Saturday, July 31

Patient Eats the Alphabet (part two)

Patient and Abby explored Mr. Burton’s garden high and low, under bushes and around water spouts, looking for Patient’s next meal. Patient bumped into a big purple eggplant and devoured it quickly. Abby didn’t want any eggplant. She didn’t think it would taste like an omelet, and it didn’t look like anything the Easter Bunny left for her.

Eggplant starts with E.

Behind the eggplant was a giant fern, so Patient ate one stalk. Abby said people didn’t eat ferns. “You’re so silly, Patient. You’ll eat anything!”

Fern starts with F.

After eating the fern, Patient wanted something a little sweeter and thought Abby might too. Next to the banana squash was a gooseberry patch. They scurried to the gooseberry patch, where Patient ate four gooseberries. Abby likes berries and also enjoyed the gooseberries. She probably ate too many.

Gooseberry starts with G. “Oh, my stomach,” said Abby.

Patient needed another break. She’d never eaten this much in just one day. She wanted to see Mr. Burton’s flowers. But separating the berry patch from the flower garden was a large hedge. Patient ate a path through the hedge big enough for Abby and Patient to pass. Abby said, “Patient, you are a genius.”

Hedge starts with H.

story by Grandpa Larry

read part one (A - D)

Friday, July 30

Patient Eats the Alphabet (part one)

Patient the snail was small. But, she wanted to grow and she was very smart. She even knew the alphabet.

One morning when she was playing with her best friend Abby, she had a fabulous idea—she could teach Abby the alphabet by eating one thing for each letter of the alphabet. Maybe that would also help her grow.


Patient lived in Mr. Burton’s yard. He had a big vegetable garden, some fruit and ornamental trees, and lots of flowers. Patient told Abby that if they looked hard enough they could find something Patient could eat in Mr. Burton’s yard that started with each letter of the alphabet

Patient started along the ditch bank where she knew Mr. Burton grew some asparagus. She ate two stalks.

Asparagus starts with A, she told Abby. Abby said “A.”

Patient asked Abby if she was from Canada. Abby said “huh?”
“Never mind,” said Patient.

Patient next ate a large banana squash. She offered Abby a bite, but Abby said it didn’t look like a banana. She also thought it may taste better if it were cooked. “Yuck,” said Abby.

Banana squash starts with B.

As she finished the banana squash, Patient saw a beautiful cucumber and ate it, leaving just one bite for Abby. Abby really liked the cucumber, with a little salt. “Maybe my mommy will let me eat more of one,” Abby thought.

Cucumber starts with C.

“See,” said Abby, “I do like some things.“

After eating the cucumber, Patient needed a break. She took a nap. Abby took a nap with her. When they awoke they strolled to the other side of the yard and passed several dandelions. Patient ate two. Abby said “No thanks, my dad said those are weeds.”
“Yes they are,” said Patient, “but awfully tasty weeds.”

Dandelion starts with D.

This, and the rest of the coming alphabet, brought to you by Larry Jenkins (aka, Grandpa) 

Thursday, July 29

Patient and the Sun Search

One morning Patient woke up and felt something important was missing. She couldn’t quite put her one, slightly slimy foot on it. “Is it my antenna?” she asked herself. No, she could feel both antennea on top of her head. “Is it my bed?” No, her bed was just where she had left it last night, underneath her and cozy. Maybe it was her clock. She looked over for her clock and suddenly gasped! The clock was still there, but she could barely see it because it was so dark.

“The sun!” she squealed. “Where’s the sun?” She jumped out of bed and almost stepped on her one roller-skate, it was so dark. “I must ask the others if they’ve seen the sun…maybe they put it somewhere and forgot about it.” She fumbled to her door, leading with her antennae so she wouldn’t bump into anything surprising.

“So this must be what it was like for Edward before we built those windows for him,” she said sadly. “And this is what it will be for all of us if we don’t find the sun.”

She managed to go out the door without hitting herself with them and she only stumbled once or twice going down the front steps, and by the time she got to the Emperor Penguins, she was getting rather good at moving around without the sun. Still, she’d miss the sun; Patient enjoyed a good sunbathing now and then--with snail-appropriate SPF sunscreen, of course.

