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Ice creams! Get your ice creams!
It's a lovely sunny day!
I don't think I'm fooling anyone. Have you ever told a little lie?
How about a big one?
Well, I bet it's not as big as the whopper that starts off this brilliant book, Cosmic.
Liam, he's the boy who's told the whopper,
leaves this phone message for his mum and dad.
"Mum, Dad, if you're listening,
"you know I said I was going to the South Lakeland Outdoor Activity Centre with the school?
"To be completely honest, I'm not exactly in the Lake District.
"To be completely honest, I'm more sort of... in space.
"I'm on this rocket, the Infinite Possibility.
"I'm about 200,000 miles above the surface of the Earth."
Yep, you heard right, Liam is supposed to be on a school trip.
Instead, he's on a rocket.
A rocket with a kind of intergalactic ice cream van attached to it.
-In space! Imagine how he must be feeling.
What?! Argh! Argh!
Argh! Wargh! I guess, a little bit like this! Argh! Argh!!
Liam only gets to go on the rocket cos he's so tall he tells everyone he's a grown-up.
I know, another lie!
But can you blame him?
I mean, look at that!
Liam says it better than me.
"When you're in it, space looks like the biggest fireworks display ever,
"except it's on pause. It looks like freeze-frame fireworks.
"Even if you're completely doomed, you've got to be impressed."
Is Liam doomed? He's on a rocket being sucked into the moon's orbit
and almost certainly going to end up circling in space for ever.
I'd say that's pretty high on the doom-ometer.
Oh, and I nearly forgot, Liam's not alone up there.
The first five kids ever to go into space are on the rocket with him.
Of course, really there are six, but Liam's pretending to be an adult, remember?
One of the other kids, Florida, she's got her own reasons for being on board.
She's thinks that going into space will make her a world famous celebrity.
A word of warning - if you read this book you will want to go into space.
But you'll find out there's a lot of training involved.
Liam and the others have to find out what it's like to be weightless, so they all go on the Vomit Comet!
Want to know why it's called that? I'll leave it to your imagination.
The book's not about boggly-eyed aliens and UFOs flying all over the place, there's real facts in it.
There's even a real astronaut, Mr Alan Bean, he was the fourth man to walk on the moon.
That's right, Mr Bean has walked on the moon!
Once the rocket mission's gone wrong, it's just the five kids,
a hi-tech ice cream van, that's another problem all together,
and everyone hoping that Liam can get them home.
After all, they think he's a grown-up,
and he is having to grow up, fast!
But lost in the universe, Liam can't help thinking of his dad.
"When you're a kid you think your dad can do anything. It's different now.
"If you ask me now if I think Dad's going to pop up at the controls of this rocket,
"200,000 miles above the surface of the Earth, and fly us back to Bootle, I'd say... probably not.
"I suppose that means I'm not a kid any more."
I really hate it when you're about to start a book and then someone tells you the ending.
Like if I was to tell you that at the end of this book, Liam ends up living on Mars.
Ha-ha! Only joking.
It's Venus! No, no, it isn't.
It is! No, no, no, it's not. Or is it?
I think that when you read a book, it becomes part of you, it's locked away in your brain
and then years later, bits of it can pop into your head when you least expect it.
If I were some sort of stuffy professor, I'd probably say, "We are the books we read!"
But I'm not, so I won't.
Of course, the only way to find out if Liam makes it home
is to read the book. I think you'll like it. And that's not a lie.
Right, let's try this again.
On second thoughts, I'll just get a burger.
I'm out here in some very spooky woods with a fantastic book.
And do you want to know why?
-Stick around and you'll find out more. Mummy!
We're all a bit naughty sometimes, aren't we?
You should meet this girl. She's called My Naughty Little Sister.
My Naughty Little Sister is the number one expert
at getting into trouble and this is a whole book of stories all about her.
She could be at the funfair, in the garden,
fishing or even at the dentist.
But wherever she is, she's usually making mischief,
making a mess or causing chaos, usually at the same time.
Now, the thing is, she's not trying to be deliberately bad,
she just wants to have a bit of fun.
