The Two Little Pigs in hardback

I’m sure I must have told you that The Two Little Pigs is available in paperback but what’s new is that you can now get it in hardback!

This would make a beautiful vegan birthday present for a little one who likes stories about animals 😀

And with that we wish you many happy storytimes ❤

The Two Little Pigs

is available in hardback for £12.50,

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in paperback for £3.50,

*

and can be read for free right here 😀

Have a great day! 😀

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Prices correct at time of writing.

vegan, vegan storybook, vegan books, vegan children, vegan children’s books, juvenile fiction, vegan fiction, vegan rhyming story, books, stories, vegan children’s stories, animals, animal rights,

 

Sunday. London. Be The Future Vegan Market. Be there!

The Be The Future market is back!

Full of stalls selling exclusively vegan products – eg toiletries, make up, clothes, chocolates, food and drink, and of course VEGAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS!

The prices of our books range from £2.50 to £10

but they’re free to book fairies! 😀

So come on, spend Sunday with lots of other lovely vegans!

Head over to Stoke Newington and treat yourself!

Abney Public Hall, 73A Church Street, Stoke Newington, LONDON, N16 0AS

Sunday 16th August 2020

10 ’til 5

Click here for more info and how to get there

and go to @bethefuture_market on Instagram to see who’s going to be there 😀

See you soon!

Reflecto Girl #7 – OUT NOW!

Reflecto Girl #7 is now available in paperback!

And not only does it have a great story,

there’s the added bonus of a yummy cake recipe at the end 😀

Get yours now while stocks last! 😉

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vegan comics, vegan storybooks, vegan children’s books, animal rights comic,

Wanna be a book fairy?

Help us out – put some of our books on shelves in your town.  Could ya?  It  won’t  cost  you  nuthin’  😀  

We like to leave our books wherever we think children might find them – in libraries, charity shops, cafes, railway stations, doctors’ waiting rooms.  We leave them in charity shops so children can buy them for pocket money prices, but when we leave them on bookshelves in libraries, or cafes, or anywhere else they won’t be sold, we put a book fairy sticker on them.

WHAT IS A BOOK FAIRY?
Book fairies are people who, when they’ve finished reading a good book, leave it for someone else to enjoy.  They pop a book fairy sticker on it,  and hide it in public to be found.

We’re stealthy.  None of the books we leave have the V-word on them.  They’re just colourful storybooks and comics which we hope children will see and want.

We also have a little Book Exchange in an old phone box near us where we can leave books.  So I was thinking, maybe you have something like that in your area.  And maybe if we sent you some books you’d leave them on a shelf for children to find. 😀

Will you help us?  Do you have a local book exchange or anywhere that would be ideal to leave books for children to find?  We’ll send you them for free (for as long as funds last).  If you can help, please contact us privately on the form below.  Help us to inspire a vegan future.

For the animals.

  Thank you so much

vegan, animals, animal rights, vegan stories, vegan-friendly stories, children, vegan children, vegan books, vegan children’s books, vegan comics

40% off!

Our butch friend, Kurt, is eager to share the new Maddicts paperback with you 😀

This portable little A5 book is available from our Lulu shop and, for a limited time only, you can get 40% off!

It can be yours for just £3!!!!

Ok, gotta run – I know a few library shelves that are screaming out for these babies! 😀  Thanks Kurt, you were great 😉

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ps  When you go to our Lulu shop, if the prices are not displayed in your country’s currency, just click on the Cart at the top right of the screen and then you can click the flag and select which country you’re shopping from 🙂

Maddicts is a vegan graphic novel, suitable for readers aged 12 and up, also available to read here.

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Story Books for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re looking for something different, something special for the little ones in your life, you can’t go wrong with these lovely books from our little Lulu shop 😀

There’s the Luke Walker collection – humorous juvenile fiction for readers aged 8 to 108,

Colourful picture books and rhyming stories for the younger set,

and even a colouring book which teaches how nutritious plant food is.

Plus there’s all the Brave Girls comics (Reflecto Girl, Megan & Flos, and Venus Aqueous) not pictured here and more coming soon.

Just pop over to the shop and have a browse – quick before it’s too late!  If the prices shown aren’t your national currency, just click on the cart and select what country you’re shopping from by clicking on the appropriate flag.

They are beautiful books – I promise you won’t be disappointed 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegetarian, vegan children’s books, vegan stories, vegan story books, Christmas, Christmas gift ideas, vegan Christmas

Before long the two pigs met two robins

The story continues from yesterday 😀

Join us on Monday to find out what happens next 😀

Have a great weekend ❤

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Before long the two pigs met two robins

Sitting atop a green bush.

“Help us please, to find our way home,

We can’t stand here long so please rush!”

***

“I wouldn’t do that, oh no, oh no,”

The robins were both in agreement.

“You should look for a place of your own,

Unless you want more of this treatment.”

***

The pigs were confused but could not wait,

The butcher was still close behind them.

The big bad butcher still huffed and still puffed,

Still annoyed that he still couldn’t find them.

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

An Unordinary Lion (an unthinkable truth)

Here is another bright and fun rhyming story for little children from Dragana Vucic Dekic (author of The Not-So Crazy Cow).

It’s about a lion who, unable to hunt due to an injured paw, is forced to sit still and watch the world go by.  In doing so he notices that the other animals around him, those he used to call prey, fuel their bodies with plants.

The more he watches his neighbours, the more he admires them.

So much so that he decides to follow their example and adopt a plant-based diet himself 😀

An Unordinary Lion  is a very enjoyable happy story, beautifully illustrated by Szucher Agnes.

Of course the writer doesn’t believe that a lion could just choose to go vegan, but by using the lion as the central character in this story she makes the subliminal point that, unlike natural carnivores, we can choose.

I woke up this morning with this story in my head and it struck me – the reason we find it so hard to convince the human population to go vegan, despite the fact that doing so would solve so many world crises, is because those in charge, those in control of education and mainstream media, consider the idea unthinkable.

In 2006 Al Gore, former American Vice President, made the film An Inconvenient Truth about the human impact on climate change.  In the same year the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation published the results of an investigation which concluded that animal agriculture produced more greenhouse gases than all transport put together.

The preface to the UN FAO report begins:

“The in-depth assessment presented in this document of the various significant impacts of the world’s livestock sector on the environment is deliberately termed Livestock’s Long Shadow so as to help raise the attention of both the technical and the general public to the very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to climate change and air pollution, to land, soil and water degradation and to the reduction of biodiversity.  This is not done simply to blame the rapidly growing and intensifying global livestock sector for severely damaging the environment but to encourage decisive measures at the technical and political levels for mitigating such damage.”

Of course there have been no decisive measures taken at the political level.  No one wants to touch it.  An Inconvenient Truth doesn’t mention animal farming or suggest transitioning to a plant based diet, but perhaps that’s because Al Gore didn’t know then.  Perhaps he hadn’t read the UN report yet.  People were hopeful, therefore, that the issue would be front and centre in his 2017 sequel  An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power.  Tragically it isn’t.

Rachel Krantz, lead writer for Mercy for Animals, criticised Gore for not highlighting the easiest and most effective thing people could do to save the planet:

“The link between our diet and the environment is both direct and strong.  To give you an idea, if every American committed to just one meat-free day a week, the impact would be equivalent to switching all our gas-powered cars to hybrids. … Important facts about the link between animal agriculture and the environment are left out of the documentary.  Perhaps the filmmakers thought that mainstream viewers couldn’t handle the truth,”

According to a discussion between plant-based advocates which I saw on television some years ago, that’s exactly right.  One of them met Al Gore, who himself went vegan for environmental reasons, and he asked him why he hadn’t drawn attention to animal agriculture’s devastating effects on the environment in the film.  He was told – because people wouldn’t be able to handle it.

So that’s it?  The planet must die because people cannot conceive of a bacon-buttie-less world?

Come on Al Gore, make a new film – a completely honest one.  You could call it  An Unthinkable Truth.

I understand that lions, except the Unordinary Lion, can’t live without meat.  But humans?  Come ohn!  Many of us have already proved that we can.  And if the rest of us don’t do it, that’ll be the end of that.

Let the Unordinary Lion be your inspiration.  Eat plants to save the world 😀

Luke read the letter

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Story continues from yesterday:

Luke read the letter.

“Explain,” said Dad, “and the truth this time.  What did you send that caused alarm to the receivers?”

Luke explained.  “They’re s’posed to be lookin’ after animals, not killin’ em!  They’re pretendin’ it’s not cruel to kill ’em for meat so I found a picture on the internet of a bull bein’ killed in a slaughterhouse an’ I printed it out to show ’em how cruel it is.  To show ’em so they wun’t keep doin’ it!”

Mum and Dad looked at each other without saying anything.  Luke couldn’t tell whether they were still mad.  He was about to make another attempt at convincing them he was right when Dad spoke up.

“And you sent this to their homes?”  Luke nodded.  “Well of course they were upset! You shouldn’t be writing to people’s home addresses Luke, that’s out of order!  If you’ve got a problem with a company, you write to the company!”

“I did!  We did!  We wrote loadsa times to the sanctuary and they ignored us!  For months!  Then Tania’s mum said it was trustees who decided things at charities and they’re s’posed to run the charity for the reasons it was set up which is to prevent unnecessary sufferin’.  So Maybury’s payin’ for unnecessary sufferin’ – coz it’s not necessary for people to eat animals – instead of preventin’ it.  So Tania said they had no right to ignore us coz they should be countable for their actions and they’re breakin’ charity law so someone’s got to hold them to count for that!  So one of us found their addresses from, erm, a website and we started writin’ to them at home.”

