Tuesday, November 20, 2012

a new review...

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy - reviewed by Julia

Looking for JJ is an unsettling murder novel thoughtfully crafted by Anne Cassidy which trails the new life of Alice Tully, a girl whose childhood ended 6 years earlier when she murdered her best friend. Alice is given a second chance at rebuilding her life and forgetting her past, forgetting the girl who killed her best friend, forgetting her former self; Jennifer Jones. Alice’s life after her release from jail had looked promising until a puzzling detective came to the small town of Croyden looking for JJ. As the story unfolds Cassidy brilliantly immerses the reader deeper and deeper into her novel, slowly uncovering details from the day Jennifer Jones committed her crime, and her dysfunctional childhood. Cassidy carefully places Alice’s flashbacks to her painful life as Jennifer Jones to allow the reader to understand exactly how a ten year old could do such a horrible thing and Alice, or JJ becomes a character who is easy to sympathize with. The story never sleeps and continues to progress throughout the book when Alice is betrayed by her mother and threatened to change her identity again. The story is described in such realistic detail that I was fully engrossed in the moment and I felt like I was there, but not in such detail that I grew bored.
The novel is written in the 3rd person which suits it well. Being an onlooker, the reader is able to discover things that would otherwise not be mentioned in only Alice’s opinion, which is an important aspect of the book. Anne Cassidy constructed the gripping story in a non-chronological order, opening in Alice’s current life and introducing flashbacks every now and then between important stages of Alice’s existence.
I enjoyed reading Looking for JJ as well as being nervous each time I picked up the book because I knew that I would be disturbed, but that was one of the things that I valued most about it. The story made me contemplate many genuine themes in modern day society like child abuse as well as how the media treats criminals.
Rated:  4.5/5 - "It fully lived up to my standards after everything I had heard about it and I recommend it to any young adult who appreciates dark and obscure fictions."

If you would like to have your review published on the blog, just email it to library@portphillip.vic.gov.au - remember to add your name and age to it and put "Lightning readers book review" into the subject line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November reviews from Albert Park

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo - reviewed by Alex G.

India's dad tells her to go to the market and buy some things, but instead comes back with a dog. The dog is a stray and she names him Winn-Dixie after the market she found him at. India has had a lonely upbringing and Winn-Dixie helps her meet new people and make friends. She loses him during a thunderstorm (he is afraid of lightning), but then finds him again.

Rated:  5/5 - good for 8+. "It is a bit sad and happy too and the story is really involving."

The third door (Three doors trilogy, bk. 3) by Emily Rodda - reviewed by Vincent

Rye, Derek and Sholto have to stop the evil master from breeding new creatures called the Schemers. But voices in Rye's head keep telling him to leave or be killed. Story is good but the cover really appeals to me.

Rated:  5/5 - "Sometimes funny, sometimes 'oh, I didn't know that could happen'. Interesting and shocking!

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick - reviewed by Alex W.

This book is full of mystery and you think it will go in a certain way but then it goes somewhere else. It has two stories - one is of a deaf girl, and the other is a boy who is deaf in one ear. Their stories come together at the end of the book.

Rated: 4.9/5 - "Mysterious - some bits funny, some creative."

The tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling - reviewed by Emma B.

J. K. Rowling wrote this book before the Harry Potter series. It has 5 stories in the book. One story is about 3 brothers who come to a river, but cannot swim across it because it is too dangerous. Death turns up and challenges them with a riddle.

Rated:  4/5 - "I don't think it's as good as Harry Potter. I think Harry Potter is better!"

Elemental: come to Virtualitee and see for yourself by Steven O'Connor - reviewed by Emma T.

It's based in the future. About a boy given a demo game which he and his friend play. His friend can't stop playing the game and eventually can't tell what is real and not real. He then disappears and his three friends go off to try and find him.

Rated:  4.95/5 - For those 10+ (boys and girls) - "I read it really quickly because I couldn't put it down. I even read it while walking to school. I was obsessed with reading it that I even read the book in the bath!"

Bart Simpson's treehouse of horror: heebie jeebie hullabaloo by Matt Groening - reviewed by Che

This is a comic/graphic novel. My favourite story in it was "The immigration of the body snatchers!" It is about Homer acting psycho in the middle of the road - so everyone thinks he is mental and sent to a mental home.

