Monday, June 11, 2012
Evie stayed seated until the bell stopped ringing. She hugged a glass jar to her chest. Then, she stood up. A long vine swayed with each step. She lifted the jar higher above her head. A leaf the size of her palm covered one eye. Her nose twitched, but she didn't scratch it. Her fingers squeezed the jar tighter.
“What do you have?” Mom asked in the parking lot.
“We planted a bean and mine grew!”
“It's long,” Mom said.
“This is my second bean. The first one rotted.”
Mother picked up the vine sliding over Evie's ear.
“Be careful!” Evie warned.
As soon as she walked in the front door, Evie put her beanstalk on the kitchen counter and climbed onto the stool. She picked up the jar and placed it onto the window sill.
“Keep growing,” she whispered.
The beanstalk did grow. Each day, Evie climbed up on the stool and poured a few drops of water into the jar until one morning...
Evie's dad walked into the kitchen.
“What is this under my...EVIE!” he shouted.
He flicked the switch and found the floor covered in greenish vines and leaves.
Feet pit-patted down the stairs. “What's wrong?” Evie asked.
The answer stuck in between her toes.
Her mom came in and directly out to the garage for the gardening sheers.
“NO! Please, let me ask my teacher what to do. Maybe we could save it somehow,” Evie begged.
Her little brother, Jack, crawled over and laughed as he rolled in and out of the loose greenery.
“Fine.” Dad looked at his watch and grabbed his briefcase.
“But, what about the kitchen?” Mom asked.
The Home Garden
Evie walked slowly across the playground. Would her teacher agree with her mom and say to cut the beanstalk down to size? At the end of recess, she tugged on his shirtsleeve.
“Mr. Harrycott, my beanstalk is still growing.”
“Good for you, Evie!,” he said.
“I mean, it's growing ...” she continued.
But, the bell rang before she could explain how long.
“Let's go, Evie. It's math time,” interrupted Mr. Harrycot.
That evening, Evie, Jack and their mother peeked in the front door. They saw only green leaves, like new carpet, spread throughout the living room.
Mom dropped the car keys onto the hall table, but they slid onto the floor – without a clank. “Evie, I'm sorry. We can't live like this. Did you talk to your teacher?”
“I tried.” Evie cleared her throat. “I think we should push the stalk out the window. That way, the garden will look really green!”
“Right, it hasn't rained in ages. The grass is rather brown.”
Once Jack was in bed, Evie and her mother got to work. Mother stood outside the kitchen window while Evie sat on the counter, feet in the sink, lifting the vines out to her mother. The patio disappeared as the beanstalk spread out and into the yard.
Evie crawled up to her bedroom exhausted. Her eyes were already closed when her mom bent down to kiss her goodnight.
When the alarm clock sang, “Morning time,” Evie stretched her arms and rolled off her bed. She stumbled right, and then left, to her closet. Her clothes slid off the hangers.
“Evie, we really shouldn't stay up so late,” her mother called. “I am so tired I can hardly walk straight.”
Jack giggled and rolled, back and forth down the hallway. Evie picked him up. She and her mom held the bannister downstairs as if it would wiggle away.
“In any case, it's nice to have the kitchen back in order,” Mom sighed. “Evie, careful, you're spilling the milk from your cereal bowl.”
“Mom, Jack is sliding out of his highchair,” Evie remarked.
“Oh, my head is spinning... Let's go. The fresh air will do us good,” Mom said.
“MAH-OM,” Evie sat in the front doorway, her legs dangling in front of her. “I think we need a ladder.”
Rubbing her eyes, Mom pulled Jack closer. She dragged Evie into the the living room. She plopped herself onto the couch, “What's happening?”
“Mom, maybe you should lie down,” Evie said.
“You're right. This must be a dream. Let me close my eyes for a moment.”
Evie's mother was asleep in seconds.
“Broder an I wil be bak sooon” Evie wrote at the bottom of the grocery list. She stuck the paper to her mom's cheek. Then, Evie sat down in the doorway and held Jack in her arms.
They scooted out and along a vine that led to a nearby cloud. Evie put her toes down. They sank into the fluff. She put both feet down. With stiff ankles, she clenched a vine and stood up. Jack hugged her shoulders.
“Wheee!” Jack laughed.
Evie stepped, floated, drifted.
In the distance sat a house a lot bigger than their house.
“Maybe a giant lives there,” she said. “A nice one, I mean,” she added looking at Jack.
Evie breathed in. Her chest puffed out. Did she dare continue?
Meeting the Neighbors
Evie held her brother tightly. She had to continue. Their mother could wake up at anytime.
Evie and Jack came to an immense wooden door. The doorknob was as high as the largest tree in their backyard. She knocked, then banged, at least twenty times. Evie sat Jack down and picked up an acorn the size of a gym ball. She thumped it against the door, then dropped it.
At that moment, a gush of air pushed Evie against the cold stone of the house. Jack fell to his hands. The front door clicked open.
Evie took Jack's hand and squeezed inside.
A bright light hung above a kitchen table down the hallway. Evie picked up Jack and took a first big step onto the front hall rug. She marched through this field of woven colors.
“Owww. What's that groan?” Evie covered Jack's ears. But, he started to cry.
“OK, it's over now.” She spoke too soon...
