Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, chapter 7 read aloud

More chapters out loud coming soon 😀

All the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er stories are available in paperback and free to read here !

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vegan storybook, vegan books for children, short stories, books on tape, audiobooks, children’s books, animal rights,

AudioBook – Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, chapter three

Come back tomorrow for chapter four! ❤

All the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er stories are available in paperback and free to read here 😀

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vegan storybook, vegan books for children, short stories, books on tape, audiobooks, children’s books,

AudioBook – Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, chapter one.

Let me tell you a story ….

Come back tomorrow for chapter two! ❤

All the Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er stories are available in paperback and free to read here 😀

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vegan storybook, vegan books for children, short stories, books on tape, audiobooks, children’s books,

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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vegan, vegan comic, vegan children, vegan children’s book, children’s comic, children’s stories, children’s fiction, vegan fiction,

 

 

The Two Little Pigs in paperback

If you enjoyed The Two Little Pigs you might like it in paperback 😀

It’s very cute 😉

If you do, you can buy it our little Lulu shop 😀

(if the link takes you to a shop with foreign currency, just click on ‘cart’ and then on the flag and you can choose what country you’re shopping from)

Have a lovely weekend 😀

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

Soon after that the pigs met a hare

The story of The Two Little Pigs continues:

Oh no! 😮

Join us tomorrow to find out what happens next 😀

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Soon after that the pigs met a hare

Who watched them with his gentle eyes.

“Please, oh please, please help us get home,”

They pleaded with sadness and sighs.

***

“It’s not very far,” the hare softly said,

“But it seems to me backward not forward.

If you must go back, go left past the shack,

But I think you had better turn westward.”

***

The pigs did not heed the advice received,

They were young and too green to be wary.

Not looking back, they went left past the shack,

Close pursued by the angry and hairy.

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vegan, vegan children’s story, animals, pigs, vegetarian, vegan children’s book, children’s story, rhyming story, animal rights

The two little pigs soon met a fox

The story continues from yesterday 😀

Story continues tomorrow 🙂

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The two little pigs soon met a fox,

They disturbed her sleep as they had to.

“Help us please, to find our way home,

We don’t know the way but hope you do.”

***

The fox sat up slowly, looking confused,

“You’re not from round here,” she concluded.

“The word you use is wrongly applied

To a creature so cold and hard-hearted.”

***

The pigs hurried on as fast as they could,

Resuming their quest for sanctuary.

The butcher was tired but he kept on

In determined pursuit of his property.

New Book: Chickpea Runs Away

Here is a gorgeous children’s book by Sarat Colling, with beautiful illustrations by Vicky Bowes and published by Vegan Publishers

Chickpea is a darling baby on a dairy farm who has been taken away from her mother and kept confined in a barn with others like her until it’s time for a frightening journey to somewhere bad.  Inspired by numerous real-life tales of cows fleeing captivity, Sarat’s story describes Chickpea’s split second decision to leap the fence and run for her life.

This heart rending story ends happily when Chickpea finds new friends and embarks on a new free and natural life.  A touching tale which shines a light on the harsh reality of animal farming without being too graphic, and inspires compassion for all animals.

This copy is available to borrow at Oh My Goodness vegan cafe library, Eastbourne 😀

Available in hardback (40 pages) and as an eBook

Price: $17.99 hardback, $7.49 eBook

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1940184487
ISBN-13: 978-1940184487

Available from Vegan Publishers and all good booksellers.

“I didn’t do it!”

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Story continues from Friday:

When he entered the kitchen Mum had her back to him but she knew he was there.

“I got a letter from the police,” she told him.

“About what?” asked Luke, trying to sound casual.  Mum turned to face him.

“Luuuke!”

“Whaaat?”

“Your face!”

Luke rubbed his face and smeared the tattoo.  “It’s alright, it’ll come off.”

“Is that my eye liner?”

Dad stepped out of the pantry and suppressed a smile.  “Sit down please Luke, we need to talk to you.”

Luke sat down.

“The police seem to think I’ve been harassing the Maybury trustees,” said Mum.

Luke raised his eyebrows.  “Why would they think that?”

“I can’t imagine,” said Mum, “unless someone else has been writing letters and signing my name on them.”  She clearly thought it was him but it wasn’t.  He wouldn’t do that.  Why would he?  That would be a very stupid thing to do.  Anything that led back to her led back to him.  He never signed his letters and he certainly didn’t put a return address on them.  So how had the police got her name and address?  Was he being watched?  Was he under police surveillance?  What else did they know?  This was very troubling indeed.

There was, in fact, a very simple explanation.  For over two years the Secret Society of animal stick up for-ers had been writing to Maybury Centre for Animal Welfare, asking them to make their cafe vegan.  At first Luke wrote once a week, sometimes twice.  But when the Society realised the charity trustees were the decision-makers they decided to write directly to them.  There were six trustees so that meant writing six letters a week and stamps became prohibitively expensive.  But Luke wasn’t going to let a little thing like insufficient funds prevent him from doing something this important.  So, he continued to write and when he didn’t have enough money for the stamps he scavenged them from his mother’s purse.  He was sure she wouldn’t mind.  After all, it was Mum who suggested he write to them in the first place.  A couple of times, when there were no stamps to be found in her purse, he had hidden his letters in a pile on the kitchen counter.  Mum was quite a devoted correspondent herself.  She wrote to her friend Margaret in Wales; to Uncle Max and Auntie Beatrice who lived in Torquay; and to a couple of old school friends, Kath and Myrtle, who had moved to Stoke-on-Trent and Edinburgh respectively.  Sometimes there wasn’t much to tell them so she’d just write a brief note on a postcard but she always put whatever she was sending in a plain white envelope from the box in the sideboard.  Luke was getting all his envelopes from the same box so it was easy to slip his letters into her pile without her noticing and then she would put stamps on them at the post office by lifting the top right hand corner of each envelope just enough to add the stamp.  He’d seen her do it.  She never reviewed the names and addresses once she’d sealed the envelopes.  What Luke didn’t know was that she also put one of her return address labels on the top left hand corner of each envelope in the same way.

Mum was staring at him, waiting for an answer.

“I didn’t do it,” he said truthfully.  “I didn’t!  Why would I?”

“Did you write offensive letters to these people?” asked Dad coldly.

“I just ask ’em to make the cafe vegan.  Maybe that does offend ’em, I don’t know.”

“Nothing else?  You’re not threatening or abusive?”

“No!” said Luke, annoyed at the accusation.  “I jus’ tell ’em, like you said.  I tell ’em I don’t like ’em sellin’ meat an’ fish an’ everything that’s cruel to animals, and I tell ’em they should know better.  Stuff like that.”

Mum handed him the letter.  “So how do you explain this?”

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Story continues tomorrow 😀

but if you don’t want to wait you can click here to read it now!

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction, humour, animals, animal rights, animal welfare

Luke Walker chapter twenty starts here!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 20:  The Letter

When the envelope dropped onto the mat it looked ominous.  Mum was nervous about opening it.  Why the police would be writing to her she couldn’t imagine.  Well, actually, she could imagine but she didn’t want to.  She reassured herself that it wasn’t to inform her that someone close to her had been in an accident, they wouldn’t do that by second class post.  So what could it be?  Jury duty?  No, that doesn’t come from the police.  The quickest way to find out, of course, would be to just open it, but before doing that she really wanted to think of something not horrible that it might be about.  Sadly, Luke’s mother found it impossible to do that.  She took a deep breath and ripped it open.

****

“I’m in.”

“Bio-dampers are workin’ at optium.  They can’t detect you.”

“Good.”

“Work fast.  Dampers are fluttuatin’, I don’t know how much longer I can keep you hidden.”

“Just placing the. Last. One …. Done!  One to beam up.”

“Can’t get a lock.  The Borg shields are too thick.  Get to the cargo bay – I should be able to beam you out from there.”

“’scuse me Captain Janeway, Mum wants you.”

“Jared!” Luke scowled at his brother.

“Ha ha ha ha, oh, I stand corrected.  Sorry Commander Chakotay.  Nice tattoo.”  Jared walked away laughing.

Joe climbed down from the top bunk and picked up his doodle pad. “I’ll wait here.”

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Story continues on Monday, but if you don’t want to wait you can click here now 😀 

Have a great weekend! ❤ 

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction, humour,

The Not-So Crazy Cow

Here is an adorable book for little ones: The Not-So Crazy Cow by Dragana Vucic Dekic.

The Not-So Crazy Cow is a humorous, rhyming story about a cow who believes that the grass is greener somewhere else. Despite having royal treatment in her homeland of India, she longs to discover the big world. One day, she packs her bags, puts on her best hat, and sails from India to Europe. One wise stork tries to warn her of the upcoming challenges, but the cow follows her adventurous spirit to discover this for herself. Her journey is full of unexpected situations and very soon, the cow starts missing her homeland. This amusing book also presents an important question: who is crazy here? The cow or the world who treats her as if her life doesn’t matter?

This bright and colourful, energetic tale, told entirely in rhyme and filled with beautifully quirky illustrations by Szucher Agnes, is an absolute delight.

A gem for tiny tots who will love the funny, happy pictures and pick up the subliminal message that cows deserve to be valued and esteemed the whole world over.  Don’t worry, the not-so crazy cow returns home safely at the end 😀

I think this book would make an ideal gift for little non-vegans because the story’s not overtly vegan but it sows a precious seed that might inspire them to question the choices of their non-vegan caregivers in the future.

You can find out more about the author and her humorous picture books that bring across a positive message by encouraging empathy between all living beings, by going to her website: momthemuse.com

Author:  Dragana Vucic Dekic

Illustrator:  Szucher Agnes

Genre:  picture book/stories in rhyme

Recommended for pre-schoolers

Published July 2019

Format:  Paperback (43 pages) and Kindle Edition (20 pages)

ASIN:  B07VD6YGN5 (Kindle)

ISBN-10: 1077863551
ISBN-13: 978-1077863552
Paperback Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.3 x 21.6 cm

Paperback Price:  £8.22

Available from Amazon 😀

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vegan, vegan book, vegan children’s book, vegan picture book, vegan rhyming story, vegan children, animals, animal rights, cows, humour, illustration, books

What are you doing?!!!

If you want to read this chapter from the beginning, click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

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“What are you doing?” said an angry man.

“What are you doing?” returned Luke.

“Did you move my horse?”

“She’s your horse?” asked Luke, “you should look after her better! She don’t like it by the road!”

The man slammed his car door and climbed over the fence. “I know she doesn’t like it,” he said angrily, “that’s why I tied her there, so she can get used to it!”

“Why does she have to get used to it?” asked Luke, equally angry.

“I’m training her to pull a buggy,” said the man, “and if she’s easily spooked by traffic she could get us both killed!”

“You shun’t make her pull the buggy then!” said Luke, stating the obvious, “you shun’t make ‘er do anything she don’t wanna do!”

The man was livid. “Shouldn’t you be in school? What have you done with her bridle?”

“Don’t you tie her up again, that’s illegal!” said Luke, desperately, “an’ I should know, coz me mum and dad are police!”

“What?”

“Yeah, an’ they just arrested someone last week for leavin’ his horse tied up by the road!”

“What? That’s ridiculous!”

“Oh, is it?” said Luke with increasing confidence, “I’d have to disagree with you on that coz it happened. They arrested him on charges of ….. bad animal welfare.”

“The Animal Welfare Act?”

“Yes!” said Luke, thankful for the help. “The Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to tie horses by the road because they don’t like it and it’s cruel!”

“I would never …!” the man was offended. “I have always taken exemplary care of my horses,” said the man, a little quieter, “I’ve done this training many times and none of them have ever been hurt.”

“Well, I wun’t do it again if I were you,” said Luke, “coz they’re crackin’ down.”

The man was uncertain whether to believe him but the boy seemed confident of his information. He decided to test him. “What police force do your parents work for?”

