Fun new vegan comic!

Marvellous Mildred (whose first story you read last week) is part of our new comic:

Beans On Toast!

Now available for the amazing price of

In it you’ll find Marvellous Mildred and the Girl Scout Twins ….

plus What me and Jude did while everyone else was at school, …

plus Sherman & Geynes (pretend detectives).  And that’s not all!

There are also puzzle pages!!!

So if you’re looking for something fun and creative for your 21st century kids,

Look no further than the B.O.T. comic

available from our little bookshop 😀

Suitable for readers aged 6 and up


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Luke Walker and the secret society continues …

When Joe was clear about how to do it, he went home to make one for himself.

“Don’t tell anyone!” Luke reminded him on his way out.

After hearing the front door close, Luke stood at the window and watched Joe walk out of the cul-de-sac feeling full of optimism. Now there were two of them. He’d always known he could rely on Joe, and had benefited from his help a couple of times already, but it was really something to know that his best friend now properly understood that animals needed sticking up for every day; and that sometimes you have to be sneaky about it.

“Luuuke! Come and do the drying up please!” Mum’s voice called from downstairs.

“In a minute,” he called back. He just needed to wash up the saucer of paint before it dried.


On the other hand, perhaps it was prudent to go down right away.


Once the drying up was done, Luke hung out with the damsons in the garden for a while. He gave them yesterday’s left over salad, and supervised to make sure Rusty didn’t eat it all. She was one naughty rabbit! Ash could look after himself but Scratcher was never quick enough and Rusty would pinch her share given the chance. Luke made them a clean bed, and picked them some raspberries that were too high up on the canes for them to reach before coming back inside to get Dudley for his walk.

“Wear your mac,” said Mum, “looks like rain.”

Luke grabbed his Spiderman cagoule from the hall cupboard and called his dog.

“Dudleeeey. Dudleey. Dudley!”

Finally the sleepy boy emerged from Luke’s room at the top of the stairs and trotted down, tail wagging. Was that mud? Luke couldn’t think where Dudley could have been to get one of his paws muddy – it hadn’t rained yet. But not too worry, it would dust off the carpet when it dried.

Outside it was breezy and the purplish-grey sky looked ominous but Luke and Dudley weren’t afraid. They walked briskly to the allotments to see Curly and her beloved lamb, Squirt, and check they had everything they needed. Little Squirt, who wasn’t so little any more, came running up to meet them and he and Dudley ambled off to play together. The big allotment plot provided them with plenty of grass and clover to eat but Curly knew Luke was carrying treats and nuzzled against his leg until he gave her the carrots he’d brought. Then he refilled their water trough by stretching the long hose from Dad’s plot. In the big shed Luke mucked out the droppings and made a deep, fresh bed of clean hay. Mm, it smelled good. Curly looked in to see what he was up to.

“I just tidied up,” Luke told her and he plopped down on the soft hay and rolled around in it. The sound of raindrops on the roof made it extra cosy and Curly decided to join him. She settled herself into a comfortable spot and started chewing – mostly hay but occasionally hair.

“Ow!” Luke yanked his head away and sat up to stroke her. She liked that. Suddenly the rain started coming down hard, sending Dudley and Squirt for cover. They rolled in the hay to dry themselves off, and then the four friends sat together and watched the downpour. The storm was powerful and awe-inspiring. It was exciting to be so close to it.

The rain lasted for almost an hour and when it stopped Luke and Dudley made a break for it. With any luck they would be home before it came down again. That wouldn’t keep them dry though. When they reached the village shop a passing lorry relocated a giant puddle at the edge of the road to the exact spot in which Luke and Dudley were standing. Dudley promptly shook. Luke got wetter. Dripping from head to toe, he noticed a card in the shop window. It read:

“Blimin’ breeders!” thought Luke, “them babies’ll prob’ly be left in small cages all on their own. An’ there’s already too many pets who don’t get looked after prop’ly! When I’m Prime Minister I’ll make it against the law for humans to breed!”


This chapter concludes tomorrow but if you want to finish it now click here 🙂


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Government experts

Continued from yesterday


“This afternoon we are going to start our half-term project about health and nutrition.  When you’ve finished this unit you will all understand how to eat a healthy, well- balanced diet.”

Mrs Tebbut was interrupted by Miss Shaw returning with the photocopies.  She nodded at her assistant’s suggestion that she distribute them and then continued.

“Miss Shaw is putting before you a copy of the Government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’.  Before we look at that, let’s find out what you already know.  Can anybody tell me what type of animal the human is?”

“A mammal.”

“Yes Katia, good. Anyone else?”

“A primate.”

“Yes Jonah, very good.  What else can you tell me, specifically about the eating habits of the human?”

“Humans are omnivores,” said Simon Butler, “so they eat plants and animals.”

“Well done Simon, yes, that’s what I was looking for.”

“Pff,” Luke couldn’t suppress his derision.

“Something to add, Luke?”

“Well, I’m a human and I on’y eat plant food so that’s herbivore, not omnivore.”

