'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 6 February 2015

KBR Short Story: First Day Nerves


We’re both nervous.

She’s in her new uniform, which I have to stop myself from gnawing at — after all, pleats are some of my favourite things to eat — and I have a new collar.

It’s Sophie’s first day of Prep and my first day at Puppy School.

Over the holidays I’ve been listening carefully to Max as he’s been letting his younger sister in on the secrets of surviving Prep.

‘Always be nice to the teacher, except when she’s turned her back.’

‘If someone is rude to you, just biff them one.’

Needless to say, Max is a terror.

The kind of terror who pulls your tail when no one is looking and runs away as I let out my bloodcurdling cry. Then I get told off.

Sophie’s face always has a crease in it when he tells her these things about school but once I’ve given it a good licking, her little gap-toothed grin returns.

Scritch scratch. Sophie has been practising her letters on the chalkboard as she sings her version of the alphabet song. Whenever she gets to the letter D, she looks at me and says, ‘D is for Doggie. That’s you Puggle Wuggle.’

I love Sophie but sometimes I think she’s not so smart. It’s like me saying, ‘H is for Human. That’s you Sophie.’ I find it rather insulting.

Ever since I found out I was going to Puppy School I have tried to practise my letters too.

It hasn’t been completely successful.

First I attempted to take the chalk in my mouth but it broke up before any letters were written. The purple was quite delicious, a little bit like the fancy couch, but the blue was putrid … it reminded me of the time I licked ice cream up off the floor.


Then, I tried to hold onto it with my paws but I got an awful telling-off for leaving multicolour paw prints on the very old rug that our parents seem to love so much …

Once I realised that writing is going to be a bit of a struggle, I tried the reading thing. Sophie sits for hours (well, doggie hours anyway) looking at books and making out sounds. I sit next to her and try to copy her but I get more than a little put off by her giggling. Surely it’s rude to laugh at someone trying to learn?

But the day is here and we’re both trying to keep the smiles on our faces even if our knees are shaking.

‘Good luck,’ she whispers as she kisses me.

It’s times like these I love her most.

‘You too,’ I answer, licking her on the ear.

Before I know it, I’m standing in front of a bull of a man and he’s shouting at me.


Until he uses my name and the ‘p’ word I’ll continue ignoring him.

I just hope Sophie doesn’t let her teacher speak to her like this.

Tali Lavi is a writer and reviewer who lives in Melbourne with her puppy-mad husband, two daughters and baby son who resembles the best kind of puppy in lots of ways. When she’s not reading lots of wonderful stories, she’s writing stories for children which she hopes they will find wonderful.

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’ — and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.