his is the story of a little squirrel named Skip. Skip lived with his Mom and Dad, inside a very tall tree in the backyard.
But before we get to the story, you should know something about squirrels. Every squirrel is different, and every one has a , something he or she can do better than just about anyone else. Some can climb higher, some can run faster, and some can tell jokes better than all the other squirrels. This is the story of how Skip discovered his special talent. OK, let’s get to the story...
It was a beautiful summer afternoon, and Skip decided it would nice to relax on the swing. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and a few fluffy white clouds floated slowly across the sky. It was the perfect day to be doing nothing much at all.
Suddenly, another squirrel hopped into the yard. It was Zack, Skip's friend from the big tree on the corner. "Hi Skip. Are you on the swing?" asked Zack. "Well, yes. I am,” answered Skip. Zack pointed across the yard. "Guess what? I just had a great idea! Let's race!" Skip sighed. "I don't want to race. You always win."
Zack ignored him. "We'll start here, climb up the fence, then run across the yard. Whoever reaches the grill first is the winner!" Skip looked over at the fence. He thought about it for a moment. He a pretty good climber. And the grill wasn’t far away. Skip figured he might have a chance to win. "OK, let’s go!" he said.
But before Skip could even jump off the swing, Zack was off and running! Skip ran after him. He moved his legs as fast as he could. But Zack was already running up the side of the fence! "No fair!" Skip yelled.
They ran across the top of the fence. They ran past the potted plant. Skip was catching up! The grill was just ahead. Skip was running as fast as he could. But it was no use.
"Hooray! I'm the fastest!" yelled Zack. "My paws can really move! Did you see me?" "I saw you running before the race started," said Skip. "I think that's cheating." "I'm still fastest," said Zack. Skip was not happy. Because even though Zack had cheated, Skip knew Zack really was faster. Zack always won when they raced.
Suddenly, Skip smelled something. He stopped, and sniffed the air. "What's going on?" asked Zack. "Is it a cat?" "No," said Skip. "It's dinner." "How do you know?" "Well, can't you smell it?" asked Skip.
Skip’s mom appeared at the door of their tree. "Skip! Time for dinner! Come on up!" "Gotta go," Skip said to his friend. "We'll run another race tomorrow," said Zack. "I'll change the course. We'll start at this plant, go to the front yard, then come back to the swing set..."
But Skip just waved as he scampered off to his tree. He could smell the food. Smelled like... was it pine nuts? No... was it walnuts? No... It was... Acorns were his favorite! He ran up the tree and into the kitchen.
Skip’s mom had already set the table and was scooping out the food. "Did you wash your paws, Skip? We're having fried acorns for dinner!" "Wow! Thanks mom!" said Skip. "I love fried acorns! You're the best mom I ever had." "That's very sweet of you to say," Mom replied. As he dug into the food, Skip almost forgot about losing the race.
"Hiya, son!" Skip's dad said as he came into the kitchen. "How's my boy?" "Alright" said Skip. "What kind of an answer is that?" said Dad. "You don't sound very happy."
Skip looked down at his dinner. "Zack beat me in a race again. I'm too slow at running," he sighed. "Slow? Are you kidding? I was watching you from the window. You were running like your tail was on fire!" "Zack's paws just move faster than mine. He always wins!"
"It's not all about being better than others," said Mom. "What's important is doing your best at whatever you choose to do."
"That's right!" said Dad, sitting down at the table. "Listen, we’ve got plates full of yummy acorns and cups filled with apple juice. What more could a squirrel want?" Skip laughed, and started eating. He soon forgot about the race.
The next day, Skip was in the yard again. Zack was back, but instead of racing, the friends were taking turns trying to balance an acorn on their nose. It wasn’t easy!
Another squirrel hopped into the yard. It was Ben, their friend from up the street. "Hi guys!" he called. "We're balancing acorns." said Zack. "Want to try?"
Ben put the acorn on his head. "How's this? Like my new hat?" he said. Zack and Skip laughed.
"Now look, it's a giant nose!" Ben said. Zack and Skip laughed even harder. "Do you have another acorn?" asked Ben. "I have a funny idea!"