And we all know how that feels, don't we?
I used to read these stories, almost every night.
It's probably one of my favourite books from when I was younger.
The stories are told by an older sister
and I like the funny way they show the new responsibility of having a younger sister,
because even though we all love our younger brother and sisters,
we all know they can be a real pain sometimes too.
I have two sisters, one twin sister and one 11-year-old sister.
The 11-year-old's quite sensible, quite well-behaved,
but I think me and the twin were the naughty ones.
Yeah, we were definitely the naughty ones.
In one of my favourite stories, at a birthday party,
My Naughty Little Sister and her best friend, Bad Harry,
sneak away from the other children to have a look at a delicious trifle decorated with sweets.
"'Ring-a-ring-a-roses,' sang the good party children.
"'Nice jelly sweets,' said My Naughty Little Sister.
"'Nice silver balls.' And she looked at that terribly Bad Harry and he looked at her.
"'Take one,' said that naughty boy, and My Naughty Little Sister did take one,
"she took a red jelly sweet from the top of the trifle.
"Before long, that trifle was disappearing fast,
"because once My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry started eating, they found they couldn't stop.
"They took a spoon each and scraped off the creamy stuff and ate it
"and then they began to eat the nice, spongy inside.
"Bad Harry said, 'Now we've made the trifle look so untidy,
"'no-one else will want any, so we may as well eat it all up.'
"So they dug away into the spongy inside of the trifle and found lots of nice fruit bits inside.
"It was a very big trifle, but those greedy children ate and ate.
"Then, just as they had nearly finished the whole big trifle,
"the ring-a-rose-ing stopped and Bad Harry's mother called,
"'Where are you two? We're ready for tea.'
"Then My Naughty Little Sister was very frightened."
I don't blame her. I mean, how's she supposed to explain all that?
And how am I going to explain this?! SHE SIGHS
I still love to read a lot and I think that all started
because I was reading a lot of books when I was growing up.
It's great when you find a book like My Naughty Little Sister
when you read about a character you actually recognise.
And I'm sure the more you read, you'll find a book about a character who's just like you.
When I was little I used to have a friend just like Bad Harry.
We used to get into all kinds of mischief.
And I think that's another reason
I used to relate to the stories so well.
A lot of the stories are about ordinary days
and the kind I remember when you're stuck indoors, or you're not
very well, or you're playing in the garden by yourself.
And then, before you know it, you're off having an adventure just
like My Naughty Little Sister, and who knows where that'll take you?
Mmm, looks so tasty, doesn't it?
I just don't understand what's going on.
But I know who'll get the blame for it.
You know, I really need to take some more tips
from My Naughty Little Sister!
Cannonballs pounded into the water,
making the ship rock with each blast.
A missile whizzed overhead and smashed into one of the topsails.
Nat Carver and his pet dog, Woody, are in trouble.
Running for their lives trouble.
Hair-raising fangs and evil monsters trouble!
And it's all in this great book here - Wolven.
Although I might have said Woody was Nat's pet dog
that was only half true.
He has white fur, strange yellow eyes and he doesn't bark he howls.
On a full moon he changes into a boy.
So he might be Nat's pet, but he's definitely no dog.
He's Wolven a shape-shifting wolf,
one of a very special race of animals.
And he might end up being the last!
Nat discovers Woody's run away from a top secret government project,
and some very scary people are determined to get him back.
And when I say very scary people, what I actually mean is werewolves.
Why do they want Woody so much? He might look like a scruffy mongrel,
with breath that smells of old pancakes.
And that's because he is!
But Woody is also Wolven, a legendary creature,
a fearless, intelligent, telepathic warrior.
Yeah, that's right, I forgot to mention Woody's telepathic
he can read people's minds.
And all this makes him very valuable to evil scientist, Dr Gruber.
Gruber wants to create a new creature,
coming the ancient skills of the Wolven, with the cruelty
of the werewolves and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
He wants Woody back at the secret project, whatever it takes.
What I really like is that there are funny moments and scary
moments, there's bits where you're on the edge of your seat,
and there's a chase going and you're like, "Go on, Nat, go on, Woody!"
