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SONYa ’s


February 2020 Volume 27 Number 2 $6.95 SDpeleicviery

It’s Valentine’s Day
in the forest. Can you help

each animal holding a
Valentine deliver it to

their mate?
Art by Kathleen Marcotte

Answers on page 35


the magazine for children

Only the Shadow Knows by Chris Robertson

On the morning of Hello? Mr. Shadow?
Groundhog Day . . . Mr. Shadow . . . Come out, come out,
are you there? wherever you are!

Looks like he is
nowhere in sight . . .

Looks like it’s time to PA R T Y !

text and art © 2020 by Chris Robertson

Front Cover by David Wenzel February 2020

2 Only the Shadow Knows by Chris Robertson Volume 27 Number 2
4 Doodlebug & Dandelion by Pamela Dell
9 Meadow Vole by Ann C. Cooper James M. O’Connor, Director of Editorial
10 The Fox, the Hedgehog, and the Bag of Tricks Maria Hlohowskyj, Editor

by Elena Lelia Radulescu Emily Cambias, Assistant Editor
14 Bug Adventure Stacey Lane Smith, Assistant Editor
15 How to Find an Adventure by Debbie Urbanski
20 Philtre D’Amour by Henri Z.Wizard Julie Peterson, Copyeditor
21 Here There Be Dragons by Linda Wirkner Suzanne Beck, Senior Art Director
26 Dragon Mail by Cindy Breedlove
27 Mirabella the Magnificent and the Dragon Shavan Spears, Designer
Michael Chesworth, Artist, SPIDER bugs
by Cheryl Mendenhall Adrienne Matzen, Permissions Specialist
32 Spider’s Corner and Spider’s Mailbox
34 Ophelia’s Last Word: Meet Everybuggy Grateful acknowledgment is given to the following publishers and copyright
owners for permission to reprint selections from their publications. All possible
Word Search care has been taken to trace ownership and secure permission for each selection:
35 Buggy Bulletin Cover art © 2003 by David Wenzel; “Meadow Vole” art © 2013 by Ponder Goembel;
“Philtre D’Amour” art © 2012 by Aaron Boyd; “Here There Be Dragons” text © 2010
The Fun Zone: Glückshaus by Linda Wirkner; “Mirabella The Magnificent” art © 2004 by Cat Bowman Smith;
by Benton Mahan “Fun Zone/Glückshaus” art © 2005 by Benton Mahan.

Mind-Buggler: Special Delivery Photo acknowledgments: 21 (TC) Tanutkij/; 21 (RC) Socialtruant/
by Kathleen Marcotte; 21 (BC) GUDKOV ANDREY/; 22 (RT), 22 (BC)
Sergey Uryadnikov/; 23 (LT) Luca Vaime/; 23 (RT)
Spider and the Gang by Michael Chesworth Don Mammoser/; 23 (RB), 24 (RT) GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock.
com; 24 (LC) beltsazar/; 24 (BC) mat.hak/; 25
Calling the Gang! (RT) Mo Wu/; 25 (LB) Gino Santa Maria/; 25 (LB)
Everybuggy get over here. Eric Isselee/; 35 (TC) Texturis/; 35 (BG) Kostenko
Maxim/; 35 (spot) Gluiki/; 35 (spot) nevodka/; 35 (border) Essl/

SPIDER, the Magazine for Children (ISSN 1070-2911) is published 9 times a year,
monthly except for combined May/June, July/August, and November/December
issues, by Cricket Media, Inc., 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601.
Additional Editorial Office located at 1751 Pinnacle Drive, Suite 600, McLean, VA
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6395, Harlan, IA 51593-1895, or call 1-800-821-0115. POSTMASTER: Please send
address changes to SPIDER, P.O. Box 6395, Harlan, IA 51593-1895.

February 2020, Volume 27, Number 2 © 2020, by Cricket Media, Inc. All rights
reserved, including right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form. Submit
manuscripts online at Not responsible for unsolicited
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1st printing Quad Sussex, Wisconsin January 2020

Printed in the United States of America.

From time to time, SPIDER mails to its subscribers advertisements for other SPIDER
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Educational Press International Reading
Association of America Association
Paul A. Witty
Golden Lamp Award
Distinguished Achievement Award Short Story Award 2008

Doodlebug & Dandelion

Once Upon a Leap Year

by Pamela Dell Art by Dom Mansell

“IT’S OKAY, TOMIKO,” Dandelion Pinkley said to

her best friend who lived across the street, “your dad will

be home from his conference on Sunday. That’s only two

days away!”

Tomiko was staying with the Pinkleys while Mr. Tanji

was gone, and now, at dinner, the family was trying to

cheer her up.

Dandelion’s brother Doodlebug changed the subject.

