The Surprise: Bobby and April are planning a special surprise for Alice the Great's birthday: a photo album filled with pictures of her all through her life. Little Bill points that they don't have any up to date photos of her, and volunteers to be the "secret picture taker." He tries to take photographs of Alice around the house, and even gets the rest of the family to pose with her, but when she catches on, he accidentally lets the news about the gift slip out. Upset at ruining the surprise, Little Bill doesn't even want to attend the birthday party; trying to cheer him up, Brenda tells him she developed his photos, and Alice the Great doesn't know about these pictures. Bill decides to take the photos and make a special collage to add to the last page in the photo album.
Good Ol' Lightnin': While looking in the photo album, Little Bill spots a photo of Alice when she was his age, riding in a wagon. Alice remarks that the wagon was nicknamed "Ol' Lightnin'" and that she used to ride it all the time when she was little. Getting help from Big Bill, Little Bill manages to find the old wagon in the garage and they decide to refinish it as a gift to Alice. Little Bill invites Alice to ride the wagon with him; she explains that now she is too big and old to ride in it, but she would be just as happy to watch him ride it while she cheered, "Go, Lightnin', Go!"
Ready, Set, Read!: Little Bill decides he wants to learn to read after watching Bobby enjoy reading a joke book. At school, he asks Miss Murray for assistance, so she devises a word game of looking up things in the room that start with the same letter and writing the words on the board so the children can see how they're spelled. During story time, Miss Murray talks Bill through reading one of his favorite stories, Harry the Helpful Horse; Little Bill recognizes some of the words thanks to the game they played earlier. When he gets home, Little Bill shows Bobby how well he can read the story, and Bobby offers to help him learn the jokes in his book.
I Got A Letter: When Little Bill helps Big Bill bring in the mail one afternoon, he asks how people get mail addressed to them. His father points out that in most cases, if you write a letter, you receive letters, so Little Bill chooses to write a letter to one of his friends. He draws a picture for Andrew, and Big Bill helps him address the envelope. A few days later, Andrew comes to school very excited and shows the class the letter Bill wrote. All the other children ask Miss Murray to teach them how to write letters, too. The next time Bill helps his father bring in the mail, Big Bill points out that Little Bill received letters from Kiku, Andrew and Fuschia. Little Bill decides to write his friends right back.