TITLE: JUMPING FOR JOY
GENRE: MG magical realism
Ellie often jumped for joy. At Christmas. On her birthday. When the
first green tips of the crocuses came up in March. When there were
sausages for supper. And once when she found two quarters, one dime
and seven pennies on the sidewalk. But she’d never jumped for joy and
Of course, she didn’t know that joy was what she had caught, not at
first. That morning she had got up and wondered why it was so bright
in her room. Then she remembered that it was the first day of summer
vacation and (whooping an enormous whoop) she jumped for joy. At the
very top of her leap her sweeping hand, brushing something solid,
simply closed around it, like catching a fly ball she couldn’t quite
Ellie froze, her hand still above her head. She couldn’t move, could
hardly breathe. Whatever she had caught was small, warm and wriggling.
Alive. She brought her hand down slowly, gently. She kept it closed
firmly against whatever was pushing against her fingers while she
tried to think.
It wasn’t an insect. She knew how it felt to hold their fluttering,
almost unnoticeable weight. In fact, there were always seven or eight
jars on her windowsill housing various caterpillars, beetles and
spiders she had caught. She watched them carefully and dropped things
into the jars for them to eat. It wasn’t her fault they sometimes
escaped and ended up nesting in her mother’s sock drawer or crawling
up the kitchen wall.