Cassie Tyler’s first grade class visits the Animal Inn in this third zany novel in a brand-new chapter book series where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel.
The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort/hotel/center/spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it.
The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors.
Cassie Tyler’s first grade class is so excited to take a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest classmate, a goldfish named Blub!
When Cassie and I came downstairs that morning, Leopold was already on his perch. Dash sat nearby. Whiskers was curled up on the sofa, while Shadow hid behind it. (She likes to sneak outside whenever she gets the chance.)
Cassie was chattering to me as usual. “My school job this week is snack helper,” she said. She unzipped her backpack and pulled out her lunch box. “Sit please, Princess Coco.”
I sat. Cassie opened her lunch box and took out a little snack-pack filled with cubes of cheese. She gave one to me.
“Now, if you have a question,” Cassie said to me, “you need to raise your paw.” She held up another piece of cheese. “Show me your paw, please.”
I raised my paw.
“Very good, Princess Coco. But I won’t be able to call you ‘Princess,’ ” she said sadly. “In first grade, make-believe is only for recess and choice time. So in class, I will just call you Coco.”
Cassie backed up a few steps and patted her thighs. “Come, Coco,” she called.
I trotted over and nudged her hand with my nose. She gave me another piece of cheese.
“Now for the fun part,” Cassie said. She went to the supply closet and found her old backpack from preschool—the one that looks like a ladybug. I’d worn Cassie’s ladybug backpack before, like the time we ran away to the barn.
Dash looked at Leopold. Leopold looked at Dash. Whiskers looked a little nervous. But I was curious. What was Cassie up to now?
“Sit please, Princess Coco. I mean, just Coco.”
“Show me your paw, Coco.”
I raised a paw. Cassie held it in her hand. She gently guided my paw through the shoulder strap of the backpack. Then she guided my other paw through the other strap. The backpack was a little wobbly, so Cassie tightened it up.
“Cassie!” Mom called from upstairs. “Did you remember to brush your teeth?”
“Oops,” Cassie said. “I’ll be right back,” she whispered to me. “You stay here.” She tossed me another cube of cheese. She put the snack-pack back into her lunch box and set it next to the sofa. Then she ran up the stairs.
I plopped down on the floor. Whew! That was a lot of activity for so early in the morning.
Shadow came out from her hiding spot behind the sofa. “What’s with the ladybug?” she asked me. “Are you and Cassie running away again?”
“Don’t be silly,” I said. “It’s a school day.”
“Then why are you wearing a backpack?” asked Whiskers.
Stephanie Laberis is a freelance illustrator and character designer for animation. Originally from New England, she now lives in Northern California with her wonderful partner, a couple of felines, and a handful of rodents. Her love for art is rivaled only by her love for animals, and she spends her spare time as a volunteer wildlife rehabber. She loves painting, needle felting, and losing herself in a good video game.