A young bat has to master the art of landing... Bat Style!
Nosedive No More (working title)
Another day is ending over Buttenhauser's meadow. As the sun set and the full moon rose over the hills, the forest creatures of both the night and day gathered at the old story tree. Full-moon nights are always exciting, because that's when Grandpa Owl reads a new story from his book of Twilight Tales.
Silvery rays of light fell onto the thick branches of the old tree as Grandpa Owl emerged from his nest. Carrying the big book of stories in his giant grey-feathered wings, Grandpa Owl perched on his favorite branch. Everyone grew quiet, wondering what tonight's story could be.
The sound of wildly flapping wings filled the air. "Look out", cried Nelly "Nosedive is coming!" The little squirrel scampered to the ground in a flash of red-brown fur. Nosedive's arrival always caused alarm. Because although the young bat could fly, landing was still a problem.
Nosedive came speeding in and tried to catch a branch. Turning too late, he crashed into Red, who had just found a good spot above Grandpa Owl. The woodpecker let out a loud squawk as he fell into the open storybook and took its place in Grandpa Owl's wings. Before landing on the ground, the heavy book injured one of Hopper's long ears. He yelped in pain as he held it close to cover the wound, "Owwww!" The other animals scattered from tree in surprise.
After returning Red to his perch, Grandpa Owl flew down to get his book and dusted it off. He made sure there were no torn pages before flying back to his branch as everyone returned to the tree; angry and complaining. Nosedive tried to apologize, but no one listened.
"Why don't you
ever watch where you're going," yelled Red.
Hopper turned away and went into his borough without a word. Nosedive sat down at the bottom of the tree and hid his face in the folds of his wings while everyone continued protesting. He wished he could make himself invisible. Grandpa Owl then called over the squawking, chirping, barking and howling for everyone's attention.
"I know everyone is angry," began Grandpa Owl. "But our friend Basil is new to flying and hasn't yet learned the art of landing." Hearing Grandpa Owl call him by his real name, Nosedive lifted his head and looked up into branches of the tree. "Now, there are quite a few of us here who've also had problems while learning to fly," Grandpa owl continued looking up at Red. "Rather than complaining, we should help our friend solve his problem. Practice makes perfect, after all."
Everyone apologized to Nosedive, who in turn, apologized again for the chaos. His friends Nelly and Ollie Owl came up with a great idea - they could help Nosedive practice landing!
Nosedive thought it
was a great idea too and wanted to start right away. Nelly looked up
at Nosedive's older brother, Belfry, hanging from a branch in the
middle of the tree, "You can help too Belfry."
Belfry turned away wrapping his leathery wings around his body, "Well, not me!" Disappointed, Nelly, Ollie and Nosedive searched the branches of the tree for anyone else who could help. Red went into his nest and pretended to sleep so no one would ask him.
else like to lend a wing?", asked Grandpa Owl.
"Aces! Thanks Ellis!"
The Big News
After the story, Belfry and Nosedive flew to meet their parents over the meadow. Returning home for the morning, Nosedive almost crashed into the TV before his father caught him.
buddy, we need to work on your approach!" he joked.
Nosedive beamed at his
parents' approval, but Belfry quickly dampened his brother's
Belfry knew that his brother didn't like that nickname. He started calling Basil Nosedive after his very first crash and though he complained, the name stuck.
"You could always
help you know," papa bat continued. "It would be the
big-brother thing to do."
Nosedive looked over
to Belfry, whose grin angered him even more. "Who needs you anyway!
You couldn't teach a fish to swim!" Nosedive stormed off bed. "I'll
show you," he muttered. Belfry looked over to find his parents
glaring at him.
Let's Get Started!
Late that afternoon when the temperatures cooled, Ellis, Ollie, Nelly and Hopper arrived at Nosedive's home. Ellis made bugle sounds, while the others called for Nosedive to wake up. Emerging from his cave with a yawn, Nosedive greeted his friends. "What's going on?" he asked.
"It's time for
landing practice," said Ellis.
From inside the cave,
they could hear Belfry complaining about the noise.
The friends ignored Belfry and continued talking. Nosedive went back inside to change out of his PJs then returned from the cave with a long sigh. "Ready."
"You don't sound
very ready," said Nelly.
