Last week we announced that Tom Lichtenberg’s TIDDLYWINK THE MOUSE is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category: over 250 free titles, over 500 quality 99-centers, and hundreds more that you can read for free through the Kindle Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime!
Now we’re back to offer a free Kids Corner excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!
And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
Tiddlywink the Mouse
By Tom Lichtenberg
Tiddlywink and the Blue and White Ball
Tiddlywink had a busy day, going to the beach and building sandcastles, playing in the playground with Jeremy the Squirrel and TreeTrunker the Elephant, and polishing off a huge spaghetti dinner with his friends Beauregard and Scooter, followed by three chocolate cupcakes. He was on his way back to the river, to sail home in his matchbox, when he saw a big blue and white striped basketball, and on the ball there was a spider.
“What are you doing with that ball?” he asked the spider, and the spider said,
“Why, I’m going to eat it”.
“That’s silly”, Tiddlywink replied, “Spiders don’t eat basketballs”.
“Maybe so”, said the spider, “but I’m going to eat it anyway”, and he proceeded to take several big bites.
Silly spider, Tiddlywink said to himself, and went on his way. He had almost reached the riverbank when BAM! He ran smack into a gigantic chocolate cloud!
“Yuk!” he shouted, and the cloud just chuckled and said,
“Hey, everyone likes chocolate”.
“Eew”, said Tiddlywink, for he was covered head to toe in gooey sticky melting chocolate. He jumped into the river and shook shook shook, and scraped scraped scraped, and shook shook shook, and then he got out and rolled in the grass until he was all clean again, and then he hopped into his matchbox and sailed home.
Tiddlywink dreamt all night about the spider and the ball, so the next morning he returned to the spot, and didn’t see the basketball anywhere! He looked all around and high up in a tree he saw a big fat hairy spider.
“Hey”, he yelled, “are you the same spider I was talking to yesterday?”
The spider thought for a moment, and then replied,
“Um, I don’t really know, Yesterday was a long time ago.”
“Well”, said Tiddlywink, “did you eat a big blue and white basketball?” The spider thought and thought, and finally said,
“Um, I don’t really know. I’m not very hungry today, so I must have eaten a lot yesterday, but that was a long time ago, and I just don’t know anything about it”.
Tiddlywink shook his head and looked around some more for the ball, but as he didn’t find it, he decided to head for home. He was just about the reach the riverbank when BAM! He ran smack into a gigantic chocolate cloud!
“Yuk!” he shouted, and the cloud just laughed and said
“What’s the matter? Don’t you like milk chocolate?”
“Eew”, said Tiddlywink, for he was covered head to toe in gooey sticky melting chocolate. He jumped into the river and shook shook shook, and scraped scraped scraped, and shook shook shook, then he got out and rolled in the grass until he was all clean again, and then he hopped into his matchbox and sailed home.
The very next day Tiddlywink decided to put an end to the mystery once and for all, so he rushed back to the very spot and there, in the grass, was the blue and white basketball, right where he’d remembered it, looking as good as new. He searched and found a spider, but this was a tiny little guy.
“Hey”, asked Tiddlywink, “Are you the same spider I was talking to yesterday?”
The spider was slow to respond.
“Could be”, he finally replied, “yesterday was quite awhile ago. I can’t say for certain”.
“Yes, it’s you”, said Tiddlywink, “You said you were going to eat this basketball.”
“Really?” asked the spider, “Maybe so. I can’t say anything for certain. But it seems pretty silly. Spiders don’t eat basketballs!”
“That’s what I said” exclaimed Tiddlywink, and hurried off.
He was going to head for home, but this time, he was very careful, for he didn’t want to bump into any clouds. He looked both ways and tiptoed about, and just as he was about to reach the riverbank – BAM! He ran smack into a gigantic chocolate cloud.
“Yuk!” he shouted, and the cloud just laughed and laughed and laughed.
“Eew”, said Tiddlywink, for he was covered head to toe in gooey sticky melting chocolate. The cloud kept laughing as he drifted on his way, but he hadn’t gone very far when he ran right into TreeTrunker the Elephant, who LOVED chocolate, and declared “YUMMY!” as he ate the cloud right up.
