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Stories for Children

lower-intermediate level

The Perfect Thing

Episode 191028 / 28 Oct 2019




Amy was very excited. She was going to a big birthday party on Saturday night. There would be music, dancing, food and lots of new people to meet. 

Amy knew she would have a great time, but what was she going to wear?

All her friends at school were talking about it. Imogen and Chloe had new dresses. Sally had expensive new jeans. Kerry had amazing new shoes.

‘Mum,’ said Amy. ‘Please can I have some money, to buy something new?’

‘No,’ said her mother. ‘You have plenty of nice things. What about your blue T-shirt? The one with a butterfly on it? That’s lovely.’

‘Everyone else has something new,’ said Amy, unhappily. ‘I don’t want to be the only one in old clothes.’

‘It is not old!’ laughed her mother, ‘and it’s lovely. I don’t have the money to buy you something new. You will have to ask your gran.’

This was a good idea. Amy’s gran loved clothes and loved shopping! So Amy phoned her, and on Saturday they went to the shopping mall together.

‘Now,’ said Gran,’ we are here. So, what do you want?’

‘Something really nice,’ said Amy.

Gran laughed. ‘ We need to know more than that, my love! What are we looking for? A dress? A top? New jeans?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Amy. ‘I will know when I see it.’

Gran sighed. ‘We could have a very long day ahead of us! You must have some idea. What colour do you fancy? Red? Yellow?’

‘I don’t like yellow,’ said Amy, though she didn’t sound sure.


‘I like blue.’

Gran smiled. ‘Great! So we start by looking for blue things.’

They went into the first store and began to look at the clothes. Gran pulled out dresses, tops, jeans... all in blue.  ‘Do you like this, love? Or this?’

Amy chose six things and went to the fitting room to try them on. When she came out, gran was waiting. ‘What did you think?’ she said. ‘Anything nice?’

Amy shook her head. ‘No. The dress was quite nice, but it wasn’t really special. I want something special, gran.’

‘I know you do, my love. It’s a special party! Don’t worry - this is just the first shop. There are plenty of others. Come on!’

Amy and her gran went into every shop on Floor 1. Amy found nothing. So they took the escalator up to Floor 2 and began again.

In every shop, Amy tried on clothes. Gran was very patient. She never got cross.

‘Take your time, love,’ she said. ‘I want you to be happy.’

They changed the colour from blue to red. Still they found nothing.

They took the escalator to Floor 3 and had lunch.

Gran squeezed Amy’s hand. ‘You will find something,’ she said. There are five floors in this mall. We will keep going until we find your special thing.’

Amy ate her burger and said nothing. She was getting very tired. But gran was amazing! She kept looking never stopped smiling.

They searched in all the shops on Floor 3 then went up to Floor 4. But there, something snapped inside Amy. Her heart suddenly felt very heavy. Tears came to her eyes, and she began to cry.

‘Oh love - what on earth is the matter?’

‘I’m never going to find it, gran,’ said Amy. ‘I want so much to find something special, but nothing is right and I’m so tired. I just want to go home, but I can’t go home with nothing.’

Gran passed her a tissue. ‘Don’t upset yourself. We have tried, haven’t we? That’s the important thing. And we’ve had a nice day. That is important too. And let me tell you a secret. I know the perfect thing for you to wear. Something that will make you feel wonderful. Something that will make everyone want to be your friend.’

‘Really?’ said Amy. ‘What is it? Do we still have time to get it?’
‘You already have it.’ Gran whispered something in Amy’s ear.

Amy’s eyes went big. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Yes! Oh gran - you are so clever!’ She kissed gran on her cheek. ‘Let’s go home.’

That night, Amy’s mum couldn’t wait to see the special outfit they had bought. But when Amy came down from her bedroom, she was wearing her old jeans and the blue butterfly T-shirt.

‘You are going in that?’ said Mum. ‘But you spent the whole day shopping! You said you had found the perfect thing to wear!’

‘I did find it,’ said Amy. ‘I am wearing it, Mum. A smile!’ She smiled her best, biggest smile.

Her mum smiled too. ‘You are right, Amy. You don’t need fancy clothes or money. A smile is all you need.’

‘Yes,’ said Amy. ‘It’s The Perfect Thing.’

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