“Belton,” said Luke without hesitation.

“What are their badge numbers?”

“My mum’s is 2357, and my dad’s is 111317.” Mrs Cassidy was right, it is important to remember the prime numbers.

“I’ll check,” threatened the man.

“D’you wanna borra a pencil?” asked Luke.

The man shook his head and commenced retrieval of the bridle. “Stupid law!” he grumbled, “how am I supposed to train her now?”

“Well, I mean, who’d look after ‘er if you got arrested?”

The man didn’t answer, he just put her bridle back on.

“Has she got any friends?” Luke asked, sad that she wouldn’t be able to go to the horse sanctuary.

“I’ve got two other horses,” said the man, which was something of a relief.

“Bye Cocoa,” said Luke as the man led her into his trailer.

Luke watched wistfully as his new friend departed before his mind was brought sharply back into focus by the sight of his school bag on the ground. He looked at his watch. It was 9.25. The bell had gone almost an hour ago and his plight seemed hopeless. School was still half an hour away. Hopefully that was enough time for him to think of something.

He walked briskly, coming up with ideas and then dismissing them almost immediately. When he was just ten minutes away he was annoyed by a plastic carrier bag in the hedge.

“Flamin’ litter bugs!” he said with disgust, “I am sick an’ tired of clearin’ up other people’s mess!” He yanked the bag angrily from its roost and stuffed it into his pocket. Then he had an idea. A good one. He smiled. No need to worry. He wouldn’t have to stay after school today.

Twenty five minutes later Luke entered the school gates and made his way directly to the Deputy Head’s office. The Deputy Head, Mr Paxton, had been a teacher at Graywood Comp for over thirty years. He’d been there when Mum was there. She remembered him. According to her he was just as horrible in her day. He was one of those teachers who sorely missed corporal punishment. Inflicting it, not receiving it. He told them that every time someone talked in Assembly. Another important thing to note about Mr Paxton was his bad memory. He was always forgetting things – even things that had only just happened half an hour earlier – and he was very embarrassed about it. He seemed to think it would show weakness if he admitted his lapses so he never did. He always pretended to remember, even when it was obvious he didn’t. Luke knocked on his door.

“Come in!”

Luke entered with a carrier bag full of litter. “I’ve done it sir,” he said.

“Done what?” Mr Paxton scowled.

“Picked up the litter.”

Mr Paxton had no idea what Luke was talking about but, assuming he must have forgotten, he faked understanding. “Ahh, good!” he said gruffly, “and I hope you’ve learned your lesson!”

“Yes sir,” said Luke.

“Alright, go on with you, get to class!”

“But sir, ….” said Luke with feigned timidity.

“What? What now?”

“Well, you said you’d write me a note for Mr Flanagan. To explain why I was late.”

“Ahh, yes, quite right, I did,” said Paxton, almost remembering it himself. “Quite right,” he said again as he began to scrawl a brief explanation for Luke’s form tutor. “And your name? Come on come on, a thousand kids in this school and they expect me to remember all their names!”

“Luke Walker.”

“Yes, of course,” he said, finishing the note. “Here you go – now get to class!”

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For more Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

 

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, horse, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour,

 

An unusual amount of traffic

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 18 continues from last week:

He stepped off the bus and looked up just in time to see Joe peering down at him from the top deck asking inaudibly what was going on. When the bus pulled away Luke felt like going home to bed. Why not? he thought. After all, he’d made every effort to catch the bus; it wasn’t his fault the driver was unreasonable. If he went to school now he’d be in trouble for being late whereas if he called in sick he could avoid that and have a day in bed. It was very tempting. However, today was woodwork and he didn’t want to miss that. It was the final day for working on his toolbox. Next week they’d got to start making picture frames. His toolbox was brilliant. He already had a padlock for it. It would fit his walkie talkies, the wire cutters he’d bought with his Christmas gift voucher and Jared’s Swiss Army knife for which he was currently in negotiations. With obvious effort, Luke hitched up his heavy rucksack and set off at a brisk pace. It was quarter past eight. If someone gave him a lift, he might still make it before the bell.

As he walked past the village shops, the pub, the cemetery and the allotments, he noticed that there was an unusual amount of traffic coming through the village, but his hoped-for offer of a lift didn’t materialise. Normally, since the dual carriageway had been built, the only vehicles entering the village belonged to residents or delivery vans. It was quicker now for drivers to bypass Gingham if they were headed anywhere else. But as Luke approached the northern edge of the village it was clear that today, for some reason, the main road was closed. Not only cars but vans, lorries, even ambulances, were taking the slower route, too fast, through the village. It was noisy and smelly. Luke kept walking.

When he crossed the boundary into the adjacent town he saw, across the road, a horse, tethered on the grass verge. She recoiled every time a vehicle rushed past her and if it was something big like a lorry she tugged and pulled at her reins, trying desperately to get away. She was tied to a wooden fence on the other side of the grass verge. She had no room to retreat from the traffic and was in considerable distress. Luke, no longer caring how late he was, crossed the road towards her at the first opportunity.

“Easy girl, easy,” he spoke soothingly in an effort to calm her and carefully took hold of the reins under her chin. Thanks to a brief lull in traffic she calmed and watched Luke as he smilingly whispered these same words to her over and over. He rested the heel of his left hand between her nostrils and softly stroked her beautiful nose. The next few passing cars were considerate, giving the horse a wide berth and driving slowly. Now that she was more relaxed, Luke took the opportunity to drop his bag to the floor and rummage in it for his apple. When he turned to look back up at her he was startled by a huge lorry that came out of nowhere. The horse panicked again, pulling her head up and back, trying desperately to free herself. Luke knew he had to get her away from the road. On the other side of the fence was a meadow. No crops, no animals. She would be much happier in there. Luke unbolted the gate and pushed it wide open. Then he stood with the mare, stroking her and talking to her to keep her calm while he waited for the traffic to die down again. Once he was sure she was calm, he untied her from the fence and encouraged her to come with him. Happy to move away from the road she followed him into the field.

“This is better isn’t it?” he smiled, “you’re safe from the traffic in here. The grass is short but there’s plenty of it. Oh, and there’s this,” he offered her his apple and she took it eagerly.

As the traffic built up again Luke was relieved to see that she remained relaxed. When she’d finished the apple, she bent her head to the grass at her feet and grazed comfortably. In this position her reigns dragged on the floor so Luke was worried she might trip on them. Best to take them off, he thought. He gently unfastened all the straps and lifted the bridle over her ears. She dropped the bit from her mouth and was free. Luke disposed of the tack over the fence, out of harm’s way. Now she looked happy and so was he.

He wondered how someone could just abandon her on the side of the road.

“I should think of a name for you,” said Luke, “erm, how about Cocoa? Yeah, that suits you.” He realised he was going to have to come up with a very persuasive argument to get his parents to let him keep her. Then again, maybe that wasn’t the best idea because she’d be lonely without another horse to keep her company. A better idea would be to ask the horse sanctuary to take her. The one that Isabel had told him about. Yes. Then she would have friends.

Just as Luke was deciding that he couldn’t possibly go to school now, a car pulled up at the gate.

“What are you doing?” said an angry man.

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Story concludes tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, horse, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour,

Sheep treats

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

A few minutes later, Luke and Dudley were en route to the allotments to see Curly and Squirt. It was cold. The scarcity of light before sunrise made it feel even colder but when they got there they were eagerly welcomed by mother and son. Luke reached into his pocket for the expected treats. He let his friends choose who had which. Squirt snatched the carrot before his mother got a look in but that was okay because Curly liked parsnips. Little Squirt had learned not to hesitate when it came to accepting treats because Dudley was rather partial to carrots too. In this instance, Dudley was compensated for his lack of carrot by the tasty piece of cardboard which had fluttered from pocket to ground, unnoticed by Luke, when he pulled out the sheep’s treats.

Luke let Dudley off the lead while he went to the big shed. He refilled the nets with alfalfa hay and cleaned up the muck before laying down a thick bed of clean straw. Then he went back outside to check on the water trough. As expected, it had frozen over. He looked for the trowel they used to break the ice. Mum had done it yesterday. Where had she put it? Luke looked at his watch: 7.35. It would take ten minutes to get back home and another five to return to the bus stop so he didn’t have much time. He looked under the tarpaulins at the back of the shed; he looked in the old wooden chest under the tarpaulins. Where was it? He didn’t have time for this! He went back outside and scanned the area. Hurrying around the whole of his plot, he looked under shrubs and behind the wood pile. Nothing. He tried without success to break the ice with his elbow and then rushed over to his dad’s plot, maybe she’d left it there. Finally, he found it. She’d stuck it into the ground behind the coiled hose. He tugged on it but it wouldn’t move. The ground was frozen and the trowel was stuck.

“Great,” thought Luke, “thanks Mum!” Then he had an idea. The tap to which the hose was connected had its pipe lagged. With any luck it hadn’t frozen. He attempted to turn it on. The cold metal hurt his hand but he tried as hard as he could to twist it. It was stuck. He looked at his watch again: 7.46. He pulled his hand into his thick coat sleeve and tried again. The padding helped. The tap started to give and then, finally, there was running water. He wet the earth around the trowel to soften it, turned off the tap, agitated the trowel back and forth until it came free and then ran back to the water trough. With all his strength he hacked into the thick ice and broke it into floating chunks. As fast as he could he tossed the chunks over to Dad’s plot so that they wouldn’t re-join. Luke’s gloved hands were wet and stinging with cold. Curly and Squirt ambled over for a drink. The trough was half empty now. Would that be enough water for them for today? Maybe not. But he didn’t have time to refill it. He’d tell Mum to do it. No, Mum said she was going to be out all day. She’d probably left already. He ran back to the tap, turned it on and directed the hose at the trough. It took two minutes to fill. Finally, everything was done. Luke unfastened the gate.

“Dudley,” he called, “c’m ‘ere boy, quick!” Dudley was so busy playing with Squirt that he didn’t notice he was being summoned. Luke made his voice deep and stern. “Dud-ley!”

Dudley looked over at Luke, thought for a moment, and then resumed his game. Luke growled. He re-fastened the gate and ran after his dog. Dudley and Squirt were very happy Luke had decided to join them and ran ahead of him around the shed, wagging their tails and shouting with joy. After three circuits of the shed and one sudden and uncomfortable slip to the ground, Luke changed tactics. He went into the shed where Curly was enjoying the hay.

“Alright Curly?” he asked as he gently stroked her back. She turned to nuzzle her nose against his hand briefly before resuming her meal. In less than a minute, Dudley and Squirt put their heads around the door, wondering if they could get some of whatever Curly was getting. Luke smiled and put his hand in his pocket. The playmates hurried over for whatever he’d got for them and Luke clipped the lead to Dudley’s collar before they realised their mistake. They got over their disappointment easily while Luke, with a quick goodbye over his shoulder, ran with Dudley all the way home.

It was gone eight when he passed the bus stop which was still crowded with people. There was still hope. Luke stopped to catch his breath and Dudley took the opportunity to sniff for evidence of interlopers on the grass verge.

“Come on Dudley!” Luke chivvied, and the two of them pushed themselves to the limit. As soon as they got home, Dudley headed back to bed for a well-earned rest and Luke envied him. When he rushed back down the hill, slowed only slightly by his heavy school bag, he was relieved to see the bus had still not arrived. It pulled up just as he crossed the road to join the back of the queue. Ten past eight. Not bad considering. Sweating and out of breath, Luke undid his coat and took off his scarf as the queue moved forward. Passengers raced up the stairs and threw themselves onto the seats, making the bus sway. With just a couple of people now ahead of him, Luke put his hand in his pocket for his bus pass. Not there. He checked his other pocket. No. He checked his back pocket, he checked his coat pockets. Nothing. He looked up to meet the driver’s weary gaze.

