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Parenting

 

Story: A Chilly Tale

Character Crew: Respect

"Blubber, blubber!" Serena poked Wanda's side with a giggle. "A tubful of blubber."

The arctic air was chilly, but Wanda's face burned. Her friend was teasing her again.

This time Wanda boiled over. "Serena, I'm tired of your teasing. I don't want to play with you anymore!"

"Serena, that's not nice! Would you please stop?"

"Maybe." Serena's black eyes sparkled against the crystal blue sky.

"In case you hadn't noticed, it's naptime." Wanda waved a flipper at the snoozing walruses heaped around them. "I, for one, want to sleep." She plopped her head back down on the ice and squeezed her eyes shut.

Am I too fat? Wanda wondered. She did have a hefty layer of blubber, much thicker than slender Serena's.

Bump, whump, shove. "Hey!" Wanda yelped. It was Serena, flopping and squirming against Wanda on the ice.

"I c-c-can't get warm enough to sleep!" Serena said. "Let's go play instead."

"Oh, all right." Wanda heaved herself up.

"Last one to the water's a rotten sea cucumber!" Serena cried.

Galumph, galumph went the two friends along the ice, Serena whistling and clacking her teeth. Wanda laughed. Serena was a lot of fun, despite all her teasing.

Splosh! They skidded into the water and popped their heads out. Wanda's long whiskers dripped. Serena pointed and giggled. "Whoa, look at you! Monster moustache!"

In the icy water Wanda turned red hot. "Would you stop teasing me?"

"Maybe." Serena smiled and did a back flip.

Are my whiskers too long? Wanda looked at her reflection in the water. Her moustache was awfully large, much bigger than Serena's delicate one.

"C'mon, Serena, let's dive for snacks!"

"Snacks? OK."

Down they plunged into the salty water, and soon Wanda hit the murky bottom. With her whiskers Wanda gently swept the ocean floor until she found one juicy clam, two plump snails and three tasty worms. Then up she zoomed, bursting back into the frigid air.

"Yum. That was delicious!" Wanda smacked her lips. "Serena, what did you catch?"

"Oh, not much." Serena shrugged. "I'm not that hungry anyway."

"Time for water tag!" Wanda yelled and leaped away. "You're it!"

"Not for long!" Serena swam after her at top speed.

Serena tagged Wanda; Wanda tagged Serena. As they played, Wanda began to sing.

"Swimming, swooping, swishing, swirling, that's what I like to do!" she bellowed. "Swimming, swooping, swishing, sw—"

"Wow, Wanda, you're louder than a foghorn!" Serena laughed. "Watch out or you'll start an avalanche, Freaky Foghorn!"

This time Wanda boiled over. "Serena, I'm tired of your teasing. I don't want to play with you anymore!"

Wanda shot to the shore, leaving a stunned Serena behind.

Galumph, galumph Wanda went until she found a spot behind an iceberg, far away from Serena and everyone else. She plopped down, tired and unhappy, and before long, fell into a dream.

"Help! Somebody help!" cried the distant voice. Wanda jerked awake. It was Serena, for real! But where was she?

Serena was laughing at her in the dream. "Why do you keep teasing me?" Wanda asked. But she couldn't hear Serena's reply. Her voice sounded so far away.

"Help! Somebody help!" cried the distant voice. Wanda jerked awake. It was Serena, for real! But where was she?

Wanda rushed from one iceberg to the next, searching. "Help!" she heard again, thin and weak. It was coming from the ocean!

There was Serena—curled up on an ice floe out in the water. Wanda dived in, and within seconds had climbed onto the patch of ice.

"I'm f-f-f-frozen," Serena said. "I c-c-can't even g-g-get into the water."

"I'll call for help," Wanda said. She began shouting in her most thunderous voice. " Emergency! Calling all walruses — here — now!"

As Wanda kept yelling, they came: walruses streaming from all directions to the ice floe. They flopped next to Serena, surrounding her, until the warmth of all the walruses thawed out her frozen body.

"Thanks, Wanda," Serena said as the two of them swam back to shore later. "Your shouting saved my life."

"Freaky Foghorn, you mean?" Wanda said with a smile.

They flopped onto the shore. "I'm really sorry I teased you." Serena sighed. "I was just jealous."

"Jealous?" Wanda's mouth hung open.

"I've always wished I had a strong voice like yours," Serena said. "And a long moustache to feel for clams. And nice, thick blubber to keep warm. I thought if I teased you about those things, it would make me feel better."

"Did it?"

"No. I only felt worse." Serena gave Wanda a sheepish look. "It was wrong. I won't tease you anymore."

Now that Wanda knew the reason for Serena's teasing, she felt better — and suddenly very hungry. "Shall I use my monster moustache to go find clams?" she asked.

"Mm . . . maybe." Serena grinned. "I mean, yes."

Discussion Questions

  1. Self-respect — Have you ever been teased about something? How did it make you feel? What should you do if you are teased?
  2. Community-respect — What does having respect for your community look like? Did the walruses show respect for Wanda? How? Talk about some examples of how you can show respect for your neighborhood.
  3. Family-respect — How can you show respect for members of your family? What action do you think would be disrespectful?

 

 
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