“Yes, some people choose to be vegetarian Luke but most eat a varied diet of plant and animal food which gives them everything they need.”

“My food gives me everythin’ I need.”

“Stop being argumentative.  You’re not the only person in this class and I refuse to let you monopolise the lesson.”  Mrs Tebbut looked down at her notes to remind herself where she’d got to.  “So, we know that humans are natural omnivores, in spite of the fact that some choose to eat only plant food.  Now, to understand in more detail how much of each type of food we need to be healthy, it’s important to be aware of what nutrients we need and which foods contain them.  Look at your sheets.”

“Foxes are omnivores,” said Luke.

“Carnivores,” Mrs Tebbut corrected him.

“They eat berries and other fruit when they can.  Not on’y meat.”

“Fascinating.  Now can we get back to the lesson please?”

“And badgers are omnivores,” said Luke, “and dogs, and rats.  That’s why they ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws.”

Mrs Tebbut sighed.

“What is your point?”

“Humans don’t ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws.  For killin’.  Like omnivores do.”

Luke was really glad he’d read some of Amelia’s colouring books at the weekend.  Mrs Tebbut took a deep breath.

“Luke Walker.  I believe I said ‘don’t be argumentative’.  I believe I also stated that you would not be permitted to monopolise this lesson.  This lesson, by the way, was informed by the Government Luke.  Do you know better than Government experts?”

“I’m on’y sayin’,” said Luke.

Mrs Tebbut fixed him with a hard stare before averting her eyes to address the class.

“Everyone look at your sheets please.”

Eatwell_guide_2016_FINAL_MAR-16 grey scale (2)

click to enlarge

“The diagram shows all the elements that a healthy diet contains and in what proportions.  The written chart lists specific vitamins and minerals and where to get them.  

primary nutrition class chart jpeg 150 per cent

I want you all to study these sheets and think about your own diets.  Where do you get your Vitamin C?  Where do you get your Calcium?  This week I want you to record in your exercise books what you have for every meal and then try to work out what nutrients your food has given you.  You may take these sheets home with you.  Hand in your exercise books next Monday.”

Luke looked at his sheets and the wheels of his defiant mind began to turn.

“Ok,” he thought, “I can do that.”

Mrs Tebbut noticed how engrossed he had become with the printouts.

“He’s finally paying attention,” she thought.

She looked across at Joe who was drawing skeletons all over his Eatwell Guide.  She shrugged.

That evening Mum was pleasantly surprised to see Luke doing his homework in his room after dinner instead of rolling around in rough play with Dudley or staging Return of the Jedi with his action figures.

“Good boy Luke,” she said, “lights out at half past seven.”

Every evening that week was the same.

“I really think he’s changed,” she told her husband, “our little rebel is settling down.”

Dad frowned.

“We’ll see.”

On Saturday morning, during breakfast, Luke proved her right.

“Mum, can I go to Auntie Joan’s? I wanna ask Amelia if I can borra one of ‘er colourin’ books.”

Everyone froze.  Jared started coughing violently as a sharp intake of breath made some cornflakes go down the wrong way.

“Mum? Can I?”

“Er, yes if you like.  I was planning to pop in anyway, Joan asked to borrow the sewing machine.  Yes, you may come with me.  That’ll be nice.”

“Thank you,” said Luke and left the table.

Mum looked at Dad.

“Told you.”

All day Sunday Luke was shut away in his room, finishing his homework.  Amelia’s book – Colour By Nutrients – was a great help.  By tea time he was all done and was actually looking forward to Monday morning when he could hand in his exercise book full of long lists of the vitamins and minerals in his plant food meals.

But first on Monday came the school assembly.  Luke was again reluctantly granted permission to go to the toilet.  He slipped back into the classroom and opened the top drawer of Mrs Tebbut’s desk.  She usually kept it locked but, since last Friday, she hadn’t been able to because she couldn’t find the key.  Without difficulty Luke found the big yellow folder labelled Master Copies and removed it.  Then he replaced the Eatwell Guide diagram and the Primary Nutrition Class chart with his own home-made versions of those documents.

“Perfect!” he thought, smiling with satisfaction, “by the time Mrs Tebbut gets ’em out for next year’s Class 4, she’ll ‘ave forgotten exactly what they look like and won’t notice they’re a bit diff’rent.”

Luke smiling

He was confident the new ones looked similar enough to the originals to fool anyone who didn’t look too closely.  He returned the yellow folder to the drawer and quietly slipped back into assembly.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Luke's primary nutrition class chart (2)


You can read the whole chapter here

Click here for the first eight chapters of Luke Walker’s adventures in paperback

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Reflecto Girl #5 continues Monday 😀

Part 3 of the plan

Story continues from yesterday:


Luke, wearing full school uniform, was finishing his jam and toast when his mum entered the kitchen at half past seven.  She was stunned.  Normally she had to call him at least three times before he’d get up, and even when he was up he had to be constantly nagged to get dressed and breakfasted.  He didn’t appear to have had a shower and he was wearing Friday’s dirty shirt, but Mrs Walker decided to let that go.