“Mom, what were you and Dad doing with Mr. Tanji out

in their backyard yesterday? We saw you measuring the

palm trees.”

“And pointing like a bunch of nuts,” Tomiko offered


Why this conference— Yeah, I was I have found a map
meeting,—Spider? busy napping in to dragon treasure! Whoa!
my sock drawer.


“Old fogey stuff,” Mr. Pinkley sounding super irritated. “It’s a year

joked. with an extra day. It only happens

“Exactly!” Mrs. Pinkley said. every FOUR years because it takes

“Making garden plans for spring.” Earth 365-and-1/4 days to circle

Dandelion kept quiet. The parents’ the sun. So every four years, February

activities were all part of her big secret gets another day on the calendar.

plan. And she was pleased they were That’s today—FEBRUARY 29!”

doing such a good cover-up. It was She was mostly shouting. And

late February. Who would be thinking she did not look happy.

about gardens except old fogeys? “What’s wrong, T?” Dandelion

After dinner, Dandelion and asked, trying to pretend she didn’t

her mom exchanged whispers and know.

a thumbs up. All was going well.


The next morning, Tomiko was

in no better mood. She didn’t even

want to play Enchanted Forest

Escapade, her favorite board game.

Dandelion wandered her room, her

mind buzzing over last-minute

details for her fun scheme. Just

then Doodlebug walked in, holding

a calendar.

“Hey, look. This is weird,” he said.

“It’s Saturday, February 29! And it says

we’re in a Leap Year! What’s that?”

Tomiko, who hadn’t said a word

for a long time, suddenly spoke up,

Map? Dragons? And we must hatch a scheme— I’m in!
Treasure! a plan—for how to go get it.


birthday—including your sister!”

Doodlebug froze. “Wait, today’s

your birthday? Really?”

“Yes!” Tomiko said. “And my

dad’s out of town. Even he forgot!”

Pouting, she opened a book, so

Doodlebug rushed downstairs. He saw

Dandelion in the kitchen stacking

colorful plates. Angrily ignoring her,

he found his parents busy in the dining

room sorting candles and untangling

strings of lights.

“Mom, today’s Tomiko’s birthday!”

he announced. “We need to do

something for her. Like a special

Tomiko bristled, and her eyes dinner or something!”
bugged out. “Forget it, Dandelion.
I don’t want to talk about it.” Mr. and Mrs. Pinkley both

Dandelion shrugged, as if she were sighed. “We don’t have time today,
still clueless. “I have to go ask Mom
something,” she said and hurried sweetheart,” Mr. Pinkley said.
out of the room.
“No, we’re just too busy with
“Leap Year’s cool,” Doodlebug
said after Dandelion left. other things,” Mrs. Pinkley added.

“Not if your birthday is February Doodlebug’s anger flared. “That’s
29!” Tomiko retorted. “We only get
a real birthday every four years. And so mean!” he cried, storming off.
everyone’s totally forgotten it’s my

All afternoon, Tomiko sat alone

reading stacks of magazines while

Doodlebug played with his action

figures. Dandelion was relieved that

Let me see that If I told you, I would need to Was it the map on the Espera un minuto.
map. Where did swear you to secrecy. And you, back of this empty Cheesy What’s going on?
you find this?
Sonya, can’t keep a secret. Dragon Snacks bag?


they were both distracted. She still brother nor Tomiko knew anything.
had a lot to do. Once they were all bundled up,

Finally, as dusk was setting in, she led them down the street and
Dandelion beat a single stroke against across to Tomiko’s house. Then
her mom’s ancient gong and called, she led them around the house to
“Attention, friend and relative! Come the backyard.
downstairs immediately!”
And there Tomiko stopped,
“What?” Tomiko scowled when stunned. Above her, a big wooden
she appeared, Doodlebug behind arch read “Enchanted Forest.” Every
her. Both were full of questions. palm tree was trimmed with fairy lights.
Old picnic tables held lit candles,
Dandelion shushed them. “Just flowers, and pretty place settings.
follow me,” she said, sure neither her

Spider has a map to Gold! Diamonds! And I say we get Um . . . It was your
a dragon’s treasure. Jewels! Maybe it back from those get it back? treasure, Spidie?

even candy! nasty dragons.


Heaped on another table were wrapped Dandelion was still the good sister
presents and a giant birthday cake. And he believed in.
all Tomiko’s friends were sitting at
the tables with Mr. and Mrs. Pinkley, Tomiko was awed. “You didn’t
both looking delighted. Even Tomiko’s forget anything, best friend!” She
dad was there, grinning wide. linked her arm through Dandelion’s.
“This is exactly like the ‘perfect ending’
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEAPIE!” part of the Escapade game! How
everybody boomed. long have you been planning it?”