“One of us?”

“Don’t matter who.  It’s not illegal.”

“And did that make them answer you?”

“No.”

“If you were hoping for a response you must have put our address on your letters,” said Mum.

“No. I didn’t,”  Luke insisted.  “We give ’em an email address to reply to.”

Dad took a deep breath.  “These are good people Luke, they donate their time and their expertise to help an animal sanctuary.  You’ve made your feelings clear and they’ve heard you.  There’s nothing more you can do.  You can’t force them to change.  Sending them grisly pictures of slaughtered animals is going too far.  No wonder they were upset.”

Luke was incensed.  “They’re upset?!  They’re the ones who did it!  D’you think I liked lookin’ at that picture?  No – I didn’t.  Nobody wants to look at that, but people who pay for it to happen have no right to complain!”

“Luke,” Dad began.

“No, he’s right,”  interrupted Mum.  “It’s these people’s responsibility to run the charity by the principles it was started on.  And if they go astray they have to be answerable.  They should have answered the children’s very reasonable request in the first place.  Ignoring them left the children with no other recourse than to write to them at home.  They brought it on themselves.”

Luke was relieved that he’d finally got through to somebody.  He nodded and looked at Dad who was harder to read.

“But you mustn’t be abusive in these letters,”  Mum added.

“I’m not.”

“Or threatening, or use any foul language.”

“I don’t.  I wouldn’t.  I never have.  I jus’ tell the truth.  We all just tell the truth and ask ’em to stop.  To save all the animals like they’re s’posed to.”

Dad still didn’t say anything.

Mum nodded.  “Good, okay.”

Perceiving that the inquest was over, Luke left the room.

“Weird though,” Mrs Walker commented, “how did the police get our address?  That creeps me out.”

Her husband shrugged. “I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation.”

****

Luke opened his bedroom door and grinned at his friend.

“What?” asked Joe.

“We’ve had a reply from Maybury!”

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More Luke Walker coming soon.  For the first twenty chapters click here 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, short stories, funny short stories, vegan short stories, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, humour, animals, animal welfare, animal rights

Luke Walker chapter 18 starts here!

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 18:  Late

“Katie Treacle.”

“Yes.”

“Michael Vickers.”

“Yes.”

“Justine Waits.”

“Here.”

“Luke Walker.” Mr Flanagan looked up from the register. “Luke Walker,” he said again.

Luke still hadn’t gotten used to catching the bus to school. He didn’t like rushing but he also didn’t like getting up early, and one or the other was now necessary. Graywood Comprehensive began its day at an uncivilised 8.30 am. What was even worse was that everyone was supposed to be on the premises ten minutes before that. The school bus, therefore, arrived at Gingham village square at 8 am every weekday morning and thirty two eager minds were supposed to meet it there. It was rare that all of them did. Luke, for one, would have preferred to make the two and a half mile journey by bike, but Mum said no because the roads were dangerous at that time of day. Then he thought he might walk, but when Dad told him he’d have to leave home at quarter past seven he was forced to reconsider and accept his fate on the noisy, smelly, crowded bus. The biggest problem with buses was that they amplified lateness. Luke had always had trouble getting out of bed but he’d found that if he hurried his breakfast, didn’t have a wash, and cut through the vicar’s garden instead of going the long way round, he was rarely late for school. That wasn’t possible any more. If he was just one minute late for the bus, he would be an hour late for school.

On Monday his form tutor, Mr Flanagan, told him that, from now on, every time he was late he would be forced to stay late at the end of the day. This motivated him more than anything else had to make sure he was on time. Luke had things to do after school, he couldn’t afford to get stuck there. So, for the first time ever, he decided to use the alarm clock Auntie Jane bought him for his last birthday. He set it for 5.30am.

It was cold and dark on Tuesday morning when Luke was rudely provoked into consciousness. He reached for the alarm but couldn’t find the off button so he pulled it under the covers and held it tight in an attempt to mute the noise. After a few very long seconds of fumbling he found the off switch and relaxed again. He closed his eyes and started to drift back to sleep. Luckily Dudley, who had also heard the alarm, started scratching at his bedroom door. Luke opened his eyes again and forced himself to sit up. He was determined not to stay late at school today. He had plans to watch Unacknowledged with Joe on Janet’s computer while Janet was at Judo. Janet only went to Judo on Tuesdays and by next Tuesday Joe’s free trial of Netflix would have expired. It had to be today. Luke had to be on time.

He dragged himself out of bed feeling very hard done by. It was true that he often missed the bus but he was rarely late for school. There was usually some friend of Mum’s, or some mum of a friend, who took pity on him and offered him a lift as he hurried on foot lugging his heavy book bag. So on average he wasn’t late to school more than twice a week.

By the time the rest of the family came down to breakfast, he was rinsing his cereal bowl in the sink.

“My goodness,” said Dad, looking out the kitchen window.

“What?” asked Luke, “what are you lookin’ at?”

“The flying pigs,” said Dad.

“Oh ha ha,” said Luke sarcastically, “you’re so funny!”

“Groan,” said Jared, “that’s such a dad joke.”

Mum walked in and headed straight for the pantry. “Who wants toast?”

“Me!”

“Sorry Jared, what was that?”

“Me please.”

“Oh, and me, thanks love,” said Dad.

“Okay. Luke? Toast?”

“No thanks,” he said, turning to leave the kitchen, “I’ve finished my breakfast.”

“Well,” said Mum, pausing absorb the moment, “I never thought I’d see the day! My youngest son, all dressed and breakfasted before seven. What’s the special occasion?”

“Nothing,” said Luke, “just wanted to walk to school.”

Mum nodded slowly. “Or, … you could walk Dudley before school for me and then catch the bus as usual. I’ve got a lot on today,” she appealed with a smile, putting her hands together as if in prayer.

Luke tilted his head back and looked blankly at the ceiling. “Alright,” he said begrudgingly, “I’ll catch the bus, as usual!”

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

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan book, vegan children’s books, humour, creative writing, vegetarian, veggie kids

One of many possibilities

Sherman and Geynes episode 3 continues:

S&G3 p16 reducedS&G3 p17 reduced

The end 🙂

Want more? Click here for more Sherman and Geynes stories or click here to go to the main menu, and choose a story from our entire selection, for ages one to one hundred and one.

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veggie kids, vegetarian children, vegan children, animal-friendly stories for children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegetarian children’s books, detective stories for children, mystery, imagination, pretend detectives, fantasy, Django’s vegan cafe, search the town, Pretend detectives, is that on after Doctor Who? Clarinet lessons, cake.

Wait a minute

Sherman and Geynes episode 3 continues:

S&G3 p13 reducedS&G3 p14 reducedS&G3 p15 reduced

Come back tomorrow for the end of the story!

Can’t wait? Click here to read the whole story now.

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veggie kids, vegetarian children, vegan children, animal-friendly stories for children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegetarian children’s books, detective stories for children, mystery, imagination, pretend detectives, fantasy, Django’s vegan cafe, search the town, is that on after Doctor Who? Clarinet lessons, cake.

Sounds good to me

Sherman and Geynes episode 3 continues:

S&G3 p11 reducedS&G3 p12 reduced

Continues tomorrow.

Can’t wait? Click here to read the whole story now.

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veggie kids, vegetarian children, vegan children, animal-friendly stories for children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegetarian children’s books, detective stories for children, mystery, imagination, library, pretend detectives, fantasy, vegan cafe, phone box, telephone call,

The Dragons of Durga

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

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

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

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

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

Author:  Simone L Spearman

Illustrator:  Jason Weaver

Genre:  Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy & Magic

Recommended for readers aged 8 and up

Published in August 2017

Format:  Paperback (552 pages) & Kindle

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

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

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

We are Vegan Nation!

We are happy to announce our new partners: Vegan Nation – the strongest cruelty-free marketplace & platform every Vegan needs to know!

You’ll soon find us, among thousands of other vegan businesses, on their upcoming app📱@vegannationofficial – #iamvegannation

Wanna join?  I don’t blame you!  Click here to join the fastest growing vegan ecosystem now! 😀

Chickpea runs away!

This story really needs to be told.  Pre-order the book here to help with production costs ❤

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animals, farmed animals, cows, animal rescue, animal rights, books, children’s books, vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s books, illustrated books, illustrations

 

New Bookshop Open Now!

We’re very excited to tell you that we’ve just opened our new bookshop, right here at Violet’s Vegan Comics! 😀

We do have quite a lot of titles now you know 😉

So,  if you’re in need of some new bedtime stories, or you’ve got some adventure-loving kids who are partial to exciting comics and stories, or maybe they’d prefer a colouring book, or a notebook, or someone’s birthday’s coming up, you don’t have to go to Amazon, you can get them right here at Violet’s Vegan Self-Service Bookshop 🙂 “What d’you mean, self-service?” I hear you ask.

Well, our bookshop is a little old fashioned for a web shop, in that nothing’s automated.  There’s no basket and no one’s going to add up your total for you, you’ve got to do it yourself.  It’s what you might call a minimalist shop.  No added extras, just a load of book images with prices on, a contact form, and a paypal button at the bottom 😀

You’ll see when you get there, it’s all explained and very straightforward, but basically you just choose which books you want, add up the total in your head, add £2.50 shipping to your total and pay the Grand Total through Paypal after telling us what you want using the contact form.  Simple.