“I can’t find my bus pass,” he confessed.

“I can’t let you on then,” returned the driver.

“I have got a bus pass,” Luke explained, “I am s’posed to be on this bus. I’ve just lost it.”

“You’ll have to get a new one then won’t you?”

“Yeah,” said Luke, relieved, and climbed aboard.

“Not without a bus pass. Step down please.”

“But I’ll be late!”

“So you will. Not my problem. Get. Off.”

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Story continues on Monday 😀

but if you don’t want to wait the whole chapter is right here 😉

Have a great weekend 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, animals, sheep, dog, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, humour

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.”

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

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 Spittles Campaign

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

********

Satisfied that they were all playing for the same team, Tania asked if they could share the stall to get more signatures for their petition. The man said they could and relocated a couple of piles of leaflets to make room for the Society’s clipboard.

“Will you tell Spittles to stop selling factory farmed duck?” Kris appealed to a smart-looking woman in high heels approaching the store.

“No thank you, I’m alright,” she said, waving Kris away without looking at her and continuing through the revolving doors.

“I know you’re alright!” muttered Kris angrily, “it’s the ducks who aren’t alright. You selfish …”

“Kris,” the man stopped her, “you won’t get anywhere like that. You’ve got to smile and be charming.”

“I know, I know,” she agreed, “I’m no good at this.”

“You’ve got a short fuse.”

Luke picked up a roll of stickers from the table. “Can we have these?” he asked.

“What are you going to do with them?” asked the man.

“What are you doin’ with them?”

The man shrugged. “Nothing really. They came with the leaflets for the Spittle campaign. Thought we’d just give ’em to kids if they wanted them. Kids like stickers don’t they?”

“These are no good for kids,” said Luke, “they say ‘FACTORY FARMED DUCK’ on ’em. They’re meant to be put on stuff that’s factory farmed duck.”

“Weeell,” the man looked at them and pushed his chin up under his lips like he was considering.

“Aren’t they?” Luke didn’t have the patience for long contemplations, “what else could they be for?” The man didn’t answer so Luke asked again. “Can we have them?”

“Let him have them,” said Kris, “what harm can he do?”

Luke eagerly grabbed the stickers, “come on,” he urged the rest of the Society. Tania and Isabel were reluctant.

“We’re supposed to be getting signatures for this,” Tania said.

“We’ve only got another hour,” added Isabel, “we won’t reach today’s target unless we buckle down.”

“What’s today’s target?” asked Luke.

“Three hundred, so we need another twenty seven,” Isabel replied.

Luke made a command decision. “Okay, you two stay here and do that, me and Joe’ll do this,” and the two boys disappeared through the revolving doors.

The man raised his eyebrows at Kris.  “You were saying?”

She shrugged. “They’ll be fine,” she said.

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

The story concludes tomorrow 😀

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

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

vegan, vegetarian, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, animal rights, activism, veggie kids

The man in the suit

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

********

Behind the stall stood a man in a suit and a woman with short, spikey, pink hair that was purple at the ends. She had hundreds of earrings in her right ear but only one in her left. She wore pale blue lipstick and black nail varnish. The stall was covered in leaflets about animal cruelty.

“Do you have any petitions that need signin’?” asked Luke.

“Are you over eighteen?” said the man in an attempt at humour.

“No.”

“Well, thank you but you have to be eighteen to sign these petitions.”

“You don’t have to be eighteen to sign ours,” said Tania.

“Nor these,” said the woman.

“Yes they do,” argued her comrade, “petitioners have to be old enough to vote.”

“That’s the people who start the petition, not the people who sign it. To sign it in America you only have to be thirteen.”

“Are you sure?”

“I think so.” She turned to the Society, “Are you all over thirteen?” They shook their heads. She smiled, “well, that doesn’t matter because this is not America. In Australia the rule is you only have to be old enough to understand the petition.”

“This is not Australia either,” admitted Isabel.

“How old do you have to be in England?” asked Tania.

The man and woman looked at each other and shrugged. “Not sure,” said the man.

“Oh let them sign!” said the woman cheerfully, “we need all the signatures we can get!”

One by one the Society members signed four different petitions. One was to end live transport; another was to end vivisection; the third asked for an end to animal farming subsidies and the last was a petition to Spittles department store, asking them to stop selling factory farmed duck.

Isabel was the first to finish signing.  “Will you sign ours now?” she asked.

The woman eagerly took the offered clipboard and read the petition. “Oh yes, absolutely!” she said and quickly added her name and email address before passing it to the man.

He read it and nodded his agreement.  “Good luck with this,” he said as he signed, “sadly there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance in the animal welfare universe.”

“What’s that?” asked Tania.

“It’s the mental discomfort or psychological stress a person feels when they try to live with conflicting ideas or beliefs,” the man explained. “Like if someone smokes even though they know smoking is unhealthy. There is a conflict between wanting to do it and feeling bad about doing it, so they try not to think about it being bad for them.”

Tania and Isabel nodded slowly.

The man went on. “The conflict makes them mentally stressed, so they have to either change the behaviour – stop smoking – or change their belief that smoking is bad for them.”

“Ahh,” said the girls in unison, nodding more vigorously.

“In the case of animal welfarists eating meat and dairy – they need to believe that it’s not cruel, that they’re not bad people for doing it, because they want to keep doing it,” he said, putting it into context.

“Like the smoker who wants to keep smoking,” said Tania.

“Exactly,” said the man, smiling, “and they won’t thank you for forcing them to face the truth.”

By this time Luke had finished reading and signing all the petitions and the woman noticed his name.

“Luke Walker?” she asked, standing back to look at him, “good grief, I almost didn’t recognise you! You’ve grown!”
Luke was embarrassed. He looked at the woman more closely. She did look a bit familiar but he knew for a fact he’d never met anyone with pink and purple hair.

“Kris,” she said, “don’t you remember me?”

“Oh,” said Luke, still a little unsure, “did you used to have long black hair?” he asked.

“That’s right,” she smiled, “it’s so good to see you again. What have you been up to?”

“What’s this?” asked the man, “do you two know each other?”

“Oh yeah, me and Luke go way back,” she said and went on to explain how she’d been arrested for something Luke had done and he’d saved her from the cops.  Joe had heard the story many times but had assumed it was wildly exaggerated.

“You really did that?” he asked, grinning.

“You know I did. I told you,” said Luke, stunned that Joe had forgotten something he’d been told about more than once.

“Is this your secret society then?” asked Kris.

“How d’you know about that?” asked Tania, wondering just how secret it could be if a woman she’d never met or heard of knew about it.

“I believe I’m an honorary member aren’t I Luke?”

“er, yeah,” said Luke, embarrassed again. The Society was democratic, no new members were allowed without everyone’s agreement, so this revelation put him in an awkward position. “I, er, met Kris before you were in it and she’s an outlaw like us so I said she could be in it, but I never saw her again so I din’t think it was worth mentionin’,” he explained to the girls. “She can be trusted,” he added.

With that settled everyone turned and looked at the man in the suit.

“He can be trusted too,” Kris laughed.

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

The story continues tomorrow 😀

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

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

vegan, vegetarian, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, animal rights, activism, veggie kids

“After this there is no turning back”

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

********

The Society did as they were told and walked, grumbling, up the street. Tania was the first to express what they were all thinking.

“It’s like they’re blind! How can they spend their whole lives working to protect animals without seeing that their diet kills millions?”

“They’re in the Matrix,” said Joe.

“Mm,” said Luke, “what?”

“The world that has been pulled over their eyes to blind them from the truth,” Joe quoted. The silence that followed told him his friends needed more. “This is your last chance, after this there is no turning back,” he continued to recite lines from the film. “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Tania grinned. “I love that film.”

“I haven’t seen it,” said Isabel.

“You haven’t seen it?” Tania was incredulous, “you’ve got to see it – it’s brilliant!”

“Whaddaya mean ezzactly?” asked Luke, still trying to make sense of Joe’s analogy.

“We’ve chosen to take the red pill,” Joe explained, “so we know the truth – that animals suffer in farms and slaughterhouses, and that it’s not natural for us to eat them. The people who agree to sign the petition are also choosing the red pill – they’re listening, they want to know the truth. But the people who refuse to sign are choosing the blue pill because they want to stay in the Matrix – a world where the news, the adverts, and the schools tell them what’s good and what’s bad, so they don’t have to think for themselves.”

Everyone nodded, slowly and thoughtfully, each understanding that whoever wrote that film was a genius. At the end of the street they turned a corner and approached a stall in front of Spittles department store.

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

The story continues tomorrow 😀

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

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

vegan, vegetarian, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, animal rights, activism, veggie kids

“They can’t ignore us forever”

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, chapter 17, continues from Friday:

***

“Maybury,” said Tania, “has anyone had a reply yet?” They all shook their heads.

“No,” said Joe, “surprise surprise.”

“Well, they can’t ignore us forever,” she said, undaunted. “Did you bring the petition?”

“Of course,” said Isabel, pulling a clipboard from her bag.

“Okay then, let’s go! Outside the cinema?”

“Last time we stood there nobody was interested,” said Isabel. “Let’s stand in front of the RSPCA shop.”

Outside the charity shop, Joe held the petition while the other three tried to tempt people to sign it.

“Excuse me,” said Tania.

“No, I’m in a hurry,” replied a frowning man.

“Would you mind …” asked Isabel.

“Sorry. Bus to catch,” replied a lady pushing a bike.

“Stop Maybury Sanctuary killin’ animals!” shouted Luke.

“What?” asked a shocked passer-by, “Maybury Centre for Animal Welfare? Why would they kill animals?”

“They are!” declared Luke, “sign our petition.”

The man and his wife read the petition:

WE, THE BELOW SIGNED, DEMAND THAT MAYBURY CENTRE FOR ANIMAL WELFARE STOP HAVING ANIMALS KILLED FOR THEIR CAFE AND MAKE THE CAFE COMPLETELY VEGAN.

The couple breathed a sigh of relief.  “So they’re not actually killing animals,” said the man.

“You’re spittin’ hairs,” said Luke. “They’re payin’ for ’em to be killed and makin’ money out of it.”

The man shook his head. “You’re making it sound like they’re killing kittens. You could get into a lot of trouble spreading lies like that.”

“It’s not lies! If you paid someone to kill your wife, wun’t that be murder, even if you dint do it yourself?”

“Why would you say such horrible things about Maybury Centre? They do so much good,” the wife joined in. “We got our Maxie from them. She was starving when they found her and they nursed her back to health.”

“I’m not sayin’ they don’t do good things,” Luke clarified, “we’re just askin’ ’em to be that good to all animals. Why don’t piglets matter? Or cows?”

The wife tutted and ducked into the shop while her husband continued to set Luke straight.  “Slaughtering animals for food is not murder, it’s necessity. Think of all the wild animals that kill to eat. It’s just nature.”

“It’s nature for foxes, and cats, and lions and tigers and crocodiles, but it’s not nature for us. We’re not s’posed to eat animals, we’re s’posed to eat vegetables.”

The man laughed. “What gives you that idea? Humans are omnivores – that means they eat plants and animals,” he said with condescension.

“But we’re not meant to,” insisted Luke, “if we were we’d have sharp teeth an’ claws to kill with and we’d eat ’em raw.”

At that moment the man’s wife emerged from the shop, frowned at Luke and escorted her husband away. Luke kicked the pavement in frustration. Thankfully Isabel had been more successful with a few people leaving the shop and Tania looked like she was making headway with a passing group of foreign students. Luke composed himself and tried a gentler approach.

“Will you sign a petition to save the animals?” he asked a lady holding a little girl’s hand and pushing a pram.

“I will,” said the little girl, “I love animals!”

“I think he meant me sweetheart,” the lady laughed.

