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Percy and the Persnickety Plate

Written by Suzanne Purvis

Illustrated by Jack Foster



Percy slid halfway onto his dinnertime chair.  

His foot tapped, his fingers drummed and his whole body jiggled. “Mom, I don’t want dinner,” he said.

His mom placed a pitcher of milk on the table. “Did you wash your hands?”

Percy bounced in his seat, up and down, up and down. “Yes, but I don’t want dinner. Jake’s outside. We’re building a fort.”

His mom stirred a pot. “Chicken’s almost done.”

Percy clanked his silverware. Clang. Bang. “I don’t want dinner.” 

“I want a cookie,” said a mysterious voice.

Percy eyes widened. “Who said that?”

He looked around. His baby sister sat in her high chair, gumming a carrot. His mom spooned green beans into a bowl, humming. His dad wasn’t home.  And Murphy, his dog, lay snoring.

“I want a cookie.” 

Percy spun right. And then left. No one. He leaned under the table. No one. He doubled over and looked under his chair. No one. 

“I want a cookie.”

Percy jerked upright, bumping his head.

“Or a brownie.”

Percy frowned and then stared down at his plate. It was round and orange and had a bold smiley face...that winked! 

Percy blinked.  His dinner plate had winked! Not believing his eyes, he rubbed his lids and peeked through his fingers.

The mouth on the plate moved. “I want a cookie.” 

Percy’s eyebrows rose.

“Or a brownie,” the plate said.

Percy froze. His mom stood nearby, holding out a bowl of beans.

“Nothing green will touch me,” the plate said.

“Did you say something, Percy?” his mom asked.

Percy flipped the plate, smiley face down, and covered it with both his hands.  “Could I have a different plate, please?”

BEEP! Went the oven timer.    

“Chicken’s done,” his mom said, handing Percy the beans.  

The bowl steamed and melted butter oozed over the vegetables. The yummy smell of roast chicken filled the kitchen.  

Percy’s stomach grumbled and his mouth watered. He flipped over the plate.

“No chicken. No beans,” the smiley face jeered. “Cookies. Or cake?”

Percy glared. “We don’t have cake. And cookies are for dessert.” 

The plate scowled. “You said you didn’t want dinner. And I want a cookie.  Cookie, cookie…” the plate chanted.

The dog’s ears perked.

“Brownie, brownie,” the plate said, louder.

His baby sister stopped gumming.

“Cake, cake, cake,” the plate demanded.

Percy’s mom stopped humming.

Percy grabbed the pesky plate and dove under the table. “Shush,” he said.

Percy pointed a finger at the plate’s dot nose. “Listen to me. Green beans are good. They have lots of vitamins. And Mom’s chicken is tasty. It has something that makes muscles strong. There’s rice too, for energy. That’s a proper dinner.”   

The plate wrinkled its nose and opened its mouth, "Cook..." but Percy clasped his hand over it.

“When I’ve finished my dinner, I’ll ask for a cookie, but you must be quiet.  Deal?” Percy slowly lifted one finger.

The plate rolled its tiny, painted eyes. “Fine. But don’t let the beans touch the rice.”











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