Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2009-09-08
  • Publisher: Candlewick
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Grampa's menagerie of pets are rubbed the wrong way when a needy little critter arrives in this lighthearted chapter book. Grampa Bender wouldn't be able to run the Bed and Biscuit animal boardinghouse without the help of Ernest the pig, Gabby the mynah bird, and Milly the cat. In fact, the three animals have always thought of themselves as Grampa's family and they assumed he felt the same way. But when Grampa comes home with a mysterious bundle and stops paying attention to his loyal companions, they start to question his affections. Engaging illustrations by Noah Z. Jones, capturing every endearing trait of this oddball family, complement Joan Carris's humorous, heartwarming book for middle-grade readers.

Author Biography

Joan Carris has published more than a dozen books for children as well as four textbooks. She also teaches graduate-level writing at Duke University. She lives in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Noah Z. Jones is the illustrator of NOT NORMAN by Kelly Bennett and THE MONSTER IN THE BACKPACK by Lisa Moser. He lives in Camden, Maine.



Hours went by as the animals slept, and night came.

"You're snoring! Snoring!" Gabby poked Ernest with her beak.

"Sorry," Ernest said, half asleep. She went back to sleep, but he was now wide awake, worrying.

"Ernest! You're squishing me!" Milly cried.

How could such a small cat take over the whole bed? Ernest apologized again, and the night wore on. Above the old black stove, the clock ticked away.

Grampa's rooster, Rory - the loudest rooster in the county - began crowing as dawn approached. Ernest clung to the hope that someday Rory would be made into chicken soup. He had chased Ernest repeatedly when he was a piglet, new to the Bed and Biscuit.

Now Ernest stuck his head under a blanket and lay still. Finally Grampa's white pickup truck roared by the kitchen window. Ernest, Milly, and Gabby lined up at the low window to watch.

Grampa hurried into the barn and came out with a dark wooden box - about the size of a breadbox. He entered the kitchen with a tired,
" 'Morning, troops," and went on by, heading for the stairs to his bedroom.
They listened as he slowly mounted the steps.

"Well, wouldn't that frost your beak!" Gabby said from her perch on the back of a chair.

"Oh, hush," Ernest said.

Gabby stuck her beak in the air. "Ah, Lord Ernest Piglet is at it again." She turned her back and talked to the wall. "I'll never know why Grampa had to add a bossy pig to this family."

"You won't figure it out, either, birdbrain!"

Gabby whirled around. "Blabby little fat-belly!"

"Sorry excuse for a parrot!"

"Porky smart-mouth!"

Ernest was running out of insults. What was Grampa doing anyway?

"Loudmouth lard-bucket!"

Milly gave a pitiful mew.

Eager to change the subject, Ernest said, "You win. So what do we think Grampa got out of the barn? I never saw that box before."

"He had something in his arms, too, when he got out of the truck," Milly said. "It's a bundle. I saw it."

"Really?" said Ernest. "Did he have it when he came through here?"

Milly's ears flattened and she shook out her fur. "I don't know, but I'm going up there to see for myself. It's my bedroom, too!"

"Well, wouldn't that frost your beak!" Gabby said.

Time passed. Ernest fidgeted.

Gabby flew from the rocking chair to the end of the kitchen counter and began to clean her shimmering purple-green tailfeathers.

"Do you think the bundle came from McBroom's farm?" Ernest asked her.

"Who knows? Grampa was gone all night. He could have been all over the county."

"Well, how about that box? Do you know what it's for?"

"Honestly! Can't you see I'm busy?"

"But this is important!"

Gabby stopped preening. "How do you know?"

"I just do."

At that point Milly marched into the kitchen. She sat on Ernest's bed where the white tip of her striped tail tapped up and down. Tap . . . tap . . . tap.

Ernest said, "Well? What is Grampa doing? Tell us about the box."

"It's hot," she said. "I felt it with my whiskers when I tried to look inside."

"Is it a toaster?" Ernest asked. "Is Grampa cooking in his room?"

"No, but it plugs into the wall like a toaster."

Suddenly Gabby cried, "The bundle! Tell us about the bundle!"

Milly's green eyes narrowed. "The bundle is in the box. I tried to get a look at it, and Grampa pushed me away." Her tail tapped faster.

"You poor thing," Gabby said with unusual sympathy.

"Now, Milly, Grampa's just tired,&qu

Excerpted from Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit by Joan Carris
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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