“Morning Luke,” she said, apprehensively, “everything ok?”

“Yes thanks Mum,” he replied politely, “I want to get to school early today so I’m bein’ organised.”

“So I see.  Any particular reason?”


Mrs Walker, known by Luke to be very distrustful, looked closely at her youngest son.

“Ok,” she said, eventually, “well done.”

Luke smiled, put his gobstopper back in his mouth and went upstairs to clean his teeth.

He was at school a good twenty minutes before most people got there.  Even Mrs Tebbut wasn’t there yet.  He went in to his classroom.

He furtively looked around to confirm he was alone and then rushed over to the drawers.  Everyone had a drawer with their name on.  They kept their books and pencils and stuff in them.  He found Kenny White’s drawer and pulled it out.  Then he took from his bag Kenny’s droppings – 1 panda pop can, 1 crisp packet and one half-empty sherbet fountain.  He pushed them into the drawer and closed it.  Then he ran outside to kick a ball around on the playground until the bell went.

After the register had been called everyone had to line up for assembly.  Luke took his place at the end of the line, followed the rest of his class into the hall and sat down on the floor behind class 3.  He watched all the other classes file in and the assembly began.  He sat still, faced forwards and pretended to be interested.  When it was half way through he tried, quietly, to get Mrs Tebbut’s attention.

“Psst, psst, Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered.

She didn’t hear him.  He coughed.  She didn’t turn her head.  He faked a loud sneeze.  She frowned at him.

“Mrs Tebbut,” he whispered again, “can I go to the toilet?”

She silently shook her head.

“Please Mrs Tebbut, I really need to go,” he whispered a little louder.

The children near him started to snicker and Mrs Tebbut reluctantly gave in.

“If you must,” she hissed, “slip out the back.”

Luke did as he was told.

Once back in the classroom he grabbed his bag and exited through the cloakroom.  He ran to class 6, the long way round so as not to pass the hall, and entered their cloakroom.  He scanned the names above the coat pegs until he found what he was looking for.  Yes! There it was. Haines.

On Haines’s peg hung Haines’s coat and into its pockets Luke deposited Haines’s droppings: 1 Tango can, almost empty, upside down; 1 crisp packet, almost empty, upside down; and 1 used piece of …… oh no! Luke found that the chewing gum he’d wrapped in paper when he’d recovered it from the crime scene, was now as hard as plastic and therefore unfit for purpose.  He needed something sticky.

Of course! With almost no hesitation – he reminded himself it was for a very important cause – Luke spat what was left of his gobstopper into Haines’s inside pocket.  Part three complete.

“Who are you?  What are you doing in here?”

The man’s voice behind him made Luke’s cheeks flush hot.  He turned round and reached into his bag.

“My brother is in this class,” he said, meekly, “’e forgot ‘is English book so I brought it for ‘im.  I was jus’ lookin’ for ‘is bag on ‘is peg.”

He handed Jared’s book to the Year 6 classroom assistant.

“Oh, I see. Thank you,” he said as he took the book, “I’ll see that he gets it.”

“Thanks,” said Luke and ran back to his own class.

He opened the door just in time to witness Mrs Tebbut holding up a cola-soaked, sherbet smeared, grease-stained copy of the new History text book while shouting at Kenny White.

Luke sat down quietly and waited for lessons to begin.


You can read the whole of Chapter 3 here, and the first eight chapters are available in paperback.

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Luke Walker Chapter 3 begins here

Chapter 3: Luke Walker and the Giant Gobstopper




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.


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

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Chatting away non-stop

Story continues from yesterday:


In a few short minutes Luke and Emma were crossing the meadow side by side, heading for the woods.  Luke chatted away non-stop while Emma swished her tail and listened contentedly.

“Truth is Emma,” he explained, “I’d love to take you home with me but I really don’t think me dad’d let me.  Honestly, you should ‘ave ‘eard the fuss ‘e made over a couple o’ rabbits.”

On the other side of the wood was another meadow, even more beautiful, with trees here and there and, to Luke’s delight, something else.

“Ooh quick Emma, over here!  It looks like a lake or somethin’!”

Luke rushed ahead laughing and calling her to follow.  Cautiously, she did.  It was such a lovely hot day that Luke couldn’t resist getting into the clear, cool water.

“Come on, it’s ok, it’s not deep,” he called, “come in with me, it’s fun!”

Emma tentatively dipped her trunk into the water and had a good long drink.  Luke grinned.

“Yeah, that’s it!  Now come all the way in and play with me.”

He laughed and sloshed about and splashed her so that soon she wanted to join in.  She reached out her trunk to him and he put his hand out to her and she trod heavily, slowly, down into the lake.  She drew up a big trunk full of water and showered it all over herself, and Luke.  She splashed and she played and felt free.  And so did Luke.  It was just the best afternoon.