“Penguini! Penguini!” She knocked on his window until he opened it, rubbing his eye sleepily.

“What is it, Patient?” he said rather crossly. “I was asleep.”

“How can you sleep at a time like this?” Patient snapped back. “The sun is missing!”

“Well, that is something!” Penguini exclaimed. “I like the sun an awful lot—it’s so bright and cheerful. I’ll help you find it, Patient.” He ducked behind the curtain and then popped out of the window, fully dressed and tooth-brushed. “Ready!” he said. “I’m sorry I was cross with you, Patient.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I’m just glad you’re going to help me look for the sun, though.”

They looked for the sun everywhere they thought it might hide: in a cave by the river, high in the branches of a cottonwood tree, behind a haystack, but they couldn’t find it anywhere.

“It’s no use, Patient,” said Penguini. “If the sun were hiding any of these places, it would shine so bright that we’d find it right away.”

Patient thought maybe he was right, but she couldn’t give up. Suddenly she had an idea. “We couldn’t see the light of the sun if it were under the ground!” she exclaimed. “Let’s go ask Roger and Edward—they live under the ground.”

They came to Roger’s hole in the group and stomped as hard as they could on the ground. (That’s what you have to do when you don’t have a front door.) When Roger came up, he looked just as grumpy as Penguini had been.

“What’s this all about?” he asked. “I was peacefully sleeping when…”

“The sun, the sun, Roger!” they shouted excitedly. “We can’t find the sun anywhere.”

Roger’s eyes got wide. “Is that why it’s so dark out here?“

“We thought maybe the sun was underground—can you help us look?”

“Yes, but I bet Edward and all the ants can help more—I just have one little burrow, but they have whole cities underground where the sun might be.”

So they all set out to find Edward the ant.

“Edward, Edward!” they cried at his brand-new window.

“Yes?” he asked, immediately coming to the window.

They were surprised. “We didn’t wake you up?” asked Patient cautiously.

“No,” said Edward. “I always wake up before the sun rises.”

“The sun…rises?” Penguini repeated.

“Yes, just over those mountains,” and he pointed to where, yes, even now there was something white and
bright and beautiful coming through the canyon.

“This happens…often?” asked Roger, fiddling his paws.

“Oh, every morning,” said Edward. “Now what was it that you needed?”

But no one felt like telling him that they thought the sun had gone missing, so they all quietly walked back to their homes, thinking about how silly they had all been. In fact, by the time Patient got back to her little home, she could see quite well enough to climb up the steps easily, get in the door painlessly, avoid the roller-skate and climb back into bed. As she began to doze off, she looked over to make sure it wasn’t her clock that was missing, after all. It wasn’t missing, but it displayed a shockingly small number.

“How funny,” she thought just before falling asleep. “I wonder if everyone else’s clock is broken, too. I must ask them in the morning.”

Story by Mary Hedengren

Wednesday, July 28

Patient and the Pink Cupcake

Patient likes to wake up as soon as the sun peaks over the morning hill. Zip-zip-zoom! She starts her engine and zips around the room, getting dressed and  racing outside to meet the glorious day. 

I wonder what adventures I’ll have today!  She thought as she dashed out the door without her jacket. When she got outside into the fresh morning air, she saw a beautiful pink glow off in the distance. Patient loved anything pink. What could it be? It’s beautiful!

She zip-zip-zoomed toward the pink light, and when she got closer, she saw a sparkling sign over a window. “Tink’s Pink Bakery,” she said, reading the sign out loud. Wow. She zoomed up to the window, where she found a perfectly snail-shaped opening. This must mean I can go in!

The smell of vanilla and cinnamon-spice filled the air. Every shelf on every wall was stacked with purple cakes, red licorice, yellow-frosted sugar cookies, and gingerbread men in formal frosting-wear.  But all of that paled when Patient finally saw where the pink glow was coming from.

It was there, on a table in the center of the room – a pink cupcake, with cherry blossom frosting and pink sugaring dust.  Patient couldn’t take her eyes away. She inched closer, she could smell the sweet frosting. If only she could just taste the tiniest crumb!  I’ll just get a little bit closer, she thought, when she saw a note tucked gently next to the cupcake.  It has my name on it! What could it say?

