Professor McCloud was the newest staff member and also an absolute delight. Madeleine loved how she was usually wearing something with a flower print on it (today it was her headband) and how she let the beginners students do some of the things the upper year students got to do, which was one of Madeleine’s most favorite things a professor could do. Madeleine had helped out with the bee boxes a few weeks ago, and she was thrilled to get to do more bee things today!
Madeleine liked to wear cute skirts and dresses even to Magizoobotany (she had learned a dirt-repellent charm so that all her clothes could stay tidy and unstained even when she got down in the dirt with plants and animals) but today it had been very clear that the students needed to be all covered up. Madeleine had picked some bright purple stretchy pants because she’d read somewhere that bees liked bright colors, and a long-sleeved yellow shirt with a red panda frolicking on it, plus her ethically-sourced Swedish Short-Snout gloves and her nice outdoors boots.
She said “Thank you very much, sir,” to the welcome willow when it took her robes and skipped over to where they always had circle time. One of Madeleine’s favorite things about Professor McCloud was that she started every class with circle time and asked them a question, usually about their favorite thing. Once she’d asked “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” which Madeleine thought was a really fun question, even if she didn’t have that weird of an answer. Some of the other students had said things like alligator and dried crickets but all Madeleine could think of was the Cookout ice cream at Finnigan’s Flavors, which tasted like an entire barbeque but in ice cream form. Madeleine thought that if she was a teacher she would like to start every class with circle time and fun questions too.
Today’s question was a Favorite Thing question. They had gone over the Lilac Dappled Kneazles Play Chess Occasionally For Great Stakes classifications of creatures when they learned about taxonomy (for homework Professor McCloud had asked them to write an essay about whether they thought taxonomy was real or arbitrary. Madeleine had decided that the first three steps were definitely scientific but it got a little bit dicey after that and she wasn’t really sure), so Madeleine knew what an arthropod was.
It was very hard for Madeleine to choose her favorites of anything because she didn’t want other things to feel left out. She was terribly impressed with Maggie, who went before her and knew a specific type of butterfly that was her favorite. All Madeleine had for her answer was “Ladybugs,” but dragonflies were a close second and butterflies not far behind.
Although looking at the glumbumble in the jar, it easily made the top ten. It had big black anime eyes and looked like it would be very soft if she could pet it, like Jennyanydots, although Madeleine suspected that glumbumbles were not petting types of animals even if they didn’t sting. “It’s okay,” she whispered to the insect in the jar once Maggie handed it to her, “we’re going to make a really nice house for you with your friends!” Maybe she could bring her paints out here sometimes and paint brightly-colored pictures on the sides of the bee boxes, and then they would be super welcoming for the insects. Hmm, did glumbumbles like colors like bees, or did they like grey because they were like tiny little black rain clouds? She would have to ask Professor McCloud later…
By the time Madeleine finished thinking about ways they could decorate the bee and glumbumble houses, almost everyone else had paired off. Oh phew, Maggie was still here. “Yeah, totally!” Madeleine chirped. As they walked over toward the beehive, nettles in hand, she added, “How do you know so much about the peacock butterfly? That was so cool. I don’t think I know any of the butterfly types except the normal ones like monarch.”