Option One: © T.M.Clark - Extract from: Fearless – The Monkeys' breakfast.
Chapter Book: Aimed at 9 – 12 years.
Madison and her family have just relocated from Australia to a safari camp in Zimbabwe, Africa. Her mother is a chef, and her father is a mechanic. Fearless is a stuffed elephant.
Madison woke early to a sound that was much like a Kookaburra, but louder and more constant. She lay in her new bed and held Fearless tightly. She could tell it was sunny outside from the slither of light shining through the side of the blind that didn’t quite fit in the window of their cottage.
The noise continued, in fact, she was sure it was getting louder.
She put her pillow over her head, trying hard to shut out the sound.
But it didn’t go away.
Madison reached out for her phone to check the time — six-thirty. She pulled back the sheet, untangled herself from the mozzie net that hung like a princess’s curtain around her bed and marched out the door towards where the noise was coming from. Surely she could chase whatever it was making such a noise away.
She stomped through the lounge and pushed open the kitchen door.
There were monkeys inside the kitchen.
At least she hoped they were monkeys. From the books, she’d read she knew gorillas lived much further north in Africa. Anyway, these were too small to be gorillas.
A monkey had the fridge open and was pulling the food out, throwing the eggs one at a time over its shoulder. Splat. Next came the cheese, but this time it took the wedge of gouda, and bit into it, wrapping and all. Then using its fingers, it ripped open the packaging and bit into the cheese again.
The monkey spat out the red wax and then ate two mouthfuls of cheese before it tossed that over the shoulder to join the eggs.
She looked around. They’d made a mess everywhere. Some were sitting on the kitchen table eating fruit from the big wooden bowl, half-eaten bananas and apples discarded on the floor. One monkey sat in the sink, playing with the tap.
Water on. Water off.
The largest of the monkeys saw her as he was ripping into a packet of chips and bared his teeth. He ran towards her.
She screamed, turned and ran out of the room, slamming the door and held the handle up. Too scared to let it go, just in case the monkeys knew how to open it.
‘Dad! Dad! Come quickly.’
No answer. Then she remembered her dad had plans to go out early.
No reply. Of course – mum was starting work at the hotel restaurant today and would have been out when the sun was rising.
She was alone in the house.
Alone. No one was coming to rescue her.
Her instructions had been to go join Tandai and Jose in the main boma when she woke up. They were going to find a painted dog pack and fix one of their tracking collars.
No one was coming to look for her for – at least not for another half hour or so.
She was on her own.
Well, not quite. There was the room full of monkeys.
She pulled the nearest chair she could find and pushed it against the door to hopefully keep the primates from accessing the rest of the house. Letting herself out the front door, she ran for the main boma.
Maddie looked behind her one last time to make sure no monkeys were running after her. Not that she knew if they would or they wouldn’t, but she knew that she couldn’t get them out of her house alone.
The main boma’s floor was cool on her bare feet after the sand, which was quickly heating up under the bright African sunshine. Jose sat at a table and Tandai stood with his back to her, but she recognised his silhouette.
Jose was about to put a fork of food in his mouth when he saw her and was already lifting himself up from the chair. ‘Maddy? What’s wrong? What are you running from?’
‘Monkeys. There are monkeys in the kitchen. There’s one playing in the sink, and they’re even in the fridge!’
Jose and Tandai both burst out laughing.
‘Come on,’ Tandai said. ‘That explains the pyjamas and no shoes. Have breakfast here with us, then we can all go and sort out your new friends, although perhaps by then they would have left, and there will just be their mess to clean up. Who left the back door open?’
‘Not me. Mum or Dad.’
Jose grinned. ‘Are you sure they’re monkeys and not baboons?’
‘Please don’t tell me the baboons come into camp too? Helene pointed them out on the runway yesterday, they were mean looking.’
‘They can be. And they are smart,’ Tandai said. ‘Never underestimate a baboon.’
Kevin appeared at her elbow. ‘What can I get you Miss Madison?’
Madison shook her head, ‘Just Madison, no Miss. Please can I have…’ she looked to what Jose was just finishing off his plate. ‘Whatever Jose had and a glass of chocolate Nesquik.’
‘One full safari breakfast coming up,’ Kevin said.
‘Before you get that from the buffet, please let our new chef know that Madison is safe, but there are monkeys in her kitchen,’ Tendai said. ‘We will deal with the monkeys after breakfast, but she needs to give housekeeping the heads up about the mess.’
‘Yes,’ Kevin said then left in the direction of the main kitchens.
‘Mum is not going to be happy,’ Madison said. ‘And on her first day of work.’
‘Maybe. But she’ll get more of a fright when she sees what a mess the monkeys made. I bet you that after today, your mum and dad will learn to close the kitchen door properly behind them,’ Tandai said.
‘But we’ll make sure that we all disappear before they look to us to clean up the mess,’ Jose said. ‘Eat quickly when your food comes Maddy, before the other adults decide we are on clean up duty.’ Jose lifted his hand and high fived Tandai as if they were both proud of getting out of cleaning up.
‘What is it about monkey clean up you don’t like?’ Madison asked.
‘They throw their poop around. It’s not pretty.’
Madison gasped. ‘Our kitchen will smell like poop now?’
‘Housekeeping will clean all that, and there’ll be no smell when they are finished. We just don’t want to be roped in to help, it stinks, big time,’ Jose admitted.
‘So much for monkeys being sweet animals that do tricks and swing around in trees-’
‘They are sweet, just not when they get into someone’s kitchen,’ Tandai said.
