Fourteen Third Graders and a Pink Monkey

Once upon a time there was a pink stuffed monkey named Josephine.

A third grade girl gave Josephine to her teacher as a gift. (You didn’t know that a pink stuffed monkey is the perfect birthday present for a teacher? Well, now you know). Josephine adopted the classroom as her home, and she became an instant celebrity among the children.

The teacher went to Kenya and taught other children, and Josephine went with her. The new children there loved her too.

Then for two years the teacher studied at Faith Builders, and poor Josephine was sad and lonely and had no children to play with. When the teacher returned to the classroom this year, Josephine went with her. For the first week or two of school Josephine sat sedately on the file cabinet in the classroom while the students seemed to regard the teacher as some sort of goddess and didn’t even talk out loud in the classroom at lunchtime.

“I think we need to break some ice here,” said the teacher to herself. “Maybe Josephine can help me.” So Josephine swung from the handle of the projector screen one morning. The children giggled. The next morning she was climbing the pole in the classroom. The children were enthralled. They began to play with her, and suddenly it was a game.

To this day, it is still a game. Josephine finds all sorts of places to hide. You never know where she will be next. She may show up in someone’s desk. Sometimes she finds such a good hiding spot that no one finds her for several days. Sometimes she leaves notes in the students’ desks. And the children are pretty sure she got into Narnia a couple of times, though they haven’t figured out whether the magic door to Narnia is in the back of the file cabinet or somewhere up above the tiles of the dropped ceiling.

She can even make great puns. When she was hanging from the projector screen, one student remarked, “She just loves to hang out with us.” And once during lunchtime someone asked, “Why isn’t Josephine eating lunch?” The teacher had no swift comeback for this question, but someone else said, “She can’t eat because she’s already stuffed.”

Uh-oh. Plot twist. One day a student brought another monkey to school that is almost identical to Josephine except that it is brown. “Look! Josephine has a boyfriend!” the children crowed. “Look—they are holding hands!” they said. The teacher wondered when it was time to say that the game had gone a little too far.

But the “boyfriend” left again, and Josephine went into the best hiding spot yet. No one has found her for four days and counting.

Maybe she just wanted a good long break from being tugged and squeezed. Or maybe she really did get into Narnia this time.

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