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The Critter Club has baby bunnies to care for—but is Ellie too busy aiming for showstopper status to help out her friends?

The Critter Club is up and running, and so are the girls—especially Ellie! She’s wanted to perform her entire life, so when she lands the lead role in Santa Vista Elementary School’s Spring Spectacular, it’s her big chance to show her stuff! But as Ellie’s big performance draws near, will she let the play and her determination to succeed get in the way of being a good friend? What about caring for the baby rabbits that were just brought to The Critter Club? Some very helpful advice from an unexpected source reminds Ellie that being a good friend is just as important as doing what you love.

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Critter Club chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

All About Ellie

Starring . . . Ellie!
“Okay,” said Ellie, kneeling on her bed. “Here’s what I planned for us to do tonight!”

Her best friends, Liz, Amy, and Marion, had just arrived. Ellie was so excited. It was Friday and her turn to host their weekly sleepover.

“First I can teach you this really cool dance I learned in tap class,” Ellie began. “And after that we can put on the play we made up at Liz’s house! And—”

“Ellie, hold on,” Liz said with a giggle. “We just got here!”

“Yeah,” agreed Marion. She unrolled her sleeping bag. “All that sounds fun, but maybe we could relax and talk first?”

Ellie’s face fell a little. She’d been looking forward to this sleepover for . . . well, forever. After all, she only got a turn to host every four weeks, and being the host was special. It meant planning everything and being at the center of it all!

“Oh!” said Amy. “We have some Critter Club stuff to talk about. Remember?”

Ellie got excited again. “The bunnies!” she cried.

“Right,” said Amy. “Our first animals at The Critter Club!”

Ellie and her friends had been working hard to get The Critter Club up and running. A few weeks ago it was an empty barn belonging to Ms. Sullivan, their new friend. Now, with the help of Amy’s mom, veterinarian Dr. Purvis, it was an animal shelter. It had all been Ms. Sullivan’s idea!

Before The Critter Club the girls thought Ms. Sullivan was kind of mean, but they’d been totally wrong. When Ms. Sullivan’s puppy Rufus had gone missing, the girls helped her find him. That’s when The Critter Club was born!

“You still don’t know who left the bunnies?” Marion asked Amy.

Amy shook her head no. “There was no note,” Amy replied. “Just three baby bunnies in a cardboard box.”

“Poor things!” said Ellie. “How could someone just leave them?”

Amy shrugged. “Mom thinks someone’s pet rabbit had babies, and they couldn’t take care of them all.”

“Well, speaking of taking care of them,” said Marion, pulling out a notebook, “we should make a schedule.” Marion was super organized. She was always writing things down and making lists.

Ellie hopped off her bed. She sat on the floor next to Marion. In her notebook Marion made a chart.

“So we’ll take turns,” said Marion. “Each day after school two of us will go feed the bunnies and give them water. Amy’s mom and Ms. Sullivan will handle the morning shifts.”

All the girls agreed. Liz picked up a pen. She drew three little bunnies below the chart.

“We have to find good homes for them,” Ellie said. “They’re counting on us, and we can’t let them down!” Then she jumped up. “Okay, now, on to other things . . .”

Ellie ducked behind her hot-pink window curtains. She peeked out at her friends. “Who’s trying out for the spring play?” she asked.

Their school, Santa Vista Elementary, put on a play every year. This year’s musical was called Miss Ladybug Saves Spring.

“We should all try out!” Ellie cried excitedly.

“Not me,” said Liz. “I’m finishing my painting for that big art contest, remember?” Liz was an amazing artist. “Plus, you guys know I can’t sing!” she added with a laugh.

Marion pulled her long brown hair into a ponytail. “I’m way too busy too,” she said. “Homework plus piano lessons three times a week!”

Ellie sighed. “How about you, Amy?” she asked. But Ellie knew what Amy was about to say.

“Me? Get on stage? In front of people? And dance? No way,” Amy said, shaking her head.

Liz smiled a little smile. “How about you, Ellie? Are you going to try out?”

“YES!!!” Ellie squealed. She jumped out from behind the curtain. “I can’t wait! Have you seen the stage? It’s sooooo big! Do you think they’ll have the spotlight on for auditions? Oh! What should I wear? What song should I sing? You guys have to help me decide!”

Callie Barkley loves animals. As a young girl, she dreamed of getting a cat or dog of her own until she discovered she was allergic to most of them. It was around this time that she realized the world was full of all kinds of critters that could use some love. She now lives with her husband and two kids in Connecticut. They share their home with exactly ten fish and a very active ant farm.

Marsha Riti illustrated the picture book The Picky Little Witch by Elizabeth Brokamp and The Critter Club series by Callie Barkley. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she likes to take long walks, stopping frequently to pet neighborhood kitties.

More books from this author: Callie Barkley

More books from this illustrator: Marsha Riti

More books in this series: The Critter Club