“No,” Luke smiled, “I meant everybody.” He took the clipboard from Joe, held it low enough for the little girl to reach, and gave her the pen. She signed her name in large undisciplined letters and Luke thanked her sincerely.

“Now you Mummy,” she said to the lady.

“What is it for?” asked her mother.

“It’s for the animals!” the daughter replied, hands on hips, “weren’t you listening?”

When her baby started to cry the woman was eager to get moving again so she signed the petition without reading it, took her daughter’s hand and went on her way. Luke, with spirits lifted, was about to approach another pedestrian when a tall woman, wearing a badge that labelled her the manager, came out of the shop and stood in front of them.

“Please don’t stand here,” she said to the Society, “you’re upsetting our customers.”

“I’m sorry,” said Tania, “we don’t mean to upset anyone, we just thought that people who supported the RSPCA would be interested in this. It’s a petition to make Maybury Centre go vegan.”

“I know what it is,” replied the tall woman, “and we don’t support it. Maybury Centre has done a lot of good work in this community and it’s horrible of you to tarnish their reputation. If you really cared about animals you wouldn’t be attacking an animal rescue charity.”

“We’re not attacking anybody,” said Isabel, “we’re simply asking them to stop having animals killed for their cafe.”

“It’s the way you’re saying it! You could just write ‘please stop selling meat’ or ‘please make the cafe vegan’ without using these shock tactics.”

“People think meat is normal,” said Joe quietly, “they don’t react to it because they think it’s a normal, everyday thing that everybody eats and there’s nothing wrong with it.”

“Yes,” Isabel finished his thought, “they don’t think of the animals who were killed to make the meat ….”

“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” the tall woman interrupted, shaking her head. “Move along now please or I’ll be calling the police.”

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

The story continues tomorrow 😀

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

and if that doesn’t satisfy you 😉 the next eight chapters are now available in paperback:

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

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

vegan, vegetarian, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, animal rights, activism, veggie kids

Luke Walker chapter 17 starts here!

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er – the story continues two years later:

Chapter 17:  Cognitive Dissonance

Two years later:

“Luuuke!” Jared was angry.

Luke returned the now half empty book of stamps to Mum’s purse. “It wasn’t me!” he lied.

“Who else would put a sticker over my webcam? I want to skype and I can’t get it off!”

“I jus’ needed to borra it for a minute an’ I dint want anybody spyin’ on me.”

“No one can spy on you, idiot! You have to turn the webcam on yourself!”

“You’re the idiot if you think they can’t turn it on and watch you when you don’t know they’re watchin’ you. I saw it on that film about the man who had to escape from the government.  And it was on that programme about the lawyer whose daughter was bein’ spied on coz she didn’t close her laptop and they switched on her webcam from somewhere else not in her house!”

Jared wasn’t listening. He’d heard it all before. He referred the problem to a higher power.

“Mum,” he called downstairs, “Luke’s been messing with my computer again and I can’t get the sticker off! He’s not supposed to touch my stuff!”

Mum’s hands were immersed in hot water.  She didn’t have the energy or the inclination to referee her sons’ squabbles so she pretended she hadn’t heard.  Jared turned back to his brother.

“The next time you touch my stuff I’ll take your walkie talkies and smash them with a hammer!”

Luke, secretly thankful to Jared for reminding him, stuffed his walkie talkies into his rucksack and went downstairs. He had a bus to catch.

When he got to the bus stop the bus was already there. Joe was trying the driver’s patience by rummaging slowly in his pockets for his fare, bringing out one small coin at a time in an effort to delay the bus’s departure. When Luke stepped on behind him he found his two pound coin and put the driver out of his misery. Luke did the same and the boys ascended to the empty top deck and sat down on the front seat.

“Happy New Year,” said Joe.

Luke was frantically searching his bag. “Yeah, happy …. did you bring your notebook?”

Joe nodded.

“I forgot mine,” said Luke, annoyed. “Did you write down where we’re s’posed to be meetin’ the others?”

“No,” said Joe, “but I remember. We’re meeting them at the library.”

Luke frowned with uncertainty.

“We always meet at the library,” Joe reassured him, “the first Saturday of every month. At the library.”

Luke shook his head. “I know that’s what we normally do, but last time that woman kept watching us and Tania thought she was trying to listen to our plans so we said next time we’d meet somewhere more private. I wrote it down. Don’t you remember?”

Joe’s recollection went further.

“Yes, I remember that, but then Isabel said she didn’t think the woman was listening and Tania was just paranoid and there wasn’t anywhere else we could meet that was warm and dry and she thought we should meet at the library as usual.”

Luke still looked uncertain.

“Twelve o’clock. At the library. As usual,” Joe reiterated.

“Okay,” said Luke, finally giving up the search for his notebook, “good.” He leaned back in his seat and put his feet up on the window ledge in front of him.

The boys hadn’t seen each other since Christmas so the half hour bus ride was a good time to catch up. Luke pulled an impressive-looking, hard plastic case out of his rucksack.

“I got these from me Mum and Dad,” he told Joe, and opened the case to reveal two walkie talkies. They were green, brown and black in a camouflage pattern, with buttons under a screen and a short antenna sticking up on one side. In addition the case contained a charger, ear pieces, belt clips, and survival bracelets with built-in compass and whistle. “They work as far as three kilometres apart, so we’ll be able to talk to each other if we’re on a mission and we’re doin’ different bits of it and we have to keep watch and tell the other one if someone’s comin’.” Joe hesitantly reached for one of the bracelets. “Oh yeah, and we’ll both wear one of these – go on, try it on,” encouraged Luke, “and then if we get lost, or if the walkie talkie battery dies, we can survive with these coz there’s a whistle so we can blow it and hear where each other is and know if it’s north or south.”

“They’re brilliant,” said Joe, obviously impressed.

Luke carefully retrieved the bracelet and put it back in the case. “What did you get?” he asked.

Joe reached into his bag and pulled out a smart pair of binoculars. “I like bird watching,” he explained.

“Score!” said Luke, “these’ll be good for missions too coz we’ll be able to see if someone’s comin’ from a long way away before they see us.”

“I use ’em for looking for UFOs too,” said Joe, lifting the binoculars to his eyes and looking through the window at the skies ahead.

“Spaceships?” asked Luke, interested.

“Yeah, I saw a documentary about aliens coming to Earth and it said they were real and they’ve been coming to Earth for years and they’re watching us to make sure we don’t send bombs into space and they stopped the Americans when they did try to send some up there.”

“Really?” asked Luke, wide eyed, “so they’re good aliens?”

“Yeah, they’re good, stopping bad people with bombs. But the people who make the bombs are trying to keep the aliens secret because they want to keep making the bombs because they get a lot of money from it. So they want to make people scared of aliens by making fake alien ships to attack Earth so that the Earth people will want them to attack the aliens,” Joe took a breath. “But really it’s not the aliens because the aliens are peaceful and we shouldn’t be attacking them we should be making friends with them coz they could help us save the environment.”

“Wow,” said Luke, “sounds like a good film. D’you think it’s true?”

“Oh yeah! It’s true. They had lots of evidence and lots of people have seen them and some people have been killed to shut them up or blackmailed to change their stories. I know it sounds made up but it’s not. You should see the film.”

“Yeah. What’s it called?”

Unacknowledged.”

“Have you got it on DVD?”

“No, it’s on Netflix.”

“We haven’t got Netflix.”

“Neither have we but I signed up for a month’s free trial on Janet’s computer and there’s a week left so you can watch it at mine.”

Luke nodded.  He really wanted to see it.

“Come round after school on Tuesday.”

“You’re lucky Janet lets you borra her computer. Jared gets in a right hump when I borra his.”

“Janet won’t be there,” explained Joe.

The boys got off the bus at the radio station and walked through the pedestrianised High street to the library. It was only ten to twelve. They were going to be early for once.

The January meeting of the Secret Society of animal stick up for-ers commenced thirteen minutes later.

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

The story continues on Monday 😀

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

and if that doesn’t satisfy you 😉 the next eight chapters are now available in paperback:

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

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

vegan, vegetarian, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, animal rights, activism

Change the World with Rose and Chili

Here’s a cute little children’s book by Malte Hartwieg 🙂

Change The World With Rose And Chili has been written for little children who don’t know the truth about where their food comes from, and it explains in simple terms that animals are not here for our use, they are here for their own reasons.

With adorable illustrations, Malte Hartwieg takes Rose and her best friend Chili on a journey to an imaginary world where, one by one, Rose meets individuals who are suffering because humans use them for food or clothing: a fox who has no coat, a sheep who has been robbed of her wool, a chicken bereft of eggs and a cow with no milk for her calf.  At every meeting Rose is moved to help these individuals by giving them her warm clothes or finding plant-based foods to replace the animal-based ones, and the imaginary world becomes a brighter, greener, happier place.

By the end, when Rose and Chili return home, Rose has learned how easy it is to change the real world: simply eat plants instead of animals.

This book needs to be on the shelves of nurseries and pre-schools everywhere so that little ones can learn, before they get brainwashed into accepting the status quo, how simple it is to change the world.

Just lovely 😀

Author/Illustrator:  Malte Hartwieg

Genre:  Juvenile fiction/picture book

Recommended for reading to pre-schoolers

Published July 2018

Format:  Paperback (24 pages)

ISBN-10: 1722463449
ISBN-13: 978-1722463441
Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.2 x 21.6 cm

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

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vegan books, vegan children’s book, vegan children’s stories, animals, animal rights, vegetarian

What exactly happened today?

For this whole story (episode 2) and all the other Megan & Flos stories, click here 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s comic, vegan comics, vegan children’s book, science fiction, pollution

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

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

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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vegan, vegetarian, Christmas, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s book, fiction, juvenile fiction, animals, environment, humour, adventure, activism

In the Sunday School room …

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

To read the whole of Chapter 13 click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

In the Sunday School room Luke was unsurprised to find quaint and colourful cardboard fishing boats stuck to a massive collage that covered a whole wall.  The boats were manned by friendly fishermen pulling up nets by hand.  The water beneath them was gleaming turquoise and filled with colourful fish who looked only too eager to swim into the welcoming nets.  A golden beach was pictured behind with market stalls where smiling fishmongers sold fish to happy villagers under a soft blue sky.  A red and white striped lighthouse kindly warned the fishermen to stay away from the rocks.  And across the sky large paper letters spelled out the words:

“Typical!” said Luke with contempt and uncharacteristic brevity.  There was no time for lengthy verbal condemnations.  They just got on with it.

Forty-six minutes later Joe was on his way home with gratitude as Luke dropped the last armful of tinned fish into the wheelie bin behind the building.  Tomorrow there’d be no Joe.  Tomorrow Luke would be on his own.  Which wasn’t a problem, because he wasn’t a coward.

***

Luke was quiet at breakfast on Sunday and Mum sympathised.

“You’re very preoccupied this morning Luke, are you worried about talking to Eric?”

“Er, kind of,” Luke admitted.

“Mm, it’s never easy to tell someone something they don’t want to hear but it’s better to be honest.”

“Yeah,” said Luke, enlivened by a slight resurgence in confidence, “it’s better if they know the truth.”

At ten to ten, Luke and his mum approached the chapel gate.  Mrs Walker wondered what was going on. People were standing around on the lawn outside and the village bobby was there, talking to the minister.

“What’s going on?” she asked Gordon.

“Vandalism,” he said, flatly, “a horrible mess.”

“Oh no!  How awful!” she said and rushed in.  Luke followed at a cautious distance.  Mabel, standing in the doorway, advised Mum not to enter.

“All our work yesterday – ruined!” she mourned, “it’s a horror show in there!”

When Mrs Walker stepped forward the first thing to strike her was the awful smell.  She shielded her nose with her hand.  Draped over the pulpit was a huge, orange, fishing net, tangled, filthy and stinking with rotten seaweed and the small fish and crustacean victims who’d been trapped and strangled by it long after the fleet had left it to drift untethered.  The communion table and the floor around it exhibited a collection of old lobster pots and traps, a mess of wire and barbed hooks, a couple of rusty knives and a matching set of hooks, pliers and other fishmonger blades that looked hardly used.

