Chapter One: Windy, Windy
Emerson is being blown about by the wind as she heads to the garden backyard to meet her friends, thinking that the wind is stirring up excitement, like her. On the way, she makes up a poem about the wind:
- "Windy, Windy blue-sky day,
- Swirl me up and blow me away.
- Lift me like a leaf or a kite
- Over the treetops,
- Up out of sight."
Camille calls, catching her attention, and says it's her turn. Emerson asks what, and sees it's her turn to jump into a large leaf pile, which she loves.
She jumps in face first, landing on her stomach. Her friends cheer and jump into the pile with Emerson, and the leaves scatter into the sky. Emerson throws some leaves up and recites her poem for her friends. Ashlyn compliments her on her ability to make up poems, and Emerson says it comes easily to her. Kendall asks if they just love fall, and the girls agree and decorate themselves with the fallen leaves, putting some in their pockets. Willa says she's brought apples for them to snack on, and they can eat them under one of the pretty trees with yellow leaves.
Camille points out how yellow the leaves are, and the girls make up a poem together about this, referencing other yellow things such as bananas, Camille's hair, and bumblebee stripes. Kendall says that Emerson was right that poetry is easy since they made up their poem together without even trying. Emerson leaps up, says she has the most wonderful idea, and that the others will love it.
Chapter Two: Fall for Fall
The girls follow Emerson, who has run to the garden theatre stage. She jumps on the stage and says dramatically that they are going to put on a show, called "Fall for Fall." They'll be about all the things that make them fall in love with the season, like the wind, leaf piles, and yellow-leaf trees. Kendall asks what they will do in the show, and Camille says they already have two good poems, Emerson's "Windy Windy" and the "As Yellow As" poem they did together. Ashlyn asks if that's enough, and Emerson says that they can sing songs and dance; Willa seems apprehensive about performing, but Emerson doesn't notice and goes on that they'll perform about fallish things like ducks flying south and pumpkins. Camille adds that includes "muddily, puddily" rainy days. Kendall asks if they know any songs about fall, and Emerson assures them they can just make them up.
When Ashlyn asks how they do that, Emerson gets on the stage and, after thinking, she makes up a song to the tune of "London Bridge":
- Autumn leaves are falling down,
- falling down, falling down
- Autumn leaves are falling down,
- Oh, so pretty!
Ashlyn jumps on stage, takes leaves from her pocket, and throws the leaves in the air over Emerson, adding a second verse,
- Take some leaves and toss them up,
- toss them up, toss them up.
- Take some leaves and toss them up,
- Oh, so pretty!
Camille and Willa clap and compliment them, and Kendall says this will be the best show ever.
Chapter Three: Fun Work
The next day, the girls meet in the playhouse. Ashlyn says they should practice the "Autumn Leaves Are Falling Down" dance, and twirls around, her tiara sparkling as she sings a line. Emerson says that she's doing good and that singing and dancing are only part of the fun. After all, a show is like a party and you don't just go straight to eating cupcakes; there's the fun of planning and preparation. It's fun work, and she's come up with a job for each of the girls to do. Because Ashlyn makes such pretty party invitations, she's making a poster to invite people to the show; Camille likes dress-up, so she is in charge of costumes; Kendall likes to build things so she'll make the set; and Willa will collect all the props like fallen leaves and acorns. Each of the girls get to their tasks (Willa has dashed out of the playhouse), when Kendall asks what Emerson will do--she gave everyone a job but doesn't have a fun job for herself. Emerson says she'll make up more songs and dances for them to learn, and when Ashlyn asks, says she thought of a "muddily-puddily" song that they could do while dressed up as ducks, to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":
- Rain, rain, rainy day,
- Splishy-sploshy wet!
- Muddily, puddily, muddily, puddily,
- We love rain, you bet!
She performs the song dancing like a waddling duck, and then Willa says that Emerson's done it again with such a good song and Ashlyn says the dancing is funny, and all the other girls cheer for Emerson.
Chapter Four: Lucky Duck
It's a few days later, and Camille is trying to recite the "As Yellow As" poem while juggling the foods in the poem, such as a banana and pear. She is mixing up the words and dropping the fruit, and finally gets frustrated that she is making mistakes and mixing up the rhymes. Emerson stops her in the middle of her fussing and says she thought of a better way to do it. Her friends are worried, because they are supposed to do the show tomorrow but Emerson has come up with multiple changes; the ideas keep coming and as she keeps giving them the others are getting confused.