Tiddlywink and the Mud Pies
Tiddlywink and his friends Grufus and Jeremy wanted to make mud pies, so they started looking around for just the right mud. Anyone can tell you that it has to be the right kind, not too mushy, not too soft, not too dusty, not too thick. They scoured the riverbank and finally found a good spot, but the mud was inhabited by a whole waffle of frogs. Tiddlywink asked if they would mind moving over a bit so he and his friends could scoop up some of this perfectly delicious mud, but the frogs said “no”.
Just like that, they said “no”.
Tiddlywink and his friends talked it over.
“Maybe we could push them out of the way”, suggested Grufus, who was always ready to fight.
“Maybe we could find another spot”, suggested Jeremy, who was always ready to run away.
“Maybe we could make a deal with them”, Tiddlywink said, and the friends agreed it was worth a try.
Tiddlywink went over to the Top Frog and asked him if there was anything the friends could give them in return for some of the wonderful mud they were occupying. The Top Frog thought about it for a minute, and then replied that he and his friends were very fond of Rice Pudding, and if they brought some Rice Pudding, then they could have some mud. Tiddlywink asked if maybe there was something else, but the Top Frog said no, it had to be Rice Pudding or nothing at all.
Tiddlywink was sad when he returned to his friends and explained the situation, but Jeremy jumped up and down and declared that his mother was making some Rice Puddings that very day, so they hurried off to Jeremy’s house, where indeed his mother was just finishing up some yummy smelling Rice Puddings. Jeremy breathlessly explained their quandary to his patient mother, who then replied.
“Let me get this straight. You want ME to give YOU some of my delicious Rice Puddings, which I have just spent all day making, and in return YOU are going to give ME a Clump of Mud? Why would I do that?”
“Please, mom , please” begged Jeremy, “I won’t ever ask for anything ever again I swear”, and after much begging Jeremy’s mom agreed to give the friends One Small Rice Pudding, Jeremy’s own dessert, and they rushed back to the mud spot and presented the pie to the Top Frog. All the frogs were very happy to smell the Rice Pudding, and each one got a taste, and in return, the Top Frog made them move out of the way, and Tiddlywink and his friends got to make mud pies after all.
Tiddlywink and the Clouds
One day Tiddlywink had gone to visit his friend Jeremy the Squirrel, and they had a big feast of acorn stew and chocolate cake. In fact they ate so much chocolate cake that Tiddlywink said he would never eat chocolate again. On the way home, after scampering over the hills and across the fields, Tiddlywink was just about to reach the riverbank when BAM! He ran smack into a big green cloud.
“Hey”, watch where you’re going!” Tiddlywink yelled, and the cloud said, in a very sad voice,
“Oh me, oh my, I am soooo sorry. I didn’t see you there. Please don’t hurt me”.
“Of course I won’t hurt you” Tiddlywink said, “just watch it”.
“I will”, promised the green cloud.
Tiddlywink climbed into his matchbox and set sail for home.
The next day, Tiddlywink went to visit his friends Beauregaard and Scooter, and they polished off several plates of spaghetti, followed by a dozen chocolate cupcakes. Tiddlywink had forgotten his promise to never eat chocolate again, but after eating all those cupcakes, he made the same promise one more time. On his way home, after scampering along the beach and across the fields, he was just about the reach the riverbank when BAM! He ran smack into a big blue cloud.
“Hey”, Tiddlywink shouted, “watch where you’re going”
“Oh”, said the big cloud, “I didn’t see you there.”
“I didn’t see you either”, Tiddlywink replied, and wondered how anyone could ever see a blue cloud. It seemed impossible.
“I’ll be more careful next time”, promised the cloud.
“Okay”, said Tiddlywink, “me too”, and he climbed into his matchbox and set sail for home.
The very next day Tiddlywink visited his friends TreeTrunker the Elephant and Grufus the Mouse. Ever since they had a big fight the first day they met, when they both thought the other was a bad guy, Grufus and Tiddlywink had become good friends. It turned out they were both heroes and good guys after all. It was Grufus’ birthday, he was turning five years old, and TreeTrunker had a party for him with five chocolate cakes, and each chocolate cake was five layers high, so all the friends had to eat a lot of chocolate cake. Twenty-five layers of cake! My goodness!
Afterwards, Tiddlywink vowed to never eat chocolate again. On his way home, after trodding through the jungle and skipping across the fields, he was just about to reach the riverbank when BAM! He ran smack into a big red cloud.
“Hey”, Tiddlywink yelled, “Watch where you’re going!”
“You watch where you’re going, little mouse” shouted the angry red cloud. “Or I’ll drop down and cover you in redness”.
