Tommy the Chickadee
Melodie Jantzi, age 8, Moorefield
Why we like it: This fun, easy-to-read winter scene from a chickadee’s point of view shows great imagination from the writer. The reader can see themes of friendship and caring for others in the way the chickadees look out for each other. The plot builds nicely to a tense climax at the end, resolved by some quick thinking by one of the chickadees.
One fine winter morning, Tommy woke to a wonderful surprise: it had snowed! As Tommy looked around his snow-covered woods, he thought he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life! After looking at it for a while, Tommy realized how hungry he was. He decided to see if he could find seeds that the human named Anna sometimes scattered on the forest floor. He soon found some and ate his fill. Then he returned to his hole in a rotten tree trunk for his morning nap.
When Tommy awoke, it was lunchtime. He went to see if he could find seeds on the ground. He didn’t, but he did find Anna on a rock with something in her outstretched hand. As Tommy hopped over for a closer look, he realized that Anna was holding Tommy’s favorite food- sunflower seed! Tommy eyed Anna warily, but seeing Anna didn’t move, he flew onto her hand, grabbed a seed, and flew back to his hole. But soon he was sitting on Anna’s hand to eat the sunflower seeds. When he had eaten his fill, Tommy flew home for his after-dinner nap.
The next day as Tommy was playing, he heard voices nearby. Now Tommy was a very curious little bird, and it was hard for him to just walk away from those voices. So he came closer until he saw the animals who were talking. He gasped. It was Mr. Hawk and his friends! Mr. Hawk was always on the lookout for a tasty chickadee dinner, and his friends were no different. But Mr. Hawk was not talking about Tommy, he was talking about Tod, Tommy’s best friend! Mr. Hawk was saying, “I’ve tried catching both of them, and failed. But if we work together, we’d get both of them in no time!” Then the hawks started whispering.
Oh dear, thought Tommy. What shall I do? I have to warn Tod. He flew off as fast as he could. Finally he arrived at Todd’s tree Tod was playing with a pinecone.
“Tod!” shouted Tommy. “I heard Mr. Hawk and his friends talking about working together to catch us!”
“What?” yelled Tod.
“Yes!” said Tommy.
“Well, come inside. We’ll talk it over.”
Tommy nodded and followed Tod inside.
“What’ll we do?” asked Tommy.
“Well,” said Tod. “Mr. Hawk knows where we live, so that is where he will go to try catching us, so we have to move.”
“Move?” asked Tommy. “Where?”
“We could live together in that tree on the other side of the woods.”
“You go home and pack up, and I’ll pack up my things, and we’ll meet at the tree,” Tod said. Tommy nodded.
“Looks nice,” said Tod.
“Yes,” said Tommy. “I think so too.”
The two birds were at the old hole. They had unpacked their things, and it looked nice.
“We’ll be safe here,” said Tod.
“Not completely,” said Tommy. “Mr. Hawk might find out and he could catch us when we’re looking for food.”
“I guess,” said Tod. “But as long as we’re careful, we should be okay.
The next day, Tod wanted to see if he could find seeds for breakfast. As he hopped outside, he saw some delicious-looking berries on a bush close to the old rotten tree. He flew to it and began pecking the berries.
Yum, thought Tod as he gobbled up more berries. He didn’t notice that one of Mr. Hawk’s friends was sitting on a tree very close to the bush that Tod was sitting on. Before the hawk could strike, Tod flew back into the rotten tree. The hawk flew through the woods, chuckling to himself.
The next day Tod was about to stick his head outside to breathe the fresh morning air, when suddenly Mr. Hawk poked his sharp claws through the opening to the hole!
“E-ee-ee-eek!” screamed the chickadees. They backed into a corner and screamed as the claws came closer.
“How did he find out that we’re here?”
“I don’t know,” said Tommy. “But I’m not worried about how he found out. I’m worried because he found out!”
The claws came close and then a foot and leg appeared, coming closer. Now the birds could feel the tips of the awful claws! They had to do something, and fast, if they wanted to live. Tod grabbed a chair, put it where he was standing, and pulled Tommy to another corner of the room. Mr. Hawk’s claw latched onto the chair and he gave a triumphant yell, then one of disappointment and anger when he found out it was just a chair. The foot came again into the corner here the chickadees had been.
“Where are they?” Tod heard Mr. Hawk say angrily. Tod and Tommy squashed against the wall. Then the foot came toward them!
Oh dear, what shall we do? thought Tommy. I know! I’ll put my teddy bird in front of us and Mr. Hawk will think it’s us! Tommy quickly shoved his teddy right in front of them. Mr. Hawk’s claws latched onto the teddy and pulled it out.
“What?” yelled Mr. Hawk. “I’m done with this!” And he flew away in a fit of rage.