Dear Patient,
This cupcake was made especially for you. You are a lovely little snail.
Tink the Baker

Patient carefully folded the note into her pocket, and with a zip-zip-zip -zoom, she dove headfirst in to the pink butter cream frosting.

The End

Story by Kristen Eliason

Tuesday, July 27

Patient's Busy Day

When Patient the Snail woke up one summer morning, she could tell it was going to be a wonderful day. How did she know? First, the breeze felt misty, so she knew it had rained during the night. Patient loved the rain! Second, the light around her was warm and cloudy. Patient loved to be outside when the sun was not too bright. Third, and best of all, Patient knew that rainy days were a great time to visit her friend, Izzy the Inchworm, because Izzy also loved to come out after it rained!

Patient uncurled and stretched. She thought about her big plan for the day. Far in the distance, at the very edge of the yard where she lived, Patient could see the top of a daisy bobbing above the grass. The daisy would make a yummy snack. After snack, she could go all the way to the big stone in the corner of the yard, and visit Izzy. There was always a puddle by the stone after it rained, and Izzy and Patient loved to play in it together. After that, it would be time to think about supper and bed. What a good plan!

Patient started on her way. The dirt was nice and wet, which made it easy for her to slip along the path. Patient was so happy, she made up a ‘rainy day’ song to hum as she went.

“Patient, Patient!”

She stopped, surprised.

“Patient, is that you?” a voice called from over a hedge of grass.

Patient knew who that was! “Here I am, Edward,” she answered. Two antennae poked through the hedge, followed by the face of a little ant.

“Oh, I’m so glad to find you!” Edward smiled. His antennae kept twitching the whole time he talked, and his legs did a little dance. Edward liked to keep moving, even when he was standing still. “Can you come with me to the Colony? We need your help!”

Patient thought a minute. The Colony where Edward lived was a whole fallen tree branch past the daisy. If she went with him, she might be gone for a long time. Then she thought about Izzy, and her big plan for the day. Edward danced around her, and back again, while he waited for an answer.

“Of course I will help you, if I can,” answered Patient at last.

“Thank you, thank you!” said Edward. “I knew you would come!”

So they started on their way. Edward could move a lot faster than Patient, but that didn’t bother either of them. He would run ahead, and then run back to tell Patient everything he saw on the path. Each time he returned, he told Patient a little more about the problem at the Colony.

Edward began by explaining about the Big Meeting at the Colony, where the ants decided they were tired of living in the dark, and wanted to build a house above ground instead. Then Edward ran ahead. While he was gone, Patient looked up at the soft clouds, and hummed her rainy day song to herself.

Edward dashed back. “There’s a mulberry just past this curve. We’ll have to go around it. So, the whole Colony has been working on our new house. This morning it was finished, and we all moved in.”

“How exciting!” Patient said. She was very curious about what happened next, but Edward had already raced away.

When he returned, he said, “We’re almost at the daisy. Would you like to stop and rest now?”

That sounded wonderful to Patient, who was very hungry. She ate two whole petals and a leaf! Then, off they went again.

Edward ran ahead, and saw two roly-poly’s and a ladybug on the path. He started to chat with them, and forgot about Patient for a long time. That’s ok, she thought to herself while she made her way carefully around the fallen branch, I will find out the rest of the story when Edward comes back. She was very good at being patient!

Patient stopped to say good afternoon to a blue butterfly, who was in too much of a hurry to answer, and flew away. When Patient finally caught up with Edward, the ladybug was just flying away home. They could hear shouts and calls coming from ahead.

“Oh my goodness,” said Edward. “We’re already here, and I still didn’t tell you our problem! Well, now you’ll see for yourself.”

Together, they went into the clearing. Patient could see a gray mound with tall, smooth walls. Coming in and out of a small door was a line of ants, each of them holding the top of an acorn shell. Whenever the sun broke through the clouds for a moment, the ants would lift their acorns to the sun, and then hurry back into the house again.

“What a beautiful building!” Patient said. “But Edward, what is everyone doing?”