Rated:  5/5 - "It's really cool!"

Ripley's believe it or not! special edition 2011 - reviewed by Annabel

It has weird facts and it's so interesting reading about odd things.

Rated:  5/5 - "Because it's amazing!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November reviews from St Kilda

The copycat kid (Billie B. Brown, bk. 15) by Sally Rippin - reviewed by Mikaylla

There's a new girl called Mika (my second name) and she copies Billie's work and Billie gets made.

Rated:  3 reallys (so far...)

The daring rescue (Nanny Piggins, bk. 7) by R. A. Spratt - reviewed by Netta

It's about a nanny who's a pig and she looks after the three Green children, and the dad doesn't notice anything. He's going off to a tropical island as a senior tax official and he doesn't like it because he's used to working in a small basement and being spoilt by his staff. Nanny Piggins tries different ways to rescue him and finally succeeds by dressing him as a mermaid and sticking him to a boat.

Rated:  4.9 reallys

Lionheart: a journey of the human spirit by Jesse Martin - reviewed by Domenyk

It's about a guy who sails around the world by himself and it's a true story about things that go wrong and how he fixes any problems that happen. It explains all the places he goes to, and big storms - he was 16 when he started.

Rated:  4 reallys

The 26-storey treehouse (The treehouse books, bk. 2) by Andy Griffiths - reviewed by Lucia

It's about two boys, Andy and Terry. They tell stories of how they met and big fish and this other girl who loves animals and Captain Woodhead who they don't like. He tries to have the treehouse to himself and they run into the Maze of Doom. Flying Cat saves them by showing them the way out. Captain Woodhead comes out of the maze and they sing 'Ten pirates' and they fall off lots of stuff.

Rated:  5 reallys

Lucy the poorly puppy by Holly Webb - reviewed by Evie

It's about this dog called Bella. She has all these puppies. One of them is smaller than the others. They take it to the vet who tells them to bottle feed it. A girl and a boy make a stall with their toys to raise money because they've sold all the other puppies. They run and hide with the puppy and they end up with the puppy because they let them keep it.

Rated:  4 reallys

Then by Morris Gleitzman - reviewed by Teia

It's about a boy and a girl who escape from a Nazi death camp (they're Jewish). They find a lady called Greta who takes them into hiding and disguises them as non-Jewish. The little girl, Zelda, didn't like nazis and used to do rude things to them, and in the end she got hung. The boy (with a really long name that I don't remember) ended up being hidden in a hole that Greta's husband made.

Rated:  4.5 reallys

The burning bridge (Ranger's apprentice, bk. 2) by John Flanagan - reviewed by Guillaume
The main character's name is Will and he was an orphan. Then there was a ranger that came by. Somebody came to the orphan's house and asked them what they wanted to do because they were 16. The first girl wants to be a cook, then they get Will and he wants to be a knight but he is too weak. The ranger teaches him to shoot arrows. Then they get captured by Morgarath who has captured fifty people to make a bridge across a cliff to attack Will's native village. Will goes with his two friends, Horace and Evangeline, and they burn the bridge down on their own. Horace is on the safe side but the other two are on the other side. They both fall down into a small river and get captured and it's really good.

Rated:  5 reallys

Clean break by Jacqueline Wilson - reviewed by Elsa

Jacqueline Wilson is an English author. It's about a dad and he breaks up with the mum. There's a boy and a girl. Em is the main character and she tries everything to get the dad back. It's actually not really Em's dad, and the stepmum (they don't like) and the dad break up on christmas.

Rated:  5 reallys

Thursday, November 1, 2012

and the winners are...

Okay everyone, I know you've been desperately waiting to know who won the "Are we there yet?" writing competition, so here are the winning entries (to read the story just click on the title):

Category 1 (7-8 years):

Category 2 (9-10 years):

Category 3 (11-12 years): 

As usual the standard was high, so congratulations to those who won this time around, and thanks to all who entered - they were all wonderful stories so don't stop writing because your turn to win will come one day!

Are we there yet? ... by Zoe, aged 8

"Are we there yet? I hate walking such a long way to the shops" said Lucy.

"Hey, look at those beautiful galahs with yellow and grey feathers. They look like they are dancing in the sky" said Zoe.

