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Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit
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Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit

by Joan Carris, Noah Z. Jones (Illustrator)

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Grampa's menagerie of pets are rubbed the wrong way when a needy little critter arrives in this lighthearted chapter book.

Grampa Bender wouldn't be able to run the Bed and Biscuit animal boardinghouse without the help of Ernest the pig, Gabby the mynah bird, and Milly the cat. In fact, the three animals have always thought of themselves as Grampa's family


Grampa's menagerie of pets are rubbed the wrong way when a needy little critter arrives in this lighthearted chapter book.

Grampa Bender wouldn't be able to run the Bed and Biscuit animal boardinghouse without the help of Ernest the pig, Gabby the mynah bird, and Milly the cat. In fact, the three animals have always thought of themselves as Grampa's family — and they assumed he felt the same way. But when Grampa comes home with a mysterious bundle and stops paying attention to his loyal companions, they start to question his affections. Engaging illustrations by Noah Z. Jones, capturing every endearing trait of this oddball family, complement Joan Carris's humorous, heartwarming book for middle-grade readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathy Leggett
Ernest, a runt pig, Gabby, a Vietnamese mynah bird, and a baby kitten named Millie are all the family Grandpa Bender has. Each is vying for his attention in this delightful story. Their antics and conversation are argumentative and hilarious at the same time. They each consider themselves to be the most loved pet in the house. When Grandpa returns home one night with a peculiar-looking bundle, the Bed & Biscuit boardinghouse is in a state of confusion. Grandpa appears distracted and it looks as if he has forgotten about his little menagerie. Jealous little Millie vanishes. Accepting that new bundle is not easy for any of the pets but the Bed & Biscuit boardinghouse always has room for one more. Cute pencil and watercolor illustrations depict the characters emotions and bring life to the story line. A fun read for any age. This story will make you laugh out loud, a perfect choice of a book to put in the hands of reluctant readers. Young readers need to read more books like this one to help nurture that love of reading for enjoyment.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Mini-pig Ernest, mynah bird Gabby, and Milly the cat help Grampa Bender in his day-to-day chores at the Bed and Biscuit, a friendly animal shelter. Lately, however, Grampa has been spending all of his time with a sick Scottie pup, and the other animals, particularly Milly, are feeling more than a twinge of jealousy. When she vanishes, it's up to Ernest and Gabby to find their friend and convince her that even though there's a new member of the family, Grampa doesn't love her any less. This low-key metaphor is sure to hit a chord with children adjusting to a new baby. At the same time, others will love the story and the relationships among these wildly different personalities. This is a small, remarkably sweet beginning chapter book with more than its fair share of amusing illustrations and gentle humor. Animal lovers are bound to lap it up.-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Grampa aka Dr. Adam Bender owns and runs the Bed and Biscuit, an animal boarding house. Ernest his pig, Milly his cat and Gabby his mynah assist . . . well, Ernest assists by carrying heavy buckets at milking and feeding time. Gabby mostly causes problems imitating Grampa on the telephone. A fire at the neighbor's house adds an orphaned Scottie puppy to the family. Milly, the former "baby," doesn't like being replaced. When she and the puppy's blanket vanish, everyone jumps to the wrong conclusion. It's up to Ernest to solve the mystery and bring Milly home. Jones's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations bring the animals of Carris's easy chapter book to life. This is worth a place in most collections, especially where Dick King-Smith's works circulate well. A short afterword points out the realism in the animal characters. Kids will welcome sequels. (Fiction. 6-10)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.14(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.36(d)
610L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt


Hours went by as the animals slept, and night came.

"You're snoring! Snoring!" Gabby poked Ernest with her beak.

"Sorry," Ernest said, half asleep. She went back to sleep, but he was now wide awake, worrying.

"Ernest! You're squishing me!" Milly cried.

How could such a small cat take over the whole bed? Ernest apologized again, and the night wore on. Above the old black stove, the clock ticked away.

Grampa's rooster, Rory - the loudest rooster in the county - began crowing as dawn approached. Ernest clung to the hope that someday Rory would be made into chicken soup. He had chased Ernest repeatedly when he was a piglet, new to the Bed and Biscuit.

Now Ernest stuck his head under a blanket and lay still. Finally Grampa's white pickup truck roared by the kitchen window. Ernest, Milly, and Gabby lined up at the low window to watch.

Grampa hurried into the barn and came out with a dark wooden box - about the size of a breadbox. He entered the kitchen with a tired,
" 'Morning, troops," and went on by, heading for the stairs to his bedroom.
They listened as he slowly mounted the steps.