“SURPRISE!” Dandelion shouted, “A while . . . ” Dandelion replied
hugging Tomiko tight. happily, already wondering how she
could ever outdo the Enchanted Forest
Doodlebug was relieved. His the next time Leap Year rolled around.
parents weren’t mean after all. And

Let’s not fret about details. Like brave knights Adventuring into And git that sweet,
Let’s saddle up and go! on a quest! the unknown! sweet treasure.
To battle


Meadow Vole
by Ann C. Cooper
Art by Ponder Goembel
Vole scuttles along her tiny trails
Deep in a towering forest of weeds

Gathering groceries to carry home—
A mouthful of roots and seeds


A Romanian folktale

O NCE, A FOX built her house near a hedgehog’s cottage.

The hedgehog tried to stay away from his new neighbor, but
one day the fox crossed his path.

“Good day to you,” said the fox.
“Same to you,” answered the hedgehog, pulling his hood of spines
over his head.
“Now that we are neighbors,” said the fox, “we should get to know
each other and become friends. To prove my friendship, I’ll tell you a
secret. Down in the village there is a vineyard with grapes so ripe they
melt in your mouth. Would you join me there for dinner tomorrow?”
The hedgehog did not want to go, but the fox insisted, and in
the end he agreed.
The next evening, they headed toward the village together.
“I wonder, dear neighbor,” the fox asked, “do you have any tricks?”

According to this map, we head south through the
old vine ard—the place where grapes are grown.

Retold by Elena Lelia Radulescu

10 Art by Lee Hodges

text © 2020 by Elena Lelia Radulescu, art © 2020 by Lee Hodges

“I have three,” he answered. In the morning, the vineyard

“How can you get by on only owner passed by the well and saw

three tricks?” cried the fox. “I have the fox.

a bag full of tricks. If you want, I can “What a beautiful fur collar for

sell you some.” my wife’s new coat,” he said.

“No, thank you,” said the But when he got into the well,

hedgehog. “I am happy with what the fox was still and stiff.

I have.”

Soon, they reached the vineyard.

The vines were hanging low, heavy

with grapes. The fox and the hedgehog

ate their fill. When they turned to

leave, the fox fell into an old dry well.

“This is the end of me!” she cried.

“Dear neighbor, rescue me. Teach

me one of your tricks.”

“I have only three tricks while you

have a full bag,” said the hedgehog.

“Use one of them and help yourself


“I left my bag of tricks at home.

Please don’t let me die at the

bottom of this well,” she begged.

“Lie down and be still,” said the

hedgehog. “When the vineyard

owner comes, hold your breath.

The man will think you are dead

and throw you out.” And since I’m head knight,
Sam, you can be my
Here, Thistle, Thanks, Ophelia. trusty horse! I can’t be your horse, Spider.
climb on my back. We don’t have a saddle.


“The fox is dead. The tanner will “Oh, dear friend,” she cried,
not want to work with a smelly fur. “have pity on me! Give me one of
I’d better get rid of it,” the man said your tricks and save me.”
and threw the fox away.
“But I am down to my last two
Once out of the well, the fox ran tricks,” said the hedgehog.
as fast as her feet would carry her.
“Help me, and I’ll never forget
Before long, she began talking of you as long as I live.”
sweet grapes again. She convinced
her neighbor to return to the village. “The man will open the trap,
tie your legs, and haul you into the
They went and ate to their hearts’ cellar. His children will want to see
content. This time on the way out, you. When their father is asleep,
the fox caught her leg in a trap. they will sneak into the cellar. Wait
until the youngest boy gets close,
then kiss his hand. The child has a
good heart, and he will untie you.
Then, run out the door. Good luck
to you,” the hedgehog said and
rushed home.

Everything happened as the
hedgehog had said. The fox escaped
by the hair of her head.

But not even a week passed, and
the fox again asked the hedgehog
to join her for dinner.

“But, neighbor, have you forgotten
your misfortune?”

“Don’t worry, my friend. Just
come along.”

Yeah, we do. Ta-da! Among my many superpowers, What a great fortune for
Pickles! I am a skilled tanner—one who Spider. And misfortune—
bad luck—for you, Sam.
works with leather and fur.


Now the vineyard owner was not “I forgot my bag at home,” said
a foolish man. Close to his gate, he the fox. “We have no choice but
dug a pit and covered it with twigs to use your last trick.”
and leaves.
“I am afraid we can’t use it,”
As they approached the vineyard, said the hedgehog.
the fox and the hedgehog both
tumbled into the hidden hole. “Then I’ll have you for my dinner,”
said the fox, showing her teeth.
Once at the bottom of the pit,
the fox turned to the hedgehog and “If you want to eat me, by all
said, “Now we are in this together. means, go ahead,” said the hedgehog.
Quick, come up with a trick, and “But we should have a proper farewell.
save us.” You have been such a good friend to
me. Let’s kiss each other goodbye.”
“Why me? You have a whole bag
of tricks while I have only one left.” “As you wish,” said the fox, and
she lowered her snout.
Whoopee-ti-yi-o, get along, little dogie.
It's your misfortune and none of my own. Steady, boy.
Good horse. Yah!