"Aaahhh" yelled Lucy as she fell over the pots of lavender outside the florist. "My hand hurts" she said.

Zoe helped Lucy stand up. She noticed Lucy's hand was getting bigger and bigger, and heavier. First it was the size of a french stick, then it grew to the size of a tree branch and just kept growing!!

Lucy fell to the ground as it was the size of a tree stump.

I called an ambulance but couldn't get help. I shouted for help but there was no one around!!! "Help!, help!..."

I woke up sweating. My mum came into my room and gave me a hug.

"Oh mum, I had a bad dream. I don't think I want to go shopping tomorrow."

My Whitsundays trip ... by Evangeline, aged 8

"Are we there yet?"

It was a long plane trip and I kept on saying "are we there yet?"

Finally, we arrived at Hamilton Island. After walking off the plane on the runway and then getting our bags we had to then walk up big hills and down lots of stairs until we got to the marina where the boat was. The boat was big and called Purrfection because it is a catamaran. Mummy and daddy’s friends, Ian and Wendie own the boat. Inside the boat there was a big map on the table showing all the places you could sail to.

We went to lots of bays around the islands. We would anchor in the bays, sleep there and the next day we would snorkel and see lots of fish, sea slugs, turtles and lots of pretty coral. When we were swimming back to the boat I kept on saying “are we there yet?” because we snorkelled far away from the boat. Then Wendie swam to the boat and got the dinghy and quickly came to pick us up. Then we went to see the big clam, it was enormous. It was so big it was scary. It was bigger than me! But, it was also pretty with purple. We went over the top of it with the dinghy and it would shut  its shell very fast. Then we went back to the boat and had lunch.

On the next day we went to Windy Bay and snorkelled, again!  I loved doing it. Today we saw a shark. Yes, a real shark. It was resting underneath a rock ledge. It was fast asleep and Wendie told us it was a white tip reef shark that wont hurt you. We saw lots of clown fish, they had a sea anemone.

We went on a beach called Whitehaven Beach and I loved playing with my brother and sister, then we went to check out a camping site. It was sheltered by all the trees and we saw lots of campers coming in on a boat. I also spotted a goanna, he had dots and lines and all awesome patterns. On the beach we made a big sand castle when dad and mum were on a walk on Whitehaven Beach.

My brother loves fishing. We went out on the dinghy and fished and my brother got a big nibble. He almost pulled it in but it got away! I think the fish was saying, “I hope I am not there yet?” I love swimming with the turtles because we could swim next to them and see them swimming with their legs, we could even see the moss on their backs. One night my brother and Ian caught heaps of fish for dinner, they had yellow tails and were really yummy to eat.

We were on a big walk and I kept on saying “are we there yet?” There was lots of trees and stairs, finally we got there. We could see all the different islands then we walked back, it didn’t take as long. Downhill was easier but daddy said it was hard for him. One day there was garfish all around the boat, they have a long pointy nose. While we were moving we caught a fish, it was a Queensland school mackerel, it had dots on its side. We stayed at bay 25 for the last night then we got up early to clean the boat. Then we went to the boat mariner and then we got on the plane and I kept on saying...

“Are we there yet?” all the way to Melbourne.

