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[Illustration: Tomás and his dog, Luna, both with big smiles on their faces.]

Title: Tomás and the Case of the Mysterious Missing Dog

[Illustration: Tomás is skateboarding with a big smile on his face and arms stretched out.]

Hi! I’m Tomás! I guess I'm pretty typical for most third graders:  I've got cool friends, a teacher, Ms. Acorn, who's pretty nice (but I think she gives WAY too much homework), I love computer games, pizza and riding my skateboard.

[Illustration: Tomás standing in the middle of his friends. Jim is sitting in a wheelchair. Randy is holding up a tomato in his hand and Natalie is looking at the tomato.]

But, we've all got something that makes us a little different from each other. My friend Jim can speak Chinese, my friend Natalie wears a hearing aid. And then there's Randy. Randy likes to eat TOMATOES! No kid likes to eat tomatoes! But that's okay 'cause differences ROCK! If we were all the same, that would be BORING!

[Illustration: Tomás sitting on the floor with his face pushed all the way against a television. His mother is looking at him with a worried expression.]

I guess something different about me is I have this thing with my eyes called optic atrophy.  What happened was when I was about three years old my mom noticed I sat REALLY close when watching TV.

[Illustration: Tomás is holding an open book up close and squinting at a  page.  There are four exclamation points over his head.  ]

She also wondered how come, when we were reading a book together, I'd push my nose right up against the pages to look at the pictures.

We went to the eye doctor and that's when she said I had optic atrophy. I got glasses but even when I'm wearing them, it's sometimes hard for me to see certain things.  

[Illustration: Ms. Acorn is standing at the board.  Tomás is facing the board with a pen in his hand and a puzzled look on his face. The writing on the board looks very fuzzy.   ]

For example, when Ms. Acorn puts something on the board or the overhead screen, my friends can read it just fine, but for me, well, it looks kind of fuzzy and blurry.

[Illustration: Ms. Acorn is standing in front of a board that has the title 'Math Warm Ups' at the top, and numbered math problems written below.  Tomás is smiling and looking through his telescope at math problems that are now very clear and easy to read.  ]

Fuzzy and blurry unless I use my telescope.  I take it out, put it to my eye, point it at the board and twist it a little to get it focused.  Then, I can read just like everybody else.

[Illustration: Tomás is seated at his school desk. He is using a hand-magnifier to look at a worksheet labeled 'Science Test'.]

Another thing is books and worksheets. I've got to put them really close to read and that makes my eyes tired and gives me a headache. So, I pull out a magnifier and then I can read just fine.  

[Illustration: Tomás is standing in the hall with Ms. Left. She is pointing to a bulletin board and Tomás is looking at the board with his monocular.]

That's when Ms. Left, entered my life. She's a "teacher of students with visual impairments". I just call her my "vision teacher". She's the one who showed me how to use the telescopes and magnifiers and some other cool stuff, too. She and I get together once a week and we work on ways of making it easier to see things.

[Illustration: A drawing of 4 different kinds of optical devices:  monocular telescope, electronic tablet, hand-held magnifier, and pocket magnifier.]

I've got a few different kinds of optical devices, too, for looking at different things.

[Illustration: Tomás is standing and holding his monocular up about to look through it. Another student is smiling and reaching for the magnifier. Tomás has an annoyed look on his face and is holding his hand up to the other student in a 'back off' gesture.]

My friends think the magnifiers are awesome.  They want to check them out sometimes but I tell them no 'cause these aren't toys... I gotta have 'em with me at all times so I can get things done.

[Illustration: Tomás is resting his elbow on his school desk, squinting at the board, which looks blank to him.  His telescope sits on his desk top, covered with cobwebs.   ]

I didn't really like using all this stuff as often as my teachers thought I should because I felt it made me look different. Sometimes I just preferred to squint. Until one day....

[Illustration: Tomás and his dog Luna are running along.  Tomás has a big smile on his face and has just thrown a Frisbee.  Luna is jumping up to catch it.  ]

Like a lot of kids, I've got a dog. She's a great dog.  Her name is Luna. I got her when I was just a baby, so we kind of grew up together.  She's super-cool.  She can run really fast and catch a Frisbee in the air.  She likes to wrestle too! And she sleeps with me in my room at night. All my friends like her, too.

