Lisa knows just how to keep Michael from missing her while she's at school.

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Messages for MichaelMichael stared at his cereal. He was so busy looking at his dish that he almost didn’t hear Mom say, “What’s wrong with you, Michael? You haven’t touched your breakfast.”

Michael sighed. “Lisa is starting third grade today. Now I won’t have anyone to play with.”

Just then Lisa came into the kitchen.

“Lisa, do you have to go to school today?” Michael asked his sister.

“Yes, I do,” answered Lisa. “Besides, I want to go. I like school.”

“But I’m going to be lonely without you,” Michael said sadly. “What will I do all day?”

Messages for Michael“You’ll have lots to do,” said Lisa. “Anyway, I’ll be home before you know it. Then we can play.” Lisa started out the door. “By the way, I left some messages on the play table for you,” she said.

“Messages? What messages? Lisa, I can’t read yet. How will I know what they say?” Michael called after her.

But Lisa was getting on the bus. She just waved to Michael.

Michael watched as the bus went around the corner. Then he hurried to the play table. There were Lisa’s messages—four pieces of paper in a row, all folded in half.

Michael picked up the first one. He opened it and laughed. “Lisa drew a picture!” he said. “It looks like our goldfish. I wonder what it means.”

Messages for MichaelMichael went to the fishbowl. The goldfish were swimming around and around. “They look all right,” he thought. Then he saw the box of fish food next to the bowl. “Oh, I know. It’s my turn to feed the fish,” he said.

Michael shook the little box over the water, and both fish swam right to the top. Michael watched them eat for a little while. Then he went back to the play table.

The second message was a picture of a bird in a birdbath. Michael tried to guess what this message meant. He went out to look at the birdbath.

A blue jay was sitting on the rim, but it flew to a tree when Michael came too close.

Messages for MichaelMichael looked in the birdbath. It was empty. He smiled. “Silly bird,” he said to the blue jay. “You can’t take a bath without water.”

Then Michael smiled again. On the ground next to the birdbath was a small yellow pail. “Lisa knew the birdbath was empty. She wants me to use this pail to fill it,” Michael said. So that’s what he did.

Michael ran to the play table again. The next message was a picture of a flower in a pot next to a watering can. He thought and thought. Then he remembered that Lisa had a plant in a pot on her windowsill. He went to look at it.“You need to be watered,” Michael said. He picked up the watering can and carefully poured some water into the pot. “You’ll be OK now,” he told the plant.

Messages for MichaelHe skipped into the kitchen. “Hi, honey,” said Mom. “Are you hungry?”

Michael’s stomach grumbled. “My stomach and I are BOTH hungry,” he said, laughing. So Michael and mom had lunch. Then Michael went to open Lisa’s last message. It was a picture of a cake with candles on it.

“It’s a birthday cake,” thought Michael. “Lisa didn’t want me to forget that tomorrow is Mom’s birthday!”

Messages for MichaelMichael went to his room and closed the door. He got out his crayons and a piece of paper to make a birthday card. He spent a long time making his card just right.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” said Michael.

It was Lisa.

“Lisa!” Michael cried. “You’re home already. I’ve been so busy today I only missed you a little bit!”