Headnote: This is the opening of a children's fairy tale, written last month for a local competition, on the theme "The bears decided to stay awake all year." When Sooby comes to stay in a couple weeks, I will see if she wants to draw some illustrations for it like she did for "Jacky Joe's Halloween Party" last fall.
Once upon a time, on a cold night in early winter, a sleepy mama bear called to her children.
"Hurry, Honey! Come on, Beezer! Winter is here," she said. "It's time for our long, long nap."
"But Mama," Honey protested, "Squirmy Squirrel stays up all winter, and he says it's really fun. There's snow and ice and--"
"--we want to stay awake the whole year too," Beezer chimed in. "Please, Mama?"
"That Squirmy Squirrel is nothing but trouble," Mama said, frowning. "I wish he would quit filling your heads with those newfangled ideas. We are bears, and when it's cold outside, bears are supposed to sleep."
Honey's face fell. Beezer puffed out his mouth in a genuine baby-bear pout.
"But look here," Mama said, changing the subject. "I made a new lace nightcap for you, Honey. It's pink." Honey brightened a little. She did love pink.
"And Beezer, come try on your new striped nightshirt. It's warm and stretchy, with plenty of room for those long arms and legs." Mama helped Beezer put his arms through the sleeves. Then, she led the cubs to their matching beds in the nursery and tucked them tightly under mountains of soft, warm blankets.
"Spring will be here before you know it," she reassured them. "Now sleep tight."
After Mama left, Beezer climbed out of bed and tapped Honey on the shoulder.
"Honey!" Let's tippy-toe outside. Remember what Squirmy said. The whole pond freezes over with ice. What fun skating will be!"
Wide awake now, Honey also remembered Squirmy's words. "And there is something called 'snow' that we can make ice cream with!" she said. She wanted to stay awake as much as her brother did. Very quietly the two little bears ventured outside.
To be continued . . . .
Footnote: From long-ago college classes, I learned that part of the fun of reading to children and of teaching them to read for themselves is stopping mid-story and asking them what they think will happen next. What do you think Honey and Beezer will find outside? Will they get into trouble? Will Squirmy Squirrel be involved? What do you think?