[Illustration: Tomás stands in front of an open gate, looking surprised, worried, and aghast.  His hands are on his head, and there is a thought bubble with exclamation points and question marks.  ]

So you can imagine how I felt one day when I came home from school and she was GONE!!!  I couldn't figure out what had happened until I saw the gate to the backyard open and I remembered I hadn't closed it that morning after taking her for her walk.  She must have seen it was open and gotten out. I was so mad at myself!

[Illustration: Tomás with a very worried and concerned expression. He is surrounded by images of possible dangers for Luna including a speeding car, a growling dog with big teeth, a boy clutching a stick and grinning with a mean look on his face and a dog inside a cage labeled 'Dog Pound'.]

Our street is not too busy but still, there are cars and tough dogs and mean kids and.... DOGCATCHERS!!!  Man! I felt awful! I had to make a plan and quick!

[Illustration: Tomás is using his hand-held magnifier to look at a prescription bottle. The bottle is from Luna's veterinarian and shows the phone number.]

I wondered if someone might call Luna's vet if they found her. Gosh! Where would I find that number!  OH! On Luna's pill bottle! I don't know if you've looked at any labels lately, but the size of the print on those things is amazingly tiny!  I pulled out my pocket magnifier.  Good thing I had it with me 'cause I found that number right away.

[Illustration: Tomás and Natalie talking to one another on the phone. Tomás is waving one hand and has an expression of worry. Natalie has an expression of surprise and concern.]

The vet said she hadn't heard anything but they'd call if Luna turned up. It looked like I was going to have to take matters into my own hands! I got on the phone and called Randy, Natalie and Jim.  They immediately agreed to help and said they’d be right over.  

[Illustration: Tomás looking at a street map on his desktop computer. On the computer screen can be seen the menu for a screen-magnification program.]

While waiting for them, I did a web search for a city map on my mom's computer. Whoa! Another trip to Tiny Print Town! I'd never be able to read letters that small but luckily I have a program loaded on there that can zoom in, making things large enough to read.

[Illustration: Tomás is standing beside a printer, which is in the process of printing several copies of a map. Tomás is using his hand-magnifier to look at one of the maps.]

I used it to find the names of the streets where I thought each person should search. I printed out some maps to give to each of my friends.

[Illustration: Tomás hands out maps to Natalie, Jim and Randy. His magnifier can be seen sticking out of his back pocket.]

Finally, everybody arrived and we got to work. I handed out the maps and we paired up and picked the streets we would search.

[Illustration: Randy and Tomás stand in front of a poster that says, 'Notice Dog Found!'. Tomás is using his magnifier to read the notice. His monocular is hanging around his neck. Randy is scratching his head and has an expression of confusion.]

Randy and I headed over to the City Market when Randy found a clue... It was a found dog notice taped to the window. Randy is great at math but some words are hard for him to read. I pulled out my magnifier again.

[Illustration: View is looking through Tomás' magnifier. The image is a Dalmatian dog.]

NUTS! The notice said this dog was a Dalmatian, NOT a yellow lab like Luna. Onward with the search!

[Illustration: Randy and Tomás are running down the sidewalk. Randy is pointing to the other side of the street. Tomás' monocular can be seen around his neck.]

Suddenly Randy hollered,

"Wait a minute! I think I see Luna across the street!"
I took off running!

[tires screeching]

[Illustration: Tomás is standing in the middle of the street. He has a terrified expression and is falling backwards. A car, with screeching wheels, has almost struck him. The driver of the car has a worried expression. Randy is to one side, also with a surprised, worried expression.]


I almost got taken out by a big truck! I had forgotten to check the traffic signal like my orientation and mobility specialist, Mr. Bill, always tells me.

[Illustration: Randy and Tomás are standing at a crosswalk. Tomás is using his monocular to check the street. His magnifier is in his back pocket. Randy is looking at Tomás.]

So I pulled out my telescope real quick and saw that now it was safe.

[Illustration: Randy and Tomás look at a dog. The dog, a German Shepherd, is sitting in the grass. Randy and Tomás have disappointed expressions. There is a dog collar lying on the ground beside the dog.]

But when I got near the dog, I saw it was a German Shepherd. But... Just ahead we saw a collar laying on the ground!

[Illustration: Tomás holds the dog collar and looks at the tag with his magnifier. Randy is looking on over Tomás' shoulder. Both have worried expressions. The tag reads, 'Luna'.]

I got to it first, snatched it up and whipped out my magnifier.... It was Luna's collar! This meant that Luna had come this way. We were on the right track but it also meant she didn't have any I.D. We had to get to her before the dogcatcher! Things just got REAL!

