Today is a very good day for Gabriella. It is her birthday and she is going to walk through the forest. She gets to spend it playing tag with her best friends Mr. Fox and Mr. Duck.
“Mr. Fox! Mr. Fox! Are you there?”
Mr. Fox came running through the trees as fast as he could!
“Gabriella!” He jumped into her arms and they rolled together on the forest floor. “Happy birthday!” He licked her all over.
“Thank you Mr. Fox!”
“I got you a present, because I love you so much!” Mr. Fox pulled a big beetle from behind his paw.
“Aw yuck!” said Gabriella.
“It’s lunch time,” said Mr. Fox.
“Yuck! Yuck Yuck!” Gabriella held her nose.
“Oh well! I guess I’ll have to eat it,” said Mr. Fox. And he ate the whole beetle and slurped it down into his belly.
“Aw, Mr. Fox! You knew I hate beetles!”
Mr. Fox licked his lips. “And that’s why I made you this!” He leapt into his burrow and brought out a giant birthday Cake. It had three beautiful layers with pink frosting.
“Thank you, Mr. Fox!”
“Here,” he said. “You hop on my back and we will ride to Mr. Duck!”
Gabriella jumped on his back. Mr. Fox passed the the cake.
“Be careful, don’t drop it,” warned Mr. Fox.
And then they ran through the forest.
Gabriella felt the gentle forest breeze run through her hair. Sweet forest smells of pine and flowers tickled her nose.
She balanced the cake in her right hand and then put her left hand out. She swiped up some pretty pink flowers and put them in her hair. Now she matched the cake!
Mr. Fox came to a quick halt. They had arrived at the swamp.
“Quack quack!” Said Mr. Duck. But he started to swim away.
“Quack quack!” said Gabriella.
“Let’s play tag!” said Mr.Duck. “Catch me and I’ve got the best birthday surprise for you ever.”
Mr. Fox suddenly dived into the swamp. Gabriella got covered in mud. And her cake! Her cake was ruined!
“Quack, quack, quack, quack!” Mr. Duck swam away as quick as he could.
“My cake,” said Gabriella. Her pretty pink flowers were all brown with mud. She dropped it in the swamp behind her and held on to Mr. Fox’s fur for dear life.
“If you can catch me, Gabriella, I’ll give you a birthday prize,” he said.
Mr. Fox tried and tried. But no matter how fast he paddled his legs through the swamp, Mr. Duck was just too quick!
“I need your help, Gabriella,” exclaimed Mr. Fox.
Gabriella hung on tight.
“It’s your birthday. You’re now a little bit older, and a little bit taller, and a whole lot more brave. I need you to stretch out your arms as far as you can and tag Mr. Duck on the back. Can you do that for me?”
Gabriella said “Yes I can!” as loud as she could.
“Quack Quack, Mr. Duck is back!” Mr. Duck swam close to them, taunting them – he thought he was just too quick! But Mr. Fox kicked through the mud as hard as he could. “Are you ready, Gabriella?”
Gabriella focused as they closed in on Mr. Duck.
“Now!” said Mr. Fox.
Gabriella was so brave. She let go of the fur on Mr. Fox’s back and stretched out as far as she could. She tagged Mr. Duck right on the back!
“Quack quack, you got me Gabriella!”
And then she got so excited that she jumped from Mr. Fox’s back and landed right on Mr. Duck’s.
“You win! You win!” said Mr. Duck, and together Mr. Duck, Mr. Fox and Gabriella swam back to the green forest floor.
They sat on the back together and Mr. Duck brought the guests biscuits and juice. “I’ve invited some more guests for you,” said Mr. Duck. “All to celebrate your birthday.”
And through the forest came a giant stampede animals. There came big hippos, and rhinos and giraffes, and there were dogs barking their ‘hello’s’, with cats on the backs. Monkeys and orangutans swung from the trees, branches to branches, and woke up the sleepy koalas. All of the animals were dressed in party hats, and had balloons – pink and yellow and all of Gabriella’s favourite colours – tied to their arms and paws and big bellies. Mt. Fox started handing out food to all the guests.
And at the very front of the birthday party guests were Gabriella’s cousins: Amelie, Charlotte and Oliver.
Mr. Fox and Mr. Duck brought out a giant birthday cake, even bigger than the one that had gotten dirty with mud. This one had ten layers, with chocolate cake and sweeties and lollipops too, and on the very top there was a number “two” and on the second layer it read: ‘Happy birthday to you!’.
As Mr. Fox started cutting into the cake with his little paws, the entire party started singing happy birthday.
“This is turning into the best birthday ever,” smiled little Gabriella.
But it got even better. The animals parted down the middle, and right there, in-between the elephant and the giraffe, was a giant trampoline!
“Let’s go!” said the cousins. “You get the first bounce, Gabriella!”
Gabriella ran as fast as she could and held out her hand for the elephant. The elephant politely lowered his trunk and lifted her up. Then she started bouncing and they all cheered because she bounced so high.
“Come on up, everybody!” invited Gabriella.
Mr. Fox and Mr. Duck came up first and all three of them bounced together. Then up came Amelie, and Oliver, and Charlotte, and all six of them bounced as high as they could. And then the monkeys swung down from the trees and the giraffes used their big legs, and up came the rhinos and the cats and the dogs and even the big elephants. Gabriella laughed and had so much fun.
On Gabriella’s birthday they she walked through the forest, played tag in the swamp with Mr. Fox and Mr. Duck, ate some delicious birthday cake, and she bounced so high on her giant trampoline that she went above the trees.
It was the best birthday Gabriella had ever had.