TOYS1    6' Detective and the missing toys

The little girl next door walked right into Michaela's house and
right into her bedroom.

"Michaela, you have to help me!" Emily cried.

"What's wrong now?" asked Michaela.

"Somebody stole my toys!" Emily cried.

"Don't tell me." replied Michaela, "The toys you left outside in
your yard last night are missing this morning."

"How did you know? Did you take them?!" asked Emily.

"No," replied Michaela, "It's happened before."

"Can you please get my toys back for me?!" asked Emily.

"Of course!" replied Michaela, the world's greatest detective,
"Let's take a look at the scene of the crime."

Michaela picked up her magnifying glass and took Emily back to
Emily's house.

"Front yard or back yard?" asked Michaela.

"Both." replied Emily.

Michaela looked around for clues in the front and back yard, but
she didn't see anything unusual.

"Let's review:" said Michaela, "First, all of the victims lost
toys from front yards and back yards. That means that the thief
probably knew the neighborhood well enough to know how to get
into everybody's back yard without making noise. Second, none of
the victims who lost toys have barking dogs. That tells me that
the thief lives around here and knows the neighborhood well
enough to know which houses to avoid. That means the thief is
one of our neighbors. So, which of our neighbors doesn't own a
dog but didn't lose any toys?"

Emily replied, "My neighbor Tommy doesn't own a dog but he
didn't have any toys stolen."

"Who else?" asked Michaela.

"He's the only one I can think of." replied Emily.

"Me too." said Michaela, "And since Tommy is always making
trouble, he's our prime suspect. Let's investigate his house

Michaela and Emily went over to Tommy's house. Tommy was washing
his Radio Flyer wagon.

"What you doing, Tommy?" asked Michaela.

"Washing my wagon." replied Tommy.

Michaela pointed to the reddish mud on the wheels of the wagon.

"Where did you get that mud on your wheels, Tommy?" asked

"I don't know." replied Tommy, "Somewhere around here."

Michaela noticed a trail of reddish mud from the wagon wheels
down Tommy's driveway. So, she decided to follow it. But on her
way down the driveway, as she was passing by Tommy's bedroom
window, she noticed scuff marks on the window sill and the side
of the house below the window. Michaela also noticed that the
screen was missing from Tommy's window. She stepped up to the
window and looked all around it for clues.

She saw what looked like a piece of a spider web on the side of
the window. She looked at the web through her magnifying glass.

"Aha!" Michaela exclaimed.

"What is it?" asked Emily.

"There's dust on this piece of spider web." replied Michaela.

"What does that mean?" asked Emily.

"That means that this is an old spider web." replied Michaela.

She also saw some yellow powder on the window sill. She looked
at it through her magnifying glass.

"Aha!" Michaela exclaimed.

"What is it?" asked Emily.

"I think this yellow powder here is pollen." replied Michaela.

"What's pollen?" asked Emily.

"It's a powder from the middle of flower blossoms." replied

Michaela and Emily continued following the trail of reddish mud
from the wagon wheels out the driveway to the sidewalk, down to
the corner, around the corner, down the street around the corner
again and across the street. The mud came from the bare ground
around a new house that was being built there. There were wagon
wheel tracks across the ground through the yard to the old
abandoned house beyond.

"That's the haunted house!" exclaimed Emily, "There's ghosts in

Michaela, the world's greatest detective didn't believe in

"Who told you there were ghosts in this house?" asked Michaela.

"Tommy told me." Emily replied.

Michaela said, "Tommy probably told you that so you wouldn't go
in there."

"Why would he do that?" asked Emily.

"I think that's where Tommy keeps the toys he stole from you and
the other kids in the neighborhood." replied Michaela.

"How do you know?" asked Emily.

"Look there." Michaela replied as she pointed to the yellow
flowers next to the old abandoned house. Michaela held one hand
beside one of the flower blossoms and hit the blossom with her
other hand. Yellow powder came out all over her hand.

"This is yellow pollen." Michaela explained and pointed, "Tommy
rubbed against these flowers when he climbed into that basement
window. Then the pollen rubbed off on Tommy's window sill at
home when Tommy climbed into his window."

"You thinks so?" asked Emily.

"I'm sure of it. Let's go in there and get your toys back."

"No, thanks!" said Emily as she turned and ran home.

That night, after all the children in the neighborhood were in
bed, Tommy climbed out of his window and went around his
neighborhood with his wagon stealing toys from the yards of
homes without dogs. He pulled the wagon around the block and
through the yard with the new house to the old abandoned house.
He climbed into the basement window with stolen toys in hand.

Suddenly, three flashlights went on in the basement pointing at
Tommy. One flashlight was Michaela's. The other two flashlights
were Tommy's mom and dad's.

"Tommy! You naughty boy!" said Tommy's mother, "Michaela told us
that you stole all those toys, but we didn't believe her!"

"How could you?!" shouted Tommy's father.

"How did you know?" asked Tommy.

Michaela explained, "You left clues behind. The scuff marks
under your bedroom window were from your shoes as you climbed in
and out after you should have been in bed. The dusty spider web
on your bedroom window was from this old dirty basement. The
yellow pollen on your windowsill was from the yellow flowers

"You are busted, young man!" said Tommy's dad.

"You are grounded!" said his mother as she dragged Tommy up the
stairs by his ear.

Tommy's parents returned the stolen toys to their proper owners.

And, thanks to Michaela, the world's greatest detective, they
all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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