When Mrs. Calliope introduced Isabelle to the first grade
She said politely,
"Isabelle, tell us about yourself."
" I have a mom, a dad, a baby sister,
and 37 monkeys at my house," said Isabelle.
The children just looked at her,
Their mouths dropped open,
"Thirty-seven monkeys?" they asked.
"Oh, Isabelle," Tommy said, You can't have-
"Now Tommy, remember your manners. Isabelle is our new classmate,"
Mrs. Calliope reminded the children.
"Yes Ma'am," said Tommy.
For show and tell on Friday,
Mindy brought her Prissy doll with curly red hair,
Alex brought his giant Fairy Tale Bedtime Story Book,
And he wanted
Mrs. Calliope to read all of the stories.
Mrs. Calliope said, "Maybe one story after lunch"
Isabelle stood up when it was her turn and said,
"We have a new baby elephant. Her name is Itchy."
"Oh, Isabelle," said all of the boys-and they shook their heads.
"Oh, Isabelle," said the girls, "Not a baby elephant, too."
"Oh, yes," said Isabelle, "and Itchy's mommy is an elephant, too."
"Oh, Isabelle," said all of the children-
and they wiggled on their spots on the carpet.
"Regular people can't have elephants and monkeys!
Your house is too little for elephants and monkeys."
"We have a bear, too, said Isabelle.
"Oh, Isabelle," said the children.
Four boys rolled off of the carpet and
three girls put their heads in their hands.
Mrs. Calliope frowned at the children and shook her head .
"Oh, Isabelle," she said quietly.
The next day of school, the first bell rang and
all of the children came into the classroom,
hung up their backpacks,
and went to their seats to start working on their journals-
all except Isabelle.
Timmy said, Well, I guess Isabelle had to take care of the wild animals.
Mrs. Calliope said, "Timmy, remember your manners!"
The tardy bell rang and Isabelle came to the door with her
They were both out of breath and her mother said,
"Mrs. Calliope, I'm sorry were late,
but our gorilla just had a new baby and
I couldn't get Isabelle to the bus on time.
Mrs. Calliope heard the whispers beginning-"a new baby gorilla?"
"Does Isabelle live in the ZOO?"
"I wonder if they have any alligators or dinosaurs?"
giggled Hannah and Susannah, the curly redheaded twins.
When Isabelle sat in her chair,
Mrs. Calliope went out into the hall to talk with Isabelle's mother.
She came back into the room with a smile on her face.
At the end of the day, she handed the children a note
to give to their parents.
It was a permission slip to go on a field trip-to the City Zoo.
"I have a surprise for you, class," she explained.
" We will be going on a field trip to the zoo on Friday.
You should bring your lunch and two quarters to buy a soft drink."
On Friday morning, twenty-one giggling children,
and one teacher
climbed on the bus to go to the zoo.
Instead of going to the front gate,
the bus went to the back of the zoo.
The children saw three houses,
one van, two cars,
and one truck parked beside the houses.
Isabelle sat up excitedly and said,
"See that house with the swings and the big peacock in the yard-
The children said, "Really Isabelle, you do live at the zoo!'
My daddy is a veteranirian-that's an animal doctor and
he takes care of the animals, he even gives them shots,"
Isabelle's mother showed the children all of the special places at the zoo.
They got to see
the new gorilla which they called Baby,
and Itchy, the new baby elephant,
seven kinds of lizards in cages,
black bears, brown bears,
and even a polar bear.
They ate their lunches under a big shade tree in Isabelle's
and then went to see the sea lions swimming in their swimming pool.
Isabelle's daddy showed them his office and the special room
that the zoo keepers
use to mix milk for some of the baby animals.
At the end of the day,
the children thanked Isabelle's parents for showing them all around the zoo.
Tommy decided that he wanted to be a Vet when he grew up,
Mindy decided that she wanted to be Isabelle's new best friend,
And Mrs. Calliope took twenty-one tired children back to the class.
The children said, "Oh, Isabelle, you are so lucky to live at the zoo!"
The next day they drew beautiful pictures of the animals and
hung them up on the wall.
E-mail Diana Jenness