Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Reblogged this on Mudpilewood, where some visitors have children and grandchildren

Chapter Book Chat

cora cover

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

By Laura Amy Schlitz, Illustrated by Brian Floca

 

Published by: Candlewick (March 28, 2017)

Available in: hardcover, audible

At the time of this review this was a standalone book.

 

Disguised.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile is a lovely chapter book that masquerades as an elegant, long picture book. Truly, it could work as either, with the end result being children who are utterly delighted.

Newberry Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz writes a contemporary tale based on historical fantasy and fairy tales. The text is deft, spare, hilarious, and told with a firmly modern sensibility that keeps it from feeling like a tired old story. To wit: “The crocodile peered out from behind his claws. ‘This is what I’m telling you,’ he said.”

Like fairy tales of old, the story powers through actions and words that are usually considered too violent or inappropriate. Which…

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Too hot.

It was the hottest summer, ever. The broad river was no longer rushing and gushing. The water trickled along, stopping here and there to form small puddles.

Breeze was hot, much to hot to sleep. He walked to the river and sat down but it was so low he hardly got wet.

‘Enough of this, ‘ he muttered and walked to Elegant witches house.

‘We need water.’  He told her.

Elegant agreed but added, ‘I can’t help. Mother nature forbade me from doing anything. She says this is the way it is to be.’

‘Rubbish, ‘ Breeze said and spent the next ten minutes trying to change her mind. He left feeling hotter than ever. “I have to do something or I will simply vanish from lack of water.’

He went home to the darkest corner of the cave. It was a little cooler. Breeze sat on the floor. It felt cool and wet. He discovered there was a leak in the cave and he had sat on a muddy puddle.

‘Feels very cool.’ He said and stopped. Then turned and raced to the river.  It didn’t take long for him to get the work done.

When he was finished he called everyone to the side of the river and showed them his creation.

‘It looks very dirty.’ Hamish said, and everyone passing by agreed with him

Breeze said, “try this, he stepped into the pond that sat to one side of the river bed and sploshed around.His very red face began to turn to its normal shade of yucky green. Hamish still stood and watched.

‘Breeze said, ‘here mind my snack’ he held out a large cupcake to Hamish who didn’t think just acted. and found himself tugged into the pond by Breeze’s large hand. He tumbled in and sat scowliing for about twenty seconds than he smiled. ‘Breeze you are a genius.’ He said and lay back to have a peaceful snooze.

Breeze watched him and wondered if he should warn Hamish that there was a large group of elves, hoblins and ogres heading his way. ‘Best not say anything, he will find out in a minute.’

 

 

The Great Bubble Chase

Frankie! Are you awake.”

Awake? Wide awake sir!” Frankie blinked and looked about him wondering what he had missed.

Right, perhaps you can explain the story to everyone here.”

Of course Frankie couldn’t. From that moment on Frankie discovered that each time he glanced out of the window, his teacher asked him a question. It was really most annoying he decided. After all he had no time to lose if he was to solve his great mystery, of what he was good at doing. His friends seemed to be able to do something really well. Being ordinary is boring to him. He wants to do something so amazing that he would be famous.

His Mum and Dad noticed he never listened to them. Lately they agreed that they wished that he wouldn’t dream so much.

His big sister, Alice, thinks that Frankie is a pest with a capital P. She wishes he would be very quiet, every now and again, for a bit of peace.

His teacher Mr. Woods if asked would have said that Frankie talks too much and never listens in class. He wishes that Frankie would simply listen when he should and answer when he should.

Frankie decided to make a list. This sounded easy but, he found it is never easy to list those things that you could do far far better than anyone else. After many false starts Frankie started writing his list. The first thing on the list sounded simple. To hold his breath longer than anyone else could. He practiced it as he walked to school but his best mate Jim thought that Frankie was day dreaming and stopped talking to him.

The next evening he tried it while he was eating dinner. Big mistake! Frankie had reached thirty when he began to feel strange. His face turned a very peculiar colour but he kept counting. His mum noticed the strange colour and she sprang into action.