When they got out of the water Emma laid down on the warm grass to be dried by the sun, and Luke sat with her, leaning against her chest.  Eventually, reluctantly, he looked at his watch. 4.32.

“I have to go now,” he told her sadly, “but I will come back if I can.”

He didn’t know when that might be.

“You do like it here don’t you?”

He knew she must and was satisfied his outlawing had paid off again – she’d be much happier here than in that concrete enclosure.  She’d have freedom; she’d have space; he only wished she wouldn’t be on her own.

“There’s prob’ly rabbits here,” he told her, “rabbits make good friends.  The thing with rabbits is, you ‘ave to be patient.  They might seem a bit stand-offish at first but once they get to know you they’re very friendly.”

He stood up and said goodbye, confident she’d understood.  

He slipped back in to the zoo and locked the gate so that everything, well, almost everything, was as he’d found it.  He decided it would be a good idea to hang on to the keys – he’d need them next time he visited Emma.  

It was 4.57 when he arrived at the coach so he was in good time for Mrs Tebbut’s prompt 5pm departure, but for some reason she was crosser than he’d ever seen her.

“Luke Walker!  Do you have any idea what you’ve put us through?  You have disrupted the day for the whole class!  You are a selfish, thoughtless child and I will be sending a letter home to your parents!”

“For what?” thought Luke.


Unbeknown to Luke, seven months later, in a national newspaper:


Elephant Finds Sanctuary At Last

Emma in newspaper for web page

Seven months after the 24-hour disappearance of the lonely elephant at Dillingsgate Zoo, she has been found a place at The Elephant Sanctuary.  ‘Companions for Nelly’ campaign organiser, Joanne Russell said she cannot adequately express her joy at today’s outcome.

“We can only thank God for bringing to light Nelly’s lonely existence by causing her to wander off by herself and ignite a media storm. If it hadn’t been for the zoo’s mishap of leaving her gate open, the world might never have been aware of her miserable solitary confinement.”

Seven months ago the alarm was raised at Dillingsgate zoo when keepers discovered that Nelly was missing. She was found the following day in neighbouring woodlands but not before the news was reported in local, national and international media.  This put the spotlight on conditions in which Nelly was kept.

“Elephants are very social animals,” said Ms Russell, “and it was heartbreaking to learn that Nelly had been without any companionship of her own kind for almost twenty years.”

Thanks to the overwhelming public support for Ms Russell’s campaign, Nelly has now been found a place at the award winning Elephant Sanctuary where she will be able to live out her days in natural surroundings in the company of her own kind.


You can read the whole of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er Chapter 2 here.

Chapter 3 coming to this site soon!

Want it now? No problem – just order the paperback from Amazon! (It’s got the first eight chapters) 😀

Keeping a low profile

The story continues from yesterday:


It didn’t take long for Luke to work out where he might find what he was looking for.

“Somebody what works here will have keys!”

It never occurred to him that he would need a particular key for the particular lock he wanted to open but, as it happened, that wasn’t going to be a problem.  When the zoo was built over thirty years earlier, it boasted the largest number of animal enclosures in the country.  It was deemed impractical to have hundreds of different keys so the same three locks were fitted to everything: one for animal enclosures; one for outer gates; and one for buildings.  Each key-holder carried the same three keys.  That was all anyone needed.  It was all Luke needed. 

zoo keys

Back in the hubbub of the zoo, Luke kept a low profile.  It felt good to be outlawing again.  He saw plenty of zoo workers but there was no way of knowing whether they had keys without asking them.  Then he heard a familiar jangle.

“I know what that means,” he thought, triumphant, “that man’s got keys on his belt!”

The man was alone.  At a grassy, low-fenced enclosure inhabited by small, furry animals Luke didn’t know the name of, he caught up with him.  The man seemed engrossed in what he was doing, or perhaps lost in his own thoughts.  Luke could see the keys dangling against his hip and crept up so close behind him he could almost reach them through the wire fence.  Just as he was about to touch them a loud voice, crackling from the man’s walkie talkie, startled his hand back.  The voice sounded impatient.

“Brinley! Can you hear me? I need you to open the Goods Entrance – the delivery’s just arrived.”

“I heard you! I’m on my way.”

The man, and the keys, hurried out of the enclosure.  Luke followed him at a discreet distance.  He went past a sign which said ‘STAFF ONLY’ and up to a big gate.  No one else was around.  The walkie talkie shouted at the man again.

“HURRY UP BRINLEY! It’s that bad tempered lorry driver!”

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” said Brinley.

In his rush he left the keys in the gate after unlocking it and rushed up the track.  He would probably only be gone for a moment or two.  But that was enough.

Luke ran as fast as he could to get back to the elephant.  It was easier to go unnoticed than it had been on the way out because there was some kind of commotion on the other side of the zebra enclosure.  He overheard something as he passed through which assured him it was nothing to concern him.  The elephant was waiting right where he’d left her.

“I got it! I got the key! Sorry it took so long.”

He unlocked the gate and led her out.

“That’s it, out you come,” he encouraged her, “I don’t know your name so if you don’t mind I think I’ll call you ……… Emma.”

