Most of the children’s stories I write are rather long as I’m somewhat verbose with a tendency to go off on tangents. So I decided to take a run at writing a picture book length story with The Brave Hamster and found that getting all the elements in with just a few hundred words is a bit more challenging than I’d anticipated. But in the end, I rather liked the result.
The Brave Hamster
David is the hamster who lives in my garden. He used to be someone’s pet, but he escaped. David is a free-spirit.
David roams the garden, looking for seeds. He eats the flowers, holding the soft petals in his little paws. Sometimes he stands on his back legs swatting at the flower buds that hang down under the green leaves. He looks like a tiny boxer.
I want to be David’s friend. I want to pet him. I sit in the garden holding little bits of fruit for him to eat. He stands under a flower watching me. His black eyes shine and his nose twitches. He can smell the fruit.
Maybe David thinks I want to put him in a cage. But I don’t.
When I stretch out my hand toward him, David races out from under the plants and flowers. Sometimes he grabs a piece of fruit and stuffs it into his cheek pouches before dashing off. Other times he stands just out of my reach. He nibbles the treat and watches me with his inky eyes. If I lean forward to pet him, he scurries away.
David isn’t scared. He is careful. He knows that some big animals think small animals are snacks or playthings rather than friends.
Maybe David thinks I want to eat him. But I don’t.
There is a big animal who comes into the garden. He is a cat. His name is Duke. He lives next door. Duke is an indoor cat, but sometimes he sneaks out and comes to see what is happening in my yard. He’s never invited, but cats are curious. So, it happens.
One day Duke came into the yard. David walked up to him and blocked his way into the garden. Being curious, Duke reached out and batted David around a bit, knocking him down.
David stood up and brushed the dirt from his fur. He walked even closer to Duke and bopped that cat on the nose! BOP! BOP! BOP!
David is a brave hamster.
Duke didn’t know what to make of the fierce little creature. He slowly backed away and left the yard.
I cheered and clapped my hands. David had defended the garden from the big, unwelcome cat! He had been practicing boxing when he was swatting the flower buds.
David looked over at me, his black eyes twinkling.
Maybe he thought I wanted to congratulate him. And I did.
Carefully, sniffing the air, and watching me closely, David walked to where I sat. I stayed quiet and still. I didn’t want to startle him. He looked up at me, then stood up on his back legs. David raised one small paw toward the sky.
I tilted my head, confused. Then I understood. Very softly, very gently, I tapped his little paw with my open hand. High five!
David is the brave hamster who lives in my garden. He is a boxer and a free-spirit. He is my friend.