Are we there yet? said the littlest ant ... by Sienna, aged 10

Chapter #1
Everyone has heard of ants, right, well this is a story about them. Let me introduce the Antersans. Mamma Ant, Papa Ant, Brother Ant, Sister Ant and the Littlest Ant. They set off on an adventure to find the Magical Wizard of the City of Parecsell. Well I think I’ve told you enough so sit back, relax and enjoy the story.
Chapter #2
It was a lovely day for the Antersans to go and have a picnic, well someone else’s picnic. Papa Ant could see it in the distance. It was a long way away but it was all worth it. They started walking, when they had at least walked two metres the Littlest Ant asked “Are we there yet?” “No we are not,” said Papa Ant. “Well where are we then?” said the Littlest Ant, “I suppose we are near a BEE HIVE!!!RUN!!!” Papa Ant cried. The Antersans ran as fast as they could. They didn’t run very far as they were ants, mind you. The Littlest Ant was lagging behind. “Here jump on my back.” Sister Ant yelled. He hopped on and they continued running.
Chapter #3
They had finally lost the bees and were resting. “Awe look it’s a kitty cat,” Sister Ant said. “Well at least we don’t have anything to worry about,” Brother Ant said. “Well maybe we do have something to worry about.” The Antersans started backing up as the cat was licking his lips and coming closer. “W-w-what do you want from us, we’ll give you anything, well apart from our skin and legs and arms an…” “What, I’m not going to eat you, don’t be silly,” the cat said, cutting him off. The ants were very surprised. “I was just wandering if you needed a lift somewhere since you are ants.” “Well we were trying to get to that picnic over there,” said Mama Ant. “But bees started chasing us” the Littlest Ant said feeling quite scared as if he would pee his pants, even though he didn’t have any. “What that wizard picnic over there, sure I’ll take you.” So the Antersans hopped on the cats back and started to head off again.
Chapter #4
“Are we there yet?” the Littlest Ant asked for the second time. “No we are not, can’t you see,” Brother Ant said. “Actually, we are” said the cat. “Thank you” Papa Ant said before the cat ran away. The picnic was massive; there were cookies to ice cream, fruit to sweets, and lots of tasty sandwiches. “Look there are the wizards,” cried the Littlest Ant, and yes he was right. “But which is the one we should choose?” “This one” Sister Ant said. “Hey, Hey!!!” The Wizard looked around, “Down here!!!” she yelled. “Why, it’s a talking ant,” the wizard said. “You’d be surprised if you knew how many animals we know that can talk” thinking about the cat and the worm, dog, squirrel and the birds they knew at home. “Pleased to meet you little ant, what can I do for you and your tiny little family?” he said fixing his glasses. “We want to be turned into humans,” she yelled. “Well I would be delighted to do this for you, but you will remain humans until the crystal orb of the wizards is found.” “Deal,” she said, feeling very excited. “Well then,” the wizard said, “Hocus Pocus, with the power of magic I grant you ants humans of our ancient world.” he said waving his magic wand. The sky filled up with shining light and purple, they had been turned into humans.
Chapter #5
“Wow!!! I have arms, legs, feet and little things that are on my hands!!!” squealed the Littlest Ant. “Thank you wizard” Papa Ant said. The wizards from the picnic vanished and left the Antersans. They started walking on. “This isn’t as fun as when we were ants,” the Littlest Ant said, or child I should say. The slide was shorter because they were bigger now. “Let's go and see what’s in that big place full of buildings” Papa said, heading towards city. It was full of lots and lots of people. "This isn’t as much fun as being ants” the Littlest Child said. “I agree, lets go find that wizard."
Chapter #6
The Antersans started walking, “Are we there yet?” said, well you already know who said it. “No we are not, so stop whinging and start walking,” said Mamma, getting quite frustrated. When they were walking past a big tall tree they heard a “meow”. “Papa look it’s a cat in the tree” said the Littlest Child. “Let's get it down.” So he did. “You’re the cat that took us to the wizards.” “Why yes I am” replied the cat. “Where are you guys heading off to now?” “To find the wizard,” they said. “Oh, would you like me to show you where it is?” asked the cat. “Oh yes, please do” said Mamma. So they followed the cat to the big, tall, dark, black tower in the distance. “Here we are, you might have a hard time getting in, there are lots of dragon guards” said the cat. “Bye bye for now” and he disappeared. They knocked on the door. “Who dares to enter the fortress of the wizards of the city of Parecsell?” “It's us, the Antersans, we want to become ants again,” the Littlest Child said. “You may enter,” replied the wizard.
Chapter #7
“Why are you here?” the wizard said. “We already told you,” said the Littlest Child. “Ah, yes, you want to become ants again, well that might be a bit hard since the crystal orb of the wizards hasn’t been found yet, but there is a twin at the bottom of this castle, but I have never dared to defeat the evil black wizard of darkness, Zoldar, he has powers we don’t know about” finished the wizard. “Well then how do we get it?” asked the sister. “You will have to defeat him yourself, I will show you where the entrance is.” So they followed the wizard to the bottom of the castle. “Are we there yet?” asked you know who. “Yes, yes we are” said the wizard. Fire was coming from the other side of the doors. “I’m going in,” said the sister. "Noooooo don’t go in there,” cried the wizard but it was to late, she had disappeared into the dark, fiery room.
Chapter #8
“Ah, the sister of the lot, I have been expecting you” said Zoldar. “Where is the orb?” “And what orb are you referring to” Zoldar asked. “The wizard orb” she said getting very angry. “You mean this one?” he said holding it up. She went to grab it “ah, ah, ah, you have to defeat me first” he said. Grabbing his wand the fire turned into a dragon. “Meet my friend the fire dragon” he said. The sister thought hard, so hard he thought her brain would explode. Nearby there was a glass of water. She picked it up and splashed the fire dragon. It disappeared. “You may have won this round but you won't win the next” he said as he created a big gust of wind heading towards her. What defeats wind, she thought. Nature of course. She picked up a wand and built a barrier of trees and vines. This will be the hardest she thought. Suddenly a huge black hole came into the centre of the room. It was full of her fears and nightmares. She couldn’t stand listening to the noise, so she cupped her hands over her ears and fell to the ground. “Not so fast” the rest of the family and the wizard burst into the room. “We're gonna kick your butt” said the Littlest Child. They pulled her away from the hole and hid behind a turned over table. Quietly the Littlest Child crept behind Zoldar, stole his wand and broke it. “Nooooooo” cried Zoldar as he disappeared and so did the hole. And what remained of him was the orb.
Chapter  #9
The Littlest Child picked it up. All of the Antersans touched the orb and wished for the same wish, and with a little abracadabra… the room filled with purple and blue, the Antersans were lifted up into the air and shrunk back to the size of ants and became themselves again. “Lets' go home,” the sister said. And so they did.
“Goodbye” said the wizard. The Antersans were going home with the cat. “Goodbye wizard” they said back. “ Mama,” said the Littlest Ant. “Yes dear?” “Are we there yet?”