Hopper handed Nosedive
a poorly wrapped gift with a crumpled red bow. "Here, you should
wear this." Surprised, Nosedive took the package and noticed the
band aid on Hopper's injured ear.
Nosedive tore open the
wrapping excitedly, "Whoa!"
He strapped the red and white striped helmet onto his head and pulled the sky-blue goggles over his eyes. Nosedive felt like a superhero.
Hopper!" Nosedive exclaimed.
Hopper said goodbye to his friends and hurried back to the old story tree. Ollie, Ellis, Nelly and Nosedive set off to the meadow to find a place for Nosedive to practice landing. They were sure that by story time, Nosedive could land like a pro.
If at First You Don't Succeed...
At the edge of the meadow, Ollie, Nellie, Ellis and Nosedive found the perfect tree to practice in. It was just the right height and between the branches, there was enough space for Nosedive to avoid crashing.
Taking charge, Ellis began explaining his landing technique, but Ollie quickly interrupted him. "Nosedive flies at night like me, so I should show him how to land," he insisted. Ollie took off and flew a circle above tree before swooping down to land on one of the lower branches. "See, just like that!"
"I can do it
better," said Ellis.
"Bats don't land
ON branches!" said Nelly. "They CATCH them, like I do when
I jump to a new tree!"
Nosedive tried each method, but none of them seemed to work. "This is going to take longer than I thought," said Ellis. Nelly could see that Nosedive was getting tired. "Let's take a brake and try again tomorrow," she suggested. The friends agreed and Nosedive went home to get some rest before story time.
Though practice didn't go as he hoped, Nosedive was determined to surprise everyone at story time with a perfect landing. Having fallen asleep, Nosedive was suddenly woken by the sound of his family preparing to leave for their nightly routines.
"Up and at 'em
sleepy head," he heard his dad call. "You don't want to
miss Grandpa Owl's story do you?
As Nosedive reached the tree, he saw an empty branch on which to make his landing. Feeling confident in his brightly colored helmet and goggles, he dove for his target. "I can do it!" he said to himself. As he approached the branch, Nelly, Ollie and Ellis watched. "Come on N.D., you can do it," they whispered.
But Nosedive bounced off the branch and almost crashed into Grandpa Owl, causing the storybook to fly into the air. Luckily, Nosedive landed in a mound of soft moss at the bottom of the tree. He sat up, somewhat dazed to find Hopper in front of him. "Good that you're wearing the helmet," he said.
In the meantime, Grandpa Owl saved his book from hitting the ground again and had recovered from his scare. After making sure no one was injured, he looked at Nosedive with a sigh then began reading.
After the story,
Grandpa Owl flew down to have a word with Nosedive.
Nosedive did his best
to hide his disappointment but Ellis, Hopper, Nelly and Ollie could
see how sad he was. They gathered around to cheer him up.
His friend's encouragement lifted Nosedive's spirits. As night fell, Ellis, Nelly and Hopper went off to sleep. Nosedive didn't feel much like meeting his parents over the meadow and flew home. Ollie kept him company on the way, making Nosedive laugh with stories of when he learned to fly. When he got home, Nosedive was in a much better mood and was looking forward to practicing again.
The next afternoon, the friends met at their practice tree. They were sure that this time, Nosedive would get it. Right away, Ellis started telling Nosedive what to do.
"Your way didn't
work last time," said Ollie.
Nelly then suggested
that Nosedive try to grab hold of a branch instead of trying to land
on it. "And then you just turn upside down like bats do,"
Taking flight, Nosedive spotted a branch he could grab onto and dove for it. "Got it," he shouted. But the branch bent like a bow as he tightly held on then threw him back into the air. "Lookout," cried Ollie, flying out of the way just in time. Ellis, angry that no one was listening to him, hadn't been paying attention and was right in Nosedives way. The two crashed with a loud thud and fell to the ground. Ellis was furious!
"You never watch
where you're going," yelled Ellis.
Ellis glared at Ollie. He was about to say something mean but Nelly interrupted. "Let's try a branch that doesn't bend so easy," she suggested. But Ellis was too angry to listen. "I quit" he told the others. "You'll never going to learn to land anyway", Ellis told Nosedive before flying away.
Ollie and Nelly were also angry. They felt Nosedive wasn't trying hard enough and left as well. Alone at the practice tree, Nosedive decided to leave Buttenhauser's meadow for good.
