‘Talking to the Chameleon’ by Alex Perry

At home Rosa didn’t talk much.

Sometimes she would say, “I’m OK.”

Rosa would say, “I’m OK”, no matter how she was feeling.

If she was happy she would say, “I’m OK.”

If she was sad she would say, “I’m OK.”

If she was angry she would say, “I’m OK.”

At school Rosa didn’t talk much.

When she did talk to the other children in her class she would say, “Me too!”.

When Brian said, “My favourite ice-cream flavour is chocolate.”, Rosa replied, “Me too!” But Rosa’s favourite ice-cream flavour was strawberry.

When Susie said, “My favourite sport is netball.”, Rosa replied, “Me too!”. But Rosa’s favourite sport was football.

When Gregor said, “I like computer games.”, Rosa said, “Me too!” But Rosa did not like computer games.

Rosa’s teacher was Mr Tipton. One day Mr Tipton brought two special guests into the classroom.

Mr Tipton said, “Good morning children. Today we have two visitors from the zoo. This is Ms Tetley who takes care of the animals and this is one of her special friends.”

Ms Tetley asked, “Do you know what sort of animal this is?”

Brian answered, “It’s a reptile.”

Ms Tetley said, “Yes, it is a reptile. But what kind of reptile is it?”

Susie answered, “It’s a snake.”

Ms Tetley said, “That’s a good guess. He does look a bit like a snake, but this fellow has legs and snakes don’t have legs.”

Gregor answered, “It’s a lizard.”

Ms Tetley said, “That’s a very good guess. He is a lizard, a very special kind of lizard.”

Mr Tipton looked at Rosa. He said, “Do you know what the animal is Rosa?”

Rosa did not know what to say.

She could not say, “I’m OK!”

She could not say, “Me too!”

She looked at the animal and she saw that it was brown.

Rosa said, “It’s brown.”

The other children laughed.

Then Rosa and her classmates had a surprise. The animal changed colour from brown to green. They were amazed.

Ms Tetley said, “This is a chameleon. I call him Kenny. Kenny the chameleon can change colour. Can you guess why Kenny changed colour?”

Brian answered, “He turned green, because green is his favourite colour.”

Ms Tetley said, “That’s an interesting answer. I don’t know what Kenny’s favourite colour is, but that’s not the reason.”

Suzie answered, “He turned green, because it is the fashion. My Mum bought some green clothes at the shops.”

Ms Tetley said, “That’s a clever answer. Many chameleons do turn green, but that’s not the reason.”

Gregor answered, “Kenny turned green, because he wants to camouflage himself.”

Ms Tetley said, “That’s an excellent answer. Many animals in the wild do use camouflage. They change colour so that they can hide from other animals who could eat them. But that’s not the reason.”

Mr Tipton looked at Rosa. He said, “What do you think Rosa?”

She could not say, “I’m OK!”

She could not say, “Me too!”

She thought about her own feelings. When the chameleon first came into the classroom she was nervous, but now she really felt OK.

Rosa said, “Kenny the chameleon changed colour because he is feeling better. When he first came in Kenny was nervous about his first day in school. That was

why he was brown. But now he knows that school is good he feels OK like me. That is why he changed his colour to green.”

The other children laughed.

Then Rosa’s classmates had a surprise.

Ms Tetley said, “That is the reason! That is the right answer!”

Mr Tipton said, “Well done Rosa. Have three gold stars!”

Then everyone had another surprise. Kenny the chameleon changed colour from green to orange.

Rosa said, “Kenny has changed colour because he is excited. He wants to talk to me.”

Rosa said, “Hello Kenny. My name is Rosa. Sometimes I am happy, sometimes I am sad and sometimes I am angry. My favourite ice-cream flavour is strawberry. My favourite sport is football. I don’t like computer games.”

Brian, Susie and Gregor asked, “Rosa, what are you doing?”

Rosa answered, “I’m talking to the chameleon.”

Mr Tipton smiled, because Rosa was sharing her feelings.

Rosa said, “Kenny, you tell us how you’re feeling by changing colour. I can’t change my colour, but I can talk. I will always say how I’m feeling from now on.”

It was time for Ms Tetley and Kenny the chameleon to return to the zoo.

Ms Tetley said, “I am glad that I came to your school today.”

Kenny the chameleon changed colour from orange to green, because he felt OK.

Rosa said, “Me too!”