12/13/09

The Other Author in Our Family


We've always suspected that Juliette's fascination with art was a substitute for verbal and written skills she hadn't yet mastered. Her latest complete story is a sublime example of that. She's illustrated the cover and the finale, but that's it. Packed between those drawings are five densely-handwritten pages of text. I present it here in its entirety, slightly edited for grammar and spelling (although, OMG, that's so much better than even a few months ago!).

Merry Christmas, Ribbets the Tree Frog
By the author of Ribbets in the Rain Forest [her words! click the cover!]

Ribbets didn't know the true meaning of Christmas. He didn't know anything about Christmas. All he was doing was hibernating.

On the 20th of December, Jaguar said to him, "I have a Christmas present. Can I come in to put it under your tree?"

"I don't have one," Ribbets answered. "All I want is for someone to tell me the true meaning of Christmas."

Jaguar didn't know it. So Ribbets went on hibernating.

On the 21st of December, Parrot came. "Can I come in?" he said.

So Ribbets let Parrot in. "What's the true meaning of Christmas?" he asked.

"I don't know," he said as he drank his hot chocolate. And Parrot flew away.

On the 22nd of December, Chameleon came over. He wanted to borrow some cocoa.

"What's the true meaning of Christmas?" Ribbets said.

Chameleon didn't know and he walked away.

On the 23rd of December, Tree Boa was slithering on the roof of Ribbets' tree. Ribbets opened his door and looked up. "What's the true meaning of Christmas?" he asked.

Tree Boa didn't know and she slithered away.

On the 24th of December, Spider Monkey swinged along. Ribbets asked the true meaning of Christmas again. Spider Monkey didn't know. And he kept on swinging. "But remember, Ribbets, tomorrow is Christmas," said Spider Monkey.

"I know. I do have a calendar," said Ribbets.

"Uh, that's February," said Spider Monkey.

That night, Ribbets didn't want to eat his fruit and horseflies. "What's the true meaning of Christmas?" he said.

So he went away from South America, through North America, across the Arctic Ocean, to the North Pole. It was lonely. He wanted to go home. But then a few seconds later, he saw a castle. Inside he saw a stable, but instead of horses it was reindeer. Then he saw an elves' workshop. And he saw a big flying thingie. Inside it was tons and tons and tons and tons of toys.

He went inside the bag. There were dolls, and cars, and yo-yos, and stuffed toys. Oh, it was fun in that sack until...someone came into the sleigh. "Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!" he shouted.

Ribbets had never heard anyone say that. Then the sleigh began to take off. Ribbets saw the whole world, but he didn't see South America. "I knew going to the North Pole was a bad idea," he said.

Then the person found him. It was Santa Claus. So he gave him a toy and said, "Reindeer, go south."

Ribbets hopped down. By morning he sent off invitations which said, "Dear rain forest animals, please come to my house at half-past seven. Sincerely, Ribbets."

There was Jaguar, and Parrot, and Chameleon, and Tree Boa, and Spider Monkey, and Piranha, and Vampire Bat, and seven Fire Ants. "Welcome to my Christmas Party," Ribbets said. "What should we do first?"

Jaguar said, "How about we decorate the Christmas tree I gave you?"

So they did. There were glitter pinecones, and nutcrackers, and bells, and plain ornaments, and candy canes, and garland, and lights, and popcorn chains, and glass reindeer, and of course, the star.

"Let's open presents!" yelled Ribbets.

So they did. Jaguar got a hang-glider. Parrot got binoculars. Chameleon got new color crayons. Tree Boa got slippery lotion. Spider Monkey got one hundred bags of seeds. Piranha got a fish tank. The seven fire ants got stilts.

"Christmas dinner!" yelled everyone.

Everyone helped Ribbets make dinner. Jaguar made delicious pudding. Parrot made Parrot Chef Surprise. Chameleon made chameleon-made sugar cake. Tree Boa made tree sap lemon sauce. Spider Monkey made vine-wrapped mumbo jumbo. The seven fire ants made a wild food sundae. Vampire bat made cow blood juice.

When they were eating, Ribbets found out the true meaning of Christmas and he said, "I found the true meaning of Christmas, everybody!"

Everyone said, "The true meaning of Christmas is what?"

"I knew all along. It is spending time with friends and family. We all agree on that."

The End. My kid is awesome.

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