Then there's other really funny scenes,
I think one of my favourites was when Nat enters Woody into a dog show,
and he causes absolute chaos.
And I think it might be the only book, as far as I remember,
where a farmer's wife uses her big bottom to take on a werewolf,
and wins it's brilliant!
I think everyone can relate to Wolven,
because one of the main morals within it is friendship
and everyone has either got that Nat or Woody in their life.
And I also have my own pet dog, Bella, and I might not have had to
save her from werewolves, but I've definitely helped her in other ways.
And although the book's full of adventure and mystery, ultimately
it's all about helping each other and looking out for one another.
This is one of my favourite parts in the book.
Nat and Woody are now on the run in the creepy East Woods.
Nat's exhausted but he knows he mustn't stop
because those werewolves aren't far behind.
Nat's feeling of claustrophobia increased.
In the unhealthy, humid atmosphere, his skin felt clammy
and itchy, as if insects were crawling all over him.
His backpack seemed to get heavier, and the tiny pinpricks of sunlight
flickered through the trees and into his eyes, almost hypnotising him.
Nat's eyelids began to droop.
WOLVES ANSWER HIS HOWL
The voices of werewolves brought Woody back to Nat's side,
his nostrils flaring, his eyes molten,
hackles as stiff as stalagmites.
"We're so dead," cried Nat.
"There's two of them."
Woody tore off ahead, then came back, then tore off again.
Nat gave a small sob of defeat. He was all but done in.
He doubted if Woody could take on two werewolves and win.
"I can't run as fast as you,"
he said. "You go on, I'll try my best to keep up."
Woody ran behind Nat, pushing him with his body,
then ran up ahead, yipping and whining.
Nat took a deep, shaky breath.
"I cant do it," he said, sulkily, "I'm too tired."
It was as though someone had lit fireworks beneath Nat's feet.
His tiredness evaporated at the chilling howl,
and he took off behind Woody as fast as a ballistic missile.
Branches tore at him,
blood mixing with the sweat running down his face.
He was aware of nothing except his heart
pumping the blood around his body,
and the rhythm of his feet flying across the soft floor of the wood.
Books are just a great conversation starter,
if you just met someone and you're like, "All right?"
Just bring up at book, even if they haven't read it,
explain to them, get them to want to read it,
and you can go, "You know what?
"I've done a good job."
Reading's just great all round and if you don't love reading,
you, my friends, people watching, you're missing out!
Cos reading is the best and you pick up a good book,
and you'll get lost in it,
and when you get lost in a book you're on to a winner.
What do you think will happen to Nat and Woody?
Will they destroy the secret government project
before it destroys them?
Sometimes with a story, it's best not to know what's round the corner.
SOMETHING GROWLS But with this book you can guarantee
it's probably something really horrible!
Time for you to get reading.
Time for me to get out of here!
Stay where you are, because coming up I'll tell you
about a boy from Africa, whose life is going to change for ever.
I love adventures! So does the hero of this book, Sam Silver.
Imagine this one day Sam's sat in his bedroom above his parents'
fish and chip shop, polishing his gold doubloon.
The next he's time-travelled backwards 300 years to a ship.
Shiver me timbers! Me too! And not just any ship.
A pirate ship! The Sea Wolf.
Better keep an eye out some pirates think
girls bring bad luck to a ship.
I don't want to end up walking the plank!
But then again Sam's a boy and the crew
don't exactly give him a warm welcome either.
At first, Sam thinks this must all be a weird joke.
More pirates were gathering round.
A short, stout man stomped up, his wooden leg thumping on the deck.
He pulled at Sam's t-shirt, with its picture of
a Formula 1 racing car, and peered at his jeans and trainers.
"Strap me, they be strange clothes."
"Not as strange as yours," laughed Sam.
"Maybe he's a spy for the Governor," sneered Fernando.
"Or a thief," called a gruff voice.
"Throw him overboard," shouted the short, stout man.
"That's right, Mr Hopp," said Fernando.
The crew pressed forwards.
