The Acorn and the Maple Key
By Franice Stirling (2.7 reading level)
Acorn: My hat’s off to you!
Maple Key: What?
Acorn: That was an amazing aerodynamic stunt.
Maple Key: Oh, it was nothing. The wind just spins me around.
Acorn: But I can’t do anything like that. I just drop underneath my tree. Have you heard the saying, “An acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree?”
Maple Key: Well, how do you get to a place where you can grow? You can’t grow well under this big oak tree.
Acorn: No, I can’t. So, I have to wait for an animal to come and carry me away and bury me in the earth. Or, some water could carry me away.
Maple Key: There must be thousands of your brother and sister acorns under this tree.
Acorn: Yeah. And our parent tree grew from just one acorn. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet, said, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”
Maple Key: I suppose that would be true about us maple keys, too. Our real same is samaras. I’ve often heard kids call us whirlybirds, helicopters, or wings.
Acorn: You do have lots of names, and I've never even heard the scientific one. If I may change the subject, are you edible? The Native Americans used to eat acorns. What about you?
Maple Key: While maple seeds are edible, I don’t know if Native Americans ate them, but they tapped the sugar maple trees and made syrup and sugar to eat.
Acorn: Your maple syrup on my acorn mush might make a good breakfast. Can you get maple syrup from all kinds of maple trees?
Maple Key: There are about 125 species of maple trees. Only the sugar maple is good for making syrup. Are there different kinds of oak trees?
Acorn: Yes. There are about 600 species of oak trees.
Maple Key: Wow!
Acorn: Haven’t I seen your tree's leaf on a flag?
Maple Key: Yes! The maple leaf is on the Canadian flag. By the way, I like your cap.
Acorn: Thanks. It is called a cupule, because it is like a cup. I grew from it. Oops! Here comes a squirrel. I think I’m on my way somewhere new! Bye.