“Wait till you meet our special out-of-town guest!” Boggington Bogsworth the Third called from his family’s screened-in back porch to his friends Doodlebug and Dandelion Pinkley. The siblings were coming through the fence between their families’ backyards, with their cousin Rudyard trailing behind. Dandelion’s pet pygmy owl Kazoo was settled happily in the hood of her sweatshirt. But as they came up the steps and onto the porch, Kazoo screeched long and loud, as if she were excited about something.
“Why special?” Dandelion teased. “Is it your out-of-town girlfriend who’s here for Valentine’s Day?”
“NOT!” Bog replied.
“I bet it is!” Doodlebug joined in with a big fat chortle.
“STOP!” Bog said, even more firmly. He quickly explained that his parents had houseguests for the Valentine’s weekend, old friends they’d gone to school with, plus their son. He turned to a smallish boy sitting in a gigantic porch chair. “Let me introduce—”
“Squirrely!” the boy said, jumping up.
“And me, Hazel,” said Hazel, who they already knew as Bog’s cousin. Hazel didn’t get up from the other humongous chair. She was so short her legs stuck straight out, and her tummy looked like she’d already eaten a ton of Valentine goodies.
“But the best part,” said Bog, “is this little guy!”
From underneath Squirrely’s chair crawled a shaggy black creature with two white stripes running down his back. Seeing it, Kazoo flapped her wings, hooting and screeching even louder than before.
“Whoa!” said Doodlebug.
“That’s adorable!” Dandelion gushed.
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