jayellebee's Blog

March 24, 2011

A Birthday Present for Nolan

Filed under: Highlights Magazine "Early Readers" story — Joanne @ 2:54 pm

(An “Early Readers” story is written with the repetition, simple vocabulary, and sentence structure young children enjoy.  I chose the names Nolan and Anna in honor of my great-nephew and great-niece.) 

     Nolan’s mother took him to the pet store with his brothers, Ron and Matt.  Ron needed food for his bunny.  Matt wanted a toy for his bird.

     Nolan looked at red and blue striped fish while he waited.  Air bubbled to the top of the fish tank.  Nolan leaned close to the glass.  Could he hear the bubbles pop?

     “Can I have a pet?” Nolan asked.

     “You can’t take care of a pet,” Ron said.  “You’re too little.”

     “I’m almost seven,” Nolan said.  “I can take care of a pet.”

     “You won’t be gentle with a pet,” Matt said.  “You’re too little.”

     “My birthday is next week,” Nolan said.  “I can be gentle.”

     “You can’t keep a pet’s cage neat,” Mom said.  “You’re to little.”

     Nolan went to this room when he got home.  Lego blocks dotted the floor.  Toy cars and Army men hid the top of his desk.  Books flopped open on a shelf.  Nolan’s pajamas peeked out of the sheets.

     “My room is not neat,” Nolan said.

     He dropped the Legos into a bin.  He parked the cars on his shelf.  He stacked the books, leaving One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish on top.

     “Time for you to go home,” Nolan told the Army men.  He marched them into their case.

     Nolan made his bed and put his pajamas away.  He smiled.  He could be neat.

     The door bell rang.  Nolan heard Uncle Chad say hello to Mom.  Then baby Anna cried.

     “Hi, Uncle Chad,” Nolan said.  “Why’s Anna crying?”

     “She’s hungry, Nolan,” Uncle Chad said.  “Can you get her bottle?”

     Nolan found the baby bottle in Anna’s pink diaper bag.  Uncle Chad sat Anna on the floor.  Nolan sat in front of her.  He hid his face with his hands.  Anna stopped crying.

     “Peek-a-boo,” Nolan said, lowering his hands.

     Anna laughed.  He tickled her tummy with one finger.

     “You’re very gentle, Nolan,” Uncle Chad said.  “Do you want to feed Anna her bottle?”

     Uncle Chad lifted Anna onto Nolan’s lap  Anna helped hold the bottle with her little fingers.  She closed her eyes and drank.  Tiny white bubbles floated in Anna’s bottle, then popped.

     “Thank you for helping take care of Anna,” Uncle Chad told Nolan.  “You’re really getting to be a big boy.”

     Mom looked at Uncle Chad.  Then she looked at Nolan holding Anna.

     “Yes,” Mom said, kissing the back of Nolan’s neck.  “Nolan is growing up.”

     That night, Mom and Dad told Nolan he could have a pet for his birthday.

     “Wow, thanks,” Nolan said.  “I know just what I want.”

     “A bunny?” Ron asked.

     “No,” Nolan said, shaking his head.

     “A bird?” Matt asked.

     “No,” Nolan said again.

     “What, then?” Dad asked.

     “A fish,” Nolan said.  “And a tank full of bubbles.”



  1. Joanne, Congratulations! It looks like you sold the story to Highlights. Has it published yet?

    Comment by Chris Pedersen — March 24, 2011 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  2. Simply wonderful!!!

    Comment by Bee Hylinski — March 24, 2011 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  3. I love this little boy Nolan, his reality check-in (my room’s not neat), his fixing the specific disarray, his good nature and serious determination, his sweetness with Baby Anna. And the motif of bubbles moving throughout. Lovely story. Lovely child. Well told.

    Comment by Jean G — March 25, 2011 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

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