Meet six-year-old Tommy Johnson, Super Cowboy and Super Story-teller. Fun bedtime reading for kids with at least one picture per chapter. Great for readers of all ages from children to adults.
“The little boy, Tommy, reminds me of Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbs comic strip by Bill Watterson because of his mischievousness. It is such a fun book to read!” – Celese Sanders (syndicated columnist of Little Bits Of Life).
Targeted Age Group:: 8+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote stories for my children. They asked me to put them into a book. This book was the work that came from that, and perhaps that is why it is loved so much by both children and adults.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The book is loosely based on stories from my life. However, individual characters often have characteristics of more than one person.
Sunday School isn’t too bad, except for one thing. Actually, come to think of it, Sunday School is that bad. The sun is shining outside, and I get stuck in a stupid classroom. Tippy is lucky because he doesn’t have to go to Sunday School. I wish I could be a dog.
Since we live a few miles out of town on a dairy farm, I almost never see other five- and six-year-olds, except at church meetings, and then, most of the day, we are stuck in church.
It happened that on this morning I again found myself sitting on a hard bench, and the only thing I could do is wonder why class wasn’t over yet. It was a beautiful summer day, and I just wanted to be outside.
I seemed to always be getting into trouble, too. Most of the girls that sit in front of me come to church with neatly braided hair. When it is in two strands, it looks like the two ropes of the bridle we use on our horse. I love to grab those two strands, one in each hand, and whip them up and down, yelling, “Yah! Yah! Get up there. Yah! Yah!” The girls don’t seem to appreciate it, though, and neither does the teacher.
If it is one thicker strand down the girl’s back, it looks like the big rope we swing on in Uncle Darren’s barn. Sometimes my cousins and I try to climb that rope and see if we can get up to the top and reach the beam. I can never reach the beam. I usually only get barely off of the ground.
But there I was this morning in Sunday School, and I couldn’t believe class wasn’t over yet. The teacher was telling us stories of Bible heroes. I actually like Bible stories. My sister, Mary, reads them to me all of the time out of the Bible reader, and I know them all by heart. But the stories in the Bible reader are exciting. Our teacher isn’t exciting at all.
“… and Moses climbed the mountain to see the burning bush…”
That’s it! I would climb the rope to the top of the world’s highest mountain. Hand over hand I went until I reached the girl’s head, which, of course, was not really a girl’s head, but the craggy ridge of the rock ledge at the top of the world’s highest mountain. Then, with one huge effort, I would pull myself up over the ledge to plant the flag of my country on the summit no one had ever been on before.
There was one problem, however. The girl didn’t hold her head steady. Instead, as I gave my last great effort, her head popped back against the bench. Rather than making it up over the edge, the ledge suddenly gave way before me. As I scrambled to get away from the deadly rock slide, I reached up over the ledge and the falling rock, grabbing onto the nose, or chin, or whatever other rock I could get hold of.
I also had to pull harder and harder on the rope as the rocks tumbled by me into the gully below. Right then the girl raised her hand. The teacher, cut off in mid sentence, glared down her nose at me. My whole hand covered the girl’s face, and the girl was making muffled gagging noises.
“And as Daniel was thrown into the lions’ … Tommy, what are you doing?”
“Um. …. I am climbing out of the lions’ den.”
“You were doing no such thing. You were pulling Joanne’s hair, now, weren’t you?”
I suppose to the ordinary, untrained eye, that was probably what it looked like. There wasn’t any reason to argue because my Sunday School teacher isn’t a mountain climber.
She does look like she might have been a sumo wrestler at some time in her life. She isn’t the kind of lady a person wants to mess with. She is roughly the size of a giant gorilla, and she reads her lesson with her glasses on. When she wants to see someone, she pulls them down to the end of her nose and glares over them.
“You march yourself right up here this instant, young man,” she commanded.
I always hate this part. I figure it’s Joanne’s fault anyway. If she doesn’t want her pigtail pulled, she shouldn’t wear one. But I knew no matter what I said, I was in trouble. Even if it is Sunday School, and the teacher talks on and on about mercy, all she really wants is justice.
