"Can I go outside and play, Mommy?" June asked Mrs. Wood.

"Did you finish your Apple Jacks?"

"Uh huh."

Mrs. Wood looked into her daughter's cereal bowl and saw that it was empty except for a little milk.

"Great! You can get dressed and go outside, but don't go too far."

"OK!"

June changed into her yellow dress and brown sandals and went next door to play with her best friend, Marcy. Marcy was standing in the front yard with a big smile on her face.

"Come on inside," she said. June followed her friend into the house, where Marcy's mother, Mrs. Smith, was watering the plants while Marcy's older sister, Gail, practiced piano.

"Mommy said we could go look at the Blackwell's new puppies if Gail comes with us," Marcy told June.

Gail joined the two younger girls, and they walked across the street to the Blackwell's house. Tom Blackwell, who was the same age as June and Marcy, was sitting on the sidewalk beside a big box.

"Hi, Tom," said Marcy. "We came to look at the puppies."

Tom lifted a solid black puppy from the box.

"Oh, he's so tiny!" June squealed. "Can I hold him?"

"Sure."

There were five puppies in all: a black one, two brown ones, a white one, and a white one with brown spots. That one quickly became June's favorite.

"Can I please take him home?" she asked.

"He isn't old enough to leave his mother yet," Tom told her. "When he's a little bigger, you can ask your parents if you can have him."

"Oh, I can't wait!"