WOW! THINKing Thursday w/Babs!

There's the web...but where's the spider?It’s THINKing Thursday already. Time to THINK again. Good thing we only do this THINKing stuff once a week!!!

So, what if one of those spiders we saw on Monday’s post…well, what if that spider could talk?

I did some THINKing one day on that very question. And here’s one result from all that THINKing: “If the Spider Could Talk”

"If the Spider Could Talk" by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz (from Reading Realm's Poetic Play products)

"If the Spider Could Talk" by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz (from Reading Realm's Poetic Play products)

You know, your young or older child will enjoy this exercise in THINK-THINK-THINKing.

This kind of THINKing is one of the tools your child calls upon when asked to write.

Yes! Whether writing a piece of fiction or non-fiction, your child must begin to THINK of all the many angles from which to view the chosen topic.

And then choose one to write! WOW!

Ready to do a bit of THINK-THINK-THINKing aloud practice with your child? Yes, it’s called thinking aloud. And this thinking aloud activity is not only fun; it’s valuable practice for your child.

Okay. Let’s follow the model of my “If the Spider Could Talk” poem. Here we go!

What might a ceiling have to

What might a ceiling have to

Think about this: What if a ceiling could talk?

Would it be saying, “Hey! You down there! Can’t you be a little quieter. I’m not one of those acoustical types, you Poetic Play's "Spider" item (back). Available at Quiet down!

Or might that ceiling be begging to have people stop painting it? WOW! What other words might a ceiling want to say…IF it could talk?

Or what if a chair could talk?

Might your chair want to say, “Take it easy! That bottom of yours is awfully wiggly today. Could you just sit still! Goodness sakes! You’re liable to break me into pieces! Then we’d both be sprawled on the floor!”

Okay, how about one more what if to help you and your child get going in this kind of creative THINKing mode.

What if…what if…what if our planet Earth had nothing but peaceful people? See…there’s a powerful thought for your THINKing child of any age. And for you?

What would all those peaceful people have to talk about? Makes me think of some poems I’ve penned about peaceful people.

This one works with kids of all ages, especially if you add a What might it say...if it could talk?little attitude and rap it:

Peaceful Me: Poems and Activities to Help Children Resolve Conflicts Peacefully. Copyright © 2002 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Peaceful Me: Poems and Activities to Help Children Resolve Conflicts Peacefully Copyright © 2002 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Who’s the Boss?

Who’s the boss
of my tongue
and my hands
and my feet?
Who’s the boss?
Who decides
how they’ll act
when we meet?

I’m the boss
of my tongue
and my hands
and my feet.
I’m the boss!
I decide
how they’ll act
when we meet!

Copyright © 1999 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz
from Peaceful Me by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Your child will enjoy saying and dramatizing this poem with you. Try changing the pronoun in the first stanza from my to your as you ask each other the question.

For your child up to age 10 or 12, talk about why someone is the only boss of their own tongue or hands or feet. And what happens if the “boss” isn’t supervising properly?

Peaceful people everywhere!

Peaceful people everywhere!

On another day, invite your child to take turns with you to act out a kind or not-so-kind way a tongue, hands, or feet might act.

Tune in tomorrow for Free-for-All Friday. And do remember you can scroll down on any day’s post to access previous posts.

Or check out previous week’s posts in the “archive” to the right of the posts column.

And can click on the word comments at the bottom of any post to add your own or your child’s thoughts and comments. Or to ask questions.

Or to provide info, as Dena did on Tuesday to share those wild animals’ names. Or…

…just to say hello!


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It’s Wacky Wednesday w/Babs! WOW!

NEWS FLASH! Step back a few days to last Thursday’s post.

Read along and then click on the pictures link. You’ll then be better able to connect to Peacock Dena’s comment on Tuesday’s postHmmm...Dena & python and Babs. WOW!

Here’s her news!


I was the Lilac mom dressed up like a peacock. I have the names of the animals. Tega lizard named Tyrone; Capachin monkey named Mojo Jo Jo; Hedgehog named Casper; Ferret named Mercedes; Burmese Python named George of the Jungle; Chinchilla named Dusty; Parrot named Genral Confussion.