To Sam's horror, he suddenly found himself bundled onto the rail
and staring down at the deep water below.
This joke wasn't so funny any more.
"Avast!" barked Captain Blade. "We'll hear his story first."
"Aye, Captain," said Harry Hopp, with a nasty grin.
"The sharks won't mind waiting."
The pirates are all set to throw Sam overboard
as a tasty lunchtime snack.
Until he shows them a treasure map
from his pirate ancestor, Joseph Silver.
The tiniest chance of treasure changes everything.
Now Sam's not shark food he's an honorary crew member.
He's a fellow buccaneer! He's a pirate!
I've always wondered what it would feel like to be a pirate.
And this book really gives you that experience.
You really feel like you're up in the crow's nest,
and climbing the rigging,
and sailing the ship through the dangerous seas.
There are some wicked characters in the story.
There's Abel Wagstaff, who's bit of an ancient sea dog,
probably the oldest sailor in the Caribbean.
And then there's Sinbad, the most fearsome in the crew,
and he eats rats.
I've met some pretty scary creatures in my time,
but I reckon pirates are in my top ten.
If you're thinking that pirate
stories are all about boys - forget it!
In this story, you'll see that girls
make brave and tough pirates too.
Ship ahoy! The Grinning Skull!
Just as well because when your deadliest enemies are out
on the ocean ready to do battle, you're gonna need all hands on deck.
Now this is my kind of adventure!
As Sam climbed down the rigging to help,
his heart hammered in his chest with fear.
They were being chased by the most villainous pirate crew
to sail the Caribbean.
Until this adventure, the scariest thing he'd ever done was to
play Attack Of The Deadly Zargons, on his computer.
But this was real.
This was totally real, and about to get very dangerous too.
The Sea Wolf began to turn, but it was taking too long.
The Grinning Skull was bearing down on them,
and ripples of fear were running through the crew. Boom!
The sound of the enemy cannon made Sam feel as
if all his teeth had come loose in his head.
It was even louder than the time the oven had exploded at home,
and they'd had to call the fire brigade.
Cannonballs pounded into the water,
making the ship rock with each blast.
A missile whizzed over their heads,
and smashed into one of the topsails.
The sail was ripped from its tether and flapped uselessly.
"Get that repaired," ordered the Captain.
"We need all the sail we can muster."
I really like reading, because I love my imagination being exercised,
and taken to places that I wouldn't be able to go in real life,
and meeting people that I've never met before.
Whenever I read a book,
I like to think about which character I would like to be.
I suppose my favourite character in this book is the girl
she's really feisty, and she's got guts, and that's what I like.
She's also got a massive secret, but I just can't tell you
what that is, so I'm going to keep my mouth shut, and let you find out.
I really like books that take me on an adventure, like going through
space and meeting aliens, or going the jungle
and meeting crazy animals,
or even going through the oceans and meeting some fearless pirates.
Why don't you find a story that
takes you on your favourite adventure?
If you grab a copy of the first Sam Silver book - Skeleton Island,
then you can join Sam and his pirate crew as they search
for Joseph Silver's treasure, and go on some amazing pirate adventures.
Talking of which, time for me to go home.
Er, where are the crew?
Everyone around you has a story if you just stop and ask them
and books are a brilliant way to discover some of those stories.
Stories like Alem's, in this book, called Refugee Boy.
Alem's mother is from Eritrea, a country in Africa,
and Alem's father is from Ethiopia, the country just over the border.
When a war breaks out between these two countries, neither place
is safe for Alem and his parents.
Alem is just 14,
and is in real danger.
Alem looked on terrified as the soldier shot a number
of bullets into the floor around the feet of his mother and father.
His father screamed with fear.
"Please, leave us!
"We only want peace."
The soldier continued shouting, "Are you Eritrean or Ethiopian?
"Tell us, we want to know."
"I am an African," Alem's mother replied.
The soldier raised his rifle, and pointed it at Alem's mother.
"You are a traitor."
He turned and pointed the rifle at Alem's father.
"And he is the enemy."