“You march right down the hall and find your mother,” she ordered.
I hoped that if I took my time going down the hallway, class would be over by the time I got to the room my mother was in. I obediently headed down the hall, but since the teacher said march, I decided I would be a wind-up toy soldier. I swung my foot slowly around, and then brought the heel of it back against the toe of my other foot. Then I brought the other foot slowly around and brought the heel back against the toe of the first foot. Covering that distance was painfully slow that way.
However, I found myself getting close to the door of the room my mother was in, and class time was still far from over. Just then, I found my toy soldier spring running down, and I came to a complete halt. My body just went limp and stopped.
At that moment, my teacher, who had been watching the whole thing out of the doorway, snuck up behind me and scared me to death. “Get movin’!” That wound up my spring again.
I stepped into the adult class, and all eyes turned to me. The teacher looked me over and said, “Proverbs tells us, ‘a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.’ ”
I think he made that up.
Mom wasn’t about to leave me to myself. She asked me why I was sent to her.
“I don’t think the teacher likes me.” I said. I figured that was a true statement.
“And why doesn’t she like you?” she asked.
That stumped me. Tippy likes me, and he’s a dog. He doesn’t mind if I climb over the bench. He doesn’t mind if I climb anything. In fact, he likes to climb them with me. Then it hit me. Maybe she is jealous because I can climb under the bench, while she has to stand up there and teach. I didn’t know how to say all of that, so I just said something my dad said once about a lady that was upset.
“Maybe her pantyhose are too tight.”
The ladies sitting next to my mother gasped. I wondered if perhaps their pantyhose were too tight, too.
The old man sitting beside them laughed. “Don’t get your dander up,” he said. “I bet he’s probably right.” Then he laughed all over again.
Mom wasn’t laughing. She took me out into the hall. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Your teacher doesn’t hate you. She just doesn’t appreciate misbehavior. Now, what were you doing to make her mad?”
I told her I was just showing the class the proper method for Daniel to climb out of the lions’ den.
“And just how is that?”
I knew that if I told her I was using Joanne’s hair, she would get mad. I also knew that if I didn’t tell her, she would probably hear it from Joanne’s mother. I also knew that if a person tells a lie in church, a brick is likely to break loose and fall on his head. So I told the truth in the simplest way I could. “Joanne helped me.”
I think Mom figured she wasn’t getting anywhere, because she let out an exasperated sigh, told me off, and said I “better behave, or else.” I have never figured out what the “or else” is, but I know by the way she says it that I never want to find out. She then walked with me back to class, afraid I might get lost or something.
I could hardly believe class wasn’t over yet. The teacher was still telling us about great Old Testament heroes.
“Elijah hid in a cave for many days and was fed by ravens,” she droned.
That was no big deal for a great cave explorer like myself. The shadow of the bench in front of me made a great cave to explore. Once down on my hands and knees, I noticed that the tiles on the floor were probably dinosaur bones waiting to be dug up.
I figured a bear even lived in this cave. Why, there were even some bear droppings there. Either that or somebody stepped in some dog doo out on the lawn.
And ravens. Who is scared of a raven? I had uglier things than ravens. There were bats in my cave. Most of them had beady little eyes. I could see lots of them peeping out from Lori’s shoes, each pair of eyelets glowing silver in the dark shadows.
I didn’t want to get too deep into this cave and not be able to find my way out. I had heard stories of great cave explorers that would tie strings together so they would have something to follow back out of the cave. That sounded like a smart idea.
Of course, the only things available to me in my cave were shoe laces, but there were lots of them. I quietly undid each shoelace, so I wouldn’t waken any sleeping bears, and then I tied them all together. I had to tie one to the bench at the mouth of the cave. I wanted that end to stay put.
“…And, as David approached Goliath,… Tommy, what are you doing under that bench?”
“Uh, I am exploring Elijah’s cave to make sure there are no bears.”
“You are doing no such thing. You get out from under there. You can see the girls are wearing dresses, and a little boy shouldn’t be under their bench.”
“Then can I play under the boys’ bench?”
“You most certainly cannot. Gentlemen do not crawl under benches. You get right up and sit down this instant.”
I don’t know what a gentleman is, but it sounds very boring, and I’m sure I don’t want to be one. However, I knew better then to disobey. At least I wasn’t marching down to my mother.
Of course, Carolyn had to turn around and smirk her, “You got in trouble again, Smarty” smirk. She is about 10 months older than the rest of us, and she has a gap in her teeth wide enough to drive a herd of sheep through. With her red hair she looks like a jack-o-lantern.
I could hardly believe this class wasn’t over yet. Instead, the teacher continued on.
“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, David showed great courage in standing up to Goliath. He approached swinging a simple sling with a rock against this mighty warrior. Goliath just laughed at him…”
Goliath wouldn’t have laughed at me had I been David. Granted, I don’t have a sling, but I am a deadly aim with a rubber band. That reminded me that I had brought one with me.
It wasn’t one of those simple little skinny kinds, either. Oh, no. I was much too strong for those. It was one of the big, super thick ones. I had saved a church bulletin for just this purpose. I broke off little pieces of paper and folded them into triangles.
Suzanne had long black hair that fell loose past her shoulders. It looked like the beard of an enemy. The two hair pins on the sides looked like long, slitted eyes just glaring out from the hairy face. I could even smell the stench of his breath – a stench so powerful that he must have drunk a whole bottle of hair spray.
Laugh at me, would he? I sneered at the ugly face and fired my first shot. The thickness of the mass of hair blocked penetration to the vital forehead that I knew I had to reach before I could drop this ugly giant. Again and again I fired, but the deadly foe seemed unfazed.
I had to resort to more deadly weapons. After folding the paper into triangles, I spit on them to add to their potency. Again and again I fired, but still the ugly face just glared back at me. Although he was now marked up with the
paper fragments, the giant was still unfazed.
“Then there was Gideon.”
“Gideon was a man of great…”
“As I was saying, Gideon …”
“Tommy, what in the world are you doing now?!”
I could hear the exasperation in my teacher’s voice.
“I am trying to take care of Goliath,” I answered.
“You are not. You’re flippin’ a rubber band. Give it to me.”
“But it’s mine,” I protested.
“Correction,” she said. “It WAS yours. Now it’s mine.”
I couldn’t believe this class wasn’t over yet.
The teacher grabbed my rubber band and pulled. Talk about a lousy Sunday School class when the teacher steals your rubber band. I held on with all of my might, but the teacher was a lot stronger than I was. As the rubber band stretched out to about as long as I am tall, and my fingers felt like they would fall off, I had to let go.
Pop! It shot free at a tremendous speed. It caught the teacher across the face, leaving a nasty, huge, red welt. She lost her balance and sprawled flat on the floor in her dress. When she looked up, I could see the desire to kill something in her eyes, and I knew that something was me. She scrambled to her feet, ruffled but determined, as she mumbled something about “spare the rod and spoil the doggone child,” and she reached for the yardstick.
I really, REALLY couldn’t believe class wasn’t over yet.
As she turned back to face the class, she stepped up in front of the girls’ bench and, just as she was going to reach over and teach me something about the staff of Moses, the bell rang, and I knew there was a God, and that he does answer prayers!
I ran for the door as fast as I could. The teacher jumped up close to the girls’ bench to get into good batting position. The girls screamed and, trying to get out of the path of the swinging yardstick, made a break for the door. Unfortunately, I had never finished my cave exploration, and all of the shoelaces were still tied together and roped to the end of the bench at the cave opening. As the teacher took a swing and the girls headed for the door, there was suddenly a mass of petticoats, arms, legs, and a yardstick.
…And thus it was that, because Gideon trusted in the Lord, the Midionites, in their great confusion, fell upon their own yardsticks and were destroyed.
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