The other thing that makes our shop rather old fashioned is that there’s no NEXT DAY DELIVERY.  In fact there’s unlikely to be a next week delivery.  Remember the days when you were told to allow 28 days for delivery?  That was normal right?  That was to be expected.  Well, when you remember that you’ll be pleased to learn that when you order books from us they’ll probably be with you in a couple of weeks 🙂

They’re printed on demand you see, in America.  So if you’re ordering from America they might be with you the same week.  It just depends how far they’ve got to travel.  We’ve found that our orders reach us in the UK in about two weeks. Yes, in fact, every order we’ve placed has been with us two weeks later.  I don’t know how long they’ll take to other countries, but hopefully we’ll find out soon 🙂

So you’ve got to wait a bit longer than you’re used to.  But so what?  What’s your rush?  These books are worth waiting for 😀

And the up-side?  Well, the up-side is that you can order them from anywhere in the world.  You can only get them from Amazon if you’re in America or Europe but we’re happy to send them anywhere 😀

So, next time you’re looking for vegan children’s books, give our selection a browse  – there’s something for everyone 🙂

See the bookshop link in the top menu 😀

Easy for seasoned outlaws

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

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Or a fox,” added Joe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chapter 15 starts tomorrow 😉

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vegan children’s story, children’s book, children’s stories, juvenile fiction, vegan children, veggie kids, vegan, vegetarian, Halloween, humor, humour, comedy, funny, vegan children’s books

They’re not Halloween!

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

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

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

“What’s wrong?” asked Isabel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Beardsley hurried after them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Give me the plate please,”  he instructed.

“But they’re not …”

“Luke, now please.”

Luke handed him the plate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Whaddaya mean?” asked Joe.

“On the grounds that it’s a sham.”

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

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

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

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

The others gasped and then grinned.

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

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

story concludes tomorrow 🙂

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

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

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Changing the subject

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

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

Luke decided to change the subject.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not a lunatic! I am Pythag…”

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

“Sir Walter Raleigh,” Butler confessed without shame.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We’ll share it,”  Joe decided.

Luke smiled.

“Okay.”  This was a good party.

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

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

story continues tomorrow 🙂

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

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

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Not Mr Darcy

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

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

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

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

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

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

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

“Who’s he going as?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

Mum sighed and switched off the iron.

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

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

“Sorry,” he said.

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

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

“What about these?” she said.

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

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

Luke’s blank expression indicated he needed another clue.

“Who’s that maths guy you like?”

Still blank.

“Vegetarian?  Triangles?”

“Pythagoras!”

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes.”

“So they’re all dead.”

“Yeah.”  There really was nothing confusing here.

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

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

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

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

“Not man?”

“No.”

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

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

***

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

Mr Beardsley’s classroom was almost unrecognisable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Beardsley tutted.

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

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

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

story continues tomorrow 🙂

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

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

vegan children’s story, children’s book, children’s stories, juvenile fiction, vegan children, veggie kids, vegan, vegetarian, Halloween, humor, humour, comedy, funny, vegan children’s books

Not even pretending to listen

For all the Luke Walker chapters so far click here 😀

Here begins Chapter 14: Luke Walker and the Halloween Party

Luke, Joe, Isabel and Tania looked at the circle and gasped.  They hadn’t believed it could happen.  Now that it had, they were scared.

“That’s it then,” said Luke eventually, “I’ll prob’ly be dead by Christmas.”

***

Three days earlier everything had seemed so ordinary.  Boringly so.  Class 5A were doing History.  History was sometimes interesting, sometimes exciting and often-times boring.  This particular lesson seemed like it was going to fit into the last category.  Mr Beardsley was talking whilst writing on the board, which meant he had his back to the class, which meant very few people were even pretending to listen.

“… historians believe that many of these traditions originate from Celtic harvest festivals, but others are of the opinion that it has always been a Christian ….”

“T,” whispered Luke.

“No,” said Joe, as he drew a diagonal support on the gallows.

“F,”

“Yes,” said Joe and filled in the Fs.

“Ooh, two Fs!  Is it coffee?”

“No,” and he drew the noose.

Mr Beardsley rambled on and Luke found it disturbed his concentration.  He felt sure he was close.  There couldn’t be that many words with double F.  Then the teacher said something that caught his attention.

“… Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, which is why it was traditional to eat certain vegetarian foods on this special day.  In particular they ate apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.”

“What’s he talkin’ about?” Luke asked Joe.  Joe looked at him blankly.  Isabel Jessop tapped him on the shoulder and passed him a note which said ‘Halloween’.

Luke nodded a thank you to her.  He pushed the note across to Joe.

“Halloween is a veggietareun day!  We’d better listen coz he might want us to explain things to the others.”

Joe nodded and smiled uncomfortably.  He’d never been called upon to explain anything to anyone and the idea didn’t appeal to him.  However, realising that if any explanations were needed his friend would certainly provide them, he regained his composure.  The boys watched their teacher and listened.

All Hallows’ Eve, otherwise known as All Saints EveAllhalloween or, nowadays, just Halloween, begins the three days of Allhallowtide during which people remembered saints and martyrs and other dead people.”

“Oh my gosh!” thought Luke, “it seemed like it was gettin’ int’restin’ so we stopped playin’ an’ now it’s borin’ again!”

“… such as roasted sweetcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds, toffee apples,…”

“Toffee!  Is it toffee?”

“No,” said Joe, drawing the condemned man’s circular head.

“… and they would enjoy these foods at Halloween parties where they’d also play some fun games.”

Mr Beardsley had their attention again.

“So I thought we could have a Year 5 Halloween party.  We’ll invite class 5B and play some of these traditional games.”

A buzz of excitement filled the room.

“When?” someone shouted.

“On the 31st of October of course.  The day after tomorrow.  Friday.”

“Where?”

“Here.  At seven o’clock ’til ten.  I’ll send a note home to your parents today.”

Mr Beardsley was so disorganised.  Luke liked that about him.

“Will it be fancy dress?”

“Indeed it will, but stop shouting out and let me finish.  I’ll answer any questions you still have at the end of the lesson.”

***

Friday’s party was eagerly anticipated by everyone.  It was going to be historical.  They were going to play traditional games and eat traditional food – which they would have to make from scratch over the next couple of days.  Mr Beardsley had given them recipes to take home.  And they needed costumes.  There was a lot to do and very little time in which to do it.  Luke and Joe talked about it while they put on their coats and boots at the end of the day.

“I’m going to be a pirate,” said Joe.

“You can’t be a pirate, it’s not historical.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No, it’s made up.  Like in Peter Pan.”

“Pirates are real,” Isabel couldn’t help pointing out when she overheard their conversation.

“Not Long John Silver, or Captain Hook, or someone with a parrot on ‘is shoulder,” Luke clarified.

“What are you comin’ as then?” asked Joe.

“William Wilberforce’s ghost,” said Luke proudly.

“Ooh, good one,” said Tania as she returned to Isabel the scarf she’d borrowed.

“I’m coming as Queen Elizabeth I,” she added, shaking her auburn curls.

“Who can I be?” Isabel wondered aloud.  The girls walked away in deep discussion.  Luke and Joe were not far behind.  Joe was disappointed that he couldn’t go as a pirate.

“What can I go as then?” he asked his friend.

“Go as a lunatic from one of those old asylums,” suggested Simon Butler who’d appeared from nowhere, “then you wouldn’t need a costume!”  And he laughed so loud on his way out that Mrs Tebbut shouted ‘PIPE DOWN OUT THERE!’ from the classroom next door.

Luke scowled.

“Idiot Butler!  Not even s’posed to be in this cloakroom,” he hissed under his breath.  “Don’t worry,” he told Joe, “you’ll be somethin’ better’n ‘im!”

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

Don’t go far away, the story continues tomorrow 😀

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

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Unprepared

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

They weren’t prepared for what they found.  Parked in the field, alongside the still confined sheep, was a double decker lorry.

The top deck was already full of sheep.  The farmer was there, with his dogs, talking to the lorry driver.  It was clear to the boys what was about to happen.  That’s why they were locked up there.  They were waiting for transport.  Waiting to be taken to their deaths.  Luke and Joe stood frozen at the bus shelter. They dropped their bags of apples.

“The lorry must be late,” said Joe in a husky whisper.

“Why?”

“Coz they haven’t been fed for two days, they must’ve not known it was gonna be that long.”

“It’s not late!” snapped Luke angrily, “look how clean an’ shiny that lorry is!  I bet they don’t wanna get their lorry dirty – they don’t want no poo and wee in their lorry so they don’t let ’em eat or drink before the journey.  Their last journey!”

Joe felt a lump in his throat and his heart ached.

“That’s horrible!” he said desperately, “what can we do?  We’ve got to do something!”

Luke’s eyes started to sting as he watched them send in the dogs to herd the hungry sheep onto the lorry. He picked up the biggest stone he could find and threw it as hard as he could at the lorry’s windscreen across the road.  It missed.

“There’s nothin’ we can do!” he said, grabbing his bag of apples, “unless you’ve got a thousand pounds to pay the farmer for ’em, and a hundred allotments to keep ’em on!”

Still they hated themselves for doing nothing and walked away in silent misery.

***

Friday morning at breakfast, Luke’s dad observed how cold and wet it was.

“It’s big coat weather already,” he told his wife, “it’s amazing how quick the temperature drops once September arrives.”

