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A Letter from an Aspiring Scientist

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Dear Ms. Bea O. Logis,

Hello, my name is Debora Lehr but you can call me Deb, it's a nicer name than Debora or Debby. I’m 11 years old and I’m in 4th grade at Sandhill Elementary School. Science is a subject I’m really good at.

I’m writing this letter because I found a new species of animal. It’s a hippo! I read in The Children’s Great Big Book of Exotic Animals that there were 15 species of hippo a long time ago but now there are only 2 left, the Common Hippo and the Pygmy Hippo. The book said the Pygmy Hippo is like the Common Hippo but mini sized. Well the hippo I found is definitely a lot smaller than that!

The hippo I found looks just like a Common Hippo but it’s the same size as our class hamster Hamantha. Another thing that makes it different from the Common Hippo is that it’s like an owl. When I wake up, go to school, come back home and have dinner it’s sleeping, but when I’m getting ready for bed it wakes up and is hungry. The book said that hippos eat grass and vegetables and fruits so I tried feeding the hippo I found that, but it doesn’t really like them. What it likes to eat the most are Shay's and Jingles Chips, especially the original flavored kind, and crumbs from my PB&J sandwich from my breakfast. It likes to drink water and grape juice. It’s shy like my friend Jessica’s pet bunny and it took it a long time to get used to me. When I first found it it kept running to hide under my bed or the small gap between my bookshelves. I put out chips and PB&J crumbs for it to eat but it waited until I was sleeping to go get them. It took it two months to get used to me enough to let me see it and another month for it to be brave enough to eat from my hand. Now it sleeps in my closet in a nest it made out of my old mittens, Mom and Dad’s lost socks and all the bits of string I can find.

Since there are already Pygmy Hippos and Dwarf Hippos, I think the new species of hippo I found should be called something else. How about the House Hippo? I found it inside my house and there are House Cats and House Dogs so the name isn’t that weird. I know that scientists like to name new species of animal after themselves but I think the Debora Hippo doesn’t sound as great.

Yours Truly, Deb Lehr

P.S. When you write back can you write SECRET in big red letters on the envelope too? I want to keep the House Hippo a secret from Mom and Dad for now, my hippo’s still scared of them and keeps hiding when they come into my room. It doesn’t like Mom’s vacuum a lot either.