Thank you for the great web site!!!


Thank you, Dena, for helping me hold that heavy snake! And to you and your animal-dressed parent-team for all those enticing foods on that jungle lunch buffet!

And hey! It’s good to have all the real names of those wild, wild animals…along with their “stage names.”

WOW! Today is Wacky Wednesday already!

And though I’d promised that we’d be meeting three young ladies named Grace today, I have to report that two of those three aren’t quite ready for their pix to be posted.

Gracie grins!My mother Gracie, however, was captured on camera when she did what she always does whenever there’s a smiley face around. Gracie grins!

So it was a grateful grinning Gracie when she received this smiley basketball a couple of years ago.

And Gracie’s grin, along with Smiley’s grin, begged for a camera’s snap.

Know what? Gracie uses that basketball! She even put up her own goal!

It's a basket!This week, however, Mother Gracie is grinning between groans. Most unfortunately, she fell, broke a hip bone, and had her second major surgery this year.

But I could already hear her grinning over the phone today! On her way to recovery. WOW!

So she can bounce and throw that ball into the hoop!

Wish her well, won’t you!

So, when the other Gracie ladies’ pix come in, then we’ll circle back to have more fun with the sound of /gr/. That’s for another day in the near future.

But, today’s is Wacky Wednesday. So let’s do more sound play with words, like Wacky Wednesday. Words that begin with the same sound. It’s called alliteration.

And it trains ears and tongues to the sounds of language.

WOW! Go ahead and call it by that long name…alliteration…whenever you hear it: Bouncing basketball. Weeping willow. Wonderful Wednesday. Creepy Crusty Crud.

Take it to the hoop!Have fun modeling how to simply make up two or three words that begin with the same sound. Then call out that sound.

Note I said, “call out that sound that makes words alliterative.”

Yes! Even with your child as young as 2 or 3, hearing an alliterative phrase like grateful grinning Gracie, wants to get noticed as being special––and not just because this grinning Gracie happens to be my mother, either!

No, do call out that repetitive sound. Doing so models listening for words and phrases that sound special.

Not the letter or letters that represent that alliterative sound. No!Focus on the sounds! Not the letters!

We’re not stopping to recognize the letters with a young child. And maybe not with an older child.

That is, unless that child of yours is already confidently whizzing through those books from school and is grinning when reading is mentioned and is relishing free time to curl up for some pleasure reading.

Right! Point out the sound to your child. Listen for the alliterative sound!You are modeling. And modeling. And modeling. And being patient.

Patient because your child will show you when you’ve modeled enough. You’ll know because your child will begin calling out alliterative sounds being heard!

Yes! Only when you are positive s/he can respond successfully, will you be expecting that your child will call out an alliterative sound.

WOW! Very important literacy tip there. If a child dreads reading, it’s generally because reading is such hard work that the child feels prone to failure.

Who among us ever wants to fail!?

So you the parent (or any citizen spending time with any child!) will want to spend lots of time engaging children in rich conversation.

Why? Well, during such conversation, you two can focus on specific oral skills. Yes!

Gaining oral mastery––that’s what’s happening. Just like in today’s fun with calling out alliterative sounds in wacky phrases or not-so-wacky phrases! book opening pic 4

And yes! It’s a very important reading skill that leads toward successes in decoding (reading) and encoding (writing)!

Such conversations also make learning feel all wacky and fun. Plus…those conversations you have with your child help you realize far more…

WOW! You are “connecting” with your child!

Yes! Nobody loses. Everybody wins!

Tune in tomorrow for THINKING Thursday. Till then, enjoy getting wacky with words!

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WOW! Just another TALKing Tuesday w/Babs? Not!

No, today, on TALKing Tuesday, I want to invite you and your child to play a game. It’s the Sentence Sense Game™.

You can play this game wherever you are. You need no tools. Just the two of you!

Yes! Your child will be learning to make sentence sense while also learning to use nouns and verbs.

And you two will be having good conversation as you play this game. WOW!

That’s what makes TALKing games so much fun.

