Important Information for the Children in Your Life
(Please forward or re-post, thank you) Are there are children between 8 and 13 in your circle of friends and family? Please tell parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians, publications, newsletters, blogs, and others about the mysteries and adventures available by Max Elliot Anderson.
I’ve spent most of my life in the production of dramatic films, documentaries, TV programs, commercials, industrial and medical videos. I bring that same visual action and excitement to the pages of mysteries and adventures I now write for kids.
And this is the most important point.
Positive: All of my books have been released by small publishers. The plus to this is having a close working relationship with the editors, artists, and publishers of these books.
Negative: Small publishers tend to not have the marketing and promotion resources as their larger counterparts do. So it is up to the author to generate interest.
That’s the reason for this short note. Would you consider forwarding this message to that circle of people you know in your area or in other parts of the country? It would be greatly appreciated.
It's finally summer, so here's a FREE Summer Short Story for kids. Who says if you're small, you can't do big things? Read on.
The Littlest Raindrop
Max Elliot Anderson
Way up high in the sky, higher than the birds go by, higher than airplanes fly, higher than you can see with your eye, lived the littlest raindrop you’ve ever seen. Her name was Stephanie. She was so small she wouldn’t even wet your whistle if she fell.Meanwhile, down on a ranch far below, lived the family of Abigail Pritchard. Abby’s father bought his ranch only a few years ago. And ever since that time, it almost never rained on his land.
All day long, Abby went to the kitchen to get a long, tall glass of cool water. During the hottest time of the day, she liked to pour her water over crackling ice and hold the cool glass against her burning cheek. “Ahhh!” she sighed. Then she took another refreshing gulp. She used to like drinking outside from the garden hose, but her dad had to turn that off weeks ago.
It might not seem like it, but things back on Stephanie Raindrop’s cloud weren’t a whole lot better. That’s because some of the other, larger raindrops made fun of her.
“You’re so small,” one of them told her, “you wouldn’t be enough to give a mosquito a drink even if you did go down there.”
“Yeah,” another said as he pointed to a great big raindrop. “Now you take Harold over there. He’s so big and fat, when it comes time for him to go; he can wash a whole car all by himself.” The others laughed, but Stephanie didn’t, and Harold didn’t either. Still, Harold did everything he could to try and fit in. It made Stephanie sad. She bent her head down, and she would have cried except she was even too small to form even a single tear.
Meanwhile, down at the ranch, Abby had gone into the barn to escape the sun’s punishing, baking rays. She hadn’t been there long before she heard a car or truck drive into the lane. She scampered up to the second level, where big bales of hay were stacked high, so she could see who it was. But that’s when she heard the barn door open followed by voices. One of them was her father.
“I’m doing the best I can,” he said. “Surely there are other ranchers just as bad off.”
“Yes there are,” another voice said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that, if we don’t get our money, we’ll have to close y’all down.”
Abby peaked out to see it was Mr. Bentley from the bank. He’d been to the ranch several times before, and each time he came out, he asked for money. Mr. Bentley wore the biggest tan ten gallon hat anyone in these parts of Texas had ever seen.
“Look Mr. Bentley,” her father said, “I need more time, that’s all. It has to rain, it’s just got to. Then everything will be all right.”
Mr. Bentley spit in the dirt and looked up again. “Tell you what. If we get just one drop of rain by next Friday, you got yourself six more months. But if it doesn’t, then the bank’s taking your ranch.”
When Abby heard that, she fell backward into a pile of loose hay. She held her breath for the next few seconds, hoping no one heard her. Nobody did. She waited until the men had gone, then went outside.
Back on the cloud, Stephanie’s mother saw her sitting and pouting one afternoon. She went over to talk with her. “What’s wrong, Stephanie?”
The little raindrop looked up and sniffled. “The other raindrops keep making fun of me.”
“They say I’m too small to do anyone any good, that’s what.” She hung her little head again.
Her mother leaned up against her. “That’s nonsense. It doesn’t matter if you’re short or tall, big or small, anyone can make a difference if they try.”
Stephanie slowly looked into her mother’s eyes. “Even me?”
Her mother smiled. “Especially you. Why not?”
“You just stop listening to anyone who tries to tell you, you can’t.” She left Stephanie alone again.
Soon one of the larger raindrops saw her sitting by herself. “Hey, look,” Sid said. “It’s the runt.” Sid was so big; as he sloshed toward her some of the drops of water that fell off were even bigger than all there was of Stephanie.
She glared back at him. “Why don’t you dry up, Sid?”
He laughed back. “Hey, the puny raindrop made a joke.”
Meanwhile, back down at the ranch, Abby had begun doing something every night. She waited until her parents had gone to bed. Then she crept downstairs, out the back door, and slipped into the darkness in her nightgown and slippers. Even after dark, the night air continued to feel hot as fire and dry as ashes. She folded her hands, looked up into a cloudless sky, closed her eyes, and said, “Please, please, pleeease rain!” She stood there a few moments more, then returned to her bed for the rest of the night.
But on this night, Stephanie was awakened up on her cloud at the exact same time. All she heard, though, was pleeease. She sat up in her soft, puffy bed. “Who could that be?” she whispered.
