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Reading Together

Chapter 2: Charlie Needs Help

Today, we publish the second chapter of an ongoing children’s book written by New Ipswich author Emily Chetkowski and illustrated by young artists from Highbridge Hill Elementary School. New chapters will appear each Tuesday.

  • Britaney Bishop, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Britaney Bishop, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Ada Hayes, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Ada Hayes, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Ryan O'Shea, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Ryan O'Shea, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Drew Traffie, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Drew Traffie, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Erik Overka, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Erik Overka, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Katie Wilkins, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Katie Wilkins, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Madelyn Damery, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Madelyn Damery, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Cody Robinson, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Cody Robinson, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Brielle Shippee, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Brielle Shippee, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Nicholas Pham, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

    Nicholas Pham, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade

  • Chetkowski, Emily

    Chetkowski, Emily

  • Britaney Bishop, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Ada Hayes, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Ryan O'Shea, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Drew Traffie, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Erik Overka, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Katie Wilkins, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Madelyn Damery, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Cody Robinson, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Brielle Shippee, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Nicholas Pham, Highbridge Hill, 2nd Grade
  • Chetkowski, Emily

Now that Charlie knew the game, he was excited to get the paper today. He bolted out the door and had it in his mouth before George could get near it. “Grrrrrrrr, grrrrrrr,” Charlie had a great time with that paper!

“No, Charlie, NO!” George exclaimed, but it was pointless. Charlie had already ripped a huge chunk out of the paper and taken off running with it. George retrieved the rest of it, shaking his head as he headed back inside to read what was left.

Charlie stopped to catch his breath. He looked at his piece of newspaper and got to thinking. He wondered just what the words on that paper said.

“Gee,” thought Charlie, “I wish I could read the paper!” But Charlie didn’t know how to read.

Just then Shaggy the Donkey brayed. “Hee haw hee haw,” bellowed Shaggy, sounding more like someone trying to learn to play the tuba than a donkey braying. He was calling for his breakfast.

“Hey, I wonder if Shaggy knows how to read,” thought Charlie as he sprinted over to see him, chunk of paper in his mouth.

“Hello Shaggy, and how do you do today?”

“Well, I’m just fine son. And how might you be today, young man?” Shaggy asked. Shaggy was older and wise and always polite.

“Oh, I’m good, but I wonder if I could ask a favor of you.”

“Well, I suppose that would be fine. What can I help you with?”

Charlie dropped the piece of newspaper down by Shaggy’s odd looking feet. “Can you be so kind as to tell me what this paper says?”

Shaggy squinted at the paper, a piece about 10 inches by 10 inches, ripped and torn along the edges.

Slowly he lowered his huge head and held his massive ears out to the sides like helicopter blades. With small eyes set very far apart under big hairy eyebrows, he tipped his head from side to side to get a better look. He even stuck his big floppy lips out as if to gobble it up but stopped and picked his head back up a bit.

“No son, I’m afraid I can’t help you there, I’m afraid I can’t read,” said Shaggy.

“Oh,” said Charlie, rather disappointed.

“Just why did you want to read it, what did you want to know? I have lived many years and life has taught me a lot. Perhaps I can answer what you wish to know,” said wise old Shaggy.

“Nah, its OK Shaggy, I was just curious if it was a good story or something, that’s all.”

Charlie started to walk away, saying “Thank you anyway Shaggy.”

“Wait, hold on there little fella,” said Shaggy, “I can’t read but I can certainly tell a story or two, if that will make you happy.”

“You can?” said Charlie excitedly, his short little tail wagging like crazy.

“About what?” asked Charlie.

“Well,Charlie,” said Shaggy. “All I really know is all I really know.”

“What?” Charlie was a bit confused by that statement.

“What I mean is, what I know best is what I have lived, the story of my life. Would you like to hear it?”

Gee, Charlie didn’t really know much about Shaggy, this might be interesting, he thought.

“Sure!” replied Charlie.

Shaggy lowered his big head again. Charlie noticed his ears were about as long as Charlie was and his long fur was soft looking. Charlie wasn’t afraid of Shaggy, though he’d seen him chase off a coyote before.

“Long ago I lived on a farm with my sheep buddies. I watched over them in a field, scared off wild animals that might hurt them. People used to take good care of us but for some reason they stopped. No one brushed me anymore, no one fed me treats, and no one trimmed my hooves. My hooves grew so long I could barely walk. I got thin, I got sick. But one day, some kind people came, took us out of that field, and found me a new home, this home. I got brushed, I got fed and I got loved. My feet took a long time to fix and it was months before I could walk well. But now I can do this! Hee haw, hee haw.” Shaggy brayed loudly as he ran away bucking and kicking, having a great time!

He turned around and trotted back to Charlie, skidding to a stop, breathing hard.

“I’m a happy donkey, my little friend, and this is how I tell the world! Hee haw hee haw!” he sang out, as he took off trotting again.

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