Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In the Backyard (a story by me)

I wrote the following story for an assignment last year in 4th grade. We had to write a short story with similarities to Kate DiCamillo books. Tell me if you can spot some of the similarities!

by Katharine Foley

"Here it is, the new house," said Kate and Erica's father. "Yep," said Kate. "Do you want to go check out the back yard?" asked Erica. "Yep, let's go outside. Race ya," said Kate. "Kay, but I'm gonna win!" The two ran into the backyard. "What's that hole?" asked Kate. "Dare you to go in," said Erica. "Kay, I'll do it," said Kate. She stepped in. She heard a screech. "Erica, is that you?" "No, what do ya mean?" All of a sudden she saw a flicker of movement. "Are you sure that's not you?" "Yea, I'm sure." Kate found a furry bundle and picked it up. She walked out of the darkness. "It's a puppy!" She brought it into the house.

            "What are you doing with that dog?" asked their father. "We found it," replied the girls. "And do you think it was a good idea to bring it in the house?" "No, sir" they answered. "So why did you do it?" "We don't know, sir" the girls answered. "Let me have a look at that puppy," said their father. "That's one of them shiba inus" he said, staring down at the sandy orange blue-eyed pup. "A whata what?" asked Kate. "A shiba inu. It's like a husky, but smaller." "Ya know, girls." "Yes, sir?" "When your Mama was livin' she loved dogs. She had her own shiba inu. She named it Brewster after the town in Cape Cod, a beachy area we used to go to in Massachusetts before we moved to Florida. The day your Mama died we was havin' a picnic on the beach for our 5-year anniversary. You girls were 1 and 2 and you was stayin' with your grandpa for the weekend," said their dad, sadly. "Well, it was gettin' hot so we decided to swim. Me, Brewster, and Mama went to the water. We went out really deep. All of the sudden she and Brewster got pulled down." he said. "It was sharks. It happened too fast. It was too late when I got to them," he said with a gloomy look on his face. "I was upset and I didn't want to forgive myself," he said. "So, can we keep the puppy?" asked Kate. "'Kay, but it's your pet and your responsibility," answered their father. "Kay," said the girls.

            The two girls ran to the basement and dug through some stuff. “What are we doin’?” asked Erica. “Well, Papa said it’s our responsibility, so we have to make a dog bed,” replied Kate. “Ah-hah, we could use these old pillows, blankets, and wooden crate!” said Erica. The two went to work. They stitched up holes in the blankets and pillows, and put them in the crate. “Wait!” cried Erica. “We need to get dog food and supplies before it’s too late to walk to the pet store” and off they went. They had to carry the puppy since they didn’t have a leash. Luckily he was really tiny. When the girls got there they realized the three dollars they brought wouldn’t be nearly enough money. “Hello, we’re Kate and Erica,” said the girls to the tall man wearing a Pets Plus shirt. “We’re looking for dog food, a leash and collar, and toys,” said Kate. “Okay, follow me,” said the salesman with a friendly voice. While they walked over to the pet food area, two boys came up to them. “Look, it’s the poor girls that live in the old shack on Winn Dixie Drive, “ the two boys snickered. “Those are the Dewberry boys, Stevie and Dunlap” whispered the salesman. “By the way, my name is Otis.” Otis showed them where everything was. Since they didn’t have enough money they decided they would make their own toys and just get the food, leash, and collar for now. “Oh, man, we don’t have enough money,” said Erica. Kate put the puppy down on the counter while she counted the money. “We are short by $11,” said Kate. Otis overheard them talking and said “You can just give me the $3 for now, and save up to give me the rest later.” “Thank you so much!” exclaimed the girls. They got the stuff and left to bring it home. “Wait,” said Erica. “We forgot the dog!” They started laughing and ran in and scooped up the puppy. “You two almost forgot the dog. That would have been bad,” said Otis. “Goodbye. For real this time!” said the girls. The girls headed home.

            “Hey, Erica, what are we going to name the puppy?” “I don’t know,” said Erica. “What about Scout, or Buddy, or,”  Kate interrupted “WHAT about Brewster?!” “Good thinkin’, Kate,” said Erica. “Brewster is a way better name than my idea, Buddy.” They chatted about the puppy all the way home.

            “Papa, we’re home!” the girls shouted. They put the collar on the puppy and found a place to put the leash and food. They got two bowls from the kitchen and put them next to the bed they built. “This bag of dog food is heavy!” said Kate. They filled up the bowls, one with water and the other with dog food. The next day they played with the puppy. They ran around for hours.