The next morning at dawn, Nosedive's family returned to their cave. Since they hadn't seen him all night, his parents worried when they didn't find Nosedive at home. Belfry wasn't worried at all. He was sure that his annoying little brother was still out practice-landing wearing that silly helmet.
It was getting late. The sun was already peaking over the horizon and Nosedive still wasn't home. Now Belfry started worrying too. The family went out to alert everyone in the meadow that Nosedive was missing.
Feeling guilty for
having left him alone, Ellis, Nelly and Ollie promised to look for
their friend until nightfall, when the bats could take over
searching. All the other animals helped look for Nosedive too, even
Red. Nosedive's mother worried that her son wouldn't find a safe
place to sleep.
The bat family
returned to their home to rest up for the search. But Belfry couldn't
sleep. He felt bad about being mean to his brother and for not
helping him learn to land.
Meanwhile, Nosedive had gotten lost in the forest. He had wanted to fly to the lake where, when he was younger, he and his family lived in a hollow tree. There, the ground was much softer and Nosedive thought it would be the perfect place for a bat who couldn't land.
As night fell, he came out from an old nest in an oak tree he crashed into. Scared and hungry, Nosedive realized running away was a terrible idea and decided to go home.
On the way, not sure if he was going in the right direction, Nosedive's colorful helmet caught the attention of a long-eared owl. "Mmm, breakfast," thought the owl. "And with such pretty decoration!"
Nosedive was busy searching for something familiar that could guide him home. He didn't notice the large shadow flying up toward him from the until he looked back to see if he had missed anything. "Barnabas!" He cried for help and started flying fast as he could. But Barnabas was not about to let his snack get away. He flew after Nosedive looking forward to his meal.
The Great Escape!
Nosedive was using every trick he knew to stay out of Barnabas' sharp talons when he noticed something familiar. It was Buttenhauser's Meadow - and his practice tree! He suddenly had an idea and dove toward it.
Surprised, Barnabas tried to follow Nosedive but couldn't catch him. Seeing the tree below, Barnabas was sure that Nosedive would crash and slowed down to wait for the little bat to hit the ground.
On the way down, Nosedive stretched out his hands and grabbed onto the branch that made him crash into Ellis. The branch bent so far that Nosedive's feet almost touched the ground before it sent him shooting back toward the sky.
Aiming his helmet straight at Barnabas, Nosedive wrapped his wings around his body as tightly as he could. "Oh, what luck", said Barnabas as he saw Nosedive heading toward him.
The owl flew down expecting to snare his breakfast but got a beak-full of Nosedive's helmet instead. Barnabas spun backwards and fell to the ground as Nosedive continued upward like a rocket. When he thought he was high enough, Nosedive raced toward home without looking back.
On the way, Nosedive
met his big brother. "Belfry," Nosedive called. "Am I
glad to see you!" Belfry had recognized Nosedive's helmet in the
moonlight and was rushing to his aid when he saw Nosedive's
The brothers hurried home, where Belfry told their parents how Nosedive got away from Barnabas. Happy to have him back, Nosedive's parents hugged him so tight he almost couldn't breathe. "You were really brave son," his father said. "But you're grounded - maybe for life!"
Word quickly spread throughout the meadow that Nosedive was safe at home and about how he stood up to scariest animals in the forest. The thought of losing Nosedive made Belfry realize how much he cares for his brother. He apologized for having been so mean and offered to teach him how to land.
"If you want
Basil, I can help you with your landings," Belfry said. "After
all, to land like a bat, you need a bat to show you how!".
Late that afternoon Ollie, Ellis and Nelly visited Nosedive. They apologized for leaving him and asked if he still wanted to practice with them. "Of course," Nosedive answered. "At the next story time, we'll surprise the whole meadow!" This time, with Belfry's help, Nosedive quickly learned the right way to land. When next full-moon night had finally arrived, Nosedive was eager to show everyone what he learned.
they're going to start without us," Nosedive called.
The brothers reached the old story tree right at moon rise, where Nosedive performed a perfect bat-landing to everyone's applause. Grandpa Owl then opened his big book of twilight tales, gave Nosedive a wink and began a new story about a young bat who learns how to land. Nosedive's eyes widened in surprise and he beamed with pride.
"Basil, why are
you still wearing that helmet?" Belfry whispered. "You know
how to land now."