Matthew watched C. J. walk into the classroom. He could tell something was wrong with his good friend. C. J. looked like he would start crying at any minute.
"What's wrong, C. J.?" he asked. "You look like you just lost your best friend."
"I did," answered C. J. as a tear rolled down his cheek. "Mr. Whiskers, my pet gerbil died last night. I found him all curled up in his cage this morning. I must have killed him somehow."
"Oh, no," said Matthew. "That is too bad. But I am sure you didn't do anything to kill Mr. Whiskers. Let's talk to Mrs. Kim. I'll bet she can help you."
The boys found Mrs. Kim preparing jars for a science experiment. Other members of the class saw how unhappy C. J. was. They followed the boys to where Mrs. Kim was working.
"Mrs. Kim," said Matthew, "C. J. needs your help. He thinks he killed his gerbil, Mr. Whiskers."
"Oh, C. J., I am so sorry," said Mrs. Kim. "What happened?"
"I don't know," answered C. J. "I just found him all curled up in the corner of his cage this morning."
"Let's see if we can figure out what happened," offered Mrs. Kim. "What do all living things need, animals or humans?"
"I know that living things need water," said Marcie. "If we don't have water to drink then we could die."
"That is correct, Marcie," said Mrs. Kim. "Human bodies are about 80% water. Animal bodies are mostly water, too. A human being can go only a few days without water. A great loss of water in a body is called dehydration. Too big of a loss can lead to death. Did Mr. Whiskers have plenty of water?"
"Yes," answered C. J. "I always keep his water bottle and tube clean and full of water."Paragraphs 13 to 29:
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