The Dragons of Durga

The Dragons of Durga is an epic novel by Simone Spearman.

It’s a slow, gentle tale, beautifully told with detailed, poetic descriptions that transport you to a magical, imaginary world.  The story takes place in an ancient time. Long before anyone can remember, long before history was recorded, back when magnificent dragons still walked the Earth.

Spearman describes the different species as tribes – the Human tribe, the Dragon tribe, the Feline tribe, – all of whom live in co-operation and harmony.  The Dragons have a special relationship with Human children whom they teach and mentor, but this only lasts until they come of age.  Humans of age only get to commune with Dragons at the Midsummer celebration, to which every tribe of Durga is invited.  The picture is wonderfully idyllic until the unthinkable happens and a vision of the future reveals a world without dragons.

A myriad of characters – Dragons of all shapes and sizes, a winged Cat, an unpredictable Rat, a Human girl who can change into any animal, a Human boy who blames the Dragons for a past tragedy – embark on an epic adventure, all working together to ensure the survival of the Dragon tribe.

And it’s a big hunk of a book – 538 pages!!!  It took me a good few weeks to finish it because unfortunately I only have time to read at the end of the day, just before I go to sleep, but it certainly made me look forward to bedtime.  I loved this book.  It’s wonderful to have quality literature in which the protagonists are plant-eaters who fight for peace, harmony and equality among species.  I love the dragons, I love the children, I love the weird and wonderful names they had and the innovative use of capital letters.  Thank you Simone L Spearman.

Author:  Simone L Spearman

Illustrator:  Jason Weaver

Genre:  Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy & Magic

Recommended for readers aged 8 and up

Published in August 2017

Format:  Paperback (552 pages) & Kindle

ISBN-10: 0999278207
ISBN-13: 978-0999278208
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.5 x 20.3 cm

Available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan.

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s story, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s books, animal rights, vegan fiction, books

Wild speculation

Sherman & Geynes episode 2 continues:

S&G2 p7S&G2 p8

Story continues on Monday 😀

Or if you can’t wait, click here to read the whole story right now.

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Cunning criminal masterminds

Sherman & Geynes episode 2 continues:

S&G2 p3S&G2 p4

Story continues tomorrow 😀

Or if you can’t wait, click here to read the whole story right now.

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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 😀

The witch’s spell and how to break it

Wicked Witch

The Wicked Witch’s Plan To Get Rid Of Everyone, a new version of the fairy tale The Wicked Wicked Witch and the Ruinous Manipulation by Maud Earnshaw, illustrated by Beatrice Wilberforce, includes instructions about how to break the witch’s spell at the back 😉

Available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada

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vegan children’s book, vegan fairy tale, vegan children’s story

The Christmas Market

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 15, the denouement :

At ten forty-five on Tuesday morning, Luke and Joe climbed aboard the school minibus and grabbed two of the back seats.  Tania and Isabel grabbed the other two.

“This should be good,” said Isabel.

“Yeah, I need to get something for my mum and something for my grandad,” Tania replied.

“Is that all?” Isabel was impressed, “I’ve still got to do all mine.”

The engine started.

“Okay everybody,” Thomas shouted from the front, “seatbelts on.  Off we go!”

Luke and Joe pulled their lunch boxes out of their bags.  Isabel laughed.

“We’ll be there in ten minutes,” she said, “you shouldn’t spoil your appetites – I bet there’ll be some delicious Christmas food at the market.”

“Nah, we’d rather eat now,”  said Luke as he bit into his blueberry muffin.

Tania looked over at their lunches and it reminded her of something she’d been meaning to tell them.

“Thomas is a veggie.”

“Is he?” said Joe.

“I think so.  I saw Mrs Tebbut offer him one of her homemade mince pies yesterday and he asked if they had vegetable suet in them.  She said she wasn’t sure so he said no thank you.”

“He’s cool,” said Luke approvingly.

“Yeah,” Joe agreed, “it’s good he works in our class and dint stay with Ms Robinson.”

***

The Christmas market was really crowded.  It stretched the whole length of Fish Street which had been closed to traffic.  Mr Beardsley told everyone to make sure they were always in sight of himself or Thomas.  They were not to go off anywhere by themselves.

There was a Christmas tree at the car park end of the street, huge and covered in twinkling white lights.  Next to it the Salvation Army band played Christmas carols and the whole atmosphere was happy and festive.  The first stall sold reindeer food at a pound a bag, for anyone who wanted to leave a treat for Santa’s friends on Christmas Eve.