Edward sighed. “It is a beautiful house.” He looked up again at those gray walls. “But we wanted to move above ground so we could have light where we live, and everything inside is still dark!” Edward looked sadly at Patient. “We are trying to catch the light outside and bring it in, but it’s still dark in our house all the time.”

“That is a problem,” Patient agreed. She looked for a long time at the ants’ new home, at the long line of workers rushing back and forth, and at their acorn shells lifted to the sky. “Edward,” she said at last, “I think your new home is not done yet.”

“What do you mean?” Edward looked puzzled. “It has everything our old anthill had, except it’s on top of the ground, not under.”

“Exactly!” Patient smiled. “And homes on top of the ground need windows!”

“What are windows?” asked Edward.

“Windows are holes that you cut into walls to let the light come in,” Patient explained.

Edward’s eyes brightened. His antennae wiggled all around. “What a great idea!” he exclaimed. “Patient, you are a very smart snail!”

Edward told the ants all about windows, and when they opened the first one in their new house, everyone cheered and threw acorn tops into the air to celebrate. Patient’s idea had worked! Then all the ants threw a real house-warming party, and Patient was the guest of honor. They gave her a sweet clover flower to eat, which was one of her favorite treats.

 Now Patient was starting to get tired, so she knew it was time to head back. Edward walked with her, but this time he did not run ahead quite so far, or quite as often as before. Edward was getting tired, too! Once, when he ran ahead, he waited for Patient at the top of a little hill. When Patient caught up, Edward smiled and pointed down – there was a small puddle, with Izzy the Inchworm laughing and splashing in the mud!

All three friends were surprised to see each other, and they played in the puddle together for a long time. At last, it really was almost time for bed. Izzy said goodnight, and started inching sleepily to her hole. Edward yawned, and started walking back to his new home with beautiful windows to look out of at night.

And Patient, who was already home wherever she went, curled happily into her shell at the edge of the mud puddle. This really had been a wonderful, busy day!

Story by Virginia Smith

Monday, July 26

Roger to the Rescue!

Once upon a sunny autumn day in the Woodland Woods, yellow, orange, red and brown leaves were falling gently to the ground.

On the ground was a path on which walked two friends on their way to school. One was a snail named Patient, and the other was a badger named Roger.

“Try and catch one of the falling leaves, Patient!” said Roger as he jumped into the air after a large, red leaf.

So the two friends hopped, leaped, and jumped their way to school.

But then, suddenly, an acorn fell right out of a tree and hit Patient on the head!

Roger cried out, “Patient, Patient! Are you okay?” Patient didn’t answer. Roger thought fast. “I know, the Nurse! I’ll go get the school Nurse!”

Roger turned and began running as fast as his short badger legs would carry him. He reached the school house and ran quickly down the hallway to the school Nurse’s office.

Roger burst through the door, and cried out, “Patient is in trouble! Please come quick, Miss Nurse!” The Nurse, who was a duck, turned toward Roger and quacked out, “Patient is in trouble? Lead me to her, quick!”

So Roger did, and raced back to where Patient lay on the Woodland path. At once, Miss Nurse began checking Patient, seeing where she was hurt. “We were walking to school and catching leaves when an acorn fell on Patient’s head!” explained Roger.

Miss Nurse nodded and quacked, “She’ll be fine once she wakes up. Although she may have a little bump on her head.”

So together they waited until Patient woke up. It didn’t take too long, and soon she opened her eyes and said sleepily, “Don’t let those acorns fall on your head. They kind of hurt!”


story by Lindsey Fisher

Sunday, July 25

The Snail and the Penguin

One day Patient the snail woke up to a strange noise outside her window. She got out of bed and stuck her nose to the glass. Seeing nothing but sunny weather and bright green grass, she went to her front door to go outside and check, just to be sure that nothing was wrong. She walked all the way around her house, but did not see anyone or anything. She stopped to listen, and there was the noise again. It sounded like someone was crying. She squinted her eyes to focus, and started to walk toward the big poplar tree that stood in her front yard. Behind the poplar tree, sitting down and crying his eyes out, was a baby penguin! Oh no, thought Patient. I have to help.

