On Market Street in Neopia lived a red Lupe named Jake.
He loved to eat chocolate Chias, chase Cybunnies and lounge around his Neohome.
He and his owner, Ginger, had just moved into
their new house. It was fairly small, but since it was only the two of them
they could manage easily.
Jake sat out on the front lawn of his Neohome
when a blue Lenny came out of a house next to Jake's. She smiled and waved at
him while crossing the lawn,
"Just moved in?"
"I'm Phoebe," the Lenny said and Jake introduced
himself. "Why don't you come inside my house? I'll show you my room."
"Okay." Jake followed Phoebe inside her Neohome.
Phoebe's room was beautiful -- the regal oak wood furniture was nice and the
cream colored rugs looked elegant, but what really caught Jake's eye were all
of Phoebe's books.
She had hundreds of books stacked on her desk,
or put neatly on her bookshelf. Jake had never seen so many books in his life.
Phoebe smiled shyly when she noticed where he
was looking, "I love to read, as you can tell." She picked up a book from the
top of a stack. It was called Lovely Lennys. "This book is my absolute
favorite. What's your favorite book?"
"Oh," said Jake, taken aback, "I don't read
Phoebe looked as if she had just seen Dr. Sloth,
"You don't know how to read?"
"No, I can read," said Jake, shifting uncomfortably,
"I just don't like to read."
"But reading is wonderful!" Phoebe protested.
"It allows you to put yourself in an imaginary situation where you can be a
hero, villain, or a Grundo on Kreludor or on the peak of Terror Mountain. Sometimes
I read mystery books, like Shoyru Mysteries or when I want to dream I'm
on Kreludor, I read Galactic Adventures or when I'm just in the mood
for a good laugh I pick up my Quiggle Joke Book and read that."
"I don't really like to imagine," Jake told
"Maybe I could give you a few reading lessons."
"Lessons?" Jake echoed.
Phoebe picked up a book off of the shelf and
handed it to Jake. She said, "This book is called Back in Peaceful Times
and it is about life on Kreludor before the wars started. You know about the
war between Xarthab and Zorlix, right?"
Jake nodded. True, he knew about it, but not
"Go ahead and have a seat."
Jake frowned, but he obeyed. He took a seat
on the edge of Phoebe's bed and Phoebe crossed to the center of the room. "Now
close your eyes." Jake sighed and closed his eyes.
Phoebe opened the book and began to read, "The
spaceship landed on Kreludor in year 4. A stream of Neopets climbed out and
looked tentatively around. The air was cool and Neopia's moon looked so empty.
It was a feeling like you were the only Neopet left in the world. Moon rocks
were scattered on the ground and chunks of Kreludan metal lay flat…"
Jake smiled a little. He loved the way that
Phoebe read. She had such a clear voice that was soothing to hear.
"At first there was no form of Neopian life.
Xarthab hopped out of the ship, brushing off the moon dust that rose up from
the ground." She looked up at him and asked, "Can you see a picture in your
"That's why I love to read." Phoebe smiled and
said, "Have you ever been to the shops?"
"Then come on," Phoebe tugged at his paw, "I
want to show you something."
Jake knew that Lupes and Lennies weren't usually
friends. Lupes were the kind of Neopet that would chase Lennies. But Jake agreed
to follow Phoebe and they walked out of the house. They made their way down
the street and into the shops.
"What are we looking for?" Jake asked.
"See that place over there?" Phoebe pointed
in the direction of the Food Shop.
"The Food Shop? I love that place!" A grin crept
across his face, but he found that this was not the right shop.
"Jake, I meant that shop." The Lupe looked where
Phoebe was pointing. It was a red, square shop that was shaped like a giant
"The book shop?"
"Yeah, it's great!" Jake followed Phoebe inside.
All around him on hundreds of shelves were… books, and so many of them. Jake
had never seen that many books in his life. Phoebe picked up a copy of Know
your Motes. She sighed and said, "Another one of my favorites."
To be honest, Jake had never been in the bookshop.
"Wow, check out this book!" Jake exclaimed, picking up a thin book with a vivid
cover and started flipping through it.
"Jake, that's a comic book."