Then he turned and pointed the rifle at Alem's forehead.
"And he is a mongrel."
With hatred and war all around them,
Alem's dad does something very brave.
He brings Alem to Britain and leaves him here
so he won't die in the fighting back at home.
Britain isn't Alem's home so he must become a refugee here
and that life is hard.
Full of shocks
and new experiences, appearing in court in front of judges,
having his fingerprints taken and questions.
Questions all the time.
Then there's new lessons at the new school. New people, new music.
Even the diet is new.
Meet and two veg and gravy just to keep the food wet.
But Alem does get a new foster family here where
I am in Manor Park in East London.
These are the streets that Alem walks taking it one
day at a time but never forgetting everything he has left behind.
Alem missed seeing animals that weren't just pets.
He missed the sounds of home, he missed the smell of its earth,
the smell of its people and even the smell of its cities.
But the home Alem loves is a war zone.
Suddenly, he can't believe it.
Alem discovers his new home - Britain - may be about to send him back there.
While Alem is facing all of these new challenges, he's slowly
starting to make new friends.
I really like this part of the book, with Alem
and his foster sister, Ruth.
Alem shows Ruth a photo of him and his parents.
"How old were you when this was taken?"
she asked, looking at the happiness on the faces.
"12," Alem replied.
"Do you have any more photos?"
"'No, just that one, and that one is wearing out because it has
"been in my bag, in my pockets, under my pillow, and I keep holding it."
"Come here and watch me," Ruth said, smiling.
Alem stood over her as she booted up the computer and began to work.
Her speed and expertise astounded him.
Within 20 minutes, she had scanned in the photo
and made it into his desktop image.
"There you go"' she said, leaning back to admire her handiwork.
"From now on, every time you boot up your computer,
"that's what you'll get."
Alem thought it was wonderful.
I really wanted to read that part of the book to you because this story
is about acceptance, for Alem to be accepted as part of Britain but,
in that particular section, Alem gets accepted by his foster sister, Ruth.
And from that moment onwards, their relationship does blossom.
So this book might seem like a serious read
but I assure you it's not.
It's full of humour,
and the roller-coaster ride that you go on with Alem.
It's definitely, definitely one to read.
Alem is honest and brave. He fights to stay alive.
He fights back. So do his new friends, here in Manor Park.
So if you read Refugee Boy, you can meet Alem
and discover the rest of his story yourself.
I think that's why books are so fantastic.
Because the stories of extraordinary people.
People I bet you see around you every day.
And you're one of those people too.
So, after reading someone else's story,
why not sit down and write one of your own?
A story about you.
If you love stories about giant, hairy, squelchy, fuzzy monsters,
then stick around!
I think they're lurking around here somewhere.
This great book is called The Kick Off.
It's all about a boy called Jamie Johnson.
Jamie Johnson is completely nuts about football.
He loves it and I know how he feels!
When you play for England and Team GB like me
you find yourself thinking about football every minute of the day.
Just can't help it!
Jamie dreams of the big time too
but first of all, he needs to make it into his school football team.
Reading this book, I can tell that Jamie's got lots of natural
ability. He's got a good left foot.
But to make it to the top, it's not enough to just be good,
he needs total dedication.
And that's tough when he still needs to go to parties,
go out with his friends and pass his exams.
At the start of the story, Jamie's not having much luck.
It's the trials for the Kingfield school team. Jamie's all set
to take a penalty but a divot in the pitch makes him
completely lose his balance.
Here's someone else who loves football to tell you how he gets on.
As he was falling to the ground,
he flung his foot towards the ball so desperately,
so violently, that his left boot actually flew off his foot.
It shot right up into the air. Jamie yelled out in horror.
His boot rocketed skywards, doing somersaults as it went.
Meanwhile, the ball that should have been
flying into the back of the net was rolling slowly and painfully
along the ground towards the goalkeeper's waiting hands.
Jamie could not believe it. This was his worst nightmare.
He started to hear something behind him. It was laughter.
He turned around and saw that all the players on both sides
were laughing at him.
Can you imagine how embarrassing that must be?
And in a trial game too?