Emma seemed as happy as he was about her outing and she trumpeted with joy.

“Shhh shhh,” Luke looked up into her big, dark eyes, “we’ve got to be sneaky, remember?”

He pointed to a gate behind Emma’s enclosure beyond which he could see a wide open space – a meadow bordered with woodlands.

“Let’s go this way,” he suggested, “don’t worry, no one’ll see.  They’re too busy lookin’ for a lost little boy. Hope they find ‘im.”

elephant rescue


Story concludes tomorrow but if you can’t wait that long you can read the whole thing here 🙂 or buy it in paperback 😉

Might as well make the best of it.

Continues from yesterday:


But, it was nice weather, and anything was better than being stuck in a classroom.  Luke decided he might as well try to make the best of it.

Mrs Tebbut pointed at two big tigers.

“What can you tell me about the tigers in this enclosure?” she asked the group.

Luke was shocked.  He put up his hand.

“Are they criminals?” he suggested.

“Don’t be silly Luke, of course they’re not criminals.”

“Well it don’t seem fair to put innocent animals in prison.”

“Can anyone give me a sensible answer?”

Simon Butler read aloud from the board on the fence.

“They’re Bengal tigers; well known for their power and strength; one of the most feared predators in nature.  In the wild they scent mark large areas of up to 100 square kilometres to keep their rivals away.”

“Very good Simon,” Mrs Tebbut smiled.

Luke didn’t think there was much to smile about.

“The wild ones live in massive places, prob’ly bigger ‘n Bournemouth, and this cage is smaller ‘n my back garden.  No wonder they look fed up,” he thought.

They moved on.  Luke lagged behind with diminishing enthusiasm.  Mrs Tebbut drew everyone’s attention to another enclosure.

“Can anyone tell me what these guys are?”

“They’re penguins,” said Anna.

“That’s right. Does anyone know what type?”

“They’re bored penguins.”  He knew the moment he said it that he’d said it too loud.

“Luke Walker!  I am tired of your attitude!  If you can’t enter into the spirit of things with a smile on your face and some genuine effort then kindly do not participate at all.”

That was fine by Luke.

“Why do teachers ask you what you think if all they really want you to tell ’em is what they think?” he grumbled to himself.

When Mrs Tebbut was distracted by Katia getting a splinter, Luke decided to take her at her word and ‘not participate at all’.  He was better off on his own anyway.  He wandered around the zoo, looking at the animals and feeling sorry for them.

“Don’t seem right to lock animals up when they ‘aven’t done nothin’.  It’s like the Sheriff of Nottin’am all over again.”

He noticed an empty bench in front of a line of trees, away from the busier zoo paths, and decided to have a sit down.

“It’s a shame about zoos,” he thought, disappointed.

While he sat there he looked around.  Over his left shoulder, behind the trees, he saw another enclosure.  It was off the beaten track and smaller than the others.  It was concrete and contained nothing of beauty or interest except its occupant.  There stood the biggest, most breath-taking, awe-inspiring individual Luke had ever encountered.  An elephant.  All on her own. 

“All on your own,” Luke sympathised, as he made his way to her, “another damson in distress.”

He climbed up on the fence so that he could talk to her over the top of it and she walked towards him to get a closer look.

“I’m on me own too,” he continued, “not stayin’ with the group if I’m not wanted!”

Then he had an idea.

“Would you like to come out an’ play with me?”

The elephant seemed interested so he went on.

“Ok, listen, we’ll have to be a bit sneaky.  You wait here while I find a key; then I’ll open this gate and you can slip out before anyone sees.”

It was a brilliant plan!


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

and the first eight chapters are also available in paperback 🙂

vegan book for children

Luke Walker’s second chapter begins here!

Luke Walker A.W.O.L.

“Huhee ut!”

Joe’s sixteenth funny face was not easy to maintain as it was beginning to hurt. With eyes wide, tongue sticking out and skin pulled tight around his cheek bones by his fingers, it was difficult to speak.

“I’m sorry!” Luke said, “It’s not working. I pressed the button four times but it didn’t take a picture.”

Joe retracted his tongue and massaged his face.

“Gis a look.”

Luke handed him the camera.

“It says MEMORY FULL,” Joe explained, “how many pictures have you taken?”

“I dunno,” said Luke as he put Dad’s camera back in his bag, “are we nearly there yet?”

They wouldn’t be there for another half an hour but the boys had already finished their packed lunches. Joe had suggested they save some for later but Luke thought it wisest to eat everything now so they’d have less to carry.

“How much longer ’til we get there?” Luke asked no one in particular.

It really was too much to expect people to sit still for two whole hours.  And Mrs Tebbut’s insistence that the coach would not be making any stops along the way did not allow for the fact that some people’s need to quench their thirst with a lot of lemonade might lead to other needs. He tried to think of something else.

At 11.03 the coach pulled in to Parking Zone B at Dillingsgate Zoo.

