I’ve not finished this story yet, but it is truly delightful and with no further explanation but the title (above) let me share this, a scenario in which Claudette, the narrator is paired with Mirabella, a younger girl to feed the ducks down at the pond to practice compassion:
It wasn’t fair. They knew Mirabella couldn’t make bread balls yet. She couldn’t even undo the twist tie of the bag. She was sure to eat the birds; Mirabella didn’t even try to curb her desire to kill things–and then who would get blamed for the dark spots of duck blood on our Peter Pan collars? Who would get penalized with negative Skill Points? Exactly. (p. 331)
The voice in particular is so consistently endearing in this story–I really wish I could say I’d written this one–by Karen Russell. More in a bit.