Arkervery Stowder ... by Liam, aged 10

Are we there yet? thought Samantha, or, to be precise Samantha Gordon. She liked to be precise, it was her thing. Samantha was twelve, she had long brown hair, blue eyes and a perfect nose.
She was in a car.
It was a completely normal English day. Raining,  of course.  Samantha was on her way to school, just an ordinary day. It seemed so normal to her, but that is where she was wrong. This was no ordinary day. This was the day were she would learn about magic. Samantha didn’t know that, no one did.
It was 8:53. She drifted through all of the things that happened that day, past the maths test, past play and lunch. Past all the school stuff. Gazing out of the passenger seat of her parent’s car on her way home, she saw something strange, something unnerving.
“Mum, drop me off here... I-I’ll walk the rest.”
“Honey are you sure?”
“Yeah I want a bit of exercise.”
Samantha’s mum Stephanie pulled over and let Samantha out. What she had seen was a man, a regular man, but he had snapped his fingers together and conjured up a fireball. He had looked up and seen her watching and it died down. The man had the deepest of blue eyes, black hair escaping from under his Trilby hat.
Samantha walked up to the man.
“Do that again.”
“Do what again?”
“You know... click your fingers and summon a flame.”
 “Damn, you saw that” the man muttered.
The man stared a full circle around her, which Samantha found disturbing.
“You can do it too” said the man.
“No I can’t.”
“Yes you can. You just don’t know it. I can see it in your aura.”
“What’s an aura?
“It’s a magical thing that surrounds all living things. Don’t you see it?”
“Ha ha very funny. I’m just here to find out how you did that not to talk about some aura, I need to get home. That fireball, did someone project it onto your hand?“
“We need to talk. I’ll duplicate you.”
“Wait. WHAT??”
The man shoved his right hand out and a duplicate of Samantha appeared out of nowhere.
Samantha shrieked.
“Calm down.”
Samantha took a huge breath and finally shut up. The duplicate of Samantha started to walk away.
“It’ll go to your house and carry on with your life while you’re not there. Now where was I. OK, so do you see auras” said the man.
“Sometimes I see fuzzy things around people. But that doesn’t mean anything.”
“OK she sees auras” muttered the man.
“OK let’s start again, and allow me to introduce myself. My name is Arkervery Stowder. Fifth son of the son of the son of the son of the fifth son of some very famous dude that I forget the name of.”
 “OK I get the point” said Samantha “now do that thing again.”
Arkervery snapped his fingers and a flame started in his hand.
“Wow” whispered Samantha.  
“Now I was in this part of town to get a partner from the Order of First Magic, but it seems I may have already found one.”
“Me, you can’t be serious, can you?”
“I am a serious man.”
“Well I can see that. But maybe it would be fun; I mean there is a tiny, tiny, tiny chance that I would like it.”
“That meaning yes?”
“Well... yes that probably would.”
They walked to Arkervery’s car and drove.
“Were are we going?” asked Samantha.
 “To the Order of First Magic, to find out if they approve of you being my partner, it could take awhile.To pass the time Samantha went to sleep. She had a nightmare.
The giant test tube in the chamber had something mysterious in it. It’s name the Frexling. Its tiny yellow eyes looked up. There inside laid only anger, growing stronger by the second, the only reason that it ever existed was to destroy. Its arms wrapped in bandages, but you could still see the giant muscles rippling out all over its body. A man dressed like a king walked into the chamber, his name Serpivious, a scrawny looking slave following.
“The time has come my lord.” 
“Good... The Frexling has awoken, nothing will stop us now."
Samantha awoke  panting. What was that? she thought. She didn’t want to tell Arkervery, she thought he might worry and quiz her.
They pulled over, Arkervery and Samantha got out. Arkervery led the way down an alley, Samantha following. At the end there was a door. Arkervery opened it beckoning to Samantha to follow. She walked in and gasped.