Sentence Sense Game is  a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.Reminder: This TALKing game, like all talking games you gather from this blog, helps to prepare your young child to be the best reader possible.Learning to be that super writer!..and the best writer possible!

Hey! Another fun aspect? This is a game where nobody loses.

Yes! Everybody wins! And even your 2 yr old can play. WOW!

Okay, to play the Sentence Sentence Game, you’re going to speak in complete sentences.

As your child gets really good at this game, you can add challenge to include sense sentences, like “People talk.” and “Pencils write.” and nonsense sentences, like “People fly.” or “Cups walk.”

Little Books of Nouns by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Little Books of Nouns by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. Good Year Books, 2001.

But guess what? Every sentence in this game will have a noun and a verb. Because that’s the game’s goal…to make Sentence Sense.

So, sensical or non-sensical, you two will be making a whole lot of Sentence Sense. WOW!People fly?

Ready? Set? TALK!

You begin by modeling for your child. You say a sentence, such as “Cats climb.”

Then say, “Hey, that’s a sentence and it makes sense!”

For your child aged 5 or older, you may choose to add, “Cats is a noun that names something. Climb is a verb that shows action.”

For your younger child, though, just leave out all that noun and verb stuff at this point. Your child’s skill with Sentence Sense will tell you when it’s time to add any kind of extra challenge.

Continue to use the same format as you model another simple two-word sentence that make sense, such as: Kids play.

With young children, it’s helpful to emphasize the fact that each sentence you are saying is just two words. You can make that emphasis by tapping a surface twice as you say each of the two words.

Little Books of Verbs by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

Little Books of Verbs by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz. Good Year Books, 2001.

Or point to one finger and then a second finger.

Using the same format, model more two-word sentences that make sense.

Be sure, though, to model just one example at a time. Wait a bit, before you model another.

Here are some two-word sentences you might choose to use: Mom eats. Door shuts. Rain falls. Phone rings. Dinner cooks.

And remember, there are no losers in this game. So, if your child doesn’t catch on today, that’s okay.

Try it again tomorrow.

And the next day.

Then, if not today, then one day very soon, your child will be playing this game with you!

Yes! Following your model to say two-word sentences. And every sentence will have a noun and a verb! WOW!

Hello?If your child is 5 or older, challenge one another to speed up. Keeping your sentences limited to one noun and one verb helps your child truly focus on what a noun is. And what a verb is.

Bet your child will offer up some new and unique two-word sentences. WOW!

Oh, and for your infomation, your younger child is likely to repeat a sentence you’ve already said.

And that’s just fine. Following your good modeling is never a bad thing!

WOW! Play this simple two-word Sentence Sense Game several times a week.

The benefits to your child…and you…will, well, make nothing but good sense! Have fun!

And tune in tomorrow on Wacky Wednesday to have more fun…with the sound of /gr/ as in growing grey (seriously?). Gosh, I wonder if we’ll meet grinning Gracie or groaning Gracie!

(WOW! That shout-out’s intended to say “Hi Gracie!” to two little ladies I know named Grace…my dear mother for one…and Gracie, a Lilac Lizard kindergartener I met in CA recently…and a third Grace who’s Lilac teacher Jeri’s late grandmother. Hey, if you know more little ladies named Grace, won’t you click on the words “No comments” below here and tell me about your special Gracie lady. And send a picture if you like to Don’t forget to include a note of permission for me to post the pix here. Imagine it…lots of grinning–or groaning–Gracie ladies!)

™Sentence Sense Game is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

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It’s Funday Monday w/Babs! WOW!

Spider spinning, spinning, spinning

Spider spinning

Spinning a web…

Spider photo by Lance Helms

Spider Spinning

At first glance, this photo caused me to THINK and then jot those few words.

So, what words might such a photo cause you or your child to THINK and speak?

And…what does this spider busily spinning a web have to do with our Funday Monday and Parenting 4 Literacy?

Well, what if…

What if…

What if this spider were the real thing?

You know…the Eensy Weensy Spider?

And what if that eensy weensy spider were traveling up your wall right now?