The giant noise echoed into a giant voice.
Evie and Jack knelt down behind a cupboard. It shook. The floor bounced.
“An earthquake,” feared Evie.
At that moment, a large man with a wide smile skipped around the table. He grabbed a less large woman with a huge smile and a planet-sized stomach and swung her around. Thud! She landed.
“At least they're in a good mood,” Evie said. Jack danced along, tapping his feet.
Just as he tripped, a familiar scent drifted behind the cupboard. Their noses started to twitch. The large man pulled on big oven mitts and opened an enormous oven door. He pulled out a gigantic chocolate cake.
Evie and Jack sat, twiddling their thumbs, until... the first crumbs fell. Jack ran for them.
“NOOOO,” Evie yelled.
“AN ANT. I CAN'T STAND ANTS! STEP ON IT. STEP ON IT!”
Evie ran for Jack. The heel of a boat-size shoe hung above him. Evie leaped, somersaulted and swiped Jack out of the way. They sprawled breathless behind the leg of the table.
“I GOT HIM!” The giant was mistaken,but only for the moment.
Jack broke his crumb in two and handed half to Evie. She gave him a cross look, then stuffed the cake into her mouth.
She had no time to swallow. A mass of broom bristles swept up behind Jack. Evie pulled him close and up they both went, swooshed into the dustpan.
“AAAAUUUUGH!” the children shouted.
Two large, shiny, round, black pupils looked straight at them. Out of habit, Evie and Jack smiled and waved up at the giant woman. She screamed. She threw the dustpan into the air. The two little bodies flew right into the butter dish and slid out onto the table. Evie grabbed Jack, but he slipped away. She frantically rolled him across the tablecloth.
The chairs trembled.
“Not again,” worried Evie. A big belly jiggled up and down in front of her.
“THEY ARE SO FUNNY,” the giant man remarked.
“THE BABY WOULD LOVE SUCH TOYS,” said the giant woman.
In a swoop, Evie and Jack found themselves in the palm of the giant man's hand.
“CAN I PET THEM?” asked the woman.
Her pinky finger gently crushed Evie's head against the giant's dry skin.
“Hey!” Evie spoke up. “We're not toys. We are children. And, we want to go home. But, we need your help.”
“NO,” he said in his giant voice.
The giant woman touched her husband's shoulder “SPEAK SOFTLY, DEAR. MAYBE THEY'LL WANT TO STAY.”
“Thank you,” Evie said politely. “I am sure you are very nice people, but we miss our mother and father.”
“AREN'T YOU POOR? DON'T YOU WANT OUR GOLD?” the man questioned.
“What would I do with gold?” Evie asked back.
“AREN'T YOU UNHAPPY? DON'T YOU WANT THE MUSIC OF THE MAGIC HARP?” he insisted.
“No. Mommy and Daddy play with us and make us laugh,” Evie said.
The giants held their hands behind their backs to whisper between themselves. Evie and Jack rolled their eyes. “We can hear you.”
On Their Way
Both giants turned and nodded, “OK.”
Evie held tightly to his fingernail as the giant man bent down to put on his shoes. The giant lady also slipped into her shoes. Clink! CLANK!
The giants carried Evie and Jack back towards their own house. The steady steps rocked her brother to sleep.
Then, Evie cried, “MOM!”
Their mom, with her head out the front window, looked towards them. Her wide-open eyes blinked twice. Then, she fainted.
The giant man's nose poked in through the front windows. His deep breaths sucked up the area rug and part of the the curtains.
“We better get to work before she wakes up again,” Evie suggested.
The giant man handed Evie and Jack to his wife. He then jumped down in the middle of the countryside. Thud! Fences bounced out of the ground. A cat fell out of a tree.
“Go sit with your mother and hold on tight,” the giant woman said.
Evie carried Jack across the woman's wide index finger, like a bridge, straight to the front door.
With Jack still sleeping in her arms, Evie lied down along her mother's side.
Soft, giant hands picked up the house. But before she could reach it down to her husband, she spied in the window with one big eye and said, “You are really nice children. I hope my baby will have friends like you.”
Evie promised, “we will be his friends.”
As the house touched down to their plot of land, Evie kissed the giant thumb. “Thank you, Sir.”
The giant man bent down even lower and then, leaped high into the sky.
“Let us know when the baby is born!” Evie shouted.
“What are you yelling about?” Their mom rolled over and sat up straight. “What time is it? Your father will be home soon.” She rubbed her cheeks. The sticky note fell onto her lap. “What's this, Evie? Were you going somewhere?” Her mom asked.
“Umm, outside to play,” Evie answered. Just then, their father's car pulled into the driveway. “But, let's get dinner ready instead,” she suggested.
Evie and Jack followed their mom into the kitchen. She sat a strainer in the sink and turned on the faucet. After Jack gave each green bean a shower, Evie cut them into smaller pieces and...
put three seeds in her pocket.
What do you think?
• Have you ever had a project at school that did not turn out the way you expected? Were you able to fix it? How did you feel when it was all done?
• Are you ever afraid of doing something without your parents close by? How do you feel when you do act on your own?
• At times, it is difficult to make your voice heard, even when you have something very important to say. Can you think of a time when you spoke up, at home or at school, because you had to say something really important? Was there a time when you just couldn't get your words out?