It was all white tiles, people were walking around in lab coats with clipboards and pens, there were corridors leading out of the giant room to other places, at the far end of the room there was a throne with a person on it, trying to look very important. Samantha took an instant dislike to him.
Two people walked up to Arkervery and Samantha, one a man with brown eyes, brown skin, no hair and two swords strapped to his back. The other, blonde hair, beige skin and a beautiful face, she had a lot of throwing knives strapped all over her body.
“Ahhh...  Samantha meet--”
“Tomb Cryer” said the man in a gruff voice.
“And Taniery Come” said the woman.
“These are my colleagues and friends” said Arkervery.
“Hi I’m Samantha nice to meet the two of you.”
Taniery and Samantha shook hands and then so did Samantha and Tomb.
After some convincing the man in the throne agreed to let Samantha become Arkervery’s partner, apparently his name was Shleep Jones which Samantha found hilarious.
Suddenly the lights went out.
“Power failure?" tried Arkervery.
There was a roar and then a giant bandaged hand swooped out of nowhere and picked Samantha up, then it was gone.
Samantha found herself in an abandoned castle, her vision was blurry but she could just make out a man walking towards her.
“Hello sweetheart” said the man in a crude, twisted voice. ”You are here and now Arkervery will be coming. But he won’t save you, I can promise you that, oh, my I have forgotten to introduce myself. My name is Serpivious Cainv, the to-be destroyer of the Order of First Magic, now I shall reveal my plan. I enjoy this you see, to reveal my plan to give the opponent a sliver of hope and then wrench it just out of their grasp.
“So when the great Arkervery Stowder comes to your rescue he will fail, naturally, and then I shall release the great Frexling upon the Order of First Magic, and then the Order shall be mine and I shall be so powerful that I could do literally anything!" 

Arkervery had followed the giant monster to the castle in his van with Taniery Come and Tomb Cryer. The giant monster had gone in to the castle and obviously put Samantha inside, now it was standing guard outside the castle. Arkervery knew it was a trap. But he had to save Samantha; he was the one who had got her into this mess.
The van pulled over just out of sight of the monster. Arkervery, Taniery and Tomb hopped out of the van.
“How do we get around it?” asked Taniery.
“We don’t.” Whispered Arkervery “It would sense us coming. It’s a Frexling.”
Crap. We have to fight It.” muttered Tomb.
“One the count of three” said Arkervery “One... Two... Three!”
They all jumped out from hiding, but the Frexling was the first to act, it whipped around sending a giant fist straight for Arkervery’s face. He flew backwards smashing into the castle wall. Taniery slashed at the Frexling’s leg while Tomb took his swords from his back. Arkervery recovered quickly, drawing twin revolvers from the inside of his coat, firing a dozen bullets at point blank range, each bullet smashing square between the Frexling’s eyes, but having no effect.
Tomb jumped up driving his swords into each of the Frexling’s eyes. The creature howled out in pain and reared around and Tomb dropped his swords still in the Frexling’s eyes.
Arkervery clicked his fingers summoning a flame climbing up the Frexling and stuffing it into the Frexling’s heart. Its heart started to throb, literal heart burn. It tumbled to the ground.
Arkervery loaded his guns, burned the castle gates and strolled in. He found Serpivious in the king’s chamber. He had two guns pointed at Serpivious’ head.
“You’re under arrest”. Serpivious tried to turn around and fight, but the bullets had already pierced his skull.
Samantha's mind whirred as it thought through the things that had now happened that day, past the fireball, past the Duplicate, past the white roomed Order of Magic, past becoming a Partner of Magic, past the abduction, past the slaying of the Frexling and Serpivious.  Definitely time to get home.
So much for my ordinary day!

