A story told by Astor Court the building in New York City that Mia lives. Mia is an imaginative and grown-up fifth-grader. One snowy day she offered to help her neighbor, an old lady, Mrs. Goldenrod who was struggling, carry her shopping bags home. Mrs. Goldenrod invited Mia in for tea and they learned delightful things about one another. While Mia was there she became fascinated by a statue of a black dog. That statue was Mister Pepper and was given to Mrs. Goldenrod by an actress friend. Mister Pepper was to be given as a gift to the courtyard garden. Mia left to take her dog Bubbles for a walk. When Mia and Bubbles returned the found Angelina in the courtyard garden deciding the placement of Mister Pepper. Angelina, who was Mrs. Goldenrod's niece had taught Mia so much about animals. Angelina gave Mia a magic red collar and instructed Mia to place it around Mister Pepper's neck. Then Mister Pepper could tell Mia and Bubbles his secret.The day of the annual courtyard barbeque Mia did as Angelina had instructed. She and Bubbles learned why Mister Pepper was now of stone. He was happy in the garden where he "wants everyone to think of him as a friend - the friend who will be waiting for them no matter what. "The building, Astor Court ends the story saying that Mrs. Goldenrod was right in that if people would be polite to their friend as well as their enemies, the world would be
a better place. And he would like to add - "polite to the things of the world that don't breathe or move. One never knows how a little polite attention can make all the difference to that brick, or furniture, or statue..."
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