Zack looked in the grass. “I don't see anything around here. Nope, sorry, Ben." Ben frowned. "That's too bad. It was going to be hilarious."
"Wait a minute," said Skip. "I think I know where to find one! I can smell it! Come on, follow me!”
Skip's nose twitched. He stopped. There was an acorn around here somewhere. He closed his eyes, concentrating. Suddenly, Skip opened his eyes and ran across the yard. Ben and Zack followed, trying to figure out what he was doing.
"Here it is!" said Skip. He lifted a big acorn out of the grass. "Catch!" He tossed the acorn to Ben.
Ben put the acorns on his head. "Look at me! Like my new earmuffs?" Skip and Zack laughed. Now, that was funny!
That night, as Mom tucked him into bed, Skip was excited to tell her about his discovery. "Mom, guess what?" he said. "I figured out something I can do better than anyone! Even better than Zack!" "Did you beat him in a race?" Mom asked. "No, my nose! My nose is better than his. It's better than anyone's!"
Mom sat down on the edge of the bed. "Your nose? What do you mean?" "Mommy, I can smell things before I can see them!" “Wow, that’s really great.” she said.
“Mommy, that means that I found something that makes me different! Something that makes me special!” Mom leaned over and held his hand. “You will always be special to me.” She kissed him. “Good night, little squirrel,” she said. “Good night, Mommy,” said Skip.
After she left, Skip looked up at the ceiling. He couldn’t sleep. He had finally learned what special talent was.
The next morning, at breakfast, Skip told Dad about his discovery. "We were looking for a nut, and I found it first. Can you guess why? Because I could smell it!" "You could smell the nut?" Dad said. "That's really cool. You know, for us squirrels, nut-finding a very important skill." "Yes," said Skip. "I know."
"Honey, you should take him out gathering acorns today," said Mom. "Wait a minute, there. He’s just a kid," said Dad. "He doesn't know anything about finding nuts. That takes a lot of skill." "Come on," said Mom. "Give him a shot."
Dad looked at Skip, thinking. Finally, he said, "OK, let's do it! We'll see if that nose of yours can find some juicy acorns!"
Skip couldn’t wait!
After breakfast, Skip and Dad headed down to the yard. "Now Skipper,” Dad said, “the first thing you have to know about finding acorns is that they sometimes fall out of the tree during the night. So in the morning, there are usually some really fresh ones in the grass. Let's look around a bit and see if we can find any."
Dad started walking slowly through the grass, squinting at the ground. “You have to pay very close attention. They could be anywhere. Watch how I do it.”
But Skip didn’t watch. While Dad was poking through the grass, Skip smelled something. Something yummy! He hurried off, following his nose!
Sure enough, he found an acorn! He brought it over to Dad. "It was by the fence. Smells really fresh!" Skip said. Dad sniffed the acorn. "Wow, it does smell fresh! Um, are there any others around here?" Skip sniffed the air. there... He ran to the middle of the yard. he thought. Something over
"Here's one!" Skip kicked it over to Dad. "Wow, this is a good one. Nice work!" Skip sniffed around some more. After a few minutes, he found another one. And another!
In no time at all, they had a whole pile of nuts. "Skipper, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Your nose found a bushel of acorns! It would have taken me all day to find these!"
At lunchtime, they hauled the acorns into the house. "Whoa!” said Mom, “Look at all of those!" "Guess what we did, Mommy!" said Skip. "We found a lot of nuts!" "I don't know how that kid does it," said Dad. "But his nose knows! And where his nose goes, that's where we’d go!"
"I don't even know where to put all of these," said Mom. "I think we'll have to bury some for winter." "I want to eat them for lunch! I want to eat all of them!" Skip said. Mom laughed. "Well, you can have as many as you want. You found them, so you deserve it!"
When it was finally time to eat, Skip couldn't stop smiling. He wasn’t just smiling because he had a big pile of acorns on his plate. He was also smiling because he had finally learned something very important. He might not be as fast as Zack, or as funny as Ben. But he learned that he had a special talent too.