Evan Baughfman


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Sprout Wanted Out

Someday, I hope to turn this story into a picture book, hence why the text is broken up by [page numbers]

Illustrator wanted!  Contact me, please!  I want to be able to read this book to my kids someday!




[PAGE 1]

Sprout wanted out.


Each day, the guinea pig gazed beyond her cage and grew curious about the world and its wonders.


Please don’t misunderstand.  Sprout enjoyed her life.   Often, her pretty person fed her crisp carrots and allowed her to explore the crooks and crevasses of the living room and the kitchen.  Sprout was also regularly entertained with melodious music, and don’t forget all the hugs and kisses!




[PAGE 2]

Still, the guinea pig watched the wilderness through the window and wondered:  What was it like to be out there?  Where would an adventure outside take her? 


Sprout was really quite fond of the frogs leaping and prancing in the nearby lily pad pond.  She wanted to hip and hop, skip and bop along the glassy water.


But how could she ever do that being some guinea pig’s daughter?




[PAGE 3]

One day, Sprout’s person opened the window.  “RING-RING!”  Sprout was lowered onto the loveseat as her person went into the other room to answer the phone.


Sprout was careful not to squeal as she sprinted across stands and shelves to the welcoming window.   Soon, she sat on the sill.  Sprout spread her arms out for a hug and jumped into the warm arms of the waiting world.




[PAGE 4]

The guinea pig plummeted through the leaves of a bush.  She stopped next to a beautiful butterfly.   Her wings were decorated with delicate designs.   Sprout smiled and said, “How can I look as pretty as you?”


The butterfly was sad and stuck in a spider’s web.  She said, “You don’t want to be like me.  I was too confident, flitting about everywhere without any care or concern.  Now I’m breakfast!”




[PAGE 5]

“You should be patient like the spider.  Wait for good things to come to you.” 


“I can help you,” said Sprout as a spider slunk out of the shadows.


“But I’m hungry, and butterflies satisfy my stomach!” said the spider.


Sprout asked the spider, “Can you teach me how to spin some silk?   I don’t enjoy eating beautiful bugs, but I’d love to catch a crunchy carrot.”




[PAGE 6]

The spider scratched his head and said, “You’re not like me.   I don’t think your body has what makes my webs work.”  While Sprout distracted the spider, the butterfly freed her wide wings from the web and flew away.  The spider spat at Sprout, “My meal moseyed right on out of here, and it’s all because of you!”




[PAGE 7]

The guinea pig was afraid until the spider started to sob.  “I want to fly from flower to flower and bask in sweet smells.  Why can’t the life of a bee also be for me?”


Sprout bolted from the bush and found a flower buzzing with the bumble of a busy bee.  “Excuse me?” said Sprout.  “Can I join you?”




[PAGE 8]

The bee peeked her head out from the hibiscus flower.  “Where are your wings?” she wondered.  “I have four and you have none.”  


“I don’t have any,” said the guinea pig, “but maybe they’ll sprout soon.”  


The bee snickered and said, “You are too big to ever be a bee.   But even big things can fly.”




[PAGE 9]

“If I were bigger,” began the bee, “I would fly up so high in that bright, blue sky.   Sure, flowers smell fresh, but I wonder if clouds smell best?   What I wouldn’t give to be an eagle, the king of the air, the most amazing creature up there.”


Sprout squinted as she looked at the silhouette of a soaring eagle stamped against the shining sun.  “Hey, eagle!” Sprout screamed. 




[PAGE 10]

The bird snatched Sprout from that very spot.   “Yay!” shouted Sprout as the eagle lifted her higher and higher.


“This is fun?” said the eagle.  Sprout gulped as she was dropped into a nest at the top of a tree.


Baby eaglets snapped at Sprout, but she dodged and danced around each attack like a piece of popping popcorn. 


“Stay still so my sons can have a snack!” scolded the eagle.  




 [PAGE 11]

“I don’t think so!” said Sprout as she leapt from the nest and fell to a branch below.  The eagle shouted from above, “You’re lucky!  If I were a squirrel, I would jump from branch to branch after you!”


“Leave us alone!” someone shouted.   It was a squirrel, his tail raised in a fluffy curl.  He offered Sprout an acorn. 

“No, thanks,” she said.  “Do you have any carrots?”




[PAGE 12]

“Sorry, no carrots here,” said the squirrel. 


“That’s okay,” said Sprout.  “Could you show me how to jump from branch to branch?  Maybe even show me how to climb a tree?  That would be exciting!”


The squirrel said, “Sure.  I’ve never seen a gopher in a tree before.  Just so long as you show me what it’s like underground afterward.” 


“I’m not a gopher,” said Sprout.  “What’s a gopher?”




[PAGE 13]

“A gopher is who I want to be!” exclaimed the squirrel.   “Follow me!”   The squirrel helped Sprout as they made their way down the tree.     


“Gophers dig tunnels and play underground,” the squirrel explained at the base of the tree.  “They also travel safely, because eagle eyes can’t see what’s happening beneath the earth.”   The squirrel led Sprout to the edge of a hole in the ground. 




[PAGE 14]

A furry critter popped his head out of the hole and said, “Hello, how may I help you?” 


“We both want to be gophers!” said Sprout.   “Digging tunnels and playing hide-and-seek underground sounds like such a good time!” 


“It is!” said the gopher.  “Come on in!”




[PAGE 15]

The gopher, squirrel, and guinea pig dug and darted through many twisted tunnels.  The gopher led them to a hole that exited beside a familiar pond.   The gopher asked Sprout and the squirrel if they knew how to swim.  They had no idea how to get around in a pool. 


“That’s why I want to be one of those trout,” said the gopher.   “What’s it like underwater?”




[PAGE 16]

 “I’ll find out!” said Sprout.  She took a deep breath, puffed her cheeks and lungs full of air, and slipped into the pond.  The water was cool and clear.  


With bubbles she snorted, Sprout spelled out for the trout: “C-A-N-I-B-E-A-F-I-S-H-T-O-O?”  


The trout asked, “Why would you want to be like us when you could live in water and on land like a frog?”




[PAGE 17]

Of course!  Frogs were Sprout’s favorite, after all!  Sprout swam to the surface and found a frog lounging on a lily pad.


“May I hip and hop, skip and bop with you?” Sprout asked.  


“Let’s go!” said the frog.  The two of them leapt across lily pads, lightly pressing on the pond, never falling beneath the water. 


The guinea pig giggled.  She said, “This is better than I ever dreamed!”




[PAGE 18]

Sprout told the frog,“I’m going to stay here forever with you!  Can I?  Please!” 


The frog’s hop stopped.  He looked back at Sprout and said, “Why would you want to stay here?  I watch you through that window every day.  You have a person who loves you and takes care of you!  You silly, little pig, I want to be YOU!”




[PAGE 19]

Sprout looked back at her house and could see the worried look on her person’s face through the window.  “You’re right, Mr. Frog,” said Sprout.  “Thank you, but I belong somewhere else!”


Sprout sliced across the water and sprinted across the grass, squealing, “I’m here!  I’m here!”  Her person’s excellent ears perked at the pig’s cries.  A door on the side of the house slammed open.  Sprout’s person ran toward her.




[PAGE 20]

The guinea pig was scooped up into a tight, loving hug.  “Never leave me again!” said her perfect person while she planted kisses on Sprout’s cheeks. 


“I won’t!  I promise!” replied Sprout.  She crunched a crisp carrot that appeared between her person’s fingertips.


Sprout now knew the world and some of its wonders, but, in her heart, home was the only place for her.