“Sometimes,” Mum agreed, “it’ll probably be warm again tomorrow.”  She looked at her boys.  “Your big coats need a wash to freshen them up,” she remembered, “so you’ll have to wear an extra jumper under your summer jackets for now.”

“I’m not wearin’ that wool jumper!” said Luke firmly.

“Luke, it’s cold.  If your Dad says it’s cold then you know it is.  He’s usually hotter than the rest of us.”

“Than you,” Dad corrected her.

“Yeah,” Jared agreed, “you’re the one who’s always cold,” he laughed.

“Well then, there you go, so if Dad thinks it’s cold …”

“I’m not wearin’ that jumper!  Take it back an’ get your money back!  We’re not givin’ money to farmers!”

Everyone stopped eating.  Dad was not impressed.

“Luke Eugene Walker, how dare you speak to your mother like that?  Apologise right now!”  He spoke in that slow, quiet, angry way that meant you’d gone too far.  Luke realised he shouldn’t be taking it out on Mum.

“Sorry,” he said quietly, “but I don’t want you to pay money to sheep farmers.  I hate farmers!”

Mum’s response was gentle.

“Luke, clearly something has upset you, but the fact remains, as I told you, that wool isn’t cruel.  It doesn’t hurt them to be sheared.”

Luke tried to explain it to her in a way she would understand.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said, “they kill ’em anyway.”

“Not for wool they don’t.  They kill animals for leather but not for wool.”

“They kill ’em anyway,” Luke said again, “they make money out of ’em for wool; then they kill ’em and make money out of ’em for meat.  They kill ’em for money and they’re horrible, nasty, evil, criminal murderers and I don’t want you to give them any of our money!”

Nobody could argue with that.

“Okay,” said Mum, “I’ll take it back today.”

***

Joe gave Luke back the books and pens he’d left in his garden the day before.

“I forgot them last night,” he apologised.

“Me too,” said Luke, taking possession of three brand new, very soggy, text books, and two exercise books in which a lot of his work had dissolved.

“Put them on the radiator,” Joe suggested helpfully.

“Yeah,” said Luke.

The bell rang and they went their separate ways.

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

The story concludes on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can finish it here now 🙂

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

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A brilliant plan

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

On their way home from school Luke and Joe discussed the Christmas concert.

“I don’t wanna be in it,” said Joe.

“You could just ‘ave a small part,” Luke suggested, “then we’d be together.”

“Oh yeah,” said Joe, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He was terrified at the thought of being on stage; of being watched by people.  Luke sympathised and racked his brains for a way that Joe could be part of the production without actually having to be on stage.  Then it came to him.

“You could be the scenery painter!” he said with great satisfaction.  “Then you’d ‘ave to be there, paintin’ the scenes while we’re rehearsin’.  Then I could chat to you when it’s not my scene and I could help you.  I could fetch your pens and paints and brushes.  You could tell ’em I’m your assistant so they don’t send me back to lessons when it’s not my scene.”

It was a brilliant plan.  Joe was as happy about it as Luke.

They ducked into Joe’s house for sheep food.  His mum was in the kitchen.

“Hello Joe, oh, and hello Luke.  Are we returning the favour tonight then?” she asked.

“What d’you mean?” said Joe, trying to think of a way to entice her from the kitchen.

“Is Luke staying here for tea today?”

“Oh, er, no. Thank you,” said Luke, “I’ve jus’ come to borra somethin’.”

That gave Joe an idea.

“Yeah, I want to lend ‘im my book about trains,” he said, “ya know, the one Auntie Sue gave me.”

“Okay,” said his mum without looking up from the potatoes she was peeling.

“on’y,” said Joe, tentatively, “I don’t know where it is.  Could you find it for me?”

“Haven’t I got enough to do?” she said indignantly, “what else do you want – shall I tie your shoelaces? Shall I clean your teeth for you?”

Joe shook his head.

“Find it yourself you cheeky beggar!” she concluded, and that was that.

The boys stepped back outside.  It was no use.  She’d started the dinner which meant she’d be in there for at least another hour.

“Sorry,” said Joe, “we’ll have to get somethin’ from yours again.”

“There’s nothin’ left to take,” said Luke, “Mum said we’ll have to have tinned veg ’til she can get to the shops again and coz she thinks I took it for Curly and Squirt and the damsons – typical! They always blame me! – she won’t let me watch telly for a week!”

The boys looked at each other and thought hard.  There had to be a way to get something to eat for those poor starving sheep.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Luke, not for the first time.  Then he had a thought.  An idea.  A good one.  It might be tricky but it was do-able.

“Remember that farm behind the pony field, next to the rec?”

“Yes,” said Joe.

“They grow salads and things, in them plastic tunnels.”

“Mmm,” said Joe, nervously.

“So, I’ve seen ’em, them tunnels, all they ‘ave to do is water ’em twice a day.  The rest of the time there’s no one in ’em.”

“But they’ve got them big dogs,”

“Okay, well, we’ll take a couple o’ dog toys, and then you can distract …”

Joe shook his head.

“I don’t want to distract.”

“Okay, I’ll distract ’em and you can go into the tunnels to get the salad.”

“That’s stealin’.”

“To save lives!” Luke reminded him, “and anyway, they’ve prob’ly got hundreds o’ lettuces and cucumbers, they won’t miss a few.”

Taking Joe’s silence as tacit consent, Luke continued.

“First, we’ll go to mine to get the dog toys; and a bag; then we’ll go to the farm and I’ll climb in to play with the dogs; as soon as I’ve got their ‘ttention, you sneak into the …”

Joe laughed.

“What?” said Luke, annoyed that his great plan was a source of amusement.

“Look over there,” said Joe, pointing to the bottom of his garden.

There stood two heavily laden apple trees.

“Or,” said Luke, “we could take some apples.”

They emptied the contents of their school bags behind the water butt and replaced them with apples. With no time to lose, they headed to the muddy paddock.

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

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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Make sure no one’s watching

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

When they got to the bus stop they stood under the shelter and looked carefully in every direction to make sure no one was watching.  Then they hurried across the road and emptied their bags into the muddy paddock.  The sheep didn’t trust the boys and they crowded against the opposite fence.

“These’ll give ’em water as well as food,” said Luke, “I hope they like ’em.”  He was a little disappointed that they didn’t seem too keen to tuck in.

“I think they’re frightened of us,” Joe suggested, “p’rhaps we should go back over the road and watch from there.”

Luke agreed and within a few minutes the sheep bravely and hungrily partook.  The boys were extremely relieved.

“That’s good,” said Joe, “we’ll jus’ feed ’em every day ’til they let ’em out.”

“Yeah, but tomorrow we’ll get the food from your house or my mum’ll catch on.”

“Okay.”

Then they went to visit Curly and Squirt, before popping in to Joe’s house to tell his mum that he was going to tea at Luke’s.

***

On Thursday Mr Beardsley said that Year 5 were going to be responsible for the Christmas concert this year.  He said they were going to put on a musical production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

“… so for any of you who are aspiring singers or actors, the auditions are being held on Friday after school.”

This was interesting.  It was a good story.  The Muppet Christmas Carol was one of Luke’s favourite films.  He’d never thought of himself as an actor and the idea of performing did not really appeal to him. However, when Jared was in the school play a couple of years ago he said they had to rehearse so much that he missed loads of lessons.

“What parts?” he blurted out suddenly without thinking.  Mr Beardsley was writing on the board.

“I’m sorry?”

Luke felt a bit embarrassed.

“er, sorry, what parts are in the play?”

“Oh, er, well, lots.  Scrooge, Scrooge’s nephew, Bob Cratchit, the Spirits, Tiny Tim, …”

“They’re all boy parts,” said Tania Spriggs, one of the new girls.  She was understandably disgruntled.

“Oh, there’s lots of girls’ parts too,” said Mr Beardsley, trying to think of one. “Oh, er, there’s Mrs Cratchit, and er, the Cratchit daughters, and Scrooge’s sister, Scrooge’s nephew’s wife,” he was on a roll now.  But then he realised he wasn’t.  He couldn’t think of any more.

Tania huffed.

“The wife, the sister, the daughter!  All minor roles!” she said, dispirited, “I look forward to a school play with a strong female lead!”

“I tell you what, talk to Ms Robinson at the auditions.  She’s adapting the story into a script so I’m sure she’ll make sure there’s plenty of good roles to be had for both sexes.”

Luke gave it some more thought.  He liked the idea of being one of the spirits.  The really scary one.

Mr Beardsley resumed writing on the board.  Maths.  Again.  Luke pictured himself as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.  He’d have a long, black, hooded cape; his face would be painted white with black cavernous eyes; he’d have sharp talons for fingernails and …

“Luke. What’s next?”

Luke, brought abruptly from his reverie, had no idea what was being asked of him.  His bewilderment was visible.  Mr Beardsley banged the pen on the board to draw Luke’s attention to the sum written there.

“Four thousand, two hundred and seventy nine divided by twenty two.  Long division.  Max did the first part.  What’s next?”

Luke shook his head.  He really hated it when someone interrupted his train of thought.  He was in the middle of something.  What was it?  He turned to ask Joe but Joe wasn’t there.  Oh yes, the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, that was the part for him.  Then he had another thought.  If Joe was in it too they’d be together again.  He wondered what part Joe would like.  Mr Beardsley moved on to Katia.  She didn’t know either.