Or what if you were seeing this spider in your flower bed right now? Right there. Right now.

No, you wouldn’t be thinking of how to remove that little spider. Or how to avoid getting caught up in its web.

No, No. Not at all.

Your very first thought would be around how this little spider’s presence provides you with a great opportunity to have a Funday Monday (or any day!) with your child.

Right? Right!


Yes, if your child is an infant or as old as age 6, that spider right there by you is gonna be the catalyst that gets you to say or sing and dramatize “Eensy Weensy Spider”…

Another spider!

The eensy weensy spider
went up the water spout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sunA web, a web, a spider's web...
and dried up all the rain.
Now the eensy weensy spider
goes up the spout again.

(Note: Variations of all sorts exist for this rhyme, including one on its title as “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” You can even find the tune to this rhyme on the Web if it’s not already in your personal repertoire.)

But, what if your child is a bit older than 6 or 7?

Well, you’ll still sing and dramatize this little song. Know why?

Because whether you sing or say the words, your breaking into this little rhyme or song upon the sighting of a spider will grab your child’s attention! WOW!

And that’s our topic for this Funday Monday: How to grab and hold onto your child’s attention with nothing but words you speak!

It's a spider ring!

Look at this power you hold…the use of fun words to not only grab your child’s attention; but also engage your child’s imagination.

And when fun words grab your child’s ears, the mind opens right up to all those morsels of knowledge that are embedded in every word. WOW!

Now, suppose you have a fussy youngster in tow today. How might you still have a Funday Monday?

Well, there’s nothing bOh! A brown spider!etter than fun language to divert your fussy child’s attention. I promise you it works every time!

Begin saying or singing a fun little ditty like this spider rhyme. Then just keep on keepin’ on till those fussy fusses are all fussed away! WOW!

Tomorrow, on TALKing Tuesday, we’ll expand on this idea with yet another way to call upon fun language to be teaching your young (or not so young) child…while even you are having fun!

Then on Wacky Wednesday this week, we’ll do more “what if…” thinking about spiders!

Go have a Funday Monday…with or without the help of a spider!

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It’s another Free-for-All Friday w/Babs! WOW!

I’m still THINKing about that hog’s life in yesterday’s post. And here’s why. There’s a pig on a page in a book. And that pig is having some bed rest.

Bed Rest by Babs Bell HajdusiewiczOn this Free-for-All Friday, I have thoughts of needing some bed rest.

Truth is, I’m sorta under the weather today. WOW! That thought takes me to a delightful conversation with a 4 yr old yesterday in which I used that figure of speech “under the weather.”

Gotta love young children’s literal interpretations of figurative language!Whoa! Let's stop to read the words!

Well, puzzled Joshua turned his eyes toward the sky. And you can predict his next utterance:

“Huh, Ms. Babs?”

Now, in lieu of explaining my meaning, I merely tucked into our conversation the words that I have a bit of a cold and am just feeling under the weather.

I kept on tucking in new information to help this young fellow gain meaning without my playing the role of a talking dictionary.

No. What I sought was to model use of the saying so that Joshua could seamlessly claim it as his own.

Language he could use whenever he wanted to make a point in his own conversation.

So I went on to say how I literally have a cold. And I said that colds just don’t feel so good. And that, figuratively speaking, I was truly feeling under the weather.

Yes! We can use such big words, like literally and figuratively, whenever and wherever they fit into everyday conversations with a young child.

Well, Joshua’s facial expression now spoke volumes to his mother and me. WOW! No question. His family and friends will be hearing him use that same idiom…very soon.

WOW! It's a hog's life! Look at it! A piggy nap!

from Bed Best by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac

Oh, what a powerfully interesting TALKer he will present for some listener! WOW!

To be sure, I tucked into that same short visit, and in similar fashion, how this 4 yr old was just pulling my leg when he exclaimed how he could climb that nearby wall just like Spiderman. Hmmmm.

Joshua went away from our little chit-chat with two new figures of speech tucked into his pocket for later use. WOW! New language. New knowledge.