The Teafall tree ... by Pearl, aged 11

“Are we there yet?” Michael whined to his mother.
“Does it look like we’re there yet?” she spat back at him. 
“No.” Michael groaned from the back seat of the car. 
“Anna, chill your grill!  It’s been three hours. Just relax.” a voice said from the driver’s seat,  “We’re almost there.”

All the noise woke up Eliza. She had fallen asleep whilst listening to her iPod. She brushed her golden hair out of her eyes and quickly picked up her phone, turned on the camera and looked at her face in horror.  Michael was giggling so hard when Eliza let out a helpless wail. Michael had drawn an ugly moustache on her face with a black texta.

“Mum!” Eliza yelped, “Look at what Michael did to me!”
Anna turned around and saw Eliza’s face.
“Tony!” She gasped and Eliza’s Dad stopped to pull over and looked at her face.
“Oh, Michael.” he sighed, “Why?”

“Well, she was sleeping and...I just couldn’t resist!” Michael replied, still laughing.
“Eliza, go get some water in the park and wash it off,” Tony said. Eliza stomped off into the park towards the taps and madly scrubbed her face with her sleeve, until it hurt too much to continue.

She took her phone out of her pocket to look again, there was a huge red mark above her lip and a faint black moustache, it was an improvement, but it didn’t stop Eliza from wanting to strangle her brother.

As she left the park she saw a sign that read ‘North Teafall Park’ Eliza began to run out, grinning ear to ear.  When she got out she squealed, “We’re here!”
“Well, Yeah.”  Tony said, “I didn’t just stop so you could wash your face.” Eliza turned to give Michael a ‘death stare’ but he was already running towards a giant tree.

“Eliza, can you please go get Michael. “ Anna asked “We need to go find our holiday house.”
“Fine.”  Eliza groaned, and stomped off towards the tree. 

North Teafall was a quiet little town; the houses looked more like cottages and the gardens outside them were very well kept, daisies, roses and so many more beautiful flowers were blooming in the emerald grass.

Eliza walked up to the tree to find Michael, but she couldn’t see her brother anywhere. 
Eliza screamed and stepped back, only to trip over a large branch.
“Michael!” she screamed.
“Na, Na,” Michael taunted, “You can’t catch me!”
“Michael!” Eliza shouted even louder, “Get back here!” she yelled as he started to climb up the ancient tree.
“I bet you can’t catch me!” Michael teased.
Eliza sighed, reached up to grab the nearest branch and pulled herself up. She stood up on the next branch so she could reach the one above her, once she got to the very top Eliza grabbed Michael and pulled him down by the ear.
Eliza stopped only one step down from the top to see that Michael hadn’t moved.
“Do you want me to take this ear off?”  Eliza growled.
There was a loud snap and Eliza looked down at her feet.  The branch below her had snapped!  They must have been twenty metres from the ground.
“Michael!” Eliza screamed as she fell from the branch, “Help!”
Eliza fell with a thud and she felt extremely dizzy, the last thing she saw was Michael running towards her.