At the second stall, if you weren’t short of cash, you could buy a hand-calved Buddha.

The third stall looked more fun – they were selling robots playing snooker.  Luke thought he wanted one but forgot about it as soon as he saw the bird whistles on the next stall.  He’d always wanted to be able to communicate with birds.

The fifth stall sold snake-length marshmallows; the sixth sold Turkish Delight; the seventh had models of owls and elephants in jars; the eighth sold rock crystal lamps; the ninth had reindeer-shaped planters. Before long the market lost its charm for two boys with no money.

“Let’s go over there,” Luke suggested, pointing to an empty bandstand on the lawn behind the stalls.

“Mr Beardsley said we’re s’posed to stay in sight,” said Joe.

“We will be,” Luke assured him, “we’ll be able to see everybody from up there.”

The boys squeezed between the chocolate scissors stall and the cannabis incense stall and climbed onto the raised platform of the bandstand.  They sat comfortably with their feet dangling and tucked into their sandwiches while they watched the merry throng.

“This is good,” said Luke smiling, “I don’t mind shoppin’ if I don’t have to actually shop.”

By the time they’d finished their lunches their classmates were out of sight and Joe felt they should try to catch up.  Luke disagreed.

“No, we might get lost.  We should wait coz they’ll have to come back this way.  Look, I can see the minibus from here.”

“That’s not our minibus.  Ours doesn’t have a green stripe down the side.”

“Doesn’t it?” said Luke, a little thrown.  “Oh, well, they’ll still have to come back this way.  I think we should wait.”

They only had to wait for another quarter of an hour before they saw a couple of familiar faces.  Tania and Isabel were hurrying across the lawn towards them.

“There you are!” said Isabel, gasping for breath.

“Luke! – You’ve got to come!  They’re selling reindeer skins!” said Tania.

“And reindeer burgers!”

Luke and Joe, crestfallen, climbed down from the bandstand and followed the girls to the far end of Fish Street, where all the food stalls were. Luke was sad but not surprised to see what looked like hundreds of people eager to indulge in deep fried flesh foods, jostling to hold their positions in the queues.

“Say something!” Tania implored.

“What d’you want me to say?” Luke asked.

“Tell them they’re despicable to kill reindeer!  Tell them it’s sick to sell reindeer burgers at Christmas!”

In addition to the stalls selling reindeer, there was one selling inferno cheddar (cheese laced with chillies); another was selling turkey sausages spiced with chilli and paprika; another was using a cute-looking model pig to sell pork scratchings.

“You can tell ’em that if you want,” Luke said, loud enough to be heard by anyone who wanted to listen, “an’ I agree with you, but it won’t do any good.  Not while there’s so many stupid people who want to buy this stuff.”

“Who’s stupid?” said a large man in the spicy sausage queue.

“You lot,” said Luke unapologetically, “all you lot in these queues.”

“Is that right?” he said slowly, turning to face Luke with eyes narrowed.

Tania and Isabel blushed and took a step back.  Joe looked at his feet.  Luke didn’t move.

“Yeah,” said Luke, “Don’t you think it’s stupid to pay for somethin’ what’s killin’ the planet?”

A few more people turned to listen.  Luke went on.

“Well, I call it stupid coz animal farmin’ kills the sea and the rainforests and makes more greenhouse gases than cars an’ planes an’ all transport put together!”

“Says who?” asked the man sceptically.

“Said the United Nations.  Over ten years ago.”  He paused briefly to let them absorb it before concluding.  “Yeah, it’s pretty stupid to spend your money on killin’ the planet you live on.  You’re killin’ yourselves.  An’ your children.  An’ your children’s children.”

Luke was surprised and disappointed to get almost no reaction to his shocking revelation, but he didn’t give up.  He had more.

“An’ I should say it’s pretty stupid to let people starve coz you paid for their food to be given to seventy billion farm animals, just so you can eat meat an’ cheese.  Yeah, anyone who pays for that is pretty stupid alright.  And selfish.”

The large man laughed stupidly.

“But it tastes so good!” he scoffed and turned back to wait for his sausage.

In the silence before the conversational hubbub rose again, three or four people walked away from the food stalls.  Luke turned back to Tania and Isabel.

