Authors: Dandi Daley Mackall
Other titles in the That’s Nat Series
Natalie and the One-of-a-Kind Wonderful Day!
Natalie Really Very Much Wants to Be a Star
Natalie: School’s First Day of Me
Natalie and the Downside-Up Birthday
Natalie and the Bestest Friend Race
Natalie Wants a Puppy
Copyright © 2009 by Dandi Daley Mackall
Illustrations © 2009 by Lys Blakeslee
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ePub Edition MARCH 2010 ISBN: 978-0-310-87669-4
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Mackall, Dandi Daley.
Natalie wants a puppy / by Dandi Daley Mackall ; [Lys Blakeslee, illustrator]. p. cm.– (That’s Nat!)
Summary: When six-year-old Natalie learns her parents are adopting a baby from another country, she is not sure she will like being an older sister and she would much rather get a puppy.
ISBN 978-0-310-71571-9 (softcover)
[1. Adoption—Fiction. 2. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 3. Family life—Fiction. 4. Christian life–Fiction.] I. Blakeslee, Lys, 1985-ill. II. Title.
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Editor: Betsy Flikkema
Art direction & design: Merit Kathan
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For Grace Eberhart
My name is Detective Nat. That’s what.
Only you might know me as Natalie 24.
Or Nat 24.
Or maybe Natalie Elizabeth, if you heard my mom calling me when she was aggravated.
But today I am mostly Detective Nat. On account of there’s a mystery going on around here.
“Come on, Percy,” I whisper to my white, fluffy cat, who is also my mom and dad’s cat. “You can be my helper detective.”
Percy prances to my bed and jumps up. Then he curls himself into a white, fluffy ball on my pillow.
I tiptoe out of my bedroom and look both ways down and up the hall. I can hear my mom talking on the phone in the kitchen. I can’t hear her words, but she is laughing at the phone.
This is an okay thing. ‘Cause I am looking for clues. Clues are like hints that help detectives find out what that mystery is all about. I already have some of those clues.
Mom got a phone call yesterday and screamed her head off…in a happy way.
She called Daddy, and I heard him scream his head off, all the way through the phone.
When I asked why people were screaming their heads off, Mom said, “We have some good news.
Daddy and I will tell you later. Be patient.”
When I asked Daddy why people were screaming their heads off, Daddy said, “We have some good news. Mommy and I will tell you later. Be patient.”
Daddy came home with packages and hid them.
One of those packages is in our closet that lives in our hall. And that’s the clue I’m going for right now.
If you are also a detective, you maybe thought those packages are Christmas presents. Only you are wrong about that. I have one more week of kindergarten, and then it’s summer. And Christmas isn’t in summer.
Or, you maybe thought those packages were secret birthday presents for me. But the two and four in my “Natalie 24” name come from my birthday being on Month Number Two and Day Number Four. February four. And that’s still a very, very, very, very long ways away. I promise.
And now you get why there’s a mystery.
I open the door to our hall closet. Only I can’t reach the light switch. But I am a lucky detective anyways. ‘Cause that big, flat box Daddy hid in this closet is open. And I’m guessing Mommy peeked at it before me.
I reach inside the box and feel strings in there.
Plus, there are bars holding those strings. I pull as hard as I can. It comes out a little bit. This big stringy bar thing looks like a big, funny cage. We have one of those in kindergarten for Ham the Hamster.
This stringy bar cage is a big, fat clue. Only I don’t know why.
From the kitchen comes a very loud laugh from my mom. “No! We haven’t told her! We thought we had months yet. I can’t even imagine what she’ll say.”
the “her” nobody’s told yet, and I’m the “she” in “I can’t even imagine what she’ll say.” So I close the hall closet and sneak on tiptoes up to the kitchen door.
Now I can hear everything my mom says.
Mom uses her softer voice. Only I am close enough to hear those soft words. “I don’t even know if Nat understands what it means to adopt,” she says.
kind of know this word. My bestest friend who is a boy, Jason, got a cat from a place called
Only they wouldn’t give him another one when that one ran away from home.
“I think she’ll be as excited as we are!” Mommy says louder to the phone.
Clue: I will be excited about this mystery.
“Are you kidding?” Mom laughs her head off. “Can you just imagine the kinds of names Nat would come up with?”
Clue: The mystery is something that needs a name.
I am a good namer. I didn’t name Percy. But I named all of my stuffed animals myself. Like Brownie. And Blackie. And Whitey. And Bunny, which is my stuffed bunny. Plus also, Steg-O my dinosaur.
“Right!” Mom laughs another head off. “Or Fido or Spot, or—” Only she doesn’t finish that one ‘cause she’s still laughing too much.
And I don’t even need her to finish or talk anymore. On account of my head is adding up all of these clues. Like that I will be excited. And that Mom and Dad didn’t tell me this surprise yet. And that there is a string cage in our closet. And I know that word
And that I am going to name something. Plus, especially this last clue:
I would name this something Fido or Spot.
And guess what! Those are my dog names!
So even if you’re not a detective like me, you ought to have this mystery solved by now.
I’m getting a puppy!
“Mom! Mommy!” my mouth yells, and my feet run to the kitchen instead of staying hiding.
“Natalie, please. I’m on the phone,” Mom says. “I thought you were taking a nap.”
I let her think that so I could be a detective better. “I
to talk to you now!” I shout. This feels like a true thing. I
to tell her I know this secret. I have a gazillion questions about my new puppy.
“Well, you’re going to have to wait, Natalie,” Mom says. “I’m on the phone with your grandmother.”
“Granny won’t care!” I know that my granny would want me to know all about my puppy.
“Nat, I’m talking to your California grandmother. This is long distance. Please wait until I’m finished.”
Regular Granny is my dad’s mom. She lives in our same town. My mom is talking to Different Granny, who is my mom’s mom. And that can get mixed up in your head.
“Sorry, Mom,” my mom says to the phone. “Go ahead. What were you saying?”
I start to tell Mommy why I have to tell her something. But she shakes her head at me. It is really much hard not talking about my puppy. My heart is thumpy. Inside, I am talking about my puppy over and over:
I’m getting a puppy! I’m getting a puppy!
“She’s right here,” my mom says to the phone. “Want to talk to her?”
I reach for the phone.
Before she hands it over, Mom whispers to the phone, “Okay, Mom. But don’t tell you-know-who about you-know-what. Bill wants to be in on it.”
I know that
is me. And
is my puppy. That’s what!
I take the phone and shout at it, “Hi, Gran!” California is very much farther away from here than kindergarten is, or even Florida.
“It’s okay, Nat,” Different Granny says. “I can
hear you loud and clear, honey.”
I want to spill out this whole secret that I know. Only my mom is staring at me. And my dad, who goes by the name of Bill, wants to be in on it.
“How’s the weather there?” Different Granny asks.
“Okay,” I say. I can’t say more because that mystery secret might come out with more talking.
“I see.” Different Granny isn’t saying more either. “Well, you have a good final week in kindergarten, Natalie.”
“Okay. Bye!” I shout. I hang up the phone ‘cause I
to ask my mom about my puppy.
“Natalie, don’t hang up!” Mom cries. She grabs the phone. Only it’s too late. “I wasn’t finished talking to your grandmother.” She’s already punching in those California numbers.
“But I want to talk to
!” I say.
“We will, Nat. I just need to ask Mom something.” She frowns at the phone. “Busy?” She punches the numbers again.
“Mommy?” I try.
“Natalie, please go play in your room until your dad gets home.” She gives a mean look at the phone again. “Still busy?” She sets the phone on the counter and goes to the fridge.
I watch from the hall, like a detective. Mom
opens the fridge and stares in. Only she doesn’t get anything. Then she laughs, even though our fridge isn’t so funny. She holds her head and does a little spin. My mom is dancing in our kitchen.
“Yes!” she whisper-shouts. She looks up at our roof. “Thank you, God!”
I really want to ask my mom about my puppy. Only she is acting pretty funny.
Mom whizzes out of the kitchen so fast that she bumps into me. “Oops! Natalie, what are you doing here?”
“I’m—,” I begin, thinking I could tell her I’m Detective Nat and know about my puppy.
But she talks too fast. “Listen, Nat. Daddy and I want to have a talk with you tonight.”
“You do?” My heart is thumpy again. “Can we do it now?”
“Not until Daddy gets home.”
I don’t think I can wait that long. “But—”
“Nat, please,” Mommy begs. “I have a million things to do. Go play until your dad gets home, okay?”
This is not okay. I can’t play. I
to talk about my puppy. “Can I call Laurie?” Laurie is my bestest friend who is a girl.
“Sure. Go ahead. Great idea. Call Laurie. But let me know as soon as you hear Daddy, okay?” She rushes off to her bedroom.
I sit on the kitchen stool and call Laurie.
The phone rings two times before someone answers, “Sarah’s Tattoo and Bar-B-Q.”
I know this is Laurie’s house. And this is Brianna, one of Laurie’s sisters, the not-too-nice one. Sarah is the nice sister. She wears lipstick, but not tattoos. “Is Laurie home?” I ask.
“Oh, it’s you,” Brianna says. She always sounds like she wants it to be anybody but me. “Laurie!” she screams. The phone clunks.
Then Laurie comes on. “Hi!”
“Laurie, I solved a mystery!”
“Cool!” Laurie says.
“Plus, it’s a secret. Only not. ‘Cause I know this secret.”
“What, Nat?” Laurie sounds all smiley-faced.
“I’m getting a puppy! That’s what!” Those words spurt out of my mouth and into the phone.
“A puppy!” Laurie squeals. “Wow, Nat! That’s so cool!”
“I know!” I love that my bestest friend can be excited with me.
“How come now, Nat?” Laurie asks. “It’s not even your birthday.”
“Or Christmas,” I add.
know!” Laurie says. “I’ll bet they’re giving you a getting-out-of-kindergarten present!”
I hadn’t even thought about that. “I bet you’re right. We got our teacher, Miss Hines, a present for making it through kindergarten. She just gets a book. I can’t believe I get a puppy.”
“What kind of puppy, Nat?” Laurie asks.
“I don’t know.”
“Didn’t you ask?”
“No,” I answer. “But I will. When Daddy comes home, they’re going to talk to me. And I’ll find out everything.”
“You are so lucky!” Laurie says.
“And you too. ‘Cause you can play with it,” I tell her.
I hear our front door open. “Laurie, Daddy’s home! I have to go and be talked to!”