One day, while walking down a busy street, Leroy the penguin happened to see something he never expected to see here in the big city: another penguin! He had been quite used to seeing penguins when he was living in Antarctica, but now he lived in Chicago and he hadn’t seen a penguin in months.

Excited at the prospect of making a new friend, Leroy ran straight up to the penguin and said, “Hi!” He waved a flipper in hello and the other penguin waved his back. “I’m Leroy,” he said. “What’s your name?” But the penguin didn’t answer. He just stared back at Leroy with a friendly smile on his face. “I said, what’s your name?” But the penguin still didn’t answer, and his friendly smile had been replaced with a confused look. “Can’t you hear me?” asked Leroy. And this time the penguin, who still hadn’t said a word, looks sad and concerned. “Oh, my!” said Leroy. “You can’t hear me, can you? You must be deaf. I’m sorry.”

Leroy saw that the penguin seemed very sad now, so Leroy smiled at him. This seemed to make a difference because now the penguin was smiling back. “Well, we may not be able to talk, but they say friendship is the universal language. I’m sure we’ll get along just fine. Will it help you to read my beak if I talk slower?” The penguin didn’t answer, so Leroy assumed that he just hadn’t understood. He was about to ask the question again, much slower, when he looked up, just above the penguin’s head, and saw a digital clock saying it was 5:25. “Uh oh!” he said. “I was supposed to meet my friends hours ago! I gotta run! See you later!” And with that he ran as fast as his little penguin feet would carry him.

The man who owned the antique store looked in the shop window across the alley and saw a digital clock saying it was 2:52. He had been so busy watching the little penguin talking to his reflection in an 18th century mirror on display in the shop window that he had quite forgotten that he had to be across town at three. Before he left, however, he told his assistant, “keep that mirror in the front window. I have a feeling someone will be back to look at it tomorrow.”


Bedtime story written by Templeton Moss

Header illustration by Templeton Moss

Let’s Chat About The Stories ~ Ideas for Talking With Kids

Independent Thinking

1. Why does the shop-keeper think that Leroy the Penguin will be back tomorrow?


1. Why do you think Leroy thought the penguin he was talking to was friendly?

2. What do you think this says about the kinds of people we often feel drawn to be friends with?

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