Hey! I said
no spurs!


The hedgehog quickly coiled up
into a ball around the fox’s mouth.

The fox couldn’t breathe, so she
started shaking her head. With a jerk,
she threw the hedgehog out of the pit.

Once out, the hedgehog bent over
the pit.

“I’m sorry. I had to use my last
trick on you, dear neighbor. Now, I’ll
go to your home to fetch your bag of
tricks. So long, and have patience.”

And off he went, laughing, all
the way through the woods.


How To Find an Adventure

Items you might want to bring along: a cloak or jacket, a water bottle,
several apples (green or red), one other apple (golden), a wand, a shield,
a notebook, a Band-Aid, a pencil, and a loaf of bread.

text © 2020 by Debbie Urbanski, art © 2020 by Juan Bautista 2. Find a map, preferably a magical one.
Places to look for such a map: your dusty attic, your dark basement,
under your sibling’s bed, on the top shelf of your closet,
or under the secret panel in your floor.

by Debbie Urbanski Y Art by Juan Bautista and Elmira Eskandari

Mon dieu! Zee wind eez
picking up!


3. Leave your parents a note.
What to write in this note: what time you plan on leaving, which map you are following,
that you love them, and that you’ll be back before dinner.

4. Pick out the right shoes.
Before choosing your shoes, think about these questions:
Are the shoes waterproof? You may need to wade through squishy swamps.
Are they warm? You may need to climb up mountains made out of ice.
Are they durable? You may need to walk for miles through thick forests.

Oh, gosh! There goes the map!
Ziss is tre´s unfortunate.


5. Invite a companion to come with you.
A good companion for an adventure would be: your pet, your little sister,
your older brother, your fiercest stuffed animal, the squirrel who lives in
the tree in your backyard, or your brave best friend.

6. Follow the map.
Places this map can lead you: to a dim underground kingdom, to an invisible
woods, to the valley of the gray birds, to the island of the golden dragons,
or to another world.

Ask my companion—this friend I’m traveling with— Sorry! The wind blew it
who was supposed to be in charge of the map! out of my hands!
Which way do we go now?


7. Get past the obstacles.
The obstacles you will need to face might include: crossing the uncrossable
stream, entering the castle that can not be entered, opening the wooden chest
that can’t be opened, climbing the unclimbable cliff, or solving the maze that
has no end.

8. Complete your quest.
These are some popular quests you can choose: finding the enchanted cup,
healing the hurt pegasus, freeing the friendly dragon, putting out a fire
from a different dragon, or proving some monsters are okay and even nice.

Hail, farm peasants! Dragons? It’s a kind of And a yuge candy
Where be dragons? What’s a dragon? big lizard-looking thing treasure!

with a long tail.


9. Choose your reward and pack it carefully in your bag.
Any of these rewards would be a great choice: a vial of extra courage,
the clockwork bird with ruby eyes, a silver mirror that shows the future,
the water flask that never empties, or a pocket-sized rainbow.

10. Come home.
Here are some activities to do once you’re home: give your companion a high
five, unpack your bag, shake out your cloak or jacket, put away any extra
apples, say hi to your parents, take a nap, draw a picture, and write down
your story.

Well, there’s some One of ’em goes by Draco! Why, TO THE SWAMP!!!
critters in the swamp the name Draco. that’s a dragon in
Greek mythology!
sort of like that.


Philtre D Amour by Henri Z. Wizard
Art by Aaron Boyd
PHILTRE D’AMOUR (FEEL-tra da-MOOR) means “love potion” in
French. You’ll surely cast a délicieux magic spell this Valentine’s Day when
you brew up your own fizzy philtre!

What You ll Need: 12 oz. lemon-lime soda
1 cup raspberry sherbet
pitcher 1 package fizzy candy
wooden spoon
2 or 3 clear glasses (such as Pop Rocks)

(goblets are best)
12 oz. lemonade

What to Do:

1. In a pitcher, combine lemonade
and sherbet. Stir until mixture

is smooth.

2. Pour the mixture into glasses,
filling them about halfway.

3. When it’s time to serve the philtre
to your beloved, place glasses

in a sink. Fill glasses up to

the top with lemon-lime

soda, and watch the

amour bubble over!

