Going to the Pet Show
“Hang on, Humphrey,” A.J. said.
The car turned a corner and I slid across my cage.
“I’m trying!” I squeaked back.
Car rides aren’t easy for hamsters like me. I don’t even have a seat belt.
I’m the classroom hamster in Room 26 of Longfellow School. I get to ride in cars a lot because I go home with a different student each weekend.
“This is my lucky day,” A.J. told me. “Because Mrs. Brisbane picked me
to bring you home for the weekend, I get to take you to the Pet Show.”
A.J. and I had both been excited when Mrs. Brisbane told us about the Pet Show.
“This is your lucky day, too,” A.J. told me. “You’re going to win a prize!”
I crossed my paws and hoped he was right.
“Remember, A.J., Humphrey might not win,” his mom said.
“There are lots of prizes,” A.J. explained. “He’s sure to win one of them. And I get to keep it!”
“Don’t you have to share it with the class?” his grandmother asked.
pet,” A.J. said. “At least for the weekend.”
He pulled out a paper. “Here are the prizes,” he said. He read the list out loud.
Best in Show
Just then, my tummy jiggled and joggled.
Was that because of the bumpy road? Or was it because I was worried that I might not win a prize?
I didn’t want to let down my friends in Room 26. After all, they were counting on me to win.
DeeLee, A.J.’s younger sister, giggled. “I think Humphrey should win for Best in Show!”
A.J.’s grandma turned around and looked in my cage. “He’s one fine-looking hamster,” she said.
“Thanks a lot!” I said. But I’m sure, like most humans, all she heard was “SQUEAK-SQUEAK-SQUEAK.”
I liked Grandma Grace.
I liked Grandma Grace’s purple hat, too.
Then the car stopped.
“Eeek!” I slid across the floor of my cage.
“We’re here,” A.J.’s mom said.
“Yay!” A.J. shouted.
“Yay!” his younger brother Ty shouted.
“Yay!” DeeLee shouted.
“Goo! Goo!” his baby brother shouted.
“Eeek!” I squeaked quietly.
The Pet Show was held in a building in the middle of a park.
Outside, it was nice and quiet.
Inside, it was NOISY-NOISY-NOISY. And what noises there were!
Barking, meowing, chirping, snarling!
Yipping, yapping, squealing, shouting!
Someone called out, “Quiet, please!” But it still wasn’t quiet.
“Here you go, Humphrey Dumpty,” A.J. said as he set my cage on a table.
I like it when A.J. calls me Humphrey Dumpty. I call him Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. because his voice is so loud. I have special names for all my friends in Room 26.
While A.J.’s family went to see the other pets, I looked around the room.
There was a lot to see, like dogs on leashes and cats in cages.
There was a lot to hear, like a screeching sound that made my whiskers wiggle and my tail twitch.
“BAWK!” a voice said. “Crackers is pretty!”
I wondered what kind of creature was such a screecher.
Next, a soft voice said, “Hi, A.J.”
I looked up and saw Sayeh from Room 26. I call her Speak-Up-Sayeh because she is VERY-VERY-VERY quiet.
“Hi!” A.J.’s voice boomed.
Sayeh and her dad put a glass tank down next to me on the table.
“Og!” I squeaked. I was so
happy to see my friend Og.
“I’m glad Mrs. Brisbane said I could bring him,” Sayeh said. “I hope he wins a prize, too.”
“BOING!” Og said.
He makes a very funny sound. He can’t help it. He’s a frog.
He’s also my neighbor back in Room 26. His tank, which is half water and half land, sits right next to my cage.
Then A.J.’s best friend, Garth, showed up.
“Hi, Humphrey,” Garth said. “I’m sure glad I could come see you win a prize for our class! And Og, too.”
A.J. said, “Remember, I’m
the one who brought Humphrey.”
Garth looked confused, but then another friend arrived.
Don’t-Complain-Mandy Payne brought her pet hamster, Winky. Mandy’s in Room 26, too. She doesn’t complain as much since she got Winky.
“I think Winky will win Friendliest,” she said.
“I just hope one of us wins a prize,” Winky squeaked to me from his cage.
“Me too,” I said.
Winky is one of my friendliest friends, so I meant it. But I still didn’t want to let A.J. down.
Richie showed up with a box with holes in the sides. Mrs. Brisbane always asks him to repeat his answers in class, so I call him Repeat-It-Please-Richie.
“Hi, everybody!” he said. “Want to see my new pet?”
“I do!” I squeaked.
A.J., Garth and Sayeh gathered around as Richie took the lid off the box.
“Meet Nick,” Richie said.
Garth’s eyes opened wide. “Wow!” he said.
“That’s cool!” A.J. said.
“Amazing,” Sayeh whispered.
What made Nick so amazing? All I could see was a box.
Richie put the box down next to me. My cage was between the box and Og’s tank.
I leaned as far as I could to look through one of the hole. All I could see were some leaves and twigs.
Was Nick invisible? Or had he escaped?
“There’s nothing in there,” I squeaked down to Og.
“BOING-BOING!” Og sounded disappointed, too.
I was pretty sure that leaves and twigs couldn’t win a prize at the Pet Show.
But I still wasn’t sure I could win one, either.
Copyright © 2018 by Betty G. Birney; illustrated by Priscilla Burris. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.