“See, there’s no point tellin’ people they’re horrible for sellin’ horrible things.  They don’t care.  They’ll sell anythin’ if people’ll pay ’em for it.  It’s the people what pay for it who make it happen.  If they didn’t buy it, no one would sell it.”

The girls nodded.  Isabel looked guiltily at the half-eaten bag of pork scratchings in her hand and quickly tossed it in the bin.  All four children walked back to the bandstand to look out for the rest of their class returning to the minibus.  When they were back in their seats on the bus, Tania made a declaration.

“I’m going to make an early new year’s resolution,” she paused for effect before announcing, “I’m going vegan!”

“Me too,” said Isabel, smiling.

Luke looked wonderingly at Joe.  Joe nodded.

“D’you want to join our secret society?” they asked.

  • Good Spirit, your nature intercedes for me, and pities me. Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life! I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”

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Christmas is just around the corner, for Luke as well.  Join us tomorrow for the beginning of a Christmassy final chapter of the second Luke Walker book 😀

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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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Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er Chapter 9 starts here!

For chapters 1 to 8 click here 🙂

Luke Walker and the secret society

vegan children's story

Luke handed his notebook to Joe.

“Read that and if you agree, write ya name there, under mine, and then put ya thumb print there,” he said, pointing to the designated pages.

He uncapped the bottle of black poster paint and squirted a dollop into the saucer while Joe read the pledge.

“D’you agree?” he asked him when he’d finished.

Joe nodded.

“Are you sure? Do you solemnly swear?”

Luke knew he could not over-emphasize the gravity of this decision. Once you became an outlaw there was no going back.

“I’m sure,” said Joe, picking up the Biro and writing his name on the line under Luke’s.

Luke was very happy. He ceremoniously pushed the saucer across the carpet to Joe who dipped his thumb into the paint a little too enthusiastically. Thankfully he avoided messing up the book by wiping off the excess on his trousers before pressing his thumb onto the page alongside Luke’s handwritten pledge:

we, the outlaws, promise to help the animals when they are sad or fritened or hurt. even if we are not alowd we will fly under the raydar.

When Joe passed the book back, Luke forced himself to purse his lips and simulate a frown as he turned to the next page. It was vital that Joe had no illusions about the seriousness of the commitment he had made.

“These are the rules we live by,” he said gravely as he spun the book around and pushed it back to Joe.

secret society of animal stick up for-ers: RULES

“Do I get one now?” asked Joe when he’d finished reading the rules.

Luke thought he was getting ahead of himself.

“Do you agree to the rules?” he asked.

“Yes. I do. That’s why I want to be in the club.”

“It’s not a club, it’s a secret …” he paused suddenly, “shh, someone’s out there!” Luke swiftly closed the book and slid it under the bed. He silently got to his feet and crept to the door. He listened. He could hear breathing on the other side. He yanked the door open to reveal his brother, standing frozen stiff with his mouth open.

“Jared! What are you doin’? This is private!”

Jared laughed.

“Nobody cares about your stupid secrets. I’m going to Mike’s, Mum told me to tell you it’s your turn to do the drying up.”

Luke slammed the door and waited until he heard Jared go downstairs.

Joe raised his eyebrows.

“So, do I get one?”

Luke shrugged.

“I s’pose it would be good if you had one, but you’ll ‘ave to get it yourself. I made this one out of my Maths book. You can use any subject though coz it don’t matter what colour it is, as long as it’s got plenty of blank pages left. Just tear out the used ones.”

Joe nodded.

“But the most important thing you need is a code-maker,” Luke went on, “this is mine.”

He revealed two circles of cardboard fastened together, that he’d secreted between the pages of his Batman annual.

“Look here,” he said, pointing to another page in the notebook, “I’ve done diagrams to show you how to make one. When you’ve done it we can send each other coded messages that no one else will be able to decode.”

continues tomorrow 🙂 but if you want to read the whole chapter now, here it is 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children’s story

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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That’s it!

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

vegan children's story

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

vegan children's story

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

vegan children's story

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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Not all colouring books are boring

Continued from yesterday:

*****

“Come in boys and take off your coats, dinner will be ready in twenty minutes.”

Auntie Joan smiled as she waved to Mum and Dad and closed the front door.  Luke and Jared sat down quietly in the living room and looked at their hands.  Auntie Joan disappeared into the kitchen and nothing happened for three or four minutes until the front door slammed.  Uncle Brian was home from work.  He burst into the living room loudly.