These were set off to best advantage by numerous anchovy and sardine corpses variously strewn and interwoven throughout.  The whole ensemble was liberally splattered with what looked like blood.

Eric emerged from the Sunday School room.

“There’s more in here,” he told her.

Mrs Walker had a bad feeling.

Apprehensively she followed Eric into the Sunday School room and discovered the picturesque fishing village scene was no more.  There were no fish, no happy villagers and no fishmongers; the lighthouse had fallen into the sea and the colourful fishing boats had crashed into the rocks.  Some of the paper letters had been rearranged across the sky to spell

“I told you we should have done the normal fruit and vegetable display!” Mrs Kirby chimed in authoritatively, “I said to the minister last week – people want a traditional harvest festival with fruits and vegetables and golden sheaves of wheat.  Genesis 1, verse 29: I have provided all kinds of grain and fruit for you to eat,” she quoted, “This is a message from God!”

Mabel was irritated.

“God didn’t do this!”

“Whoever did it was sent by Him!” retorted Mrs Kirby, and no one dared disagree.

***

Mrs Walker kept her anger buttoned down.  She didn’t say anything until they were well out of earshot of the other church-goers.  It would be too shameful if anyone else knew what she suspected.  Not to mention Luke might get a criminal record.  Eventually, when they were almost home, she asked coldly,

“Who do you think did it Luke?”

“I’m with Mrs Kirby,” he answered honestly, “whoever did it was sent by God.”

Have a lovely weekend 😀

Join us on Monday for the beginning of Chapter 14:

Luke Walker and the Halloween Party

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

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Luke Walker paperbacks:

  

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (the first eight chapters);

 More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (chapters nine to sixteen);

and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook

are available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada 🙂

but if you’d prefer to mail order them through us, get in touch 😀

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

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Dangerous things

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

To read the whole of Chapter 13 click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

At 3.47pm Luke and Joe stood in Curly and Squirt’s shed.  There was a big old wooden ottoman at the back.  Joe had never noticed it before because ordinarily Luke kept a bale of hay on top of it and the whole lot was usually covered with a tatty blue tarpaulin.  Luke started to lift the lid and then hesitated, looking over his shoulder to make sure the shed door was shut.  It was.

“This is where I keep the stuff I’ve constigated on holiday,” he told his trusted friend, confidentially.

Joe looked puzzled.  Luke put him in the picture.

“Remember me Nan and Grandad’s got a caravan at the seaside where there’s fishing boats on the beach?  Remember I told you?”

Joe nodded.

“Well,” Luke went on, “whenever we go there I look out for things on the beach wot need takin’ outer circle-ation.  Dangerous things.”

“And you constigate them?” Joe asked with the appearance of comprehension.

“Mm.  Well, some I jus’ find, abandoned.  Some I constigate from people wot are doin’ horrible things with ’em.”

Joe peered inside the trunk but wasn’t sure exactly what he was looking at.  It was a miscellaneous jumble of what looked like rubbish – bits of plastic, rope, cord, wood, wire.  All very unpleasant and dirty.  It stank.

“And now you want to move it somewhere else?”  Joe tried hard to make sense of the little Luke had told him so far.

“Yeah.  On’y it’s too much stuff for one trip with just me.  Your mum’s got one o’ them shopping trolley-bag things, and mine’s got two, an old one and a new one – I reckon we could fit all this stuff into them and move it without anyone bein’ able to see what we’ve got.  They’ll just think we’ve done the shoppin’ for our mums.”

Joe nodded.

“Okaaay.”

“And,” Luke went on, “can you get any left over paint off your dad?  Somethin’ he wun’t miss?  Somethin’ he’s finished with and wun’t mind you havin’.  Somethin’ he would rather you dint bother ‘im by askin’ for.  Somethin’ he’d be pleased you took off ‘is hands without botherin’ ‘im.  Somethin’ reddish.”

Joe wondered.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

***

Saturday was the day that Luke always helped Dad on the allotment and today, more than ever before, he was very glad of it.  It gave him the perfect excuse not to help decorate the Sunday school room for the Harvest Festival.  He remembered they were meeting at 10 o’clock and imagined that it wouldn’t take them more than an hour or two so they’d be done by lunch time.  Then the ladies on the cleaning and flowers rota were going to decorate the chapel.  Mum was one of those ladies and she got home at twenty past four.

“Put the kettle on love,” she called to her husband, “and if you look in the pantry I’ve a feeling you might find a packet of chocolate hobnobs behind the teabags.”

“Well, half a packet anyway,” Luke’s dad grinned as he nodded towards the dining table where six or seven of them adorned a small plate.  Mrs Walker dropped exhausted into a chair.

“I knew there was a reason I married you,” she smiled as he handed her a hot cup of tea and sat down with one himself.  “Thank you love,” she said, “that whole afternoon was an uphill struggle.  Mrs Kirby was complaining the whole time that she thought we should be doing the traditional Harvest Festival display of fruits and breads and stuff, and Mabel was arguing that change was good and we should embrace change and move with the times.  What’s modern about fishing I do not know!  And then every time they stopped arguing Gordon would get them going again with ‘I suppose we have to do what the committee decides, never mind what the rest of the congregation wants!’  I don’t know what was more exhausting – scrubbing the kitchen floor or listening to ….”

“Shhh,” Mr Walker interrupted, “forget about all that now, it’s done.  Drink your tea.”

“Don’t shush me!” Mum snapped.  She hated it when he did that.

“I was just saying don’t worry about it, calm down ….”  He never learned.

“I am calm!  I’m not worried, I was just telling you what happened!  I don’t like being shushed!”

“I’m with Mrs Kirby,” thought Luke as he took advantage of his parents bickering and swiped the chapel keys from Mum’s bag before heading for the front door.

“Jus’ goin’ to check on Curly and Squirt,” he called.

“Home by six!” Mum called after him.

“Six?!” he thought, grabbing the shoppers from the hall cupboard and hurrying out.

It was just after five when Joe and Luke arrived at the chapel gate.  Luckily no one was around to hear its metal hinges squeal.  They slunk across the lawn past the large wooden crucifix with the spikes on top to stop pigeons landing on it, and Luke unlocked the heavy door.

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

Story concludes tomorrow, so don’t miss it 😉

Or you could read the whole story here now 😀

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Luke could hardly believe it

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

To read the whole of Chapter 13 click here 🙂 

Story continues from yesterday:

“What?!”  Luke could hardly believe it.  “They’re proud of killin’ sea animals are they?  They want to show off about killin’ God’s creatures do they?  That’s very Christian – I don’t think!”

“Well, Luke,” Mum tried to calm him down, “I know you don’t like it sweetheart but Jesus ate fish didn’t he?  Some of his disciples were fishermen.”

Luke was unconvinced.

“How do we know that?  Just coz someone wrote it in a book thousands of years ago in a diff’rent language.  P’rhaps they din’t translate it right.  P’rhaps they din’t tell the truth.  Prob’ly whoever wrote it wasn’t even there at the time so they wouldn’t even know!”  He was gaining momentum.  “And, Jesus was perfect,” he went on, “so he wun’t ‘ave done somethin’ that hurt someone else on purpose.  And he told them disciples to stop bein’ fishermen din’t he?  And he wun’t ‘ave done that if he thought they were doin’ a good thing.  And Jesus said God cares about every sparrow so if he cares about every sparrow then he definitely cares about every fish and he said ‘thou shalt not kill’ so he couldn’t be clearer than that!”

Red in the face from talking so fast without taking a breath and satisfied he’d settled the point, Luke stomped out of the room.  Mrs Walker winced as the hall door slammed and Luke’s heavy footsteps pounded the stairs.  She held her breath until all was quiet and then, just as she relaxed back into scrubbing potatoes, her son’s face re-appeared around the door.

“Oh!” she gasped, “you made me jump.”

“Don’t get any fish,” he entreated, “please.”

The following morning at breakfast Luke was distracted.  He made no argument when Jared consumed the last of the frosted flakes; he didn’t defend himself when Dad told him off for knocking over the sugar bowl even though it was actually Jared who’d done it in his haste to grab the frosted flakes.  The rest of the family were too busy to notice, but Luke was not himself.  Eventually, when Jared and Dad had left for the day and Luke was left alone with Mum he told her,

“I’ve decided I don’t want to go to Sunday School any more.”

“Well I know you don’t want to go Luke, but you’re going.  It’s good for you.  I want you to learn good values, to be a good boy,” she responded firmly.

“I’ve got good values!” said Luke, indignant.  “What do you mean values?” he added.

Mum sighed.

“Oh Luke, being a Christian means being good and kind and respecting your father and mother and not stealing and not lying, things like that,” she explained, “doing as you’re told,” she added.

“And not killin’,” said Luke.

“Of course not killing Luke, that goes without saying,”

“But they’re killin’! They’re celebratin’ killin’ fish and if that’s Christian I don’t want to be it!”

“Oh Luke why do you have to get so angry over these things?  You might not want them to eat fish but they do.  People do.  People always have.  And so do bears and cats and birds, and even other fish Luke.  It’s the way of the world and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“I don’t want to go!  I’m not going!” he insisted.  Mum inhaled deeply and counted to ten.

“Fine.  But you are not going to just disappear like a coward without telling them why.  You’ve got to be grown up about it and make it clear to Eric why this sea harvest upsets you.”

Luke sulked.  He was not a coward.  He wasn’t afraid of anything.  They walked to school in silence, Luke was deep in thought.  When they entered the school gates they were almost run over by Simon Butler racing across their path on his new bike and then, when he knew he’d got their attention, he pulled a wheelie.

“He’s a bit of a show-off that one,” said Mum, amused.

Luke snorted.

“A bit?!” he scoffed, “more like a lot!  He’s a lot of a show-off.  He’s pretty much all show-off!  There’s nothing else to ‘im.  ‘cept idiot.  And creep.  He’s a idiot creep show-off!” Luke concluded decisively.

Mum chuckled.

“Boys will be boys,” she said, “he’s just making a point.  He’s just making it clear to everyone watching that he’s good at that.”

***

All morning, while Mr Beardsley was talking about the ancient Greeks, Luke was thinking about what Mum had told him to do.  He considered very carefully exactly what she’d said and by the time Dionysus had whisked Ariadne away from Theseus he was satisfied that he could do as he was told without compromising his prince pauls.  He’d need Joe’s help.

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

Sounds like Luke’s got a plan 😉

Join us tomorrow to find out what it is,

or just read the whole story now 😀 

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And then what happened?

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Chapter 13: Luke Walker and the Harvest Festival begins here:

“And then what happened?  Luke?”

“Erm,”

“Weren’t you listening?  What happened in the end?”

“Oh, um, in the end she saved ’em all, and then they saw she was a girl, coz they thought she was a man before, but they didn’t kill ‘er because she’d saved China.”

Eric, the Sunday School teacher, looked at Luke blankly, as if he wasn’t there.

“Mulan?  Are you talking about Mulan?” he asked after a long pause.

Luke wondered, not for the first time, why his mum insisted he came to Sunday School to listen to a man who seemed unable to remember, from one minute to the next, what he was supposed to be teaching them.

“Yeah.  Mulan.  Who saved China from invaders.  Remember?  Who you’ve bin tellin’ us about.”

“Okay Luke, well, you are clearly capable of paying attention – to Disney films anyway – but you’ve obviously not heard a word I’ve said today.  I’ve actually been talking about Miriam, Moses’s sister, who hid him in the bulrushes as a baby, and later helped her brother lead the Jews out of Egypt.”

Luke frowned in deep thought.

“Oh,” he responded at last.

