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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Penny the Puppy

Fairy Animals of Misty Wood

Fairy Animals of Misty Wood (Volume 11)

Lily Small

Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks

MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK

CHAPTER ONE

School Bells


Penny the Puppy loved going to school. She loved playing with her friends. She loved her teacher, Miss Pammy. And she loved learning how to be a good little Pollen Puppy.

There was just one problem. The Fairy Animals of Misty Wood went to school outdoors. And on sunny spring mornings, there was no place in the world more glorious than Misty Wood.

There were flowers blooming all around, trees rustling in the breeze, and the sky was always a brilliant shade of sapphire blue. There were so many beautiful things to gaze at that it was hard for Penny to concentrate on her lessons!

Today, the young Pollen Puppies were having a lesson in Bluebell Glade. Penny looked around at the carpet of violet blossoms swaying in the warm breeze. She sniffed deeply as their sweet perfume wafted over her, blending with the fresh, earthy smell of Misty Wood. Mmm—it was lovely!

Penny closed her big chocolaty-brown eyes for a moment. She imagined herself rolling around and around in the flowers, until her golden fur was covered in their scent.

A gentle voice interrupted her daydream. “Didn’t you get enough sleep last night, Penny?”

Penny’s eyes flew open wide. Oops! Her teacher had caught her daydreaming again.

“N-no, miss,” said Penny. “I mean, yes.” She sighed dreamily and tried to explain. “It’s just that the bluebells are so pretty and sweet smelling. I was wondering what it would be like to roll around in them.”

“The bluebells are beautiful, Penny,” Miss Pammy said kindly. “But today’s lesson is very important, so please pay attention.”

Then Miss Pammy turned back to the rest of the class. “As you know, all the fairy animals in Misty Wood have important jobs to do,” she said. “We are Pollen Puppies, so we flick our tails to send pollen into the air. Can anyone tell me why?”

Penny’s friend Perry, a perky little puppy with brown and white patches, flapped his sparkling wings frantically. “To make more flowers grow!” he answered.

Miss Pammy smiled. “That’s correct, Perry.”

Penny sighed. She wished she could be clever like Perry. He never seemed to get distracted.

“But it’s important to flick only five flowers at a time,” Miss Pammy said. “Otherwise you will fill the air with too much pollen.” Gazing around at the eager puppies, she asked, “Does anyone know why we don’t want too much pollen in the air?”

Once again, Perry knew the answer. He bounced up and down, wagging his tail furiously until Miss Pammy called on him. “Because it will make other fairy animals sneeze, miss!” he said.

Fluttering over to a cluster of bluebells, Miss Pammy showed the class what to do.

Everyone counted along as she wagged her fluffy tail over five stems of bluebells. Every time her tail swished over a flower, a little cloud of pollen floated into the air.

“Now it’s your turn,” Miss Pammy told the class. “I want you to spread out and practice counting to five.”

Bluebell Glade was suddenly filled with a flurry of sparkling wings. They glittered like jewels in the sunlight as Pollen Puppies flew around, looking for a good spot to practice counting.

Penny landed softly among a cluster of bluebells. Nearby, Perry was already hard at work. His brown tail flicked back and forth over the flowers as he loudly counted to five.

Determined to show her teacher that she had been paying attention, Penny brushed her tail over one flower.

“ONE,” she said loudly as a puff of pollen rose into the air.

“TWO,” she said, carefully wagging her tail over another graceful stem of bluebells.

“THREE,” she said, sweeping her tail over a third stem.

Penny took a deep breath, enjoying the delicious scent of the bluebells. Then she shook her head and forced herself to concentrate. She didn’t want to make a mistake.

What comes after three? she asked herself.

As she tried to remember, Penny peered down at the delicate bluish-purple flower by her paws. With their curling petals, the dainty blossoms really did look like tiny bells.

Her ears pricked up with curiosity. Penny wondered what bluebells would sound like if they could make music. She was sure it would be a sweet, chiming sound. Suddenly, Penny imagined a tune played by hundreds of bluebells tinkling on the breeze.

The song was so lively that Penny couldn’t resist dancing. Fluttering her glittering wings and swishing her tail back and forth to the rhythm, Penny danced around Bluebell Glade to the imaginary sound of a bluebell band.

“La, di-da, la-la,” she sang happily, under her breath. “La-la-la—”

Suddenly, a very loud noise interrupted the music in Penny’s head.

“Ahhhhhh-CHOOOOO!”

It was Chloe the Cobweb Kitten, flying back from her morning duty of decorating cobwebs with sparkling dewdrops. Her pretty eyes were streaming, and her pink nose twitched as she sneezed again and again.

Penny looked up in dismay. All around her was a huge cloud of pollen, drifting into the sky. She’d lost count of how many bluebells she was flicking!

“I’m so sorry!” Penny called to Chloe. But the Cobweb Kitten couldn’t reply. She sneezed and spluttered as she tried to get away from the pollen.

Miss Pammy hurried over. “Penny! How many bluebells did you flick?”

Penny hung her head. “I’m not sure, miss. I counted to three, but then I started thinking about bluebells making music and … er … I lost count.”

“It’s lovely that you have such a big imagination, Penny.” Miss Pammy sighed. “But being a Pollen Puppy is a very important job. And to do it properly, you need to be able to count.”

“I’m sorry, miss,” Penny said sadly, her eyes brimming with tears.

“Let’s try again,” her teacher said gently. “You said you flicked three bluebells. So if you flicked two more, how many bluebells would that make altogether?”

“Er … four?” Penny guessed.

Miss Pammy shook her head sadly. “No, dear.”

Perry bounded over. “The answer’s five!” he barked.

As usual, Perry was right.

“I’m never going to be a good Pollen Puppy,” Penny whimpered, her pink wings drooping.

Her teacher patted her with a soft paw. “Of course you will,” she said. “You just need to concentrate harder on your schoolwork, and practice your counting. Can you try that for me?”

Penny’s wings perked up again. “I will,” she promised, nodding so hard that her ears flapped. “I’m going to learn how to count to five today, and by tomorrow I’ll be perfect at it!”

Penny was determined to be a good Pollen Puppy and make Miss Pammy proud. She would learn how to count to five—even if it meant never daydreaming again!


Text copyright © 2015 by Houthouse Fiction Ltd

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Kirsteen Harris Jones