Marty and Chipper Go to School
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“Marty and Chipper Go to School,” Friend, Sept. 2006, 30–31

Marty and Chipper Go to School

(Based on a true story)

Be of good courage, and [the Lord] shall strengthen your heart (Psalm 31:24).

Marty was excited. Marty was scared. Today was his first day of real school. Not preschool at the little school down the street.

“This school is miles away,” Marty told his stuffed bear, Chipper, as he pulled on his socks.

“Hundreds—maybe thousands—of kids go to real school,” Marty told Chipper as he zipped his new jeans.

“Maybe I won’t find one friend at the real school,” he said as he buttoned his shirt. “I wish you could go to school with me. Then I’d have at least one friend.”

Slowly, Marty picked up his new backpack. It felt light in his hands.

“I only have crayons and pencils and my new drawing tablet in the backpack,” Marty thought. He smiled. “Yes! You’ll fit right inside too,” he said, and tucked Chipper inside before pulling the pack over one shoulder.

The school looked even bigger when Mother helped Marty find his classroom. It looked like there were hundreds—maybe millions—of kids inside. He didn’t know one of them! But at least he had Chipper with him.

Marty watched the children in his classroom hanging their backpacks on the hooks against the wall. One girl put her backpack on a table, unzipped her bag, and pulled out her crayons and pencils and drawing paper before hanging it up.

“Oh no!” Marty thought. He’d have to unzip his backpack right in front of everyone. Suddenly, having Chipper along didn’t seem like such a good idea. All the children would call him a baby!

Marty stood at the back of the room. He put his backpack on the table and wished he could unzip it just a little bit so no one could see Chipper. But the drawing tablet was large. It would never come out.

A boy just his size stood beside him. He stood with his hand on the zipper of his backpack too. He wasn’t pulling it either.

“Please hang up your backpacks and bring your tablets, pencils, and crayons to your seats, boys,” the teacher said. “We will all draw pictures about our story today.”

Marty moved the zipper on his backpack down just a bit. The boy beside him did the very same thing. Marty pulled his zipper down a tiny bit more. Just enough for one of Chipper’s fuzzy brown arms to pop right out!

Marty’s face grew hot. He looked at his feet.

“Boys!” the teacher called. Marty looked back at his backpack.

The boy beside him did the very same thing. Marty looked at the other boy’s backpack. There was a fuzzy brown arm sticking out of his backpack too!

Marty looked at the boy. “I’m Marty,” he said.

“I’m Hank,” the boy said.

Marty unzipped his backpack and took out his tablet, pencils, and crayons. Then he hung up his bag. Hank did the same. Somehow, Marty didn’t think either of them would need to bring their stuffed bear friends to school again.

Illustrated by Brad Teare