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The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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Some calls may be recorded

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

“Oh no!  He prob’ly dint tell no one he’d locked the sheep up without food ‘n’ water, and if he’s dead, no one’ll know they’re here, and they’ll starve to death!”  His eyes were wide with alarm.

“Call the RSPCA!” said Joe suddenly, “this is cruelty to animals, lockin’ em up without food or water!  The RSPCA’ll rescue ’em!”

“Yesss!” said Luke and the two of them rushed back to his house.

Luke found the number in the phone book and decided, for privacy, to use the phone in his mum’s bedroom.  He put it on speaker so that Joe could hear.  It rang for a few seconds before being answered by a recorded message.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  Please note some calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.  To proceed press 1 now.”

Luke pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Please say your postcode.”

Luke was flummoxed.

“What’s my postcode?” he mouthed to Joe.

Joe shrugged.

The recording tried again.

“Please say your postcode out loud or key it into the keypad.”

Luke pressed some random keys.

“Thank you.  Now please key in your house number.”

He pressed the seven and the one.

“Thank you.  Your address is 71 Broomhill Drive, Glasgow, Scotland.  If this is correct press 1; if this is incorrect press 2; press 3 to return to the main menu.”

Luke was exasperated.  No, it wasn’t correct but he wasn’t going to tell them that or he’d have to start all over again.  He pressed 1.

“Thank you.  Now say your name out loud.”

“Robin Locksley.”

“Thank you.  If you have called because of an animal in distress, please choose between the following options: If you’re worried about a dog in a hot car, press 1.  If you’ve found an abandoned …”

Luke threw his head back in frustration.

“We ‘aven’t got time for this!  Jus’ let me talk ta someone!”

“It’s a good job you’re not on a mobile,” Joe agreed, “Janet’s always runnin’ out of credit on hers.”

The machine listed several options before concluding with:

“For anything else, please hold for an operator.”

“Finally,” Luke mouthed and the ring tone began again.  After a minute or so, a live person answered.

“Thank you for calling the RSPCA.  How may I help you?”

“There’s some sheep locked in a muddy paddock with no food or water,” Luke told her.

“Are they in distress?”

“Wun’t you be distressed if you hadn’t eaten anythin’ for a whole day an’ night?  Or drunken anythin’?”

“It’s only been one day?”

“And a night.  More ‘n that now,” Luke said.

“Are they injured?  Do they look like they’ve been abused or neglected.”

“Well, no, they don’t seem to be injured.”

“I’m sorry but I don’t think any of our inspectors will come out if they’re not injured or in distress.”

“They haven’t had anythin’ to drink or eat since yesterday! They’re really hungry and they’re locked in there!  You’ve got to let ’em out!”

“I’m sorry.  Perhaps you can ask the farmer to check on them.  Do you know who the sheep belong to?”

“We think the farmer might be dead.”

“Who are you talking to?” Mum stood in the doorway.

Luke disconnected the call.

“Nobody.  We was jus’ pretendin’,” he thought it best not to involve Mum.

“I heard a woman’s voice.  Who were you talking to?” she persisted.

“Somebody.  Don’t matter who.”

“I beg your pardon? You’re in my room, using my phone and I insist you tell me who you were speaking to!”

Luke looked momentarily at the floor and then back at her.

“Joe’s mum,” he lied again, “she said Joe could stay for tea.  We’re goin’ to check on Curly and Squirt.”

Mrs Walker decided to pretend she believed him.

“Okay,” she consented, “back by six please.  And in future, ask before you use the phone.”

While Mum stayed in her room to sort the laundry, Luke and Joe rushed downstairs.

“We’ll feed ’em ourselves!” Luke decided.

He handed a shopping bag to Joe and opened the fridge.  Luckily, Mum had just been shopping.

“Take these,” he said, “and these, and these,” and he handed him about twenty carrots, two cucumbers, a cabbage, a lettuce and sixteen apples.  The bag was heavy.  Luke grabbed another one to share Joe’s burden and they left.

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

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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

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At the end of the day …

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from last Friday:

*******

At the end of the day Luke couldn’t find Joe so he walked home alone feeling very sorry for himself.  Then he saw something which took his mind off it.  Across the road sheep were being rounded up with two dogs and a quad bike.  They looked scared and tried to run in all directions but the dogs and the motorbike kept heading them off so that in the end they had no choice but to enter a fenced paddock at the edge of the field.  Unlike the grassy field, this paddock was nothing but mud.  There was nothing to eat and nothing to drink.  Luke watched from the bus shelter as the quad bike rider locked the gate, ordered the dogs onto the back of the bike, and then rode away.  When they were out of sight Luke went over to the sheep.  There were thirty or forty of them who recoiled as he approached.  Luke wanted to release them but wondered if he should.  He couldn’t understand why the farmer would lock them in there like that without even a water trough, but maybe the sheep needed some medicine that had to be taken on an empty stomach.  It would be wrong to act without knowing all the facts.  He felt it best to come back and check on them later and decide then what to do.

***

Luke opened the back door, dropped his book bag on the kitchen floor, kicked off his shoes and reached for the biscuit tin.

“Erm, did you forget something?” said Mum, suddenly appearing from the pantry.

Luke stuck his feet back in his shoes and shuffled them out of the kitchen.

“Sohhy,” he said, his mouth full of gingernut.

“Don’t tread the heels down!” she reminded him wearily, “and that’s not what I meant.”

He looked back, confused, and then noticed his book bag.

“Sorry,” he said again, picked it up and started to walk away.

“That’s not what I meant,” she said again, in a sort of sing-songy tone of voice.

Luke stood still.  He was tired.  It had been a long day.  Could she not just tell him what she meant?  Did they have to go through this trial and error game every time?  He turned to look at her.

“What?” he asked, “what did you mean?”

Mum gave him a look which meant he should modify his look.  He did.  Then she told him.

“Shouldn’t you ask before you take a biscuit?”

“Can I have a biscuit please?”

“You may have two biscuits,” she said smiling, “how was your first day back?  Did you like your new teacher?”

Luke slumped into a chair in the dining room.

“He’s alright,” he said unenthusiastically.

“He?  I thought you’d be with Ms Robinson this year.”

“Yeah.  So did I.”

“So, how come you’re not?  Who are you with?  Mr Green?”

“No.  A new one.  Mr Beardsley.”

“Oh.  What’s he like?”

Luke appreciated his mother’s interest but really wasn’t in the mood to recap the day’s events.

“He’s alright,” he said again, “I’ve got to do me homework,” and he lifted himself sluggishly from the chair and headed upstairs to cover his new books.

***

On Wednesday afternoon Luke was able to find Joe at the end of school.

“What’s it like in Muz Robinson’s class?” he asked jealously.

“‘s’alright,” said Joe.

Luke was surprised to get such a tepid response but realised that Joe was just being considerate, not wanting to rub it in.  He appreciated that and gladly changed the subject.

“We need to go home by the main road,” he told his friend, “I’ve got to check on some sheep.”

When they got there Luke was very concerned to see they were just as he’d left them the day before.

“They must be so hungry,” he said, “and thirsty.”

The boys crossed the road.  Joe was equally worried.

“We should let ’em back into the field,” he suggested, “there’s grass; and a water trough.”

“Yeah, I think so too,” said Luke, “but I can’t open the gate coz o’ the padlock.”  He tugged pointlessly at the hardened steel lock.  “Where’s the farmer got to?  I thought he would ‘ave let ’em out by now.”

“P’rhaps he’s had an accident,” Joe said anxiously, “he might be dead!”

Luke hadn’t thought of that.

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

The story continues tomorrow but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

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

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Not in Mrs Tebbut’s class anymore

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 12 continues from yesterday:

*******

Tuesday came around as it was bound to, and Luke found himself back at school.  He was predictably annoyed about it but took solace in the fact that at least he wasn’t in Mrs Tebbut’s class anymore. Everyone knew Ms Robinson was the nicest teacher in school.  She never sent anyone to the headmaster or made anyone stand in the corner or made anyone do extra homework when they had trouble doing the normal amount of homework.  From what he’d heard, Luke felt sure she was the type of teacher who would sympathise with someone if they accidentally stapled their own finger.  And she certainly wasn’t the type of teacher to make someone eat all their mushy peas just because they’d asked for a big portion when they couldn’t possibly have known they would be so salty.

At ten to nine he and the rest of class 5 were allowed to enter the classroom.  There were a lot of unfamiliar faces and not enough desks or seats for everyone.  Those who could, found seats, others sat on the desks while some, mostly the children Luke had never seen before, just stood around in huddles.

“I know there’s not enough seats,” said Thomas, Ms Robinson’s teaching assistant, “but bear with us.  Ms Robinson and Mr Beardsley will be here in a minute and they’ll explain everything.”

“Who’s Mr Beardsley?” asked Katia.

“Ah, here he is.  Mr Beardsley, meet Year 5.”

At that moment a tall, thin man with very short, sandy hair and glasses walked into the room.  He wore a beige knitted waistcoat buttoned up over a white and beige checked shirt.  Luke was a little concerned.

“Good morning everyone,” said the man, “I’m Mr Beardsley and I’ll be teaching some of you this year.”

“Where’s Muz Robinson?” shouted Kenny.

“She’s still talking to the Headmaster, she’ll be here in a moment.”

Luke and Joe stood against the back wall feeling rather uneasy.  The room hummed with muffled mutterings.  Nobody knew what was going on.  A few minutes later Ms Robinson joined them.

“Sorry to keep you waiting class 5,” she said, “it’s all a bit last minute so I hope you’ll bear with us.”

