Wanda Wannabee and the Fox in the Hollow

“Wanda Wannabee and theFox in the Hollow” is a story in the Wanda series. Also available are “Wanda Wannabee and the Rainbow” 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 Wannabee and the Fox in the Hollow

Icicles hung like (1) off the roof of the house. (2) shining, in the early morning sun. Wanda Wannabee yawned a (3) yawn as she stood looking out her bedroom window at the frost covered ground on a late November morning. The wind was blowing like a (4) through the branches of the (5) oak tree that stood like a (6) just outside Wanda’s window. It was Saturday and Wanda planned to finish her chores quickly and spend the rest of the day exploring the woods that surrounded her family’s farm.

After a (7) breakfast of (8) and (9) and (10), Wanda pulled on her (11) winter coat, her (12) hat, (13) scarf and (14) mittens. She walked outside into the (15) air and watched her (16) breath float away like (17) on the wind.

Wanda swept the porch and walked to the chicken coup. There, she fed the (18) chickens and collected the (19), (20) eggs. After delivering them to the kitchen, she went to the barn. Inside it was warm and sweet smelling. Wanda tugged at a (21) bundle of hay. She dragged it over to the stall where Bluebell the cow was (22) mooing. She then walked over to (23)’s stall. The (24), (25) horse whinnied (26) in greeting. Wanda rubbed the (27) nose and scratched him (28) behind his (29) ears.

After Wanda completed the last of her chores, she took off at a (30) pace for the woods beyond the meadow. As Wanda walked through the (31) forest, she listened to the (32) sound of dead leaves beneath her feet. Overhead, the bare branches of the trees shook like (33) in the (34) wind. Wanda heard the crisp sounds of small animals scurrying about beneath the trees. She knew the squirrels and chipmunks were busy trying to find (35) and berries to hide away in their (36) nests to help them get through the (37).

The forest was Wanda’s favorite place. It was filled with (39) mysteries and (40) secrets. She knew by the gently pressed down leaves, where a deer had slept the night before. She knew by the deep scratches in the bark of a (41) tree, where a buck had rubbed his velvety antlers. She knew the different calls of the wintering birds that (42) about in the branches of the trees, and scratching at the (43) of leaves covering the forest floor.

By the bend in a slowly flowing stream there was a small hollowed out piece of ground that was watched over by a dead tree whose (44) trunk was as big around as a (45). At the base of the tree was an opening. As Wanda stood quietly listening to the (46) music of the water as it (47) over rocks and fallen tree branches, she noticed a movement at the opening in the tree. Wanda stood still as a (48) barely daring to breathe. As she watched, a small red fox with a (49) (50) tail with a black stripe at the very end cautiously moved down to the dream for a drink. It was the (51) creature Wanda had ever seen. “Oh,” Wanda thought, “I Wannabee the one to catch that fox and keep it as a pet.”

Wanda had many wild pets. Most of them had been injured or unable to survive on their own. There had been (52) birds and (53) frogs, a (54) snake, and once she had nursed a baby squirrel that had fallen out of its leafy nest. Her father had warned her not to get too (55) the squirrel for she would have to set it free when it was well and able to care of itself. Wanda had named the squirrel (56) and had cried when her father made her let it go. She knew her father would not approve of her catching the (57) red fox. She wouldn’t keep it long, Wanda thought to herself. Just long enough for the fox to get to know her. Just long enough for her to show it off to all of her friends. Then she would let it go and be content to visit in the forest. Oh, it was a (58) fantasy that (59) around like a (60) inside of Wanda’s head. Wanda had been so busy with her daydream she hadn’t noticed that the (61), (62) fox had disappeared. Perhaps, it had (63) off to look for food. Or, perhaps, it had (64) back like a (65) inside its cozy den at the base of the tree. ‘No matter,’ Wanda thought. ‘I know where the fox lives and I’ll be back to catch it.’

All the rest of that day and all day Sunday, Wanda worked at building a cage to catch the fox. It was made out of (66) with a door held up by a string. Wanda planned to put a piece of meat inside of the cage and tie it up with the string. When the fox (67) the meat, the string would break, and the door would slam closed catching the fox. Wanda could hardly get through the (68) week. At night she dreamed of her fox. During the day, she daydreamed about it and was (69) by her teacher for not paying attention in school.

When Saturday finally came again, and Wanda had (70) down her breakfast and (71) like a (72) through her chores, she (73) her (74) cage and hurried off to the stream. This time as she raced through the forest, she didn’t notice the (75) or the (76). She was out of breath by the time she reached the fox den. The air was cold as (77) and small patches of ice (78) like (79) at the edges of the stream. Wanda (80) placed the cage near the spot where the fox had gone to drink. Once the cage was in place, she squatted down behind some (81) bushes to wait for her fox. She waited until her fingers and toes were frozen like (82). Her nose felt (83) and her cheeks were turning red as (84). But the fox never came. Discouraged, Wanda (85) home as fast as a (86).