Each morning Abby jumped out of her bed at the ranch, hurried to the window, threw open the curtains, and looked out. And each morning she had to let out a deep breath she’d been holding since her head left the pillow. “Nothin’ yet,” she whispered.
Later she found her father outside by his pickup truck. She walked over and wrote her name in the dust on the door then sat down on the running board. “When we gonna wash this thing? It’s so dirty.”
He shook his head and sat beside her. “Can’t spare the water. Your mother and I think it might be a good idea for you to start getting some of your things ready to pack.”
Abby nearly leaped to her feet. “Leaving? You mean we’re leaving?”
He looked toward the sky and shaded his eyes from the sun. “Yep. Unless you can make it rain.” He lowered his head, looked back, and smiled at Abby.
Back on the cloud, Stephanie shuffled around with her head hung low; still too small to make a tear of her own. “I’ll never get ta do anything important,” she muttered. She tried to stay away from the others.
“Pay no attention to the other raindrops,” her mother kept telling her. “One day you’ll see. You’re going to do something very important. I can feel it.”
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Abby even used less ice in her water. Her mother had stopped watering her flowers, too. And all the vegetables in their garden had already dried up and blown to Kansas.
After dark on Thursday night, just as she had done so many nights before, Abby slipped downstairs toward the darkness in her back yard. But on her way this time, she heard the faint sounds of her mother crying. She hurried out the back door, looked toward the sky, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and said, “Please rain, please rain, pu...leeease rain!” As with all those other nights, when she opened her eyes, nothing happened.
Nothing, that is, except for high up on the cloud where Stephanie stayed awake extra late on this night. And on this night, she clearly heard every word that Abby said. “So that’s it,” Stephanie whispered. “Now I know exactly what to do.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, when Abby woke up, she wished this day would never come, but it did come, and it was Friday. In the kitchen, her mother wiped away tears with her apron when Abby walked in for breakfast. About an hour later, she heard someone drive up to the house. Her heart pounded as she hurried to the window to see who it was. Of course, she already knew. A big, shiny, black car came to a stop. Dust swirled in the air. Abby’s father walked over to it as the doors opened. Out stepped Mr. Bentley, but he wasn’t alone. This time he’d brought the sheriff along with him. Abby hurried outside.
From behind a small hedge, next to the house, she heard the banker say, “Well Mr. Pritchard, today’s the day.”
Abby’s father stared at the ground and kicked the toe of his boot in the dry dirt. “Guess it is.”
Back up on the cloud, Stephanie was about to put her plan into action. This time, she went looking for the others and didn’t wait for them to find her. When she saw Sid she stopped, put her hands on her hips and said, “Hey, Sid, you big drip.”
Sid spun around and glared back at her. “Who you callin’ a big drip?”
She pointed right at him. “You!”
“Come on, guys,” he shouted to some of the other big drops. Then he shook his fist. “You’ll pay for this,” and he started running toward Stephanie. She turned and ran as fast as a little raindrop can run toward the edge of the cloud. When she got there, she didn’t even try to stop. Instead, she jumped as far as she could and began falling toward the ground. When she turned and looked up, she could hardly believe what she saw. The other, bigger raindrops were so angry, they didn’t stop either. All of them ran right off the cloud and began falling after her.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the sheriff reached into this shirt pocket and pulled out a fist full of papers. “You gotta sign these Mr. Pritchard. Then you, your wife, and the little girl will have to pack up and leave.” Abby’s father reached out, took the papers, a pen the sheriff handed him, and prepared to sign away the happiest place on earth to Abby and her family. But before her father could do that, something amazing happened. Without any rain clouds in the sky, that Abby could see, the littlest raindrop landed on the brim of Mr. Bentley’s ten gallon hat, splashed into a million pieces and evaporated into the hot, dry air.
“What was that?” her father asked.
“What was what?” Mr. Bentley asked. Then he turned his head to look into the sky...big mistake. When he did that, all those bigger raindrops chasing after Stephanie, reached the end of his nose and watered the ground all around where the men stood. But that wasn’t the worst of it. That’s because Harold was the last one to leave the cloud. When he hit the banker, he knocked that ten gallon hat clean off of his head.
“Well,” the sheriff said with a chuckle. “Looks like rain to me.” He took the papers back and ripped them up.
A few days later, Abby was awakened by something she hadn’t heard for months. From the time on her bedroom clock, it should have been bright and sunny outside. Why’s it so dark, she wondered. Suddenly there was a flash of light followed by ear-splitting thunder. And that was followed by rain. She hurried downstairs to find her parents already dancing in the back yard as rain soaked their clothes and mud covered their bare feet.
Abby raced out to catch some of that delicious rainwater on her tongue. She looked toward the sky, closed her eyes, folded her hands, and said, “Thank you, thank you, thaaank you!”
Her father joined her, put a hand on her shoulder, and said, “And all it took was one little raindrop to get the whole thing started.”
Soon the stream ran again through their ranch, the pond filled up to the top with water, lush green grass grew again and the Pritchard family was able to stay on the beautiful ranch they loved so much.
Using his extensive experience in dramatic film, video, and TV commercial production, Max Elliot Anderson brings that same heart-pounding, visual excitement to his middle grade adventures & mysteries for readers 8 and up