“If they told us what needs bearin’ with, we might be able to,” whispered Luke.

Joe nodded.  Ms Robinson explained.

“Little Greatoak Primary school has closed due to insufficient attendance.  That is, the council has decided it’s too expensive to run a whole school when there are not enough pupils to fill it.”

Everyone was listening.

“So, all the children from Little Greatoak will be coming to school here from now on.”  She looked around at the new faces.  “Welcome to Gingham County Primary, we hope you’ll be very happy here.”

Luke, without understanding why, felt suddenly possessive of the school he’d never liked.

“Most classes have had the addition of three or four pupils,” Ms Robinson went on, “but Year 5 has been increased by twenty, making a class of fifty pupils which is far too many.”

Luke didn’t like the way this was going.

“So we’re going to have two Year 5 classes: Class 5A and Class 5B.  I will take Class 5B and Mr Beardsley – who has also joined us from Little Greatoak – will take Class 5A.”

It could not truthfully be said that Luke was good at maths but even he was quick to work out that, since half of fifty was twenty five, at least some of his old class would not be in Ms Robinson’s group.  Without realising it, he held his breath.

Mr Beardsley and Ms Robinson stood at the front of the class with open registers in their hands.  Ms Robinson continued.

“Class 5B,” she said, “we will be moving to the new mobile classroom next to the playground.  When I call your name, collect your bags and coats and wait for me in the cloakroom.”

Ms Robinson called the names on her register and, one by one, children left the room.  Luke realised with horror that the division had been done alphabetically.  Ms Robinson was taking the top of the alphabet.  Those at the bottom were being left with Mr Beardsley.  Joe Currant’s name was called.  Luke Walker’s was not.

***

The story continues on Monday but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here now 🙂

Have a lovely weekend 😀

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Tuvok knows best

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter Twelve begins here:

Luke Walker and the new teacher

“Search everyone’s quarters on decks five to seven.”

“It’s nillogical to search deck six …”

“No, you don’t say that.”

“Why not?”

“Coz you’re Tom Paris.”

“Paris knows when things aren’t logical.”

“No he doesn’t.  Paris don’t think like that.”

“But …”

“I’m Tuvok, you’re Paris,” Luke put his foot down, “say somethin’ like ‘no don’t search deck six coz it smells in there’.”

Joe shrugged.

“No, don’t search deck six, it smells in there coz that’s where Tuvok’s quarters is.”

“This is a serious situation Mr Paris!  My quarters do not smell and even if they did it is nillogical to leave an entire deck out of the search.  Search all quarters on decks five, six and seven.  Now!”

“Luke, come downstairs please,” Mum called, “I want you to try on your new school uniform.”

Luke pulled a face.  They would be back at school in three days and he had been trying not to think about it.

“Luuuke, now please.”

He reluctantly put down his tricorder and did as he was told.  In the living room Mum had all his new clothes laid out on the settee.  They looked horrible.  Two pairs of grey trousers with a smart crease pressed down the front; four white shirts folded and pinned with cardboard under the collars; five pairs of grey socks; one black sweatshirt with the name of his school written in gold across the front; one black jumper, and new shoes.  Luke looked suspiciously at the shoes.

“Are they leather?  I’m not wearin’ cow skin,” he insisted.

“I know they look like it but they’re not,” Mum assured him, “look.”

She showed him the label inside and Luke was satisfied that they were made of synthetic materials.

“If they can make shoes what look like leather and feel like leather and do the same job as leather without bein’ leather, why do they keep killin’ cows?”

“Beats me,” said Mum, she really didn’t have time to get into it right now.  “Okay, try these on.  If they don’t fit I’ll have to take them straight back and change them.”

Luke tried it all on and everything fitted perfectly.  Mum had a knack for choosing the right size which she was very glad about because it meant she didn’t have to take him with her when she went shopping.

“Oh, you do look smart,” she said proudly.

Luke scowled.

“I don’t like this,” he said, pulling at the black jumper, “it’s itchy.  What’s it made of?”

“Wool.”

“Sheep’s wool?”

“Lamb’s wool act…, oh Luke, don’t start.  Taking the wool doesn’t hurt the lamb, they have to have it sheared so they don’t get too hot.  It’s just like when you have your hair cut.  That doesn’t hurt does it?”

“How do you know?  Have you ever seen a sheep bein’ sheared?  Or a lamb?  I don’t think Squirt would like it.”

Mum looked at the ceiling and took a deep breath.

“Luke, you need a warm jumper for school.  Honestly, it doesn’t hurt them to have their hair cut.”

Luke didn’t know what to think.  He supposed there could be no harm if the sheep did need to have their wool cut off; if they didn’t want it themselves.  He decided to let it go for now, but he would have to find out more about it before making a final decision.  He tossed the jumper onto the settee and ran back upstairs.  He wanted Joe’s opinion.

Joe wasn’t sure.

“When Janet doesn’t know somethin’ she looks it up on the computer,” he said, “p’rhaps we should do that.”

“I bro…, erm, Dad’s computer doesn’t work anymore and Jared won’t let me use his.  Can we borra Janet’s?”

Joe laughed and shook his head.  Luke was stumped.

“We’ll ‘ave to investigate it ourselves,” he said eventually, “I’m not wearin’ that jumper ’til I know for sure it’s not hurtin’ anybody.”

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

Chapter 12 continues tomorrow 🙂

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“Quickly! Before they see you!”

For all the Luke Walker stories so far click here 🙂

For the whole of Chapter 11 click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

The police car was between him and the officers so he kept his head down and crept up to the rear door. He tried the handle.  Nothing happened.  He tried it again.  It should have opened.  He’d seen Dad do it a hundred times.  A car’s back doors were only locked on the inside.  The black-haired lady looked out the window, shook her head and spoke almost inaudibly.

“What are you doing?  Go away!  Quickly!  Before they see you!”

Luke didn’t listen.  He was determined to rescue her.  This lady was a righteous warrior like himself; a fighter for justice; a fellow animal stick up for-er.  He would rescue her or die in the attempt.  He tried the door again.  It clicked open.  It was like dad’s car!

At that moment the ice cream van pulled up between the police car and the police officers, thus enlightening the black-haired lady on the reason for her arrest.  The ice cream seller leaned out his window to talk to the officers.

“Get out!  Quick!” Luke urged the lady.

The two of them ran as fast as they could back into the market and out the other side towards the trees.  When they reached cover they slumped down behind the trees and caught their breath.

“I’m sorry I got you in trouble Jessica,” said Luke.  The lady grinned.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Luke.”

“Not Luke Walker by any chance?”

“Yeah, how’d you know?”

“They’ve been calling your name on the Tannoy for the last hour and a half.”

“Oh yeah, that’s why I had to hide.”

The lady laughed.

“Oh, it all makes sense now.  It wasn’t the police, it was your family trying to find you.”

Realisation flickered across Luke’s features.

“Oh,” he said, feeling a little guilty for forgetting about Nan and Grandad.  “I’m sorry I got you in trouble,” he apologised again.

“Hey, listen, getting blamed for what you did won’t do my reputation any harm at all,” the lady said with a chuckle.  Luke smiled.

“Anyway,” she went on, “I’m free and clear now.  Thanks for rescuing me.”

Luke looked at the lady and thought she could be trusted.

“Would you like to join my secret society?” he asked.

“I like the sound of that!  Especially if this is the kind of stuff your secret society gets up to!”

“Good,” said Luke, “there’s on’y me an’ Joe so far but that’s good coz no one else knows about it.  So don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t,” the lady agreed.

“Nobody.”

I won’t,” she laughingly assured him.

“How will I get in touch with you?” Luke asked.

The lady took a pen out of her pocket and wrote a phone number on the back of Luke’s hand.

“Any time, day or night, you can reach me on that number,” she said, standing up, “and my name’s Kris.” She smiled at his mild confusion. “I’d better get out of here before they start searching the woods.  Will you be alright?  Will you be able to find your people?”

“Yeah.”

“Go to the organisers’ table, they’ll be able to get hold of them for you.”

Luke wasn’t sure.

“Don’t worry, the police aren’t looking for you.  It’s safe.  Go and find your people,” she urged him and then she started away, going deeper into the trees.

“Oh, don’t forget your jacket,” Luke called after her.

“Keep it,” she said, smiling, and left.

Luke walked back through the market to the organisers’ table and informed them that he was Luke Walker.  Nan’s mobile was called and she and Grandad were there to fetch him in next to no time.  Nan ran at him, hugged him and then smacked his bum.

“You horrible boy!  Why would you do this to us?  We’ve been worried sick!  Where have you been?”

“I’m sorry,” he said sincerely, “I was jus’ shoppin’ and I lost track of time.”

“Shopping!  You weren’t supposed to go off by yourself!  You were supposed to stay with us!  You knew th…”

“What did you buy?” Grandad interrupted.

Luke looked at him and thought for a moment.

“A wheelbarra …” he said, turning full circle to look for it.  And there it was, lying on its side, just a few metres away.  “This one,” he added, going to fetch it.

“And a jacket by the look of it,” said Nan, a little calmer now.

“Oh yeah,” Luke smiled, “and a jacket.”

Come back tomorrow for Chapter 12 😀

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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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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.

