirror and it fell to the ground and shattered.  Agatha panicked and made a quick B-line out of there so I followed her.  We went back to Agatha Aardvark’s mound and she worked through the night designing and sewing together the most beautiful zebra hat I have ever laid eyes on.  I was planning on returning her coat early this morning but as I tiptoed up to the door I heard voices and crying inside.  When I peeked in the window I saw both of you and got scared.  That’s when I ran, only I ran into Toucan Tillie.  So I told her to keep an eye on you while I figured out how to get Zoe’s striped coat back inside her home,” and with that confession Manny began to cry all over again, “I’ve embarrassed Zoe and now the party is ruined.  How will I ever fix this?” sniffled Manny.

Ellie winked at Lion and Lion smiled at Ellie.  They both knew exactly what needed to be done to make the party right.   A talk with Zoe to see her ways was first on the list…..

Until next week Ellie Spaghett!
Mom and Mimi

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