Eric turned to the other seven children in his charge and continued.  Luke resented the ‘I give up’ look that Eric’s features expressed before they withdrew.  He’d seen it many times.  It was uncalled for.

“Mulan.  Miriam.  They’re both ancient.  They’re both women.  They both saved a whole country.  They’re both heroes.  They both start with an M.  Anyone could easily get them mixed up,” he thought as he leafed through the parish magazine.

At last he heard the final hymn being sung by the grown-ups in the room next door and he unhooked his jacket from its peg.

“Hold your horses Luke,” Eric recalled him to the group. “You can go when your parents come for you but remember that next week is Harvest Festival so I’d like all of you to be here at ten o’clock on Saturday to help me decorate the Sunday School room.  The church secretary told me that the committee has decided to do things differently this year… blah blah blah …”

“Saturday?  Not likely!” thought Luke.  He could hear the scraping back of chairs and the hubbub of grown-ups talking, getting gradually louder.  Any minute now the blue door would swing open and Mum would effect his release.  Any minute now.

Eric finished whatever he was saying, Luke slipped his arms into his jacket sleeves, the door opened, and he hurried towards it.

“Bye Luke,” Eric called after him, “See you Saturday.”

“Bye,” he replied without looking back.

***

At school on Monday Luke noticed a familiar theme.  Mr Beardsley had written on the board:

He concluded that either Mr Beardsley had copied his project idea from Eric or Eric got it from him.  This was no bad thing.  He could get two for one.  Score points with the same work twice.

Mr Beardsley explained that they should all bring in donations of food this week to make a Harvest Festival display in the school hall.  Then they would have a special afternoon assembly on Friday to thank God for the harvest.  As the food would later be donated to the homeless shelter in town he requested no perishables, only tins and packeted dry goods please.

So Luke went home that afternoon and explained to Mum what he needed for the Harvest Festivals.

“Looks like I won’t be able to do it once and hand it in twice though, coz they’re givin’ all the school festival food to the homeless shelter so I’ll need another lot for Sunday School.  Tins and dry stuff he said.  Have we got any of that?”

Mum looked in the pantry.  “Yes, we’ve got some dried lentils and pasta, and some tinned beans you can have.  I’ll get something for the church harvest when I go shopping.  Tins again I think, otherwise it’ll smell.”

“What will?”

“The fish.”

“Whaddaya mean fish?  Why are you gettin’ fish?”

“Didn’t Eric tell you?  The chapel committee want to do a different kind of Harvest Festival this year.  Instead of the usual fruits, vegetables, grains and bread etcetera etcetera, they want to do a display of the harvest of the sea.”

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

Uh-oh 😮

Find out tomorrow what Luke thinks of that idea 😉

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A wink and a smile

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here

For the whole of chapter 12 click here 🙂

Story continues from Friday:

At half past three, all the Year Fives who wanted to be in the Christmas concert went to the hall to audition for Ms Robinson and Mr Beardsley.  There were more parts available than actors to play them so Luke felt confident he’d get something.  He was expecting to have to get up on stage and recite a line or two from the play, as he’d seen done in a movie once.  However, when Ms Robinson saw how few people had turned up she simply asked for a show of hands for each role.  If only one person raised their hand for a particular role, they got it.  If more than one person raised their hand, Mr Beardsley drew one of their names from a hat.  Luke felt this diminished the accomplishment somewhat.  He was the only applicant for the role of Third Spirit so the part was his, in addition he was pressed to play Jacob Marley which he was happy to do.  Simon Butler would play Ebenezer Scrooge as an old man, a young man and a child.  Katia got the parts of young Scrooge’s sweetheart and Mrs Cratchit; Kenny got Bob Cratchit, Fezziwig and the coachman; Tania wanted to play Scrooge’s nephew and Scrooge’s sister because she thought it would add realism to have some discernible family resemblance between those characters.  Her wish was granted.  And so it went on.  Children were permitted to leave after their roles were assigned and by a quarter past five only a few minor roles remained to be cast.  Joe and Luke were the only children left in the hall.  Luke was waiting for Joe who, for almost two hours, had waited patiently for an opportunity to ask if he could paint the scenery.  He had brought with him some preliminary sketches of ideas for backdrops and costumes but when he approached Ms Robinson, she misunderstood his reason for being there.

“Okay Joe, that leaves us with Scrooge’s Servant, the Gentleman Visitor, the Cook, and the Butcher.  Do you think you can handle those?”

Joe went white in the face.

“er, no, he don’t want them,” said Luke, stepping in.

“Excuse me, I was talking to Joe,” said Ms Robinson, quite testily. “Come on Joe, they’re only small parts, you can do those for me can’t you?”

Joe looked at the sketchbook in his hands.

“I brought these …” he mumbled nervously.

“What was that?  You’ll do it?  Thank you Joe,” and she wrote his name next to the character names on her clipboard.

Joe looked at Luke with panic in his eyes.

“No, he’s not doin’ the actin’, he’s good at paintin’ scenery.  He’ll be too busy paintin’ to do any actin’,” said Luke persuasively.

Ms Robinson looked at Luke as if her patience was at an end.

“This is nothing to do with you.  If Joe didn’t want to do it he would have said so.  Please credit him with enough intelligence to speak for himself and stop interfering.”  She turned back to Joe.  “Okay Joe?”

Joe nodded his assent.

Ms Robinson closed her clipboard and began to pack up her things.  Luke knew full well that Joe was only there because he’d asked him to be.  He couldn’t let him get lumbered with this.

“No,” he said with determination “Joe don’t wanna do it.  That’s not why he came.  He daren’t say it coz you’re in a mood, but he definitely don’t wanna do it!”

Ms Robinson glared at him in that all too familiar way.

“Luke. Walker,” she said slowly as if something had just occurred to her, “you’re the one Cathy Tebbut warned me about.”

At this point Mr Beardsley, who had witnessed the entire interaction, decided it was time to intervene.

“Can I have a word Ms Robinson?” he asked.

She glared again at Luke and then stepped aside to speak to her colleague.  Luke sat down on the floor next to Joe.

“Sorry,” he said.

“S’oright,” his friend replied.

After a few minutes of hushed discussion Ms Robinson left.  Mr Beardsley walked over to the boys.

“Ms Robinson and I have been thinking,” he said, “it doesn’t work very well to have an odd number of pupils in a class because when we need you to work with a partner, there’s always an odd one out.”

The boys nodded.  That was true.

“So,” Mr Beardsley went on, “it’s better to have twenty six or twenty four pupils in a class than twenty five.”

The boys nodded again.

“So, Ms Robinson has agreed that it would be a good idea for you to transfer to my class Joe, if that’s alright with you.”

Joe’s now very enthusiastic nod was accompanied by a wide smile.  Luke smiled too.

“Okay then,” said Mr Beardsley, smiling back at them, “I’ll see you both, ten to nine, on Monday.”  He started to turn away before adding, “oh, and Joe, Ms Robinson said she’d be delighted to have your help with the scenery because she’s going to give some of the Year 4 kids the opportunity to audition for the minor roles.”

He winked and walked away.

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

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Luke Walker paperbacks:

  

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (the first eight chapters); More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (chapters nine to sixteen); and Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er: my privut notebook are available from Amazon in the UK, Europe, the USA and Canada 🙂 but if you’d prefer to mail order them through us, get in touch 😀

 

Panic and retreat

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

Luke stood still, his face flushed hot.

“They know!” he thought with horror.

It got worse.  He watched as two police officers walked up to the organisers’ table.  After a few moments a man there pointed in Luke’s direction.  The police officers started to walk towards him.  He ran.  All he could think was that he needed to get out of there.  They might know his name but would they know his address?  He didn’t look behind, that would be suspicious, he just ran as fast as he could.  The wheelbarrow was slowing him down.  He had to leave it.

He climbed the low post and rail fence and jumped down into the car park.  His first instinct was to find Grandad’s car, but then he thought that if they knew his name, they might know who his grandparents were, they might be waiting for him there.  He hesitated, crouched between a Mini and a Fiesta, and tried to see Grandad’s car without being seen.  Yes, that was it, and there was Grandad.  With another policeman.

There was nothing for it, he had to go back into the market, he had to try to be invisible in the crowd.  But he was scared and wanted an ally.  He made a beeline for the black-haired lady’s stall.

The lady, who was just beginning to pack up her stall, putting leaflets back in their boxes, was surprised to see Luke racing towards her, all red in the face and out of breath, looking like he feared for his life.

“Hide me!” said Luke desperately, and sunk to the floor behind the biggest box.

The lady was alarmed.

“What’s wrong? What are you …?”

“Shhh!” said Luke in a vehement whisper, “don’t talk to me!  Don’t look at me!  They might be watching!”

“But …”

“Excuse me Miss,” another woman’s voice interrupted her.  She turned to face a policewoman.

“Is this your stall?” she asked.

“Yes it is.”

“And your name is?”

“Jessica Rabbit.  Would you like a leaflet?”

“I would like to have a look, yes, thank you,” and the policewoman began to paw the various piles.  “Is this all you’ve got?”

The black-haired lady casually dropped her jacket on top of Luke as another officer stepped around the stall to look in the boxes.

“I’ve got these as well,” she answered, “as you can see,” and she lifted the boxes onto the table so that they wouldn’t need to rummage around the other side.

The policewoman found what she was looking for – three different anti-dairy leaflets.

“Is there any reason you were hiding these?” she asked.

The lady laughed.

“I wasn’t hiding them, I was just in the process of packing up,” she explained.

The police officers exchanged cynical glances and while the male picked up the box of leaflets, the female addressed the stall-holder.

“I am arresting you on suspicion of offences under section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971.  You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.  Do you understand?”

“Not remotely,” the lady replied, “what am I supposed to have done?”

Luke stayed motionless under the lady’s jacket.  He felt bad that she was getting blamed for what he’d done, but was somehow unable to move or speak.  He just sat still until he couldn’t hear them any more. He waited till they’d gone.

When he stood up and watched them retreat past the other stalls, seemingly diminished in size, his courage returned.  He donned the khaki jacket, pulled the hood over his head and cautiously followed. The officers and their captive approached a police car and the policewoman opened a rear door, put her hand on the black-haired lady’s head and assisted her into the back seat.

Luke was worried they would drive away before he could get to them but luck was on his side again. Another policeman with a camera called to his colleagues and they walked a few steps away from the car to talk to him.  That was Luke’s chance.

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Story concludes tomorrow, or read the whole of chapter 11 now 🙂

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Strong and determined

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from Friday:

With a wheelbarrow full of three different leaflets which told the truth about the dairy industry, Luke headed for the car park.  The wheelbarrow was heavy and the cars were parked quite close together on uneven ground, so it was rather difficult to stop the barrow from tipping.  But Luke was strong and determined so he only lost control of it a couple of times, and on those occasions the cars he grazed were already scratched anyway.  He put one leaflet under a wiper blade, on the windscreen of each car.  He’d seen it done before with car-wash flyers in the supermarket car park.

Some wipers were easy to lift, some of them required a bit of force, a couple of them came off, but when that happened he was luckily able to find a window or a sunroof open so he tossed the leaflet inside. Considerate as always, he tossed the wiper blade in with it.

After some time – he had no idea how much – Luke had leafleted most of the cars in the car park.  He had intended not to miss a single one but when he saw an angry man, waving a wiper blade, fast approaching his position, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retreated behind the long queues for the portaloos.  He had almost half a box of leaflets left and wanted to use them.  It wasn’t long before he found an opportunity.

The ice cream van was parked close to the line of trees which skirted the market.  It was doing a roaring trade.  Luke felt that it wouldn’t do any trade at all if there was any justice in the world.  He was sure it wouldn’t if everyone knew the truth.  That thought gave him an idea.  This idea, he was well aware, was not, strictly speaking, legal.  But it was moral and that meant he was right to do it.  He would do what Robin Hood would have done, whatever the consequences.  He was an outlaw after all.

