Mia and Nattie:
One Great Team!
Nattie’s mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn’s horn.
But Mia thought Nattie was perfect.
On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age.
When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around — one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.
Character Interview with Nattie
of MIA AND NATTIE: ONE GREAT TEAM
by Marlene M. Bell
Marlene asks: “How did you like the ride in the trailer to Texas?”
Natalie: “I had the best trip ever! The bigger ewes were in another trailer, and I rode with the younger lambs. We had our guard with us, too. Spice, the big, white guard dog sat in our trailer for the two-day trip. I felt safe with her inside.”
Marlene: “Two days? That’s a long time in the trailer.”
Natalie: “We came from Shafter, California, about 1500 miles from Big Sandy, Texas where we are now. It wasn’t so bad. We stopped a lot for breaks and snacks. The floor was covered in soft hay and we had lots of room. There were 120 of us, you know. We were divided between three trailers. One giant double-decker stock trailer, an 18-foot trailer with all of the new moms and tiny lambs and my trailer of mostly older lambs inside.”
Marlene: “What’s it like in Texas? Do you like Texas better than California?”
Natalie: “Yes, yes! Texas is better for sheep. We didn’t have much grass in California. It’s called irrigated pasture there. That’s when a pump opens up at one end of the field and water comes bubbling out of the ground. That water has to be paid for. Not like the kind of water we get in Texas. Rain falls out of the sky for free here. When we came to Texas, we had 80 inches of rain! In California we were lucky to get a couple inches of rain in one year. Sometimes, we didn’t see that much.”
Marlene: “Natalie, what is your job in Texas?”
Natalie: “At first, I didn’t have a for sure place to live. I’m not as big as the other sheep my age, but I tried to hang out with the flock. The main group is called a flock. It wasn’t long before I was moved to graze near the main house. It was an okay place, but boring. I missed being with the other sheep.”
Marlene: “What happened then?”
Natalie: “Once the flock started to have new babies again in September, I took care of the little ones with problems.”
Natalie: “Not a problem for me! You know, where a triplet lamb can’t get enough milk from their moms, or something happened to the mom and an orphan lamb needs a friend. That is my job. I watch out for the little lambs who need friendship.”
Marlene: “I see. If you could go back to the place where you were born in California, would you?”
Natalie: “No way. I like it here. They say that everything’s bigger in Texas. The bugs are bigger and so are the snakes, but for a sheep, the wide-open pastures with lots of grass is the best ever.”
Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.
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