“Ok, class 4, pay attention!” Mrs Tebbut called everyone to order. “You may leave whatever you don’t need on the coach but remember that once you’ve left it you won’t see it again until home time. So, if you think you might want it at any time during the day, take it with you now.  You must stay in your allotted group, with your allotted adult, at all times.  You must be back at the coach by 4.45 so that we can leave promptly at 5pm.  Ok, have a nice day everybody.”

Glad that his teacher had finally finished her speech, Luke hurried to the front of the coach.  He was in Mr Eden’s group, with Joe, but he couldn’t line up yet because he had urgent business to attend to.  He told Joe to tell their group to wait for him and then ran towards the zoo entrance, looking for the toilets. When he returned, six minutes later, Mr Eden’s group was not there.  Mrs Tebbut’s group was.  Mrs Tebbut’s arms were folded.

“Luke Walker. What did I tell you not ten minutes ago?”

“Erm, something about if you leave it you can’t have it ’til you go home.”

“What else?”

“Can’t remember.”

“I told you to stay in your allotted group with your allotted adult at all times.”

“Oh yeah, I know but I jus’ had …”

“But nothing.  If I tell you to do something, I expect you to do it.”

Luke looked at his shoes.  There was no point trying to explain about the lemonade.  He knew that the less he said, the sooner he’d be able to catch up with Joe. His mind started to wander. He wondered if he’d be able to play with the monkeys; and swim with the polar bears; he wondered where the gift shop was and whether he’d be able to get a souvenir pack of cards, or badges with animals on.  He could certainly do with a few more badges.

“Luke! Did you hear what I said?  You will be in my group instead of Mr Eden’s so that I can keep an eye on you.”

Luke’s eyes narrowed and his lips tightened.  He was supposed to be in the same group as Joe.  They’d been looking forward to going round the zoo together.  This was a very annoying turn of events.


to be continued ….

( You can read the whole story here 😀 )

Muddy face

The story continues from yesterday:

He wondered what on Earth he’d done to deserve such a reception as he stood, with muddy face, muddy hands, muddy knees and muddy shoes, at the end of the trail of muddy footprints on the tiled floor.

Being considerate in all things, Luke complied with Mum’s vehement suggestion that he wash more than just his hands, and came to the table in clean clothes.  Jared, his older brother, looked at him curiously as if wondering what he’d been doing and Luke returned the look without enlightening him.  Mum served up their tea but, as usual, didn’t sit down with them.  She would wait for Dad to get home and eat with him.

Luke was dismayed to see bacon on his plate again.  He had recently discovered what bacon really was: not food at all but slices of dead piglet.  He was horrified.  The fact that his parents, who had always told him to be good and kind, would choose to eat it was very confusing.  He thought at first that they must not be aware of what it actually was, but when he explained it to them they were not surprised.  They told him that people need to eat meat but that he shouldn’t worry because the animals were killed humanely (which they said meant ‘gently’ ).  Luke was unconvinced.

“Killed gently! So they don’t mind you killin’ ’em then, is that what you’re sayin’?  They like it do they? They look forward to it I suppose because their murderers are so gentle!”

After some lengthy discussion in this vein, during which Luke’s parents failed to persuade him to see reason, his mum effected his silence by sternly insisting that she knew best and Luke must eat his meat. Luke said no more at that time but was determined not to.

 Again faced with the need to be rid of his bacon, Luke discreetly took a rasher and held it below the table for Dudley.  Dudley, his dog, very obligingly took it from him.  At that moment Mum reappeared in the doorway.

“What did you just do?” she demanded angrily.

“Whaaat?  Nothin’.  I dint do nothin’.”


“I was on’y feedin’ someone what was hungry,” Luke explained innocently, “jus’ bein’ generous, that’s all.”

“You know very well that Dudley has already had his dinner and if you keep giving him yours he’s going to get fat!”

Dudley ate fast.  Mum went on.

“Don’t ever do that again! You’re a growing boy Luke, you need to eat your meat!”

Luke stuck to his guns.

“I don’t want it!  I’ve got Prince Pauls!”

He’d heard the vicar talking about living by one’s  principles in the school assembly that morning.  It meant having values and putting them into practice; it meant actions speak louder than words; it meant if you love animals you don’t eat them.  Luke had never heard of Prince Paul before but knew he must have been a good bloke.

 “Prince who? What on Earth are you on about?”

Mum had obviously never heard of him either.

“I’ve got veggietarian Prince Pauls.”

Mum was not impressed.

“Oh give me strength!” she said, “well, you can explain that one to your Dad.”

“But he won’t be home ’til after bedtime right?” asked Luke, hopeful that he wouldn’t have to have that conversation tonight.

“He’s already home.  I just saw him walking down the garden. Checking on his lettuces no doubt.”

Luke, suddenly not so confident that he’d thought  of everything, became pale as it dawned on him that Dad might not understand that it was a good idea for the damsons to live in the veg patch.  He felt sure that, in time, his new friends would be welcome additions to the family, but knew that his dad was not one to take to something right away and it would be better for everyone if they did not meet just yet.

