The two little pigs met a heron

The story continues from yesterday 😀

Story continues tomorrow 🙂

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The two little pigs met a heron,

A wise and dignified bird,

“Help us please, to find our way home,”

And she listened to every word.

***

“That’s not what I’d do,” said the heron,

“If I had a dilemma like yours.

If I were you I’d get off by myself,

Don’t get stuck behind closed doors.”

***

The butcher was near so the pigs ran on

While the heron tried to distract him.

He paused for breath, returning her gaze

And she prayed he would never catch them.

Stickers!

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-erchapter 17, continues from yesterday:

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Inside the busy department store Luke and Joe headed to the food hall at the back. It was like a supermarket only posh. High on the walls were colourful photographs of grazing animals alongside stylish pictures of meat and fish dishes with captions like “Committed to Animal Welfare” and “RSPCA Freedom Foods”.

Luke turned to Joe.  “The leaflets said this shop is sellin’ ducks from factory farms so stick these on anythin’ with ducks in,” he said, handing Joe half the stickers. Then he reconsidered and took them back. “No, it’s busy so we’d better stick together. You pretend to be shoppin’ – get a basket – an’ I’ll put the stickers on.”

Joe fetched a basket and the two outlaws headed for the chilled section. They walked along the large glass-fronted cabinets and whenever they saw anything labelled ‘duck’ Joe reached up and pretended to be rummaging, picking things up, looking at them, putting them back, choosing something else. All the while Luke, screened from onlookers by his friend’s authentic movements, commenced putting stickers on plastic-wrapped trays of duck spring rolls, duck breasts with plum sauce, and duck legs with Hoisin sauce. Then they moved on to the freezer section and Luke stickered a pile of whole ducklings with giblets while Joe casually kept watch. After that they progressed to the tinned meat aisle but there was a man restocking the shelves. Luke whispered something to Joe who shook his head.

Luke frowned. “If you won’t do it, I’ll have to do it and you’ll have to do the stickers on your own!” he whispered.

Joe accepted the commission, preferring that to the alternative, so Luke approached the shelf-filler.  “’Scuse me,” he said politely, “I’ve lost me mum, can you put an announcement out for her?”

“Sure,” said the man, helpfully, “come with me.”

As soon as Luke and the man were out of sight Joe, as fast as he could, began stickering stacks of tinned duck cassoulet, duck confit and duck liver pãtè. He had to keep pausing, trying to look casual, every time someone entered the aisle, but as soon as they left he resumed. Sometimes the stickers were frustratingly difficult to peel off their backing paper but he took deep breaths to calm himself and persevered. When he heard the announcement for Mrs Kathryn Janeway to meet her son at the customer service desk he knew his time was up. With only one sticker left, he made his escape before the shelf-filler returned. The two boys rendezvoused in the toy department and left the shop unhindered, but not before Luke affixed their last remaining sticker to a yellow toy duck.

****

“What’s your name?” asked Isabel.

“Andy,” said the suited man, “what’s yours?”

“Isabel. Why do you dress like that?”

“In a suit you mean?”

“Yeah.”

“To look respectable.”

“Like an estate agent?”

Kris laughed.

“Well, that wasn’t exactly what I was going for,” said Andy.

“Oh, sorry,” Isabel apologised. “Like a bank manager then? Or a teacher?”

Kris laughed again.

Andy sighed. “Not like anything in particular,” he said, “just a regular upstanding citizen as opposed to a scary, pierced, tattooed, hippy dippy punk, like someone I could mention.”

“Heyyy!” Kris was mock-offended.

“I think she looks nice,” said Isabel.

“Yeah, she’s cool,” Tania agreed.

“Thanks guys,” Kris smiled.

“Yes yes yes, she’s very cool,” said Andy, “but she looks like a weirdo. If we want to persuade ordinary, mainstream people to take us seriously they have to be able to relate to us. We have to look ordinary. Approachable, respectable, non-threatening.”

At that moment a policeman arrived.

“Afternoon folks, have you got a permit for this stall?”

“Don’t need one officer, we’re not collecting money,” Andy replied.

“How long have you been standing here?”

“Got here about twelve o’clock didn’t we?”

“Yeah,” said Kris.

“And you’ve been here the whole time? All of you?” Kris and Andy nodded. “What about you two?” he asked Tania and Isabel.

“We got here about quarter past one,” Isabel told him.

“And where were you before that?”

“The library,” said Tania, deciding that their brief time in front of the RSPCA shop wasn’t worth mentioning.

“Nowhere else?”

“No.” The girls felt their faces flush.

“Can anyone vouch for that?”

“Is there a problem officer?” Andy intervened.

“Spittles have found stickers on a lot of their duck products. They’ve had to take a couple of hundred pounds worth of stuff off the shelves.”

Everyone behind the stall tried to keep their faces expressionless.

“Any stickers here?” the policeman asked as he browsed the stall, “you’ve got leaflets about Spittle’s factory farm duck. Did you do it?”

“Certainly not,” said Andy truthfully, “we’re just here to provide information.” The policeman looked sceptical. “Look,” Andy gestured to all the literature on the stall, “no stickers.”

“Nevertheless,” the policeman continued after a moment’s pause, “Spittle’s would like you to move away from their store.”

“We have every right …” Kris began to object.

Nevertheless,” the policeman repeated with emphasis, “I would like you to move your stall away from this store.”

“No problem officer,” Andy replied, “we can do that. No problem at all.”

Wearing a serious, ‘don’t mess with me’ expression, the policeman looked hard at Andy and Kris before nodding and turning away.

“This is exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid!” complained Andy. “Now they think we’re thugs.”

Kris shook her head. “I call that a win,” she said, “we weren’t going to get that duck off the shelves by just standing here handing out leaflets.”

“We’re playing a long game here Kris,” Andy argued, “we have to keep to the high moral ground. We can’t force the issue or it won’t stick. We’ve got to persuade people to do it for the right reasons, so they won’t renege later on.”

Kris shrugged as she continued piling leaflets into her battered shopper on wheels. The girls, who could see both sides of the argument, quietly exchanged glances before retrieving their clipboard. Andy folded the table and all four of them relocated outside the Arndale Centre.

“D’you think Luke and Joe will be able to find us?” Isabel asked Tania.

“I hope so,” said Tania, “if they don’t get here soon we’ll have to go. Our bus leaves in ten minutes.”

“Are you all going home together?” Kris asked.

“No, we don’t live in the same village,” said Isabel.

“Don’t worry then, if you’ve got to go, you go. I’ll explain it to them when they get here. If they get here.”

“Thanks.”

“Did you reach your target?”

“Nearly,” said Isabel, smiling, “Two hundred and ninety four.”

“Not a bad day’s work then,” said Kris.

The girls thanked her, said their goodbyes and made tracks for the bus station.

****

At the public toilets Luke was having trouble with the automated hand-washing machine. He’d been dispensed liquid soap, no problem, but after covering his hands with it he’d been unable to get any water. He moved his hands from left to right, trying to activate the sensor, but nothing happened.

“Don’t bother,” said Joe, wiping his hands on his trousers, “it doesn’t work.”

Luke was annoyed at the sticky mess. “We’d better get back to the others,” he said, grabbing a handful of toilet tissue.

“They’ll be gone by now,” said Joe, “their bus was at three.”

“Oh. Shall we go then?”

“Okay. Unless you wanna see the new Spiderman.”

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For more Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapters 17 to 24 are available in paperback:

Luke Walker and the Secret Society of animal stick up for-ers

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vegan, veggie kids, animals, animal rights, children’s story, children’s book, books, juvenile fiction, creative writing, vegan children’s book, vegetarian

The Rebel Gang and the Number Ciphers book trailer

Ooh, The Corporation is investigating a group of people they suspect of trying to overthrow the government!

Check it out! 😉

You can read The Rebel Gang and the Number Ciphers here,

and if you want the book, you can buy it here 😀

Good instincts

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

Mum opened the bedroom door.

“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”

“erm, no thanks,” he said without looking at her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?  You haven’t been yourself since we went to the Maybury Centre.”

Luke didn’t say anything.  Mum tried again.

“What happened to upset you?  I thought you’d like it there.”

Luke let go of his trains, sat back and looked at her.

“I’m fed up.”

“Why?”

“Coz I’m fed up of grown ups not doin’ what they say.”

Mrs Walker waited for more.

“Maybury is a animal sanctry wot says it teaches people to be kind to animals.  A man from Maybury even came to give a talk at school to tell us not to keep animals in small cages, or let them have puppies.”

“Okay,”

“So why do people whose whole job is lookin’ after animals and teachin’ other people to look after ’em prop’ly, still let animals be killed for food?  Why don’t they care about them animals?  Why do they on’y care about some animals?”

“What makes you think …”

“They sell dead animals in their cafe.”

“Really?  That does surprise me.”

“If I can’t trust people whose job is lookin’ after animals then I can’t trust nobody.  ‘cept myself!”

“Ooh, that’s hard.  No wonder you’re fed up,” said Mum sympathetically.

“And Joe,” he admitted.

“Well, that’s something.  But you know Luke, you shouldn’t give up.  You should tell them how you feel.  You should tell them you are offended by their decision to sell meat in their cafe.”

“I did tell ’em.”

“Good.  And what did they say?”

“Nothin’ sensible.  Jus’ said it was okay coz it was rangin’ and stainable.  Rubbish!”

“Tell them again.  Write them a letter.”

“What’s the point?  They won’t take no notice o’ me.”

Mrs Walker was sorry her son felt so discouraged.  It was a terrible thing to lose your faith in humanity at such a young age.

“The thing is,” she told him, “you never know when someone might listen.  The only thing you can be sure of is that if you don’t say anything, they definitely won’t get the message.”

Luke looked at her and didn’t say anything.

“Come with me, come and help decorate the tree,” she said.

When they got to the living room Jared and Dad already had things well underway.  The tree was gleaming with glittery gold and silver tinsel and different coloured shiny baubles.

“Mm, pretty good,” said Mum, “but it’s missing something.”

“The star for the top,” said Jared, “I’m just about to do it.”

“Something else,” said Mum and she left the room.

A moment later she was back with a small box from the kitchen.  She handed it to Luke.

“No Christmas tree is complete without a few sweet treats,” she said, smiling.

Luke looked in the box.  It was full of chocolate Santas.  On the wrappers were the words:

Moo Free Organic Chocolate,

DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN

Luke’s jaw dropped and his eyes lit up.

“Are these for me?”  he asked.

“No, greedy boy, they’re for all of us!  Why don’t you hang them on the tree?”

“But, … how come …?”

“I found your leaflets,” Mum explained.

“What leaflets?”

“The ones stuffed in the back pocket of your black cords; the black cords you shoved under the bed and forgot about I don’t know how long ago.”

“Oh, I wondered where they were.”

“Well I found them and I checked the pockets before putting them in the wash, and there were these leaflets.  One with a picture of a cow on the front entitled ‘The Dark Side of Dairy’ and one with a cute little brown and white piglet on the front entitled ‘Think Before You Eat’.”

“And you read them?”

“And I read them.”

“And that’s why …?”

“Yes it is,” she paused for a moment, searching for the right words.  “Luke,” she went on, “you have good instincts.  When you started this crusade for animals you did it on instinct.  You hadn’t been told any of the shocking facts and figures that are in those leaflets, you just knew it wasn’t right.  And you did something about it.  You spoke out bravely and you acted.  You broke the rules when you felt you had to and you endured punishments, but you never wavered; you never stopped fighting.”

Luke nodded.  He wasn’t sure why his mum was explaining something that she must have known he already knew, but he waited.  It would become clear eventually.  She continued.

“So I don’t want you to give up hope now.  I want you to know that if you keep trying, you will make a difference.  You have already made a difference for Curly and Little Squirt and the rabb.., er, the damsons, but even more than that, you’re a good influence on other people.”

Now, those were words Luke never thought he’d hear from his mother.

