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There once was a small town called Honey Oaks that was hidden in the middle of the forest. Once a year, the entire town got together for the Fall Festival. They had fun carnival rides, loud music, and yummy food. It was at the festival where a little porcupine named Peter, a turtle named Tina and a bear named Benny first met.  Tina was the smartest turtle in Honey Oaks, although people made fun of her for being slow. Benny was a gentle and sweet bear who just wanted to make friends but he looked so mean and scary no one ever wanted to talk to him. Peter was the most outgoing and adventurous of them all but had a hard time finding friends who enjoyed to play with him. They were all standing in line for the Ferris wheel when they all bumped into each other.


“I haven't seen you guys in school before what are your names?” asked Peter to Tina and Benny.

“My name is Benny”.

“And I’m Tina” she replied.

From that moment on, the three new best friends spent the entire festival playing, eating and just having fun. At the end of the enjoyable night Tina, Benny, and Peter went home and promised to play together the next day at school.


As soon as Benny rushed through the front door he began to yell, “Mama! Mama! Guess what?” He ran through every room in the house until he found her.

“Honey, I am over here, is there something wrong?” replied her mother sweetly.

Benny replied excitedly “Nothing's wrong! I’m just excited I made two new friends today at the festival today”.

“Who are they Benny?” questioned Benny’s mother excitedly.

“ Tina the turtle and Peter the porcupine!”

A sudden look of confusion and nervousness appeared on his mother’s face. Before answering to Benny, his mother cried out for Benny’s father.

“What’s with all the yelling? I was trying to sleep” replied Benny’s father angrily.

“Benny made new friends today. Their names are Tina the turtle and Peter the porcupine.”

Benny’s father gasped and began to yell at him but he didn't understand why.  

“Now listen to me Benny you can not be friends with those kids. They aren’t like us. Turtles are extremely slow and porcupines are big scaredy cats! Listen to me carefully son, I do not want you to be friends with them, they are different than we are. Now hurry up and go to bed you have to wake up early for school”.


And just like that Benny ran disappointed to his room and thought about why his dad didn't want him to be friends with Tina and Peter. He was extremely sad that night. He finally made best friends and now he couldn’t play with them anymore.


That same night Tina the turtle walked as fast as she could to her parents as well. She wanted to tell them her good news that she finally made friends. However, similar to Benny’s dad, Tina’s mom was furious.

“Sweetie, listen to me you can’t be friends with those boys. Bears are furious and get angrily very easily. Porcupines are just plain insensitive. They aren't like us, Tina. Promise me you won’t be friends with them anymore”.

“Yes mom, I won’t. I'm going to bed.Goodnight”.


Tina went to her bed and cried. She finally found others her age who wanted to be her friends and didn't make fun of her and now she was being forced to make new friends just because they weren’t like her. None of it made sense to her.


Peter’s parents reacted the exact same way. Peter arrived home happy and with more energy than ever but after talking to his parents, he was more disappointed than ever.

“I just don’t understand how you can be friends with someone so big and ferocious like a bear and someone as sluggish as a  turtle. They can not be your friends Peter darling. You can be friends with people like Penny the porcupine or Patrick.  I’m sorry Peter but they are just too different.” explained Peter’s mother.


All three showed up to school the next morning with the frowns that could be spotted from miles away. During recess, they each sat alone on a bench and occasionally looking at one another. After a couple minutes, the three of them got the courage to walk up to each other and explain what happened the night before.


“My dad got mad and yelled at me. How about you guys?” asked Benny.

“My mom doesn't want me to be friends with you guys anymore. She said it was because we are all way too different. But I still want to be friends. I don’t get why she got so mad.” said Tina.

“My mommy got mad too.” said Peter “But I had fun playing with you guys at the festival. We are best friends now I don't get whats so bad about that”.

Just as they were talking, Peter turned around and noticed something strange. He looked at everyone playing on the playground and turned to Tina and Benny with a confused look on his face. 

“Have you guys noticed that the koalas only play with other koalas?” 

“Yeah, and the monkeys only talk to monkeys. What about it?” wondered Benny.

“Everybody is only friends with other animals that look like them” observed Tina


Just then they all turned to each and realize why their parents reacted the way they did. In the small town of Honey Oaks, the animals only associated with others who were similar to them. Bears talked to bears, koalas played with koalas, monkeys lived near other monkeys and so on. Just as the group of friends was going to go play, they hear a wicked loud voice that gave everyone chills.


Tina, Benny, Peter what on earth do you think you are doing?” growled Mrs.Whiskerson, the scary school principal. “Meet me at my office immediately”.

All three friends followed behind her shaking with fear and wondering what they did wrong. Mrs.Whiskerson looked at all three young kids for a minute before saying anything.


“Do you all realize why we are here?” asked the principal.  

All three shook their heads.

“Well then I will tell you” she continued, “Benny you are a bear, Tina you are a turtle, and Peter you are a porcupine. It is not normal for kids who are so different from each other be friends. You must be friends with other kids who look like you just like everyone else does. Do you all understand?”


“No, I don’t” shouted Peter.

“These are my friends, we have fun together, just because we aren't all bears, or turtles or porcupines doesn't mean we can’t play together”. Suddenly Mrs.Whiskerson picked up her phone and called the parents of all three of them.

The children immediately got more scared. Tina even started to cry.

When the parents got to the office, they all began to yell at the kids.

“What did I tell you, Benny? Why can’t you follow rules?” asked Benny’s dad.

“Tina I told you these boys were trouble, turtles don't act like this,” said Tina’s mom.

“How could you be friends with these people Peter?” wondered Peter’s mom.

Just then Tina stood up and as loud as she could say, “Hey! Why can’t I pick my own friends? Benny and Peter are the only kids who want to play me with me. The other turtles call me slow and pick on me. These are best friends”.


"That’s right,” yelled Benny.

“Everyone is always too afraid to talk or play with me because they say I’m scary. I want to be friends with Tina and Peter even though we look different”.

Peter looked at everyone in the room and said, “Why is it so bad to be different than my friends? We all like to play, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and listen to music together”.


That was when Mrs.Whiskerson and all the parents turned to each other and thought about what the children were saying. No one knew what to say.


Benny’s dad turned to Benny and gave him a big hug and said “I’m sorry son, it was silly of me to tell you who to be friends with. Tina and Peter seem very nice and I am happy you guys are friends”.

“I’m sorry too Peter. Tina and Benny make you very happy and that is what matters,” said Peter’s mother as she gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“Tina, I’m happy you found other kids that want to play with you even if it is a bear and porcupine. I’m very sorry sweetie,” said Tina’s mother.


Tina, Peter, and Benny looked at each other with very big smiles. They can now all be friends. The three of them started to jump up and down because they were so excited. It did not matter that they were all different anymore, they could now go play together.

The new group of friends ran to hug their parents then went to hug each other. Benny, Tina, and Peter looked at each other and raced to the woods to go play.

“I'm so glad we are friends,” said Tina.

“Me too” agreed on Peter.

“How about a big bear hug friends?” grinned Benny.