“LUKE!” His dad’s booming voice reached the house before he did.

“How did he know it was me?” Luke wondered.


You can read the whole chapter here.

Stay in touch for Chapter 2, coming to this site sometime, or buy the first eight chapters in paperback if you can’t wait that long 😉

“I’m savin’ ya”

The story continues from yesterday:

He crawled across the lawn feeling like Robin Hood or one of his band of outlaws, risking everything to save the innocent.

“I don’t care if Mrs Tebbut don’t think I’m Robin Hood material, that jus’ means I’m doin’ a good job foolin’ ’em,” he rationalized as his knees slid through the mud. “It’s good that I’m goin’ to be Sheriff of Nottin’am’s Guard Number two – then no one will guess that I am actually an outlaw in real life.”

When he reached the hutch he glanced towards the house to make sure he wasn’t being watched.  The windows looked dark so it was impossible to tell.  He’d have to be quick and hope for the best. He opened the hutch and reached for the rabbit.

“Shh shhh, it’s ok, I’m not gonna hurt ya,” he whispered reassuringly, “I’m savin’ ya, like Robin Hood savin’ damsons in distress from the Sheriff’s dungeon.” 

vegan children's story

He tucked her safely into his shirt and hurried back to the hedge.  The rabbit wriggled and squirmed uncomfortably, her heart beating hard and fast.

“Ow! Stop scratchin’ me!” hissed Luke before regretfully adding “I’m sorry to tell you off, but it’s for your own good.  I’m bein’ firm but fair,” and he crouched down to exit the way he’d come in.  

As his left foot followed the rest of his body out of the Butler garden it knocked over a rake, which struck a gnome, which fell from its pedestal and broke with a crash.  Mrs Butler opened the back door.

“Who’s there?” she shouted.

But no one was.

In his own back garden, Luke headed for Dad’s vegetable patch.

“Here you go Scratcher,” he said to the white rabbit as he closed the gate, “this is your new home.”

He placed her gently among the lettuces.

“There’s plenty to eat ‘ere see, we don’t mind sharin’.  Dad’s always tellin’ me to share.”

vegan children's story

Scratcher hungrily and gratefully tucked in.  Nearby, between the carrots and the peas, a reddish brown rabbit and a grey rabbit watched with moderate interest as they nibbled and chewed.  Luke made introductions.

“And there’s friends for you to play with.  I rescued Rusty yes’dy but Ash just come today like you. They’re quiet but I think you’ll get on alright with ’em.”

It transpired that Luke, though quite new to outlawdom, was not one to procrastinate.  As someone who hated being confined to his room, he sympathised with anyone imprisoned alone and was determined to help them.  Ash and Rusty had been housed similarly to Scratcher in two different back gardens adjacent to the playing field.  Spotting them during ball retrieval operations, Luke had decided that those damsons needed rescuing and was certain he was the outlaw for the job.

Luke kept his new friends company for the next ninety-eight minutes until the sound of his mum’s voice calling from the house reminded him that it was nearly tea time.

“I’ve got to go in for me tea now,” he explained, “but I’ll see you tomorrow,” and he showed Scratcher where she could sleep when she got tired.

Ash and Rusty didn’t need to be shown, being already aware of the small hole in the side of Dad’s shed made by Luke with Dad’s hammer.  He had been very considerate in making the hole, ensuring that it was at the back so as not to look untidy to the casual observer; and making it just rabbit-sized.  He was confident he’d thought of everything.

“Dad on’y uses it at weekends,” he concluded, “so you won’t be in nobody’s way in there at night.”

Feeling very satisfied with his first week of outlawing, he said goodnight and went inside.  Mum had her back to him when he stepped into the kitchen.

“Is tea ready?”

“Yes, just about.  You’d better go and wash your hands,” she said as she turned to face him.  “Luke!” she gasped.

“Whaaat?” said Luke, frowning at his frowning parent.


To be continued ….

Click here for the whole chapter

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er from the beginning again

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er is a comic about an eight year old boy who doesn’t let a little thing like following the rules stop him from defending and liberating animals.  To put it simply he is a vegan Just William.  He means well but those who try to control him (ie parents and teachers) find him rather, well, trying.

Luke’s story begins on this site in comic-book style with episodes 1 and 2, Luke Walker and the damsons, and Luke Walker AWOL, on the ‘stories for ages 5 and up’ page.  They are also included in the bumper comic book Reflecto Girl and other stories.