“You have been a good influence on us.”

At this point she took his hand, led him into the kitchen and opened the freezer.

“What d’you fancy for Christmas dinner?” she asked.

Luke looked in the freezer.  It was full – Mum always did a big shop for the Christmas holidays – and there were quite a few unfamiliar boxes and cartons.  He lifted them out one at a time to read the descriptions:

Cauldron Wholefood Burgers

Made with Chickpeas, Cauliflower, Aduki Beans, Broad Beans, Spinach, Onions, Garlic & Potatoes

Cauldron Wholefood Sausages

Made with Grilled Vegetables (Peppers, Courgette, Onion), Beans & Wheat

Cauldron Aduki Bean Melt

“The combination of aduki beans, spinach and mushrooms deliciously filled with mango chutney and carefully coated in breadcrumbs gives a satisfyingly moreish taste.”

Biona Red Lentil Sun Seed Burger

A flavoursome vegan burger made with red lentils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a subtle hint of spice. Made using all natural, organic ingredients and free from artificial colours or flavours. Perfect loaded with your favourite burger toppings, added to salads or dipped in sweet chilli sauce as a tasty and nutritious snack.

Can be eaten hot or cold.

Dee’s 6 Leek & Onion Vegan Sausages

The perfect partner to velvety mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, our Leek and Onion Sausages will become an instant family favourite on your weekly menu.

Dragonfly Organic Bubble & Squeak Tatty

Our Tatty is a vegetarian burger that has a real bubble & squeak feel about it, made using locally sourced cabbage and onions

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Country Pies

Vegetarian pie made from a shortcrust pastry base, filled with rehydrated textured soya protein in a rich onion and beef-style gravy, topped with a puff pastry lid.

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Vegetarian Cumberland sausage-style filling wrapped in puff pastry.

And there were three flavours of luxury organic vegan ice cream:

Booja Booja Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle, Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple and Booja Booja Caramel Pecan Praline.

Luke was no longer fed up.  He smiled broadly at his mum.

“Are these for all of us?”

“Yes they are.  For all of us,” she said happily, “and I got them from Besco’s.  They sell them in mainstream supermarkets Luke and that just shows how much progress you’re making.  That’s what happens when you speak out and you keep speaking out.”

Mrs Walker was treated to a rare hug which lasted a good half minute, and then Luke ran from the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” she called after him.

“I’ve got some letters to write!” he said.

Happy Christmas everybody!

We hope you have a good one!

❤ ❤ We’ll see you in the New Year! 😀 ❤ ❤

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction, hope

A penchant for wandering off

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

“Luke!  There you are!” called Mum, “you do have a penchant for wandering off.”

Luke had no idea what a ponshon was but decided to take her word for it.

“Look what I’ve got!” she said.  She sounded excited.  “I won it!  Well, I bought so many tickets I almost bought it!”

Luke looked at the slightly torn, slightly scratched, slightly coming apart at one end, box she was carrying.  He could hardly believe it.

“Is that the same as ..?” he asked her.

“Exactly the same!” she said.  She sounded so happy.  “Here you are darling, this is yours.”

She was holding a Hornby R.793 King Size Electric train set.  It was exactly the same as Grandad Pete’s.  Grandad Pete was Mum’s dad and he loved trains.  He was a volunteer fireman at his local steam railway and he used to let Luke ride the engine with him when they visited at Easter and August bank holiday.  His Hornby train set had three locomotives – a King Henry VIII, a Class 29 (type 2) Bo-Bo, and a Class 3F Jinty Tank.  Plus it had coaches, wagons, trackside accessories and buildings.  It was brilliant.

Whenever they went to visit Grandad Pete, Luke and Grandad went up to the loft and played with the train set for hours.  It was always set up.  Always ready to play.

Grandad died the day after Luke’s seventh birthday.  He left Luke the train set in his will because he wanted it to go to someone who loved it as much as he had.

Sadly, Mum, because of an unfortunate series of events which were of no interest to Luke, accidentally backed over it with the car.  Luke had been devastated.  Mum equally so.  She couldn’t replace it because they didn’t make them like that any more.  And Luke didn’t want just any train set.  But now she’d found one.  And it really was exactly the same as Grandad’s.  Luke was momentarily lost for words.  He looked up at Mum’s glowing face.

“Thank you,” he tried to say but the words caught in his throat.  He was overwhelmed.  “Can we go home and set it up?” he asked.

“Now?” she asked, “are we done here?”

“I’m done here,” he replied.

***

On Christmas Eve, Luke pulled down the peak of his blue engine driver’s cap, blew his whistle and called,

“All aboard!”

The train pulled out of the station.  It picked up speed and smoothly rode the tracks through Lego town, across the Scarf-River bridge, under the Bed-Tunnel through Bed-Mountain, and onto the Blue Pillowcase Coast.  When it got to Seaside station it stopped to pick up Batman, Spiderman and a couple of soldiers on leave, before continuing on its journey to the end of the line.  There was a near accident when a giant brown and white dog stepped onto the track but tragedy was averted when a quick-thinking observer lured the animal out of harm’s way with a Digestive.

Outside, a car door slammed.

“Luke, Jared – Dad’s home.  He’s got the tree!” Mum called from downstairs, “come down and help me decorate it.”

Jared thundered down the stairs.  Luke was too busy.  Batman was late for a job interview – the train must keep going.  As it sped towards the old suspension bridge, the driver noticed two of the shoe lace suspenders had snapped, and the others looked like they’d struggle to take the strain.  He applied the brake but it was too late, the train was going too fast, it wouldn’t be able to stop in time.  Suddenly Spiderman climbed out of the window and ran along the roof of the train to the front.  He spun his web and ….

Mum opened the bedroom door.

“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”

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Story concludes tomorrow 🙂 or you can read the whole chapter right now 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction

Looking for a squashed cupcake

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

When he got to the cafe he decided to pop in.  He knew that 87p wouldn’t ordinarily get him a cupcake but, since the end of the day was approaching, they might have made them half price.  Or maybe there was a squashed one that nobody else wanted.  It was worth a look.  He stepped inside and picked up a menu.  That was somewhat disturbing.

This animal sanctuary, this place of love and compassion, of respite and rescue; this place whose slogan, “We care about the well being of every animal”, was written across every sign and above every doorway, was selling dead animals in its cafe.

Luke spoke to the lady behind the till.

“Why are you selling meat?”

“Erm, well, it’s on the menu,” she replied.

“But why is it on the menu?”

“Because it’s a cafe,” she said, not knowing why he was confused.

“It’s a animal sanct’ry cafe,” Luke pointed out, “and meat is dead animals.”

“Ahh,” she replied, finally understanding where he was coming from. “All of our meat is from local, free range farms.”

“What does that mean?”

“It’s sustainable.”

“What does that mean?”

By this time a queue had formed behind Luke and when the manager saw that it wasn’t moving, he came over.

“Is everything okay over here?” he asked the lady on the till.

“Oh, yes, erm, this young man has a question about the menu,” she told him.

The manager steered Luke away from the counter.

“How can I help you?” he asked.

Luke started again.

“Why do you sell meat here?”

“Because people want to eat it,” the manager answered.

“But what about the animals who get killed for your meat?”

“Well, …”

“And your eggs?”

“Ah, the eggs …”

“And cheese and milk and ice cream?”  Luke was getting louder and people were starting to look.

The manager spoke quietly in an effort to diffuse the situation.

“I assure you that all the meat, eggs, fish, and dairy sold here comes from local free range farms with sustainable practices.”

Luke was exasperated.

“That’s what she said!”

“Yes.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means that it doesn’t come from factory farms where animals are kept in small cages.  The animals are well looked after and are free to walk around.”

“Until they’re killed,” said Luke.

“Er, yes,” said the manager.

“And are the killin’ sheds free range?”

“Er, no,” the manager admitted.

“Are they special killin’ sheds or are they the same killin’ sheds what the factory farm animals go to?”

The manager knew a lot of eyes were on him and for a few moments he didn’t say anything.  Luke, however, had plenty more to say.

“They’re the same horrible killin’ sheds aren’t they?  And them animals is the same as the animals who you look after here; who you say you love; who you say should be treated kindly.”

At this the manager felt he had a good come-back.  He answered with confidence.

“Ah, no, we don’t sell the meat of any of the species who live at the sanctuary.  Only beef and pork and fish.”

Luke looked at him with disdain.

“And,” the manager added with a smile, “we do have vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.  We’ve got something for everyone.”

Luke was bitterly disappointed in what he had thought was a wonderful place.  That this was happening made absolutely no sense to him.  He was so sick and tired of adults saying one thing and doing another.  The manager, taking his silence as an end to their debate, turned to walk away.  Luke touched his arm and said,

“So, you know about veggietareun food, you know there’s no need to eat animals, but you still have ’em killed because some people like eatin’ ’em.  And Maybury says it wants to teach people how to be kind to animals but it doesn’t set a good example of not eatin’ ’em.  It lets people think it’s okay to eat ’em.  It pretends it’s not cruel to eat ’em so people keep on doin’ it.  So it’s your fault when people keep on doin’ it coz you could ‘ave told ’em not to and you didn’t.”

He turned and walked out.  He didn’t want a cake any more.

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Story continues tomorrow 🙂 or you can read the whole chapter right now, no waiting 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction

The beginning of the end

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

And here is the beginning of Chapter 16, the final chapter of the second book, More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

Luke Walker and the Maybury Christmas Fayre

Luke reached for it at the exact same time as Jared.  They scowled at each other.

“Let me have it.  I saw it first,” Luke insisted.

“We saw it at the same time,” Jared argued, “and I’m the oldest so you have to do what I say.”

“I do not,” said Luke emphatically.

“Boys!” Mr Walker halted their squabbling, “what’s the trouble now?”

“I want to get this for Mum,” explained Luke, “I saw it first.”

“No he didn’t!” argued his brother, “I saw it first and I want to get it for Mum.”

The item in question was a dainty ceramic ornament depicting Little Bo Peep with a lamb – an ideal Christmas gift for anyone’s mother.  Dad took it off them and asked the lady how much it was.

“All the small ornaments are 50p,” she told him.

Dad looked at Jared and appealed to his better nature.

“Luke doesn’t have much money Jared, so this is all he can afford.  You’ve got your paper round money so you’ll be able to find something else.  Let your brother have this one.”

Jared shrugged.

“Okay,” he agreed and wandered off to the home-made jam stall.

Luke pulled a sticky fifty pence piece out of his pocket and handed it to the lady. She wrapped the ornament in tissue paper for him.  Dad smiled.

“Your mum’ll love that Luke, nice find.”

“Where is Mum?” Luke asked.

“Where d’you think?” said Dad, grinning.

“Tombola!” they both said at the same time.

This was the first time they’d been to the Maybury Christmas Fayre and it was pretty good.  There were lots of stalls where you could buy Christmas presents for reasonable prices – some things were second hand, some were home-made.  There were games, like Mum’s favourite, the Tombola, where you had to get a ticket ending in 5 or 0 to win a prize, and some which had a prize every time like the lucky dip or Luke’s favourite where you paid 50p for a jar wrapped in Christmas paper without knowing what was in it.  If you were lucky it might be a jar full of sweets or marbles; if you were unlucky it might be full of tea bags.  But even that wasn’t a complete loss because it could be a Christmas present for someone.  Nan liked tea.  There was also a cake stall, a raffle, and a dog show to see who was the prettiest dog and who was the cleverest dog and who was the most obedient dog.  Luke knew that Dudley wouldn’t enjoy that because he was the type of dog who had no interest in performing.  He was clever, but didn’t feel it necessary to prove that to anyone.  He was his own dog and Luke respected that.

