Wanda Wannabee Series

“Wanda Wannabee and the Rainbow” is the first story in the Wanda series. Also available are “Wanda Wannabee and the Fox in the Hollow” and “Wanda Wannabee and the Secret Seeds.” Below is an excerpt from “Wanda Wannabee and the Rainbow.” Scroll through to read the excerpt and see where children have the opportunity to become “co-authors” and illustrators by filling in the blanks and drawing their own pictures. The numbers at the blank spaces coincide with a numbered word/phrase reference list at the end of the story. This is to give children some creative help if they are having a problem finding a word or word combinations.

Wanda Sees the RAINBOW

The bright, golden sun was shining like a (1) in the sky.  It spilled like (2) down over the mountains, meadows, and (3) streams, turning the whole world the color of (4). Wanda jumped down off her porch step and the grass, still wet from last night’s rain, made a (5) sound beneath her feet. She looked up at the (6) (7) sky and her eyes (8) popped open wide. There, curving like a (9) across the sky was the most (10) rainbow Wanda had ever seen. Its colored bands of , (11)   , (12)   and (13) shimmered (14) in the early morning light.

Wanda and Her “Keeping Secret Things in Basket”

All of Wanda’s family, friends, and neighbors had come out of their houses.  They gazed at the rainbow and Wanda could hear them exclaiming: “Oh my!  What a (15) rainbow!”  “Have you ever seen a more (16) rainbow?”  “A rainbow like that makes my heart feel (17). The longer Wanda looked at the rainbow, the more she liked it.  The more she liked it, the more she felt an urge deep down inside of her to have the rainbow all to herself.  “I want to be the girl who owns that rainbow,” Wanda thought. “I want it all to myself. That way I can look at it whenever I (18). Wanda rushed back inside her house, raced up the (19) stairs and threw open the door to her (20).  She grabbed her “keeping secret things in” basket.  It was large and (21)   but very strong.  Wanda felt certain that if she folded the rainbow just right, it would fit (22) into her basket.

Wanda (23) back downstairs and into the kitchen. She took something to eat from the (24) cupboard. She placed the food into a (25) and wrapped it up carefully.  She knew it might take a very long time to find the rainbow’s end and she wanted to be prepared.  She felt sure, though, that if she were brave as a (26) and as fast as a (27) and clever as a (28) she would find it and then it would be hers and hers (29). She would (30) it quickly like a (31) grabs a 32).  She would fold it into her (33) basket before it could fade away like a (34).

Wanda and Her Journey to the Rainbow’s End

Wanda set out on her journey running like a (35) across the damp grass. She rushed past smiling neighbors and friends, past (36) cows grazing in the fields, past the happy, (37) river, past the swaying (38) flowers blossoming in the (39) (green) meadow. She struggled up (40) mountains and scrambled over (41) rocks. She took of her shoes and socks and rolled up her pants and waded acr0ss (42) mountain streams. She knew she had to find the rainbow’s end before night fell like a (43) over the land hiding the rainbow in its (44) shadows. Wanda hurried past towns and villages nestled like (45) among the valleys. In each village and town the people stood gazing like (46) with warm smiling faces at the (47) rainbow spread like (48) across the (49) summer sky. It was late afternoon and the shadows were beginning to (50) like (51) across the land. Wanda’s heart beat like a (52) in her chest. She was afraid the journey had been for nothing and the (53) rainbow would fade into the (54) before she could find its end. Just then, Wanda came to a (55) stone and as she clambered up to the top and began to (56) down the other side she saw right there before her (57) eyes, the rainbow’s end. It was nestled, not in a pot of gold as some believed, but (58) out of a field of flowers, flowers of every shade and color; , , , , , (59) stretching like a (60) over the land. It seemed to Wanda that the rainbow burst up and out of the flowers to soar like an (61) into the sky. Quickly, like a (62) Wanda grabbed the end of the rainbow and began (63) it down, out of the sky, (64) it into her basket. Just as she (65) closed the lid of her basket on the last glimmering light of the rainbow, night came down like a (66) turning the world silent and still. Wanda’s heart was happy as a (67) as she snuggled down sleepily into the soft grass, surrounded by the (68) of flowers. As the first rays of the sun (69) up over the hill, Wanda woke. Her basket, holding the rainbow tightly inside seemed to blow like a (70). When Wanda picked it up, it felt lighter than (71) even though the rainbow filled it up completely.

