When Mommy dropped the Kayla and Joanie off at school one Friday morning, she was in a terrible rush and forgot all about the permission slips for Zoo day. She was running so late for work that instead of going all the way into their classrooms, she hugged and kissed each one quickly at the door and sent them into the school on their own.
As soon as she had driven away, Kayla remembered the permission slips.
“Oh no! Today is Zoo Day! We won’t be able to go!” she stamped her foot in frustration, watching as the car turned the corner and drove out of sight.
Joanie, who was still only in Kindergarten, began to cry.
“Maybe we can ask the secretary in the office to call her and bring them right away,” said Kayla, trying to console her.
Kayla held Joanie’s hand and together they went to the front office.
“Look!” said Joanie.
A long snake with brightly colored stripes was slithering along the hallway. While they looked at it in astonishment, it turned and slipped under the door to the teacher’s lounge.
“Wow, a snake in school? I can’t wait to tell everyone in my class about that,” said Kayla.
But Kayla and Joanie soon forgot all about the snake.
When they went into the office, Mrs. Shields, the lady who was usually bustling around behind the high counter, was not there. Instead, there was a large white cockatiel.
“Get to class!” squawked the cockatiel, and its crest of white feathers stood up very straight on its head.
Kayla and Joanie stood and waited in the office for a little bit, hoping someone would come in so that they could ask about getting their mother to bring the permission slips.
But no grown-ups came into the office. There was just the cockatiel pacing along the front counter.
When the bell rang, Kayla said, “C’mon, Joanie, we’d better go to class.”
Kayla ran with Joanie to the door of the kindergarten classroom. She pulled open the door and Joanie ran in, and Kayla turned to run to her first grade classroom. As the door was closing, she thought she heard Joanie squeal delightedly and say, “Bunnies!!”
Kayla was tempted to go back and see what that was about, but her own teacher, Mr. Lundy, was very strict about getting to their seats before class started. So she sprinted to her classroom.
When she got there, she pulled open the door, and then froze before going into the room.
Instead of Mr. Lundy, there was a big lion sitting right in front of the chalkboard. The lion looked at her and its tail did a sort of swish-twitch that looked like it was gesturing for her to enter and take a seat. So Kayla carefully edged into the room and made her way to her desk.
At all the desks around her there were all sorts of animals sitting in the chairs instead of her classmates. Tiffany, Josh and Sapna usually sat at the chairs right next to her. But instead there were an ostrich, a giraffe and a koala bear.
Kayla wasn’t sure what to do or say. Maybe this is just a dream, she thought to herself. Then the ostrich flapped its wings, its bushy feathers brushing her in the face.
No, definitely not a dream, Kayla thought as she spluttered fluff out of her mouth.
In the next set of desks were three lemurs and an orangutang. Other desks held an assortment of penguins, monkeys, zebras, hippos and one very sneaky looking alligator who was crouching under a chair.
While Kayla was looking around at the other students, the giraffe’s feet kicked him under the table.Kayla kicked back, and then the ostrich leaned its long beak over and bonked her on the head.
“Ow!” Kayla yelped, but then she remembered the lion. She turned around, worried about what would happen if she got into trouble.
At the front of the class, the lion was looking very fiercely at two lemurs who were swinging from the light fixtures. While his back was turned, an oryx was using its long pointy horns to knock books off of the top shelves against the wall.
Kayla tried to ask the koala if he knew when the bus was supposed to leave for the zoo, but the koala had fallen fast asleep.
This was crazy! The alligator kept snapping at the feet of any animals that tried to walk by him to get to the back of the room. The only animal not bothered by this was the hippo, who stomped right on past, grabbed a book off a shelf and went to the reading nook. It flopped its giant rump down on a bean bag chair, which burst and sent little styrofoam balls flying into the air like a flurry of snow.
Pretty soon the bell rang for recess. Kayla wasn’t sure what to expect, but the lion roared for everyone’s attention.
All the animals stopped what they were doing and got into line.
Kayla found herself between two penguins, who seemed pretty harmless. The giraffe had scooped the koala onto its neck.
On the playground, Kayla played tag with the ostrich, jumped rope with a python, and swung on the monkey bars with actual monkeys. She had so much fun she completely forgot about the permission slip for the zoo.
Back in the classroom, science lab was very interesting. Each animal took a turn at the front of the room and showed off something unique it could do. Kayla’s favorite was watching the giraffe and the anteater compare who had the longest tongue.
By the end of the day, Kayla was completely used to being in a room full of wild animals. The ostrich gave her a ride around the room, and she gave the koala a piggy back ride as well.
When class was over, Kayla waved good bye to her new animal friends and went to collect her sister at the Kindergarten room. She found Joanie giggling in the middle of a pile of rabbits, otters, a chameleon, several meerkats, a baby fox, and a platypus.
“Come on, Joanie, it’s time to go home,” she said, pulling the chameleon gently off her sister’s arm and taking a frog out of her pocket.
They walked to the entrance of the school, where the parents’ were lined up in cars to get the kids.
When they got into their mom’s car, Mom said, “Kids, I’m so sorry I forgot about your permission slips for Zoo day! I tell you what, Dad and I will take you to the zoo tomorrow to make up for missing out today.”
“Thanks, Mom,” said Kayla, “but it doesn’t sound like much fun to just look at animals behind walls and glass.”