Danny’s Doodles

by Nancy Reynard Gunn

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    Danny was always drawing doodles. He drew doodles around the pictures in his coloring books. He drew doodles on his drawing paper. Sometimes he even drew doodles on his bedroom walls. But most often Danny drew doodles at school when he should have been studying.

    Miss Phillips, Danny’s teacher, wanted him to learn to read. Danny’s father and mother wanted him to learn to read. Even Danny’s little brother, Tommy, wanted him to learn to read so that Danny could read stories to him when their mother was busy with the baby. And Danny wanted to learn to read so he could read all of the books he saw on the shelves in the library.

    When Miss Phillips said, “Class, it’s time to read now!” Danny took out his reading book, his marker, his writing tablet, and his pencil. But instead of reading, Danny kept his pencil busy drawing doodle drawings. Doodle here, doodle there, doodle everywhere! Before long Danny had forgotten all about learning to read.

    Time went so fast when Danny was drawing doodles that he was surprised one Monday morning to hear Miss Phillips say, “Class, reading time is over and it’s time for recess now.” Danny was even more surprised to hear Miss Phillips say, “Danny, will you please stay inside while the other children go out to play?”

    “Yes, Miss Phillips,” Danny answered meekly.

    Oh dear, thought Danny, Miss Phillips must have seen me drawing doodles again!

    Danny sat quietly in his seat and watched his friends hurry outside to play. Soon Miss Phillips asked him to come up to her desk.

    “Danny, how many pages did you read today?” Miss Phillips asked.

    “Two pages,” Danny mumbled.

    “That isn’t very much reading, is it?” Miss Phillips went on.

    “No, Miss Phillips,” Danny admitted.

    “You were drawing doodles again, weren’t you, Danny?” she questioned.

    “Yes, Miss Phillips.”

    “Danny, I know doodles are fun, but reading is fun too and very important. I have an idea,” said Miss Phillips. “If you will spend one whole week reading during reading time and not drawing doodles, then I’ll let you teach the art lesson to the class for one day and everyone can draw doodles. How does that sound, Danny?”

    Danny’s face lit up, “Oh, that would be fun, Miss Phillips! Will you draw doodles too?”

    “Yes, Danny, I will draw doodles too,” Miss Phillips answered, “and we can put our pictures up on the bulletin board for all the parents to see when they come to school.”

    All that week Danny worked hard. Danny read lots and lots of pages in his reading book. Whenever he started to doodle, Danny would quietly put his pencil down on the desk. Then he would look up at Miss Phillips and smile.

    The next Monday Danny taught the art class and showed everyone how to draw doodles. Danny had had more practice than many of his friends, even Miss Phillips, so of course his doodles were a little better than any of the others. When all of the boys and girls were through with their doodling, Miss Phillips arranged the pictures on the bulletin board.

    That night the parents came to visit. They saw the desks and books, and then they saw the bulletin board where Miss Phillips had printed the words DANNY’S DOODLES. All the doodle pictures were there.

    Danny’s mother saw his doodles. “That one looks just like a boy reading a book!” she laughed.

    “Yes, it does,” Danny’s father agreed.

    Miss Phillips was standing nearby. Her eyes twinkled as she said, “And Danny told me today that he had decided that reading can be as much fun as drawing doodles.”

    Illustrated by Dick Brown