Eliza woke up still underneath the tree, but Michael was nowhere in sight.  She expected him to jump out any moment. 
“Michael?” she called, “Where are you?”
But instead of Michael jumping out, a little red car pushed itself into the park. Three people stepped out; a tall man with brown hair, a woman of average height with shoulder length black hair and a young boy with brown hair.  It was Eliza’s family.
But wait, Eliza thought, didn’t they get here with me?
The boy who looked like Michael began to run towards her.
“Michael!” Eliza shouted, “Why did you leave me?”  The boy looked confused.
“Um, who are you?” the boy asked.
“I’m Eliza, you dimwit!” she replied, “and you’re Michael, my little brother!”
“I don’t have a sister” Michael stuttered.
“Sure you do! I’m her! Mum and Dad want you to be back, now!” she said angrily.
The man who looked like Tony came up to the tree where they were standing and grabbed Michael’s arm.
“C’mon, Michael” he said.
“Dad!” Eliza called, “You remember me, right?”
The man looked confused, too.
“I don’t have a daughter,” he said.
Tony’s words stabbed like knives. Surely he had to remember her. Eliza was his daughter!
“Wh-What?”  Eliza stuttered, but the man and his son were already walking away.


Eliza had been walking for an hour. She had nowhere to go, as her family did not remember her.  She had practically seen all of North Teafall; the farms, the shops, the parks and everything else.

Eliza pondered every possibility for the incident. Somehow they all got amnesia, she hit her head so hard that she couldn’t understand what everyone was saying or, she was just dreaming.  The last one seemed the most likely for Eliza, but it just seemed so real.

Eliza kept walking, just thinking about what she could do until a big, yellow sign stopped her. It read ‘South Teafall’. 

This place was nothing like North Teafall, it had factories, smog clouds, tunnels, bridges and cars everywhere, the only thing that looked bright and cheery was a small shop called ‘Jimmy’s Rent-a-bike’.

It was getting late but Eliza needed more time to think, she went towards the shop and rang the bell on the counter. To be honest it looked more like a lemonade stand than a bike store.

“How can I help you?”  A tall, brown haired man with a bushy moustache said from the counter.
“How much to rent a bike for an hour?”  Eliza asked.
“Just five dollars”, he said, “We don’t get much business around here so we make it cheap”.
“Okay,” Eliza said, “I’ll take one.”
“Okay I’ll be right back with that.”  The man smiled.  Then he walked out the back of the stand, 2 minutes later he came back with a sky blue, vintage bike. 
“Thanks,” Eliza said, still quite glum about her family.
“Why the long face?” the man asked as he wheeled the blue bike out of the stand.
“This is going to sound crazy,” Eliza sighed, “but, nobody remembers me.”  The man looked somewhat scared, she expected him to laugh but instead he just stared, he made a face like he was thinking, but all the while he didn’t take his eyes off Eliza.
“When you come back,” he said, “I have something for you.”
Eliza smiled her thanks and rode off on the bike.
She thought of all the series of events that could have led to her being erased from everyone's memory, she washed her face, she chased Michael up the tree, she fell, and then they all forgot.


When she got back, the man was still there, waiting for somebody to come.
“Good” he said, “You’re back.” Eliza nodded.
“I can help you with your problem,” He said and Eliza frowned, “Name’s Jimmy.”
He said. “Come,” Eliza left five dollars on the counter and followed.

Jimmy led her to the tree in the park where she fell.
“Were you here when it happened?” he asked, “When they all forgot?”
“Yes,” Eliza replied, unsure of what to think, “How did you know?”
Jimmy smiled, “When I was your age I climbed the Teafall tree, “I fell from way up there,” he said pointing to the exact branch where Eliza fell, “When I woke up, I was completely forgotten.” he sighed,” but I learned a thing or two.” Jimmy walked up to a hollow in the tree and said something in a weird language that Eliza did not understand, then he sang a poem into the tree:

Oh tree, Oh tree
Show us the light
Oh tree, Oh tree
We don’t want to fight,
Oh tree, Oh tree,
Show us your people,
Oh tree, Oh tree,
Without any wheeple.

Jimmy repeated the poem and stood back, as if expecting something to happen, and it did.  The hollow lit up and green sparks blasted out, Eliza and Jimmy stepped back so they didn’t get hit.  Eliza closed her eyes in case the light blinded her.  The light died down and Eliza opened her eyes and looked beside her, she expected to see Jimmy, but instead Michael was by her side and shouting at his mum and dad to come closer. She had been asleep. Had it all been a dream?


The next day Eliza took her family to Jimmy’s rent-a-bike. Eliza skipped up and sat on the counter.
“Oi, off the counter!” Jimmy growled. Eliza smiled and looked up at Jimmy, he smiled back.
“Thank you.” Eliza said