Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise Part 5

watermelonandjellyphantAll four squinted from the map then tried to see out over the Island. they had moved from the blackberry bush to the top of the banana tree because it was the very highest point in the grove.

“Blackberry, can you see the spot Grape is talking about?” Watermelon asked.

“Errr, kinda,” he replied, trying to focus his glowing purple eyes. “But it’s so far away, I can’t really tell if it’s the right dark spot. Maybe it’ll improve when we get closer.”

“I can tell the rest of us are going to need a light. That’s why I’m bringing this!” Kiwi pulled a lantern out from under the banana leaf they were sitting on. “Vulpes gave me this really shinny stuff called foil. I added it to one side of my lantern, and put in a beeswax candle instead of a glow worm, and Bam!” she lit the candle with a glowing stick from the fire she’d brought with her and a beam of light shot out like a search light.

The others gasp at the lantern’s brightness.

“Isn’t it great?”

“Good job!” said Grape enthusiastically.

“I have more candles in case this one burns out, and the lantern has a cover to keep the wind from blowing this one out. I can carry everything on my trusty new gear belt that Blueberry helped me sew.” She lifted he wings so they could see the brown belt with all it’s pockets. “There’s even a hook to hang the lantern from while I fly so my toes are free for landing!” She lifted off the ground and wiggled her green toes.

“Well, it looks like we’re ready. BlackBerry! Lead us in the general direction, and we’ll use Kiwi’s new search light when we get closer!”

And so, Watermelon, Grape, Kiwi and BlackBerry flapped off into the night in search of the fallen star.

As they got closer to the dark spot it was as they suspected, the moon, high in the starry night, lit the forest around it and made it easier to see the landing spot of the star. Tiny plants had began to grow from the burnt foliage. They had been flying for just over an hour and ere very tired, because the wind was blowing in their faces making forward flight harder. Huffing and puffing, they landed in the low brush. Kiwi aimed her lantern around them. There was no sign of the star.

“I’m sorry to say it, but it must have been moved!” Grape reluctantly observed.

BlackBerry yawned. “We flew all that way for a dead end?”

“Maybe there’s a trail, like if someone saw it land and came and got it and we could see their footprints,” suggested Watermelon. Grape looked at him doubtfully without comment. He was thinking that such a thing was highly unlikely, as the star had landed months ago.

Kiwi groaned. “What do we do now? We can’t just give up, we’ve flown so far.”

“I don’t think we should either, but I could really use a nap,” BlackBerry said.

Watermelon looked at his disheartened away team and nodded. “Okay, I say we sleep a few hours, wake up at dawn so we can keep working. we need to get back before dusk or Mandarin will definitely notice something is up. The others nodded. Together they flew to the edge of the burnt clearing and clustered in the lower branches of a tree.

Meanwhile, back at the grove, the party had started winding down. Mandarin secured his CupCake Bat in his bakery and curled up in an empty orange peel to sleep. The rest of the Bushel whispered together, wondering how Watermelon and the others were doing on their quest. They know they would have to distract Mandarin as best they could while the foursome was gone.

Watermelon woke to sounds of rummaging coming from the ground below the tree. His ears twitched as he listened to the noise, his eyes still closed, alf asleep. Suddenly, his eyes popped open wide as something huge wrapped itself around him! He squeaked loadly in alarm, trying to flap his wings. They were stuck under the python-like grip what enfolded him!

“Wake up!” he yelled to his friends. Grape, BlackBerry, and Kiwi awoke to his call, dropping from their branches and flapping around him in alarm. whatever it was, its skin was thick and didn’t react to Blackberry’s thorns as he pokes and scratched. Grape flew down the long thing holding his friend hostage. It was toasty tan in the early morning light. Then, at the bottom, there was a mouth! Grape retreated in alarm, as it was obvious the thing was huge and he’d never see what it really was from so close up. From several feet back he could see that the thing was a massive creature, and it held Watermelon was its long nose!

“It won’t let go! It won’t let go!” Watermelon told them, straining this way and that. The trunk brought him down, closer to one of the thing’s small eyes. It blinked at him. From somewhere farther into the forest, a loud trumpeting noise blasted. The creature looked in the direction of the sound, still holding Watermelon Bat aloft. After a pause, it lowered it’s nose and then curled it under, Watermelon still in it’s grip. He looked like a green and pink sprinkle stuck in the curl of a cinnamon roll. The giant began to lumber in the direction of the trumpeting. Kiwi, BlackBerry and Grape frantically followed it into the trees.