4. Sprinkle fizzy candy on
top to give your philtre

an extra “pop.”


by Linda Wirkner

A CCORDING TO LEGEND, The islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and
Gili Motang in Indonesia are home to deer,
early mapmakers marked unexplored wild pigs, parrots, civets—and dragons!
areas with the warning: HERE THERE
BE DRAGONS. Today we know that Komodo dragons are good
fire-breathing dragons exist only in swimmers and can swim from
fantasy stories, but the giant lizards one island to another.
of Indonesia known as Komodo
dragons are very real. Come on in.
T he water’s
The largest lizard in the world, an
average adult Komodo is six to eight fine!
feet long and weighs from 150 to 200
pounds. (Some may even grow to ten These dragons may look chunky,
feet long and 365 pounds!) Researchers but they’re solid muscle. They can
believe that Komodo dragons may have run almost as fast as a human.
evolved in Asia millions of years ago
from huge sea reptiles called mosasaurs.
Today Komodos are found only on a
few small Indonesian islands.

Sheesh! Swamps are really muddy. How come I have to
Steady boy! Good horse. be the horse? My
feets are soaked!


It’s rare today for a reptile to be Smile! Komodo dragons
at the top of the food chain, but have a forked yellow
tongue and 60
sharp teeth.

these giants rule on their tiny island

kingdoms. The fact that Komodos

are cold-blooded creatures may have Komodos hunt by ambush. Their

helped them survive. Reptiles don’t drab brownish gray color helps them

need to eat as often as warm-blooded blend into their surroundings as they

mammals, which require energy wait patiently for their next meal.

from food to keep their bodies at The Komodo’s method of hunting

a constant warm temperature. On is perfect for its stumpy legs and fat

these small islands, there was probably body. Because the lizard can run

never enough food for large mammal only in short bursts, it has to catch

predators to stay alive. With no other its victim quickly. When a Komodo

big predators to compete with, suddenly attacks, it delivers a single

Komodos had their choice of food. deep bite, often to the leg or belly.

Aren’t you Komodo dragons are solitary, but
going to they’ll sometimes come together
share? during meals. The biggest dragons
eat first!

I don’t like this. What kind of bush? An ambush—the act of hiding
It’s the perfect place to attack by surprise.

for an ambush.


Please Even dragons get hot in
pass the the sun. Underground
napkins! burrows keep them cool
until it’s time to hunt.

It then uses its large, sawlike teeth to tear into its Komodos’ tails
victim’s flesh. Komodos will attack deer, wild can be as long
pigs, goats, and even water buffalo. (On rare as their bodies.
occasions, they have devoured humans.) This allows them
to balance on
Powerful muscles in a Komodo’s jaws and their hind legs
throat allow it to swallow huge chunks of meat and reach for
without chewing. A dragon’s stomach expands prey.
when it eats, letting it consume up to 80 percent
of its own body weight in a single meal! Komodos You mean like how
swallow not only the meat, but also the bones, your butt is pressing
hooves, hide, and eyeballs.
on my aching back?
Sometimes an animal will escape after being
wounded in a Komodo attack, but it usually dies
within the next few days. Many experts think
these animals die from infections caused by
deadly bacteria in the dragon’s mouth. (Research
shows that a Komodo’s saliva is home to
many kinds of toxic bacteria.) But in 2009,
an international team of scientists reported

C’mon, gang.
We must press on!


that they found venom-producing

glands in the mouths of Komodos. Who said
They believe that Komodos use I’m getting
this poisonous venom to kill their too big for
my tree

Not exactly picky eaters, Komodos

dine on just about

Fee-fi-fo-fum, anything, dead as After they
I smell dinner well as alive. The hatch, baby
Komodo has an Komodos head
coming! awesome sense of for the nearest tree
smell and can pick and don’t come down
up the scent of a until they’re four years
rotting animal five old and about four feet

miles away. As it lumbers through buries them under the soil. When the

tall grass, the lizard flicks out its long, eggs hatch eight to nine months later,

forked tongue to “taste” the air. When the young Komodos must be careful

it pulls its tongue back in, sense because adult Komodos may try to

organs on the roof of its mouth tell eat them! Luckily, Komodo babies

the Komodo what it’s smelling. Rock-a-bye bab y, are born with the instinct to
Approximately 75 scramble up nearby trees
Hello to live for their first few
percent of the Komodo world! years.
dragon population is

male, which makes it Between 4,000 and

tough for males to find 6,000 Komodo dragons

a mate each summer. in the treetop! survive today. Although
A female Komodo lays Komodos have no natural

between five and 30 eggs and predators, they are considered

Moi, I, for one, do not want to Do their fangs have Don’t worry about that. I’m not so sure about
be bitten by any dragons. venom—poisonous They’ll blast you with draggin’ this out anymore.
fluid produced by
dragon fire first.
some animals?


a “vulnerable” species by the

World Conservation Union and

face a high risk of extinction.

