Watching the door.
Webbie loves to read a good story! Here he is reading More Ant and Bee.
Everybody loves stories. There are a lot of stories about the Guys. Just for starters, on this page is the story about how Bunzini and Webster met.
Then one day there was Webster. Bunzini and Noisy B and Bub moved up to San Francisco to a big sunny apartment on the second floor. Bub was usually in his room working. The lady Bubb went out to her office every day. The Guys spent their days inventing adventures for themselves, going on picnics at the beach or going to the movies. Then a day came, and there was Webster. Bunz doesn't remember the exact day it happened, just that one day, just before Halloween, there was a soft, furry black spider with eight flannel legs and a round orange nose and a pack on his back. He was sitting very still up on the newel post at the top of the stair that led down to the street. He was watching the front door very intently. Bunz wondered what was so fascinating about the front door, so he sat down on the top step and looked down at the front door, too.
After about at least five minutes nothing had happened. Bunz tipped his head back and looked up at Webster, who was still sitting very quiet, watching the door. Bunz liked the front door because he liked to go out through it and have adventures and he liked to come home and open the door and smell the smell of home and snacks. But sitting and watching the door was a little boring. In fact, it was VERY BORING!
What was this Guy doing, he wondered. Bunz looked back at the door. Nothing. He looked back up at the black, furry Guy on the post. Had he noticed Bunz? Bunz didn't think so. Bunz began thinking how nice a trip to the beach would be, only it was raining at that moment and he wasn't in the mood to get his fur wet. He looked back up at the Guy. He wondered how that Guy had gotten up so high. Bunz was a very good jumper, but he didn't think he could jump quite that high. Bunz was the best jumper in the place but the top of the Newell post was pretty high up there. He gazed at the new Guy up on the post and got more and more curious.
"Hey!," Bunz said, jumping up and down a little to get the furry Guy's attention. Bunz had been so quiet on is flannel feet that the Guy hadn't heard him.
Webster was so intent on watching the front door that he was startled to hear a voice that hadn't come through that door. He looked around to see where the voice had come from, but he didn't see anybody.
"Hey!" he heard again, and this time he looked down to see a little fuzzy rabbit with long, long ears, jumping up and down.
"Hi!" said Webster.
You could tell they liked each other right away because they smiled big smiles at the same time. Webster cast a quick glance at the door again, just to check for any action. It had been quiet all day, but you never knew when the door might open and she might be home.
"Hey," said Bunz. "Why are you watching the door all the time like that? We could play, or get a snack, or something. Hey, you want to do something?"
Bunzini was jumping harder now, but he still couldn't get up as high as Webster was, up on top of the newel post.
"Hey! How did you get up there anyway? Did you jump that high?" Bunz asked.
"I climbed up," said Webster. "Spiders are very good climbers. We don't like to be mashed or stepped on, so we like to be up somewhere high. That's why I climbed up here."
Bunz stopped jumping and went over to the newel post and tried to climb up, but he kept slipping back down the smooth wooden sides. All the way up the newel post there was nothing to get a hold of.
"I can tell you're not a spider," said Webster.
"No, I'm not," said Bunz. "I'm a rabbit."
"Oh," said Webster. "I guess rabbits are not very good climbers."
"I guess not," said Bunz, sliding back down to the floor again. Thump! "Bet I could be if I practice. We are very good jumpers though," and he jumped around some more, showing off some of his fancy jumps.
"Wow!" said Webster. "That's good jumping. Maybe you could teach me how to jump like that." And Webster tried a little hop on top of the newel post and almost flipped off. But with eight legs it's hard to fall, and he caught himself and held tight until he got is balance back.
"Maybe you should climb down and practice on the floor," said Bunz. Mostly he suggested that Webster climb down because he wanted to see if the spider could really climb down the smooth surface of the post like he said, and partly his neck was tired of looking up so much. And just a little bit he thought just maybe Webster was embroidering the truth. Just a little bit. Maybe.
Bunz didn't want to malign a Guy he didn't know, especially when he liked the Guy so much already, but why not be sure. And, much to Bunz's delight and amazement, Webster walked straight down the side of the post, just like a walk in the park in spring. You could tell he didn't even have to think about it--that climbing was just natural to him. Bunz was very impressed as he watched Webster stroll down the smooth wood, and he began to think of all kinds of stuff he could do with a pal like this. This got him excited, and he began jumping up and down again. Webster walked over to where Bunz was and smiled as he watched the rabbit jump around.