OPTION TWO: © T.M.Clark - Samantha’s Ordinary Day
Picture Book: 270 Words. Aimed at 0 – 6 years.
‘Good morning Samantha,’ said Mum as they all snuggled together in the big bed.
‘What we going to do today?’ Asked Samantha’s brother Joe.
‘Nothing. It’s an ordinary day,’ said Dad.
‘I don’t like ordinary days,’ said Samantha.
‘Not much to do on ordinary days, which is why I love them,’ said Dad.
‘Let me get that washing on the line, then I can help you get dressed Samantha,’ said Mum.
‘No. I want to dress myself,’ said Samantha.
‘Okay, you do that, and then we’re going shopping,’ said Mum.
Samantha wears her clothes inside out.
‘Everything scratches the other way.’
Joe shakes his head.
‘Let her learn,’ Mum says.
Joe turned his the wrong way around too. ‘Right, it’s not an ordinary day, it’s an inside-out day!’
Mum changes her shirt too. ‘Might as well make it inside-out and back-to-front day.
Samantha and Joe both laughed.
Samantha sits in the shopping cart.
‘Anything else I can get you?’ Asked Mr Jones.
‘No thank you,’ said Mum.
‘Hello Mr Jones,’ Samantha greeted the grumpy man behind the cheese counter.
‘Mum, save her-’ Joe said.
‘Let her learn,’ said Mum.
‘Did you know my Dad said it was just an ordinary day, but we decided it was back-to-front and inside-out day instead?’ said Samantha.
‘Is that so?’ said Mr Jones as he turned to weigh mom’s cheese.
‘But Mr Jones, you’re wearing everything the right way,’ Samantha said.
‘She just doesn’t learn,’ said Joe.
‘Give her time. Let her learn in her own way,’ said Mum.
‘I did not know that, Sunshine,’ said Mr Jones, as he took off his hat and turned it upside down on his head. He took off his apron and tied it back, inside out. ‘Perhaps we can make it upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day?’ He said smiling.
Mr Jones didn’t look so grumpy now.
Samantha sat at lunch at the restaurant. ‘I don’t like the look of blue Brussels Sprouts.’
She tries hard to feed them to the resident dog. ‘Lexi doesn’t like them either,’ said Samantha. ‘Even on an upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day.’
‘Just try them,’ asked Mum. ‘I’m sure Mrs Smith bought them fresh today, just for you.’
‘Yuck! I definitely don’t like those-,’ said Samantha. ‘Not on a special upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day and I don’t think even on an ordinary day.’
Mrs Smith asked, ‘Everything alright with your lunches?’
‘I didn’t like the cabbage bombs,’ said Samantha.
‘M-u-m, she’s being embarrassing,’ said Joe.
Samantha looked at Mrs Smith, and added, ‘B-u-t I loved the dreamy creamy mashed potatoes with mushy peas and the squishy-wishy gravy.’
‘Brussel sprouts are not everyone’s cup-of-tea, but you have made my ordinary day so much better letting me know how much you loved my other food,’ said Mrs Smith. ‘Thank you.’
‘Oh no, today isn’t ordinary,’ said Samantha, ‘today is an upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day.’
Mrs Smith laughed. ‘Perhaps it’s more like a laugh-out-loud-upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day.’
Samantha did not like playing in the grimy grotty ground. ‘It feels phooey.’
‘Here, put some gloves on,’ Mum said. ‘You can be like me while we garden on this laugh-out-loud-upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out day.’
Samantha planted both teeny-tiny and big-fat seeds.
‘Soon we can watch those seeds grow into flowers and vegetables,’ Mum said.
Samantha remembered that she loved to eat the fresh snappy beans off the stalks, and the crunchy carrots and smell the pretty bouquets of the bountiful bunches of flowers.
‘Bath time,’ Mum said.
Samantha shook her head. ‘No.’
‘Why is that?’ asked Mum.
‘I don’t like bubbles. I can’t see where the bottom is.’
Mum drops in a few toys that sink out of sight.
‘But what if when you go through those squishy bubbles, you find a wonderful world where dolphin frolic over waves made of salty dreams, and stupendous starfish are found, plugging holes in pirate ships, that you might never find, unless you enter the realm of the bubbly battleship bathtub?’
Samantha climbs into the soapy water.
She played with the slippery dolphin as it swam under the pirate ship, seeking sunken treasures, that the crafty starfish try to hide.
‘Can we have a bubble bath every day?’ Asked Samantha.
‘Then it won’t be special for the bottoms-up-laugh-out-loud-upside-down-back-to-front and-inside-out-day, it would become just an ordinary day,’ said Mum.
‘I hate getting into a newly made bed, it’s like I’m a slimy sardine, pinned down with no escape,’ Samantha said.
‘Ah but then you are saved by the bristly bushy-bearded Daddy.’ Daddy pulls the bedsheets out on the sides. ‘It’s the end of another ordinary day, did you have a good one?’
‘It wasn’t an old ordinary day. It was a bottoms-up-laugh-out-loud-upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out-day.’
‘You certainly had a special day then. What did you love the most?’
‘The soft-cuddly arms of yours and Mummy’s hugs saying good night.’
Dad smiled. ‘Good night, see you tomorrow for another bottoms-up-laugh-out-loud-upside-down-back-to-front and inside-out-day.’
‘Oh no Daddy, you can’t have those every day, then they will become just an ordinary day.’