Written by Deborah Hautzig

Illustrated by Tom Cooke

Grover woke up smiling. Today was the day of the school picnic. Grover's mother gave him a big picnic lunch. Then she said, "I have a surprise for you." It was a baseball bat! Grover was so happy. "Now you can learn to play baseball", she said. "I will be a super batter", said Grover. Grover's mother gave him a big kiss good-bye. The school bus took everyone to Bluebird Park. Grover sat on the back with Truman. "My big brother has a bat like yours", said Truman. "I play ball with him all the time." "I have never played before", said Grover. "I cannot wait to try!" There was so much to do in the park! Everyone played tag. Betty Lou showed Grover a trick on the monkey bars. Then there was a sack race. At noon they had their picnic lunch. After lunch it was time to play baseball. The teacher told Jill and Truman to pick two teams. One by one everyone was picked. Everyone but Grover. "You need one more, Truman", said the teacher. "Take Grover." Truman said, "Oh, no! Grover has never played before. He will make us lose!" Truman's words hurt Grover. They felt like a punch. But Grover just said, "You will see. I will be a super batter!" But Grover was not a super batter. He missed the ball every time. Now was his last chance. He swung three times. He missed three times. The other team shouted, "We won!" "See? I told you Grover can't bat", said Truman. Everyone laughed. "Grover can't bat!" they teased. Grover pretended not to hear. But he felt very sad. Grover walked home slowly from the bus stop. "Why did all my friends make fun of me?" A big tear rolled down his furry face. He kicked a tin can down the street. "You stupid can!" he said. Then he looked at his bat. "You stupid bat!" he said. As he passed Oscar's can, Grover bumped into Big Bird. "Hi, Grover!" Big Bird said. "Look! Oscar gave me this blue paint. I am painting a picture of you!" Grover looked at the picture. "That stinks!" he yelled. "That does not look like me at all!" That made Big Bird cry. "Grover, why are you so mean to me?" Big Bird said. "I am your friend!" Oscar popped out of his can. "Who is making all that noise?" he yelled. "Big Bird is!" Grover said. "Grover is!" Big Bird said. Grover looked at Oscar. He looked at Big Bird. Then he burst into tears. "Everyone made fun of me." Everyone told us all about the baseball game. "Poor Grover!" Big Bird said. "You must feel so sad." Oscar yelled, "Sad? You must mean mad!" Grover said, "I am sad and mad." Then he began to smile a little. "I have a good idea", Big Bird said. "I will practice batting with you." Oscar gave us a rotten old ball. "Now go away!" he said. Big Bird threw the ball to Grover again and again. At last Grover hit the ball. "Hurray!" Big Bird said. Then Grover hit to Big Bird again and again. He missed every time. "I am even worse than you", Big Bird said. Grover and Big Bird laughed and laughed. Finally it was time to go home. Grover looked up at Big Bird. He said, "I did not mean what I said before. I do not think your painting stinks. Please, may I have it?" Big Bird smiled. "Sure you can!" Big Bird said. Grover said, "I will go hang it up right now." He ran all the way home. "Hello, dear!" said his mother. "Did you have fun at the picnic?" Grover said, "Some of it was fun. But then everyone made fun of me. They laughed because i was a bad batter." "Oh, my goodness", said Grover's mother. "What did you do?" He said, "I yelled at Big Bird. Then I felt worse!" "Oh, my", said his mother. "Then what?" "We played", said Grover. "Then Big Bird gave me this nice painting." His mother said, "Big Bird is a good friend." Grover's mother helped him hang the painting. Then they had a nice hot supper. After supper Grover sat on his mother's lap. "Mommy, will I ever be good at batting?" "Maybe you will when you are older", she said. "But maybe you will not." Then she smiled. "But you will always be good at being Grover. And that is even better."

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