In the past, local villagers I know I’m
poisoned them to protect awesome!

children and domestic animals.

Today it is illegal to hunt or kill

Komodo dragons, but humans

still threaten their survival. As

more and more people move At Komodo National Park visitors can see dragons in the
into the Komodos’ small natural wild. Park rangers keep close watch to make sure these
habitat, the dragons have less animals don’t get too stressed out by their human fans.

room to live, hunt, and have babies. To ensure the Komodos’ survival, programs

are in effect around the world to protect and breed these magnificent lizards.

You might not have the opportunity to visit Indonesia to see these

amazing animals in the wild. But next time you’re at the zoo, be on the

lookout—you may just find that HERE THERE BE DRAGONS.

DR. KOMODO? Komodo dragons are special not only because they are rare—they
may also someday save human lives. Although the Komodo’s saliva
contains bacteria that may cause deadly infections, a dragon’s bite
is not harmful to other Komodos. (The Komodo is a cannibal and
will attack other lizards.) Scientists are trying to figure out what
saves the Komodos from infection. They hope that whatever protects
the dragons can be used to help people, too. Recently, researchers
found a molecule in the dragon’s blood that could kill bacteria that
cause infections in humans. It could take several years before any
new medicines are safe to use, but the important research has begun.

Spider, are you sure we’re Yes. For dragons, this is the perfect Look!
in the right place? habitat—the place where a plant

or animal usually lives or grows.


Dragon Mail by Cindy Breedlove
Art by Kiri Ostergaard Leonard

Dear Dragon,
I miss you and wish you were here.

The winter seems colder without you this year.
There’s no thrill of spying you flying up high,
no soaring, no roaring, no flames from the sky.
Your toasty breath mostly left me in a fright,
but still, come and visit.

Sincerely, A. Knight

26 text © 2020 by Cindy Breedlove,
art © 2020 by Kiri Østergaard Leonard

Mirabella the Magnificent

and the Dragon

by Cheryl Mendenhall
Art by Cat Bowman Smith

throne-room floor with her favorite jigsaw puzzle when

the dragon arrived.

“Princess,” the prime minister said, stepping carefully

between the scattered puzzle pieces, “there’s a dragon

at the gate.”

“Can’t the guards handle him?” Mirabella asked.

“The guards are hiding under the castle welcome

mat,” the prime minister said.

Mirabella sighed. She brushed off her jeans and

wandered out to the courtyard. The dragon towered

above her, a mountain of claws and spikes and shiny,

green scales.

“May I help you?” Mirabella asked.

Squire Bill, take point! Me? Who elected Seeing as we’re knights,
Charge into the dragon’s lair. you president? it’s more accurate to say
prime minister—the leader
in charge of a government.

Point taken.


“Go away, little girl,” the dragon snapped. “I have
a message for the important, big people.”

“The important, big people are all busy,” Princess
Mirabella said. “You’ll have to give the message to me.”

“Oh, I’ll give it to you,” sneered the dragon. He threw
back his head and shot a jet of flames into the air. “Cough
up your gold,” he roared. “Or this castle is pot roast.”

Princess Mirabella cupped her hands under her chin.
“Gold?” she said.

“Yellow stuff,” the dragon snapped. “Stuff that shines
like the sun.”

“Oh, we have that,” Mirabella said. “I can show you.”
So Mirabella the Magnificent laced up her hiking boots
and led the dragon into the woods.

“Funny place to keep gold,” the dragon mumbled, his
wings snagging on low-hanging branches.

“There.” Princess Mirabella pointed to a hole in a tree.
The dragon narrowed his eyes and stretched his neck.
Beads of sunlight trickled down the bark. With a wicked
grin, the dragon crammed his snout into the opening.
“YEOW!” The dragon crashed away through the
underbrush with a thick carpet of bees swarming around
his head.
“It’s polite to ask first when you want honey,” Mirabella
called after him.

The following week, Mirabella the Magnificent went

rollerblading around the castle garden.

Be fearless, fellow knights! I just wish I’d worn La liberte‘
Dragons are wicked— my waders—tall, aux bonbons!
mean and evil. waterproof boots.


“I’m afraid the dragon’s back,” the prime minister

The princess finished her figure eight and rolled out
to the courtyard to see what she could do.

“You again!” The dragon wrinkled his snout. It was still
puffy from the bee stings and dotted with pink goop. “Forget
the gold. Fork over your diamonds.”

