The Leaping Lemur
by Megan, seventh grade writer
One cool and windy day in a jungle far, far, away, a lemur named Leo was resting peacefully in his home high above the tallest trees on the island. He was colored a light grey from the top of his head to the tip of his tail, complemented with black and white stripes randomly placed all over his fur.
Always hungry for adventure, Leo set out to find something fun and exciting to do. Not very long after, he discovered a shiny blue pogo stick that glistened in the very little light the sun gave off on that cloudy day. Curious, he picked up the strange object in his tiny white hands and sprang up on to it. He teetered unsteadily from side to side like an out of control teeter totter as he struggled to catch his balance. Luckily it didn’t take very long for Leo to master the contraption and soon he set out to show off his new finding.
Within a few minutes, he spotted Patricia the parrot soaring high above the clouds with such elegance and grace that it would be hard not to find it beautiful. He impatiently waited while she swooped gracefully down from the air and landed perfectly on a nearby branch. “Look at me,” Leo shouted happily from his spot on the ground. “This is the funniest thing I have ever done. You should give it a try.”
Patricia let out a high-pitched chuckle as she considered his suggestion. “Darling, now why would I spend my time doing that when I can fly? It’s so much faster and comes with an excellent view,” she all but laughed and flew giggling out towards the horizon until she was completely out of sight.
Leo continued on and eventually encountered a small pond with lush green plants and water so clear you could see right through to the bottom. In the middle of the water, Hilda the hippo was lazily sunbathing on his belly. Leo sprang toward him so exuberantly that it was impossible not to catch on to his joyful attitude. “Hey Hilda, isn’t this cool?” he inquired about his pogo stick.
“Totally rad,” replied the hippo in his deep, slow voice. But secretly he thought, “Man, just looking at him makes me feel exhausted,” and he sank slowly back into the pond to sleep.
Next Leo found a herd of giraffes peacefully grazing in a large, vast field with tall yellow grass and plenty of trees. They didn’t seem to notice Leo as he bounced toward them and instead they just kept right on eating. He stopped in front of the tallest giraffe, Gina. “Look what I can do,” he exclaimed and sprang high into the air and grabbed an apple off a nearby tree! He proceeded to take a big crunchy bite out of the delicious, shiny red fruit!
Gina snorted. “I can do that all on my own,” she bragged with quite an arrogant tone! To prove her point she stretched out her long, slender neck so far that it seemed to grow and ate a leaf off of the highest tree in the valley, and immediately she flashed the lemur a big, toothy grin.
Leo continued on the path of the jungle and soon saw Kate the kangaroo tending to her baby, Joey. As Leo came into view, her face turned from happy to aggravated in a second. “Gosh,” she puffed angrily as soon as Leo was within hearing distance, “is it so hard for anyone to come up with their own ideas anymore?” and hopped loudly into the sunset.
After his long day of exercise, Leo was exhausted and tiredly climbed back to his cozy home which was sheltered by bright green leaves, a mixture of colorful flowers, and tall, thick grass that made it almost invisible, and therefore safe. After his long hours of rest, he became very thirsty and went down to the cool, blue river to take a long drink.
To his surprise, all of the animals he had encountered on his pogo stick were there, but not at all for the same reason! Since the animals had seen lemur having so much fun jumping, they were inspired to create their own jumping fun! Hilda and Patricia jumped on a trampoline, Gina bounced on moon shoes, and Kate of course used her own two feet. And so, they all jumped happily ever after.
(Click here to print Megan and another middle school sample for your students to discuss.)
by Tyson, eighth grade writer
Lucky the squirrel was gathering nuts for the winter when he came across the bike. The whole bike was red except for the fork, which was a deep blue. The bike had two wheels and a really cool basket. The best thing of all…it was just the right size, and you know how squirrels are; they can’t resist a good look at something. It was just too tempting, so he dropped all of the nuts that he was carrying and shot toward the bike. He looked it over front to back, then deciding to take it out for a little spin, he leapt onto it.
As he was riding, he came upon Beaver working on his dam. When Beaver saw that Lucky was riding the bike, he jumped up onto the dam. “Goodness, that is a very good bike that you have there, yes, yes, yes. Where did you get it?”
“I got it in the forest. It was just lying around. I decided that a ride was necessary. Don’t you think that it looks great?”
“Oh, yes, yes, yes, I wish I had one just like that. I think that after I finish the dam that I will take a look myself and see if there is any more of those just lying around. That would be very fun to get one just like that!” Beaver then jumped off his dam. “I think that I should go now!”
So Lucky kept riding on. When he turned the bend, he heard a splatter and suspected that the dam had broken.
Then he came to Duck. She was taking a picnic when he rode past her. “That is a wonderful bike that you have there. Does Beaver know about it? I think that he would like it very much.” Before Lucky could speak, she packed her lunch and said, “I think that I will go look for one myself. I would love to have one.”
She hobbled away, muttering to herself about youngsters being so careless. So Lucky kept riding.
As Lucky was whistling to himself, he heard an angry cry from behind him. It was Chimpanzee, who looked really angry. “That’s my bike, you thief!” Then Chimpanzee leapt up into the air and landed on Lucky’s back.
Lucky fell off the bike, landing on the side of it. He was not hurt, but he did not know about the bike. He didn’t know anything about bikes, but it seemed okay. He brushed himself off with his paws and got up.
Chimpanzee was furious. “How could you steal my bike?! I had left it leaning against a tree while I climbed another tree and ate bananas. When I came down, it was gone. I saw the nuts that were scattered on the ground and realized that it must have been you.”
“I am SOOOOOOOO sorry,” Lucky apologized. “I did not mean for this to happen. When I saw the bike, I thought that maybe someone had left it, and it would be good for me to take it for a spin. I was going to return it, and I am sorry that I stole your bike. Here is your bike and I will go gather nuts,” Lucky said as he handed the bike to Chimpanzee. “I know now that I should never take anyone’s stuff, even if it is just sitting there.”
“It’s all right. Don’t go making a fuss about it. I didn’t realize that you had not meant to steal it. I should be the one saying I am sorry.” Then he got on his bike and rode off.
Lucky shook his small head and headed back to gather nuts.
(Click here to print Tyson and another middle school sample for your students to discuss.)