by McGirt-Horton Library patrons in collaboration with with Susie Wilde, Fall, 2005
In a green, green garden lived a sunflower named Sunnie. She had everything a flower needs to be happy – shining sun, plenty of rain, gentle breeze, a strong stem, and healthy leaves. Ant, Bee, Spider, Snail, and Snake visited often. But watching her friends dance and wriggle and fly made her roots feel pinched. She tried and tried to yank her roots out of the ground. She’d even asked Ant to dig her out and set her free.
“You need your roots planted deep in the earth,” Ant told her, “I bet someday, somehow, somebody will help you.”
“I wish I could dance, or wriggle, or fly,” Sunnie sighed.
Suddenly a loud POUF interrupted the quiet of the garden filling it with with pink and purple dust.
“What going on?” Spider asked as a strange man appeared. He had small eyes and huge glasses perched on his tiny nose. His long blue-black robe flowed like the garden creek. He reached into a bag that looked as empty as winter and pulled out an enormous book and a golden wand with a silver star on top. “I am a wizard and I have come to bring you two special gifts,” he said.
“What did I tell you? It’s the Somebody,” whispered Ant.
“The first gift is a wonderful book and the second is a far greater gift—the gift of reading! Though your roots are stuck in the ground, your imagination can soar and books can take you on adventures anywhere!” He waved his wand over Sunnie.
“Wow! Your face is as glittery as morning dew,” Spider said to Sunnie.
Sunnie’s leaves curled around the book. She glanced down. “It says, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! I can read!” she cried, and happiness bloomed in her heart.
The wizard turned, muttered a spell, unzipped the sky and floated up a staircase till he vanished. Snake, Ant, Snail, Spider, and Bee watched in amazement. Sunnie stared at the book, turned its pages and began to read aloud. Her voice was so sugary you could eat it. Her words sent them to places they had never been where they met characters they couldn’t have imagined.
As the light faded, Bee buzzed around Sunnie’s head, “Let me see!” he cried.
Snake slithered up Sunnie’s stalk. “We have to climb all the way up to see the pictures!” he protested. “We need books, too!”
Soon Ant, Snail and Spider were complaining and the garden grew noisy with their fussing. Sunnie couldn’t even hear the birds’ last song of the day. “We want to read. Will you teach us, Sunnie, please?” begged Spider.
Sunnie trembled with frustration till she almost shook her petals loose. To quiet her friends she promised, “We’ll start tomorrow, but remember we only have one book. We have to share.” She was relieved when darkness crept over the garden. Soon a soft rain began to fall, and her friends danced and wriggled and flew away. Sunnie tucked the book beneath her largest leaf to protect it and went to sleep.
The next morning, her garden friends were back, hollering as loud as thunder. “We need books, too!” Snake cried.
“Teach us!” Spider yelled.
Sunnie couldn’t calm them down so they could learn. “You’re getting on my nerves,” she said and the book tumbled from her quivering leaves.
“Gimme that book!” Snake shouted. He snatched it up, wrapped himself around it and dragged it over the muddy ground.
“Be careful,” Sunny warned.
Angry Bee flew at Snake. She missed him, but her stinger poked tiny holes in the book. Ant and Snail grabbed a page and pulled so hard they tore it. Spider tried to save the book by spinning a web around it, but only broke the spine. Within minutes, Sunnie’s friends had destroyed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She looked down at her friends who stared up at her.
“We wanted a book, too,” Snail said sadly.
“We’re sorry we wrecked your book,” Ant apologized.
“That’s okay,” said Sunnie, trying not to cry. You’re right, you need books, too. But I don’t know how we can get them,” Sunnie told her friends as they danced and wriggled and flew away.
Within hours, Bee came back. “Sunnie, I was gathering pollen when I saw a huge building. People were going in with nothing and coming out with books!”
“That’s pretty cool,” Sunnie said, “Maybe you can fly in and bring some back.”
“I can’t carry books. All of us together couldn’t carry one single book.” Bee buzzed so angrily that Sunnie’s friends came wriggling and dancing and flying from all over the garden.
As Sunnie watched Bee an idea blossomed in her mind. “Maybe we can get books by writing the humans a message.” Quickly Sunnie taught her friends how to form the letters they needed. Her friends gathered their friends and together they followed Bee back to the big building.
They arrived as the sun was setting. First Spider spun a silken web of words. Then Snail continued with a silver trail of script. An army of ants arranged themselves into letters while a slew of snakes curled into shapes. Bees flew in formation to make a huge exclamation point.
A woman with kind hazel eyes and skin as brown as soil stared out the window at them. Her arms were full of books and her eyes were full of wonder. “What in the world?!” she exclaimed and began to puzzle out the words. “We need books, too!’ ” she read. “Mr. McGirt, Mr. Horton,” she called, “Gather books about gardens and seeds and stories. Everybody wants books!”
Two hours later a pair of strong librarians pushed a cart of books into the green, green garden led by creatures who danced and wriggled and flew right up to a sunflower whose face gleamed with happiness knowing that soon she and all her friends would read happily ever after.