He left his wheelbarrow in the shadows behind the trees and ran back to a craft stall he’d seen earlier. The lady on the craft stall was demonstrating how to make paper maché models.  She was doing the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ bit, revealing a stiff, hollow, paper pig ready for a coat of paint. The tub of wallpaper paste that she’d been using in an earlier part of her demonstration was tucked away under her stall.

“I jus’ need to borra a bit,” Luke told himself, “I’ll bring it back before she misses it.”

Within minutes he was pasting leaflets all over one side of the ice cream van, unseen by the ice cream seller or his treat-seeking customers who stood in line on the other side.  He worked fast, knowing he might be spotted and stopped at any moment.  At the same time he was encouraged by a feeling that some great spirit was watching over him, enabling him to complete his mission unhindered.  The spirit of Robin Hood?  It couldn’t just have been luck that he’d been able to get his hands on exactly what he needed for this job.  The label on the side of the tub of paste read:

MELROSE WHEATPASTE

suitable for paper maché, scrapbooking

wallpaper application & billboard posters

NON TOXIC * STRONG * DRIES TRANSPARENT

WARNING: WHEATPASTE POSTERS, ONCE APPLIED, ARE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.

It couldn’t have been more perfect.  Luke fearlessly pasted over colourful illustrations of lollipops, ice cream cones, and a happy cartoon cow who bore no resemblance to her real-life counterparts.  The van’s lies were soon obliterated by pages of facts and figures about the cruel reality of dairy farming, including miserable photographic proof.  When the side of the van was completely covered in leaflets, as high as Luke could reach, he stepped back to see the full effect.  It was good.

Unable to believe how well this was going, Luke slipped unseen, back the way he’d come.  He re-emerged from behind the line of trees when he reached the craft stall and returned the paste.  Then he tucked the remaining four leaflets in his back pocket and pushed his empty wheelbarrow from stall to stall, looking for Nan and Grandad.  He looked for ages until eventually he came close to the organisers’ table and heard his own name over the Tannoy.

“Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van.  Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van, near the car park and the toilets.”

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Story continues tomorrow 🙂

To read the whole of Chapter 11 now, click here 🙂

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Way of the world

For chapters 1 to 10 click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

He smiled broadly as he considered how fortuitous this outing had turned out to be; how lucky it was that this week of all weeks he’d needed a wheelbarrow.

***

Nan and Grandad loved to go to car boot sales, antique fairs and flea markets.  They would drive for miles to get to them and rarely a Sunday went by without Nan acquiring a ‘new’ old plant pot, or handbag, or garden bench, or record or book or who knows what.  So, when Luke decided he needed a few tools for his allotment – a rake, a bucket or two, and a wheelbarrow – he asked Mum to ask Nan if he could go with them that weekend.  She said yes, as long as he behaved himself and didn’t eat or drink anything in Grandad’s car, or put his feet on the seats.

“Will she ever get over the chocolate biscuit/chewing gum incident?” he thought. “It wasn’t even my gum – it had got stuck on my shoe because of a dropper and the chocolate crumbs … ”

Anyway, he promised to be good, and it was arranged.

Six days later, Luke was sitting in the back of Grandad’s car; seatbelt on; feet on the floor; no food or drink whatsoever.  They turned into a farm lane and drove past a field of grazing cows, one of whom had a baby with her.  They waited in a long queue of cars approaching the flea market and Luke was able to watch mother and baby for a few minutes.

He could see how attentive the mother was to her baby and how the baby followed his mother wherever she went.  It was nice to watch.  Then he saw two farmers with a wheelbarrow walk over to them and lift the baby into it.  The baby cried out for his mum and the mum tried to get to her baby but one of the farmers obstructed her so that the other one could wheel the barrow away.  He walked briskly, almost breaking into a run to get to the gate as quickly as possible and the mother cow hurried after them, calling all the time to her baby and him calling back to her.  The farmer with the wheelbarrow got through the gate and closed it and the other one climbed the fence.  They put the calf into a trailer and drove away in the Land Rover that towed it, along the track that bordered the field, until they got to the road and were soon out of sight.  The whole time the mother cow was running along the edge of the field, trying to keep up with them, calling for her baby.  When the trailer was out of sight she just stood at the fence and called and called, a most miserable, pining sound, as she watched the direction in which they’d fled, pleading for her baby’s return.

“Where are they takin’ ‘im?  Are they gonna bring ‘im back?” Luke desperately asked his grandparents.

“What love?” said Nan.  She hadn’t been watching.

“The baby cow!  They took ‘im away from ‘is mum!  Why did they do that?  When will they bring ‘im back?”

“They won’t,” said Grandad, matter-of-factly.

“What?! Why not?” Luke demanded.

“The farmer keeps cows for their milk.  He needs to sell as much milk as possible so he can’t have the calves drinking his profits can he?  He’s got to make a living.  Way of the world Luke, you might as well get used to it.”

Luke was outraged.  He’d known instinctively that it wasn’t right to steal a cow’s milk and was certain it couldn’t be natural to drink it if you weren’t a baby cow, but he’d had no idea that farmers actually kidnapped babies away from their mothers; that a mother who’d done nothing wrong, who was giving him her milk, was not even allowed to keep the baby who made the milk possible.  And the baby – what would happen to the baby?

“Does everybody know this?  Does everybody know what the horrible farmer is doin’?” Luke felt that surely people wouldn’t buy the milk if they knew.

“He’s not horrible Luke,” Nan tried to explain, “cows are not people, they don’t have the same feelings and emotional attachments that we have.”

“Yes they do!  Din’t you see?  Din’t you see ’em together?  They love each other!”

“Luke,” Nan answered quietly, “the farmer’s got to earn …”

“I could earn a livin’ stealin’ other people’s jewel’ry and sellin’ it to someone else, but if I did that you’d tell me off!”

“It’s not the same …”

“Too right it’s not the same coz I wun’t be kidnappin’ someone’s baby!”

While Luke fumed Grandad reached the car park and they all got out of the car.  Luke couldn’t stop thinking about the cow baby and the cow mum crying for each other.  He trailed slowly behind his grandparents, very unhappy in the realisation that this was the way of the world and there was nothing he could do about it, not really, not for that baby or that mum.

“Grown ups always say ‘you must be good’, ‘you must be kind’ and then they do things what they know is unkind,” Luke mumbled frustratedly to himself, “they don’t follow their own rules, so they can’t expect me to follow ’em.  They should follow my rules – mine make more sense, mine do what they say instead of just say and not do!”

And so, as he railed against the world, he wandered away from his grandparents and browsed the stalls alone.  He wasn’t worried.  He’d find them later.

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Story continues on Monday 🙂

To read the whole of Chapter 11 now, click here 🙂

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And here begins chapter 11: Luke Walker and the ice cream van

For chapters 1 to 10 click here 🙂

Luke Walker and the ice cream van

Set apart from the rest of the flea market was a stall that was of great interest to Luke.  Standing behind it was a lady wearing black eye shadow and black nail varnish.  She had long, straight, jet black hair and her khaki jacket had lots of badges on it which said things like “MEAT IS MURDER” and “A FISH IS NOT A VEGETABLE” and “NOT YOUR MUM” written above a picture of a man suckling from a cow.

“Where’d you get those?” Luke asked the lady.

“These?  Oh, different places.  This one I ordered from a website,” she said, indicating the one with the suckling business man, “and these I got from VegFest.”

“What’s VegFest?”

“It’s a weekend event with lots of stalls and talks by veggies and veggie companies.  They have them a couple of times a year in different cities like London and Brighton.”

Luke had never met another vegetarian before, apart from Joe, and he’d had no idea there were enough of them to warrant weekend events like that.  He was impressed.

“Are you interested in becoming vegan?” the lady asked as Luke browsed the leaflets on display.

“Vegan?” said Luke, “That’s not a real word!  I’m a veggietareun and I wun’t be nothin’ else!”

“Well that’s good, but why are you a vegetarian?  Is it because you don’t want animals to be killed?”

“Of course,” said Luke.

“Well then, it might interest you to know that animals are also killed to supply you with milk and eggs,” the lady explained, with patience.

“I know that, that’s why I don’t eat ’em because I’m a veggie-tareun!” said Luke, slowly, with emphasis.  Not patience.  “Veggie (that’s short for vegetables) tareun (that means someone what eats ’em).  I on’y eat vegetables, which means things what grow after bein’ planted in the ground.”  It must be acknowledged that Luke was good at explaining things.

The lady looked as though she now understood and was very pleased about it.

“That means you’re a vegan young man, well done!”

Luke was unswayed.

“I’ll stick with words what make sense, thanks.”

The stall-holder smiled again.  The word didn’t matter.  Then she realised the boy had been browsing for a good few minutes and no responsible adult had materialised.

“Who did you come here with?” she asked, “is your mum or dad or somebody around here somewhere?”

Luke nodded.

“Mmm, somewhere.”

He continued browsing.  There was a lot of interesting stuff.  People needed to know this stuff.

“Where do you get these leaflets from?” he asked the lady.

“Why?  Do you want some?  You can take what you want,” she replied generously.

Luke couldn’t believe his luck.

“Just take ’em?  As many as I want?”

“Yes,” the lady assured him, “they need to get out to the public; people need to know this stuff.”

“Yes they do!” said Luke, gratified to have found a kindred spirit, “have you got a box?”

“You want that many?” the lady raised her eyebrows, “it’ll be quite heavy if you fill a box. How will you carry it?  How will you get it home?”

“I’ve got a wheelbarra,” said Luke, proudly pointing to a rusty old one he’d bought for 50p ten minutes earlier, “an’ I’m not takin’ ’em home.”

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

Chapter 11 continues tomorrow 🙂

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The lentil hotpot gambit and other clever tricks

For the whole story click here 🙂

The conclusion of Chapter Ten:

For dinner his mum had cooked lamb chops.  After getting to know Curly and Squirt, Joe couldn’t bring himself to actually bite into one but when no one was looking he cut a piece off and hid it in his pocket. Then he shoved some mashed potato in his mouth.  After swallowing, he started making retching noises.

“Joe!  Do you have to make that revolting noise?” his mum asked with disgust, “what’s the matter?”

Joe jumped up from the table and ran to the toilet.  Mrs Currant was close behind so he had to be quick. He tipped the pre-opened tin of lentil hotpot, that he’d hidden behind the toilet, into the bowl and then leaned over it and made vomiting noises.  Mrs Currant caught up.

“Oh, Joe, have you got a stomach bug?  I hope the rest of us don’t catch it!”

Joe looked up at her.

“No,” he said pathetically, “I think I’m allergic to meat.”  He bit his lip as he remembered Luke had told him not to tell her he was allergic, but to let her work it out for herself.

Mrs Currant looked in the toilet, saw the orange slop and thought with revulsion how different a person’s food looked when it came back up from how it looked when it went down, only moments before.  She looked at her son, he did look pale.

“Okay, you go and lay down.  I’ll bring you a glass of water and a bucket.”

“So far so good,” thought Joe and went to bed, hungry.

In the morning, he was even hungrier but knew he had to ditch one more meal.  As it was Saturday, breakfast consisted not only of cereal, but also fried eggs on toast.  First the cereal – Joe tipped the choco pops into his bowl and covered them with cows’ milk.  He put a spoonful into his mouth and immediately spat it back and grabbed his throat.  He gasped.

“I can’t breathe!” he whispered desperately as he bent his head to his knees and reached in his pyjama pocket for Luke’s mum’s blue eyeshadow.  He rubbed his fingertip into the colour and smeared it across his lips before lifting up his head to reveal it to …. no one.  The room was empty.  His dad had taken his plate into the living room to watch the news and his mum had gone to get the paper from the front door. Joe continued to hold his breath, hoping his mum would return before he was forced to exhale.  Just then the kitchen door opened and his older sister, Janet, walked in.