Slapping him hard on the back, she said, “Frankie, Could you please remember to chew your food properly. Stop holding your breath, you are not good enough to break that record.” Just to make sure his mum watched him carefully for the remainder of the meal.

Frankie decided, adults were strange, he had explained he was attempting to set a World record, and now they were mucking it up.. More worrying for him was the certain truth, his Mum and Dad were especially good at putting a stop to things that they didn’t like.

He cheered up later when he found a giant earthworm in the garden . Chasing Alice around the garden made him laugh.

He sat on the fence and looked at his short list, the second suggestion was also the last.

It said, and Frankie had to turn the torn page upside down. ‘Stand on mi head.’

Standing on your head sounded easy. It was easy but for one small obstacle. A furry, purring, playful one called Scrappy. Each time Frankie stood on his head, Scrappy thought it was playtime. Being pounced on by a playful cat knocked that effort off his list. So now Frankie was right back at the beginning, thinking and dreaming up ideas.

It was while he was helping his Dad put up some shelves that Frankie had his next brain wave. Frankie always felt important when he helped his Dad. When he got a chance in-between fetching and carrying, he asked,

Dad, is there a record for banging nails into timber?”

His Dad stopped hammering. He removed his cap and scratched his shiny bald head. “Well Frankie, I suppose there is, isn’t there a record for every single thing nowadays.”

That was enough for Frankie. He had a go. Frankie was doing exceptionally well. He was working on nail number ninety eight when his Mum came into the room. Unfortunately she was not impressed with the large piece of timber nailed firmly to one of her kitchen chairs.

Frankie had plenty of spare time to think after that, in his bedroom. To help him discover what was possible he had gone to the library and borrowed some reference books. They were sitting on the shelf waiting for him. Frankie glared at them. They simply sat and stared back. Frankie sighed there was nothing for it. He would have to open them.

They were no help what so ever. Frankie was not able to afford a super car so that meant that he couldn’t break the land speed record (even if he could drive). He didn’t have enough money to buy the ingredients to bake the world’s longest roll ( even if he could bake). He did not have the expertise yet, to find a cure for the common cold, but he was working on that in secret. The chocolate and cheese sandwich which he had mushed up in a jam jar had turned an interesting shade of bluey green. Now all he had to do was wait for someone to get a cold!

Closing the books with a loud bang, Frankie returned them to the shelf and sat on his bed to think . No matter how hard he tried Frankie could not think of one thing that was so unusual that it had never been done before. Eventually he gave up and just lay on his bed chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles. After all it was the thing that helped him to think.

By tea time Frankie was out of his room but he was not happy. He had not solved his problem. He decided to ask Scrappy. Scrappy merely uttered a sad “Meow” and jumped up onto Frankie’s lap for a quick nap.

A loud noise from the television announced the start of his favourite program. Afterwards he dream t of spaceships and guns with dramatic blue rays flashing from them as he, Captain Frankie, and his trusty fighting cat traveled the universe sorting out stern looking green faced teachers and bossy sisters with two heads.

Next morning Frankie woke up feeling great. However that didn’t last for long when he remembered that it was “Test” day. Mr. Woods loved giving third class tests. He thought it was cool. Third class thought it pretty useless.

After all his years and years of teaching,“ Frankie told Jim, “you’d think he’d know that I’m not going to be turned into a genius just like that.” Frankie popped his bubble gum.

Deadly!” Jim said. “Wish I could blow really good bubbles just like you Frankie.”

It’s only practice,” said Frankie modestly, “anyone could do it.”

I’ve been practicing, watch.” Jim had a go. It was pitiful to watch. It was a tiny bubble which seemed to have a nasty looking hole in it. The bubblegum seemed to fall onto Jim’s face. Just then the bell rang and they walked slowly indoors for their test with Jim pulling bubblegum off his face.

Mr. Woods placed a sheet of paper in front of each pupil and explained. “This is an unusual one for you this week, boys and girls. It’s a true or false test. You should enjoy it”

Third class groaned long and loud, everyone except Frankie. He was deep in thought.

