“Baby Doll, look! A picture of us!” Dolly waved a paper at her friend.
“And we’re using our bestest tea set!” Baby Doll took the paper. “Who drew it?”
Looking around the room, the two dolls saw nothing suspicious: Root Beer Bear and Meow the Cat were playing an acting game; the puppies were rolling on the floor by their mother; the art supplies were neatly on the shelf. Even the new toys that Angie had received for her birthday a week ago were sitting just where she left them.
“What do you girls have there?” Mother Dog stuck her nose between the two dolls. “Very nice picture. Who drew it?”
“We don’t know. Do any of your puppies like drawing?”
“No, but Tester tries to eat the crayons. Yelps was growling at something over there this morning. Probably at one of the new toys.”
“Sounds like a mystery.” Root Beer Bear joined the group dressed in cowboy hat and sheriff’s badge. “Let me see the picture. Hmmm. Baby Doll and Dolly having a tea party. Nothing unusual - happens all the time.” Root Beer Bear handed the picture back to the dolls.
“Meow,” agreed his deputy.
“But who drew it?” Baby Doll demanded. “No one in the toy room draws like this -- not even Angie!”
“We need clues. Anything on the picture?” Root Beer Bear examined the drawing. “Nothing. Any other pictures? Search the room.”
“Here’s one!” Mother Dog let one of the puppies carry the new drawing.
“Meow,” added the cat, holding up a picture.
“Found another. Bring them to the table.” Root Beer Bear gathered the pictures. “The dolls having tea, the puppies wrestling with Mother Dog watching, me drinking a bottle of root beer, and Meow the Cat dressed in a space suit. Everyday life in the toy room.”
“What is Meow the Cat saying?” Dolly petted the puppy beside her.
“He’s saying ‘meow’, but he’s thinking ‘I always get the supporting role.’ Whoever drew these pictures seems to know us quite well.” Mother Dog gave Meow a loving pat on the head.
“And the room. The artist is in this room, or was when he drew them.” Root Beer Bear looked around. “They all seem to be drawn as if looking from the corner of the room by the window.”
“MEOW!” Pointing to a mark in the lower corner of each drawing, Meow the Cat almost ripped the last one.
“What do you think that is?” Baby Doll looked at the different colored marks.
“A signature, I guess, but it isn’t a doll’s hand or foot print, or a paw print either.”
“Looks like a hoof print to me.”
“Mother Dog, what is a hoof print?” Dolly looked at her hands and feet, then at her friends’ paws. The marks were definitely different.
“Some animals have hoofs instead of paws. Animals like horses, cows, goats, sheep and giraffes. Did Angie get any of these for her birthday? Yelps, what are you barking at now? Come away from the window.”
“Mother Dog, he’s not barking at the window. He’s barking at the art shelf. Look there’s a new animal! What kind is it? Could he be the artist?” Baby Doll skipped to where Yelps stood and smiled at the strange animal. “Hi there! What’s your name?”
“Hi. I’m Kid,” a soft voice responded.
“Come down so I can hear you.” Baby Doll extended a hand to help her new friend. “Now, tell me your name again, and what kind of animal are you? You have hoofs, did you draw the pictures?”
“My name is Kid. I’m a baby goat. I wanna to be friends, but… but…I don’t know how. I pictured myself playing with all you.”
“The pictures are great. Come meet my friends.”
“I watched them all week. When Root Beer and Meow started playing sheriff, I wanted to give them something to solve.”
“You can play with us anytime you want, Kid.” Root Beer Bear handed him a “Deputy” sticker, just like Meow the Cat wore. “As long as you play a supporting role, of course.”
“And you can join us for tea anytime, “Dolly added.
“The puppies would love a new playmate. And please continue to draw. Just keep Tester away from the crayons.” Mother Dog smiled.
“Yes! Gotta be better than that shelf! Glad I decided to show my face, or at least my art.”
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