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Reader's Theatre

"Under the Library Table" From Herbie Jones

Characters:  Mrs. Jones, Herbie Jones, Mr. Jones, Olivia Jones, Annabelle Louisa Hodgekiss, Raymond Martin, Narrator, SFX Person

Settings:  Herbie's house; library

Time: Evening

Props: Some keys

 

MRS. JONES:  HERBIE! Your dinner's getting cold.

MR. JONES: What's gotten into that boy? He's never late to dinner. Who wants some meatloaf?

OLIVIA: I do. Please.

NARRATOR: A few minutes later, Herbie sat down at the table.

HERBIE:  Sorry, Mom. I had to brush my teeth.

MR. JONES: You brush before meals now?

OLIVIA:  He wants his breath to smell nice for Annabelle. Did you have fun at her house today? Hmmm?

NARRATOR:  Herbie blew some breath in Olivia's face.

SFX PERSON: (Exhales loudly.)

OLIVIA: Hmmm, wintergreen. Nice, Erb. I also like the way you combed your hair.

HERBIE: Thanks, Olive!

MR. JONES: Are you going somewhere tonight, son?

HERBIE: To the library.

OLIVIA: What are you studying at the library?

HERBIE: Poetry. Miss Pinkham told us we could make a book of poems together.

MRS. JONES: Miss Pinkham told who?

HERBIE: Annabelle and me.

OLIVIA: Hmmm. You might look up Carl Sandburg. He wrote a neat poem called "Fog." We read it in English last week.

HERBIE: Thanks, Olive. Carl who?

OLIVIA: Sandburg. It rhymes with Hamburg.

HERBIE: Got it! I told Annabelle I'd pick her up at six o'clock so I better get going.

NARRATOR: Twenty minutes later, Herbie and Annabelle walked up the steps to the library.

SFX PERSON: (Jingles some keys.)

ANNABELLE: What is that tinkling noise behind us? (Groans.) Oh, it's Raymond Martin and his dog, Shadow. I bet they're following us.  Let's hurry up and go inside.

NARRATOR: Herbie and Annabelle dashed into the library and went over to the card catalogue.

ANNABELLE: Now, what poet did you want to look up, Herbie?

HERBIE: Uh...Carl Hamburger.

ANNABELLE: (Giggling.) I think you mean Carl Sandburg.

NARRATOR: Ray hurriedly tied Shadow to a parking meter in front of the library. Then he joined Herbie and Annabelle at the card catalogue.

RAYMOND: What'cha looking up?

HERBIE: Hi, Ray!

ANNABELLE: We're busy, Raymond.

HERBIE: Olivia told me some guy named Carl Sandburg writes good poetry. I want to read his poem "Fog." Here it is!

ANNABELLE: Shhhh! Let's read it over here. I'll put our other poetry books down on the table.

NARRATOR: Just as Raymond was about to sit down, Annabelle flared her nostrils.

SFX PERSON: (Inhales deeply and sniffs.)

ANNABELLE: Sorry, Raymond. There's just enough room for Herbie and me and our books.You can sit behind us at the next table. Read the poem, Herbie.

HERBIE: "Fog," by Carl Sandburg.

           The fog comes

            on little cat feet.

            It sits looking

             over harbor and city

             on silent haunches

             and then, moves on.

 Gee, it doesn't rhyme!

NARRATOR: Raymond leaned over.

RAYMOND: It must not be a real poem.

HERBIE: No...it has to be a poem. Olivia said Carl Hamburger is a poet.

ANNABELLE: I like poems that rhyme better.

HERBIE: What does haunches mean?

ANNABELLE: I'll get the big Webster's dictionary, and we can look it up.

NARRATOR: When she returned, they flipped through the pages until they came to the H section.

ANNABELLE: Here it is. It says the two rounded parts on your lower back.

HERBIE: Rounded parts?

RAYMOND: They mean rear end.

ANNABELLE: (Giggles.) My mom always told me to call it derriere - that's the French word for it.

HERBIE:  Derriere? We call them buns at my house.

HERBIE/ANNABELLE/RAYMOND: (Together they crack up.)

ANNABELLE: Shhhh! We're going to get in trouble. Wait a minute! What's that under the card catalogue? It has...four legs and it's...black and hairy.

HERBIE: Shadow!

RAYMOND: Where?

ANNABELLE: Over by the card catalogue. He's squatting.

RAYMOND: Oh, no! When he sits on his...

HERBIE: Haunches...

RAYMOND: That means he has to...

NARRATOR:  Raymond dashes for his dog and pulled him outside.

SFX PERSON: (Makes running footsteps and barks three times.)

NARRATOR: While Shadow ran to a big bush, Raymond looked back through the glass door of the library at Herbie and Annabelle.

RAYMOND: Just look at them! They're still laughing about that dumb word, haunches. Herbie doesn't even care that I'm gone. They sure don't need me. What's the matter with Herbie anyway? Is he sick or something?

NARRATOR: Ray continued looking through the glass door. When Herbie's green notebook fell to the floor, Herbie and Annabelle crawled underneath the table.

HERBIE: Where did my notebook go?

ANNABELLE: I'll get it.

HERBIE: I'll get it.

HERBIE/ANNABELLE: Ouch! We bumped heads!

NARRATOR: Ray got up slowly.

RAYMOND: Oh, no. Herbie is staring into Annabelle's eyes and not moving. I know what's wrong with Herbie. He's sick all right. Lovesick! He likes a girl. He has the G Disease! I can't desert my buddy now! I'm keeping a close watch on things. Maybe there's time to save Herbie before it's too late.