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

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

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, vegan children’s book, vegan children’s stories, juvenile fiction, books, children’s books

Luke Walker and the secret society: the conclusion

For the whole of chapter 9 click here, for chapters 1 to 8 click here 🙂

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

He knew he had to do something but since the shop man suspected him of throwing away five hundred KFC leaflets that Jared was supposed to have delivered on his paper round last week, he needed to keep his head down for the time being. Luckily he belonged to a secret society of animal stick up for-ers so he could delegate. He decided to write a message to Joe. No one would suspect Joe.

As soon as he got home he rushed up to his room and took out his code-maker. After some time he wrote on a scrap of paper:

When translated it would read:

He sealed it in a small brown envelope and wrote on the frontAs soon as he’d dropped it through Joe’s letter box he was satisfied the job would get done. Joe was the most faithful, dependable person he knew. He needn’t give it another thought.

***

Tuesday morning, the first day back to school after teacher-training day, Luke overslept. Teacher-training days always left him muddled as to what day it was and, thinking it was still the weekend, he’d turned over and gone back to sleep after Mum woke him. Dreading the moaning and complaining that were inevitable from Mrs Tebbut, Luke opened the classroom door at twenty two minutes past nine. There was a lot of moaning and complaining going on but none of it directed at him. In fact, no one even noticed him come in. Mrs Tebbut was very agitated, talking to the caretaker at the front of the room.

“It won’t come off?” she was very put out.

“I’ve tried everything,” he explained, “hot soapy water with a scouring sponge; vinegar; lemon juice; bicarbonate of soda; everything I could think of that wouldn’t damage the glass.”

“So what can I do? I need to be able to see out the back!”

“Maybe you could call a valeting service. They might have special kit that could get it off – maybe a steam cleaner.”

Luke slid into his seat next to Joe and quietly asked what was going on. Joe looked worried.

“I got your message,” he mumbled, trying to suppress an involuntary smile.

“Oh, good, have you done it?”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t pass the shop this morning.”

“What are you talkin’ about?”

“What are you talkin’ about?”

“Your message, I’ve done it – that’s why she’s so cross,” Joe whispered, trying not to look guilty.

“Why would she be cross about it?” Luke was confused. So was Joe.

“What did you expect? Of course she’d be cross – I used the brown stuff. Why did you want me to do that anyway?”

“What brown stuff? What are you talkin’ about?!” Luke’s irritation hurt Joe’s feelings. He’d successfully completed his first solo mission for the secret society and couldn’t understand Luke’s reaction. By this time Mrs Tebbut was thanking Mr Pine for trying to help and calling the class to order.

“I did what you asked!” Joe hissed, “I thought you’d be a bit more grateful!” and he passed his translation under the desk to Luke. It read:

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

Chapter Ten coming soon – WATCH THIS SPACE!

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

The new book, More Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er, containing chapters 9 to 16 of Luke’s adventures is now available 😀 

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vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, children’s stories, children’s books

The Second Giveaway: Luke Walker’s PRIVUT NOTEBOOK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Luke-Walker-animal--er-notebook/dp/1530311284/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1469185270&sr=1-1&keywords=luke+walker+animal+stick+up+for-er

Luke Walker (animal stick up for-er) is a very resourceful chap, so when he decided he needed a notebook to record all his outlaw activities, and he didn’t have any money to buy one, he just made use of an exercise book Mrs Tebbut gave him because he knew maths was a waste of time.

vegan book for children

This notebook has very private, secret things in it but Luke is willing to share it with other veggietareun outlaws who join his secret sersiety.  Every sersiety member should have one!

vegan book for children

Each new member can add their name to the first page if they agree to the pledge.

There’s lots of important information in it,

including how to make a code-maker/code-breaker,

plus lots of empty space for other outlaws to make their own contributions.  Luke’s lined it for you.

All secret coded messages can be written at the back of the book.  Members will be able to decode it when they’ve made their own code-breaker.

We have two of Luke Walker’s notebooks to give away 😀 Let me know if you want one, the draw will be on Thursday.  You’ve got two days: GO! 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, books, children’s books, vegan children’s books, competition

 

Quiet boys in a quiet lane

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

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

The lane was quiet, the boys were quieter, until Luke noticed something.  As they approached the stile that led to the meadow that was crossed by the stream that was bridged by the bridge on which the boys had planned to play Pooh sticks, Luke saw a sheep.

The sheep was munching the long grass in front of the field gate next to the stile.  There were no sheep in the meadow at that time but Luke knew that sometimes there were.  He could only assume that this sheep had got separated from the rest when they were being moved to another field.

“A lost sheep!” said Joe when he looked up.

“Yeah,” said Luke, their discord forgotten.  They approached her slowly so as not to startle her.

“What should we do?” whispered Joe.

“I don’t know,” said Luke.

“I bet it belongs to Manor Farm,” Joe guessed, “I know they’ve got sheep.”

Luke was deep in thought.

“Maybe,” he said after a while, “but we can’t really be sure.”

“We should prob’ly go and tell the farmer at Manor Farm, then he could come and see it.  I think he’d know if it was one of his.”

Luke took his water bottle out of his lunch box.

Maybe,” he said again as he tipped what was left in the bottle onto the mud, “but then again, he’s prob’ly got hundreds of sheep and they prob’ly all look the same to ‘im.”

He rubbed his hand in the wet mud and then wiped it gently over the red dye mark on the sheep’s back.

“And it would be wrong to hand ‘er over to the wrong person.”

“Why are you doin’ that?” asked Joe.

“Jus’ coolin’ ‘er down. Wet mud really cools ’em down,” Luke explained, “don’t want ‘er to be hot an’ bothered.”

Since it was March, Joe was unconvinced by this explanation.  His friend was clearly up to something and he had a good idea what it might be.

“You can’t keep it Luke,” he said firmly, “it don’t belong to you.”

“An’ who does she belong to?  We don’t ezzactly know do we?”

That mark you just covered …”

“What mark?  I can’t see no mark!  Can you?”

“Not now, no.”

“No.  There’s on’y one thing we do know.”

“What’s that?”

“That whoever she does belong to wants to kill ‘er!  Do you want to give ‘er to someone who will kill ‘er? Would you do that Joe?  Would you?”

Luke was trying to keep it to a whisper so as not to frighten the sheep, but his hushed tones were still fierce.

“Well, you don’t actually know that,” Joe said cautiously.

“Don’t I?  Why do farmers keep animals?  Is it ’cause they love ’em?  Is it ’cause they want to play with ’em and cuddle ’em?”

Joe shook his head.

“No,” Luke agreed, “they keep ’em to make money out of ’em, and they make money out of  ’em by sellin’ ’em for meat.”

Joe couldn’t argue with that.  He nodded.

“So what can we do?” he asked.

Luke continued.

“Here is a brave sheep who has prob’ly bin hidin’ from the farmer for days or weeks.  And he prob’ly hasn’t even noticed she’s missin’; or he has noticed but he’s given up lookin’ for ‘er.  So she’s free.  She belongs to ‘erself.  I think she should be allowed to keep belongin’ to ‘erself, don’t you?”  He looked at Joe earnestly.

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

continues tomorrow 🙂

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

Disappointment

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

*********

Twenty two minutes later he suffered a bitter disappointment. In truth Dad hadn’t been surprised to learn that the blue bike Luke had set his heart on a year ago wasn’t there anymore, but he’d assumed Luke would happily choose a different one from the same shop.  But Luke wouldn’t even look at a different one.  He wanted the blue one.  It was perfect.  He could describe every detail of it and why it was perfect in every detail.  For this reason the bike shop man knew which make and model he was talking about and looked it up on his computer.  He said he could order another one, especially for Luke. It would take two weeks to get there.  Luke smiled with relief.

“Yes please,” he said.

He’d waited a whole year, what was another two weeks?

By the time they got back home he was feeling much better and cheerfully returned his money to the safety of his money box.  Just two weeks – then he’d have it for sure.  It was ordered.  The order was in his name.  Just two weeks more.

Luke sat in his room and drew a grid of fourteen squares.  In each square he wrote a day of the week.  At the end of every day he put a big red cross through one of the squares.  When there were fourteen red crosses it would be time to go and get his bike.  He could think of nothing else.  He could talk of nothing else.  To tell the truth, even his devoted friend Joe was getting a little tired of it.

It was the thirteenth day, Friday afternoon.  The boys were sitting at either end of their desk, doing their sums.  At least they were supposed to be doing their sums.  In actual fact Joe was drawing dinosaurs and Luke was daydreaming about how much faster than Butler’s bike his new bike would be.

He won’t even be able to keep up with me,” he chuckled, “I’ll be so fast that when I pass ‘im he won’t even know it was me.  I’ll jus’ be a blur to ‘im!”

“Mm,” Joe nodded.

He’d stopped listening half an hour earlier but it was easier to nod along than admit that he’d lost interest.  Joe was a ‘path of least resistance’ sort of boy.  However, by the end of the afternoon, when they were walking home from school, he couldn’t help expressing his wish to change the subject.  Luke was more than a little affronted.

“Oh I’m sorry, ‘ave I bin borin’ you?” he said in mock apology, “I wun’t want to bore you with somethin’ as borin’ ‘n’ unint’restin’ as a new bike!  I’m sorry to bother you with the unint’restin’ information that it took me a whole year to save up for it!  I’m sorry I got so excited ’bout somethin’ so borin’!”

An awkward silence followed during which the friends walked at opposite edges of the country lane.  They had been given permission to walk home without adult accompaniment as long as they stayed together.  They therefore kept pace with each other whilst keeping as far apart as the width of the narrow road allowed.  Joe looked at his shoes.  Luke looked straight ahead.