“Excuse me, excuse me. What’s wrong?” asked Patient.

The baby penguin looked up at her and said, sniffling, “I’m lost.”

“Oh,” said Patient. “Well that’s ok, I’ll help you find your way home.”

“How?” asked the penguin.

“Well, what’s your name?” asked Patient.

“It’s Penguini. I’m from very far away.”

Patient thought for a second. She remembered that her neighbors down the street, the Emperor penguins, just had a baby a little while ago. “Well, I don’t think you’re as far away as you think you are,” said Patient. “Why don’t you look over there. Does that look like your house, down the street?”

“I don’t know,” said Penguini. “I was playing with my ball, and now I don’t know where I am.”

“That’s ok,” said Patient. “Why don’t we walk over there and see if that’s your house. If it’s not, then we can look somewhere else.”

“Ok, sure,” said Penguini. “But we have to hold hands if we’re crossing the street.”

“Of course we do!” exclaimed Patient.

Patient and Penguini walked together, hand in hand, past one house, past two houses, past three houses, past four houses, past five houses, and finally at the sixth house they stopped. “Does this look like your house?” asked Patient. All of a sudden Penguini’s eyes lit up – he recognized it!

“Why yes, yes that’s my house!” Penguini said with joy. “This is my house where my mom, and dad, and sister, and brother live! Thank you Patient, you found my home!”

“I’m happy to have helped,” said Patient. The snail and the penguin hugged, and Penguini went into his house, safe and sound.

Story by Lana Rakhman

Friday, July 23

Patient's Birthday Party

Patient the snail was having a birthday party! She invited all of her friends.

The duck waddled in with one big birthday cake.

The zebra brought two pink balloons.

The snake slithered in with three yummy lollipops.

The horse galloped by with four silver whistles.

The tiger came with five pieces of candy.

The flamingo brought six pink ribbons.

The mouse crept in with seven magic wands.

The elephant brought eight salty peanuts.

The frog hopped in with nine shining stars.

And the turtle brought ten party hats for everyone to wear.

Patient was so excited to see all of the birthday surprises.

One big birthday cake, two pink balloons, three yummy lollipops, four silver whistles, five pieces of candy, six pink ribbons, seven magic wands, eight salty peanuts, nine shining stars, and ten party hats for everyone to wear.

Patient danced and sang with all her friends. It was the best birthday party ever.

story by Tamry Juntunen

Thursday, July 22

a poem for Patient

A Snail named Patient-- now that is quite funny
does she have her name on her round little tummy?
I will bet a cute little girl named Abby
gave her that name
When she and Aunt Sarah were playing a game;

But, a Snail named Patient is very sweet
and I bet she is really good enough to eat-ick!!!

So sweet Abby girl, do you have any other names
for the cute little critters in your games?

I bet you can think up some names for a lot more
and I bet it will help to make you not so sore;
I think when you smile and play your game
you will think of another funny name;

Patient, the Snail, is only the start
a sweet girl like you--being so smart
can give the little old Snail another friend from your Heart!!!!

Get better soon sweet little Abby girl--
Love, Marianne Lawrence (my little granddaughter is named Abbey too)

Wednesday, July 21

Patient on a Monday

Patient the Snail

One Monday

Patient the Snail went to the park

He sat on a rock

And then someone looked at him

And then he went away

Story and Illustrations by Garrett Clemens

Patient and the Strawberry Patch

Patient woke up on a ridiculously hot summer afternoon. She climbed out of her hole and blinked into the sun. She had slept in again, which was usual in the summer but she would have to get up very early when school started back up again. She did the regular morning routine of polishing her shell and cleaning her feet off from yesterday.

Patient liked to go on morning walks to wake her up and to feel the cool breeze. Today she would have to go a particularly long way to get to strawberry patch that her friend, Lucy the ladybug, said had the most delicious fruit in the valley.

Patient walked halfway when a flash flood came through the grass making a river that only got larger and larger. “How will I get to the strawberries now?” thought Patient as she stared hopelessly into the puddle of water that used to be the trail. “Maybe it's not as deep as it seems,” said Patient and at that she started to wade into the water. It wasn't that deep at first but the ground beneath her sloped like stairs that seemed to only got down. So Patient swam back to the shore to get her breath back. “I guess I'll just have to go turn around and go home,” said Patient.

