Authors: Patrick Lewis,Christopher Denise
Written by J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by Christopher Denise
For Tola with love
For my friend and comrade of the brush, H.B. Lewis
The Strange Stick
“Are you ready for our walk?” asked Tugg.
“Where to, Tugg?” asked Teeny.
“Wherever our twinkle toes take us,” said Tugg, whistling away.
“Listen!” Teeny said.
She heard the jungle birds sing and sighed, “I wish I could make beautiful music like that.”
Teeny looked so sad that Tugg decided he would help his friend get her wish.
In the clearing, Tugg saw BooBoo the baboon hitting a bamboo stick against a tree.
The gorilla called, “What is that, BooBoo? A digging stick?”
“No,” said BooBoo, “not sharp enough.”
“A drinking straw?”
“It has holes in it, Tugg. It is useless!” The baboon threw the stick away.
Tugg picked up the stick and looked at it.
He thought for a minute and then laid it on the jungle path where Teeny would be sure to find it.
“Hey, Tugg, what is this?” Teeny asked.
“Maybe Violet will know,” said Tugg.
“Warthogs are very smart.”
“Violet,” said Tugg, “what is this piece of wood?”
“A backscratcher for a lion,” said Violet.
“Lions just roll in the dirt when they want to scratch an itch,” Teeny said.
Teeny pointed the stick to the sky and looked through it.
“What could it be?” she wondered.
“Try blowing on the end and see what happens,” said Tugg.
Teeny blew. Squeak, squawk, screech.
“I like it!” Teeny said. “Someday, Tuggboat, I will be like the birds and make beautiful music on this stick.”
Tugg knew that Teeny was a monkey who thought she could do anything she set her mind to.
“Of course you will, Monkeyface.”
Back home, they took turns cleaning house and cooking meals.
But in the evenings, Teeny went deep into the jungle to practice on her stick.
At first she could only squeak. But as the weeks passed, her squeaks turned into peeps, and the peeps turned into tweets and toodles.