Jim’s right. I’m not just average at blowing bubbles. I’m great at it. After all, Captain Grant (space traveller) always said, “In today’s world it is better if you think big.

Frankie yanked another whopper gum out of his pocket. He popped it into his mouth. At first it was tough to chew with one squishy gum and one crunchy one in his mouth. But Frankie continued to twist his face this way and that.

Mr. Woods noticed how Frankie’s cheeks bulged horribly and his mouth seemed to turn sideways. “Just do your best Frankie.” Mr. Woods hastily looked away because it was not a pretty sight. He hoped that Frankie wasn’t going to be sick.

I will have a go, and add one or two more, Frankie decided stuffing two more into his mouth. He began to chew with gusto all the time wondering, how big the bubble would be.

Jim nudged Frankie with his elbow and whispered , “Tick something off or you’ll be in trouble .”

Frankie did. He didn’t look at what he was ticking as he was too busy wrestling with the fifth whopper which he had popped into his mouth.

Everyone was much too preoccupied to notice. So Frankie took a deep breath and began to blow. At first it was tough going but once he got it started the bubble seemed to take over itself. It was as if it was happy to have escaped the warm clammy depth of Frankie’s mouth. Soon it was as big as a tennis ball and still growing.

Wow! Frankie glanced around but nobody else noticed this giant bubble. He stopped blowing and waited for it to cave in, he especially like this sticky messy part. But the bubble kept growing. Frankie didn’t begin to worry even though the bubble was as big as a football and still growing. He felt proud. He was actually doing something amazing . He tried to remove the gum but found that he couldn’t. The gum was stuck like cement to his teeth! Before he could do anything the bubble began to float upwards, tugging Frankie gently out of his chair.

Frankie tucked his knees up and bobbed over Jim who had scrunched his eyes shut and was muttering, “Ibble , Obble , Chocolate bobble,” to decide which box he should tick. Frankie flew over Peter who was busy tying Louise’s pigtails together. The rest of third class were preoccupied ticking or rubbing out their answers. Frankie was too surprised to consider if he should be happy or angry that his friends were much too busy to notice.

Frankie closed his eyes and waited for a shout followed by Mr Woods loud commanding voice. Luckily Mr. Woods was rummaging about in his desk for something and didn’t see Frankie float silently by.

As he sailed down the school corridor Frankie began to relax. It isn’t so bad he thought if I could just get it out of my mouth. He was trying to pry the gum from his teeth,. Eventually he succeeded but now it was stuck to his hand.

My own private plane, Frankie thought as he hovered over the lollipop lady. He smiled politely at her and waved, but she didn’t see him. She couldn’t for her attention was fixed on the giant bubble coming at her. Her eyes were huge as with a shriek of horror she stood staring at it, too terrified to move. Frankie saw the large sign fall slowly from her hand.

He wasn’t the only one to notice it.

The bubble swooped suddenly. “Squelch. ” In a flash the bubble had eaten her stop sign. The bubble and Frankie took off again only this time they were followed by a grumbling lollipop lady. The sign was floating happily in the middle of the bubble.

He recovered from this surprise to find a passing blackbird stopped for a rest on Frankie’s curly head. “Get off” Frankie shook his head and the bird, with a loud squawk flew on. Straight into the bubble! It landed on the lollipop stick where it promptly settled for a nap.

Oh, my , oh my” Frankie groaned, “ this looks like trouble. Perhaps I should burst it”. But one glance down at the angry face of the lollipop lady who was running after him, made Frankie decide it was safer to be in the air.

In front of them Frankie spotted a man sitting on a wall with an open pizza box. Frankie licked his lips. He loved pizza’s, in particular pepperoni. The bubble seemed to agree for it began to descend and abruptly it dipped. But Frankie was ready for it this time. He reached out with his left hand and grasped the pizza just before the bubble could get it. You are not getting this, he thought. But the bubble had other ideas and it bent towards Frankie neatly enfolding most of the pizza. Frankie had no desire to be caught in the bubble so he took one quick bite and the remainder of the pizza was scooped into the bubble.

