Great Wall of China

GreatWalllWhen I asked the Great Wall of China, “How long are you?”
The Wall twisted. Creaking noises and dust filled the air.
It trembled and shook.
And right in front of me, a hole opened up in the Wall.
Dust filled the air once more.
I peered down the hole.
“What?” I said.
A ruler spat out.

Walter, middle school, south summer camp




Soft but sharp and blue like the sky,
Bright and yellow as the sun goes by.
Dolphin jumps high above the water,
As deer run fast in the evergreen forests.
In the sky, flying in a “V,”
Swans fly North across the sea.
Cherry blossom trees
Swaying in the wind.
As I sit and watch this
The day is coming in.

Alexa, middle school, south summer camp (poem and illustration)

Why Are Toads the Way They Are Today?

ToadIn the very beginning, God created animals and placed them where he thought they’d go best. He also picked a ruler or a “king” of each habitat, like Tiger: Ruler of the Amazon. He made special privileges and responsibilities for them. All was well for a certain amount of time. That was before King of the Pond started taking advantage. God had put Toad as the pond ruler, or Toad: King of the Pond.

“Everyone look at me! I can stand on one leg and hop up and down,” said Toad. Everyone ignored the toad. It was true and clear that God had given Toad very strong legs to hop on. When he saw that no one was paying attention, he said “I am the best song singer of all of you, listen: “la de mi sooo.” Indeed, God had given him a beautiful voice. But no one liked him bragging. “Why does no one respect me anymore?” Toad wondered. Well, the question should have been re-phrased but the simple answer was—you brag too much.

“Look at me, I’m slick and green, I am beautiful. I catch food by the mouthfuls with my tongue.” God had given Toad a slick beautiful body and a huge tongue to catch food to share with his fellow animal friends, not to brag about. God saw that Toad was bragging too much, so he gave Toad a consequence.

“You will grow a bump each time you brag.”

And so each time the Toad bragged, he grew an ugly bump on his slick body. Toad still was too boastful to stop bragging. God added, “Your legs will now be weaker so you have to hop on two legs.” This didn’t stop Toad from bragging. Now God saw that all of this was still not stopping Toad from bragging, so he did one last thing. He gave him a small, skinny, catching-one-fly-at-a-time tongue. Toad did not care, he could still sing and brag just the same with his mouth. So God gave him an ugly voice. Finally, Toad stopped bragging. He was too ashamed. He had nothing else. This saddened and embarrassed him so much that he ran to the nearby marsh and hid under the moss.

Toad finally learned his lesson. That’s why you rarely see toads in ponds now and why they hide in dark green marshes.

Gloria, sixth grade, Austin Waldorf summer camp