            As the days went on they noticed strange things about Brewster. For example, he wasn’t eating much of his dog food. He was more active at night than in the day. He didn’t bark. When they would try to have fun with Brewster he would beg for food and nip at them. As he got older his coat turned a brighter orange and his eyes turned an amber color. He loved to pounce on bugs, but he didn’t really like to play with a ball. They loved him no matter how different he was from other dogs.

            After a couple of weeks Brewster started to get sick. He didn’t have a lot of energy, he wouldn’t pounce on bugs, and he wasn’t eating good. “I’m getting worried about Brewster,” said Kate. “You’re right, he usually has a bigger appetite than this,” said Erica. “You girls should bring him to the vet” said Papa. “Can you drive us?” Kate asked. “Sure,” said Papa. They all got in Papa’s truck and headed to the vet.

After examining Brewster the vet said he got sick from the dog food they had been feeding him. “Was it bad or somethin’?” asked Erica. “No, but that’s not a dog,” said the vet. “Well, if he ain’t a dog, what is he?” asked Kate. “Well,” said the vet “by all of the research we did, he’s a fox.” “A fox?!” they all said at the same time. “I should have known when he didn’t bark” said Papa. “What does a fox say?” asked Kate. “They make a screeching sound,” said the vet “but they don’t make much sound at all.” “Hmm, well he was very quiet” said Erica. The girls noticed their father looked upset. “Papa, can we still keep ‘em?” asked Kate. “For goodness sake, what do you think? He’s a fox!” said Papa. “But he’s still really nice,” said Erica. “We’re not keeping him, and that’s that!” said Papa. “We’ll release him in the woods.”

The girls cried and cried, the whole way home. When they finally got home they went with Papa on a long walk into the woods and released Brewster. The girls cried so hard they couldn’t see an inch in front of them. “Goodbye, Brewster. I love you,” said Kate. “Me, too,” said Erica. “Come on already, girls. We gotta get goin’.” They had a really long walk home. The girls kept tripping they were crying so hard. Neither of the girls could eat their dinner they were so sad. They both tossed and turned at bed time, and it took them a few hours to finally fall asleep.

Both girls were sound asleep when suddenly they heard a big BANG. “Oh, no” they thought. The girls knew that sound really good. It was Papa’s gun. They jumped out of bed and rushed outside. They saw Brewster lying on the ground and Papa holding his gun. “How could you?” asked Erica. Kate sat down next to Brewster and started crying. “I did it to protect you two,” said Papa. “It was from the wild and it could hurt you.” “I suppose you’re right,” sobbed Kate. “But we loved him so much.” “I did, too, and I didn’t want to shoot him, but I had to,” said Papa. “He doesn’t know the wilderness now, and he’ll keep coming back. Sooner or later he could give you a disease. I’m really surprised that you didn’t get one already because he was always nipping at you,” said Papa. “Taking care of Brewster proved you are responsible pet owners,” he said. “A dog might be too much money, but a kitten would be a perfect pet for you. Would you like to get a kitten tomorrow?” he asked. “Yes, Papa,” said both girls.

The girls buried Brewster in a little hole they dug. They laid his collar and leash on top of the hole. They held hands and walked into the house together. “Let’s have some lemonade,” said Erica. “It will cheer us up.” “That sounds nice,” said Kate.

                                                THE END

Copyright © 2014 Katharine Foley. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I'm back!

Hi Guys!

I've decided to start my blog back up again. I have read a lot of great books lately, and I want to tell you about them. If you have any reviews or ideas for contests, please send them to me.

Kate :)

Inside Out and Back Again

by Thanhha Lai

This book is about a 10-year old girl named Hà who lives in Vietnam with her mom, three older brothers, and a beloved papaya tree. There is a war going on and Hà's dad went missing in action while fighting in the war 9 years ago. When the war reaches their home they are forced to flee, and Hà is forced to leave the papaya tree which she grew from a tiny seed and nurtured for most of her life. Hà and her family flee to America and settle in Alabama where they live in the basement of a cowboy hat-wearing man and his wife who hates them. Hà faces a lot of challenges in America such as bullies, bad food, and patronizing teachers.

This book is funny and heart-touching. One cool thing I liked about this book is that it is written in free verse (but it doesn't feel like you are reading a poem).

I recommend this book to everyone.

For more information on this book and its author, check out: Harper Collins.

Rating: 5 out of 5 worms

Interest Level: Grades 3 to 7
Reading Level: 5.3
Pages: 272