However, there’s more.  I have since decided to write his stories in prose, for a change, and a book containing the first eight chapters of his adventures, called simply Luke Walker: animal stick up for-eris available from Amazon.

vegan book for children

Starting tomorrow, Chapter 1 of this book will be published here in instalments.  See you then! 😉

A look at his notebook will give you a taste of who he is 😉

Recommended Reading: What’s Good For The Goose Is Not Good For The Panda

front (2) wgftgingftp

As soon as I saw this I just had to order a copy!  It’s made completely of collage!

back-to-front (2)

Lavender Laine has written and illustrated the whole book completely by cutting out bits from old magazines, wrapping paper, food packaging, yarn and buttons!  Talk about recycling! Even the copyright page is written in collage!

title-page (2)

Laine’s story is about a panda called Patty who has woken up hungry but doesn’t know what to eat.  She meets lots of people willing to share with her but finds that what they’re eating isn’t necessarily her cup of tea.

story-1 (2)

Each picture is made with different materials so they are all very different, and some are more abstract than others, which will encourage children to make art out of whatever they’ve got lying around.

story-2 (2)

The story is rhyming, with one verse per page, and every page is a feast for the eyes.  Children can read it slowly, or have it read to them, while they study the unusual images and try to work out what they are and what they’re made of.

story-3 (3)

You really feel like you could pick at the paper and peel off the layers – not that you would.  It just looks so tactile.

The story is absolutely lovely and can be enjoyed again and again.  It makes the point that we are all different, and what’s good for one might not necessarily be good for someone else.  No wonder it is dedicated to the Safer Medicines campaign 🙂

From Honestly Books.  Available on Amazon.

Recommended Reading: Hellen Hen

Hellen Hen

This is a truly beautiful little book for reading to small children by Maria Luisa Arenzana and Antonella Canavese.

Hellen Hen title page

It is full of surreal rhymes and stunning illustrations which convey a peaceful, loving message of compassion and empathy for animals, hens in particular.

Hellen Hen excerpt 1

Hellen Hen excerpt 2

I love the verse on the above page which reads

Our love

means something

which is nothing

in our hands

and it’s everything

in the world.

I took this to mean that it’s no good just to say we love animals and feel we love animals unless we put that love into practice in the world by living a compassionate life.

A truly beautiful, dreamy book which I’m sure would delight small children.  It’s available on Amazon and, if you want one, could be with you in a few short days 🙂

Venenosa Clades

For the story so far, click here

vegan comic for children

“Venenosa Clades was once a beautiful, flourishing planet on which vast numbers of plant and animal species thrived due to the miraculous, life-sustaining element: water. All the different life-forms, whether they dwelt on land or sea or spent most of their time in the air, had one thing in common: their need for water. Venenosa Clades had so much water, above ground and deep under the surface, that there was never any need to worry about not having enough. And this was the case for millions of years.

“But, tragically, the planet suffered a severe volpar infection. Volpars are nomadic, seeking out vibrant host planets on which to settle and multiply. And they multiply fast, killing native species to make room for themselves and spreading across the whole world. Their propensity to reproduce is equalled only by their belief that they are the superior species and as such have a much greater entitlement to a planet’s natural resources than all native species put together.”

vegan comic for veggie kids

“The infection on Venenosa Clades was typical.  It spread fast and was soon depleting the planet’s resources, to the point where it began to spread underground.  With tremendous force it struck at the ancient clay rocks deep below the planet’s surface and the result was predictably disastrous.  There were earthquakes where previously there had been none, and the pure underground water became contaminated with the gas released from the clay and other noxious substances.  Still, awareness of the results of this activity didn’t halt the infection which continued its violent assaults on the planet.

“Venenosa Clades’ native species’ subconscious cries for help were so loud and so desperate that we heard them, though we were thousands of light years away.  Not knowing if there would be anything we could do, we answered their telepathic calls, travelling as fast as we could.  But we arrived far too late to help anyone.  The planet was devoid of life and had been for several years.  However, the thoughts and memories of its former inhabitants were still floating in the ether so we were able to piece together what had happened.  They called it vis unda protero, which roughly translates to your language as hydraulic fracture.”

vegan comic for children


For the story so far, click here

vegan comic for children

“They create a mixture of mostly fresh water with sand and nasty chemicals added.  Then they inject this fluid at very high pressure, into a gas well, thousands of feet deep into the ground.  Now forget the chemicals for a minute and just picture the fact that they use about 40,000 gallons of water every time they do this!  And each well can be fracked 18 times.  What a criminal waste of water!  Anyway, the fluid is going down the pipe at such pressure that when it reaches the end of the well and hits the shale rock down there, it fractures it, making lots of tiny cracks, kept open with the grains of sand in the fluid, and the natural gas – that is methane – leaks out of these cracks into the well.  So that’s how they get the gas.”

vegan comic for children

“What makes this business really horrifying is that during the process some of the toxic chemicals – and they use hundreds of different nasties in there, like lead, uranium, radium, mercury, hydrochloric acid, the list goes on and on – and the methane gas leach out from the system and contaminate the ground water.  And the ground water is where our drinking water comes from.  They are threatening the health and survival of everyone!  In America they have found that drinking water wells near fracturing sites have 17 times higher concentration of methane in them than normal and some people have even been able to light their taps on fire because of the high level of gas in their water.  Many others have become seriously ill from drinking it.”

vegan comic for children

To be continued …


Information from Dangers of Fracking and Food and Water Watch

Fracking infographic adapted from one found at