SHELBY’S FLYING LESSON

This is the first story in my book, The Complete Adventures of SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends

Squirrel on the grass

Before either of them could stop him he scrambled down the tree and across the grass. Soon he was on the edge of a parking lot behind a tall building that seemed to stretch all the way to the sky.

SHELBY’S FLYING LESSON

Shelby F. Squirrel was so excited he was quivering all over! His mother had just told him that he was old enough now to go down to the ground with the rest of the family to hunt for fallen nuts. He and his twin sister, Darby, were not babies any more!

“But,” his mother had sternly added, You must never go down to the ground alone! We always go together.

The other thing their mother had told them was what the initial F stood for. He and Darby had always wanted to know, but were told that they would find out when they were older.

She had patiently explained, You know that other squirrels look a lot like us, and behave like us most of the time. Our tails are shorter and our fur is thicker, but the most important thing to know is what our middle initial stands for. It is the same for every member in our whole family. She paused for a moment and taking a big breath, announced, Shelby Flying Squirrel and Darby Flying Squirrel are your full and proper names, and in a few days you will have your first flying lesson!

Oh, no! cried Shelby. I‘ll never be able to do that, I just know it! and before either of them could stop him he scrambled down the tree and across the grass. Without looking back, he just ran as fast as he could and soon he was on the edge of the parking lot behind a tall building that seemed to stretch all the way to the sky. As he glanced around he was startled to see a small black and white dog come trotting toward him. A low growl came from away down its throat and it suddenly dashed right toward Shelby.

Shelbys little feet skidded on the pavement as he took off, but he skittered toward the door that someone had just come through and darted inside before he even realized what he was doing. He was in a small room with no way out! There were two shopping carts in the corner and a closed door on each side wall. Straight in front of him was another different looking door. He was in a complete panic, eyes popping, chest heaving, when the different looking door slid open sideways! And then another door slid open just a little bit in front of that!

In a shot he was through them both, and went sliding across a beautiful room with soft furniture, carpets, and potted plants. He sat back on his haunches to take it all in, his head turning in all directions. There were big windows that gave a view of greenery and flowers. Shelby thought it was the most wonderful sight he had ever seen! He decided to do a little exploring and began tiptoeing about. He had only gone a few inches when a man appeared from the hallway that ran off to the left side of the room.

The man had a lot of keys that jangled. The sound made Shelby nervous, so he sat up to see what would

happen. Thats when the man saw him and, letting out a huge yell, leaped toward him. Shelby didnt know what to do! He was trapped for sure! And then an amazing thing happened. The wall near him started to slide open! In a twinkling he tore through the opening. He banged into a wall inside and felt quite dazed. As his head cleared, he realized the whole little room he was in was moving! A few moments later, the motion stopped and the door rolled back.

Out like a blue streak went Shelby! It was the right thing to do because, just as he escaped, two little elderly ladies stepped into the elevator. That was a stroke of luck, for sure. Neither of them noticed him, and the door closed leaving Shelby in an empty space with two hallways running off in opposite directions. Now a second panic attack gripped him. He saw no way out. Not a scrap of daylight peeped through anywhere. Shelby dearly wished he hadnt run away from his mother and sister like that. What a dumb thing to do! He curled up in a corner and started to cry softly to himself. After all he was not much more than a baby, really.

Oh, no! The sound of footsteps snapped him out of his gloomy mood. He peeked around the corner and saw that a door had opened a few feet away. A man had already come toward the elevator and was waiting for someone else to join him. Shelby raced past the man, and dashed through the door just as a lady came through, and it swung shut. He felt a lot safer in here. At least there was daylight!

He nearly lost it entirely when a big furry cat leaped at him from the chesterfield, missing him by a whisker. He went instinctively toward the window, which was also a door! Through that door, gasping for breath, scuttled Shelby. He circled around in a pretty tight space before jumping up to get away from the cat. Hefound himself on a ledge looking down at the top of a large tree!

Thats when something magic happened. He didnt even have to think about what he was doing. He just threw himself off the ledge and in the direction of the tree. His little legs stretched out as wide as they could, and on each side of his body the loose skin miraculously became a parachute. But more than that, it was a parachute that he could steer! By tilting his tail a little he controlled his flight and landed perfectly on a branch that gave gently with his weight and swayed for a moment while he caught his breath.

Shelby F. Squirrel was down that tree, across the grass and back up his own tree so fast that he almost became a blur. His mother and Darby were waiting with frightened looks on their faces.

Taking huge hiccupping breaths, Shelby stammered, Oh, Mother! Oh, Darby! I can fly! I can fly! I did it! And I promise to listen to you from now on! No more running away for me!

It’s easy to find Shelby F. Squirrel, all three books. I’m happy to mail autographed paperbacks if you contact me personally. Please see Contacts Page.

amazon.com http://amzn.to/2cO7rLo

amazon.ca http://amzn.to/2alpzuJ

 

Where is Virginia? Book 3 of the Shelby F. Squirrel Adventure Series.

 

I profess that I cannot bring myself to write children’s books that centre on one subject only. A child having to listen to a complete story based on bullying, sharing, obeying parents, loving others, etc, is likely to be bored and feel like he/she is being given a lecture. Just my humble opinion.

