- FREDDY McCOOL -
In a little white house
 Near the end of the street,
Where the path to the park
 And the sidewalks all meet,
Freddie woke from his dreams
 And sat up in his bed,
Shook his head once or twice,
 Blinked around him, then said—

"I wonder what fun
 I'll be having today?
Which friends will I see?
 What games will we play?
We'll laugh and we'll sing
 From this morning 'till dark
When we gather together
 To play in the park!"


Freddie bounced from his bed
 And flew into the room,
Yanked open the curtains
 To chase off the gloom,
Then crawled into his closet
 Without a delay
To find things he would need
 When he went out to play.

He untangled a kite
 From its big ball of twine,
Found some tree-climbing shoes
 Smelling sweetly of pine,
Then he saw the old Goozeball
 He'd found for his team,
And a jar full of pennies
 He'd saved for ice cream.

Which should he take?
 Freddie couldn't decide.
But it was too early
 To go play outside
So he pulled on his sweater
 And faded blue jeans,
Then sat down on the floor
 With a few magazines.

While flipping through pages
 His face became grim
When he noticed nobody
 Inside looked like him!
These kids were all happy
 And dressed so much better
Than he in his blue jeans
 And old frazzled sweater.

They wore bright puffy shirts
 Under long feathered vests,
Dark glasses on chains
 Swinging loose at their chests,
Their legs were wrapped tightly
 In stiff plastic pants
And the jewels on their boots
 Made them sparkle and dance!

Freddie gazed long and hard
 At those kids on the pages,
As he measured himself
 Against boys of all ages.
The longer he pondered,
 The glummer he grew—
He had dressed dull for years
 And yet hadn't a clue!

Then a brilliant idea
 Popped right into his head—
Instead of himself,
 He'd be like them instead.

He said, "There is no reason,
 From what I can see,
If their clothes make them happy
 Why shouldn't I be?
My blue jeans and sweater
 Are dragging me down ..."


... So he scooped up his pennies
 And headed for town.

Freddie peered through the windows
 And pushed through the doors
Of the trendiest shops
 And the fanciest stores.
He shopped and he bought
 'Till his pennies were gone
And he traded new clothes
 From the ones he'd had on.

He wore red plastic pants
 And a puffy blue shirt,
A pair of jeweled boots
 (Which made both his feet hurt),
A vest of green feathers
 Sewn neatly in place,
And some rose-colored glasses
 Too big for his face.

Freddie stuffed his old clothes
 In a big shopping sack,
Then looked at his reflection—
 And turned, front and back,
To admire each feather
 And sparkling jewel ...
He was no longer Freddie,
 But Freddy McCool!

"I wonder whose heads
 I'll be turning today?
Which friends will I see?
 What things will they say?
They'll talk about me
 From this morning 'till dark
Once they see the new Freddy
 Today in the park!"


He snatched up the sack
 Of old clothes from the floor,
Gave himself one last glance,
 Then dashed out the door
Hardly able to wait
 To meet up with his friends
And show off the new Freddy—
 A setter of trends!

After stashing his sack
 In some shrubs by a stream,
He donned his rose glasses
 And looked for his team.
He strolled through the park
 Towards the Goozeballing mound,
Glancing this way and that
 To see who was around.

But as he approached
 The six Goozeballing bases,
His teammates just stared
 With blank looks on their faces.
Nobody yelled "Hi!"
 Or waved to him because
Not a soul on the team
 Had a clue who he was.

From out of the silence
 Piped Benjamin Greer
Who had been Freddie's friend
 For just over a year—

"You're welcome to join us
 And jump, climb, and run ...
But you're really not dressed
 To have very much fun.

"If you try to play Goozeball
 And slide in the dirt
You will soon rip to tatters
 That puffy blue shirt.
Those boots are too slick
 To climb trees of great heights
And your pants are too stiff
 To be running with kites.

"You're welcome to play
 On our team,"
Benji said,
"But you'll want go change
 Into old clothes instead.
There's time while we wait
 For the ball our friend found—
He's a cool kid named Freddie ...
 Have you seen him around?"


Freddy's lower lip quivered ...
 He started to pout ...
He opened his mouth
 But no words would come out ...
He knew in his heart
 It was silly to stay,
So he spun in his boots
 And slunk slowly away.

Before leaving the park,
 He picked up the big sack
He left stashed in the shrubs
 Which he now wanted back.
As he limped to his house
 Near the end of the street,
He mumbled and grumbled
 And shuffled his feet—

"I wonder whose head
 I was using today?
I miss all my friends and
 I want to go play!
I'd rather be me
 From each morning 'til dark
Than be Freddy McCool
 On a bench in the park!"


So he kicked off the boots
 And flew out of the vest,
Tossed the shirt in a pile
 With the pants and the rest
Then pulled on his blue jeans
 And his frazzled wool sweater—
He was Freddie again ...

 ...And he felt SO much better!