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Hop: The Chapter Book
Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersISBN: 9780316129008
S even-year-old Fred O’Hare slept soundly in his race car–shaped bed. Suddenly, his eyes popped open. He looked at the clock: 5:45 AM. Fred jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. He made it just in time to see over a dozen yellow chicks fly by, pulling a large, purple and blue egg-shaped sleigh. After the sleigh glided to a landing in Fred’s backyard, rabbits and chicks jumped out and hid colorful Easter eggs everywhere.
And then Fred saw him… the Bunny in Charge. The Grand Pooh-bah of Easter. The Easter Bunny. He was supervising some rabbits carrying an Easter basket filled with delicious candy.
Fred couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He quickly grabbed his camera and darted out of his room, down the hallway, and out the back door. He raised his camera, ready to capture the Easter Bunny on film… but the backyard was empty. A large chocolate Easter bunny wrapped in purple foil sat on the doorstep. Puzzled and disappointed, Fred picked up the bunny and looked at it for a moment. Then he sighed and went back inside.
Thump, thump, thump, thump. Thump, thump, thump, thump.
The sound of drums echoed through Rapa Nui, more commonly known as Easter Island. Ancient, giant statues of heads stood facing the ocean, and on one particular statue sat an adorable little bunny playing the bongos.
The young bunny’s father was calling from the bottom of the statue.
Finally, E.B. heard him over his drumming and looked down. “Hi, Dad,” he said. E.B. hopped up and slid down the nose of the statue. He landed right in his father’s arms.
“E.B., how’d you like to see where your father works?”
The little bunny’s eyes lit up. “Oh boy, would I!” he exclaimed.
Then E.B.’s father pushed a button at the base of an enormous statue of a head. The mouth opened, and E.B. and his father stepped inside an egg-shaped elevator, which closed behind them.
When the elevator doors opened again, the pair found themselves entering an incredible candy factory filled with treats that were all centered on Easter. Huge conveyor belts carried malted eggs, candied almonds, and colorful jelly beans. Vats of pure, glistening milk chocolate tipped forward to fill myriad molds of bunnies, chicks, and eggs. Bunnies painted intricate designs on eggs, while chicks sculpted chocolate bunnies. There were even chicks on roller skates zipping from one station to another, making sure everything was perfect.
“Someday, this will all be yours,” E.B.’s father told him.
“Wow!” exclaimed E.B.
“It’s a lot of responsibility,” began his father. “But don’t worry. I’m going to train you.”
A chick skated up and handed E.B. a notebook. Another one handed him a pen.
E.B.’s father led his son through the factory. “Let’s begin with candy production. Chocolate bunnies, lollipops, caramel eggs, candied fruit—tell me, son, what’s your favorite Easter candy?”
“I like lollipops,” E.B. said with excitement. E.B.’s father gave him a lollipop.
“Do you know what my favorite Easter candy is? All of them!” said E.B.’s father.
They passed the marshmallow chicks machine. E.B. grabbed a marshmallow chick and ate it. Carlos, a live chick with a thick Chilean accent, ran over to E.B.
“Hey! Little bunny! We NEVER dip into our stock.”
When his father turned around, E.B. smiled, his mouth full of marshmallow. E.B.’s father put his arm on E.B.’s shoulder. “E.B., this is my second in command, Carlos. It’s fine, Carlos. E.B. was… taste testing. Isn’t that right, son?”
E.B. smiled and gave a thumbs-up.
E.B.’s father tasted one of the chicks and spat it out.
“Oh dear, no. Carlos, too much marsh, not enough mallow,” he said.
“Sí, señor,” said Carlos. “I was just going to say that.” He pointed to a tiny chick with a Mohawk.
“Phil! What do I always tell you? Too much marsh! Not enough mallow!”
A confused look crossed Phil’s face. “You’ve never said that,” he told Carlos.
E.B.’s father looked at his son. “You can’t make mistakes, E.B. The magic and joy of Easter will rest solely on you.”
E.B.’s shoulders sagged. This wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life. But his father didn’t know that.
“You’ll pick it up sooner or later,” his father continued. He pointed to a golden scepter adorned with a red, shining egg. “Why, ten more years of this, and you’ll be ready to pick up the Egg of Destiny and become the Easter Bunny!”
Excerpted from Hop: The Chapter Book by Excerpted by permission.
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