Wanda’s dreams that night were filled with visions of her fox. When she woke in the morning, she could barely wait to (87) back into the woods. What she saw when she got there made her heart beat like a (88) in her chest. There in the cage was the fox. Carefully, slowly like a (89) Wanda moved over to the fox. Its (90) black eyes stared with (91), and the fox seemed to be shivering as it was (92). Its (93), (94) tail was held tightly between its legs. Wanda thought it was the unhappiest looking creature she had ever seen.

For what seemed like forever, Wanda stood staring at the fox, as the fox (95) at the far corner of the cage, staring back at Wanda. It was almost as if Wanda could understand what the (96) fox was thinking. It was (97) and couldn’t understand the walls of the cage that had (98) it. The longer Wanda looked, the (99) she became. The wonderful little fox didn’t look wonderful now. It looked as if those (100) black eyes would (101) like a (102) right out of that sleek (103) head. As if that tiny body would shake its fur loose from its bones.

In an instant, Wanda reached down and (104) opened the door to the cage. The tiny fox hesitated for just a second, then (105) like a (106) out the open door and (107) itself down like a (108) into the opening of the tree and disappeared from sight. Wanda picked up her cage and headed home.

Every day after that for the next three weeks, Wanda traveled back to the hollow in the woods, and left some food for the fox. Each day when she returned, the food was gone. Much as she hoped to catch a glimpse of the (109), (110) fox, she never did. Then, on a (111) and (112) Friday morning, a (113) blizzard came (114) like a (115) over the mountains, turning the world into a white (116). The snow fell for four days and four nights. Wanda’s father and mother forbid her to go into the woods. The snow was too (117) and the woods (118) for one small girl. Wanda looked longingly at the (119), (120) woods. She thought about the small fox, and how a mountain of snow must have buried the opening to the den in the hollow tree. She worried and (121) and dreamed at night of the small, hungry creature scratching and clawing like a (122) at the snow, trying to find a way out, and be free to search for some(123) food. The winter passed slowly like the (124) and Wanda was kept busy with (125) and (126) and (127). No matter how busy she was, she never forgot about the little fox. Then, one Saturday morning in late March, Wanda noticed that much of the winter snow had melted like (128) and disappeared like (129).

Excitedly, Wanda asked her father if she could go exploring in the woods. When her father nodded his head and smiled, Wanda raced off to find a delicious treat to bring with her for the fox. When she got to the hollow, there were still some large patches of snow, and the stream still carried a (130) of ice on its back as it (131) along fed by the melting snows. Wanda knelt down beside the opening in the tree, that was just barely visible behind a (132) of snow. She thought she could hear some (133) sounds coming from inside. But, though she waited patiently all that afternoon, no (134) head peeked out to greet her. Carefully, she placed the food she had brought with her near the fox den door, and went back home.

She came again the next day and the food was gone, but no sign of the fox. Every day for weeks, after school and on weekends, Wanda traveled through the woods with (135) bursting like a (136) in her heart. But, no (137) fox appeared. It was an unusually warm day in late April, Wanda had been sitting on a log watching the stream (138) by, and listening to its (139) song. Suddenly, she heard a rustling noise. When she looked over to the tree, there (140) out was the fox, eyeing her (141). The fox wriggled out of its den and (142) over to where Wanda had left the food, sniffed at it, and then made a small (143) sound from somewhere deep in its throat. Before Wanda could blink, three tiny foxes (144) out of the den and playfully ran over to their mother. She nuzzled them gently with her (145), (146) nose.

It was a moment of (147) joy for Wanda. She felt as if she had been given a (148) gift. The (149) mother fox had trusted her. She had shown off her (150) babies to her. Wanda knew that this moment was (151). It was unlike any that had come before. She also knew, that she would never again want to be the one to put any creature in a cage. She wanted to be part of the world of the fox and the forest, the (152) stream and the (153) squirrel; a world where birds sang in the treetops, and all creatures lived free.