She started to turn around when suddenly Patient heard a voice behind her. “Why do you want to go back Patient? I went to the strawberry patch yesterday, they're not bad at all. Let me help you cross the river.” Patient turned around to see no one. “Where are you?” said Patient. “I'm down here!” Patient looked down to see a little ant not bigger than a sunflower seed. “My name is Arty the ant, I know I'm small, but I am very strong. I crossed the river yesterday all by myself. Let me show you how!”

Arty walked over to the dandelions by the bank of the river. “Help me pick this dandelion Patient.” said Arty. So Patient walked over to the dandelion and helped Arty push it over. Arty then pushed and pulled the dandelion so that it touched both ends of the river, like a bridge. He grabbed some grass and fastened it to the ground on one side and then scuttled over and did the same to the other side so that it wouldn't float away. “Thank you so much Arty!” said Patient. “Anytime Patient I'll always be by the river if you need me again later.” “Okay, Thanks for your help!”

Patient crossed the bridge, waved to Arty and hurried down the path. She had walked for an hour or so when she came across a very big peach right in the middle of the path. She couldn't go around it and it was too tall to go over it. Patient started to lose hope when she realized she couldn't do anything about it. So she sat there for a very long time being very patient waiting to see if anything would happen. But nothing did, so she decided to turn back and as she did hit her head on the peach.

“Ow” said Patient as she began to get a headache. Out of nowhere someone said “Who just knocked on my door?” Patient turned around and there stood a worm right inside the peach. “ How long have you been there?” asked the worm. “Over an hour. I am trying to get to the strawberry patch.” said Patient. “Well that's easy!” said the worm. “You can just go through the tunnels of my house. “ Thank you so much!” said Patient. Within five minutes she was back on the trail.

She walked and walked and walked! The path seemed to go on forever when suddenly she could smell the delicious smell of the strawberries. They were just over the hill! She hiked up the hill only to find that there was a gigantic gaping cliff between her and the strawberries. This time she was sure she couldn't get across. She waited for what seemed like forever. When nothing happened she sat down on a rock and started to cry. “I was so close! If only the gap wasn't so big!” she said.

Patient was startled when she heard a loud kerthump, kerthump, kerthump and turned around to face a ginormous robin. Her mind went blank. She didn't know what to do! The robin kept getting closer and closer. When he was finally one inch away he turned his head to her and said... “How would you like a lift across the gorge?” Patient was startled. “ I. . .I would l. . .love to have a ride.” “Well then come on! Don't worry I've been doing this for years!” Patient hopped onto the robin and within a few seconds she was by the strawberry patch. Lucy, her friend came to greet her and they strolled off into the strawberry patch where they spent the rest of the day eating strawberries until they were stuffed.

The End

story by Claire Jenkins

Tuesday, July 20

Patient the Snail Sees Australia

Did you know there was a place far away down under called Australia? There is and it has magical animals that aren’t found anywhere else, but there are also beautiful snails, including a snail named Patient. A snail with a beautiful pink shell to be exact!

One day Patient when for a bit of a stroll. A very, very slow stroll, but a stroll just the same, and along the way, she met a platypus lazing along in a billabong near the head of a river. The platypus was very happy just to be swimming along looking for bugs and grubs to eat to get stronger and stronger to feed her baby platypus. She had laid an egg that was inside her pouch for a platypus has a secret! A platypus is a monotreme. “A what?” said Patient. “ A monotreme. A mammal that lays eggs. There are only two of us in the whole world and I’m one of them. My baby is no bigger than you and can’t move any faster than you do!” Patient was amazed at this new information in this new world she was discovering.

As Patient moved along the path she saw two very, very strange looking creatures ambling along slowly. They looked a bit like porcupines, but they had big webbed feet with claws for digging, very long noses, and even longer tongues. They were a pair of echidnas and she spoke to them softly, “Hello”, she said, “my name is Patient.” The two very shy echidnas were startled and they began to burrow quickly to make a safe hole in the ground where they could turn themselves into prickly balls and protect their soft undersides.

