When was the last time you sat around and read a play aloud with your family or another group? You’ve never done that? Well, then, here’s one you’re welcome to use.
by Norma Nill, 1988, updated 2012
Dynamo Dachshund (boy)
Fiddlefaddle Frog (boy)
Taffy Giraffy (girl)
Dynamo Dachshund: Fiddlefaddle! Just look at you. Am I impressed!
Lucky Ducky: Me, too. What’s up?
Fiddlefaddle Frog: You like it?
Lucky Ducky: Sure.
Dynamo Dachshund: But don’t you think a bow-tie is a bit too formal for school?
Fiddlefaddle Frog: Not at all. You see, I’m dressed up for the occasion. We’re taking a class in Culture, so I want to look—you know—cultured.
Jazzy Jaybird: Hate to disappoint you, but it’s not that kind of culture.
Hunkydory Cow: We’re studying customs and habits of various groups.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: Oh….you mean we’re not going to listen to Mozart or see an opera? I got all dressed up for nothing? Bummer!
Dynamo Dachshund: Don’t feel bad, Fiddlefaddle. We can go to a concert later if you want.
Jazzy Jaybird: Now you’re talking! I heard Louey Armadillo and Fats Walrus are in town.
Dynamo Dachshund: Actually, what I had in mind was a little Johann Sebastian Bark.
Professor Worm: Good morning, Class. Professor Mole and I are excited about the new unit we’re starting today. In the first lesson, we’ll learn that every people group is unique, just as each type of animal group is unique.
Professor Mole: Have you ever noticed that customs that are different from your own seem strange? For example, let’s consider the Sna-kirema. Have you ever seen any, Lucky?
Lucky Ducky: Dozens of times.
Taffy Giraffy: Everyone’s seen them.
Professor Mole: Okay. What’s interesting about them? Hunkydory?
Hunkydory Cow: They love boxes. It’s amazing—almost everything they make is shaped like a box.
Professor Worm: Can you give us an example of how they use boxes in daily life, Taffy?
Taffy Giraffy: They live in box-shaped houses that have box-shaped rooms in them.
Professor Worm: Great. Jazzy, can you think of another example?
Jazzy Jaybird: They keep food in boxes—a huge box with a door for cold stuff and cardboard boxes for stuff like tea and cereal and cookies and chips. Snacks – the Snack-irema. I get it!
Professor Worm: Their name doesn’t come from snacks, but you made some good observations! What else do they use boxes for?
Jazzy Jaybird: Cooking food. They have a big metal box with coils on top and another box inside the box for baking. A fast-cooker box sits on the counter. They also have a little box with slots for toasting their box-shaped bread.
Professor Worm: Fascinating, Jazzy. Notice anything else, Lucky?
Lucky Ducky: They put their money in box-shaped machines at the grocery store, they get money out of boxes, and they send mail using boxes.
Professor Mole: Yes, Jazzy?
Jazzy Jaybird: The Sna-kirema also keep boxes in their living rooms for watching movies and listening to music and playing video games. Some of the people keep their boxes turned on all the time. I’ve seen them through the window.
Taffy Giraffy: They call it entertainment.
Professor Mole: So they do, Taffy, so they do.
Hunkydory Cow: What about the little boxes they carry with them? They’re always holding the things up to their ear and talking, or staring at them or tapping them with their thumbs. They use these boxes to communicate—sometimes with the person sitting next to them. I don’t get it.
Lucky Ducky: In my pond, a box would never work unless it was waterproof and could float.
Taffy Giraffy: I have no pockets for a box, but my friend Kanga does.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: I couldn’t be tied down to a box—no way! I have to be free to hop around without anything holding me down.
Dynamo Dachshund: Me, too. I have to be free to run and sniff and bury bones and catch frisbees.
Jazzy Jaybird: I know some canaries that live in boxes, which they say are nice, but I need to spread my wings and fly over the rooftops.
Professor Worm: I know what you mean, um, or at least I can imagine. We worms have no need for boxes, unless they’re planter boxes filled with earth. Yum!
Professor Mole: We moles would never carry around a box or live in one. But a nice tunnel with curved sides—that’s something else.
Hunkydory Cow: We cows like nothing better than wide open fields of earth and green, green grass. Of course, when it’s snowing, I must admit that a boxy barn can be quite cozy.
Professor Mole: Let’s finish the lesson, class. The most fascinating box of the Sna-kirema is the one they keep in their bathrooms for special pills, powders, and potions. This box is stuffed because the people have a superstition that as soon as they throw anything away, they’ll need it. They keep these chemicals so long they forget what their purpose is.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: Their purpose?
Professor Mole: Yes. They use some of them when they’re sick. Others that are mint-flavored are for teeth-cleaning and gargling rituals. They believe their social relationships depend on making their breath smell minty.
Hunkydory Cow: You mean they’ll lose their friends if they don’t smell minty?
Professor Mole: Hard to believe, isn’t it? The rest of their bathroom products are used to change how their hair and face looks.
Jazzy Jaybird: Why would they want to look different?
Professor Mole: Because they don’t want to smell or look like humans do naturally.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: I wouldn’t want to either.
Hunkydory Cow: Look who’s talking.
Professor Worm: Enough, guys! Sad to say, the people of Sna-kirema believe that human beings are ugly.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: They got that right.
Dynamo Dachshund: That’s not true! Besides, it’s not nice to say someone is ugly.
Professor Worm: You’re right, Dynamo. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.
Dynamo Dachshund: But how do the Sna-kirema change how they look?
Professor Mole: Who can tell us?
Taffy Giraffy: You’re not going to believe this. Every morning, the men perform a ritual of scraping the hair off their jaws. Those who don’t are considered non-conformists. As for the women, many of them follow a ritual of scraping the hair off their legs.
Hunkydory Cow: Who cares about smooth legs? I love mine the way they are.
Taffy Giraffy: My legs are so long it would take all day.
Professor Mole: The thing to remember is that God created us all and that what may seem strange about the Sna-kirema culture is based on logical ideas just as your own culture is.
Lucky Ducky: My way makes a lot more sense—at least I don’t have to scrape off my feathers!
Jazzy Jaybird: Looking at another culture is interesting, but I’m thankful we’re free to do things our own way—think outside the box.
Professor Worm: That’s all for today, class. Tomorrow, we’re going to look at the Gorf culture and learn why a member of the Gorf group would wear a bow-tie to school.
Fiddlefaddle Frog: Who, me?