“Oh my”, said Tiddlywink, “never mind”, and he leaped into his matchbox and set sail for home, leaving the angry red cloud behind him on the shore.
Next time, Tiddlywink told himself, I’ll be a little more careful about clouds.
Tiddlywink and the Mushrooms
One hot summer day, Tiddlywink decided it was a time to find some mushrooms. So he sailed across the river in his matchbox, scrambled onto the bank, scampered across the fields and over the hills, into the forest. There he began to search very carefully. Fortunately he brought his binoculars, so it wasn’t very long before he spotted them – a whole gaggle of mushrooms which were congregating around a walnut tree. Tiddlywink tiptoed up behind them and then said,
The mushrooms said,
“Who’s there”, and he replied,
“Tiddlywink who?” asked the mushrooms.
“Tiddlywink the Mouse” he said, and the mushrooms screamed,
“AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!”, and ran away as fast as their little stems could carry them. They ran and ran until they came to a bakery, where they jumped into a pie, and told each other to hush.
Tiddlywink had some training as a detective, so he knew the mushrooms would most likely try and hide inside a food establishment of some sort, considering that they themselves were considered a food item by some. Having established this theory, he reasoned that the best place to look would be a bakery, because he was hungry and liked chocolate very much. It was fortunate that he brought along his microscope, because that made it much easier to spot the mushrooms, which were hiding in the bottom of a mushroom pie. But first Tiddlywink ate several chocolate cupcakes and even a brownie or two. Then he scooped into the pie and said
“AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!” yelled the mushrooms, and they leaped out of the pie and zoomed across the road as fast as their little stems could zoom.
The mushrooms dashed into the first place they came to, which turned out to be a Chinese restaurant, and they hid in the bottom of a barrel full of bean sprouts. This turned out to be a good choice, because even though Tiddlywink brought his telescope, it did not occur to him that mushrooms would consider a bucket of sprouts. He was pretty sure that mushrooms and bean sprouts did not like each other very much and would not be able to hide together, especially in a barrel. Too bad.
He looked all around the restaurant and did not notice when the Monster Mushroom Truck came by and picked up the barrel of bean sprouts and carried them away. Tiddlywink finally gave up looking for them, and headed for home, but just as he got to the riverbank, BAM! He ran smack into a chocolate cloud. Now he was covered from head to toe in gooey, slimy, yummy, sticky chocolate. He had to jump in the river and shake shake shake, and scrub scrub scrub, and shake shake shake some more, then finally roll around in the grass until he was all nice and clean. Then he boarded his matchbox and sailed for home.
The Dream of the Red Bush
One day Tiddlywink the Mouse decided he wanted to find a red bush, and as soon as he thought of it, he realized he had had a dream about that very thing. In his dream, he was in a hat, sailing down a river, in the company of a cricket, a grasshopper, and a frog. The cricket was talking about a game where you swung a stick at clouds. The grasshopper was talking about sweet green juice and butterflies. The frog was talking about a job where you roll as far as you can. Tiddlywink asked where they were going.
“Do we have to tell you everything?” asked the cricket.
“Well, okay then”, said the grasshopper, “we are going to find a red bush.”
“A red bush?” said Tiddlywink. “That’s amazing! I had a dream where I was trying to find a red bush!”
“Don’t be silly”, said the frog. “This is the dream.”
“No”, said Tiddlywink, “In my dream I was climbing a ladder, and I kept going up and up and up. It seemed the ladder was not attached to anything. As I was climbing, I met a bumblebee (named Bruce) who asked me why I was climbing the ladder to infinity.”
“Doesn’t it go anywhere?” I asked him, and he said,
“Well, some people say that at the end of the ladder to infinity, there is a red bush”.
“That’s astounding!” declared Tiddlywink. “I recently had a dream about a red bush”.
“Certainly”, replied the bee, “this is the dream.”
“No, it’s not”, said Tiddlywink. “In the dream I was driving a pink truck and I was heading west. The sun was setting and the glare was in my eyes. Behind me was a red car, driving too close (a BMW, I think), and his lights were on and they were also bothering my eyes. Suddenly in front of me I saw a red bush.”
“In the dream?” asked the bee.
“In the dream?” asked the frog.
“In the dream?” asked the butterfly
“No” Tiddlywink said as he sipped on the sweet green juice. “It was right there in front of me. At least I think it was.”