That’s not fair,” Frankie said as he watched the pizza spin like a frisbee around the lollipop stick. The sleeping bird was still perched on top of the stick.

The man on the ground joined in the chase with the lollipop lady.

What next? Frankie thought. A loud whirring noise warned him that they were not the only ones going by air. A helicopter, great they will rescue me! Frankie closed his eyes noticing how cold it was becoming. He opened his eyes to discover he was sitting on a platform of cotton wool. “Clouds” said Frankie and dipped his hand into the fluffy looking cloud. “Ugh, it’s slimy and gooey. I thought clouds were made of candy floss.” he moaned as he shook off the slimy mess.

Frankie didn’t get time to complain again as he was whisked away on a warm current of air. As they left the cloud and dropped closer to the ground Frankie could see his mum hanging out washing. He called out to her. If anyone could stop this stupid bubble in its tracks, it was his mum.

But he was too far away and she did not hear him. She disappeared indoors. As they approached the flapping clothes line the bubble sank lower still. Frankie concentrated hard on his bedroom window while the bubble gave his Dad’s best shirt a fierce hug. Galoop! And in it went.

Once again they darted away. This time straight for Mr. Thrift and his lively dog, Penny. She was bringing Mr. Thrift on his daily walk. Penny was miles ahead of her owner sniffing the ground . Before Frankie could shout out a warning. Swish! In went Penny barking like mad. She landed on the spinning pizza and began to lick the topping from it.

Hoi, “ shouted Mr. Thrift, as he dropped the lead in surprise. “Bring her back , you can’t dognap her like that.” And he joined in the chase after the lollipop lady and the angry pizza man.

Frankie decided that enough was enough he had to think of a way of stopping this hungry bubble. Obviously grown ups were not going to be much help so he shut his eyes tightly and began to think of different ways of bringing it down.

A lot of childish shouting made him open one eye. He shut it again quickly. School was finished and most of the boys from third class were in the park playing football. The bubble was fluttering along quite nicely towards them.

This calls for action , Frankie muttered and he began to wriggle with his body and feet. Nothing happened . So he tried using his free hand . Flapping it up and down very fast, Frankie began to get somewhere. The bubble was now spinning around . After twenty circles and with a very buzzy head Frankie stopped. The bubble didn’t. It just bounced along. Dipping and diving towards the ground.

Great” Frankie said “We are going to land.”

He had just spoken when ‘ Snap’. It gobbled up the flying football.

Hey” shouted all of the boys. “You, come back with our ball.” They began to run after Frankie.

Frankie didn’t notice them immediately as he was too busy staring at the amazing sight within the bubble. The lollipop stick was now wearing his Dad’s best shirt . The bird was happily hovering above it. Penny had eaten all of the pizza topping and had curled up on the base and fallen asleep. The football was doing non stop laps of the bubble.

Shouts from below reminded Frankie that all was not terrific. He glanced down to see that the Lollipop lady was showing signs of exhaustion, as she dropped back into third place behind the pizza man and Mr. Thrift. Third class however thundered on up into first place yelling, “Geronimo!”

Don’t worry we’ll catch it!” shouted Jim and Ronan the leaders as they looked back at the grownups. With that there was a enormous splash as they led the rest of the boys straight into the park pond.

Frankie tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t help it . It was too funny watching all of his friends splash around amongst the ducks and water. The three exhausted adults had collapsed into one messy heap on a tiny park bench.

It was then that Frankie realised that a most amazing thing was happening to the giant bubble. With each loud burst of laughter the bubble seemed to become dented and misshapen. As it lost its spectacular round shape it began to sway and zig zag downwards.

Frankie stopped laughing and the bubble regained its roundness and began to float upwards again. He glanced back at his friends. They were much too busy fooling about in the water to have noticed.

Frankie ‘s mind was racing along. He looked all about him and saw that they were going to float over the cluster of trees. He waited until they were almost over the trees before he took a huge gulp of air and slowly exhaled. He repeated this over and over. He blew for all he was worth and with each puff the bubble sank . Gradually they inched towards the green grass beyond the elm trees.

