Don’t judge a book by its cover!

It was that time in D’Land — the back to school time! Some creatures groaned while others were brimming with excitement, but like it or not, it was time to return to the routine of lessons and homework, teachers and hard work.

“Waking up early is the most difficult thing,” Din Din groaned as he and his brothers sat at their breakfast table on first day of school.

“I love school,” Dave retorted cheerily. “I love meeting my friends every day! I love the fact that there’s something new to learn, I love…”

“Come on Din Din, Dave and Don,” Derek urged, “There is no time to dilly dally and chat.”

So, bidding farewell to their parents and grandparents, the four brothers set off towards the newly-built terrestrial school for the new academic year.

Even though all the animals had participated in rebuilding the school building after the tornado, yet the first look at the school’s wooden structure took the brothers’ breath away. Under a freshly painted sign bearing the words `Terrestrial School for Animals’, the new school stood in a clearing bordered by thick, oak trees.

The day was filled with surprises. Din Din’s class teacher was Shea the giraffe who welcomed the students warmly. She then introduced a new pupil. “This is Louis, the llama,” the teacher said looking at the newcomer kindly. “Please make him feel welcome.”

Din Din looked up to see a meek looking, lamb-like creature standing at the head of the class. Louis was standing on four shaking legs and his mouth was trembling. It was a funny sight and drew a few giggles from some classmates. However, Din Din, who was also very reserved by nature, felt sorry for the shy, new animal.

Louis finally took his place towards the front of the class.

“The first social studies project of the term is a study of natural disasters,” explained Shea. “As a consequence of the tornado, it has been made compulsory for all schools in D’Land to offer a course on surviving natural disasters.”

The class nodded solemnly. The memory of the tornado and its terrible aftermath was etched in their young, impressionable minds forever.

“I will divide you in groups of three — each group will be given one natural disaster to cover,” Shea said. Din Din found himself paired with Tyro, the tyrannosaurus and the newcomer, Louis.

“This is the worst group ever,” Din Din thought to himself. “Tyro is bossy and Louis is new!” “Our topic is tornadoes…,” Tyro said sauntering towards Din Din during recess time. “It’s upto you and me, Din Din. This newcomer, Louis, is such a scaredy-cat! He can’t even stand properly in front of the class, how will he ever deliver a presentation.”

Din Din didn’t say anything. He didn’t like the way Tyro was talking about Louis. It was too soon to judge their new classmate.

“Let’s meet after school to discuss our project details. I want our project to be the best!” announced Tyro. “Let the newcomer know too.” He strode off to where his friends were waiting for him.

Din Din knew no one could argue with Tyro so he went in search of Louis. The llama was sitting alone, eating an unappetizing lunch of grass hay salad.

“Hello,” Din Din said kindly.

“H..hel..lo,” stammered the llama.

“You are in our group for the presentation,” explained Din Din. “Tyro has suggested that we meet after school today to decide an outline for the project and designate work,” Din Din elucidated.

So after school hours, many students met to plan their presentations including Din Din, Tyro and Louis. Tyro dominated the discussion as anticipated, “Our presentation will be on ‘What do to when a tornado strikes?’…I will do the oral presentation and Din Din will make and illustrate the charts.” Tyro conveniently left out Louis. Louis whispered to Din Din shyly, “Can I help you do the research for the charts?”

“Sure,” said Din Din awkwardly. Together they went to the library and hunted for material. Din Din found that Louis was a slow and careful but keen worker.

The entire week the trio met after school regularly. Tyro rehearsed his presentation in front of them without asking for their opinion. Din Din’s charts had turned out nicely and supported their project.

“Tomorrow morning is the presentation,” Shea the giraffe announced in class at the end of the week. “I hope all of you are well prepared?”

“Yes we are, teacher,” the class echoed in unison.

“See you both tomorrow early in the morning. We will have a final rehearsal before assembly,” instructed Tyro. Din Din and Louis nodded in agreement.

However, the next morning when Din Din reached the Terrestrial School premises, only Louis was waiting for him. “Why isn’t Tyro here yet?” Din Din wondered aloud.

“Hey, Din Din!” hollered Tessa the triceratops who was Tyro’s best friend. “Tyro is down with a severe case of flu. He has asked me to inform you that he won’t be able to come today.”

“What?” yelped Din Din.

“What about the presentation?

He was supposed to give the oral pitch.“

“It’s okay, Din Din,” said Louis softly. “I…I can handle it. I remember Tyro’s content.” Din Din looked at the meek llama doubtfully. But he had no choice but to trust him because he did not have the courage to give an extempore presentation himself.

During the social studies lesson, Din Din’s group was the first to present. With trembling paws, Din Din put up the charts on the black board. Louis walked up to the head of the class with his head lowered.

Very softly he began, “O…our group leader Tyro is ill so I will present on his behalf.”

The entire class looked on in amazement as the usually quiet llama delivered a most interesting lecture in his soft, clear voice on tornado survival pointing to the charts behind him.

The classroom echoed with applause when Louis completed his speech.

“Very well done, Louis and Din Din!” commended Shea, their teacher.

During recess Din Din ran to Louis and hugged him.

“You saved the day!” the dinosaur exclaimed. “I must apologize for misjudging you! You are a genius!”

Louis blushed. “It’s okay, Din Din. My quiet and shy demeanor usually makes people think I’m boring. You’re not the only one who has thought so.”

“I can’t wait to tell Tyro about you!” said Din Din. And the two friends laughed together!

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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