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TITLE: A Day in the Life of Toadsetta
By Laura Manley

This story has not received but one critique in the Childrens Section. I am placing it here in hopes it will receive more critiques. This is the first in a series of stories about a little green, talking toad who constantly gets into trouble. It is designed for children of all ages, and adults as well, to have fun learning about this mischievous toad, but also to be introduced to an object lesson at the end of each story.
Toadsetta woke to a mist spraying in her face from off the pond she called home. It was a rude way to wake up, but Toadsetta was always ready for a new day, so off her lily pad she hopped. She took a brief shower in a cascading waterfall she had discovered one day by accident. For soap, Toadsetta used a rock and mashed berries into a gel-like form.

After her shower, Toadsetta always went back to the pond to find her breakfast. Some days it was flies, some days beetles, but her favorite breakfast - well, actually for every meal - were the worms she would find along the way.

Toadsetta's home was in the mountains with beautiful pine trees for miles around. She loved the peace of her surroundings. She'd go out each day and hike her little heart out, and that was no easy task.

You see, except for her legs, Toadsetta was no bigger than a man's thumb. But Toadsetta had the strength to hop, jump, swim and dive better than any toad she knew (or frog, for that matter). Toadsetta had some special qualities. One, she was green - most unusual for a toad; and two, she could speak. Yes, Toadsetta was a talking toad!

One day Toadsetta was going to visit the "city." She didn't quite know what the city was, but it had been a life-long dream of hers to find out. But this particular morning, Toadsetta set out for her usual daily hike. Sometimes it would be an all-day event. It just depended on where she went and what or who she would find along the way.

One of Toadsetta's favorite things was to wake up "Owly Owl." She had known him for the entire time she had lived in the mountains. He had absolutely no sense of humor, which made her all the more determined to wake him each morning. She would climb the best way she knew how, up to his owl hole and shoot berries into it until he woke up. He would get furious and shout, "Get out of my house, you young whippersnapper before I get a few of my friends to knock you down a peg or two." Toadsetta had no idea what a "peg" was, but by the tone of Owly Owl's voice, she knew it was time to leave. She really thought that deep inside, Owly Owl was a sweet and gentle spirit at heart. He just needed a little training, and Toadsetta was just the one to give it to him.

Satisfied she had accomplished what she set out to do, Toadsetta scampered off to see what other things she could enjoy in today's adventure. It wasn't long when she hopped over a tree stump right onto the back of her rabbit friend, Sunny Bunny. Toadsetta liked to call her that because she was always like a ray of sunshine. Sunny Bunny never seemed to have a bad day.

"Whatcha' up to today, Sunny Bunny?" Toadsetta asked as soon as she jumped down from her back.

"I was just thinking about pickin' some berries for my lunch."

"Would you like me to help you?

"Oh, that would be super!"

So off they went, Toadsetta riding on Sunny Bunny's back, to find berries. They ate berries until they were almost sick, so they decided to come back another day with a pail and pick some to store for winter.

"Whatcha' going to do now, Toadsetta?" the little bunny asked with a big smile. Making small talk, Toadsetta told Sunny Bunny of her plans, as she did every day, but she never got tired of Toadsetta's same old answer.

Toadsetta said goodbye to Sunny Bunny, and went on her hoppy (that's happy in toad talk) way to hopefully meet some other forest friends. She had traveled quite a distance when suddenly, without warning, Toadsetta tumbled down a very deep hole. She lost consciousness immediately, so when she awoke some time later, she found herself in toadally unfamiliar surroundings.

Where was she? How had this happened? How would she get out? At least she still knew who she was. She looked up from where she lay and could only see a pinpoint of light. She was toadally terrified!

Toadsetta shook her head to help her think more clearly, but she knew it was going to take more than a shaking of her head to get her out of this jam. Hmmmmm, she thought, jam - now that was something she could go for right now - a nice big jam sandwich. The berries hadn't kept her full for all that long. However, she had no bread, and she had no jam - so much for that thought.

The little pinpoint of light seemed to be disappearing, so Toadsetta knew she was not going anywhere until daybreak. She jumped to her feet, finding out very quickly how her little body had suffered when she fell. She wondered if she would ever find this situation funny! Even though she could not laugh now, somehow she felt that one day she could look back at this as a learning experience. Maybe the next toad, frog, or any other creature, might not be as lucky as her. Well, so much for that!

After examining her surroundings, Toadsetta realized she had not fallen as far as she had thought. She would try to sleep tonight and then in the morning hopefully figure out what she could do to get herself out of this hole.

To be continued...
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