Frankie waited until the bubble came close to a large branch . Prising his right hand free he fell to the ground rolling over and over as he landed.

Frankie finally came to a soft stop by the laurel hedge. He pulled himself up and looked towards the bubble just as a terrific Pop! rang out. Bubble gum was flying everywhere. The Lollipop stick dropped like a stone. The bird flew away with a grateful cry. The pizza, Penny and the football landed on a great blob of bubble gum. Penny , he saw was OK just a little pink and sticky.

And Frankie? Well Frankie being Frankie just stayed where he was as his friends rushed up to him.

Did you see it Frankie?, What was it?, Where did it come from ? How did it come down? Who was the fella who was holding it? Was it an alien, All I could see were his legs?”

They were all shouting at once. The adults were busy, trying to remove bubble gum from the sign and Penny.

It was really exciting, “ began Frankie a dreamy look coming on his face. “ I did it. It was me! And I brought it down! Flying is great!”

But nobody believed him no matter how hard he tried to explain. Finally he gave up and went off to have a game of football instead

When they had finished playing and were on their way home Jim smiled at his friend who was trying to explain yet again about the bubble. “Frankie you are not only the greatest bubble blower in the universe but you are also the greatest dreamer.”

Frankie looked at Jim crossly. Would no one believe him? But as Jims words sunk home Frankie puffed his chest out proudly and agreed , “Yes I am.”

And splitting his last piece of gum with Jim he walked all the way home without blowing one single bubble!

The Versatile Blogger Award

I received this award courtesy of  Writing With Hope  – thank you I am delighted to have come to anyone’s attention enough to merit an award.

The Rules:

The rules say to thank the person who nominated you (also providing a link to their blog), nominate 10 blogs you feel should be awarded, and then share 7 interesting facts about yourself.

The 10 blogs I’m nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award:

 My apologies if you’ve already received it or don’t feel like participating

doodlewash.com

childlifemommy.com

twolittlegrasshoppers.com

anotherperfectdaugher

The Aran  artisan

kid-lit-reviews.com

4amwriter.com

balanceguytraining.com

authorshanagorian.wordpress.com

http://www.talesfromthecabbagepatch.com/versatile-blogger-award-nomination

 

7 Facts (I hope they are interesting) about me.

  1.  I am the worlds worst athlete. I tried every available sport, with great enthusiasm and failed miserably. However, I never quit and today am a crossfitter – why? Because I need to be fit for fact no. 2
  2. I am part of a K9 Search and Rescue/Recovery team and have been working with them for a number of years.
  3. I work 20 hours a week but thrive on the other 30 hours that I devote to dog training.
  4. I am mum to two great young adults who now tell me what to do. And guess what? I enjoy being bossed around by them.
  5. If I were a dog I would be a Springer or a Border Collie. Not because I am intelligent but because I am always doing something.
  6. I no longer listen or watch the news as I have decided why do stuff that depresses you?
  7. I never quit and this stubborn streak is why my children’s book got published (along with a great editor’s help).

Sally’s Sunflowers

Sally started on her list. 1. Keep Bubbles out of the way.

She put a nice comfy cushion on the sunny windowsill in her bedroom, next she placed Bubbles on top of the cushion.

“Now number two, the birds,” Sally whispered.

It was a tricky thing to do but Sally placed five fat seed balls on the bird table in their garden along with a full net of peanuts.   Crossing her fingers she hoped the table wouldn’t break.

“Number three,” she said and went to collect his post from the postbox.  Sally walked to  Mr. Blunts door.

Bubbles ran up to her as Mr. Blunt opened his front door.

“Shoo cat!” He shouted.

“Bubbles came to say hello. She likes people.”

“Well,  I don’t like her. Why have you got my post?” Mr. Blunt asked in a loud voice.

“I was being nice!” Sally whispered.

Just then, Bubbles ran in to the kitchen.

Mr. Blunt chased after her. Sally followed. Luckily for Bubbles, Sally was smaller and faster than Mr. Blunt. Diving under the table she caught Bubbles in her arms and dashed home.