Therefore, all three of my SHELBY F. SQUIRREL books deal with life and all its complexities, which arise as normal events during stories that contain mystery, fear, planning , solutions, joy, love, and above all, learning, and fun.

Writing this on August 6, 2019 I am reflecting on the tragedy of mass shootings in the USA which are based on racism. In ‘Where is Virgina?’ the question of fur of a different colour is introduced as one of the issues in the tale. I would like to share a portion of Chapter One with you here, and hope you will read it and understand that your child is being given another reinforcement, in a very subtle way, toward believing and living a life where colour and differences do not matter. Here is the excerpt:

Quick! Somebody has called for help!” cried Rosie Robin. She arrived, breathless, at the nest hole and perched looking in at Shelby and Petra. Suddenly Shelby was wide awake.

“Who? Where?” Petra wanted to know.

Shelby just said, “Let’s go!”

Rosie led the way. Her mate, Rusty, and their best friend, Merry Robin, were close behind, and winging in from their left were two owls. Shelby nodded to Howard and Ollie, the Wise Old Owl’s eldest nephews, with a friendly smile. On Howard’s back was Marvin F. Mouse, waving bravely while he hung on with only one hand. He loved flying on Shelby’s back, but if an owl was handy he never said no.

Shelby was impressed that so many of his friends were already gathering to help someone in trouble. The long fight to save their forest last summer had built a strong community spirit between them and the neighbouring farm animals. It was something everyone realized was worth keeping as part of everyday life.

Howard angled in beside Shelby as he sailed on a long glide, and Marvin, clinging to his back, shouted, “A little flying squirrel is lost!”

That was all Shelby found out until Rosie Robin suddenly swooped downward and they all followed her descent. Shelby could see that Molly and Polly Raccoon were sitting nearby and the skunks were there under a tree just a short distance away.

* * *

They had arrived at the far northern edge of the forest, which was beside an expansive rolling field, still stubbled with remnants of last year’s corn. Here they found a family of three flying squirrels cowering together near the opening to their nest in a beech tree.

It was clear they were terribly upset. Their eyes were full of tears and the mother was visibly shaking. Her mate, a strong fellow, was supporting her, while their young son clung to his mother and stared at the newcomers with a trace of fear in his eyes.

“I’m Red,” said the father, “and this is my mate, Sal. Our daughter is lost! We can’t find her anywhere!” Red was large for a flying squirrel and his thick fur shone with tips of russet. He was a fine specimen, but his face was pinched with worry.

“She’s gone, we don’t know what happened!” said Sal, who was close to a full-blown panic attack. She was smaller, with typical gray predominating her thick fur. Her eyes darted back and forth, then she repeated, “She’s lost! Our beautiful little Virginia is lost! Oh, what are we going to do?”

Petra moved close to Sal to try and comfort her, and the two male squirrels went a short distance away to talk. Rosie Robin stayed with Petra and Sal, making soft chirpy sounds as she shook her head sadly. Edward sniffled quietly and leaned against his mother.

Marvin F. Mouse and Rusty Robin joined Red and Shelby. The two owls, Howard and Ollie, hung back, looking very uncomfortable with such an emotional situation. They sat together and waited, looking serious, which was their usual facial expression.

* * *

Just out of hearing range of the ladies, Shelby said, “Red, when did you come to the Flying Squirrel Sanctuary?”

“Not long ago,” Red replied. “We’ve only been here for two days, barely settling in and this happens!”

“Tell me more,” urged Shelby. The others nodded and smiled to encourage Red.

“Our two children are almost a year old. Edward has fur like mine but Virginia’s is white! A lot of the animals where we had been living weren’t nice to her. They laughed at her and and played mean tricks on her. She used to cry herself to sleep every night! Even Edward couldn’t cheer her up.”

“White fur! She must be very beautiful!” said Marvin.

“She really is, yes! She was so happy here without the bullies around. But yesterday she just disappeared!”

Sal came to join them, needing to be close to Red. Edward stuck to her like glue. “We’re so worried and we don’t know where to begin!” Sal wailed, now sobbing openly. Petra and Rosie Robin had not managed to calm her at all. They stayed where they were looking at each other with grim expressions, talking softly, trying to figure out some way to help. But they were too upset to think clearly.

Red told them they had last seen Virginia around noon the day before. She and Edward had been playing hide-and-seek in the trees, and when he couldn’t find her, he had eventually given up and come home, thinking she would soon follow.

But Virginia had never returned. They had searched and called her name until they were near exhaustion. Even though they were virtually strangers in the Flying Squirrel Sanctuary, they decided they must ask for help early this morning. The first contact with anyone had been when Merry Robin flew by their tree on her way to find worms in the farmer’s field. She had immediately changed course and hurried straight to Rosie’s nest.

* * *

Thanks for reading. Just a reminder: The SHELBY books are age related so that as SHELBY and his friends mature, the reading level rises. Here’s how it works:

The SHELBY F SQUIRREL Series

As your child grows, so does Shelby!

The Complete Adventures of

SHELBY F. SQUIRREL and Friends

Age 4-10 (Shelby is 3 months old to 2 years)

The Great FOREST CAPER

Age 8-11 (Shelby is an adolescent)

Where is Virginia?

Age 9-12 (Shelby is an adult and becomes a father)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: