Jimmy Skunk Consults His Friends
Jimmy Skunk scratched his head thoughtfully as he watched Old Mr. Toad go down the Lone Little Path, hop, hop, hipperty-hop, towards the Smiling Pool. Jimmy Skunk was certainly puzzled. If Old Mr. Toad had told him that he could fly, Jimmy would not have been more surprised, or found it harder to believe than that Old Mr. Toad had a singing voice. The truth is, Jimmy didn’t believe it. He thought that Old Mr. Toad was trying to fool him.
Presently Peter Rabbit came along. He found Jimmy Skunk doing some hard thinking. Jimmy had quite forgotten to look for fat beetles and he was puzzling over his chance encounter with Old Mr. Toad.
“Hello, old striped-coat, what have you got on your mind this fine morning?” asked Peter Rabbit.
“Him,” said Jimmy simply, pointing down the Lone Little Path.
Peter looked. “Do you mean Old Mr. Toad?” he asked.
Jimmy nodded. “Do you see anything odd about him?” he inquired.
Peter stared down the Lone Little Path. “No,” he replied, “except that he seems in a great hurry.”
“Well, that’s just it,” Jimmy returned promptly. “Did you ever see him hurry unless he was frightened?”
Peter confessed that he never had.
“Well, he isn’t frightened now and yet just look at him go,” replied Jimmy. “Says he has a singing voice, and that he has to take part in the spring chorus at the Smiling Pool and that he is late.”
Peter looked very hard at Jimmy to see if he was fooling or telling the truth.
“Old Mr. Toad can sing? And he is a member of a chorus? This I’ve got to see!” said Peter with great curiosity.
Jimmy grinned. “I think he’s crazy, if you ask me,” he said. “And yet he was just as earnest about it as if it were really so. I think he must have eaten something that has gone to his head. There’s Billy Possum over there. Let’s ask him what he thinks.”
So Jimmy and Peter joined Billy, and Jimmy told the story about Old Mr. Toad all over again. Billy chuckled and then said “ I learned long ago that I will always have more to learn about my neighbors. Seems to me we’ve overlooked something about Old Mr. Toad. Let’s all go down to the Smiling Pool and see what this is all about.”
“Oh yes, let’s go!” cried Peter, kicking up his heels. You know Peter is always ready to go anywhere or do anything that will satisfy his curiosity.
Jimmy Skunk thought it over for a few minutes, and then he decided that as he hadn’t anything in particular to do, and as he might find some fat beetles on the way, he would go too. So off they started after Old Mr. Toad, Peter Rabbit in the lead as usual, Billy Possum next, grinning as only he can grin, and in the rear Jimmy Skunk, taking his time and keeping a sharp eye out for fat beetles.
- What animals always seem to be in a hurry when they move? What animals seem to keep a slow steady pace? How about insects – slow ones? fast ones?
- Why does Jimmy Skunk like beetles so much? What else do skunks eat? Does Peter Rabbit like beetles too?
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The Burgess Animal Story for Children, The Burgess Bird Story for Children, and The Adventures of __________ series (Paddy the Beaver, Lightfoot the Deer, Old Mr. Toad, etc.), are all originally authored by Thornton Burgess and are now available to you through P.L.A.Y.
P.L.A.Y. has provided new online versions of these updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classics to:
- be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
- highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about the fields and forests through these animal story adventures
- create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
- encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.