The other good thing about the Christmas Fayre was that it was in aid of helping animals.  Maybury Centre for Animal Welfare was a sanctuary where they looked after horses and donkeys and sheep and chickens and tortoises and anyone else who needed help and came their way.  They also rescued dogs and cats and rabbits and guinea pigs who’d been abandoned or neglected or cruelly treated, and they found happy new homes for them.  Luke was very glad that his Christmas shopping money was going to such a good cause.

By three o’clock Luke had done all his shopping and was very happy with what he’d got for everyone: Little Bo-Peep for Mum; gloves for Dad; football book for Jared; jar of tea for Nan; bowling DVD for Grandad; and a jar of marbles for Joe. Plus he’d been lucky enough to score a jar of gobstoppers and a really cool stainless steel whistle for himself.

Luke had 87p left so while Dad went to find Mum, he decided to have a final look round.  In doing so he came across a man wearing climbing gear standing behind a table with a pen and a long list of names and numbers.

“Sponsor me to abseil down the clock tower?” he solicited.

“What’s that?” asked Luke.

“Abseil means to descend down the side of a building on a rope.”

Luke looked confused.

The man tried again to explain.

“So, I’ll stand on the top of the tower wearing this harness attached to a rope which will be doubled through a loop. And I’ll jump off the top and bounce my feet on the side of the tower, going down bit by bit, sliding the rope through my hands until I get the bottom.”

“Yeah, I get what you mean, but why would you do that?”

“To raise money for Maybury.”

“But why don’t you get sponsored to do somethin’ useful, instead of abstainin’.”

“Abseiling,” he corrected. “Raising money is useful for Maybury.  They can do a lot of good things with it.”

“Yes, but if the thing you got sponsored for doin’ was useful as well, like you could get sponsored for pickin’ up litter, then you would get money and at the same time you would have done somethin’ really useful.”

The man looked over Luke’s head at the elderly couple approaching his table.

“Sponsor me to abseil down the clock tower?” he asked them.

Luke moved on.

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Story continues tomorrow 🙂 or you can read the whole chapter right now, no waiting 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction

Easy for seasoned outlaws

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

A noisy, activity-filled party with only two adults in attendance was easy to sneak away from.  It hadn’t even been difficult to get the matches from Mr Beardsley’s desk drawer.  Fortunately there had been no rain for a couple of weeks so it didn’t take long to find ample dry twigs and fir cones in the churchyard over the road.  Now all they needed was a big stone each and that would be no problem either because Luke remembered seeing some different coloured pebbles, curiously arranged in the shape of a fish, close to the church entrance.  They’d just been left there.  No one was using them.

It was just after nine o’clock and very dark in the churchyard.  Two owls hooted back and forth.  Every so often bats flew overhead between the bell tower and the vicarage.  Now it really felt like Halloween.  The children made themselves comfortable on the ground near the oldest gravestones they could find.  Covered in lichen, the writing on them was almost illegible.

Making sure there was nothing flammable nearby, Luke built a small fire with the twigs and fir cones on the crumbling horizontal stone base of one of the graves.  He had no trouble getting it going with the few scraps of paper found in Mr Beardsley’s desk drawer earlier.

As their teacher had told them, the game was simple.  On Halloween night, participants made a fire and when the fire burnt out they placed a ring of stones in the ashes, one for each person.  The following morning they would check the circle and if they found any stone displaced, it was said that the person it represented would die before the year ended.

Luke drew a circle in the ash with another stick.  Their pebbles were easy to distinguish from each other.  Luke’s was the biggest and the darkest.  He put it in the twelve o’clock position, closest to the gravestone.  Joe’s was a little smaller and had a notch on one side.  He placed it at nine o’clock.  Isabel’s looked like it had a nose, hers was placed at six o’clock and Tania’s, the smallest of them all, was placed at three o’clock.

“What was that?” Isabel turned suddenly to look behind her.

“Just a rabbit prob’ly,” said Luke, “or a badger.”

“Or a fox,” added Joe.

The boys looked around eagerly, hoping to see some majestic nocturnal wildlife.  They weren’t so lucky.

“We’d better get back,” said Tania, looking at her watch, “it’s nearly five to ten.”

“Wait!” whispered Luke as he ducked behind a tree, “that’s my dad!”

The churchyard was a short-cut between the school and Luke’s road so he might have known his dad would come this way to meet him.  Everyone laid low until he’d passed.

“My mum’s probably at the school by now too,” said Tania.

“They’ll all be there, waiting outside the classroom for us,” said Isabel anxiously, “how will we get back in without them seeing us?”

Luke and Joe smiled at each other.  For seasoned outlaws like them, this wasn’t going to be a problem.

“Follow us,” said Joe, and they led the girls to a little known entrance to the school which was always left open when the caretaker was around so that he could duck out quickly for a smoke without going past the kitchens or the offices.  The door led to the school hall which had a connecting door to Mrs Tebbut’s classroom which shared a cloakroom with Class 5A.

“Don’t tell anyone about this,” Joe added as an afterthought.

Without raising suspicion all four of them rejoined the rest of their class as they emerged from the party. They parted with a secret promise to meet early Saturday morning and check on the fire circle.  Each agreed to wait until they were all together before they looked.

When all children had been collected Mr Beardsley and Thomas returned to the classroom to clear up the mess.  They were tired but it had been fun; they were glad they’d done it.

“Excuse me,” Mrs Butler put her head round the door.

“Oh, hello,” said Mr Beardsley, “are you looking for your plate?  It’s in a stack in the sink.  I’ll wash it up and send it home with Simon on Monday.”

“Er, thank you, no, I’m looking for Simon.  Did he leave with someone else?”

Mr Beardsley’s jaw dropped.  Filled with dread he looked at Thomas.  Thomas shook his head.  At that moment the classroom door opened again and Simon walked in.

“Simon!  Where have you been?” his mum asked, awash with relief.

“Looking for you,” he lied, “shall we go?”

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Chapter 15 starts tomorrow 😉

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They’re not Halloween!

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

“Hey!  They can’t have them on Halloween!  Who brought them?” he asked, pointing with disgust at the flesh food and surveying the faces around the table.

“What’s wrong?” asked Isabel.

Luke didn’t hear her.  He angrily snatched the plate from the buffet, intending to dispose of the offending items.

“Mr Beardsley said it’s a Halloween tradition to be vegetarian,” Joe explained to Isabel, “so Luke is cross that somebody’s not doin’ it right.”

“So I see,” said Isabel as she watched Luke trying to move through the crowd holding the large plate of Scotch eggs above his head with both hands.

“Hey!  Where you going with those?”  Butler asked as Luke passed the music centre on his way to the toilets.

“Gettin’ rid of ’em!” said Luke, “they’re not Halloween.”

“Hey! Bring them back!  My mum made them!  Bring them back!”

Luke hurried through the cloakroom door with Butler close behind him.  The music stopped and everyone could hear the two boys arguing loudly on the other side of the door.

Mr Beardsley hurried after them.

“Don’t come any nearer or I’ll drop ’em,” Luke threatened, forcing Butler to back off.

“You’ve got no right to throw away other people’s stuff!” he shouted angrily, “you think you’re better than everybody else!  You think you’re so good but you’re not – you’re a thief!  Give them back!”

“It’s no meat for Halloween!” Luke asserted, “dint your teacher tell you that?!”

“We don’t have to do what you say!  Some of us want to eat meat – most of us actually – coz it tastes good!  Mmm, I’d love a nice bacon buttie right now, or a nice bit of fish and chips, or a big juicy burger.”

His infuriating smirk pushed Luke to the limit and he lunged for the toilet door.

“Stop!”  The boom of Mr Beardsley’s voice did not encourage disobedience.

Luke froze, plate in hand, his back to his teacher and his adversary.

“Could someone please tell me what on Earth is going on here?”  Mr Beardsley asked more calmly.

Both boys talked at once: “He’s throwing my mum’s food in the toilet” / “Meat’s not allowed on Halloween!”

“Stop!”  their teacher said again, “Luke, what are you doing out here with that plate of Scotch eggs?”

“They shouldn’t be here!  You said people dint eat meat on Halloween!  It’s tradition!”

“Yes, that’s true, I did, it is traditional not to eat meat on All Hallows’ Eve.”

“But my mum made them!  He’s got no right to throw them away!”

“Simon!” Mr Beardsley quieted him, “no one’s going to throw away your mother’s food.  Go back in to the party please and get the music going again.”

Simon reluctantly did as he was told and Mr Beardsley turned back to Luke.

“Give me the plate please,”  he instructed.

“But they’re not …”

“Luke, now please.”

Luke handed him the plate.

“But you’re not gonna put ’em back on the table are you?   They’re not s’posed to be …”

“Luke, I know you feel strongly about this and I respect that but you can’t force your beliefs on other people.  Everyone has to be free to make their own choices.”

“Yeah right!  Tell that to the chickens and pigs they’re made out of!  If they’d had free choice they would’ve said NO THANK  YOU  VERY  MUCH, I DON’T WANT TO BE A SCOTCH EGG!”

“Yes, alright Luke you’ve made your point.  Now kindly return to the party and stay away from Simon Butler.”

Back in the classroom Luke found his plate and his friends and told them the whole story.

“You’re right,” said Tania, “Simon knew he was supposed to make something from the traditional vegetarian recipes Mr Beardsley gave us.  He should’ve been reprimanded for not doing it right.”

“Typical!” added Isabel, “look at that, Beardsley’s just putting the scotch eggs back on the table.  That flies in the face of everything he taught us!  What’s the point of teaching us about historical tradition and saying you want to have a traditional party if you’re just going to let people be inauthentic?”

“Yeah!  It’s fraudulent!”  Tania concurred.

Luke hungrily polished off his sweetcorn while he listened to the impressive but unfamiliar vocabulary being employed by the girls and was in no doubt that they agreed with him.

“I think we should boycott this party!”  Isabel declared.

“Whaddaya mean?” asked Joe.

“On the grounds that it’s a sham.”

“What?” said Luke and Joe at the same time.

“She means it’s bogus,” Tania explained, “spurious, phoney, false, fake.”

“Oh, yeah, it’s fake alright,” said Luke, catching up, “he’s ruined it.  It’s not thentick at all now!”

“If we want a truly educational, authentic, realistic, traditional Halloween experience, we’ll have to do it ourselves,” Isabel went on, “we should go now and play the other game he told us about.  The one he said we couldn’t play.”

The others gasped and then grinned.

“That’s ezzactly what we should do,” said Luke.

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story concludes tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait you can read the whole of Chapter 14 now 😉

*********************************

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Changing the subject

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

Luke decided to change the subject.

“Where shall we put these then?” he asked.

“Not here,” said Mr Beardsley, “or they might get eaten.  Put them on my desk behind the screen.”

The boys did as they were told and made their way through small huddles of various royalty, warriors and poets, a couple of Shakespeares and a Jesus.  No sooner had they placed the food on the desk than Mr Beardsley asked Joe to give him the treacle scones and string so that he could set up the game.  They would be starting in about ten minutes he told them.  Music was already playing and a few people danced self-consciously in the middle of the room.

“This one’s for you Joe,” came a familiar voice through the speaker when the record changed.

Luke and Joe looked around to see Simon Butler behind a turntable across the room, dressed in a short blonde beard; a gold fitted jacket zipped up to his neck; short gold trousers fastened below the knee; long socks and large-buckled shoes.  He thought he was so cool because Mr Beardsley had let him be the DJ.  The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum by Fun Boy Three filled the room and Butler laughed excessively at his own joke.  Luke and Joe paid him a visit.

“So glad you took my advice Joe,” he said privately, “you look even more like a loon than usual!”

“I’m Pythagoras,” said Joe, holding up the right-angled triangle he’d made out of three rulers.

“Oh, yeah, I know you think so, lunatics often think they’re somebody famous,” he chuckled smugly.

“I’m not a lunatic! I am Pythag…”

“What are you s’posed to be anyway?” Luke interrupted their pointless argument to draw attention to Butler’s ridiculous ensemble.

“Sir Walter Raleigh,” Butler confessed without shame.

