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The Big Gallery

Variable Tilings

The Adventures of Lulu Lizard and Bubba Bat

Bats and Lizards

Busy Beetles

Penrose Gallery



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Chapter 1

In Which Lulu Foils the Mean Dog

“Look out, Lulu, there’s a big mean dog chasing us!” shouted one of Lulu’s little brothers. The five of them, who were young lizards only a little smaller than Lulu herself, dashed in through the small gap under the latticework that served as the Lizard family’s front door. Their flight carried them, light-footed, right over Lulu where she had been napping peacefully on the sun-warmed sand in the doorway.

As the last and littlest of her brothers scrambled over her and disappeared into the shady safety of the underhouse, angry growling sounds came from beyond the rosebushes. Hearing them, Lulu hurried to follow her brothers inside.

Before she could dust herself off, a dog came pouncing through the bushes and began to bark and breathe hotly on her from just outside the latticework. It was a fierce and furry dog many times as big as Lulu, and seemed to be all sharp teeth, snarling snout, and black bubble eyes in a shaking mane of furious yellow fur.

Lulu knew that the lattice surrounding the underhouse area, even though it was broken in a few places, would keep her safe at least for the moment. But the dog, with much barking and growling and scrabbling of sharp claws in the dirt, immediately began trying to dig out and enlarge the Lizard family’s front doorway under the lattice.

“Oh dear,” thought Lulu, “it won’t take him long to dig his way into our house. I wonder---?” And with that, Lulu, (who was a young lizard of a bright green color that showed very clearly against the sandy earth of the underhouse area), marched herself right up to the lattice so that the angry dog could not fail to see her.

Her nearness made the dog seem to explode with even greater energy. It banged its snout against he latticework and raised dust like some barking, snarling whirlwind of furry meanness.

Lulu had a plan, but it was a scary one, and she did not want anyone to see how frightened she was. Bright-eyed and trying hard to give the appearance of being saucy and unafraid,she moved even closer to the dog to be sure of holding his attention. Then, stepping from one bright sun-dapple to another just inside the lattice, she got the yapping dog to follow her away from the Lizard family’s doorway.

Lulu’s mother and father, along with a clinging and wary group of her little brothers, came to watch from some distance farther into the protective shade of the underhouse.

“Lulu dear, please don’t tease that dog. He’s terribly dangerous,” Lulu’s mother called.

“Yes. Better come away now, Lulu,” added Lulu’s father.

“But he might dig his way in if I don’t keep him moving and keep him away from our front door,” Lulu called to them as she continued her dog-baiting progress along the latticework. “Besides, if I can keep him barking long enough and loud enough, Mr. Osborn-Next-Door may come and get him.”

Sure enough, it was only a few worrisome moments later when around from the front of the old house hurried the Lizard family’s neighbor whom they always referred to as Mr. Osborn-Next-Door.

“Come away from there, you little bully,” he shouted at the Pekingese, for that was the sort of dog it was. “Leave those nice little lizard people alone.” Then he picked up the still yapping dog and stooped to peer through the lattice. “Hi, Lulu.” he said. “I hope this little devil didn’t do any harm. He belongs way up the street, but he’s a bully by nature, and he doesn’t often find someone smaller than himself to pick on."

“There are lots of bugs on my rose bushes, by the way, so you’re welcome any time if you should want to drop over next door to snack on them.” And with that Mr. Osborn retraced his steps toward the front of the house, muttering to the still growling and struggling little dog he carried, “We’ll just have to see that the front gate stays shut so the likes of you can’t get in here and bother my friends.” Then he and the dog were gone and the front gate clicked firmly shut behind them.

“That was good work, Lulu,” said her father. “I’m not sure I could have handled it as well as you did. But you shouldn’t take such risks.”

“It only looked and felt risky, Father,” replied Lulu. But the excitement had left her feeling hungry, so following their neighbor’s invitation she darted across the lawn to rid a few of Mr. Osborn’s roses of their yummy aphid pests.

On to Chapter 2!

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