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Continues tomorrow 😉

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

Luke Walker and the New Shoes – begins today!

Luke Walker and the new shoes

Luke was having a stressful day.

“It’s not fair!” he thought, “I don’t want new shoes; I don’t need new shoes.”

He looked down at his left plimsoll for proof and was satisfied that he could hardly see his big toe.

“In fact,” he said out loud, “I’m sure if someone who dint know it was there looked at my feet, they wun’t notice it at all.”

Mum disagreed.  She quite unreasonably insisted that a big toe sticking through a hole in one’s shoe was an unmistakable sign that it was time to get new ones.

It was 4.17pm.  Luke and Mum were in the fifth and final shoe shop their home town had to offer.

“This is it Luke,” Mum said testily, “this is the last one. We will be buying shoes from this shop.”

She picked out four different styles and put them down in front of him.

“Choose one.”

Luke looked at them with disgust.

“ Brown?  You want me to wear brown shoes?  I am not wearin’ brown shoes!”

Mum removed the two brown ones and, through gritted teeth said of the remaining two,

“Choose one of these or I will choose for you!”

If he had to have new shoes when he didn’t even need new shoes he would have chosen blue ones.  He would have chosen blue plimsolls.  They were comfortable. They were good for running in.  And blue happened to be his favourite colour.  But Mum said plimsolls were not proper shoes.  She said they were not suitable for wearing in wet weather.  She said they were not smart enough for school.  She said he had to have those shiny sort of hard shoes that give you blisters for the first two weeks.  Luke had put up strong resistance all day long but now it looked like he would have to compromise.  It came down to two different black shiny shoes and one of them had tassels. 

tassel-shoe

It was clear that he wasn’t going to get the plimsolls so the best he could do was make sure he didn’t get the tassels.  He chose the lace-ups.  Mum exhaled.

“Finally,” she said.

 After Luke had tried them on and walked up and down on the carpet in them, and Mum had squeezed the toe ends of them to see how much growing room there was, the shop lady boxed them up.  But just as Mum was about to pay, Luke remembered something.  He’d heard a horrible rumour at school which he hoped wasn’t true but he had to be sure.  He’d heard Katia tell Susan that shoes are made of cow skin!  It was too shocking to contemplate and Luke had assumed Katia, who was always melodramatic, was making it up to get attention.  But could she have been telling the truth?

“What are they made of?” Luke asked the shop lady.

“These are made from quality …..”

“Canvas!” Mum interrupted, “they’re made of the same material your plimsolls are made of but they’re sprayed with a special substance that makes them hard and shiny.” 

Luke was surprised at his Mum for rudely interrupting someone who was already talking.  The times she’d told him off for doing that.  And the shop lady was obviously surprised at her too as she looked at her quite strangely.  But in a way Luke was glad to discover his Mum didn’t always do everything right.  It made her a bit more human.

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continues tomorrow 😀

or you can read the whole story here now 🙂

I wrote a book

vegan Christmas book

I wrote a book about some birds,

With pictures in and also words.

Brother birds who love each other,

And want to be free together.

1

The birds are turkeys, big and fat,

The farmer makes them fat like that.

He makes them fat to kill and eat,

For those who think they are just meat.

2

But they are not, they’re meant for more,

Christmas dinner’s not what they’re for.

They’re clever and they think and care,

They suffer too and that’s not fair.

3

So when I saw some library books

In which a family smiles and cooks

A big fat bird to celebrate

The Prince of Peace born on that date, …

4

I decided to put my book

On that shelf in the library nook.

A child might find it and read it and see

Turkeys deserve to be happy and free.

5

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There are so many books in libraries that perpetuate the illusion of the witch’s spell.  Whether they be fiction or non-fiction, they tell children, at the most impressionable  time of their lives, that some animals are “farm animals” and as such are there to serve our ‘needs’; that we ‘need’ meat and dairy and fish; that our health is dependent on these things; that animals are happy on farms and rearing animals to kill them is the most normal, natural thing in the world.  It’s no wonder it’s an uphill struggle for those of us trying to share the truth:

  1.  Animal farming is extremely cruel,
  2. Eating animal products is detrimental to our health
  3. Animal agriculture is by far the biggest cause of global warming, rainforest destruction and ocean deadzones.
  4. Going vegan is the only way to save the world.

Years ago I purchased a new copy of a Ruby Roth book and donated it to my local library.  It never made it to the shelves of that or any other library in the county.  They refused to include it.   They rejected it.

Adults don’t listen.  Children might 😉

NB: If you photocopy an insert from a different county library than the one you’re infiltrating, maybe with the word DISCARDED stamped on it, img199and a child finds and likes the book and wants to take it home, one of two things is likely to happen:

  1.  The child puts the book, perhaps with a pile of other books, onto the automated check out machine and doesn’t notice the illegitimate book hasn’t registered on the system.  They simply bag it and take it home.

Or

2.  The child does notice the book hasn’t registered and takes it to the librarian who looks at it and says, “oh, this has been returned here by mistake, you can keep it”.

And just keep doing it, different books, different libraries, all with a positive vegan message that tells children they are right to follow their instinctive, compassionate natures and love all animals, not eat them.  Most grown-ups are too stuck in their ways; too brainwashed.  Communicating directly with children is the only way we’re going to change anything.

Go on, be a rebel – it’s kinda fun 😉

dscn5751

Luke Walker chapter 5 starts here!

Luke Walker and the police car

Luke and Joe were on the putting green at Swanspool Gardens.  They were on the sixteenth hole of an eighteen hole game and Joe was winning.  Not by much, but he was winning.  It was Luke’s turn.

“It’s so hot,” he said, wiping his face on his T-shirt, “I shun’t be surprised if that’s why I’m not getting’ ’em very quick. Usually I get ’em really quick.”

Joe, lying on the grass under the spray of the sprinkler, took his word for it.  Luke eyed the distance and angle of the sixteenth hole from where he was standing.  Should be straightforward enough.  He even felt quite confident he could beat Joe’s three, in spite of the heat.  Of course if he got it in one that would give him a chance of winning.  It would at least demonstrate what he was capable of.  Joe rolled away from the sprinkler.

“Haven’t you done it yet? Come on, I want another go.”

luke-putting-2

Luke struck the ball with his putter, a little harder than intended, and it sailed way past the hole, hit a tree, changed direction and finished up under the hedge.  Joe laughed.  Luke ran to fetch the ball.  He patted the ground just under the hedge where he’d seen it go in but couldn’t feel anything.  He laid down on his side against the hedge to see if he could see it.  Yes.  There it was.  But it was too far to reach with his hand so he slid his putter under the hedge to try and knock it back out.  Unfortunately this knocked it further away and it rolled out the other side and down the slope towards the pavement.  Luke called to Joe.

“Jus’ goin’ to get my ball.”

“Leave it.  You can share mine,” said Joe.

“It’s my ‘sponsibility to return the ball when I’ve finished playin’,” Luke replied with dignity.

The Park Keeper had treated him with respect by speaking to him like an adult and trusting him to return the hired equipment in as good a condition as he’d received it.  Luke was not going to let him down.  He had to leave the park to get the ball – something his parents had told him not to do.

They were watching Grandad in a bowling match on the other side of the tennis courts and had only let Luke and Joe go to the putting green on condition that they stay together and stay there until Mum or Dad or Nan came to fetch them.  Under no circumstances were they to leave the park.  But Luke was sure they’d want him to return the ball to the Park Keeper who had trusted him with it.  And it was only just outside, on the pavement at the bottom of the slope on the other side of the hedge.  So close to the park that it could hardly be called outside the park.

Luke ran along the hedge until he reached the gate. He exited the park and ran down the path to the pavement.  He ran along the pavement in the opposite direction until he was level with what he thought was the spot in the hedge where the ball came through, though it was difficult to tell.

“Joe,” he called, “are you there?”

Joe’s voice came back from the other side of the hedge but it was a bit further along.

“I’m here. Can you see it?”

“Not yet,” said Luke, “but it must be here somewhere.”

He continued along the pavement until he was level with Joe’s voice and then looked carefully for the ball.

“Joe! I can’t find it! Come an’ help me!”

“We’re s’posed to stay here.”

“I know but it’ll be quicker if you help an’ then we’ll go back an’ no one will know.”

“Ok,” said Joe.

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

continues tomorrow

but if you can’t wait that long you can read the whole chapter here 🙂

Spiker

Story continues from yesterday:

******

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

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

hedgehog

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

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

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

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

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

“Spiker,” said Luke.

“I’m sorry?”

“That’s his name.”

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

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

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

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

On the way home, Luke formulated a plan: 

➔ First he would clean up all the rubbish;

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

➔ then he would teach them a lesson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What are you doing here all by yourself?”

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

“Readin’ me comic. What’s it to you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

He called to his friends.

“Anyone fancy some crisps?”

And he ran off without giving Luke another thought.

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

******

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

vegan book for children

Hip Hip Hooray! Violet’s Vegan Comics in paperback!

We are very excited to tell you that we have now published some of our stories in paperback!

1 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

 'where are you going Deidra?' and "I'm not dinner!" in paperback

In addition to “I’m not dinner!” and Where are you going Deidra?, we have also published Edmund’s Lunch and Vegan Nursery Rhymes, and Big Blue Sky (A Christmas Story) will be available, as a Kindle book and a paperback, in a matter of hours.

Pop over to our page on Amazon – it’s all there 😉