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The bell for the library period rang. Tino, the cat and Sino, the mole yawned when they heard it. They silently tiptoed out of the classroom, towards the field while the rest of the students walked out in a line towards the library.

Once out of sight of the main school building, Tino and Sino ran and hid behind an old Banyan tree in the football ground.

The Importance of Reading

They wore their sunglasses and dozed-off. Tino and Sino did not like reading books. They thought that sitting silently in the library was a punishment.

“I feel I’ll faint after seeing so many books in the library,” Tino often said to his classmate Chino, the dog. “Or, all those fat books will fall on my head and injure me.”

Chino loved books and reading was one of his hobbies. “If you don’t read books, your heads will become like an empty tin,” he often told Tino and Sino.

But, they never paid any attention to Chino’s words of advice.

Under the tree, Sino dreamt of eating a large cake, all by himself on his birthday. The large cake disappeared when he heard Tino’s voice, “Stop tickling me, Sino.”

Without opening his eyes, Sino said angrily, “You made my cake disappear! Why will I tickle you when I was enjoying my birthday party!”

“Wake up, you two!” school Principal Tony, the elephant’s voice boomed. Sino and Tino opened their eyes and instantly got-up, trembling. They kept their heads down and started wondering about all the possible punishments like 100 rounds of the football ground they were in for.

Principal Tony was standing in front of them, holding his walking stick. He had tickled Sino with the stick.

“What are you two doing in the football ground? It’s your library period, isn’t it?” Principal Tony asked in a stern voice.

“We don’t like books,” Sino and Tino replied together, feebly.

“We thought of coming to the football ground so that students who like to read are not disturbed,” Sino said, while Tino kept quiet.

Principal Tony looked at them thoughtfully and then asked them to follow him. He took them to his small, personal library, which was attached to his office. He picked a book and flipped through its pages and asked Tino and Sino, “Do you both like adventure?”

“YES!” They said in unison, half expecting that their Principal will send them on a treasure hunt. Their faces brightened-up with excitement.

“You both like adventure but don’t like reading books,” Principal Tony said. “Books are full of adventures. If you don’t read them, you’ll miss out on some of the most exciting adventures.”

He told them about his great-grandfather who once read about Alice’s adventures. She had followed a white rabbit and fell through a rabbit-hole. She landed in a magical world, full of queer-looking animals and strange creatures. There was a hookah-smoking Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, a tyrant Queen of Hearts, besides a lot more interesting creatures.

“My great-grandfather decided to call his school Wonderland Adventures,” Principal Tony said. “The Book he read was ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. It’s written by Lewis Carroll.”

“Cheshire Cat!” Tino said a little aloud, with his round, big eyes full of curiosity.

More from Champak: Reading is Fun

“Yes, a cat that always grins. It can appear and disappear whenever it likes. It leaves behind its grin when it disappears.”

The two looked at other, with disbelief and looked at their Principal with interest. They wanted to know more about the strange creatures and the adventures. Sino asked, “Did Alice come out of the rabbit hole, or did she always live in wonderland?”

Principal Tony laughed aloud. He told them that if they wanted to know the end they would have to read the book. “But, you both don’t like reading books so shall never know what happened to Alice.”

He then asked them to write a sorry note and go back to their classroom. “Tomorrow, go to the library, even if you don’t like books. Sit silently and watch others read.”

Tino and Sino came back to the classroom, still wondering about Alice and her adventures.

They saw Chino talking about an Island called ‘Treasure Island’.

Chino was telling one of their classmates, “Jim Hawkins went with pirates on a big ship and found a huge treasure on Treasure Island.”

“Pirates! All his classmates had gathered around him when they heard him talk.

Sino later said to Tino, “Jim Hawkins must be a brave boy. I wish I could go on an adventure with him.” Tino also wished the same.

“Maybe Chino can tell us where we can meet Jim Hawkins,” Tino said.

Chino laughed heartily when he heard the question, “Where does Jim Hawkins live?”

He told them that he lives in the book *Treasure Island’, which is written by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Chino had broken his leg, last summer and had to be in his bed for a month. “I went along with Jim on the adventure to find the treasure. If I was not reading “Treasure Island, my summer holidays would’ve been boring, without a friend.”

“I imagined myself as the dangerous one-legged pirate Long John Silver with a parrot called Captain Flint. It was great fun to read how Jim fooled the pirates and helped his friends find the buried treasure.”

Sino asked Chino, “Are books full of adventures?” Chino was surprised that Sino was asking about books.

“Yes, they’re full of adventures. But, not the adventure like yours to escape the library period,” Chino said with a chuckle.

Both Tino and Sino realised that they had never gone on an adventure because they didn’t like reading books. Tino said to Sino, “My grandpa always says that books are special as they teach us something new and useful. Now I know, they’re like friends and take us on adventures.”

The next day, Sino and Tino joined their classmates to go to the library. Tino picked up ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to read about Alice and the strange animals. Sino asked the librarian for ‘Treasure Island.’ They loved reading books after that day. And, Principal Tony never caught them, sleeping under the Banyan tree again.