Wanda Brings Her Rainbow Home

Wanda was in a hurry to get home. She had eaten all her food and her tummy grumbled like a (72). Quickly she (73) back over the boulder, up and down the sides of (74) mountains. She scampered past towns and villages, waded across streams until finally she reached home. It was late in the afternoon. Her family, friends, and neighbors were busy going about their chores. That night it rained all night. Hard (75) rain fell like (76) out of the sky. Wanda, tired out from her long, (77) journey slept through the storm, her basket, with its treasure inside hidden like a (78) beneath her bed. The next morning, before going outside to help with the chores, Wanda opened the cover of her basket just the tiniest bit, afraid if she opened it too wide the rainbow might escape. She (79) inside the basket and saw the (80) rainbow and felt proud as a (81) knowing that the rainbow belonged to her alone. When Wanda stepped outside she noticed that the sky was bright as a (82) and yet it seemed empty as a (83). She saw her mother and father, friends and neighbors looking up at the sky, their eyes searching, their faces sad. Wanda walked over to her mother and took her hand. “Why are you so sad, Mother?” Wanda asked. “I’m sad, Wanda,” her mother replied “because the (84) rainbow did not come out today.” “We are all sad, Wanda,” her father said “because the rainbow lit up the morning like (85) and now it’s gone.”

Wanda Looking at the Empty Sky

Wanda felt her secret scratching like a (86) at the back of her lips, trying to get out. But Wanda said nothing. The next morning, Wanda woke early and saw the (87) rain clouds outside her window slowly floating away over the mountains like (88). She knelt down on the floor next to her bed and pulled out her basket. She lifted the cover just a drop and glanced inside. It seemed to Wanda that her (89) rainbow was not as bright as it had been. Its colors had faced like an old cotton (90). Wanda’s secret seemed heavy as a (91) inside her. This morning as she walked outside, her mother and father, friends and neighbors were looking up at the (92) sky with (93) faces. Wanda knew they were looking for her rainbow. Wanda felt very (94) but said nothing.

Wanda Looking at the Fading Rainbow

The next morning when Wanda woke and looked at her rainbow, it seemed duller and lifeless as a (95). Her heart felt dull too, and colorless as (96). Wanda knew then what she had to do. She thought to herself, “I wannabe the girl who puts the (97) rainbow back in the sky.” She dressed quickly, picked her basket and hurried outside. The last rain cloud was scurrying over the distant hills like a startled (98). The sun, (99) and (100) was warming the land and turning everything yellow as (101). Wanda ran fast as a (102). Her feet squished in the wet grass. She sped past sad-faced neighbors and friends, past (103) cows grazing in the fields, past the happy, (104) river, past the swaying (105) flowers in the (106). She struggled up (107) mountains and scrambled over (108) rocks. She took off her shoes and socks and rolled up her jeans and waded across the (109) mountain stream. When, at last, she came to the huge stone, she climbed up one side and slid down the other. There, stretched out before her as glorious as anything she had ever seen, was the field of every color flower. The flowers swayed like (110) in the soft breeze.

Wanda Lets the Rainbow Go

Wanda put down her basket and opened the lid as wide as it would go. The rainbow shivered for a moment as if it were (111). Then warmed by the sun’s (112) light, lifted gracefully like a (113) out of the basket and spread (114) across the radiant blue summer sky. Wanda sat in the soft grass next to her empty basket, gazing up at the (115) rainbow that was no longer hers alone. The longer she looked, the (116) the rainbow became. Wanda picked up her basket and walked (117) home. On her way, she passed towns and villages. She saw people on the streets and farmers in the fields. Everywhere she went and everyone she saw wore big, (118) smiles.

Wanda and Her Parents Looking at the Rainbow Back Up in the Sky

When she reached home her father ran to her, picked her up and spun around as if she were lighter than (119). “Wanda!” “Wanda,” her father’s happy voice rang like a (120). “Do you see it, Wanda?” “Our rainbow, it’s back in the sky!” “Wanda,” her mother called. “Is it not brighter and more beautiful than ever before?” Wanda smiled and nodded at her happy parents. And then she felt a small chuckle start to bubble in her mouth, and then the chuckle turned into a (121) laugh. It had started down at the bottom of her toes tickling like a (122). It had crept up her legs like a (123) and raced right up into her mouth and popped out like a (124). It was the loudest, happiest laugh Wanda had ever laughed. Before she had set the rainbow free she had felt heavy as a (125), but now she felt lighter than a (126). Wanda had thought it would feel good to have the rainbow all to herself, but she had learned that the real joy of a thing is not in owning it, but in sharing it. Wanda’s happy face seemed almost as (127) as the (128) rainbow that was shining like a (129) in the , (130) sky.