“We’re coming, Watermelon!” Grape called, “We won’t abandon you!”

As they followed, Grape noted the features of the bat-napper. It walked on four thick legs. It was all toasty tan colored except for a big reddish pink splat on its back and top of its head. It had big flappy ears, each shaped like half a slice of bread. It’s tail was long and thin with a tuft of fluff on the end that matched the purple splats. It was certainly a curious creature, but what in the world could it want with Watermelon?

While he studied the weird animal, the group emerged from the tree line in a bif open field. Across the field stood a brother or sister of their captor, only this one had purple splats instead of pink. The tow walked toward each other, then turned and crossed the field, all the while the FruitBats squeaked in distress. There was a cottage in one corner of the fiild, and the creatures headed towards it, the purple splat trumpeting with its nose. As they neared the little house, the dorr swung open.

“What’s all this racket about, you silly Jellyphants! You’ll wake up the whole island before the sun is even up properly!” a figure in the doorway said. Though the words were chastising, the tone wasn’t harsh. “What’s that in your trunk, Raspberry Jam?”

Watermelon gave the loudest squeak he could. The Jellyphant (apparently) extended its trunk and held Watermelon out to the stranger, who stepped from the cottage to receive him. Kiwi, BlackBerry and Grape flew forward to grab him as soon as he was released.

“I’m sorry the Jellyphants scared you,” the stranger said, as Raspberry Jam opened its trunk and placed Watermelon into her waiting hands. The other Bats, sensing she meant no harm, landed on her arms rushed to help Watermelon up. The stranger had very long, arms, they were covered in long red hair.

“Who are you?” Watermelon asks between gasps.

“Well hello to you too,” she said. “I’m called Meringutan. But you all can call me Meri.”


Cuddlefish Coloring Page


This is more of a coloring half page! The CuddleFish are funny little cephalepods. They live in the reef in Crescent Bay and move around using the ruffled fin that around goes around their bottoms. They have 4 tentacles and they are very good at camouflage because their skin can change colors!

The CuddleFish are based on real cephlapods called cuttlefish. Real cuttlefish have more tentacles. There are many different kinds of cuttelfish all around the worlds oceans. They can not only change the color of their skin, but also its texture!  My favorite are the Flamboyant Cuttlefish of Australia. Instead of matching their surroundings, they are bright and colorful. They don’t float very well, so they use their tentacles and fin like little legs to walk around on the sea floor.

You can learn more about them here:

And we have plushies, as always, in the Magpie’s Masquerie Etsy store!


The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part5 Finale

bbbat 001
All the Bushel came fluttering and tumbling into the open, keeping their wide eyes on the looming figure.

THUNK! went the cage over the pile of berries on the banana leaf! All the leaves and moss they had stuck on it bounced onto the ground by the force of the landing. As planned, they drew their swords and flails in case the cage was not heavy enough.

“ROAR!” screamed the monster in the cage…but then it was silent.
Lemon Bat, standiong behind the rest of them, picked up the lantern and handed it to Lime, who passed it to Watermelon, who stepped out in front of them and lifted it high. The light was not very bright, and all they could see at first was a black lump on the banana leaf. How odd. Where had the monster gone?

“Hey, you in there,” Mandarin said, taking a step forward. “What’s the matter? You’re the one who likes to hop out of bushes at folks. Hellloooo.”

Just then, the sky showed signs of dawn. It started to glow pale, faint blue. They could see the lump in the cage shiver, and one ear with a tuft of fluff on the tip lifted up and wiggled. A moment later, a glowing purple eye appeared! They all took a cautious step back. Soon they could see from the new light in the sky that this ear and eye were peeking out from between two wings. Slowly, both the ear and the eye had a twin, and a purple nose emerged as well. To all of their surprise, this face looked a lot like the ones they saw in the mirror!

“Go away!” the face abruptly said, and immediately hid back behind the wings.

The Bushel all turned to look at each other. Everyone looked confused, except for Grape Bat.

“See,” he told them in a low voice. “This was my other idea. There wasn’t a monster at all, it’s BlackBerry!”

Lemon fanned himself, “Oh, good!”

