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The Lollipop Hop

Dear Parents,

     I have found that asking my children to develop a more selfless attitude is about as easy as a root canal. Kids (and adults!) have much to learn about giving that only time and experience can teach. So, instead of lecturing or scolding, I've devised a way to say, "Please share," with a little more sweetness. I hope you enjoy this story as much as my children do . . .

The Lollipop Hop

By Julie Strohkorb

My Friend Debbie      Polly lived in the world famous town of Whirlitzer, home of Whirlitzer's Hard Candies Factory. She loved two things: grape-flavored lollipops and jumping rope. She could stick one end of her rope into the park fence, swing it with her left hand, lick a lollipop with her right, and jump one hundred times without tripping once, or until the lollipop disappeared.

     Often, friends passed by and asked her to play kickball or tag. But Polly usually answered, "No thanks. I like to jump rope."

     Susan wanted a partner for tetherball. "Come join us," she invited. But Polly responded, "Ummm. . .not right now. I just want to jump rope a little more."

     Anna thought Polly might like to pretend ballet class. "You be the ballerina," said Anna, "and I'll be your teacher." But again, Polly said, "Maybe tomorrow. I think I'd rather jump rope today and finish my lollipop."

     Once Polly brought three different flavors of bubble pops to school, because she couldn't decide which one to eat after lunch. She promised her mother to share the rest with Anna and Susan. At least, she planned to share and then ask if they wanted to jump rope at recess. But, after lunch, Polly chomped the grape lollipop and quickly hid the cherry and orange ones in her backpack. "Anna and Susan will probably just want to play tag," she thought. "I'll share another day, maybe the day we go on the candy factory tour."

     Whirlitzer's allowed school children to tour the factory every spring. Polly couldn't wait. When the day arrived, she did bring extra bubble pops for Anna and Susan, and they sat together on the bus. Inside the factory, they saw wondrous sights and smelled wondrous smells - peppermint sticks dancing in the windowpanes and spicy vanilla and lemony scents wafting in the air. They saw how Whirlitzer workers made candy canes with red cinnamon stripes and cherry drops with a machine that wrapped each candy inside a plastic wrapper. But the most fascinating part of the tour was learning the secret of making Whirlitzer's largest lollipop in the world.

     First, they twirled sticky, sugary goop into a long rope with colored twists. Then, they coiled the delicious rope into a flat round tray and let it harden on a stick. While one of the factory workers explained the process, Polly imagined jumping rope with a Whirlitzer lollipop rope made of swirling sugary goop.

     A vast bliss of lollipop colors lay before them, all swirling from a machine into flat round trays. While the class watched, the factory worker gave a small lollipop sample to each child. Orange, cherry, lime, banana - so many flavors! Susan was given a grape, but Polly was given a cherry instead.

     "Want to trade?" Polly asked eagerly. Susan didn't look interested, but Polly couldn't control herself. She always had grape, and she would have it now! She thrust her cherry lollipop into Susan's other hand and grabbed the grape.

     "Hey!" shouted Susan, who tried to grab back.

     "I thought you wanted to trade," encouraged Polly, holding the grape lollipop out of her reach.

     "I don't want to," implored Susan.

My Friend Debbie      As Polly backed farther away, keeping the precious grape lollipop out of Susan's reach, she tripped over a step, tumbling feet first into one of Whirlitzer's largest lollipops in the world. The gooey syrup closed over her ankles, the sticky sugar hardened, and suddenly, Polly was stuck. The class laughed as she hopped helplessly back into line, grinning sheepishly. The teacher had to carry her onto the bus and write a note home.

     At first, Polly thought having a lollipop stuck to her feet was the greatest thing in the whole world. It didn't stop her from jumping rope, either. The other kids felt a little jealous, and begged her for a taste. But Polly just smiled and hopped out of their reach. She just couldn't share her prize pop with anyone.

     The very next day, she hopped to her usual spot at the park fence to jump rope. She wished for a friend to pull her there in a wagon, but she managed to hop the whole way on her lollipop feet.

     Just then, Anna walked by. "Perhaps she wants to jump rope with me," Polly thought. But Anna was on her way to play kickball. Polly couldn't kick a ball with both feet stuck in a lollipop.

     A few minutes later, Susan and Ryan ran past. "Want to jump rope?" Polly yelled. "Not now," said Susan, "We're going to play kickball with Anna." Polly couldn't catch up to them with both feet stuck like they were.

My Friend Debbie      Polly dropped her rope and slumped down on the sidewalk. Jumping rope didn't seem as fun anymore. She felt a little lonely. She felt stuck. And worst of all, no matter how hard she tried, her tongue just couldn't quite reach the world's largest lollipop at the end of her feet. A dog kept trying to lick it and chased her hopping mad around the park. Then, in an instant, Polly had an idea. She hopped as fast as she could to the kickball field and waved eagerly from the sideline. Anna and Susan ran to her with surprise.

     "I was wondering if. . .Umm, if you wanted to share my lollipop?" said Polly.

     "Do you mean it?" Susan asked in disbelief.

     Polly plopped her feet up on the park bench and Anna and Susan started licking the world's largest lollipop off Polly's feet. Yum! Ummm! More friends came, too. Before long, the lollipop began to disappear. Polly felt so grateful, plus, all that licking tickled her toes! She giggled. It felt good to share a laugh with friends.

     With her feet finally free, Polly left her jump rope coiled up on the bench and joined a kickball game for the very first time.

     "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet." John 13:14

     "It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35b

Original Artwork by J. E. Strohkorb 2009

Copyright © 2008-2015 Julie Strohkorb

Reader Comments...
2010-09-29 21:12:04
"I would love to include this story in a newsletter to my parents this month. Is that legal? I enjoyed this story, but could not help but think of (ouch) how hot that syrup was on little Polly's feet when she stepped in it and (what about the dirt and stuff that was on that lollipop after Polly had hopped all the way down to the kickball field!)oh my the germs involved in sharing the lollipop lick down to Polly's feet! However, I am counting on the certainty that others don't think the way I do and would understand the story for what it's moral is.(it's more fun to share than to keep it all to yourself).May I have permission to reprint this story to be distributed as part of a preschool dance newsletter? (approximately 500 students) "
        - Bridget
2009-06-18 21:11:09
"That was one of the best stories I have ever read. I hope you keep on writing great stories.

I am your niece."

        - faith, age 9

2009-05-25 18:03:30
"Excellent writing and a wonderful, unique story!!!!"
        - Aleta

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