“My teacher says practice makes perfect, we will make him smile.” Sally said hugging Bubbles to her.

Number four was – mow his lawn. But, Mr. Blunt had already mowed it.

Sally shook her head. “It is very hard to help some people.”

Number five: wash his car.

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Sally took out the buckets and sponge for washing the car. She wanted the car to sparkle so she squeezed an extra dollop of liquid into the bucket.

She was washing the windows, when she heard a strange noise. She discovered there were dogs licking the car. Great big dollops of dog slobber were flying about and landing on the nice clean car.

“Shoo go away,” she said. They started barking.

Mr. Blunt came outside. “Who is making all that noise?” He stopped and stared at his car, which was covered in dogs of many shapes and sizes.

He was still shouting as Sally and the dogs ran away.

Mum asked her, ‘Is this what you washed his car with?’

“Yes. It said, it will give the greatest shine all week long.” Sally said scratching number five off her list.

Number six: buy him some sweets.

Sally shook her piggy bank. She counted out loud, ‘four euro and two cents. I could buy an awful lot of chocolate for that.”

Scooping the money into her blue purse Sally walked along beside her mum with a hop and a skip. The money rattled as she moved.

The sweet shop with its rows of rainbow jars of sweets was her favorite shop. “He is a really old man so perhaps I should buy him soft sweets.”

The shopkeeper said,  “that is a kind thought, yes jellies are over here.”

Sally scrunched up her face. Mr. Blunt reminded her of a shark. “What would a shark like?” she asked.

“Something strong and hard, I think, to crunch on.”

‘Well, he is an old shark so perhaps, some bulls eyes, chocolate candy, jelly babies and some soft jellies, just in case.’

“Good idea.”

Sally bought some chocolate mice for Bubbles and herself.

On the way home Sally said, “I don’t know how to give Mr. Blunt these sweets without making him mad.” She sighed. “How can I make him smile if all he does is get madder and madder?”

“Maybe he just doesn’t smile.” Mum said.

Sally grinned. ‘That is silly. Everyone smiles, even Bubbles smiles.’

Back home Sally walked to Mr. Blunts front door. She rang the doorbell. When the door opened Sally shoved the bag of sweets at him saying, ‘these are for you,’ and ran back home.

Mum asked, “did it work?”

“I don’t know.”

Mum bent down and gave Sally one of her extra special hugs.

“Number seven will make him smile, a great big toothy smile!”

Sally spent hours working on her picture. The bird table looked just like the one in her back garden, the birds looked like birds. Sally went to bed saying, “tomorrow I am going to see Mr. Blunt smile.”

That night Sally dreamed that Mr. Blunt smiled so much, he out shone the sun. It hid behind a cloud. The birds didn’t like his smile, they flew away. The dogs were frightened by it and howled like wolves.

On the way to his house, the next morning, the wind pulled the drawing from her hands. It landed in a puddle. She gave it a shake and continued to his door.

The door opened. “What? You’ve come to give me another tooth ache?”

“I drew a picture to make you smile, here it is.”  She held the picture out for him to see.

He took the soggy picture and gave a nod of his head.

Sally was sad but she said, “I’m not giving up. I’ll write down my funny joke.”

Sally’s joke was:

A cheeseburger walked into a bar and said, “hello, can I have a pint of beer please?” The bartender replied “Sorry, we don’ t serve food”

Sally wondered how she could deliver it to him without him seeing her. Dad said, “Let’s send it by airmail.”

He showed Sally how to make and fly paper airplanes. Soon the kitchen was full of paper planes whizzing about.

Sally and dad planes

“I can do this.” Sally said. Walking outside she took the empty bird food bucket and placing it upside down stood on it. She saw Bubble’s sitting in Mr. Blunts garden chair. The back door opened. Sally held her breath, pointed the nose of the plane in the direction of the back door and threw the plane.

It flew straight. Then with a – smack- it hit him on the nose. “Ouch! Who did that?”  He roared.

Sally hid behind the fence. With a sigh Sally sat down on the bucket. Now she had to bake a cake. Sally didn’t like baking but she did like eating cakes.