Luke cast his best contemptuous glance at his arch enemy and said nothing.

“Okay, switch the music off now Simon, it’s time for the games to begin,” Mr Beardsley called across the room.

Mr Beardsley and Thomas had put out four small tables at intervals around the room.  They were set up with different traditional Halloween games.

“Take it in turns to play the games at each table,” Blackbeard instructed, “have fun!”  He was the kind of teacher who didn’t believe in too much control.  He liked to give the children enough room to find their own way and, since he’d already explained the games in class, he chose not to recap.  “You can put the music back on now Simon,” he added.

“This table is for apple bobbing,” said Thomas who, unlike his colleague, preferred to make sure things were being done properly.  “One at a time.  Katia – you go first.”

Luke and Joe decided to come back later for apples and wandered over to see what was on the next table.  Joe’s treacle-covered scones, with long lengths of string tied to them, were suspended above the table and dangled at different heights.  Queen Elizabeth I and Boudicca were already tucking in.  With hands held behind their backs, Tania and Isabel tried to bite the scones and every time they got a nibble, the sticky pendulums swung away and then back, bumping their noses, their chins, their cheeks and their hair.  Boudicca, being less concerned about her appearance than the Queen, finished her scone first and bowed her grinning, sticky head in gratitude for the applause of her peers.  Queen Liz, dignified in defeat, shook her opponent’s hand and went to the sink to wash her face.

“Us next!” said Luke, standing beside the table and leaning forward.  “Go!” he shouted before Joe was ready, and tried to grab an untouched scone in his teeth.

Joe hurried to join in but found himself at a disadvantage when one scone stuck to his thick beard, just below his bottom lip, and prevented him from getting close to any other.  Thomas laughed and reminded Joe that he couldn’t use his hands but he needn’t have said anything because Joe was not a cheater.  Luke was the clear victor, finishing his scone in just four bites, and afterwards Joe was allowed to manually detach his scone from his beard and eat it normally.  There were less hairs on it than one might expect.

At the next table were small plates with chunks of barm brack on them, cut from the fruit breads that Luke and a couple of other people had made.

“I’ve got a coin!” said Isabel as she broke up her piece with a fork, “that means I’m going to be rich!”

“I think you’re s’posed to just bite it,” said Joe, “it might not work if you pull it apart like that.”

“I don’t wanna risk choking!” Isabel explained sensibly.

“Plus it’s dirty,” added Tania, “money’s really dirty you know.  Just think how many people have touched it without washing their hands.”

Joe had already bitten into his chunk of barmbrack and discovered that he too had a coin.  He spat it quickly into his hand.

“It’s not dirty,” Luke assured him, “don’t ya think I washed ’em before I put ’em in?”

“Is this the one that you made?” Joe asked, a little relieved.

“Yeah,” said Luke confidently, “well, it looks …, yeah, definitely.”

Luke bit into his piece of bread and found only currants and orange peel.

At the next table were three large dishes of colcannon, accompanied by a stack of small bowls and spoons.  The game was the same.  If you found a coin it meant you would be rich; if you found a ring it meant you would find true love.  Luke hadn’t had any rings to put into his baking, and he’d put all his spare coins into his barm brack, so he loaded his bowl from the colcannon he’d made himself, knowing that the only thing he was in danger of finding was a pile of delicious grub.  Thoughtful as always, he didn’t spoil the game for the others by telling them that.

A few minutes later, Luke, Joe, Tania and Isabel, all happy in spite of finding nothing but cabbage in their mash, found their newly stimulated appetites craved more and made their way to the long table.  It was a good job they hadn’t left it any longer as many of the other children were already digging in and the good stuff was going fast.  Luke took a large paper plate from the pile and filled it with roasted sweetcorn, monkey nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, bonfire toffee and … oh no, Joe got the last toffee apple.

“Oh, do you want it?”  Joe offered when his hand reached it just before Luke’s.

“Nah,” said Luke, trying to sound casual, “it’s yours.”

“We’ll share it,”  Joe decided.

Luke smiled.

“Okay.”  This was a good party.

Then he noticed something bad on the table.  Something not in keeping with the celebration.  Something odious.  Something which was in shockingly bad taste: Scotch eggs.

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story continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait you can read the whole of Chapter 14 now 😉

*********************************

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Not Mr Darcy

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

“Not Mr Darcy!  Mr Wilberforce!” Luke insisted.  “I don’t want to look like some posh bloke from Priden Precipice!”

Mrs Walker pulled the black trousers, white ruffled shirt and long black coat from The Village Players’ costume trunk.

“William Wilberforce would have dressed like Mr Darcy Luke, these will be just the thing,” she assured him, “I’ll just give them an iron.”

“Okay,” Luke tentatively agreed, “but what about Joe?  Is there anythin’ in there that Joe can wear?”

Luke’s mum set up the board and plugged in the iron.

“Who’s he going as?” she asked.

“Depends what costumes you’ve got,” said Luke, keeping an open mind.

Mum had only recently joined the local amateur dramatics group so she wasn’t sure what costumes they’d got.  Most of them were a bit worse for wear but they were lucky to be allowed to use them.

“See for yourself,” she suggested, “have a rummage and see if anything captures your imagination.”

Luke rummaged.  Pink tights, brown tights, knickerbockers, caterpillar costume, spider costume, Cheshire Cat costume, blue dress with white pinafore.  So far not so good.  Red ball gown, green ball gown, yellow ball gown, purple tutu, red clown shoes.  Really not good.

“Rubbish!” said Luke ungratefully, “it’s all rubbish!”

Mum sighed and switched off the iron.

“Luke – don’t just throw them around like that!  You’re lucky we’ve been allowed to borrow these,” she said, exasperated.

Luke was sorry.  He just wanted to find something good for Joe to shut Butler up.  He helped Mum pick up the costumes and re-fold them.

“Sorry,” he said.

She pressed her lips tight together and looked him in the eye.

“That’s alright,” she said.  Then, just as she was about to put the folded pile back in the trunk, she noticed a couple of things Luke had missed.

“What about these?” she said.

“A nightgown and a Father Christmas beard?” said Luke, unimpressed.

“Not a nightgown, a robe,” she explained, “men used to wear these in the olden days, especially in hot countries.”

Luke’s blank expression indicated he needed another clue.

“Who’s that maths guy you like?”

Still blank.

“Vegetarian?  Triangles?”

“Pythagoras!”

“Yes!” Mum smiled, “I bet he would have worn something like this.  And he probably had a long white beard when he got old.”

“Yeah!” Now Luke was excited, “We’ll both be veggietareun people from history!  Joe can be Pythagoras and I’ll be William Wilberforce’s ghost!”

“Why not just William Wilberforce?  Why do you have to be his ghost?”

“Coz it’s a Halloween party.  Ya know: Ha-llow-een.  It’s all about ghosts and scary stuff.”  He thought his mum would have known that.

“Yes, but you’re all going as people from history.”

“Yes.”

“So they’re all dead.”

“Yeah.”  There really was nothing confusing here.

“So why doesn’t Joe go as Pythagoras’s ghost?”

“It’s supposed to be someone who’s dead.  So he’s Pythagoras.  The man.”

“Yes, I see, so why aren’t you the man?”

“I’m going to be William Wilberforce’s ghost.”

“Not man?”

“No.”

“But if you’re a ghost why isn’t Joe going to be a ghost.  Or if he’s the man, why aren’t you the man…?” She caught sight of her own reflection in the mirror and paused, wondering why she kept asking questions to which there could be no satisfactory answer.

“Can you iron this one as well please?”  her son asked, handing back the white robe, “I’m goin’ to phone Joe and tell ‘im.”

***

On Friday 31st of October at 7.08 pm, Luke and Joe said goodbye to Luke’s dad at the school gate and walked towards the classroom carrying their contributions to the party food.  Luke had followed the Halloween recipes given to him by Mr Beardsley for barm brack (a kind of fruit bread) and colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage).  Mum had helped a bit.  Joe brought the treacle-covered scones he’d made with Janet’s assistance, using another of their teacher’s traditional recipes.  He’d also remembered the string.

Mr Beardsley’s classroom was almost unrecognisable.

Hanging from the ceiling were two large imitation crystal chandeliers, covered in cobwebs and emitting a very dim, creamy light.  Long dark-purple velvet curtains replaced the Venetian blinds that usually hung in the windows, the bottoms of which sat in folds on the floor around large pumpkins carved with grotesque gargoyle faces.

The boys approached a long table at one end of the room.  It was draped in a ragged, dark red table cloth whose dusty hem skimmed the dusty parquet.  On it fifteen white candles stood tall on three candelabra, complete with realistic-looking orange and yellow tissue paper flames and untidily littered with long drips of dry wax.  Various plates and bowls of food, brought by the children, were set upon the table.  Luke and Joe added theirs.

“No, not on there boys,” Mr Beardsley startled them, suddenly appearing as he did.  “Those are for the games, remember?”

Luke and Joe looked at their teacher and then at each other and laughed.  Mr Beardsley had really pulled out all the stops for this party.  His already lofty frame appeared even taller than usual, and his apparently-severed head rested in front of his chest, supported by his left arm.  Atop the severed head sat an enviable black hat, with wide upturned brim and a sinister-looking white skull and cross-bones on the front.

“Who are you supposed to be?” asked Luke.

“Can’t you guess?” teased his teacher, rubbing his brand new coal-black beard.

“No,” said Luke.  Joe also shook his head.

Mr Beardsley tutted.

“Boys, boys boys,” he said, shaking his head, “don’t you ever listen to my lessons?”  he asked rhetorically. “I’m Blackbeard.  Remember?  The famous pirate who was beheaded in 1718?”

“Pirate?” said Joe, looking daggers at Luke.

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story continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait you can read the whole of Chapter 14 now 😉

*********************************

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Chapter Ten starts here: Luke Walker and the allergic reactions

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter Ten: Luke Walker and the allergic reactions

Luke was hesitant. If he made a mistake now it could cost him the game.  Janeway was a good card. She had a lot of Starfleet Authority and was also very cunning.  But which to choose, that was the important question.

“Come ohn,” said Joe, “it’s borin’ when you just sit there.  Choose one.”

“Okay, erm, I choose …” he hesitated again.

He really needed to win this round. He took a deep breath, looked Joe in the eye and said,

“Janeway. Cunning: 45.”

Joe looked at his next card and smiled.

“Worf. Cunning: 49.”

“Blast! I knew I should have chosen Starfleet Authority! What’s Worf’s Starfleet Authority?”

“I’m not telling you that!” said Joe, laughingly holding his cards close to his chest.

“Well, it can’t be higher than Janeway’s.  She was Captain.  Worf wasn’t captain was he?”

Luke consoled himself with the notion that he would have won if Joe hadn’t rushed him.  If he’d just been able to think about it for a bit longer he would certainly have chosen Starfleet Authority instead of Cunning.  Joe really should learn not to rush people, it’s not sportsmanlike.  Luke had one card left. It was Joe’s turn to choose the statistic.

“Neelix. To Boldly Go: 20.”

“What?!” Luke looked at his card in disbelief.  “Neelix can’t be better than Spock at boldly goin’!”  He sighed and handed it over.  “Spock. To Boldly Go: 15”

“Yesss! I have triumphed! The cards are mine, all mine, ha ha ha haaa,” Joe revelled in his rare victory.

“I’m hungry,” said Luke, pretending not to care.

“Me too,” his friend agreed and they took out their lunch boxes.  Joe peeked apprehensively between the two slices of Hovis Best of Both which made up his sandwich.  Sadly the peanut butter he’d hoped for was not present.  Luke was adding crisps to his Marmite and beetroot sandwiches.

“The crunch makes ’em extra good,” he explained.  Then, “uh oh, has she done it again?”

Joe nodded as he removed two slices of ham and bit into his plain bread and margarine.