“Hello boys!  I forgot you were coming!  Ready for a re-match Jared?”

Jared grinned shyly.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Great.  We’ll set up after dinner.  Hey, where’s Amelia?  She must be in her room.  Why don’t you go and see what she’s up to?  We’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”

The boys looked at each other uncomfortably and then quietly did as they were told.  They knocked on Amelia’s door and entered when she said ‘come in’.  Their six year old cousin was dressed in a pink tutu with pink tights and wire-framed white lace wings on her back.  She had a pink plastic tiara on her head.  She was bent over a colouring book, colouring butterflies.

“Hello,” she said, without looking up.

“Hello,” said Luke.

“Alright?” said Jared.

Jared sat down on the bed and picked up two of Amelia’s soft toys.

“Ah, pink pony! Today you will fight blue dolphin to the death!  And whoever wins will fight yellow kitten to the death!” he said in a fake evil voice while making the toys wrestle.

“Stop it! You’ll spoil them,” said Amelia.

Jared laughed and continued tormenting her.  Luke shook his head at his brother’s predictably boring behaviour and browsed Amelia’s bookshelves.  Colouring books, colouring books, colouring books.  He wondered how she hadn’t got tired of them.  He took one from the shelf at random and flicked through it.  It was full of pictures of sea creatures and shells and seaweed.  Under each one was its name and a brief description.  Amelia had coloured it in very neatly, Luke had to admit, and she’d ended up with a full colour encyclopedia of the sea.  He picked out another one – it was about birds.  Every other page had a drawing of a different bird to be coloured in, with the name, description, habits and location of the bird on the opposite page.  There was another one about fish, another about wild flowers, another about trees.  There was Animals of the British Isles, Jungle Animals, Arctic Animals; Space, Planets, Stars; Fruit and Vegetables; People from History.  There were also quite a few with fairies but Luke had seen enough to know that he had misjudged Amelia.  Not all colouring books were boring.

So the visit to Auntie Joan’s turned out to be not so bad after all.  Luke was given beans on toast with tomatoes and leeks for dinner, which went down very well.  And Amelia kindly let him do some colouring in her History colouring book from which he learned that Albert Einstein, who was famous for being a very clever man, was a vegetarian like him.  He showed that page to Auntie Joan.

****

Monday morning Luke sat in awe, watching Joe draw a brilliant picture of Mrs Tebbut.  It looked just like her.  He was especially impressed with how Joe had captured her eyebrows, the way they each did their own thing when she was angry.

“Joseph Carter put down your pen!” Mrs Tebbut shouted from behind her desk.

Luke looked at her and then at the drawing.

“Amazing!” he breathed.

As she stalked towards them, it dawned on Joe that it would have been better to have drawn it on paper so that he could tear it up.  He licked his finger and tried to rub it off but the ink had already sunk into the wood.

“Headmaster’s office! Now!” she boomed when she saw his handiwork.

Joe was already on his feet.  He knew the routine.  Luke tried not to smile.

“And you, Luke Walker,” Mrs Tebbut still had some rage to vent.

“What did I do?” asked Luke incredulously.

“You two are as bad as each other.  Move to the front where I can keep an eye on you!”

“There’s no room at the front,” said Luke with relief.

“Katia, Shania, swap desks with Luke please.”

She had an answer for everything.

“I didn’t do anything,” he said plaintively.

Joe was gone until after playtime and when he did come back he had to stand in the ‘naughty corner’.  Luke sat alone in a haze of Lily of the Valley, trying not to make eye contact with his teacher.  At least Joe was allowed to sit with him after lunch.  Well, sort of.

“Luke and Joe, sit at either end of your desk, facing each other.  I’ll have no more whispering and conspiring.”

The boys moved their chairs, turning sideways to the white board.

“Great,” muttered Luke, “now I’ll get a stiff neck twisting round to look at the board.”

“And I’ll have no muttering either,” said Mrs Tebbut, quiet enough to let him know that, at this distance, she could hear everything.

While the class got themselves settled in for afternoon school, Mrs Tebbut directed Miss Shaw, the new classroom assistant, to the photocopier.

“Just make 30 copies – I don’t want spares cluttering up my desk – and then put the Master Copy back in here,” she said, indicating her desk drawer.

Miss Shaw went to the staff room, where the photocopier was stationed, and Mrs Tebbut wrote on the board:   The Eatwell Guide

******

Concludes tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here 😀