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.
This collection consists of 13 winter stories, one for each of the 13 weeks of winter.
About the Stories
Mr. Flinch, the old possum, is missing something very important. The Junkyard animals believe it may have been moved to the far side of the Junkyard — an area considered “off limits” to all of the animals. Ben Thompson, clever cat, bravely offers to go and find it, but watchdog Sergeant suggests he enlist the help of the ever-mysterious mouse — Mitzie Niegel.
Ben Thompson, a most unusual cat, wakes one morning to a disappointing sight: snow. He does not like snow - it is sticky, cold and confusing. But the day turns around when he follows a long line of mice headed for some surprising winter fun.
Ben is curious about what Sergeant the Junkyard Watchdog does all day — so he follows him one morning on his rounds. What a busy day Sergeant has! Ben realizes why all of Sergeant’s “rules” are so important when he accidentally ends up toe-to-toe with the Junkyard Warden.
Harriet the Hawk
This week in Junkyard Tales, a very big and adventurous hawk visits the Junkyard. And strangely, she seems to recognize Ben Thompson, clever cat! Harriet tells a story of a litter of kittens and the one that remained with an old woman - the one with a most unusual name.
The Winter Robins
Ben Thompson, clever cat, is surprised one morning to find himself surrounded in a flock of robins. A flock of robins? In winter? Yes! And they are in search of food. With the help of Spiro the fun loving skunk, they realize they have the perfect wintertime food for hungry robins. But the only problem is: it is stored under the Warden’s office!
One midwinter morning, Ben wakes to the sights and smells of spring. “But it is not spring”, reminds Sergeant the steadfast watchdog - who is worried that one of the Junkyard animals might catch spring fever and accidentally attract the Warden’s attention. Ben and Sergeant work together to keep all the springy enthusiasm in check, but soon the warm sunny weather inspires a game of catch between the two friends that has unexpected results!
A Time for Play
Dawn breaks and the Junkyard is covered in balls of ice. Ben Thompson learns all about “hail”, and that it can lead to a lot of fun. Everyone joins in the fun, except the steadfast watchdog Sergeant. Can they entice him to play?
After a busy day helping his junkyard friends, Ben is ready for a long night’s sleep. But then there’s an invitation from the Rowlands, the family of raccoons, to do a little stargazing. Always up for an adventure, Ben joins the growing party on the hill for star sighting and more.
Ben’s New Home
Ben wakes to find the mysterious and wise mouse Mitzie Niegle on his cozy shelf cubby. She has important news: his home is to be taken away, and in hours! The Junkyard team joins together to save his precious bell collection and to find him his dream home.
Mr. Flinch’s Birthday
It is Mr. Flinch’s birthday! How will they celebrate him? The old possum loves nothing more that a good story, so Georgia Bean, the kindly rat, suggests that everyone tell him a story in celebration. And wouldn’t you know, Ben Thompson’s story contains a “jewel” of information that surprises them all!
Mr. Flinch makes his birthday wish - he wants to visit his brother Mr. Blinch who lives under a dumpster in town. But how will they get the old possum all the way to town? Ben Thompson has a plan, and it involves a children’s wagon and the only Junkyard friend strong enough to pull it!
There is a buzz in the Junkyard this week. It’s holiday time, and everyone seems to be expecting visitors: Li’l Mamma the busy rabbit is preparing for her children and grandchildren; Sally the chipmunk can’t wait for her brother to arrive; and Zippy the porcupine’s mother may appear at any minute. But no one is coming to see Ben Thompson, the clever Junkyard cat. When he realizes this, he finds he no longer feels quite so festive. But a quiet voice in the dusk wakes him from his loneliness, and reminds Ben about what he loves best about life in the Junkyard.
One windy night, Mr. Flinch tells his Junkyard friends about the days after Christmas when he was just a young possum, and the townspeople would ring bells and gather in the park to sing songs, drink cider and eat fruit cake. His enticing story sparks the curiosity of both Spiro, the fun loving skunk, and Ben Thompson, the clever cat. “Do you think it’s still happening?” asks Ben. The unstoppable pair venture out into the weather to see if they can find the reveling townsfolk and sneak some cake. The cold wind and rain nearly dampen their spirits, until they come across an opportunity to discover the true meaning of the Twelfth Night of Christmas.