“Yippie! I can do it Paulie! Did you see me? Did you see me?”
Little Manny Mongoose is terribly excited. He dances and he prances because he is delighted.
“We won’t be late for school again. We’ll be early come sunshine or rain!”
“Sshhh,” says Manny’s big brother, Paul. He doesn’t want Manny to be heard down the hall.
For Manny has a BIG secret; and he wants to tell it to everyone! For keeping a secret is very hard and really not a lot of fun!
“So can’t I tell Mummy now?” little Manny cries.
“No, you can’t, for that will spoil the surprise.
“Do you think that Mummy will be glad?”
“Yes, she will, but she will also be sad.”
Manny is puzzled. He has worked very hard to surprise his Mummy today. He did this because it is her birthday. He will give her a special secret surprise. He had thought that she would find it very nice.
“Why will Mummy be sad?” he wails.
“Because you’re growing up,” his brother explains. “It is just a silly grown-up thing,” he says as a bell begins to ring.
So Paul and Manny go to breakfast. Manny doesn’t say a word.
“Are you okay?” Manny’s Mummy asks him.
But, quite luckily, a horn is heard.
It is the old school bus that has come to take the boys away. They are very late this morning, so Manny doesn’t have time to say,
“I have a BIG surprise for you, Mummy. But I can’t wait until your party for you to see that I can do something new.”
No, the toot, toot, toot, toot and Paul’s loud call makes telling Mummy anything not allowed at all.
So Manny gets a tight hug and a kiss from his Mummy.
“Cheer up, honey,” she calls from the door. “We’ll have a nice dinner when you get home this evening and then you can tell me what’s bothering you for sure.”
So off Manny dashes to catch the bus which has now turned sunshine yellow! You see this bus is a special magic fellow, that knows if one of its favourite passengers is sad. When this happens the bus feels very bad. This is why when it came it was blue; but now that Manny is happy again, the bus is happy too.
Manny feels very important because he has a secret surprise for his Mummy; and because today is her birthday his mood is especially sunny.
“There will be presents for her to open from Daddy and Paulie,” he says to himself. “But the biggest surprise will be from me, myself. Mummy will see that I’m a big boy now. Yes, when I show her my surprise she’ll say ‘Wow! You are a big boy now Manny! Yes, it will be a big surprise for her AND for Daddy.”
Manny decides to keep his secret at school. He thinks that he’s being very cool. He does not tell the other children, because some of them are blabber-mouths, and they would spoil the fun if they told. He does not tell his teacher Mrs. Mongoose, because she is mummy’s friend of old. He bets that NO ONE can guess what his surprise is, not even Cecelia the classroom wiz.
So, at school Manny learns his lessons…
… and he plays games with his friends.
He eats his snack…
… and has his nap…
… and then he goes home to his Mummy again.
“May I tell Mummy now?” Manny asks his brother Paulie.
“Why don’t you wait until Daddy comes home?”
“But that will take forever!” Manny is getting grumpy.
“He’ll be here before you know.”
So Manny waits and he waits some more.
He does his homework… … and he watches t.v.
He plays in the garden… … and visits his friends next door.
He wiggles his toes in the fishpond…
and digs a secret cave at the bottom of the mango tree.
It is a very lovely afternoon. Sometimes Manny forgets all about his secret and that is why the time flies away so soon.
Then, Manny has a bright idea! He will practise his surprise. His Daddy and his Mummy may even think him wise when he shows them all the clever things he does when his daddy finally comes.
So Manny practises, and he practises some more. He gets better and he gets faster. Yes, our little Manny is becoming a master.
“Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.”
Times goes by slowly as the arms creep around the face of the clock.
Then at 5:15 Manny’s daddy is comes through the door. This is a good thing, because Manny can’t wait anymore. So, now the family and their friends can eat a special birthday dinner. It is so nice that Manny already feels like a winner.
Everyone moves to the living room to open Mummy’s presents. She has lots of gifts from everyone, including Uncle Terrence. There is even something there from Manny! (Daddy bought a nice green blouse and pretended that it was from him because he is too young to have any money.)
“Mummy, Manny has a secret to show. He has been saving it all day to surprise you, I want you to know.”
“What?” says Daddy. “Manny had a secret all day and didn’t tell anybody? I really must say you’re getting to be a big boy son!”
Manny’s Mummy agrees and gives him a happy squeeze.
At last it’s time to tell his secret; but guess what, Manny is shy!
With the whole family looking at him poor little Manny wants to cry! Paul goes over to stand next to him. He gives Manny a friendly pat on his back.
“Go on, you can do it little chap.”
So Manny kneels down…
… and ties his shoe-laces all by himself. It is his way of giving his mummy some help.
The whole family applauds Manny who looks as pleased as punch. He’d made his family a very happy bunch.
For the rest of the evening they’d have a ball. Everyone agrees that his is the best gift of all.