[Illustration: Tomás stands holding his magnifier in one hand and the map in the other. His monocular is around  his neck. He is imagining a scene in which Luna is chasing a squirrel.]

We looked on our map and saw there was a park a couple of streets over. Luna loves to chase squirrels. Maybe she went there...

[Illustration: Tomás and Randy stand on the sidewalk, looking at the park. There are kids playing catch, talking, walking and riding bikes. In the distance, there is a trash can with what appears to be a tail sticking out of it.]

We got to the park and GOSH! There was a LOT going on! I had to stand back and scope it all out.

[Illustration: Closer view of the trash can with an animal tail sticking out of it.]

“Look Randy! Over there! In that trash can... Is that Luna?” We ran over.

[Illustration: Randy and Tomás are jumping back with surprised and frightened expressions. They are next to the trash can. Standing on top of the trash can is a big, mean-looking cat. The cat has one paw raised and its claws are out. There are flies and stink fumes surrounding the cat.]

Yikes! It was a big, ugly, mean CAT! And it smelled! It hissed and swiped at us with its claws! We took off running!

[Illustration: Randy, Natalie, Jim and Tomás are all walking in different directions. Each of them has a sad, dejected expression and a slumping posture.]

We ran right into Jim and Natalie. They hadn't had any luck either. It was getting late, so we decided to head home. I was really bummed!

[Illustration: Tomás stands in the kitchen talking to his mother. She is stirring a pot and speaking to him. Tomás has a sad expression. His monocular is around his neck and his magnifier is in his pocket. In the background you can see the laundry room. There is a pile of laundry on the floor and there appears to be a tail sticking out from under it.]

When I got home, I told Mom about Luna. She said,

“Oh, that’s too bad! Now why don’t you go put the dirty laundry in the washing machine.”

[Illustration: Tomás reaches for the pile of laundry. A tail is sticking out from under the pile and is up in air and wagging.]

I slowly walked to the laundry room, thinking about how much I was going to miss Luna sleeping in my room that night. Then I bent down to pick up a blanket…

[Illustration: Lunas is jumping up on Tomás and trying to lick his face. Tomás smiles broadly and throws his arms around Luna.]

And there was LUNA! She was asleep in the laundry! She must have come back from her little squirrel chasing adventure earlier, where she lost her collar.

[Illustration: Tomás lies in bed  asleep with a contented smile on his face. Luna is on the floor by his bed, also looking happy. The moon and stars can be seen out of the window. On a nightstand next to the bed are Tomás' magnifier and monocular.]

That night, as I lay in bed, I thought about the day’s adventures. I don’t think I could have done as much as I did without my telescope and magnifier!

[Illustration: Tomás, Randy, Jim and Natalie walk together. Everyone is smiling and talking. Tomás has his monocular around his neck.]

The next day, I couldn’t wait to tell my friends that I’d found Luna. They congratulated me and we went to class.

[Illustration: Tomás sits at his desk in class. His monocular is around his neck and his magnifier is on his desk. Ms. Acorn is standing and gesturing toward the board on which is written 'Big Test on Friday!' Tomás has a thoughtful expression on his face.]

As I sat at my desk, I began to think again about how much my optical devices had helped. I wondered if Ms. Left was right... Maybe I was missing things in class when I didn’t use my magnifier and telescope.

[Illustration: Tomás, seated at his desk, is looking to the back of the room where the door is located. There are several other students seated in his row who are also looking back. There is an indistinct figure standing in the door.]

Just then, everyone turned to look at the back of the room.

Ms. Acorn:
“Class, we have a new student today,”
announced Ms. Acorn.
Ms. Acorn:
“Her name is Millie.”

[Illustration: Randy is leaning over and whispering in Tomás' ear. Tomás is looking toward the door and raising his monocular to his eye.]

Randy leaned over and whispered,
“Wow, the new girl is really cute!”
I raised my telescope…

[upbeat music]

[Illustration: View through Tomás' telescope: a girl smiling and waving.]

[Illustration: Tomás and Millie are standing together and talking. Both of them have big smiles. Tomás' magnifier is around his neck.]

Title: The End

Title: Written by Scott Baltisberger and Chrissy Cowan

Title: Illustrated by Scott Baltisberger

Title: Actors: Tomás, Devon Gutierrez; Randy, Rey Garza; Mom, Miriam Miramontes; Ms Acorn, Chrissy Cowan

Title: Dedicated to Anne Corn who inspired many teachers and children with her book, "Monocular Mac"

Title: Copyright 2019, Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

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