"Well, wouldn't that frost your beak!" Gabby said from her perch on the back of a chair.

"Oh, hush," Ernest said.

Gabby stuck her beak in the air. "Ah, Lord Ernest Piglet is at it again." She turned her back and talked to the wall. "I'll never know why Grampa had to add a bossy pig to this family."

"You won't figure it out, either, birdbrain!"

Gabby whirled around. "Blabby little fat-belly!"

"Sorry excuse for a parrot!"

"Porky smart-mouth!"

Ernest was running out of insults. What was Grampa doing anyway?

"Loudmouth lard-bucket!"

Milly gave a pitiful mew.

Eager to change the subject, Ernest said, "You win. So what do we think Grampa got out of the barn? I never saw that box before."

"He had something in his arms, too, when he got out of the truck," Milly said. "It's a bundle. I saw it."

"Really?" said Ernest. "Did he have it when he came through here?"

Milly's ears flattened and she shook out her fur. "I don't know, but I'm going up there to see for myself. It's my bedroom, too!"

"Well, wouldn't that frost your beak!" Gabby said.

Time passed. Ernest fidgeted.

Gabby flew from the rocking chair to the end of the kitchen counter and began to clean her shimmering purple-green tailfeathers.

"Do you think the bundle came from McBroom's farm?" Ernest asked her.

"Who knows? Grampa was gone all night. He could have been all over the county."

"Well, how about that box? Do you know what it's for?"

"Honestly! Can't you see I'm busy?"

"But this is important!"

Gabby stopped preening. "How do you know?"

"I just do."

At that point Milly marched into the kitchen. She sat on Ernest's bed where the white tip of her striped tail tapped up and down. Tap . . . tap . . . tap.

Ernest said, "Well? What is Grampa doing? Tell us about the box."

"It's hot," she said. "I felt it with my whiskers when I tried to look inside."

"Is it a toaster?" Ernest asked. "Is Grampa cooking in his room?"

"No, but it plugs into the wall like a toaster."

Suddenly Gabby cried, "The bundle! Tell us about the bundle!"

Milly's green eyes narrowed. "The bundle is in the box. I tried to get a look at it, and Grampa pushed me away." Her tail tapped faster.

"You poor thing," Gabby said with unusual sympathy.

"Now, Milly, Grampa's just tired," said Ernest. "He thinks you're the best cat in the world."

Milly drooped. "Right now, all he cares about is what's in that box."

Ernest went on. "Maybe whatever is in the box could hurt you, Milly."

"Right. Most likely a pit bull," Gabby said.

Unamused, Ernest and Milly stared at her.

"Just trying to lighten things up!" Gabby said, waggling her beak.

"Seriously," Milly went on, "how could it hurt me? It's tiny!"

"You're sure the bundle is inside the box? And it isn't food?"

"I'm sure. He's talking to it." Milly glared at Gabby and Ernest. "Have you ever seen Grampa talk to his lunch?"

"No, but he talks to the newspaper and the TV . . . and of course, he always talks to us." Ernest stopped short.

"There," said Milly.

Ernest bent down and nuzzled her satiny head. "You think what's in the box is alive, don't you?"

"Yes. And it stinks."

"Stinks?" Ernest and Gabby said together.

"Like the barbecue grill. Outside, where we have picnics."

"Hmm." Ernest was thoughtful. "So it smells like smoke."

"Yes," Milly said. "It smells burned, too. But Grampa must think it's wonderful. He hardly even noticed I was in the room. So I left."

Ernest saw how upset she was. She had slept with Grampa ever since he had found her hiding, tiny and terrified, in his barn. She was so sickly that he had fed her with an eyedropper and carried her around in his jacket pocket. He called her his Milly-Baby, and from the beginning, his bed had been her bed.

"I'm not going back up there," Milly announced. "I'll just sleep with you, Ernest - like I did last night - if that's all right?"

"Oh . . . fine . . . sure," Ernest lied gallantly.

"I'm on the curtain rod, Milly, in case you need me," said Gabby.

But who, or what, was upstairs with Grampa? Ernest wondered.

WELCOME TO THE BED AND BISCUIT by Joan Carris. Text copyright © 2006 by Joan Carris. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Meet the Author

Joan Carris has published more than a dozen books for children as well as four textbooks. She also teaches graduate-level writing at Duke University. She lives in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Noah Z. Jones is the illustrator of NOT NORMAN by Kelly Bennett and THE MONSTER IN THE BACKPACK by Lisa Moser. He lives in Camden, Maine.

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