“I’m sorry,” said Patient, “I didn’t mean to startle you. I’m a bit shy myself and I’ve never been to this magical land called Australia. I just met the most unusual duck called a Platypus and she told me about herself.” The echidnas giggled a bit at hearing the platypus called a duck, but they understood. “Well," said one of the echidnas, "we’ll tell you something about ourselves that, believe it or not, is the same as a platypus.”

“You don’t look anything like them,” exclaimed Patient. “Well we don’t look alike and we don’t like water, but we are the only other monotreme in the whole world. We are mammals that lay eggs and when our babies hatch they are called PUGGLES!!! Our puggles are only as big as a jelly bean, but when they get a bit bigger and they get spikes too we have to send them on their way to find their own ants and termites.” Patient was absolutely fascinated by the spiny echidnas, but it was time to move further down the path.

Patient waved good-bye to the echidnas and thanked them for being her friends, then as she moved along the path she saw sitting on a branch three very, very noisy kookaburras. Oh how they laughed and laughed. Patient thought they were laughing at her, and at first she was very sad, but she found that they were just a couple of very, very silly birds and that they simply loved to laugh at anything. Patient gave in and began to laugh quietly to herself as she went slowly down the path.

Patient could still hear the kookaburras’ loud laughter when she came upon a family of four furry wombats! “Oh my!” she cried softly! "What are these wonderful creatures? They look a bit like teddy bears.” She watched them all sleeping on their backs with their legs straight up in the air! They looked as if they were so content she decided not to disturb them, but she did get close enough to see a baby wombat rub his eyes and look around long enough to spot his momma then doze back off into a sweet slumber.

Patient was getting a bit tired, but she was so excited to learn about all of the new animals she had discovered in Australia that when she heard the crackle of leaves above her in a eucalyptus tree she looked straight up to find a bear! “Are you a bear?” she called as loudly as her little voice would carry. “Nope!” not a bear replied a sleepy koala. “I’m a koala and I’m a marsupial, just like the wombat you just passed by. I can see that wombat family from up in my tree and they haven’t moved a bit. Of course I’m not one to talk since I rarely do much moving either. I prefer to spend the day in my tree sleeping almost all day long. I have such long, long claws that I can hang onto a branch easily and when I do wake up I eat for a couple of hours and go back to sleep.” Would you like to try one of my gum leaves?” Patient was a little more than hungry so she accepted the invitation as the leaf floated to the ground directly in front of her. She nibbled just a bit at a corner and spat out the chewed up leaf. The koala giggled a bit under her breath, “Oops! Sorry, I forgot to warn you that most other creatures find our leaves pretty bitter. It was nice making your acquaintance though,” the koala said with a yawn.

So many creatures that moved almost as slowly as she did in this incredible country of wonder!

But then, the most amazing animals of them all went bounding so quickly by Patient she could hardly tell what had happened! They were tall and red and some were grey and they had the biggest feet! Their legs were so strong they could move like lightning and their tails were almost as big as their legs and helped them keep their balance when suddenly they stopped and began grazing in the grasses. And then the most amazing thing of all happened! Smaller versions of these creatures poked their heads out of a pocket in the front of their mothers and found their way to the earth to begin hopping around a bit on their own looking for food. Patient caught the attention of one of the smaller animals and called out, “Hey! Don’t step on me! My name is Patient and I want to know more about you!” The small kangaroo turned around quickly and put her nose close to Patient and said, “Haven’t you ever seen a Joey before? I’m a Joey, but my mom and dad are just called kangaroos. We love to jump around and play fight and lay about in the sun. The best part is I get to ride in my mother’s pouch on long trips and it’s like flying through the air! Soon I’ll be old enough to stay up with the group and my baby brother will take my place in the pouch!”

Patient had never heard of anything so astonishing in all her life. It was one thing to carry her house on her back, but to ride inside a pouch as her mother virtually flew over the land was something all together different and astounding.

And so after a long day Patient found a place near a cool rock and she laid down for a good snooze and dreamt of the new friends she’d met and tried to think how she would ever explain them all to her friends when she got back home to her little corner of Seattle, Washington.

story by Annie Kosten