Fact: 4 yr olds are especially-unique LISTENers and TALKers. They relish figuring out how language works!

Anyway, my feeling sorta punky today started my THINKing about the Bed Rest book and that hog’s life as we explored it in the “A Hog’s Life” poem yesterday.

And then I remembered this pig pictured on the first of eight pages in this little book for infants to 1st graders.

WOW! It’s a piggy nap!

And he’s hogging the whole pen, too!

from Bed Best Copyright © 1996 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac

from Bed Best by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz, illustrated by Mary Ann Zapalac

But wait. There’s more we can do with any little book like this. That’s why I urge you to “milk” each read-aloud selection to its fullest.

Face it. If you’ve chosen well, you’re going to be reading that book or poem or story again and again.

So let’s explore more ways the two of you can extend your fun literacy jaunts once you’ve read this particular book aloud a few times.Read it again!

Notice the girl and her teddy on the cover of Bed Rest. Well, what if you’re reading to a boy? Or what if your listener’s favorite sleeptime-cuddly is a blankie? Or a stuffed rabbit?

Just glue onto the book’s cover and on the last page correspondingly-sized photos of whatever bedtime-lovey is favored in your house.

And similarly personalize those pages with photos of your listener’s face.

And for some Focused Talking™ around this story’s language, how about taking “piggy naps” like that pig on a page there! Or call on yesterday’s poem about “hogging” spaces whenever you or your young child is feeling crowded.

WOW! The power of a book…and its language! WOW!

P.S. Hey, Lilac Lizards and your parents and teachers, can you name those real wild animals who visited your school last Friday? Did you see the animals in the pictures posted yesterday? Click below to comment. Do tell!

Focusing Talk/Focused Talking is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

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WOW! It’s THINK-THINK-THINKing Thursday w/Babs!

"The Thinker" by Rodin is THINKing on my desk!WOW! Time to put on those THINKing caps. Might even want to adopt a pose like that of “The Thinker.”

I'm THINKing! I'm THINKing!Rodin’s (pronounced RO dan) statue is yet another visual stimulation I keep around me as I work.

You know…he keeps me THINKing!

And, as is often the case, today I’m in need of some help with my THINKing.

That is, I need some help to come up with the proper names of those real wild animals who came visiting at Lilac Elementary last Friday.

So, I’ve called on Kiera’s teacher Jeri to put me in touch with the animal trainer. That connection is in progress. I promise to report back later.

Meanwhile, here’s a link to a video of that day’s events:


And now, since it’s THINKing Thursday, I just did a quick THINK and decided to search my writing around the word think

WOW! I found tons of “think” poems in my files.

Seems “The Thinker” has done its job to stimulate my thoughts…and then some!

One poem, “A Hog’s Life,” carries an original date of 1996. Yep! It’s been hanging around for some time now…in hopes of seeing daylight.

WOW! THINK about that! Whether a piece of writing is tucked away in one’s brain cells, a file cabinet, or it’s buried deep inside a computer system (as was this poem), it just might be longing to see the light of day.

(Guess you can tell how I THINK about and consider each piece I write…it’s one of my “babies” with feelings and all…)

So while you’re THINKing, THINK and TALK with your child on this thought. When I use the figure of speech “seeing the light of day,” I’m meaning as in getting to be viewed by eyes…and maybe even lucky enough to get read aloud on tongues.

So, go ahead. Read this one aloud to your child of any age:

What's a hog's life, anyway?

A Hog’s Life

My sister hogs the bathroom.
My brother hogs the sink.
Our baby hogs my mommy’s lap.
I live with hogs, I think.

Copyright © 1996, 2009 Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz

WOW! You and your child can have some THINKing fun with that poem today…in any way you like, actually.

However, if you’d like a Parenting 4 Literacy tip to add to your own ideas for THINKing and TALKing about that poem, here comes one…or more.

TALK about the word fun of THINKing about “hogging” space.

Give your child a look at the size of that pictured hog. WOW! A hog takes up a whole lot of space!

Or try innovating on my text to change sister or brother or baby to personalize names and titles around those who live in your home.

Hmmm. What new poem will the two of you create?THINKing up a thought!

