25 Tiffany's Turn
(By Mimi Chenfeld)
On the first day of school, Tiffany's teacher told the class, "Every one of you will have a turn to be the Terrific Kid of the Day!"
All year, Terrific Kids celebrated their special days in special ways, but Tiffany hoped her turn would never come.
When Benjy was the Terrific Kid, his Aunt Sarah taught the class how to draw funny cartoon faces. Tiffany didn't have any aunts who drew cartoons. She didn't have any aunts at all.
When Kenyatta was the Terrific Kid, his twin baby sisters came to school. Tiffany didn't have baby sisters or brothers to play with the kids in her class. She didn't have sisters or brothers at all.
When Curtis's turn arrived, he pinned photos of his family and pets on his Terrific Kid bulletin board. His family came to school. Curtis's mom baked brownies. Curtis's father was a gardener and gave every child a tiny buttercup plant. Curtis's uncle and grandmother taught the class the Spanish song "De Colores". Tiffany didn't have a dad who gardened or an uncle or grandmother who sang Spanish songs. She didn't have a dad or uncle or grandmother at all.
After school that day, Tiffany walked to the library for Story Hour. Mrs. Kaplan, the children's librarian, greeted Tiffany with a bright smile. "Today's story is about your favorite animal, Tiffany!"
A dog story! Tiffany loved dogs, but wasn't allowed to have pets.
Will you work the puppet while I read the story? Mrs. Kaplan asked Tiffany.
The little black and white dog puppet felt soft and cuddly . Tiffany's nimble fingers flipped the puppet's floppy black ears while Mrs. Kaplan read the story.
After Story Hour, Tiffany waited until 7∶00 for her mom to pick her up. Her mother was tired after such a long day at work.
We'll stop at Tico Tony's tonight, sweetie, her mother said.
Yum! Tiffany replied. Tico Tony's tacos were Tiffany's favorite treats.
As Tiffany and her mom reached their building, Mrs. Washington waved from the apartment next door. She liked to be called Granny. Sometimes Tiffany pretended that Mrs. Washington was her real grandmother.
How about a big Tiffany Hug? called Mrs. Washington.
Footsteps danced and echoed through the hall. DeShawn bounced toward them. He lived two apartments down.
Yo, Tiffany! Give me a high five ! He tried to slap Tiffany's hand.
Too slow, down below! Tiffany laughed. They slapped hands upside down.
That night, Tiffany turned and tossed under her blanket. She kept thinking about being a Terrific Kid. Almost all the kids in her class had taken a turn. "I hope my turn never comes," Tiffany prayed. "And if I am picked, I hope I get sick. Amen!"
Sure enough, Tiffany's turn came. When she told Mrs. Kaplan that the next day was her turn to be the Terrific Kid, she had tears in her eyes.
When Tiffany's mom arrived, Mrs. Kaplan asked her into her office to chat while Tiffany waited.
On the way home, Tiffany and her mom stopped for tacos. Tico Tony noticed Tiffany's sad face. "Hey, Tiffany! What's up?" Tico Tony listened while Tiffany told him about her dreaded Terrific Kid day. "We think you're a Terrific Kid." He smiled. "So stop worrying, kiddo!" He winked knowingly at her mother.
That night, Tiffany's mom stayed up late baking oatmeal cookies. Tiffany packed her magazine pictures of puppies with her Raggedy Ann doll . Then, the dreaded day arrived. Tiffany walked slowly to school with her mom. Her Terrific Kid day wouldn't be terrific. Just oatmeal cookies, puppy pictures, and a doll.
When Tiffany and her mom got to her classroom, there was a sign on the door. It said "Tiffany Brown - Terrific Kid of the Day".
Tiffany's eyes grew round. She could not believe such nice words. Everyone clapped when Tiffany and her mom came into the room. Tiffany tacked up her puppy pictures. Just then there was a knock at the door.
Is this the room of Tiffany Brown, Terrific Kid of the Day? asked a voice.
It certainly is, her teacher called. "Won't you come in?"
Tiffany's heart leaped when she saw Mrs. Kaplan, Tico Tony, Granny Washington, and DeShawn walk into the room.
We came to honor our friend on her special day, Mrs. Kaplan said.
Tiffany helped Tico Tony give out delicious tacos. Mrs. Kaplan read Tiffany's favorite dog story while Tiffany moved the dog puppet. Granny Washington showed the kids how to make cat's cradles with string. DeShawn and Tiffany taught the kids a hip-hop dance. Tiffany's mom's oatmeal cookies were a hit.
Good cookies and an awesome dance! Curtis said.
You have a great family of friends, Kenyatta said.
Tiffany couldn't stop smiling. Her teacher stood in front of the room."I'm so lucky to have a class full of Terrific Kids! Always keep celebrating yourselves and each other!"