Listen as you read:

by Susan A Katz & Sharon Ruchman | Wanda Wannabee and the Rainbow

  1. diamond, candle, flame
  2. water, honey, a smile
  3. gurgling, rushing, lazy
  4. love, ripe peaches, molasses
  5. squishing, sucking, funny
  6. bright, great, vast
  7. blue, shimmering, endless
  8. popped, snapped, burst
  9. half moon, mother’s arms, half melon
  10. beautiful, amazing, exciting
  11. colors
  12. colors
  13. colors
  14. gaily, brightly, intensely
  15. amazing, incredible, unbelievable
  16. brilliant, dazzling, spectacular
  17. full, happy, like dancing
  18. want, feel like it, choose
  19. wooden, rickety, creaky
  20. small, neat room; large, airy room; very messy room
  21. straw colored, dark brown, bright yellow
  22. neatly, perfectly, happily
  23. raced, ran, skipped
  24. white, wooden, cheerful
  25. white napkin, large scarf, old towel
  26. soldier, hero, warrior
  27. cheetah, race horse, train
  28. teacher, parent, wizard
  29. alone, only, to own
  30. grab, take, pounce on
  31. fox, cat, (an) eagle
  32. chicken, mouse, squirrel
  33. special, treasured, wooden
  34. morning mist, evening sunset, thunder storm
  35. sleepy, curious, contented
  36. gurgling, splattering, scampering
  37. red, tall, willowy
  38. green, soft; grassy, green; green, sunlit
  39. green, soft; grassy, green; green, sunlit

  40. steep, jagged, angry

  41. grey, crumbled; small, sharp; scattered, brown

  42. icy, cold; swift, running; loudly, clamoring

  43. curtain, veil, towel

  44. mysterious, deep endless

  45. robin’s eggs; nesting birds; small jewels

  46. statues, worshippers, dreamers

  47. arching, startling, dazzling

  48. whisper, melody, necklace

  49. warm, embracing; brilliant, blue; friendly, endless

  50. creep, crawl, advance

  51. cat’s paws, snakes, armies

  52. hammer, drum, marching band

  53. glorious, desirable, adored

  54. darkness, night, mists

  55. giant, grey; huge, white; dark, mottled

  56. slide, slip, wriggle

  57. amazed, happy, delighted

  58. grew, stretched, shimmered

  59. colors

  60. bridge, arm, dream

  61. song, an eagle

  62. rabbit, eye blink, lightning bolt

  63. pulling, easing, yanking

  64. pushing, folding, nuzzling

  65. snapped, slammed, eased

  66. rain storm, fist, blizzard

  67. clown, butterfly, birthday party

  68. fragrance, scent, aroma

  69. burst, exploded

  70. lantern, candle, star

  71. air, mist, a sigh

  72. motor, lawn mower, train engine

  73. scrambled, scurried, wiggled

  74. steep, slippery, jagged

  75. angry, persistent, noisy

  76. pebbles, stones, ice cubes

  77. exhausting, exciting, unbelievable

  78. treasure, secret, dream

  79. peeked, peeped, stared

  80. glorious, magnificent, enchanting

  81. king, hero, prince

  82. ever, yesterday, always

  83. star-less night, flower-less meadow, candy wrapper

  84. extraordinary, comforting, joyful

  85. promise, smile, friend

  86. tiger, cat’s claw, rake

  87. heavy, dark, emptythe sound of a sigh, the memory of a dream, the morning mist in sunlight

  88. personal, special, magnificent

  89. shirt, blanket, shawl

  90. stones, cement, wet sand

  91. empty, limitless

  92. long, unhappy, weary

  93. sorry, sad, guilty

  94. flower, weed, rose

  95. water, icy, fog

  96. wondrous, enchanting, joy-giving

  97. mouse, rabbit, fawn

  98. hot, burning, fierce

  99. fiery, explosive, intense

  100. yellow, sparkling

  101. race car, cold wind, (an) athlete

  102. fat, mooing, motionless

  103. whispering, giggling, chattering

  104. wild, windblown, masses of

  105. emerald green, leaf green, glorious green

  106. steep, towering, massive

  107. small, numerous, clattering

  108. frigid, freezing, mellow

  109. wheat, flags, willows

  110. frightened, cold, worried

  111. glowing, warming, loving

  112. gazelle, ballerina, dancer

  113. slowly, gracefully, daintily

  114. exuberant, radiant, trembling

  115. brighter, lovelier, happier

  116. slowly, briskly, carefully

  117. spreading, happy, warm

  118. bubbles, foam, sunlight

  119. bell, song, gong

  120. huge, hearty; loud, lingering; rowdy, raucous

  121. feather, breeze, blade of grass

  122. spider, butterflies wings, shiver

  123. volcano, geyser, roar

  124. stone, brick, tree trunk

  125. a snowflake, a raindrop, a petal

  126. bright, glowing, happy

  127. loving, warming, embracing

  128. smile, flame, hair

  129. endless blue, deep blue, ocean blue