Spring According to Humphrey

Spring According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney Read Free Book Online

Book: Spring According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betty G. Birney
her, I’d have to get there before Aldo closed the blinds.
    ‘Hello, friend!’ I greeted her as I slid under the door of Room 12.
    ‘Humphrey!’ she answered. ‘I was hoping you’d come. I have some questions.’
    I swung my way up to the table and hurried over to her cage. It was still light outside, so I could see her better than I could during the winter. I was very impressed with her dark brown fur coat. It wasn’t golden, but it was SHINY-SHINY-SHINY.
    ‘Did you hear about Family Fun Night?’ she asked. ‘We’re going to be clowns.’
    ‘I know,’ I answered. ‘My friends were disappointed. They wanted to be clowns, too.’
    Gigi shook her head. ‘I don’t think I’ll make a very good clown.’
    ‘Of course you will,’ I said. ‘Just act silly.’
    Gigi was silent before she finally said, ‘I’m not sure guinea pigs are silly.’
    I wasn’t sure, either. ‘Ms Mac will help you. She always does.’
    Gigi cheered up a little. ‘That’s right. She’ll help. What is your classroom doing?’
    I explained that we were still trying to decide. ‘But I wanted to tell you about our signs of spring,’ I said.
    Gigi listened carefully as I told her about the specks who were now swimming.
    ‘Wow,’ she said. ‘They sound strange and amazing.’
    Amazing. There was that word again.
    ‘I’m worried about Og,’ I explained. ‘He’s so quiet.’
    ‘Maybe he’s remembering when he was a tadpole. Maybe he had tadpole brothers and sisters that he misses,’ Gigi suggested.
    I hadn’t thought about that at all. She might be young, but Gigi is pretty clever!
    The sun was beginning to set and I knew that Gigi was ready to go to bed. Also, Aldo would start his cleaning rounds soon, and the last thing I wanted was to be caught outside of my cage.
    ‘You’ve been very helpful!’ I told Gigi as I slid down the table leg and raced towards the door. ‘Thanks!’
    ‘Thank you, Humphrey,’ she answered. ‘Come back soon!’
    When I returned to Room 26, I told Og about my visit to see Gigi, but he was still unusually quiet.
    Before I opened my cage door, I glanced at the swimming specks.
    ‘Good night, specks,’ I said.

    The next day, Joey told the class, ‘I’ve been reading the book that came with the tadpoles. They have breathing gills, like fish, but skin will grow over them. And then, after a while, they’ll grow legs.’ He held up a bag. ‘These tadpoles came with food. But if they were living in a pond, they would eat algae.’
    ‘Ewww!’ Kelsey said.
    ‘It’s natural,’ Joey said. ‘I don’t think it’s “ewww”. It’s kind of wonderful.’
    ‘I agree, Joey,’ Mrs Brisbane said.
    I heard a groan from across the room.
    ‘What is it, Nicole?’ Mrs Brisbane asked.
    ‘I don’t want to wait to see their legs!’ Nicole complained.
    Nicole doesn’t like to wait. I guess that’s why I call her Not-Now-Nicole.
    ‘But it will be fascinating to watch each stage,’ Mrs Brisbane said.
    My teacher was almost always right, but this time I wasn’t sure.

    When Aldo turned on the lights that night, he was strangely quiet.
    He didn’t say ‘Never fear, ’cause Aldo’s here!’ or ‘How are you, my favourite friends?’
    He just pushed his cart into the room and started sweeping.
    Once, he stopped to yawn – loudly.
    ‘Sorry, guys,’ he said. ‘I’ve been studying for two tests tomorrow. These are the big ones,’ he said. ‘And I have a history paper due.’
    ‘You can do it, Aldo!’ I said.
    He laughed. ‘Thanks for the encouragement, Humphrey!’
    I looked over at the tadpoles swimminground and round in circles until my tummy started to hurt.
    Aldo swept faster and faster, but he suddenly stopped when he reached Mrs Brisbane’s desk.
    ‘What’s this?’ he said as he stared at the desktop.
    ‘WHAT-WHAT-WHAT?’ I squeaked.
    Aldo picked up an envelope. ‘It has my name on it.’
    He had a puzzled look on his face as he opened the envelope and took out a piece of

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