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Hello, my name's Michael.
It's time for a bedtime story so I hope you're sitting comfortably.
Tonight's story is about a friend of mine named Elmore.
It's called The New Small Person and it's by Lauren Child.
Elmore Green started off life as an only child, as many children do.
He had a room all to himself and everything in it was his.
He was very proud of his room.
He watched all his favourite cartoons on his own little TV set,
no-one ever changed the channel.
He could line up all his things on the floor
and no-one moved them one millimetre.
When his Uncle Cecil gave him a jar of jelly beans,
Elmore could eat every single bean all by himself
in whatever order he liked.
There was no worry about anyone eating the orange ones
because Elmore Green's parents did not eat jelly beans.
Elmore's parents thought he was the funniest,
cleverest, most adorable person they had ever seen.
Elmore liked that because it was nice to be the funniest,
cleverest, most adorable person someone has ever seen.
But then, one day, everything changed.
Somebody else came along.
GURGLING The new person was small
and didn't do much but still people
picked it up and smiled at it and gave it things to chew.
They all seemed to like it.
Maybe a little bit more than they liked Elmore Green.
CRYING The new small person
didn't like watching Elmore's
favourite TV cartoons and would squawk until the channel was changed.
Elmore did not find shows for small people at all stimulating.
But everyone said the small person couldn't help it
because it was only small.
Sometimes, the small person would come into Elmore's room
and knock things over and sit on things that didn't want to be sat on.
Once, it actually licked Elmore's jelly bean collection,
including the orange ones!
As anyone knows,
jelly beans that have been licked are not nearly so nice.
But everyone said Elmore could not be cross
because the small person was only small.
Elmore wished the small person would go back to wherever it came from.
But Elmore's parents explained that this was not possible.
The small person got bigger. And things got much worse.
One day, Elmore found the small person wearing
his fourth most favourite outfit, without asking!
"That's mine," said Elmore.
"It is not for small people."
"I want to be the same as you," said the small person.
But Elmore Green did not want to be the same as someone small.
The small person followed Elmore Green everywhere.
It wanted to sit next to him, it wanted to copy everything
that Elmore did, it wanted to be everywhere that Elmore was.
"Where are you going?" said the small person.
"Nowhere," said Elmore.
"Can I come?" said the small person.
When the small person said things like this,
Elmore Green would go and sit up in a tree.
He did not want someone small following him around.
One awful day, the small person moved its bed into Elmore Green's room.
Now, Elmore couldn't get away from it.
It was always there, looking at him.
Sometimes it would stretch out its arms and say, "Huggle!"
But Elmore didn't want to cuddle up to someone small.
However, one night, everything changed.
Elmore Green had a bad dream. It was very upsetting.
A scary thing was chasing him, waving its grabbers and gnashing its teeth.
Elmore screamed and the small person bravely got out of bed
and clung onto him.
"Go away, scary!" shouted the small person.
It was nice to have someone there in the dark when the scaries were about.
A few days later, Elmore was lining up all his precious things
so they reached from his bedroom door to all the way down the stairs.
It was a very long line of things. The small person was very amazed.
"Ooh!" it said.
"I could make them reach the front door
"if I had more things," said Elmore.
"I have more things," said the small person.
"I have at least five or three things. You can have them."
It felt good to have someone there who understood
why a long line of things was so special.
The next evening, Elmore was laughing at the TV.
The small person looked at Elmore and then at the TV
and then he laughed, too. It was very funny.
More funny, somehow, with two people laughing than just one.
Elmore opened his jar of jelly beans.
"You can have a jelly bean if you like, Albert."
His brother, Albert, smiled. Elmore smiled back.
"Whichever colour you like," said Elmore.
"Except for orange!"
I think Elmore and Albert are going be very good friends, don't you?
I hope you enjoyed the story.
It's time for you to get tucked into bed now.
Sleep tight and I'll be back again soon with another bedtime story.