“You’ve got to tell ‘er,” said Luke, tipping a few of his crisps into Joe’s lunch box.

“I have told her, she won’t listen!” Joe complained, “I said I’m not eatin’ meat or cheese no more and she said, ‘course you are!’ and that was that!  She won’t listen.  It’s okay, I just put it in the bin when she’s not lookin’.”

“What about your dad – you could tell ‘im to explain it to ‘er.”

“He won’t.  He just says ‘ya mother knows best’ and ‘listen to ya mother!’.  I’ll just have to be vegetarian in secret ’til I leave home.”

Luke frowned.

“That doesn’t sound like a good idea.  It’ll be pretty borin’ jus’ livin’ on bread an’ marg..”

“That’s okay,” said Joe as he took another bite, “thanks for the crisps,” he added.

“That’s it!  That’s what we’ll do!  Outlaws have to help each other!”

“What?”

“I’ll tell my mum I’m more hungry and I need a bigger packed lunch, with an extra sandwich an’ an extra bag o’crisps an’ an extra cake an’ an extra apple … then I can give half of it to you!”

Joe liked that idea.

“Yeah! Thanks Luke. D’you think she’ll do it?”

“No problem,” said Luke confidently.

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Story continues on Monday.

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

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Explain

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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Explain.  How is this the only waste you personally made this week?”

Luke explained.

“I told my mum not to buy the vegetables an’ fruit in plastic bags an’ nets an’ trays ’cause we don’t need ’em, we just throw ’em away as soon as we get home. So I jus’ put it all loose in the trolley; I laid it on top of a soft bag so it dint get bruises, and then I put it in our own bags when we paid for it.”

The fact that the bags to which he referred were actually pillowcases was an irrelevant detail unnecessary to divulge.

“Ok, good, loose fruit and veg – no need for packaging.  What else?”

“I told Mum to get the loose lentils and raisins that you can weigh, instead of the ones in packets, and we put it in our bags we took with us what we can re-use.”

He paused, waiting for her to acknowledge receipt of this information.

“Go on,” she urged.

“I told Mum to get me the porridge oats what comes in jus’ a paper bag instead of cereal what’s in boxes and plastic bags.  An’ we got flour an’ sugar in paper bags an’ bread in paper bags instead of plastic; an’ peanut butter in a glass jar with a metal lid; an’ vinegar an’ ketchup an’ apple juice an’ sunflower oil in glass bottles with metal lids – but we ‘aven’t finished all of ’em so I on’y brought the juice bottle today – an’ two tins of beans.  That’s everythin’ I ate an’ I made my Mum choose glass an’ tins because they can be recycled over an’ over forever an’ ever, back into bottles an’ food tins, but plastic is bad an’ can on’y be cycled to things like plastic bricks an’ stuff that can’t be recycled in the end.”

Mrs Tebbut was lost for words.  He had read the printouts.  He had done the work.  Impressively.  She looked at the three paper bags, one glass bottle and two baked beans tins and was amazed at how simple it could actually be.

“Well done Luke,” she said, “very well done indeed.”

At the end of the day when everyone else was going to get their coats, Mrs Tebbut called Luke to her desk.

“Good work today Luke,” she said, “is this something you’ve been concerned about for a while?  I mean before we started our project?”

Luke was unused to his teacher’s friendly voice being directed at him but he saw no harm in indulging her.

“Yeah.  Since I saw Spiker caught in the plastic rings an’ all the litter what hurts the animals.  An’ since so many people are jus’ stupid to keep droppin’ the litter I thought the best thing to do is to make shops stop sellin’ it, then there’d be nothin’ to drop, ‘cept maybe paper bags but that won’t hurt no one and it won’t last long.  So I’m teachin’ my Mum not to buy things with plastic.”

“Well, Luke, that’s wonderful, I’m very impre….”

“An’ I’m makin’ new things out of old things as well,” being impressive was new to Luke – he couldn’t stop now, “so I’m recyclin’ ’em myself and I’m reducin’ the buyin’ of new things ’cause of fixin’ things and makin’ new ones out of old ones.”

Mrs Tebbut smiled.

“Really?  What are you making?”

“At the moment,” he said proudly, “I’m knittin’ a blanket for my pet lamb to keep ‘im warm on chilly nights.”

“Wonderful!  And are you using recycled yarn from an unravelled jumper?”

“Kind of, but no, not yarn.  Strips of material.”

She looked confused so he tried to explain.

“I got the idea from me Nan’s magazine ’bout makin’ rag rugs by cuttin’ old material into strips an’ knottin’ ’em together to make long long strings of it an’ then knittin’ with it. It’ll make a thick, soft blanket for Squirt to sleep on.”

“Fantastic!  What material are you using?  What are you cutting up?”

Luke was glad she asked because he’d put a lot of thought into that decision.  He answered with the quiet confidence of a wise person enlightening a complete beginner.

“I decided the warmest stuff would be what blankets are made of and I found two big blankets in the airing cupboard what nobody was usin’ so I used ’em.  I’m nearly finished now.”

Mrs Tebbut smiled again.

“You’ve got a good heart Luke,” she said, “off you go.  Have a nice weekend, I’ll see you Monday.”

Luke, almost overwhelmed by the unfamiliar sensation of being approved of, went to get his coat.

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (£4) – the first eight chapters; and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook (£2.75) – every member of Luke’s secret sersiety of animal stick up for-ers should have one; are available from Amazon 🙂

   

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School Project

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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At Besco’s Luke watched her closely with his project in mind.  To Mum it seemed like every time she reached for something he said,

“No!  Not that.  Get this one!”

She found it very trying but at the same time was impressed with her son’s commitment to the project and didn’t want to curb his enthusiasm for anything school-related.  She bit her tongue and cooperated with most his suggestions.

At the checkout, when the lady asked if she’d like any bags, Luke spoke out before she could answer in the affirmative.

“No thanks.  It’s very bad to get plastic bags.  They make pollution.  You should ban ’em.”  Then he put his pile of pillowcases onto the end of the checkout and started filling one with loose vegetables.  Mum flashed the checkout lady an embarrassed smile and said,

“School project.”

When the day came for the presentations to the class, Luke, because his surname began with W, was one of the last to present.  His peers were getting restless.  They had already sat through twenty seven similar presentations in which they were shown similar empty packets, cartons and bottles being thrown out that week by each family.  Those to be recycled included cereal boxes with their internal plastic bags, plastic milk bottles, plastic ketchup bottles, plastic shampoo bottles, Tetra Paks, glass wine bottles, beer bottles, plastic pop bottles, drink cans, food tins and the like.  Those to go to landfill included toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, brillo pads, polystyrene food trays, plastic straws and crisp packets.  Mrs Tebbut herself was having trouble staying awake at this stage and decided that next year she would get the class to work on a single collective presentation for a school assembly.

Luke waited for Susan Vickers to take her family’s waste off the presentation table and then he walked to the front and stood awkwardly facing his class.

“Ok Luke, how have you reduced waste in your household this week?” asked Mrs Tebbut.

Luke reached into his bag and put onto the table three paper bags, one glass 1 litre bottle and two empty baked beans tins.  He looked at the class and spoke loudly to conceal his nervousness.

“This is my waste for this week.  The yellow and blue paper bag what had oats in will be recycled; the brown paper bread bags will go on the compost; the bottle and the baked beans tins will be recycled.”

Relieved that it was over he waited for Mrs Tebbut to tell him to stand down.  She didn’t.

“That can’t be all,” she said, “I told you to show the class how much waste your household had produced and how you’d helped to reduce it.”

“I did.”

“This is all your family’s waste for a whole week?”

“This is the reduced waste what I made ’em reduce.  I don’t think it’s fair to include the things I told ’em not to buy.  They’re not my fault.”

“Luke, that wasn’t the project.  You’ve misunderstood.”

“I’ve done it fair.  It’s not fair to say I dint do well makin’ my family’s waste smaller if my family won’t do what I tell ’em.  It’s on’y fair to see what waste was made from choices I made ’em make.”

Mrs Tebbut couldn’t argue with that.

 *****************

story concludes tomorrow 🙂

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Bags

For the first seven chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 8 continues:

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Mrs Tebbut continued.

“Now can anybody think of ways in which we could reduce our waste in the first place?”

Several hands shot up.

“Yes, Andrew.”

“Draw on both sides of the paper.”

“Very good.  Yes, Katia.”

“Stick a note on your door that says ‘no junk mail’.”

“Good thinking.  Yes, Simon.”

“Get your shoes re-soled instead of buying new ones.”

“Ooh, yes, well done Simon.  Repair things instead of throwing them out.  Good one.  Ok, well done, you’re all thinking now.  What about the choices we make when we buy things like food.  We have to buy food, but how can we reduce waste before we even get it home?”

The class went quiet again.  Everyone was thinking but they weren’t quite sure what she was after.

“I’m thinking packaging here,” she explained, “we eat the food but we throw away the packaging.  How can we reduce that waste?”

“Buy food with recyclable packaging!” Butler shouted out.

“Yes, if we must, but what would be even better?”

Joe’s eyes suddenly lit up and he opened his mouth as if to speak but didn’t.  Mrs Tebbut noticed.

“Joe?  Did you want to say something?”

“Buy stuff without packaging,” he said quietly.

There were a few snickers.

How ya gonna do that?  Everything comes in packets!” someone scoffed.

Joe went red and looked down at his hands.  Mrs Tebbut frowned.

“Quiet!  Pay attention to Joe, he’s got the right idea!” She turned to Joe, “well done, that’s exactly what I was looking for.  We need to avoid the waste coming into our homes in the first place by choosing things with the least amount of packaging, and even no packaging when possible.  Kenny – see me at the end of class!”

Mrs Tebbut went on to explain their class project: a week on Friday they would all make a presentation to the class in which they would explain how they had reduced waste in their household.  As visual aids they were to bring with them everything being thrown away in their house that week (after it had been cleaned if necessary) and tell the class where that rubbish was headed: recycling or landfill.  She gave them printouts which told them all about recycling.

********

After tea on shopping night, Luke was rummaging through the kitchen drawers.

“Come on Luke if you want to come, I want to get this over with,” said Mum.

She hated shopping.

“I’m coming …” said Luke, but didn’t.

“What are you looking for?” asked Mum.

“The shopping bags.  I thought they were in here.”

“So did I.  Oh, I don’t know.  I think I put them in the wash.  I don’t know where they are now.  Never mind, just leave it.  Let’s go!”

“Hang on!” said Luke and he rushed upstairs.

Mum picked up the car keys and headed for the door.

“If you don’t come now Luke, I’m going without you!”  And she went outside.

Just before she released the handbrake Luke opened the passenger door and climbed in.

“What are you doing with those?” Mum asked with alarm as she looked at a large crumpled pile of flower-print and cartoon superhero pillowcases on his lap.

“Bags,” he said, “we need reusable bags.”

Mum inhaled deeply, checked the mirror and reversed out of the drive.

*****************

continues tomorrow 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, environment, recycling, children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour, animals, children, sheep, lambs

Last but not least: Luke Walker chapter 8 starts here!

Chapter Eight:

Luke Walker and the recycling

*****

Ha ha ha ha,” Luke laughed, “stop it! I’m nearly finished! Let me finish!”

Luke was sitting on the straw in Curly’s shed, trying to knit a blanket for Squirt.

Curly had given birth to Little Squirt a few days after she arrived at her new home and he was the most playful, affectionate little chap Luke had ever met.  Curly hadn’t let Luke come near him at first but after a while she let Squirt go to him.

“Hey!  I nearly dropped another stitch!  Ok, that’s it! I’m putting it away.  I’ll have to finish it at home.”

Luke preferred to do his knitting in the shed on his plot because at home Jared teased him for it.  He had laughed when Luke first asked Nan to teach him.

“Knitting?  That’s what girls do!  You wish you were a girl don’t you Luke?”

“It’s jus’ like makin’ knots at Scouts Jared!  Don’t you make knots at Scouts?”