“Diamonds?” Princess Mirabella asked.
“Little bright things,” the dragon snapped. “Things
that sparkle like the moon and stars.”
“Oh, we have those,” she said. “Follow me.” Mirabella
the Magnificent pulled on her waders, grabbed a net,
and led the way to the castle duck pond. The dragon
slipped and belly-flopped down the muddy bank.

HERE BE DRAGONS!!! Dragons! Who are you? And
Where? what are you doing
in our living room?


“Look.” Mirabella pointed to the “They’re easier to catch this way,”
bright flashes darting between the the princess said. She dipped her net
ripples. into the pond. “See?”

“Funny place to keep diamonds,” The dragon’s face went purple.
the dragon mumbled. But he His belly rumbled. He opened his
plunged his head under the water. jaws, but all that came out was a
damp, gray cloud. Mirabella just
“MURPH—MUMFLE— looked at him. The embarrassed
MULP—KERCHOO!” The dragon dragon slunk away with his tail
came up sneezing and sputtering. A tucked between his legs.
stream of wiggling minnows poured
from his nostrils. s s
He was back by evening. Princess
Mirabella was setting up her telescope
on the tower balcony.
“Hello!” She waved. “We should
get a good view of Draco and
Cassiopeia tonight.”
The dragon thumped his tail
against the castle wall. “No more
games! I’m here for the princess.”
“The princess!” Mirabella cried.
She perched on a ledge and swung
her feet, which were sporting pink
bunny slippers. “What would you do
with a princess?”
“Lock her in my cave and enjoy
her screams,” the dragon snarled.

Well, I’m Draco and this But you’re named We’re named for
is my sister Cassie. for a dragon . . . Draco and Cassiopeia
the star constellations.
We’re knights on a quest . . . No dragons here.
uhh, I guess.


“A cave!” Mirabella clapped her hands.
“Does it have bats? What about stalactites
and stalagmites?”

“Stalag—what?” the dragon asked.
“Pointy rocks: some growing up, the others growing
down,” she explained.
“Well, actually, yes. We have those,” the dragon
“Then what are we waiting for?” Princess Mirabella
said. “I’ll get my headlamp, and we can go exploring.
I bet I can find all kinds of things to show you in a cave.”
The dragon’s jaw dropped to his toenails.
“You? You’re Princess Mirabella?”
“Mirabella the Magnificent,” she said, beaming.
The dragon’s green scales turned pale and waxy
as he slowly backed away from the princess. “Um . . .
sorry,” he said. “Another time, maybe. I have to . . .
uh . . . meet this knight named George . . . .” Then
the dragon quickly threw open his wings and flew
away as fast as they could carry him.
Princess Mirabella watched through her
telescope until he disappeared from sight. “Not
a bad guy, for a dragon,” she commented. “But
he has a lot to learn about princesses.”
And, folding up her telescope, Mirabella
the Magnificent showed herself to the castle
kitchen for a peanut butter sandwich.

I’m da baby brother, Mom and You’re not No. We’re Well,
Little Dipper. Dad loved dragons, then? newts. good night!
No! Bad knight. Bad!



Demi, age 6 Lena G., age 7 Kristina M., age 10 Evie K., age 8
Birmingham, Alabama Schwenksville, Pennsylvania Sumter, South Carolina Ada, Michigan
Fairy Cat Chasing a Fairy Mouse

Amina H., age 10 Bella Zhang, age 8 Hannah Buca, age 9 Fox B., age 7
Tuscaloosa, Alabama Brooklyn, New York Rocky Ford, Colorado Pawling, New York
Our Cat Zaytouni Baseball Cats

32 Dear Spider, Dear Everybuggy,
I am a big fan of your What kind of bug is Sam? I have a fish and

magazines. My favorite a cat. Miro, do you have any pets? I love the
animal is a turtle. Please adopt Spider part of your magazine, you know the
my imaginary one. bottom part. Please foster my panda bear.

Siena, age 7 Cecelia Dickson, age 8
Pleasanton, California South San Francisco, California

Hi, Dear Cecelia,
I’m in seventh grade. I’m Sam eez a caterpillar. I ’ave no pets, but

homeschooled and I have ten I cook for Theestle’s pets.
people in my family. I love Amour,
books. Please adopt Daylily. Miro
She’s lonely, very shy, and eats strawberries.
Dear Everybuggy,
Spider, what’s your favorite color? My Do you like butterflies? If you do, please adopt
favorites are orange and blue. Sam, what’s
your favorite food? What’s your favorite book? Tina the Butterfly. She is a monarch butterfly. Tina
will also bring Squirrelia the Gray Squirrel with her.
Angel, age 12
Georgetown, Illinois Cordelia Tucker, age 8
Denton, Texas
Dear Angel,
My favorite food is spinach, and my Dear Cordelia,
We love butterflies, and we’ll take good
favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
And Spider says to tell you he likes red. care of Tina and Squirrelia. Thank you.