"Hi again," said Webster, his head nodding up and down as he watched the jumps. "My name is Webster. That is very fancy jumping. I really like the one where you flip over and your ears go flying out."
He noticed that the rabbit jumped on two legs, while he had eight legs to think about, which meant that there was going to be a little more coordinating that he had to work on. Of course, he didn't have those long ears to deal with.
"Hi, Web-ster!" said Bunz, and he jumped a little higher when he said it. What a nice name, he thought to himself. It as fun to talk and jump and say "Web..." on the way up, and "...ster" on the way down. He kept jumping as he said, "My...name...is...Bun-zi! That's...short...for...Bun...zi...ni!"
Talking to Webster made him so happy that he jumped down to the end of the hall and back to Webster, who had taken his pack off and was beginning to practice some little jumps. But Webster was also laughing at the same time as trying to jump, because it was so much fun to be with this Guy named Bunz with long ears who was jumping all over the place and having such a good time himself. Bunz saw Webster trying to jump and laugh at the same time, and he looked so funny that Bunz laughed harder and they collapsed together on the floor in a pile of laughing.
Suddenly Webster got up. He just remembered that he needed to be watching the door. Just to keep practicing his jumps, he jumped over to the edge of the top step and peered down to the door. Bunzisat up and watched him.
"Webster, why do you keep watching the door so much? It's kinda boring, isn't it?"
"I'm waiting for her to get home," said Webster.
"Waiting for Bubb? But she doesn't get home til after dark," said Bunz, "and it's still pretty light outside."
"I've noticed that," said Webster, "but just in case she gets back early, I want to be ready."
"Ready for what?"
"Ready to make her smile," said Webster. "She always smiles when she sees me, even then she looks really tired."
"Well," said Bunz. "She always smiles when she sees me, too. It's nice, but what's the big deal?"
"Well," said Webster. "Have you heard of Maine?"
" 'Maine?' What's Maine?"
"I'm not really sure," said Webster. "But I think it's really far away, and I don't know anybody there, and I want to stay here, especially now since I've met you. My plan is to get her to think I should stay here, too, and I thought that if I can always make her smile, she might change her mind and let me stay."
Bunz thought for a minute. "You know," he said, looking down at the tips of his ears, "that's a good plan. Smiling is very important. I would love to help too, because I really hope you can stay here. I think we could have lots of fun and adventures together, and it would be just that much better for you to stay."
Noisy B was sitting in the library, enjoying the warm radiator and looking at all the books filling the tall shelves. He heard Bunz and Webster come jumping down the hall, and he turned to watch them as they came through the door.
"Hey, Noisy B!" said Bunz. "This is Webster, and guess what he can do!"
"Jump," said Noisy B, watching Webster go up and down.
"Well, I taught him that. He's just learning. But guess what else!"
"I don't know--tell me."
"He can CLIMB!" said Bunz, saying the word CLIMB like it was written in CAPITAL LETTERS. "And I mean Really Climb! Hey Webster! This is Noisy B! Show him how you can really climb!"
And only being a shy spider part of the time but not right now, Webster zipped up to the top of the nearest bookcase in nothing flat. He looked around at all the books and then looked down at the two rabbits on the floor, tilting their heads w-a-a-a-y back so they could see him up near the ceiling. Webster hadn't been in the library before, and he surveyed all the books around him with pleasure. Sitting on the newel post all day hadn't left him with any time to look around the apartment, or he might have had a book to keep him company. Webster loved reading, and here there were all kinds of books: thin, thick, large, medium and small, tall and short and even some books so big they could only fit on the shelves lying flat, and some little books that looked just like the right size for a furry spider on top of a small newel post to read. There were so many books that all the shelves were stacked two books deep, and there were still book piles on the floor because all the shelves were full!
Wow, thought Webster. Spider heaven! This is a lot of books. Just my kind of place. I can't leave, not til I read all of them. Now I like it here even more than I already did. And he climbed part way down and over to a shelf that had a section of little books all together, just his size. The two rabbits watched him climb over to the shelf of little books. With all his legs, it was easy to pull out a little yellow book and take a look at it. It was called "The Silver Dandelion" by Robert Kraus. Webster liked the picture of the main character right away because it happened to be a rabbit. He climbed down to the floor with the book.