Or THINK and TALK about why “It’s a Hog’s Life” has dates for two years preceding my byline.

If your child shows interest, you might say that the older date is there to protect this poem from way back in time when I first wrote those thoughts…and the newer date is there to protect my poem now as it’s being first published.It IS a hog's life!

WOW! There’s yet another tip to THINK and TALK about…you might help your child own the word byline as the name of the person who creats a piece of writing or other creative original work.

You and your older child may also get into some THINKing and TALKing about the fact that the byline and copyright protect a person’s ownership.

Rodin’s “The Thinker” is similarly protected as Rodin’s unique and original creation.

WOW! I’m now THINKing as a parent and educator…I’ve been there, done that.

So I can hear what’s coming in this conversation of yours! Your child wants bylines and copyrights to claim full rights and ownership on this or that possession!Go ahead...find with your child a THINKing Thursday...and a Free-for-All Friday!

Hmmm, now you’re likely onto the territory of trademarks. (Hey, I once wrote a children’s story about trademarks.)

Anyway, if the two of you can’t amicably settle rights and ownership issues that come up––well, maybe it’s time to call in the intellectual property attorneys.

WOW! Maybe the hog knows!

Tomorrow is Free-for-All Friday…wonder what’s waiting for us tomorrow!?

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Another Wacky Wednesday w/Babs! WOW!

It’s Wacky Wednesday, which takes my thoughts to tons of wonderful wackicobra picness last Friday with the Lilac Lizard parents and staff.

Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane and FriendsBut first, I need to tell what happened when I got sent to the principal’s office. I wasn’t in trouble, was I?

Sitting there, I found myself feeling right at home. Know why?

Because my eyes spotted something familiar! On Principal Shannon’s desk lay the Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane and Friends.

You can see here how that samMore books around my deske book sits near my desk.

I didn’t have anything to do with this book’s writing, though.

Actually, I was about to start school when Scott Foresman first published the original Dick and Jane stories.

It’s just that those Dick and Jane stories were my first reading successes. Thus, each story represents a treasured memory.

And, as I shared in an earlier post, seeing that book on the principal’s desk took my thoughts to California.

But, wait a minute! I was in the principal’s office…in California. WOW!

Familiarity. It carries with it such a great sense of comfort. Such a sense of comfort is one of the reasons your child asks to hear you reread the same poems and stories. Or that same ol’ book.Kiera & Me w/Welcome poster signed by Lilac students

Indeed, familiarity and that accompanying comfort feel mighty good.

Oh, a giraffe!Which brings us to today’s Parenting 4 Literacy tip. Today’s tip helps you score big with your child. WOW!

Yes! Here’s what you do the next time your child is not feeling up to par physically or emotionally.

You bring on some favorite and oh-so-familiar books, songs, stories, and poems. And guess what!

Your child will perk right up!

Recognizing the power inherent in familiar print, I made sure as a teacher that I had in my hand or on my tongue a few known favorites before a new student crossed the threshold to enter my classroom.

WOW! Familiarity and comfort…two basic needs each of us wants to get met when we’re faced with a new or challenging situation.

Okay. Back to Friday’s wackiness at Lilac Elementary. That entire day, by the way, was more than “Kiera’s Invited Babs the Author-Day.” Kiera, twin Bridget, sisters Kelsey and Jadine, her parents, her grandmother, and me

Friday was also Teacher Appreciation Day. And, oh, my! There was still more in store for us.

Many students came dressed in their pajamas! And you could tell that some of Lilac’s parents had dressed themselves that morning.

They wore wild clothing! As in wild-animal-looking clothes.

And those wild-animal-looking parents had painted faces that made them look more like wild animals than parents!

Yes, even the principal was in disguise. WOW! No wonder I got sent to her office!Yikes! It's a jaguar!

And no wonder if was such a wacky and wonderful day!

Tomorrow is THINKing Thursday, so I hope I’ll have done some thinking by then…enough to have thought up the correct animal names so I can show and tell about the real wild animals who dropped in on the Lilac Lizards and me last Friday.


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