"Yeah, and it's the new issue." Jake's grin slid
off his face when Phoebe frowned at him. "So, what are we looking for?"
"Hmm," Phoebe's wingtips grazed her chin in though.
She spotted a book on one of the shelves and pulled it out, "Oh! This one is
marvelous." She showed him the cover: Don't Call Me Cute. "It's just
about the best story in the world. This one costs eight thousand."
"Eight thousand Neopoints?" Jake asked, bewildered.
"Yeah," said Phoebe, as if this were no big deal.
"Reading lesson number one: A book can't be judged on how much it costs. Like
this one," She held up a book titled: Saving Your Neopoints. "This one
costs nine thousand and I found it quite dull."
Jake just couldn't see how a book that cost nine
thousand Neopoints could be dull.
Phoebe ran to the bank five minutes later to
withdraw the Neopoints she needed for her purchase. When they were walking home,
she pressed a book into Jake's paw and said, "Here." Jake looked at the cover
A Tale of Two Lupes. "You'll love this story. That's why I bought it
"Oh," said Jake, not really knowing what to say.
He didn't really want it, but he also didn't want to hurt the Lenny's feelings.
So he just said, "thank you."
"Reading lesson number two: you don't want to
begin with the hardest book, or the longest book in Neopia. Stick with something
simple. That's why I thought you'd like A Tale of Two Lupes."
"I do like it," Jake lied and Phoebe beamed at
Jake was sitting at the dinner table that evening, finishing up another Cheesy
Mashed Potato. He felt kind of guilty accepting Phoebe's present, especially
when he knew that he would probably never read it. He had no clue how much Phoebe
spent on it… maybe it cost nine thousand Neopoints!
"Something bothering you, Jake?" Jake's owner
Ginger asked from across the table.
"Not really," lied Jake, "I was just thinking
"The Lenny next door?"
"Yeah. She loves to read. Her whole room is filled
with books. She has enough books to start her own bookshop. And…" Jake stopped,
carefully choosing his next words, "she bought me a book today. But I feel kind
of guilty because I know I won't read it."
"Maybe if you do read it, you'll get into reading
more and it won't be as hard for you," Ginger said, her blue eyes twinkling.
"Reading isn't hard for me," Jake protested,
"I just don't see any sense in it. And now Phoebe's giving me these reading
"Nothing wrong with that," Ginger finished her
last bite of potato. "You could do with taking a leaf out of Phoebe's book."
She laughed at her own joke.
Jake scowled. He wasn't in the mood for jokes.
And if he was, he could just borrow the Quiggle Joke Book from Phoebe.
From that first day, Jake and Phoebe really hit
it off. When Phoebe wasn't reading, they would play in the park or eat lunch
at the Pizzaroo.
Jake enjoyed it when Phoebe read to him. As part
of his "lessons", she read him a short story every day from the book Popular
At first Jake was reluctant to sit and listen
to another story, but these ones were quite different. Some of them made him
want to cry, while others made him laugh.
Weeks passed and Jake became more and more eager to hear all of Phoebe's stories.
But one day when Jake knocked on Phoebe's door, the Lenny answered with a frown,
"Sorry, Jake. I can't read to you today."
Jake couldn't hide his disappointment, "Why not?"
"I'm going to visit my brother, who lives on
Mystery Island. I'll be gone for a month or two, but we can read when I get
"But what am I going to do without you?" Jake
"Oh, I'm sure you'll find something to help pass
And that was the last that Jake saw of Phoebe. She left early the next morning.
Jake flopped down on his Fresh Bamboo Bed. He missed Phoebe already.
Two weeks later, Jake started to clean his room.
He straightened the stuff in his closet, picked up any scraps of paper on the
floor and pulled everything out from under his bed.
The book A Tale of Two Lupes slid out
from under Jake's paw. It was the book that Phoebe bought for him. Jake sat
down slowly, examining the cover. It still looked brand new.
He remembered all of the pictures that he had
seen when Phoebe read to him, and how each story made him feel something different.
Jake gasped. He knew what he wanted: it was the desire to feel the emotions
that only a book could give.
Thanks for the reading lessons, Phoebe,
Jake thought. Without hesitation, he turned to the front page and began to read.