Sophia S., age 7 Ryland Hammond, age 8 Contest RulesseEnmdaitilti3oysosW.SuuYp2ereoiea.dwounnefBirltdrSlree’say1ppnasnuCd.gittHuddorbduyoYre/elerasorroirmensrep.rtusdhoeuioasrWidrsarno.i,eenetnrulPniirca,[email protected]semtzue3aFsribrunty0eoeimclig0nbrenos,rsegsitumithP:gtdsaoieepntirrp’arylseMyueu.d2cty,abae5oboIbylLi,nuom/ycJ2aur6aau,0mtto1ino2paow3eenr0an5,nr.24aaeii0ndg.nd2vetep0e,
Portland, Oregon Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Olive A., age 8 Alice D., age 7
Duluth, Minnesota El Cerrito California
Maine Coon Kitten Comet on Alice’s Bed

Dear Araña, Dear Thistle, Dear Thistle,
I know that just about Please tell Sonya I love solving puzzles. Someday I want to

everybody asks, but I want you to have Please tell Araña I love how she plays the be an artist for Spider
Lilyanna and Savanna, please! Oh, and tell guitar, and Spider that I love your mag, and magazine. I would draw for the poems. Thistle,
Bill to stop eating so much candy! It will you, Thistle, I love telling jokes. you and Ophelia and Araña are my favorites. Do
make him sick. I liked “How to Draw Some any of you play music? I do. I play violin.
Bugs” (November/December 2018). Here Could you adopt Nichol and AV? They
is a picture of you. are twin sisters who don’t get along well. (AV Please adopt Clover, the . . . OK, I don’t
is two minutes older.) Nichol is light brown, know what he is. Just don’t feed him clovers
Riley Salan, age 9 and AV is black. Please include them in your (which makes his name weirder).
Wichita Falls, Texas next party.
Estelle Koenigs, age 8
Dear Sam, Anjali Borirakchanyavat, age 7 Hortonville, Wisconsin
Maybe you could have a dog as a pet. Los Angeles, California P.S. The blue one is his girlfriend, Daisy.

You could name him whatever you want! Hi, Dear Estelle,
Ander, age 6 Here are three facts about me: My favorite Yes, we love music! Ophelia and Araña play
New York, New York
animals are wolf, horse, and penguin. My piano and guitar, and I play the tin whistle.
Dear Spider, favorite food is corn. My favorite tree is pine. Vivace,
This is my first time Thistle
Dorothy P., age 7
sending mail. Can you adopt Allenton, Michigan Send your letters to
Ian my Xf-17 robot? I have a Spider’s Mailbox
joke: What do you call a spider P.O. Box 300
who can win games? A game spider. Peru, IL 61354

River English, age 6 Please write your complete name, age, and address
Souderton, Pennsylvania on your letter! You can also send us mail
at [email protected]



Meet Everybuggy Word Search

HELLO, FRIENDS! CAN you help us find 12 names and other words in

this block of letters? The words might be vertical or horizontal.


pen or pencil

What to Find:






Scoopbot Miro Abuelo
34 LOopvhee,lia
meadow Ophelia

Buggy Bulletin
Answer to
Special Delivery

Q. What’s big, scaly, and

A. A dragon on a trampoline!

Send your jokes to
[email protected]!

art © 2016 by Denise Ortkales Get the answers to questions
curious kids ask in ASK Magazine.

Save R΍ your subscription



Glückshaus Glückshaus means “house of fortune” in
German, and that’s just what you’ll need
A game for to win this game: a bit of fortune, or luck!

two players

What You’ll Need: 4. You may not move the game
2 dice pieces already on the board
scissors except when removing them
from the board.
What to Do:
1. Cut out the 20 game pieces and 5. Game pieces cannot be taken
from the Wedding square in
give each player 10 of the same normal play.
2. Player One rolls the dice 6. If you roll a 4, you lose a turn,
and places one game piece on since there is no “4” space on
the square of the number he the board.
3. Player Two then rolls the dice 7. If you roll a 2, the Lucky Pig,
and places one of her game you take all the game pieces on
pieces on the square of the the board, except for pieces that
number she rolled. However, are on the Wedding square.
if Player Two lands on a square
with Player One’s game piece 8. If you roll a 12, the King, you
already on it, she takes that game get all the game pieces on the
piece and does not leave her board. (This is the only time
own. Player Two then keeps the you may take a game piece
stolen game piece and turns it from the Wedding square.)
over, making it the color of her
other game pieces. 9. Keep taking turns rolling the
dice until one player has all of
the game pieces, or until one
player can no longer add any
game pieces to the board.

Art by Benton Mahan

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