Illustration: Maya E Shakur for FREDERICK & SOPHIE
Location: The Toy Room
Choukette was bored. And when Choukette was bored, he did what all little blue monsters do: he looked for a very big idea.
It should not take him long, Choukette thought to himself. He lived in the most magnificent toy room! There were shelves with dolls, plush pups, dinosaur puzzles, and magic tea sets. There was the grand piano right next to Neo, the rocking mammoth, and the race car ride-ons. It seemed to be the perfect place to find a big idea or two.
From the edge of the bottom shelf, Jack, a plush Peek-A-Boo-Monkey peeked at Choukette. “What are you doing?”
“I’m in search of a very big idea,” Choukette answered. “Have you seen one?”
“No, I haven’t seen a big idea anywhere.“ Jack answered. “Maybe it’s playing hide and seek!”
Jack climbed down from his shelf and jumped onto the floor. “If you want to find it, you must know how to hide and where to seek. You’re in luck. I happen to be a master of hide and seek!”
Choukette felt himself to be an extraordinary monster. His fur was fluffy, his feet were flappy, and his tail was strong, but he wasn’t a master of hide and seek. And if he ever was to find his big idea, he could use some help.
That’s when a giant foot hit the floor with a thud and two huge hairy pink hands pulled Choukette right off the ground. It was Lila Boubou, Choukette’s best friend. “I couldn’t find you anywhere, best blue buddy in the whole wide world!” Lila Boubou shouted happily. Choukette didn’t say anything back, because Lila had wrapped his long arms all around Choukette’s head, and all Choukette could say was a muffled, “Mmmppphhhh.”
Jack popped up out of nowhere because that is what peek-a-boo monkeys do. Lila shrieked, “Boo-Alert!” and dropped Choukette. “Thanks, Lila,” Choukette grumbled.
“Ah, Lila you’re here,” Jack exclaimed excitedly. “Are you here to help Choukette find a big idea too?”
“I wasn’t then, but now I am!” Lila Boubou answered happily.:
“Choukette can’t find a big idea, so it must be playing hide and seek. I read all the rules to the game in my Super-Secret-Secrets-of-Hide-and-Seek book. The seeker must close his eyes and count to twelvtyfour while all the others hide.” Monkey whispered.
“How does that help us find a big idea?” Choukette wondered out loud.
“Well, as a master of hide and seek, I know how to make sure nobody will ever find you,” Jack replied. “And I think that we should look in exactly these hiding places to find it!”
Choukette and Lila listened while Jack told them his super-secret hiding tips.
1. Use you hands to cover your eyes. When you can’t see anything, you’re invisible!
2. Stand behind a sign that tells the seeker that you are NOT THERE.
3. Hide behind someone else.
4. Stand behind a pole.
5. Disguise yourself.
6. When you’re hiding somewhere and the seeker asks if you’re there, you must shout, “No!”
Dolls Jade and Cerise, and Monsieur Régliss, a plush pull-along-donkey, joined the gang of seekers. “When Jack counts to twelvtyfour, we will hide.” Jade said. “The big idea must be hiding in one of these spots too. That’s how one of us will find it.”
It was an excellent plan. Jack counted. Lila Boubou grabbed Choukette (again) to hide behind, and he closed his eyes for extra hiding powers.
Jade jumped onto the grand piano and disguised herself with a popcorn box hat. She was unrecognizable.
Cerise built a tower of blocks that read NOT HERE. She of course peeked from behind it to make sure that the seeker didn’t see her. It was the best hiding place ever. Monsieur Régliss used one of the legs of the grand piano to hide behind. He couldn’t believe it. He was practically invisible.
As soon as Jack had finished counting, he shouted, “Are you guys there?”
And all toy friends replied, “No!” Because that’s what masters of hide and seek do.
They had the best time! While hiding for the fifth time, Lila asked Choukette, “Did you find the big idea?”
“No,” Choukette answered, “but I am absolutely not bored anymore!”