—–THE END—–

Listen as you read

by Susan A. Katz & Sharon Ruchman | Wanda Wannabee and the Fox in the Hollow

WORD/PHRASE REFERENCES
  1. ribbons, scarves, ornaments
  2. gloriously, broadly, delightfully
  3. gigantic, sleepy, huge
  4. horn, train whistle, the North Wind
  5. giant, tired, old
  6. statue, guardian, old friend
  7. swift, quick, delicious
  8. eggs, pancakes, French toast
  9. oatmeal, toast, bacon
  10. juice, milk, hot chocolate
  11. warm, fuzzy, faithful
  12. pretty, fluffy, floppy
  13. red, green, blue
  14. stained, well worn, soft
  15. frigid, freezing, chilled
  16. smoky, misty, frosty
  17. secret, shadow, echo
  18. clacking, chattering, noisy
  19. round, oval, smooth
  20. warm, silky, treasured
  21. prickly, neat, oversized
  22. softly, happily, gently
  23. Lightning’s, Arrow’s, Brownie’s
  24. large, gently, friendly
  25. happy, contented, huge
  26. warmly, happily, excitedly
  27. moist, wet, large
  28. playfully, vigorously, gently
  29. large, twitching, sensitive
  30. hurried, fast, steady
  31. mysterious, musty, dense
  32. crinkling, crunching, rustling
  33. flags, hula dancers, willow branches
  34. angry, harsh, rough
  35. nuts, seeds treats
  36. cozy, strong, protective
  37. harsh, long, bitter
  38. cold, icy, snowy
  39. unknown, unimagined, incredible
  40. silent, wondrous, special
  41. large, scarred, rough
  42. chattered, clattered, clamored
  43. layers, mounds, bunches
  44. gigantic, large, huge
  45. barrel, Lightning’s belly, hula hoop
  46. mystical, magical, hypnotic
  47. fell, played, rolled
  48. stopped clock, stone, sleeping child
  49. long, twitching, fluffy
  50. luxurious, silken, furry
  51. most beautiful, wonderful, exquisite
  52. baby, small, injured
  53. fat, green squishy
  54. black, tiny, wiggly
  55. fond of, caring of, attached to
  56. Hobo, Twitch, Wriggles
  57. wild, untamed, energetic
  58. fabulous, wondrous, amazing
  59. spun, rolled, flopped
  60. top, ball, jelly bean
  61. animated, awesome, fabulous
  62. furry, fluffy, glorious
  63. wandered, ambled, run
  64. bounced, tumbled, scrambled
  65. bunny, bowling ball, chipmunk
  66. plastic, old boards, wood
  67. grabbed, snatched, gobbled
  68. long, tiresome, endless
  69. scolded, punished, given extra homework
  70. gulped, hurried, gobbled
  71. rushed, raced, speeded
  72. race car, race horse, gazelle
  73. collected, lifted, grabbed
  74. wooden, heavy, homemade
  75. sights, leaves, trees
  76. sounds chirping, tweeting
  77. a freezer, an icebox, an ice cube
  78. glistened, glittered, shone
  79. diamonds, jewels, rainbows
  80. carefully, thoughtfully, cautiously
  81. thick, prickly, dense
  82. icicles, popsicles, an ice cream sundae
  83. numb, hard, tingly
  84. plums, cherries, a ripe apple
  85. plodded, rushed, ran
  86. snail, raging river, a scared rabbit
  87. hurry, rush, scramble
  88. drum, a hammer, a bongo
  89. thief, mouse, panther
  90. steely, startling, terrified
  91. horror, confusion, disbelief
  92. freezing, frightened, scared
  93. luxurious, fluffy, magnificent
  94. colorful, proud, puffy
  95. cowered, crouched, shook
  96. terrified, mystified, worried
  97. caught, captured, trapped
  98. confined, held, encased
  99. sadder, unhappier, more miserable
  100. button, blazing, unblinking
  101. pop, explode, fall
  102. cork, bomb, broken tree limb
  103. lovely, trembling, furry
  104. threw, pulled, popped
  105. sped, raced, exploded
  106. race car, an Olympian, dry wood in a camp fire
  107. threw, hurled, tumbled
  108. tennis ball, bowling ball, sled
  109. furry, fabulous, fiery
  110. exotic, enticing, mysterious
  111. gray dark, ominous
  112. misty, windy, scary
  113. huge, gigantic, monstrous
  114. sweeping, rushing, thundering
  115. giant boom, raging river, a freight train
  116. fantasyland, magical land, frozen land
  117. deep, heavy, dangerous
  118. treacherous, scary, uncertain
  119. deep, dark, mysterious
  120. inviting, secretive, alluring
  121. fretted, pondered, thought
  122. mouse, tiger, dog burying a bone
  123. nourishing, satisfying, needed
  124. math exam, rainy day, scary night
  125. school chores, homework
  126. parties, movies, friends
  127. TV, learning how to sew, playing
  128. butter, ice cream, snowmen
  129. whispers in the wind, shadows in sunlight, the sun behind a cloud
  130. blanket, covering wisp
  131. speed, raced, hurried
  132. mound, small mountain, lump
  133. faint, soft, interesting
  134. sleek, lovely, beautiful
  135. hope, excitement, wishing
  136. balloon, soap bubble, a flower opening
  137. curious, cautious, clever
  138. amble, trickle, wander
  139. mystical, soothing, excited
  140. popping, peeking inching
  141. suspiciously, cautiously, worriedly
  142. padded, walked, hurried
  143. calling, coughing, rumbling
  144. tumbled, scrambled, jumped
  145. soft, wet, silky
  146. satiny, sensitive, loving
  147. pure, excited, amazing
  148. treasured, expensive, unexpected
  149. wondrous, amazing, incredible
  150. adorable, exquisite, precious
  151. beyond special, forever memory, unforgettable
  152. gurgling, laughing, playful
  153. skittering, busy, scampering