“But why does he want us to leave?” Blueberry asked. “Does he hate us?”
Mandarin snorted “Why? He doesn’t even know us!”

Strawberry looked around and noticed Batnana was not beside her anymore.

“Batnana? Where did you go!”

They all turned back to the cage and there she was, her face up to the bars, her wings trying to lift the edge.

“Stop!” They all cautioned her.

“Are you fermented?” asked Mandarin

She looked at them funny. “Boop-de-doop?”

“Because,” Strawberry insisted, “We don’t know him yet.”

They gathered close to the cage, but pulled her back a few steps.

“BlackBerry Bat?” Watermelon asked.

The lump wiggled. “Go away,” it repeated.

“Yes, we got that part,” Mandrin Orange said. Watermelon waved for him to be quiet.

“We don’t want to go away, we want to meet you properly.”

BlackBerry Bat stuck his face out again and glanced them over, apparently seeing clearly in the dim light. “Why?” he asked with suspicion.

“Well, you are a FruitBat, and we are too, so we thought you might want to come live in the grove with us.” Blueberry told him with a smile.

His eyes went to their weapons. “Awefully funny way of showing it,” he said. “Trapping me, pointing pointy things at me. Why should I?”

They looked guiltily at their swords and flails.

“These things?” Mandarin said, poking the dirt with his tulip pistol sword and the tip broke off. “They’re just for games. They don’t do much, really. Besides, all that scaring us made us think there was a monster so that’s why we made the cage.” They dropped the weapons.

Blackberry sat up a little more. “Maybe I am a monster.”
Apple giggled.

“What’s so funny about that?”

“You don’t look like a monster, with those fulffy tufts on your ears,” she told him.

BlackBerry covered the tops of his ears with his wings and they all suddenly noticed that at each point of his wings there was a purple thorn!

“Ooooo,” Batnana said.

He saw them staring at his throns and his face contorted like he was going to cry. “Oh no, this is what it was scared of! You think I’m weird looking, don’t you! I have thorns! Thats why I have fluff on my ears, it hides them on my ear tips! And my eyes glow, too!” He curled back into a ball and covered his face again.

The bushel just blinked for a few seconds, then they all exchanged nods and grabbed the vine that attached to the op of the cage and lifted it up off of the scared trapped bat. When it was up high enough, they pushed it off to the side and let it bounce into the undergrowth. That finished, they all went back to BlackBerry and sat down around him.The sun was truly coming up now, warming the sky to pink and orange.

After a minute of quiet, BlackBerry peeked out again.

“Please come with us,” begged Blueberry.

“We are really sorry,” Watermelon told him. “We thought that whatever was trying to scare us off might have eaten you. We didn’t know you were scared of us!”

“I’m not scared of you,” he insisted. “I just, I thought you wouldn’t like me. It would be easier to scare you away.”

Batnana shook her head and laughed a squeeky laugh. She walked over and spread her wings in front of him.

“I think… she wants to hug you,” Strawberry told him.

“Oh, um…ok?” he replied, sitting up.”

Batnana gave a bounce of joy and swooped over, wrapping her wings around him.

His eyes got big from the tightness of her hug “Ack!” he managed to eek out.
The Bushel giggled. Luckily, Batnana didn’t get any thorn prickles this time.

“I’m thinking that means you should come with us,” Watermelon suggested when she let go. The others all looked at him with expectation.

“Pleeease,” Blueberry said, leaning in and smiling. “We don’t think you’re weird, or scarry. We want you to come to the grove. It’s so pretty, and the bush you came from is there and it has yummy berries to eat!”

“And you can see the ocean,” said Pear.

“And I will make a cake to celebrate!” Mandarin chimed in.

“And we can have a proper welcome party at my place!” Lime added.

“Yes! You have to come. And if you don’t like it, then you can come back here,” promised Watemelon.

Blackberry looked around at all of them He felt a little overwhelemed, but maybe it wasn’t in a bad way. “Well, I guess I could give it a try-”

“YAY!” the Bushel cheered all together. Batnana did loops as they all took off.

“Follow us, BlackBerry Bat! We’ll take you home!”

A big smile grew on BalckBerry’s face. “You know, that sounds great.”