She baked the cake with mums help. While it was cooling Sally made the icing. “This is the best bit”, she told Bubbles as she drizzled some icing on his paw. He tasted it. Sally went to clean her face and put on a clean tee shirt.

When she returned she discovered Dad had left just one piece of the cake.

“Sorry Sally but it was delicious.” He said.

Sally had one chance left. But she didn’t know what to do. Mum gave her an idea. ” Mr. Blunts wife was a great gardener. ”

“Really?” Sally said. They were watching a tv program about gardening.

“She loved bright flowers.”

The man on TV was talking about Sunflowers. ” They are very smiley flowers, aren’t they?” Sally said. She went to find her dad.

“The trouble is real Sunflowers take months to grow, Sally,” he said.

Sally had a plan. First, she drew a huge sunflower.  Then she and her Dad to his workshop.  Days later they were finished. The flowers had bright yellow and orange faces. They had leaves for arms. The petals made a soft clicking sound that she knew the birds wouldn’t like. Her mum helped her paint the flowers.

“It will keep them away from Mr. Blunts garden and Bubbles too.”  Sally said.

Next morning, Sally and her Dad went to Mr. Blunts house, very early to plant their sunflowers. “Don’t worry Sally, if he shouts, I’ll shout back.” Sally crossed her fingers.

Mr. Blunt was grumbling as he walked to the door. He opened it. “You!” he said to Sally.

“Follow us, Mr. Blunt, you have to see this.”  Dad said.

Mr. Blunt followed them. They stood together and waited. Sally heard a strange sound. She felt sad, Mr. Blunt’s bottom lip was wobbling. She knew what that meant.

“I’m sorry, these were supposed to make you happy,” she whispered.

Mr. Blunt walked over and bending down hugged her lightly, ” Thank you. Can I touch them? My wife loved sunflowers, these are smashing!”

Sally did a cartwheel and laughed aloud. Her miles of smiles worked.

 

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“Well done! Sally. I’ve made some gingerbread, can I bring it over?” Mum asked Mr. Blunt. He answered with a smile.

After that, Mr. Blunt became the smiliest man in the neighborhood. He even suggested they start a business. From then on every Saturday morning Sally, and Mr. Blunt sold sunflowers in the market. And every Sunday morning Mr. Blunt arrived at Sally’s house to hand her a small bag of chocolate mice for Sally, just to make her smile.

A Surprising Catch.

 

Hamish and Breeze were fishing. The moon hovered over them high in the sky.  The river flow was slow.

“The river looks tired.” Breeze whispered.

“Lets hope the fish are hungry and tired.” Hamish stuck his fishing line in the water. The line ran from the water to a low branch of the oak tree. Near the top of the branch Hamish had fixed some tiny bells. “They will wake me when the fish has been caught.” He told Breeze who kept staring at the bells.

“I should have thought of some bells,” Breeze said and settled down for a nap.

They woke when a fox jumped onto Breeze’s chest.  Breeze sat up and shouted “we’ve caught one.”

Hamish looked at their fishing lines.They sat quietly they didn’t jig about in the water.  “I don’t think so, it was Harry the fox, blame him.”

Harry apologised to Breeze for waking him adding, “she scares me. And she is a little crazy as well.”

Breeze and Hamish watched the fox run across some stones along the river bed and vanish into the dark field behind them.

“I wonder who scares him. How shall we find out?” Hamish asked as he spotted a  stripey sock lying on the path close to them. They walked to the sock. Hamish sniffed it. “Lovisma, it smells of lavender and she likes lavender.”

“Lovisma loves her crazy coloured socks, why would she drop it here?” Breeze walked along the path and found another sock, this one had dots on it. They continued through the wood finding out bits of clothes here and there. A hat sat on a gooseberry bush, a  dress hung from a branch and a long scarf blew amongst the leaves in the willow tree. As they went they picked the items up and Breeze stuffed them in his pockets. He smiled because he had solved the puzzle.

“I know a crazy collie who likes to steal socks, but I won’t set Lovisma on her.”Breeze said. “I like crazy collies called Ellie.”