"Bunz, do you think it will be OK if I read this book?"
"Sure, I guess so. But what's reading?"
Noisy B's ears perked up at this question. While he was enjoying the day in the warm library looking at all the books, he had been wondering about them. Some books had pictures in them, but some didn't. In fact, most of them didn't. He had seen Bub and Bubb come in and look in the books, take one or another off the shelf, open it and look at the insides for a long time. He wanted to know what was so interesting. He looked over Webster's shoulder at the little yellow book. There on the first page was a picture of some animals in a field, and one of them was a little rabbit who looked a lot like Bunz and him, except that this rabbit's fur was white and his ears were shorter and stuck up into the air.
"What's reading??" said Webster. "Wow, well, see all these little black words here?" and he pointed out the words on the first page. "These words make sentences, just like talking, only it's printed onto this page, and you can read this story that someone wrote about Roger the Rabbit here, and about all these other characters in this picture."
"Where is the word for 'rabbit'," asked Bunz, peering down at the little page to where Webster was pointing.
"Shall I read the story to you Guys? Then you can see what I mean."
"Sure," said both rabbits, still a little unsure. Webster turned back to the first page and read the title again, "The Silver Dandelion," and then began: "It was a perfect day for dandelion picking...." And he read about Roger's search for his own dandelion on a beautiful spring day when Everyone was out looking for them and dandelions were scarce. The Guys liked the story about Roger so much that Webster read it again.
"See," said Webster when he was finished the second time. "Characters in books are like friends, and you can read the story over and over whenever you want to."
"Wow," said Noisy B. "There are stories in all these books?" And he looked around with excitement at all the unread stories.
"Some books have stories, some teach you things or tell you about history or science or art, and some books have maps in them so you can look up the place where a story is set. There are all different kinds of books and lots of reasons to read them. With a map book you can look at it and decide where to go to have your own adventures, or to see where a mountain or a river is located in the world."
While the Guys had been reading and talking they had forgotten to pay attention to the time. They were having so much fun that nobody noticed the sky getting darker, nor did they hear the front door when it opened and closed behind somebody. The old stairs creaked as someone walked up them, but the Guys did not hear it. She was home from work and looking forward to a nice hello and a smile from Webster up on his perch on the newel post. She had really started looking forward to seeing Webster waiting there for her every day after work. After a long day pushing pencils around, it made her smile and feel very happy be be home and see him there.
But tonight he wasn't there, and she felt a moment of panic. As she stood there staring at the empty newel post, she heard voices coming from the library. She walked down the hall and peeked around the door frame. There she saw Webster and Bunzini and Noisy B in a little group on the floor. Webster was pointing to the words on the page of a book and explaining to the rabbits that the words were symbols for talking, and that it was like being able to see talking and to keep a record of it. This make it easier to remember a lot of things, to keep a record of them, and to look them up later. You could send information to somebody without talking to them. This was very useful before there were telephones.
She stood and watched the three Guys for awhile, and began to think that sending Webster to Maine might not be such a good idea after all. Not only would she miss him terribly, but she saw that already Webster and the rabbits were good pals. As she watched them she decided that Webster must stay, that he was important to everybody in their home on Page Street. Thinking about how great it was going to be to have Webster stay with them brought another smile to her face. She leaned a little further around the corner of the door frame and Webster caught the movement from the corner of his eye. He turned and the rabbits turned, too.
Seeing her in the door, they froze. Oh no! They had lost track of the time and had not reminded Webster! Their stomachs all squinched up hurting. What to do?
She walked toward them smiling, and sat down on the floor next to them.
"Guys! You all look like you're having such a good time. I'm so glad you all met. I should have introduced you sooner, but you know, I was thinking that Webster wasn't going to stay here with us very long."
Hearing that, all the Guys shrank down a little bit and looked at each other. She meant that Maine place.
"But you know, when Webster wasn't there to greet me tonight, I was so sad. I realized that he should stay with us here forever. I would just miss him so much, and I want to know what you all think."
She looked at them to see what they thought, and what she saw made her laugh out loud. The three cutest Guys in the world were all jumping up and down as high as they could and cheering, because now they would all be together!