So, my sister and I were invited to a birthday party. This happened many times in my young life. Not that kids wanted ME at their parties per se, but because my sister, the perky, popular, powerhouse of spunk, let it be known that her attendance at any wingding hinged solely on my being invited along as well. This was fine by me, for it got me into a lot of fun events that I otherwise would have been excluded from. However, it did leave me in a bit of a quandary for, though my sister got me into the party, the social obligation of picking out a gift for the birthday boy or girl was left to my own discretion. I usually spent hours worrying what I should bring while my sister, Poppy, dutifully rolled her eyes at every lame suggestion I made. Eventually, I would settle upon my old fallback—a card—and Poppy would smile.
Now, I know you might be thinking that I was a bit cheap (not to mention unimaginative) to just bring a card to a party when everyone else was bringing a present too, but my cards were never what they seemed to be, which is why I believe Poppy always encouraged their creation, and why, though I would never be the life of the party, my card would be one of the highlights of the night.
This brings me back, in my usual meandering way, to what I had started writing about in the first place, which was about being invited to a birthday party for a girl named Julie who was known around town as little miss sunshine. I fretted more than usual over Julie’s gift because I didn’t know if I could create something that would match her level of rainbow soul. One thing I did know for certain, however, was that Julie loved sweets. This proved to be the key for the deliciously fun card that I eventually created, and no, I didn’t tape lollipops or plaster rainbow sprinkles to the envelope, though it did cross my mind.
At the party, I presented the card in a plain white envelope with a single sticker stuck to the back. The sticker featured a birthday candle wrapped in rainbow colors and when Julie broke the seal, a small flurry of twinkling lights escaped from the envelope along with a smattering of sparkling confetti. The kids “oohed” and “aahed” at the sight. The card was still dripping these magical effects as Julie removed it from the envelope. On the cover of the card was a little creature holding a big yellow balloon. The creature’s name was Sunshine, and, true to her name, she had vibrant yellow hair and wore a giant rainbow-striped hat.
Stunned with the seeming realness of the image, Julie stared at the little girl’s features as if she could will her to life. Upon opening the card, the very magic that Julie had been hoping to see flooded forth, spinning into the air like a tornado. When the magic finally resolved, the card that Julie had been holding vanished, and in its place, hovering just in front of Julie’s face, was the little creature from its cover, balloon in hand.
Sunshine smiled and took a bow, she was no bigger than a toddler, but her presence filled the whole room. She handed Julie the balloon before removing the super humongous hat from her head and diving inside. When Sunshine emerged from its unfathomable depths she had three yellow balls in her possession that she then started to juggle with an amazing amount of theatrical flair. I watched in wonder for, though I couldn’t keep one ball in the air to save my life, I had created a creature who could run off with the circus if she so desired.
Upon concluding her quick juggling act, Sunshine caught the balls in her hat. Then she waved her hands to and fro like a magician. Confetti and streamers burst from the hat, making the kids squeal and giggle with delight. Next, little flittering creatures, no bigger than moths fluttered forth, bouncing and bopping the air above our heads. After the last of these little Flitter Zings trailed out of the hat, Sunshine dove into the hat once again, this time emerging with a sunny yellow cake drizzled with rainbow icing. She held the cake up for all to see before presenting it to the beaming birthday girl. Pictures were taken as Julie blew out the single candy-striped candle and cut the cake. Sunshine photobombed every single one.
From that point on the evening flew by. I drifted through the throng of preteens like a ghost while Sunshine basked in the warmth of everyone’s undying attention. Years later, Sunshine was still mentioned with fondness, though few allowed themselves to believe that she had actually been anything more than a clever illusion conjured by the magician’s daughter. I suppose I should be proud of this accomplishment. I created a night of sweet memories, though sometimes I would really like to be remembered as the girl who created a real creature who was the life of the party instead.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures