Free Kid lit Chapter book on Amazon

I am searching for reviews and have in the past given away 25 copies of my first book in the hope that reviews, good or bad would be given on Goodreads or Amazon or even here. I have received 10 from UK readers, thank you all very much and 9 from those in the USA, again thank you.

So I have put the book on Kindle for free for the next few days in the hope that more people will read and review.

The links are for Uk:

and for USA 

And here is a recent review from an Amazon customer

on June 29, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a terrific children’s chapter book! A fun and unique storyline, accompanied by interesting, funny, endearing characters. I loved the tale of Clearie, the sweet schoolhouse yearning to venture to France. I also loved the characters of twins Sara & John, the crab family, and Aldo that the author created alongside Clearlie. The author also provided good morals in the story, but not in a preachy way. Grade-school kids who can already read (as well as younger kids who enjoy being read to) will definitely be entertained by this charming tale.

 

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Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Double Trouble for Constance Claus.

Constance Claus loves Christmas as much as she loves her husband but, every year from November until December 26th a disaster happens. And at his tremendous age, Santa hated problems. Constance tried to plan ahead as, let’s be honest; most people like to have a trouble free life.

Last year it was the missing gingerbread recipe. The recipe was ancient, almost as old as the cook who had the job of baking five million perfectly formed gingerbread houses. Every inch of the North Pole was searched. This meant the elves were hungry, a lot more than usual and so Constance spent most of her days cooking and preparing meals. If, she often reasoned afterwards, if she hadn’t been busy feeding the hungry elves, then she would have solved the puzzle earlier.  She found it – under the cook’s hat. It had risen as high as his pastry and was stuck to the top of it.

This year she began her anti disaster plan in July. The first thing she did was to make certain there was a copy of the recipe on her tablet. Next, she checked there was an awesome mountain of buttons for the Minion’s dungarees,then, enough paint for the rocking horses and on and on her list went. But she with the help of chief elf Enda,  worked their way through it.

So by the second week of November she was wondering if she could finally relax.

The workshop was thundering through the long menu of toys and electrical gadgets that needed to be made. The new computer department was turning out to be a great addition as the technicians had rigged up a mechanical serving belt which brought the food straight from the kitchen to the tables at lightening speed.

“Too fast for me,” moaned Santa as yet again he was too slow to collect his dinner off the moving belt and it whizzed on to Slim who snagged it.

But dear you are looking all the trimmer for it,” Constance said.

She was sitting before a pretty log fire with Summer, her cat, snoozing on her lap, when her walls began to shake and rumble. Strange, thought Constance. However, when the rumbling increased she jumped to her feet and went to investigate. Summer slid to the ground, shook himself and went off to find a more reliable less jumpy cushion to snooze on.

Constance wondered if Santa and the elves were playing a trick on her so she was a little wary of opening her front door. This was just as well, because when she opened it a chunk of snow slid off the roof and landed on her doorstep.

“This won’t do,” Constance muttered and picked her way through the mountain of snow.

Then she stopped and stared. She giggled because she couldn’t help it. The reindeers were playing dodge the snowball. And due to their very heavy appearance they were making the ground shake and groan under their hooves.

She frowned. “This is terrible, Rudolph you are looking a little chunky tonight.” She mused and then stopped and sniffed the air. He smelt of chocolate and something else. She stared at him.

“Is that marshmallow sticking to your coat?” He backed away and looked at her with huge sad eyes.

She went back inside but instead of sitting in her comfortable chair she peeped out the window.  She noticed some of the reindeer sniff the air and stroll off towards the elves living room. Constance decided to follow.

In the  elves living room she discovered the elves were having a snack. They had taken their shoes off and were sitting before a huge fire toasting smores. “Where did you learn how to do that?” She asked Santa who was managing to toast four at a time.

“Internet.” He said, “Try some. They are delish.”

She tilted her head to one side, “how long have you been doing this?

“Oh only a week or two. It’s just that we get so hungry with the extra work. It is a nice way to relax and we tell stories then head to bed.”

She looked around the room and noticed many of the elves were already asleep in their chairs. Just then the door opened and a young reindeer entered. He walked straight to a sleeping elf and very gingerly took the uneaten smore from the elf’s hand before moving to the next elf.

Constance did not want to be a spoilsport but she was worried. The reindeer needed to be fit and Santa, she knew would eat until his suit was close to bursting.

Over the next two weeks no matter what she did, the reindeer always found a way into the elves sitting room. She wondered if they were paying the elves to leave a door open. No, that is totally silly, she decided.

It was December and the workshop was producing toys at a frantic rate.

There was a “bang” followed by a “pop” and everything stopped. There was a shocked silence. Enda shouted, “lets find the fault.” An hour later they knew the problem. The generator couldn’t produce enough electrical power.

“We need to produce more electricity.It’s knackered.” Was the final statement from their workshop maintenance team.

“Right early lunch and lets chew on it.” Santa said.

Constance went for a walk. She always thought better when left to think by herself. Rudolph accompanied her, with Summer sitting on his back.

“I know you are trying to get fit and slim Rudolph but it is not working. You need a high intensity work out. Cross fit for Reindeers, I think.”

She let the thought rattle about in her head for a while and when she returned to the workshop she called the maintenance team to her.

Three days later the workshop was breaking all production records.

Enda said, “Thank you Constance for your brilliant idea.”

Constance beamed at  him. “You are welcome. I think almost everyone is happy.”

Enda grinned. “Well if Santa insists on eating so much then he has no choice. He can’t have it all his own way, even if his name is Santa.”

They both looked over at the line of reindeer waiting their turn to get on the exercise wheel. Beyond the exercise wheel there was another line of reindeer happily munching on smore flavored hay.  Santa walked alongside the reindeer. A giant pedometer declared, “well done Santa just 5,000 more steps to earn a whole smore this evening.”

christmas 15 for blog 005

Santa wasn’t too worried as he had a date on the 25th with a dog called Bob who was currently stashing marshmallows in his Christmas stocking in exchange for jelly babies.

 

 

 

Bob’s Diary: My purpose in life

Hi

You have to admit she is sneaky that Ellie hogs all the limelight.

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My main purpose is to deliver comfort and hugs. And who isn’t up for that?

IMG_7921

Besides I think I would look good in rescue gear, wouldn’t I?

Giveaway – Freebie Book for young readers

As posted on Mudpilewood.com:

Technically a giveaway in return for reviews could be questioned as not being a giveaway, but that is the deal.  I will post, to three readers, a copy of my book in return for their review. I will leave the giveaway open for two weeks.

I considered many complicated ways of holding this competition but decided simple is best.

Posted below is the first chapter of my book. The names of everyone who answer the following question will be put in a hat, (beanie) and three pulled out.

runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

Chapter 1

 

John and Sara Buggy were twins who didn’t look alike. They didn’t think or act alike either. In fact, they were complete opposites. Sara was a quiet, studious type while John was a messer who hated school and spent his days there playing practical jokes.

One blustery, grey Monday morning, they trudged their way to school, all set for another run-of-the-mill day in the tiny two-classroom building.

“Why are we walking so fast?” Sara asked John.

“I have something to do,” he replied, with the begining of a smile tugging at his mouth.

She knew that look but instead of pressing him further, concentrated on stretching her short legs to keep up with his longer stride. There was a six-inch height difference between them and while John had a head of smooth, dark brown hair, Sara was stuck with a headful of tangled red curls. This didn’t sit well with her.

“School is the oddest place because most of what we learn is pretty useless in the real world,” John was saying, as they walked through the main door.

Sara considered her answer for a moment.

“You may think you’re right but I like learning new things and it’s always so cosy in here.”

***

Once they were seated,  Sara started to worry about what trick John was about to play on their teacher. Mrs Brown, she noticed, kept sniffing and clutching a hanky to her nose. Sara wondered if she were ill. She glanced at John who winked at her.

“Not long now,” he whispered.

“What have you done?” she hissed back.

Suddenly, Mrs Brown sneezed. John giggled. Sara turned her attention back to their teacher who sat in her chair with her nose twitching like a rabbit. She sneezed six times in succession, sending her glasses bouncing onto her desk. Eventually, she managed to stop long enough to hold her nose and shove her glasses back in place. Getting up from her desk she walked to the door and said very quickly, “Carry on with your maths.” This short statement was followed by more sneezing as she left the room.

John was given many high fives and claps on the back as his mates asked how he did it.

“A master never reveals his secrets,” he grinned.

Sara was not impressed.

“Someday Mrs Brown will get really mad at you and…”

“And what?” John demanded. “Writing a hundred lines is nothing I haven’t done before. Now, come on, it’s break time.”

Suddenly a shadow fell across his desk and Mrs Brown said, in a sharp tone, “Let’s try five hundred lines on the whiteboard today John, not on your tablet where you are a master at copy and paste. The line, I should not play pranks on the teacher, is to be written at lunchtime.”

Mrs Brown then turned to Sara adding, “And John is to do it on his own.”

“Yes, Mrs Brown,” Sara said.

***

At lunchtime Sara slipped back into the classroom to help her brother but found him staring at the whiteboard.

“You haven’t written many lines,” she said. Sara noticed a message written across the board – and it wasn’t in John’s handwriting.

School is a useful tool for life, John and Sara.

Sara read the words aloud and looked at John.

“I didn’t do it.The board was clean when I began and then it just appeared. It’s wrong anyway, school is stupid.”

He wiped the message away.

“Perhaps it is magic?” Sara said in a wistful tone.

“Huh, there is no such thing,” John sneered. “If there was I would click my fingers and the board would be full of lines, just like this.”

Turning to face Sara he clicked his fingers but noticed her smile fade as she pointed back to the board.

There before them, more lines of the same sentence appeared. They watched as they scrawled, with no sign of a marker, in neat, tidy rows.

Sara counted the lines.

“There are twenty rows of twenty-five lines.” She looked at John. “Did you do this? Do something else!”

“Two packets of crisps,” John shouted, then clicked his fingers and waited. Nothing happened.

Sara was busy staring at the board again. She read the message aloud.

You have enough lunch to eat in your schoolbag.

“I don’t like this. Is it a ghost? ” Sara whispered and jumped further away from the board.

John was curious and moved closer. “Rubbish! Ghosts don’t exist.”

“I wonder why it happened today?” And no sooner had she said it but the words changed and she read aloud, Today is my birthday, I am one hundred years old.

Gathering all of her courage Sara said,  “Happy Birthday to you but who are you?”

I am the schoolhouse you are standing in and my name is Clearie.

“Clearie, what an awesome name!” John said.

The words on the bottom changed once more and they both read the message.

Clearie means minstrel and scholar in Irish.

Suddenly, the ringing of the bell announced the end of break and the arrival of the other children back into the room, prevented Sara and John from finding out more.

Sara did notice the last message was wiped clean before Mrs Brown arrived back to her desk but she instinctively knew it wouldn’t be the last of them.

In the meantime, there was John’s lack of lines to worry about…

 

*******

What was the first message to appear on the board that was not written by either John or Sara?

Bobs Diary: Searching

We set off in hot pursuit, Breeze the Ogre was spotted in the Wood.

bobs looking

We found

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his seat.

I have to admit it is a pretty neat seat.

bob peepingellie on ogres seat

Then we found what could be the secret entrance to his section of the wood.

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But Dinner called, so we returned home.

Don’t worry I’ll be back.

ipp

 

 

Flash Fiction: The Hungry Polka

“I don’t know! Don‘t look at me like that. I just don‘t know, alright?”

The words hung in the air between teeth clenching mother and bored looking daughter. They turned and stared at the fabric.

Reining in her frustrations Gabby reminded herself she should be patient with her teenage daughter. “Well do you like it or not?” Gabby asked gently.

Chewing gum smacked about in her mouth as Ann considered her answer. She was tired of this hunt for the perfect fabric for the perfect dress and all for the perfect day.

The perfect day – her mum’s wedding. Ann tried not to think of it. She would prefer to run, from the house, from their perfectly planned lives and most of all, at this moment from this flaming tweedie shop.

With a shrug Ann said,  “Yes, sort of.” Silently she thought, it looks like the type of fabric that would drive a person dotty. The words made her smile and she repeated them in her head.

Gabby ignored the nit picking irritation created by the “sort of.” Instead she concentrated on the positive, the only positive word spoken by her daughter today.

They floated home on a cloud of relief via the number nineteen bus. Once inside their front door, they parted company.

Ann to her room. Gabby to the kitchen where she filled the kettle. Tea was needed immediately to help her recover. The fabric lay on the counter.

It was spotted by Martin. “Nice dots!” he commented.

Gabby grimaced remembering the work it took to overcome her daughters objections.

Martin  rubbed his hand across the fabric. “Reminds me of a haunting Polka tune I learnt at school.  He left the room whistling.

Gabby draped the fabric over the banisters that evening. Gabby insisted, inspiration for the cut, shape etc would happen if she kept it there.  Martin was continually whistling that tune. She found it irritating. He said it was comforting.

She woke at three in the morning. The room felt chilly. She got up to investigate.

The light on the landing drew her out of her room. She could hear the trace of dance music rising to meet her. She crept down the stairs. Curiosity forced her on, even as she saw the dark shadow on the stairs. Her heart pummeled in her chest, her ears were filled with the loud swoosh as anxiety raised her blood pressure.

Martin stood clutching  the fabric as he muttered softly to himself. The music played on. Gabby wondered where it was coming from. She looked at Martin, in fact she couldn’t take her eyes from him. His eyes were alight but his face was pale as he said over and over again…”Polka dot. Dot. Dot. Polka dot.”

The doctors insisted it was a stress related breakdown. Gabby didn’t know what to think or believe. Martin was no longer her Martin. He was a shadow of his former self, all he did was hum that blasted tune day in and day out. If he wasn’t humming he was singing about dots.

Ann offered her opinion. “Pre-wedding jitters and stress has turned his brain to mush!” With a pop of her gum she left the room.

The Dragon’s Secret. (Children’s story)

Finn hated being the smallest dragon in his village.

If I can’t be big then I will be famous. I will be a magician, Finn thought.

He gave magic a try. He set his magician’s hat on fire.

Finn tried hip-hop dancing.

“I’m dizzy” he moaned bumping into his mum. The pot of potatoes she was carrying, flew high into the air and landed on his dad’s foot.

With a roar dad flew into the sky and returned with a piece of a cloud. He wrapped his burning foot in the cloud.

Finn tried singing. “He sounds like a fire alarm,” mum said. Finn stopped singing when the lolly pop factory burned down.

“I’ll be a champion swimmer,” he said jumping into the pond. He splashed about so much he emptied the pond. Finn was followed home by a row of squawking, honking, homeless ducks and swans.

“If I were the biggest dragon then no one would laugh at me.”  He moaned.

Finn ate more vegetables, and exercised everyday but he didn’t grow.

Granddad went to visit Finn. “I know how you can be as big as a house.”

Finn asked, “why doesn’t everyone do it?”

“Because their surname is not Nogard” Granddad said. Bending close to Finn he whispered the secret of how to become a large dragon.

“I don’t think I could do it.” Finn said with a shake of his head.

“Don’t think Finn – just do it.”

Finn flew high into the blue sky searching for a cloud.  It was hard work beating his wings.

He remembered Granddad’s words,” keep going especially when you feel you can’t.”

Finn found a perfect small cloud.

He wrapped a silver thread around it by flying in a circle close to the cloud. He counted as he went, “one, two, three, four…” On the thirty third circle a large rumble shook the sky, followed by a flash of lightening.

Finn was thrown to the waiting stars.

“A dragon to play with,” the stars cried bouncing him between them.

The noise brought the other dragons out of their homes. “Where is Finn, how did he disappear?”  They watched the sky and waited.

“He’s gone,” sobbed mum.

“He will be back perhaps we have time for tea,” Granddad said.

Everyone agreed. Tea and cakes were eaten before they heard a light whooshing noise. It grew louder until it became a rumble like a jet plane.

High in the sky they spotted a swooping, diving spot growing bigger.

“It’s Finn,” Granddad said. Everyone began to cheer as Finn came to land.

Finn smiled and spewed flames into the sky.

Looking at his mum he said, “sorry I will need a bigger house.”

She just squeezed his foot, “it’s nice to have you back, I’ll go make an extra large dinner.”

Granddad said, “You will go down in our village history as being the largest dragon in the realm.”

And this was only the beginning of Finn’s fame, for he returned to the land of giants on many more occasions.

Bob’s Diary: My account of THE PARTY

 

 

Sunday lunchtime saw the Ogres and Fairies working together to prepare the center of the wood. When they finished they stood back to inspect their work.

“It looks amazing.” Breeze said.

“Not bad at all.” Tulip agreed.