The sun was rising and the moon was heading to bed as they arrived at Lovisma’s house. Elegant and Lovisma were in the kitchen arguing. They could hear because the windows were open.

“I don’t understand who steals our clothes? I mean who would want to do it and why?”

“It is very bothersome. It means we have to keep zapping up new socks. It is  a little tiresome.” Lovisma told her older sister.

“What I don’t understand is how it always happens when it is your turn to do the laundry. It is strange.” Elegant said.

“Let’s be kind neighbour’s and return the washing.” Hamish suggested. “Afterall Elegant is a very kind witch.”

They emptied Breeze’s giant pockets and left the socks and hats in a heap on the porch.

“Go hide.” Hamish told Breeze.

Breeze ran into the wood, Hamish rang the doorbell, then hid.

Elegant answered the door saying, “Good morning….” She stopped and stared at the heap of washing. Then she did a little jig and dance on the front porch before pointing her wand at the clothes and ordering them to march indoors.

Breeze and Hamish heard Elegant say, “Good news Lovisma, you won’t be bored today, some kind neighbour has found our washing.Now lets make sure these socks  in pairs.”

The two friends decided doing nice things made them extra hungry so they forgot about their fishing lines and went to Hamish’s house to cook an extra large breakfast.

 

Easter Bunnies.

The wood smelt of cinnamon. Breeze sniffed the air, like a dog would. “Hmm someone is baking, time to go visit.” He stood and stepped further out onto the branch of the tree, then smiled as it bent gracefully towards the ground. Then he stepped off and said “time to investigate such surprisingly delightfully promising smells.”

He placed one large foot on the soft forest floor and went to visit Tulip, the best baker he knew. However when he got to his friend Tulips house it was to discover she was not feeling happy.

“Did you steal my baking?” Tulip, the fairy, flew close to his face.

He shook his head and said, “It is gone? Ahh no who would do such a nasty thing?”

Tulip bit her bottom lip and considered who the thief might be. They decided to set a trap. Breeze helped by taking hold of two of the biggest hot cross buns and blew on them to cool them before eating them.

“Really? Tulip said. That is your idea of helping? Making them disappear?”

“But this time you know when and where they are disappearing. Last time it was some slinky thief who stole them.”

His fingers itched as Tulip placed the other ten cakes on her windowsill to cool.

“Now we hide. “She told him.

“Perhaps I should just sample one more to make sure they really are..” he was drooling as he spoke. “No, hide now.” Tulip stamped her feet and he knew it was a sign that a fairy with a lot of magic was getting madder by the second. And he did not want to make her angry.

Breeze climbed into a tree close to her house and waited. He didn’t see what was happening at first. He simply heard a “swish” “swash” sound and when he peered at the house there was now nine cakes left.

“Bother” Tulip said from her hiding place close to him. “did you see who that was?”

Breeze shook his head.

“Hmm, a little magic is needed.” With that she flew back to her window and threw what Breeze thought was icing sugar on the cakes.

When she arrived back beside Breeze, she put her finger to her lips. He nodded and settled down for a snooze, after all if magic was being used then he had time for a nap.

He woke to see a dancing hopping bright blue light. It made his head ache, the light was too bright. “Turn it off, please ” he asked Tulip.

“In a minute, come with me.”

Breeze looked at her and wondered if now was a good time to point out that she always insisted he said, “please and thank you,” but she often forgot to say it. He decided to be quiet.

They discovered in the middle of the hopping blue light a very angry dancing bunny.

“He looks strange.” Breeze said.

“Herbert is very strange”

But he is the, Easter bunny isn’t he?” Breeze tilted his head sideways to examine the huge basket of easter eggs beside Herbert. “You can’t harm him then.”

“Tulip maybe it would be best to let him go.” Breeze spoke softly.

Tulip thought about this and decided Breeze was right. But only after she made Herbert eat two dozen hot cross buns. When he left he kept saying, “I will never want to see one of them ever again.”

It took Breeze two days and a whole tin of gingerbread men before he forgave her for not letting him eat hot cross buns with the Easter Bunny.