“Yeah – knots are useful, for camping and sailing and stuff boys do.”

And knittin’ is turnin’ string into material to make blankets or mats or clothes or tents or anythin’!”

He believed an outlaw should have the skills to make his own things and be self-sufficient.  Knitting was a useful skill.  Nan had been very happy to teach him.

Luke put the half-made blanket back in his bag and played with Squirt until it was time to go home for tea.  He had to be home promptly today because it was Mum’s shopping night and he needed to go with her for his school project.

****

This half term’s topic was The Environment and Mrs Tebbut had started by talking to them about rubbish, waste and plastic pollution.  This was of great interest to Luke.

On the board she wrote:

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

“This week we are going to think about how we can reduce waste by the simple choices we make in our lives,” she began. “Although the amount of rubbish being recycled in this country has increased in recent years, the amount being sent to landfill is also on the increase.  In England, we only recycle about 44% of household waste when in fact 80% of it is recyclable.  This means we all need to try a little bit harder.”

“Or a lot harder,” Luke mouthed to Joe.

“So today I’m going to tell you about The Three Rs: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.  Have any of you heard of this before?”

Lots of blank faces and shaking of heads.

“Ok, well the idea is that, although recycling is very important, we should first try to reduce the amount of stuff we buy in the first place by holding on to the stuff we’ve already got for as long as possible – taking care of it and getting it repaired instead of throwing it away.

“Then, once we have really worn out our stuff and it can’t be repaired anymore, before we throw it out for recycling we should try to think of ways to reuse it.  Old clothes, for example, could be turned into cleaning rags.

“And finally, when we can no longer find a use for something, we should recycle it.”

“Interesting,” thought Luke.

******************

continues tomorrow 🙂

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Wide-eyed Joe

Chapter 7 continues (For the first 6 chapters click here 🙂 )

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“…. She belongs to ‘erself. I think she should be allowed to keep belongin’ to ‘erself, don’t you?”  He looked at Joe earnestly.

Joe looked back, wide eyed.

“Yeah, I do.”

Luke smiled, Joe was with him.  But now he really had to think.  Where would the sheep be safe?  If they just left her to wander, someone else was bound to discover her and return her to the farm.  No, he couldn’t let that happen.  He had to get her to a place of safety where the farmer wouldn’t find her.  Joe gently stroked the sheep’s forehead.  Luke was thinking hard.  There had to be a way.  There was always a way if you thought hard enough.  And then it came to him.

“I’ve got it!” said Luke, “I know how we can save her!”

“What? What will we do?” asked Joe eagerly.

“You wait here with her,” Luke instructed, “keep ‘er here, out of sight.  I’ve got to go somewhere and I’ll be back quick as I can.”

“Where are you going?” asked Joe, a little nervous about having sole custody of the refugee.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be quick,” Luke assured him as he turned to run back along the lane towards the village.

Joe continued to stroke the sheep, telling her softly that it would be ok, that Luke had thought of something and he wouldn’t let her down.  Obviously comforted by this, she resumed munching the grass.

It started to rain. Just a few drops at first and then it settled in to a steady drizzle.

“Hurry up,” thought Joe as he became gradually wetter.

The sheep didn’t seem to mind.  Eventually, after almost an hour by Joe’s reckoning (seventeen and a half minutes), Luke returned.  He was smiling and had with him a piece of rope.

“Where ‘ave you been? What are we gonna do?” Joe asked as Luke tied the rope carefully around the sheep’s neck so that he could lead her.

“I’ve got a place where we can take ‘er,” Luke told him, “come on.”

The rain ensured their independence by keeping other people indoors.  They walked back half way along the lane until they came to the back entrance of the allotments.  Luke opened the gate with a key and they went in.  He led his old friend and his new friend past many well-kept plots full of rows of cabbages and turnips and carrots and leeks and all sorts of plants that Luke didn’t recognise.  The sheep was keen to try a few.

“No! Stop ‘er!” Luke half-shouted as she bent her head to some turnip tops.

Joe stopped her just in time and the boys quickened their pace.  After a while the plots began to look a little untidy and, the further they walked, the more unkempt they became.  They stopped alongside Luke’s dad’s plot which was one of the unkempt because he hadn’t had it very long.

“Here we are!” said Luke happily to the sheep, “welcome to your new home Curly.”

“Really?” said Joe.

Yeah!” said Luke, “I think it suits her.”  Joe shook his head.

“Not the name, the place!  Won’t your dad go mad?”

“Why would he?” Luke asked, a little irritated that Joe was being so negative.

 Then Luke realised that from where he was standing, Joe couldn’t see what he and Curly could see.

“No, not here,” he said, “there!”

And he pointed to something behind his dad’s ramshackle shed.

Joe stepped forward to look.  The plot behind Luke’s dad’s plot had been abandoned some time ago and was quite overgrown.  The former tenant had erected post and rail fencing all around it so that she could keep her Shetland pony there.  And there was a big shed that she’d used as a stable.  Luke beamed.

“This is my plot!”

Joe’s jaw dropped.

“But how? …. When?”

“That’s where I went.  To the ‘lotment committee man’s house.  To rent this ‘lotment.”

“But how … I mean, don’t that cost loadsa money?”

Joe knew the answer to his question almost before he’d finished asking it.  Luke was so happy as he led Curly to her new home.

“Won’t ‘ave time for bike rides now anyway,” he said.

**********************

The first eight chapters of Luke’s adventures sticking up for animals – only £4! Click the pic!

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‘Luke Walker and the saved up money’ starts now!

For the first 6 chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 7:

Luke Walker and the saved up money

Luke didn’t complain about helping Dad on the allotment because it was part of their agreement.  After he’d commandeered the vegetable patch for the damsons, Dad had made a deal with him.  He said the damsons could stay there if Luke agreed to help him every week on a new allotment.

The allotment cost Dad £80 a year, which seemed a heck of a lot of money to Luke, but Dad said it was a good deal because it gave him plenty of room to grow things – much more than he’d had in the damson patch.  It would be a lot of work so Luke had to help.  Luke thought that was fair, and earning the damsons’ keep made him feel like a bread-winner.  So everyone was happy.

On this particular Saturday he was in an especially good mood.  He had finally saved enough money to buy his bike.  The pocket money he had been given that very morning brought his total up to £100.  £100!  He had been saving for ever.  Actually, for a year.  But it felt like forever.  And now he had enough.  He could buy the bike; the blue one; the blue one he’d seen in the bike shop window; the blue one that was perfect for him; the blue one that was meant to be his.  Dad said they could go and get it when they’d done the morning’s digging and weeding.  They were going that afternoon.

After lunch Luke rushed up to his bedroom and emptied his money box.  Mum had changed his coins for notes every time he saved £10 so now he held ten crisp, or rather soft and tatty, £10 notes in his hands.  Never before had he held so much money!  He tucked it carefully into his wallet, the Batman one with the keyring attached, tucked his wallet into his front right trouser pocket, and padlocked the keyring to his belt loop.  He wasn’t taking any chances.  Then he waited in the car for Dad.

“Where have you been?” Luke asked him when he finally arrived.

“You know where I’ve been Luke.  You saw me.  You passed me, eating my lunch, on your way out to sit in the car.”

He turned the key and the engine coughed to life.  Luke could hardly contain his excitement.

****************

Continues tomorrow 😉

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New Book: The Rebel Gang and the Number Ciphers

The Rebel Gang and the Number Ciphers  (which you can find on the 8 years and up page) is now available in paperback!

You could be holding the Top Secret documents in your hands ….

…. including all the evidence and ciphertexts found by the investigators.

You have access to suspect profiles,

and the evidence against them.  You can peruse the conclusions drawn from this evidence by M and decide whether you agree with her (or him?).

But most of all, you could have fun reading it 😀

The Rebel Gang and the Number Ciphers, now available from Amazon 😉

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Then he took out the weighing scales …

Then he took out the weighing scales, measured 12 ounces of flour and put it into the mixing bowl.

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To the flour he added 4 slightly heaped teaspoons of baking powder.  And he mixed it in well.

vegan children's story

Next he weighed 6 ounces of sugar and mixed it in with the flour.  He stirred it a lot.

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After that he added the wet ingredients together:

250 ml of water,

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6 tablespoons of sunflower oil and

3 teaspoons of vanilla essence.

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He poured the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mixed it up really well until he had a thick, moist, cake mixture.

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Then he lined a cake tin with eco-friendly grease-proof paper and poured the mixture into it.

vegan children's story

When he’d scraped all he could out of the bowl, Cedro put on his oven gloves and very carefully put the cake tin into the hot oven.

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Cedro set the timer for 75 minutes (which was an hour and a quarter) and ….

********

To be continued on Monday 🙂

but if you want to know how the cake turns out, you can read the whole story now 😀

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That’s it!

While Cedro continued to ponder, Grandpa walked behind him, into the kitchen.

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Grandpa picked up the biscuit tin, rattled it, put it back down and trudged back to the living room.

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“That’s it!” thought Cedro, “Grandpa’s got a sweet tooth!  I’ll make him a birthday cake!”

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Cedro washed his hands and gathered together all the ingredients he would need.  They were flour, baking powder, sugar, sunflower oil, water and vanilla essence.  Then he carefully switched on the oven and set it to 160° centigrade.

vegan children's story

continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story here now 😀

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Myrtle did some origami

Myrtle had made a mobile of a beautiful flock of origami birds for Grandpa to hang in his bedroom window.  Grandpa adored birds.

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Cedro would have loved to make him something like that but, though he had tried, he just couldn’t get the hang of folding paper.

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vegan children's story

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continues tomorrow 😀

but if you want you can read the whole story now 😉

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A new one for ages 5 and up starts here

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vegan children's story

By Edward Benn

Illustrated by Cynthia Barnett

************

Everyone was excited because it was Grandpa Wollemi’s birthday.

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Kauri had made him a lovely drawstring bag for holding his popcorn when he watched a movie.

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Cedro would have loved to make him something like that but, though he had tried, …

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… he just couldn’t get the hang of sewing.

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Continues tomorrow 😀

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Adrenaline

Continued from yesterday

*****

The two of them struck the back window with all their might, again and again.  First there was a crack, then another and another.  They just kept hitting it.

“Hey! Hey!” The man’s voice in the distance didn’t slow them down.

They were nearly there.  There was a head-sized hole in the glass with cracks radiating from it.  The boys put down their weapons and took hold of sections of glass between the cracks with their hands.  They pushed and pulled, working them back and forth until they could be folded all the way down.  Now the hole was big enough for Luke to climb in.  Adrenaline masked the pain of the cuts on his hands as he tried to lift her.  She was weak and limp and too heavy for him.

“Help me!”

Joe climbed in and between them they lifted her to the hole but they couldn’t lift her out because there was no one to hand her to.  It was an oven in there.

“Just get her head outside so she can breathe,” said Luke, “then we’ll prob’ly ‘ave to jus’ push ‘er out.”

But before they did the hatchback opened and there stood the policeman.  He lifted his dog and carried her a few steps to the cool shade of a large tree where he trickled water from a bottle over her mouth. The boys watched, not even caring how much trouble they were in.  The police dog started to lick the water around her lips.  Luke and Joe rushed towards her with cupped hands and she lapped up the water the policeman poured into them.  They sat in the shade for some time.  Eventually the policeman spoke.

“I only left her for a minute. I opened the front windows a little and parked in the shade of this tree, so I thought she’d be ok, just for a minute.  But then I got held up by ……”

He paused, realising there was no point in making excuses.

“I just didn’t think I was going to be more than a minute or two. But I should have known I might be delayed; and the sun is constantly moving so the car wouldn’t have been in the shade for long.”

He shook his head, full of regret.

“And it only takes a few minutes for a dog to overheat and die.”

Luke and Joe said nothing.  The dog wagged her tail.