Everyone was coming to the party, so the table needed to be extra long. It  zig zagged its way around the large trees near the center clearing of the wood. Tiny wooden bowls sat, in  a line along the center of the table. These were decorated with silver stars and red fairy lights.

At each Ogre’s setting there was  a giant wooden cup, a knife and a fork and a spoon. The chair was decorated in moss and spiderwebs that twinkled when they caught the  sunlight.

Each Fairy place setting had a glass knife and fork, a tiny glass shaped like a star with a squiggly straw peeping from one point. The fairies chairs were decorated in see through silk, with long red ribbons.

Place names were made from wood bark, names carved with fairy dust.

Guests appeared early, they were shown to their seats and sat down. The air hummed with conversation.

The menu was divided into two choices :Ogre stew, or Fairy Pleasant Pie. Ogre’s home brewed snow cone drink or a glass of chocolate strawberry milk, with an assortment of cream pies and fairy cakes to follow.

There would be music and dancing later, they hoped.

“Why did you hang lanterns from the trees? I banged my head off every single one.” Hamish, the Goblin, muttered lifting his hat to show a whole group of bumps and lumps.

“The fairies did it.” Breeze said. The other Ogres nodded in agreement.

“Well done Hamish stupendous lumps,  you would win a competition for them,” Elegant witch said as she arrived with her younger sister Lovisma following behind. Lovisma was closely followed by a giant cauldron which, floated close behind her. She led it with a dog lead. There was a lot of hissing and bubbling coming from the cauldron. A wooden spoon was spinning about, sending drops of liquid spattering the guests.

“We brought, devils delight, for those who don’t really care for milk or water.” Lovisma clapped her hands  in anticipation of the party.

There was silence while the guests and hosts wondered who might be brave enough to speak.

“Ahh what is in devils delight, it smells delicious.” Ellen an elderly tree nymph asked.

“There is a little bit of this and a lot of that but..”

“Nothing that was alive or walked through the forest.” Lovisma said.

“Did it fly?” Breeze wondered.

“No, it’s herbs spices and water, you fool.” Lovisma was starting to spin. When ever she got mad the tiny witch would spin so fast she created a hole in the ground.

The sound of a deep gong filled the wood. “tea is served,” The fairies declared and with a flick of their wands , food appeared in front of the diners.

“This is yummy, did you make it yourself?” Mrs. Groundsel asked Beaver an elderly Ogre.

“I did. Just something I rustled up.”

The Ogres found his answer funny. They giggled until their laughter grew to a roar. Any fairy sitting opposite an Ogre became airborn. Many landed in the trees or on the ground near the edge of the wood.

“Please don’t do that again.” Tulip snapped wiping moss off her best dress.

But they found they couldn’t stop laughing. The madder the fairies became the happier the Ogres were. Their laughter rang out throughout the wood, sending fairies flying through the air.

Finally the fairies got into a huddle. They whispered among themselves. When they broke apart they were smiling.

The Ogres’ looked at one another. “Is this good?” Breeze wondered.

The fairies sat down and began to eat. The Ogres relaxed.

Breeze was sitting opposite the tooth fairy. “Knock , knock, ” he said.

“Who’s there?” She asked

“Tooth!”

“Tooth who?”

“Tooth or dare!”

He smiled delighted at making a tooth fairy joke. When she was knocked off her chair by his laughter she jumped up on her feet shouting, “Ready fairies ?”

Each fairy pointed her wand at a cream pie. With a flick of  her wand a pie hit an Ogre’s face.

“Food fight,” Hamish roared.

“Hang on, Hamish, give us a mo, we can’t waste a pie.” Breeze shouted.

The party fight was on hold while every Ogre removed the pie from their face and carefully ate it.

The fairies picked up their drinks and flew high into the tree to watch. Soon the air was alive with laughter and the sound of faces being struck by pies and cakes.

Everyone declared it to be the best party in the forest. They went home tired and happy though there was no music or dancing. This was noticed by a few of the Ogres who agreed it would be a fitting excuse to host another event.

 

I'll do anything for jellies.

I’ll do anything for jellies. It was great fun to watch.

Bob’s Diary: Regarding Shopping Lists.

Today’s Top Tip.

 We can all be creative.

Don’t be like Maria. She spends hours writing a shopping list. Then goes off shopping without it.

Top tip if you write a list take it with you.

(that way I might get a decent Christmas pressie.)