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.

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.

 

Sally’s Smiling Sunflowers

Part 3.

Sally wondered what would make Mr. Blunt happy. She wanted to see him smile. “Everyone should smile sometime,” she whispered.

Her dad heard her. He said “If you do that you will be the biggest and best smile maker in the whole world.”

This is Sally as  the worlds biggest, best smile maker for you to colour.

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Q&A With Children’s Author Maria Matthews

I was delighted and honored to be given this chance by Shana. Thank you, Shana.

Rosco's Reading Room

Please welcome Maria Matthews, Irish author of the delightful chapter book, The Runaway Schoolhouse, to the Reading Room today.

Q. Welcome, Maria! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.

A. I live north of Dublin city, Ireland, in a rural village. Like every other writer, I grew up reading and loved to daydream. It wasn’t until my children were grown that I had the time and confidence to begin writing. I began by submitting short stories to magazines and was successful, having stories published in women’s magazines, and being runner up in a short story competition.

Nanowrimo encouraged me to try writing longer works and for the past four years November has been a no housework month, as writing consumes me. Becoming unemployed was a boost to my writing time, but to live, we need to work so I work twenty hours a week.

I was…

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Reviews

Just a brief note to thank everyone who has reviewed my children’s book,  ” The Runaway Schoolhouse”

My latest review was given by Olivia and Oscar who have their own blog site, where they review children’s books. I have to stress that they are not paid to do this but for a copy of the book they will give an honest opinion.

To see what they think of my first book  please click on the link .

Once again thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my short pieces. Have a great weekend

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Spring and the problems it brings

On the first day of Spring, every being, except for Breeze, spend their time cleaning. His plan was to sit and watch Spring work its magic on the wood.

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Lilian walked beneath the tree he sat in and shouted to him, “Mr. Breeze how come you get to sit around all day while I work?”

“I dunno ask your mum.” He said, hoping she would go away.

“I did – she said, either you love dirt or you are just plain lazy.”

“I am not lazy” Breeze said.

“That is what I said, you love dirt.” Lilian said goodbye and went home.

Breeze smiled, “I do love dirt,” he told a passing bird.

However he lost his smile when he returned home. His cave sparkled. He screamed and ran back into the wood. Banging his fist on Hamish’s door he tumbled inside the moment the door opened, yelling, “It is horrible, just horrible you got to help me. I can’t live in a sparkling house. Do I look like a princess,no, I don’t. “

Hamish said, “Good.”

Breeze stopped and stared at Hamish. “What do you mean good?”

“Great,no more dust flying around you, clogging up the air when you walk, I can go visit you, have tea without my allergies kicking off..”

“Then others would want to come visit – I would have to be nice and not eat all the cakes.” Breeze considered the problem. He smiled then said, “ I’d best go and find some dirt for my home.”

Breeze spent the evening spreading dirt about his home. Next morning he went out side for ten minutes to stretch and admire the morning sunshine. Walking back inside he groaned, “How is this possible?” His home was gleaming, sparkling, super clean. “Ahghhhhhhhhh”

He ran to Elegant witches house where he found his favorite baker, Tulip, having breakfast with Elegant. “Did you do it?” he demanded.

“Do what?” Elegant and Tulip asked.

“Put a magic clean spell on my house?”

“No we didn’t but I am sorry I didn’t think of it. And we can’t blame Lovisma she is on spring holiday.””

Breeze marched away, he needed to think about this problem. As he marched through the wood he spotted a pair of purple boots dangling from a branch in a tree ahead of him. “Hello, now that is a funny place to put a pair of purple boots.” He tweaked the boots.

“Hey let go of my boots.” Penelope demanded.

“Sorry I didn’t realise there was a Penelope attached to them.” Breeze chuckled. “What are you doing up there?”

“I was watching for something to happen.”

“Did it?” Breeze looked about him.

“I dunno I slept late today, all of the super cleaning yesterday made me tired.” Penelope jumped to the ground.

Breeze blinked, her dress was brighter than the sun and her gleaming skin made it hard to look at her. “You look colourful.”

“Thanks. Are you going home now?” She smiled at him and waited for his answer.

“Yes. Bye” Breeze was in a hurry to get home for he hadn’t eaten breakfast. His stomach rumbled with each step he took. As he walked he scooped up lumps of earth from the ground and stuffed them in his pockets. When he reached his home he closed his eyes and walking inside he began to drop bits of dirt against the walls, on the floors, furniture and on him. Then he opened his eyes in time to see each bit of dirt roll back outside.

He sniffed the rolling dirt and whispered, “this stinks of Elf magic.”

While he ate his three bowls of cereal he considered the likelihood of meeting Penelope who was watching for something in a tree on a day when an elf spell had been placed on his home.

“Penelope did it.” Now he knew who cleaned his house, it was time for him to persuade her to let him continue as normal. Trouble was Elves are tricky beings to deal with, for they are clever. But Breeze knew they were kind and Hamish’s words gave him an idea.

So he set to work. The next time he met Penelope she got a fright. “Oh my, what happened to you?”

Breeze looked ill, his normally green skin was an unhealthy orange colour and sprinkled with bright blue spots. He sat down and whispered, “I don’t feel well, my house…”

“What about your house?”

Breeze said, “I am allergic to cleanliness. I need dirt to make me feel well, happy and …alive.”

At his words Penelope began to panic, “Oh dear, oh dear. Let me come home with you and see what I can do to help.”

“That would be most kind of you but there is some evil spell working on my house, every time I get it right – poof – it is clean again.”

Penelope looked horrified. “I will do my best, I won’t promise much but I will do my best.”

And she did, of course, though Hamish did scold Breeze for tricking the kindly Elf. “Well she shouldn’t muddle in other people’s lives, we are all different you know.”

Hamish simply shrugged his shoulders.