Benjamin Thompson is an unusual name for a cat. But then Ben is an unusual cat. Whether by fate or by folly, he finds a home in an unusual place – a Junkyard. And there he finds his place in a community of delightfully unusual friends: a steadfast watchdog, a refined rat, a silly skunk, a wise old possum, and a host of helpful mice. Junkyard Tales delights in the joys, challenges, and adventures of friendship, community, and doing good in the world.
ABOUT THE STORIES
This is a collection of 13 spring stories, for the 13 weeks of spring.
The Junkyard has thawed and that means one thing — mud. Sergeant, the steadfast watchdog, gets so muddy that there's no way he's going to be allowed in the Warden's car for a weekend at the Warden's home. Instead, Sergeant stays to discover the sort of muddy fun one can have in the Junkyard during Spring.
The Junkyard is bursting with spring flowers. All of the animals are excitedly decorating the piles of Junk with strings of daffodils and tulips, in preparation for the flower parade. This year, however, their decorations are discovered by the Warden! They have precious little time to come up with a plan to clean up all the spring decorations without the Warden knowing. What will they do?
Buster: A Story about Bullying
Zippy, the porcupine, has a secret. It’s a secret he doesn’t want to share. He finally entrusts his secret to his feline friend, Ben Thompson: Zippy is being teased by a badger that lives in the field outside of the junkyard. Ben thinks they should teach that badger a lesson, but Sergeant knows how to discover the true source of the teasing and transform it with understanding and kindness.
The Spring Festival
It is time for the Junkyard Spring Festival, and all the animals are doing their part. Ben is given the responsibility of hiding the egg treats for the mice. But while he is hiding them, he finds a mysteriously-decorated egg with a most curious image on it. What could it mean? Who hid it? When the other animals find similar eggs, the true egg hunt begins.
It's a warm afternoon at the Junkyard.The Warden's car windows are down, and the sound of the radio is carried through the spring air. Ben can't help but be inspired — could the Junkyard friends make their own music? They all agree to meet at the mounds of Mice Central at sundown, and bring their own unique instrument for a little Junkyard Jam!
It is time for Sally the chipmunk and Lil' Mamma, the busy rabbit, to move out of the old maple tree and into their warm weather homes. When Ben Thompson, clever cat, sees an opportunity to help Sally find her new home, he realizes he doesn't know much about her. In fact, he's not sure she likes him much. How can he win her friendship?
The Turtle Shell
One morning a call spreads through the Junkyard, “The pond is draining!” Ben and other Junkyard animals come to the rescue, patching a mysterious hole. While they figure out how to plug the hole, and how it came to be there, they uncover a pair of turtle shells — and accidentally wake the two turtles inside!
Harriet Hawk and the Big News
Harriet Hawk returns one afternoon with news! It's news that Ben Thompson is at once excited and nervous about: she has found the home in which he was born! His friends all think he should go out and find the house, and so they make him a map. Ben's hesitation dissolves when his friend Sergeant, the steadfast watchdog, volunteers to go along.
Ben's Big Surprise
Ben and Sergeant plan a big adventure into town. They have a map and an important destination: the home where Ben was born and raised. With the help of a number of in-town animal friends, they find their way. But when they arrive, they meet something totally unexpected!
In a few days it will be the birthday of Georgia Bean, the kindly rat, and none of the Junkyard animals know what to give her. Some suggest a cake, others suggest a craft project. But Ben, clever cat, with the help of those ever-entertaining raccoons, the Rowlands, comes up with the ideal gift. It just so happens they are growing in the neighboring farmer’s field, guarded by a not-so-friendly canine. How will they gather the perfect present?
The Birds that Didn't Listen
A pair of birds have moved into the old filing cabinet at the front end of the Junkyard. The birds would be a welcome addition to the Junkyard crew, except that they meet any visitor with a hearty dive-bombing. And dive-bombing birds are not good for anyone in the Junkyard. Can Ben Thompson, clever cat, figure out how to tell them that the Junkyard animals mean only peace?
A Dip in the Pond
Cats don't swim. This is what Ben Thompson, clever cat, says to his junkyard friends when they propose a dip in the junkyard pond. But then Mr. Flinch, the old possum, accidentally falls into the pond, and Ben quickly realizes he might be wrong.
Sally and the Squirrel Circus
Sally the chipmunk brings exciting news to the Junkyard: the Squirrel Circus is coming to town! And, more than that, Sally admits that it is her dream to perform in the circus! Ben Thompson — clever cat — and Rebecca Rowland — the mother raccoon — teach her all that they know about balance and climbing. And in the process, they discover they have their own show-stopping moves.