“That better not be my eyeshadow,” she warned him.

“It’s not,” he assured her, forgetting not to breathe just as Mrs Currant re-entered the kitchen.

“Mum, Joe’s messing up my eyeshadow.”

Mrs Currant looked at Joe then screwed up her face and shook her head.

“That’s not yours.  Yours is more turquoise,” she said and sat at the table to read the paper.

Part two was a bust.  Joe loaded his plate with eggs from the pan and toast from the rack before stealing himself to proceed with part three of the plan.  He sat down and reached into his other pyjama pocket to get the stinging nettles hidden there.  While his mum read her horoscope and Janet searched the fridge for jam, Joe quickly and bravely rubbed the nettles on his forearms and neck before hiding them again in his pocket.  The pain was immediate.  It stung a lot.

He chopped and mashed one of his eggs with his fork to make it look as if he’d eaten some of it.  Then, as he noticed the white bumps starting to appear on his arms he said,

“Mum! Mum!” and rubbed his arms and neck furiously with the palms of both hands.

Mother and daughter both looked at him.

“How on earth did you get stung in here?” Janet said in high-pitched disbelief.

“I didn’t,” Joe argued, in genuine distress, “I’m allergic to eggs!”

“Stop rubbing it like that, silly boy!”  Mrs Currant grabbed a tea towel from the drawer and ran it under the cold tap.  “Here, put this over the bumps, keep them cool ’til they go down.  And maybe have a look in the garden for a dock leaf to rub on it.”

“It’s not stingers,” Joe protested, “I’m allergic to eggs!”

“Honestly Joe,” said his mum, shaking her head and returning to the horoscopes, “only you could get stung at the breakfast table.”

“Boys,” said Janet derisively.

Joe had had enough.  His skin was burning and itching and stinging – he was in real pain and they still didn’t listen.

“I’M A VEGETARIAN!” he shouted.

“Joseph Currant!  How dare you raise your voice to me?!” said Mrs Currant, shocked by his impertinence.

“Keep the noise down in there!  I’m trying to watch the news!”  Mr Currant yelled from the living room.

“And now you’ve upset your father,” his mother went on.

Joe looked at his hands.

“I don’t want to eat meat no more,” he said quietly, “or eggs or fish or milk, or cheese,” he finished, getting quieter with every word.

“Oh, I get it,” Joe’s mum said, knowingly, “you want to be like your little friend don’t you?” she peered at him over the newspaper. “You don’t have to copy everything he does you know.”

“No, that’s not …” Joe tried to explain.

“I know what it’s like, it’s not that long since I was at school myself you know.  Of course I was vegetarian, long before it was fashionable,” she boasted.

“Why’d you stop then?” Joe wondered.

“But then I married your father and you can’t imagine him giving up his sausages and his bacon can you? Ha! I’d like to see the woman who could pull that off!”

“Mm,” said Joe.

“Talking of which, I bet you haven’t thought this through, – if you do this you won’t be able to have fish fingers any more.”

“I never eat fish fingers.  I don’t like …”

“And no more ice cream, or cake,”

“You can get special ice cream and …”

“Oh my boy, you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for!”

Joe looked at her, holding his breath.

I know what you’re letting yourself in for – been there, done that!”

She studied him through squinting eyes.  Joe said nothing.  She seemed to be considering it.  After a couple of minutes she made a decision.

“Well, alright.  But I’m not making special meals just for you.  You can have whatever we’re having with some extra vegetables instead of the meat.  Is that acceptable Your Highness?”

Joe looked up and smiled.

“Yes,” he said, “thank you.”

His mum returned the smile and ruffled his hair.

“Boys,” she said, slowly shaking her head.

Joe pressed the damp tea towel against his throbbing skin and smiled.  Janet scrunched up her nose and stuck out her tongue at him.

“I give it a month!” she whispered.

Joe just carried on smiling.

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More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er (chapters 9 to 16) is available in paperback now from Amazon 😀

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Back to the drawing board

For the whole of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, Chapter Ten click here 🙂

Chapter 10 continued from yesterday:

“But what will I eat today?” he asked, disheartened.

Luke was busy thinking.

“What?  Oh, you can share mine,” he said generously, and they continued on to school.

As luck would have it they wouldn’t be short of food that day because class 4 was having a cookery lesson and that meant they’d all brought ingredients with them.  They were making scones.  Mrs Tebbut never allowed the boys to work together on these things and insisted on choosing their partners for them.  As a result, Luke found himself sharing a table with Penelope Bittern.  Penelope was very particular about doing things properly.

“Don’t put any of your stuff on my half of the table,” she instructed, “I can’t let it contaminate my stuff.”

Luke was affronted.

“There’s nothing wrong with my stuff,” he told her, “it’s clean.  It’s new packets – haven’t even bin opened – look!”

She lifted her arm to shield her side of the table from the sealed bag of flour he thrust towards her.

“You can’t put that near my stuff!” she sounded panicked.  “I might be allergic!”

“Allergic to what?”

“I’m allergic to raisins and kiwi fruit so …”

“I ‘aven’t got no raisins or kiwis!”

“Sooo, my mum said we’re playing it safe ’til they know for sure what else I’m allergic to.  I’m having tests.”

“Well, you’ve got the same stuff as me,” Luke couldn’t abide hypochondriac drama queens, “flour, sugar, margarine – so if you’re allergic to mine you’re allergic to yours.”

“But my ingredients have been specially kept separate from things that might give me allergies – like milk, eggs, peanuts – and …”

“You can be allergic to milk?”

“Yes, lots of people are, which is why…”

“And what happens to you if you eat it, if you’re allergic?”

“Well, that depends,” she was gratified he was finally listening to her. “I think it’s different for different people.  It depends how serious their allergy is.”

“It can be serious?”

“Yes.  Some people die if they eat something they’re allergic to.  Even just a tiny bit of it.  Even if it’s so tiny you can’t hardly see it.”

“Okay, now I know you’re makin’ it up.  No one’s dyin’ from a tiny bit of peanut!  You’re just a ‘ttention seekin’ hypochondrian who’s makin’ stuff up to get the whole table to ‘erself!”  That was disappointing. Luke went mentally back to the drawing board.

But Penelope wasn’t finished.

“They do!  Their throat swells up so they can’t breathe!  My mum told me and I think she should know ’cause her brother’s allergic to nuts and he has to carry a life-saver injection with him all the time in case he accidentally eats one.”

“Really?” That sounded real.  Penelope didn’t have enough imagination to make up something as cool as that.  “What other things might happen to someone who ate somethin’ they were allergic to?”

Penelope patiently answered Luke’s endless questions and he, in return, took great care to keep his ingredients away from her half of the table.  By the end of the lesson Luke knew how to make Joe’s mum listen.  The hard part, however, would be persuading Joe to do it.

***

Joe swallowed his last bite of overdone scone and made a face that suggested he wasn’t enjoying it.

“Not good?” asked Luke.  His had been delicious.

“What?  Oh, yeah, the scone’s good, it’s your idea I don’t like.”

“Drastic times, drastic scissors,” Luke reminded him, “I know it’s not very nice but it’ll be worth it won’t it?  You need to make it look real or it won’t work.”

Joe was still reluctant.

“But I don’t see why I can’t just do the lentil hotpot thing.  I could do that.  And the not breathin’ thing – I can hold my breath longer ‘n most people.”

“You have to show you’re allergic to all three things – milk, eggs and meat – so you have to have three different allergic reactions to be convincin’.  Jus’ think yourself lucky you’ve never liked fish, otherwise we’d have to come up with four reactions.”

Joe nodded and took the bag Luke handed him.  Luke patted him on the back.  It was important to give moral support to your soldiers.

“You can do it,” he said encouragingly.

Joe walked home from Luke’s house, dreading what he had to do, but determined to do it.  Luke was right.  It would be worth it.

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Story concludes tomorrow 😀

Click here for all ten chapters of Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

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Feigning self-sacrifice

Chapter ten continues 🙂

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Dinner was almost over and Jared was helping Mum clear the table.

“Hurry up Luke,” Jared was impatient to get to Youth Club and wasn’t allowed to go until he’d done the washing up.

“You want me to get indigestion I suppose!” said Luke, not really surprised that his brother would be so blasé about the dangers of rushing one’s food. He’d learned about them from the Rennie advert. “You want me to get acid an’ a burnin’ heart from eatin’ too fast do you?”

Truth be told, Luke was just full up. He really wanted that last roast potato but knew he couldn’t swallow another mouthful. He pushed his plate away.

“Go on then – take it,” he said, feigning self-sacrifice.

Mum ignored them both and went upstairs to run a bath. Luke followed her.

“Do you want your lavender bubble bath Mum?” he asked helpfully, “the one I got you for your birthday?”

Mrs Walker smiled.

“Yes please, it’s on my dressing table.”

Luke brought it to her.

“D’you want me to get your KT Tunstall CD? The one I gave you for Mother’s Day?”

“Wasn’t that from both of you?”

“Yeah, but it was me what chose it. Jared wanted to get you a set of tea towels but I said that wasn’t a relaxin’ present. I told ‘im Mother’s Day is for mothers to relax so it had to be a relaxin’ present.”

Mum nodded slowly.

“Is there something you want Luke?” she asked.

“No, you just have a nice bath. I’ll get the CD for you,” he volunteered.

“Wait,” said Mum, quiet but firm. “What do you want?”

“Oh nothin’ really,”

“Luke.”

“Well it’s nothin’ much, jus’ thought I’d better mention that I’ve bin feelin’ hungrier at lunch times and I could really do with a bigger lunch.”

“Really?” She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head, “since when?”

“Well, jus’ this week really, but I think I’ll be hungrier from now on coz I’m growin’ fast.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

“So, just how much extra food do you think you’ll need?”

“Prob’ly about twice as much I should think,” he said nonchalantly.

“Twice as much?” she exclaimed with exaggerated surprise, “So that would be two sandwiches, two bags of crisps, four pieces of fruit and two cakes?”

Luke nodded.

Mum shook her head.

“I’m sorry Luke, we just don’t have enough money in the budget to give you two lunches every day. I’m sorry if that means you’ll stop growing but we should be thankful that you’ve had a good spurt recently.”

Luke had a sneaking suspicion she was being facetious.  He frowned.  As he turned to leave she called him back.

“Don’t forget my CD,” she reminded him, smiling, “and tell Jared not to give the potato you didn’t have room for to Dudley or he’ll get the runs.”

****

The following morning Joe called for Luke and they walked to school together.  When they reached the bins outside the Memorial Hall, Joe stopped and took out his sandwich.  Egg mayonnaise.  Before Luke could stop him he tossed the whole thing into the bin.

“So, what have we got for lunch today?” Joe smiled, enjoying the quiet rebellion.  Luke felt awkward.

“Well, erm, …”

Joe’s smile faded.

“Couldn’t you get it?” he asked, disappointed.

“Well, it’s not that I couldn’t get it,” Luke didn’t want to admit defeat, “it’s just that I was thinkin’ a lot about it and I decided that actchally it’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?” said Joe, feeling hungry already.

“Well, if your mum still gives you meat and eggs and cheese and stuff, even though you don’t eat it, then it’s still bein’ bought for you, which means animals are still bein’ killed for you.”

“Oh. Yeah,” Joe agreed. He didn’t want that.

“So we’ve got to find a way to make your mum listen,” said Luke decisively.

Joe was not hopeful.

“She won’t listen.”

“She hasn’t listened yet,” Luke corrected him.  He liked a challenge. “We’ve just got to tell ‘er in a way she can’t ignore.”

Joe sighed.  He preferred to do things quietly.  Secretly.

******

Chapter ten continues tomorrow 🙂

For chapters 1 to 9 click here 🙂

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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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