“Good girl Sheba,” said the policeman, “you’re my good girl.”

He looked at the boys.

“And you boys are heroes. Thank you.”

****

Nan and Grandad were waiting by the phone for the police to call back with any news.  Mum and Dad were frantically searching the park again.

“Marian,” said Dad, “they’re not here. I’m going to walk towards the town.”

“Wait! Look!” said Mum, pointing to the police car she could see pulling up outside Nan and Grandad’s house.

They both ran.

****

When all was explained and forgiven, everyone realised how hungry they were and Nan’s tea went down very well.  It was too late to return the putters and Joe’s ball to the Park Keeper but Dad took Luke back to Swanspool the next day so that he could hand them in.

“… so I’m sorry they’re late,” said Luke after explaining the previous day’s events, “but we dint steal ’em.”

“I never thought for a moment that you did,” the Park Keeper said as he put them away.

*****

You can find chapters 1 to 5 of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er on our ‘stories for age 8 and up’ page, and the first eight chapters are also available in paperback 😀

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That boy!

Continued from yesterday:

*******

Dad burst into Nan’s house trembling, half with anger, half with fear.

“That boy!” he said.

“What?” said Mum and Nan with alarm.

“They’ve gone!  They’re not there!  No sign of them on the putting green and the Keeper says they haven’t returned the gear.  I’ve been all over the park – the toilets, the cafe, the tennis courts, the gardens. They’re not in the park!”

“Call the police!” said Nan.

****

“We need a policeman!” said Luke, triumphantly pointing to the police car at the end of the street.

police car

Joe’s face flooded with relief and the two of them rushed towards it.  The windows were quite steamed up so it was difficult to see inside.  Luke banged on the window.

“Hello!”

A loud bark made them jump back.  Luke laughed.

“Oh, that made me jump! But I weren’t scared. I’m not scared of dogs.”

He banged on the driver’s door window again.

“Hello! Police! We need the police!”

The window was open a bit at the top so Luke peeped in the gap.

“The policeman’s not in here,” he said, “just the dog.”

The dog didn’t bark again, she just panted.

“She’s really hot,” said Luke, concerned.

Joe remembered a sticker he’d seen on the door of the Co-op.  The boys looked at each other and spoke at the same time.

“Dogs die in hot cars!”

It was an estate car and the dog was in the boot.  She was lying down now, panting really fast, and had white foam around her mouth.  The boys ran around the car trying all the doors and shouting for help. The doors were locked and nobody came.  Both front windows were wound down a little so they held on to the top of the glass and tried to force them down further but they wouldn’t budge.  This frantic activity did at least set off the alarm but still no one came.  Then Luke remembered.

“The golf clubs!”

He grabbed the putters from the ground and handed one to Joe.

“Hit the glass as hard as you can!” he told him.

****************

The story concludes tomorrow 😀 but if you don’t want to wait, you can read it here now 🙂

Wait for the Green Man

Continued from yesterday:

********

Things were drawing to a close on the bowling green.  Grandad’s team had not won but it had been a pleasant match and everyone was ready for tea.  Nan and Grandad’s house bordered the park, just a three minute walk from the green, so Nan went ahead to put the kettle on while Grandad said cheerio to his team.

“I’ll go and round up the boys,” Dad volunteered.

Mum caught up with Nan.

****

Luke pressed the button and waited for the green man.  When the traffic stopped and the green man lit up, they crossed the main road.

“See,” said Luke, “safe assouses!”

They both looked up and down for the ball with no more success than they’d had so far.  Luke saw a side street which sloped downwards and guessed it had probably rolled down there.  It hadn’t.

“I think we have to go back,” said Joe.

“I know,” agreed Luke reluctantly.

They walked up the side street until they reached the main road.

“The cinema!” said Joe with surprise, “I wonder if they’ve got the new Batman film.”

Luke would also have liked to check out the new Batman but first he wondered how come they hadn’t noticed the cinema on their way out.  Had they passed it and not seen it?  Or was this a different road? Luke looked at the other buildings in the street: a pizza restaurant, a chip shop, a key-cutting shop.  None of it looked familiar.  Well this road must be parallel to the other road.  Luke felt sure if they took the next left they’d be back on track.  They took the next left.  Then the next right.  Then they went straight ahead for a long time.  They were completely lost.

“What’re we gonna do?” Joe was really worried.

Luke wasn’t entirely calm himself but he pretended he was.

“Let’s sit down for a minute to think,” he said.

It was so hot and they were really thirsty.  They sat down on a bench and thought.  Mum and Dad had mobile phones but Luke didn’t know the numbers.  And anyway, there were no phone boxes.

“Just think!” Luke told himself, “I’m an outlaw. I can get us out of this.”

He looked up and down the length of the street and at one end of it he saw something that would solve everything.

******

Continues tomorrow 😀 but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story here

A dependable friend

Continued from yesterday

*******

He was such a dependable friend.  The two of them searched for almost ten minutes without any luck. Joe said the Park Keeper would probably understand if they apologised and explained what had happened but Luke wasn’t ready to give up yet.

“This pavement goes downhill,” he said.

“No it don’t, it’s flat,” Joe disagreed.

“Give me your ball,” said Luke.

He placed it gently on the pavement and it started to roll.

“See! It’s slightly downhill.  If we follow your ball it will lead us to mine.”

“Ok,” said Joe, and they followed it.

It went past the chip shop and the laundrette; past the pub and the bingo hall.  Joe looked back over his shoulder.  He couldn’t see the park gate anymore and was a bit worried.  Mrs Walker had told them to

1. stay together and

2. stay in the park.

He couldn’t do both so, after very little deliberation, he decided that ‘stay together’ was the more important rule.  He hurried to catch up with Luke.  The ball continued to trickle on but was slowing down because the slope levelled out just before it reached the main road.  Joe’s ball came to a stop against a bulge in the asphalt.  He picked it up and put it in his pocket.

“So where’s yours?”

“It must be here somewhere,” said Luke looking around.

His logic was flawless.  The ball must have rolled in this direction.  But it was nowhere to be seen.

“Well at least we tried,” said Joe, “I think we should prob’ly be gettin’ back to the park.”

“Just one more minute,” said Luke, “I know it’s here.  It must be.”  Suddenly he realised “someone prob’ly accident’ly kicked it.  It’s prob’ly gone across the road!”

“Oh no!” said Joe as he looked at the busy traffic, “we’re not goin’ to cross the road!”

********

Continues tomorrow 😀 but if you can’t wait, you can read the whole story here

This must be it!

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

vegan story book

Thank goodness for the happy ending 😀

We hope you enjoyed Lavender Laine’s poetic collage which beautifully illustrates that there’s no point experimenting on animals because, chances are, what’s good or bad for them, is not what’s good or bad for us.  She has dedicated the book to the Safer Medicines Campaign.

You can read the whole story here and it is available in paperback from Amazon

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#vegan story, #vegan children’s book, #vegan rhyming story,

The Tenth Earthling Friend

 vegan children's book

 vegan children's book

 vegan children's book

 vegan children's book

vegan counting book for children

 vegan children's book

 vegan children's book

 vegan children's book

The story continues tomorrow with more games 😀

See you then! Or, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can read the whole story here

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#vegan children, #vegan children’s story, #vegan children’s book, #early learning book, #learning to count book, #vegan counting book

Look out for Reflecto Girl’s Lost Notebook

Remember that in Reflecto Girl episode 5, Renée left her notebook on the bus?

notebook on bus

Well, because she can’t risk giving away her real identity, she won’t be able to pick it up from the bus depot lost property office.  So it’s just sitting there, going to waste.  And it’s only half full so someone could make use of it.

vegan children's notebook

vegan children's notebook

It’s just a little book and she’s left the personal details page blank for obvious reasons, so whoever picks it up could put their own name and stuff in it.

vegan children's notebook

There is a place in it where they could write web addresses that they need to remember.  Renée’s added a couple but there’s space for a few more.

vegan children's notebook

In the ‘memos’ section, she’s jotted down a few recipes but there’s room for the new owner to add some more of their own.

vegan notebook for children

And then of course there’s Renée’s journal.  Whoever picks up the notebook will learn more about the girl behind the Dounto; about her penpal, her family and why she needed a part-time job.  Her journal reveals where her Grandma went and why she’s stayed away for so long – you’ll never guess!  And her Reflecto Girl adventures, up until she lost the book, are described in her own words.

vegan children's notebook

vegan children's notebook

She’s done a bit of sketching and doodling in there too.

vegan children's notebook

Of course there’s plenty of space for whoever picks up the notebook to do their own sketches and doodles, or write their own journal.  The book’s only half full.

vegan children's notebook

All in all it’s a pretty little notebook and it would be a shame if it went to waste on a dusty shelf.  Oh look, she’s even stuck her logo to the back of it.

vegan children's notebook

If you’d like to get hold of Reflecto Girl’s Lost Notebook, you can pick it up here, but do it quick before someone else does 😉

Taking note

Story continues from yesterday:

****

Luke put the gobstopper back in his mouth and wiped his sticky hand on his trousers.  There were seven Year 6 boys again.  The missing two had returned with snacks.  Luke knew their faces but not their names.  One of them was Katia Haines’s brother so his surname must be Haines.  Luke picked up his comic again and peered over it in their direction.

The big boys hung around the swings, some sitting, some standing.  The tall one thought it was funny to throw one of the swings over the top of the frame, over and over again until it was too high up for anyone to sit on.

They all had crisps and pop.  Katia’s brother spat chewing gum on the ground before getting stuck in to his crisps.  There was a litter bin next to the swings and when the boys had finished snacking they, one by one, tossed their rubbish into it.  Each boy took his throw further from the bin than the one before him, to demonstrate his superior skills.

Haines went last and missed.  The others laughed and teased him for his ineptitude when his rubbish hit the ground, so he proved them wrong by hitting every one of them with the football.  All seven scuffled noisily out of the park.  

Luke picked up his notebook and pencil,

LITTER: 1 TANGO CAN, 1 CRISP BAG, GUM

DROPPER: HAINES, YEAR 6

then he went over to the swings and collected the rubbish.

Suddenly he heard Butler’s loud shouting voice.  The class 4 kids were coming back!  Quickly he ran north and concealed himself behind the trees next to the pony paddock.  He watched them through his binoculars.  They sat together on the bench, eating crisps and drinking pop.  Kenny White also had a sherbet fountain.  Luke waited patiently for Butler to drop his rubbish on the grass.  His pencil was poised for the inevitable notebook entry.  Simon Butler would then be taught a lesson.  But Simon Butler did not drop his rubbish on the grass.  He put it in the bin, as did Christina and Becca.  Luke was begrudgingly impressed.

He looked at his watch.  It was 1.54pm. 1.54!  Mum had said 2 o’clock, don’t be late!  He had to get home for dinner!  But he couldn’t come out from behind the trees, they’d know he’d been spying on them.  He had to wait.  So he waited.  And he waited.

“Don’t you lot ‘ave ‘omes to go to?” he asked under his breath.

He looked at his watch again: 2.01.  He heard Becca shouting.

“Let’s go on the swings!”

They all ran and Kenny, being the last to get there, found no swing for him (the fourth having been wound around the top of the frame).  He shrugged and said he was going home for dinner.  The rest of them followed his example.

2.09.  Luke emerged from his hiding place and ran across the park.  As he sped past the bench something caught his eye.  He stopped.  Looked back.  There was something on the ground under the bench.

LITTER: 1 PANDA POP, 1 CRISP BAG, 1 SHERBET FOUNTAIN

DROPPER: KENNY WHITE

Sunday evening.  It was nearly bedtime.  Luke emerged quietly from his brother’s room.

“Hey! What are you doing in my room?” Jared scowled.

“Jus’ doin’ you a favour, that’s all!” said Luke, returning the scowl. “You left your school bag downstairs so I put it in your room.  Mum gets cross when you leave stuff out so I’d say I did you a favour alright!”