The Origin of the FruitBats

FruiBatslogoOne night, before the sun rose and most creatures were still asleep in their dens, a star fell over Willowyck Island. As it streaked over the fruit grove that overlooked Crescent Bay, some of its magic stardust sprinkled over the fruits like sugar crystals.

The very next day, as the sun warmed the fruits, everyone on the island agreed that it was the best bunch of fruit they had ever seen in the grove. In fact, the colors were so bright and brilliant that nobody wanted to pick any of them because they were afraid they would spoil. This was a good decision, because something very strange was about to happen; just as the sun began to roll over the horizon for the night, the fruit began to tremble, then to down-right shake!

Suddenly, they started popping! On the grape vine, a bunch of grapes grew a pair of purple wings. A moment later, a purple face with big ears and beady black eyes appeared as grapes went dropping to the ground below. Nearby, on the lemon tree…

…a yellow face emerged from a lemon as the rind peeled back, likewise a green face came out a few inches away from a lime on the lime tree next door.

Next came Apple Bat and her brother Pear. Climbing out of their fruit they begin flapping their wings, which had seeds in them, and shaking off their juice. On the orange tree, the biggest, plumpest orange wiggled and wiggled, and all of a sudden Mandarin Orange came out. He shook off the orange juice and proclaimed that he was hungry, so he ate the rest of the orange!

From the little kiwi tree, one of the fuzzy brown fruits unfolded and it turned out not to be a fruit at all, but Kiwi Bat! Awkward on her new wings, she wobbled over to the banana tree, where a small bunch of ripe yellow bananas swung back and forth. Out of the bottom, a little yellow bottom popped out. It gave a brief wriggle, then went back in and a moment later, Batnana’s head emerged instead. Kiwi helped her get out the rest of the way and they went tumbling down into the strawberry patch.

When they landed, they were beside the biggest Strawberry ever to grow on the island! And as they watched, Strawbatty pushed her way out, and sat licking yummy juice from her wings.

Over in the watermelon patch there came a thumping. All the bats heard it. In the center of the patch lay a watermelon that bounced with every thump. They flew over to investigate. With one last BANG, the top of the watermelon cracked, and a second later, it cracked more. Then, a head peeked out: a green head, with bright pink in its ears.
Watermelon Bat looked around at his fellow FRUITBATS. All were colored like their fruit of origin, and they had seeds on their wings. They looked on him with their new eyes, curious and surprised at their own existence and the giant bouncing fruit. It is an awfully strange thing to wake up one day and be a bat, when just the day before you were a fruit!

Watermelon looked at is fellow fruits-become-bats and thought: “This is going to be one big adventure, we better stick together!”

Introductions #9 Strawbatty

Strawberry Bat, or Strawbatty, is the strongest FruitBat in the grove! She is the only one who can blow the conch shell that Kiwi put up in her tree to use for calling other parts of Willowyk Island. She is bursting with energy and ready to do the heavy lifting to help a friend. Her best friend is Batnana, and she is the only one who can understand Batnana’s funny way of talking. She is not afraid to get messy and her favorite game to play in the grove is knights. To play, the bats use the dried stamen from a tulip tree flower as a sword, a walnut shell as a shield and gum balls as a swinging flail. Blueberry always gets nervous when the bats decide to play knights, because she is always worried someone will get hurt. Strawbatty tells her a few scratches are good for you!

Introductions #1 WATERMELON BAT

Watermelon Bat

If we are going to start with introductions, it is only right to introduce Watermelon Bat first, as he is  undoubtedly the leader of the Bushel! A good moderator and loyal to his friends, he is brave and makes sure to involve everyones talents when problems arise on adventures. When something goes wrong, the Fruitbats know they can count on Watermelon to fix it. Level headed and fair, he is also a good bat to go to if there is an argument. He has made it his responsibility to keep the Bushel happy, safe, and healthy, and that means adventures! Because there is nothing more healthy than a good adventure!

Meet the FruitBats

The Bushel from Willowyk Island

Spreading Seeds of Friendship!

The FruitBats reside in the peaceful, warm orchard of Willowyk Island, where they were born from the trees; fruit turned bat from the magic dust of a falling star! Their early days were spent playing together in the fruit grove, learning how to use their new wings and discovering who they are while becoming friends. This blog will be about all their adventures! The first weeks will be introductions, of course. There are a dozen different Fruits in the grove, and more characters will come along as their tales are told.

See more about the Bats at