Emerson says that Ashlyn--who is now in a full-bodied pumpkin costume--will read the poem and Camille can hold up the things she names. Ashlyn, who is inside her costume, says she can't read the poem cause she can't see--and she can't dance either, and it's hot and uncomfortable and she maybe shouldn't wear it. Emerson says she has to wear it, and she won't need to dance because Willa will do the muddily-puddily dance by herself. Willa nervously says that they were all supposed to dress as ducks and dance with Ashlyn (the dancing pumpkin). Emerson says she only had time to make one duck mask and so she's the only "lucky duck." Willa does not feel lucky at all, but she puts on the mask and tucks her arms and sits still. Kendall asks her if she's a duck laying an egg, and Willa says no, she's thinking about flying south for the winter. Emerson says they need action, not thinking, and flitters around the stage flapping her arms like wings before sliding to the floor like a duck onto a pond. Willa tries to mimic her, but she plonks down hard and her eyes well up, and she says she can't do it. Emerson sighs and tells her to just sing the song, and Willa whispers she can't do it all alone. Emerson says she'll be fine and Willa says she won't be. When Camille asks what she'd rather do, Willa says she can talk about pinecones and starts to talk about them in detail. Emerson interrupts that she doesn't think anyone is that interested in pinecones, and Willa turns pink.
Kendall offers to have Willa help her with the set, and figure out how to do the special effects like make the wind blow and leaves fly and rain fall. Emerson incredulously states that Kendall hasn't figured it out yet and wants to know when she will. Kendall frowns and says, rather prickly, that she doesn't know when, or if she can even do it because it's impossible. Emerson repeats the word, then clutches her head and snaps that the real thing that's impossible is putting on a show with all of THEM, and that maybe they just shouldn't do the show at all!
Everyone else is uncomfortably quiet for a long time, in fear they could say something that makes Emerson storm off, as they're sorry to see her upset and frustrated. But they're upset too: Willa's hurt, Kendall feels unappreciated, and Ashlyn is confused. Camille, upset that the others are unhappy, suggests they just take a break from rehearsing and the girls return to the playhouse.
Chapter Five: Listen
It's very quiet in the playhouse; each of the girls are working on clean-up tasks. As Camille puts away costumes, she starts to softly whistle "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." Ashlyn starts to sing the new lyrics softly, and Willa joins in, followed by Kendall. After they sing the whole song, Ashlyn tells Emerson that it's a really good song. Emerson huffs and says that if it's so good, why won't Willa sing it?
Camille puts an arm around Willa and encourages her to say how she feels and that Emerson should listen. Willa explains softly that while Emerson is good at singing and dancing, it's very hard for her and she doesn't want to perform alone--it gives her the willies. Willa's willies. Kendall jokes to "walk in Willa's wellies and get a case of Willa's willies," before she tells Emerson that she wants to do the many special effects Emerson has asked her, she's not sure she can and isn't sure Emerson understands just how hard she's trying. Camille says that she's trying too, but Emerson's many changes have her very confused and she can't keep everything straight in her head--it's mixed up like fruit salad. And Ashlyn says her pumpkin costume is uncomfortable, hot, and she can't see anything, and being in the costume makes her feel hidden and like she's not in the show at all, but Emerson told her she had to wear it.
After all the confessions, Emerson swallows hard, takes a shuddery breath, picks up her round suitcase, and leaves.
Chapter Six: Emerson Acts Up
A little while later, the girls see something in the doorway--a big clown shoe, waving. Then a top hat, and then a red rubber nose. The girls are confused, then Emerson bounces into the playhouse, wearing all three. She says she's been a "clown," and really put her foot in her mouth--while trying to put the clown shoe in her mouth literally. As the others giggle, Emerson goes on: She's sorry, and she hopes they can start over. She pulls out a rubber chicken, saying that if anyone has an idea, don't be "chicken." Then from under the hat, she pulls out a roll of paper, and says that while she's got ideas "right off the top of her head," she wants to start off on the right foot--and wiggles one of the giant shoes--and listen to their ideas first. Her friends cheer her, and they all end up in the middle of a hug. Willa says she has a better idea for the Muddily-Puddily song, and everyone shares their ideas, and are soon ready for the show tomorrow, inviting their friends and family to come see it.
For the first act, Kendall and Camille throw leaves around the stage, while singing the Leaves song. Camille remains on stage and holds up props, while Ashlyn recites the full "As Yellow As" poem. Emerson, alone, swirling and dancing and reciting her "Windy, Windy" poem. Then Willa comes out with a big decorated umbrella and all five girls underneath sing the Muddily-Puddily Song. At the end, Emerson steps forward and bows, thanking the audience for coming to see the show, and the audience cheers.
After the show, the WellieWishers sit on the stage together. Emerson says that the show wasn't at all like she had imagined it. It was better! Her friends all cheer her.
- Managing Strong Emotions: A discussion on how to help a child deal with strong emotions, such as not realizing that not everyone shares their feelings, and writing songs with new lyrics to work with those feelings.
- Creative Encouragement: Ideas to help a child who feels that they are struggling with tasks that their friends are doing, and using crafts such as a talent tree (with leaves that move up to show what they are getting better at) and scrapbooks to show their own progress and listing their accomplishments.
- Boredom Busters: Activities to do when a group of children are bored and cranky: Doing things in certain ways (using adverbs as descriptions) and making faces in a mirror faster and faster until they start laughing.