Jared eyed his younger brother suspiciously.  It wasn’t like him to be so considerate.  Luke stomped off to his own room.

Monday morning.  Time to implement part three of the plan.

********

Continues tomorrow, or if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here.  The first eight chapters are also available in paperback.

vegan book for children

Spiker

Story continues from yesterday:

******

And so the morning continued.  Dad read the paper; Dudley sniffed, peed and eventually laid down; and Luke resentfully picked up other people’s rubbish.

He spotted a set of six-pack rings in the long grass and reached for it.  It moved.  He reached for it again and it moved again.  Luke parted the long grass and found, with one of the rings caught tight around his body, a little hedgehog.

hedgehog

“Oh dear oh dear,” said the vet, “come on fella, let’s get this horrible thing off you.”  

She cut it off and then gently cleaned the hedgehog’s wounds.  

“I would say, going by the severity of the cuts around his neck and behind his forelimb …”

“His armpit,” Luke clarified in case anyone was unsure to which wound she was referring.

“er, yes, if you like,” the vet went on, “and the fact that he is quite undernourished, that this unfortunate animal …”

“Spiker,” said Luke.

“I’m sorry?”

“That’s his name.”

“Oh, I see.  I would say that Spiker has been struggling with this horrible appendage for over a week.  It’s very lucky you found him when you did.”

Luke suddenly saw the job of picking up litter in a very different light.  It was a very important job and, in conjunction with punishing droppers, was outlaw work.

The vet said that she would take care of Spiker until he was better and then she would call them to pick him up and they could release him where they found him.

“That means,” thought Luke, “I need to make sure the park is safe for him to come back to.”

On the way home, Luke formulated a plan: 

➔ First he would clean up all the rubbish;

➔ then he would keep watch and record the names of all the droppers and what they dropped;

➔ then he would teach them a lesson.

All afternoon Luke and Dad picked up litter.  They filled three and a half large dustbin bags with bottles and cans, crisp packets and sweet wrappers, fast food containers and carrier bags.  Luke also found a £2 coin which Dad said he could keep for being such a good worker.

“Nice to be ‘preciated for a change,” thought Luke and spent 99p of his hard-earned cash, on the way home, on a giant gobstopper.

Part one of his plan was complete.  Now, on Sunday, he was carrying out part two.

It was slow going. His eyes glazed as he stared across the empty park.

“There’d be no shame in bringing more than one comic in future,” he decided.

Then, at 10.06, on one side of the park, seven Year 6 boys entered, laughing and pushing and kicking a football between them.  At the same time, on the other side of the park, came Simon Butler, Kenny White, Becca Nithercott and Christina Burkiss, all from Class 4 – Luke’s class.  Becca and Kenny were carrying large, brightly-coloured kites.  

Luke shrank down behind his Beano.  The Year 6 boys raced around chasing their ball and shouting insults at each other.  The class 4 kids took it in turns to run across the field trying to keep their kites aloft in the windless sky.  

Luke kept his eyes on them all as discreetly as he could.  No litter was dropped. He was getting awfully tired of sitting still.

Then the football suddenly flew higher and further than intended and landed in one of the back gardens. Luke watched as one of the Year 6 boys vaulted the fence to retrieve it.

“What are you doing here all by yourself?”

Simon Butler!  Where did he come from?  Luke tried to look nonchalant.  With slow deliberation he took the gobstopper out of his mouth.

“Readin’ me comic. What’s it to you?”

“Reading my foot!” Butler scoffed, “you’ve been sitting here with your comic against your chin for the last ten minutes. Are you waiting for someone?”

This was no good.  Butler was drawing attention.  And he was distracting.  Now there were only five Year 6 boys – where did the other two go?  Simon Butler climbed onto the bench next to Luke and sat on the back of it, his feet on the seat.

“Who are you waiting for? What are you waiting for?”

This was infuriating.  Flamin’ Butler!  Luke had to get rid of him and he could only think of one way to do it.

“Is that yours?” he pointed to a £1 coin on the ground.

“er, oh yeah, I must have dropped it just now,” Simon lied as he stooped to pick it up.

He called to his friends.

“Anyone fancy some crisps?”

And he ran off without giving Luke another thought.

“Expensive,” thought Luke, mourning the loss of the last of his money, “but worth it.”  

******

Continues tomorrow but if you can’t wait that long you can read the whole chapter here and the first eight chapters are also available in paperback.

vegan book for children

Luke Walker Chapter 3 begins here

Chapter 3: Luke Walker and the Giant Gobstopper

SUNDAY

LITTER: 1 PIZZA BOX AND 1 COKE CAN

DROPPER: UNNOWNE

Luke tutted and looked across the park.  At 8.27 there was no one else there but he knew they would come.  And when they did, he would be ready.

On one side of the park was the school, on the other, the pony paddock.  The top and bottom edges skirted the ends of back gardens.  With his binoculars Luke could see it all clearly.  He waited.

At 8.49 a dog walker entered the recreation field and walked around twice.  Luke pretended to read his comic while secretly watching the person’s every move.  No litter was dropped.

At 9.12 and 9.18 two more dog walkers arrived at opposite sides of the park.  One threw a ball for his dog, the other kept her dog on a lead.  No litter was dropped.

For Luke time was passing extremely slowly.  He had read his comic three times and it was losing its appeal.  At least his enjoyment of the gobstopper was not waning.

“The solitude of the outlaw life might be too much for some people,” Luke mused, “but I’m used to it now, I can handle it.”

Twenty four hours earlier he had been less philosophical:

“I don’t see why I should have to clean up other people’s mess!” Luke complained to Rusty who was sitting on a cabbage leaf, watching him.

Mrs Tebbut had followed through on her threat to send home a letter after the zoo trip and Luke’s dad had sentenced him to a month of weekends cleaning up litter.  Luke was bitterly resentful at the injustice of it all.

“I mean, I could see the logic if I was a litter dropper myself.  Makin’ me pick up litter would serve me right.  But I’m not a dropper.  I’ve never been a dropper.  I won’t ever be a dropper – so what kind of lesson is this s’posed to teach me? A lesson I already know, that’s what!”

Rusty, Ash and Scratcher, the only witnesses to this tirade, did not attempt to answer him.  They were used to his rhetorical rants and knew it was best to just let him get it off his chest.  Sitting with his friends in ‘the damson patch’, as it was now known, letting off steam with the only ones who really understood him, was a kind of therapy for Luke.  He always felt better afterwards.

But at the park Luke felt humiliated.  It was Saturday morning; scouts were having football practice; skateboarders were zooming up and down their ramps and slopes; little girls were skipping rope and playing hopscotch.  Luke felt like everyone was smirking at him picking up litter.  It was disgusting.  Disgusting people had dropped their disgusting rubbish and he was forced to clean up after them.  It made him so cross.

litter

Then he noticed his dad trying to get his attention.  Maybe he was going to let him off.  Maybe he’d done enough now.

“Luke, look, behind you. Dudley’s done his business.  Make sure you pick that up as well.”

Dad went back to reading the paper and Luke seethed.  It wasn’t fair!

******

Continues tomorrow, but if you can’t wait you can read the whole chapter here now😀

and the first eight chapters are also available in paperback

vegan book for children

We interrupt this story to bring you: FREE BOOKS

vegan book for children

Just wanted to let you know that we are giving away ten copies of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er on Goodreads.

The adventures of Luke Walker begin with the first two episodes in comic-book style right here on the 5 and up page, but the book is, for a change, written in prose.  It contains the first eight short stories.  Luke is an eight year old boy who, after noticing what a raw deal animals have, has decided to become vegetarian – much to his parents dismay.  He is outspoken, full of righteous anger and is not afraid to do what needs to be done, despite lack of support from the grown-ups around him.  He is a vegan ‘Just William’.  I hope you will find Luke’s first eight adventures entertaining – I had a lot of fun writing them.

The giveaway ends on the 11 June so if you want a free, signed copy you’ve got just over two days to enter (you’ll have to sign up with Goodreads but that’s quick and easy and free to do). 681 people have entered so far.

ps: I don’t know whether this will always be the case but I noticed that with the other Goodreads giveaways we’ve done, the winner was always someone who entered on the last day 😉

And the Princess Who Liked To Be Popular winner is …

Princess draw

princess winner

Congratulations Vegan Mammy 😀

a copy of The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular will be on its way to you as soon as I have your address (tell me privately using contact form on About page).

vegan book for children

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular is available on Amazon, and you can read it here on the Fairy Tales page 😀

YRUA Vegan? Giveaway Countdown: Day 6

vegan children's book

Day 6: you’ve got two days left to enter the prize draw for a chance to win a copy of “Why are you a vegan?” and other wacky verse for kids.

The winner will be drawn on Wednesday, the 11th of May.

Comment on this post to put your name in the hat😀

Funny rhymes with messages on vegan lifestyle,sounds difficult to combine but the authors have put a brilliant effort in creating this work. This is a book consisting of poems and picture stories. What is interesting about this book is,the drawings are hand drawn which makes this book a special one because children can actually connect to the drawings and the simple poems and learn in more than one way. Very beautiful illustrations and amazing writing.

A very sweet read. Would recommend it for every kid.

 Goodreads review

For more vegan books for children, go home:-)

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er – NEW BOOK OUT NOW!

vegan book for children

The new Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er book is out now!

vegan children's stories

Those who have read the first two episodes on this website (Luke Walker and the damsons and Luke Walker AWOL) will know what a lovable rascal Luke is.

vegan children's stories

He is an eight year old to be reckoned with.

A constant trial to his parents and teachers.

He is naughty and brave; defiant and outspoken.

A resourceful, muddy, sticky advocate for animals.

vegan children's book

And now you can read the first eight chapters in prose:

vegan children's stories

Lots of fun.  Lots of mischief.  Lots of Luke – our very own vegan Just William.

Look inside the book on Amazon (Also available on Amazon US , Amazon Canada and Amazon Europe)

vegan children's stories

For more great vegan children’s books go to veganbooksforchildren.com

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Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

vegan book for children

vegan children’s stories

vegan children’s book

vegan short stories

The Final Giveaway: How Many Friends Could A Bibbolybob Make If A Bibbolybob Came To Earth? THE LITTLE EDITION

CHILDREN'S BOOK

The fourth and final of our Honestly Books giveaways is very similar to the first – How Many Friends Could A Bibbolybob Make If A Bibbolybob Came To Earth? – but it’s a little one!  It turns out that this early learning title, by Edward Benn and Juliet Mahoney, has been so popular that Honestly Books decided to release a miniature second edition.  Well it’s not that tiny – just about the size of a standard paperback – but it’s not as big as the great big first edition 😀

Anyway, let’s get to the point.  Apart from it’s size, this has everything the first one had: a cute story with cute animal characters, a cute alien visitor and an introduction to numbers for little children.  Look here for our review 🙂

If you would like to win a copy of this dainty little picture book, just comment on this post and you will be entered into Friday’s draw 🙂 It’s your last chance to win so good luck!

For those not lucky enough to win one of these lovely books, of course you can find them all on Amazon 🙂

Giveaway Number 1: Wibbolywub and the Earthlings

vegan children's book

How many friends could a Bibbolybob make if a Bibbolybob came to Earth? (aka Wibbolywub and the Earthlings) by Edward Benn and Juliet Mahoney, will be our first giveaway of the Honestly Books stash.

You can read our review of this lovely book here, but basically it is just a fun story, with happy, colourful illustrations, about an alien visitor to Earth – Wibbolywub the Bibbolybob – who makes ten different Earthling friends and plays some fun counting games with them.  A great introduction to numbers 1 to 10 for early learners and a little insight into the differences between the Earthlings and their eating habits.

If you would like to win this beautiful book, comment on this post and tell me so 😀

We will put the names of all the entrants in a box and pull out the winner on Friday.

Good Luck 😉

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ps this prize draw is open to everyone, anywhere in the world 🙂