But Jamie's obsessed, remember? He's not going to give up.
Jamie puts a lot of pressure on himself, sometimes he scores,
sometimes he misses and I know how that feels.
It's all worth it when you're winning
and when you're winning, it's an incredible feeling.
When I was younger, I loved football but I also loved reading.
I'd spend all my time training but it didn't stop me
getting into some great books.
Jamie's granddad used to be a pro himself.
He gave Jamie this scrapbook that he once used.
It's packed full of tips and exercises to improve every aspect of your game.
Jamie spends the whole summer practising everything in it
and soon he's playing out of his skin.
Books and football, great combination!
Jamie's had some good matches.
Like this one when his school team, Kingfield, met St Anthony's.
Score so far? 1-1 draw.
Until Jamie comes alive on the pitch.
Slaloming in and out of the desperate tackles,
Jamie's feet wove a spell as they sped forward.
Soon he'd single-handedly beaten practically all the defenders
St Anthony's had on the pitch.
Now he was through, one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Marcusfield was desperately calling for the ball
but Jamie couldn't hear him.
Or at least he wasn't listening.
Jamie looked at the keeper and drew his foot back for a venomous strike.
Then, at the very last minute, just as his boot was about to
swipe through the ball, he checked and stopped dead.
The goalkeeper had gone for it
though. He'd bought the dummy and dived.
For a second, Jamie felt like the only player on the pitch.
There he was all alone in front of an empty goal with the ball
at his feet and the goalkeeper left sprawled on the ground.
There was nothing left to do but pass it into the net.
It was 2-1 to Kingfield, thanks to the best goal Jamie had ever scored.
Becoming a great footballer isn't easy.
Some of the kids don't think Jamie can do it
but he's determined to prove them wrong.
He wants to be the best. What do you think?
Can he do it?
The only way to find out is to get stuck in and start reading.
I think reading books is a great thing to do so grab a book
and get reading.
Wow, today has gone so quickly.
I've been reading this brilliant book.
It's called Nelly The Monster Sitter.
I just can't put it down!
So this book is all about Nelly. She is super smart.
She's realised there's a reason why you never see monsters out and about.
They're all stuck at home.
They can't get babysitters.
Nelly's solution is very simple.
She decides she's going to become a monster sitter.
But, you know, looking after monsters isn't an easy task.
For a start, the monster parents living in each house
come in all shapes and sizes and I really do mean all shapes and sizes.
At number 55, Nelly meets a couple of slimy Squurms
called Dollop and Splat.
They were like slugs, giant, orange, upright slugs,
with moist, glistening bodies and wet, foaming mouths.
All over their heads, soft, yellow eyes nestled like egg yolks.
And from their cheeks, stiff, black whiskers bristled
like burnt sparklers.
They seemed very pleased to see Nelly.
"Give us a squonk, Nelly the Monster Sitter!" gurgled Splat.
Nelly braced herself as two spaghetti-like feelers suddenly
sprang from the Squurm's chest and planted themselves on Nelly's nose.
Nelly's face tingled with cold as two more feelers sprung
forward from Dollop's shoulders and fastened themselves to her cheeks.
She'd never been kissed Squurm style before.
It was like having your face pressed into a bowl full of cold jelly.
The great thing about this book is it gets you to really
think about monsters as normal people so now when I'm
walking down my road, I'm imagining that maybe there's a couple of
monsters live there and if I did see like a green, slimy tentacle coming
out of a letter box, I wouldn't be so hasty to run away and scream.
I'd probably think they might be quite nice.
They might be like the Water Greeps.
What I love about Nelly is that she's so brave
and even though her sister, Asti, is really critical of everything
she does, Nelly kind of stands up for herself and she stands
up for the monsters as well. I really like that, that she sticks
up for other people which is quite difficult sometimes but she does it!
Green, prickly, fuzzy, purple, massive, hairy, squelchy.
Every job and every monster is different.
Imagine a dog with five tails, six legs and two tongues.
That's Glug, one of the monsters Nelly has to look after.
Nelly tries playing fetch with Glug, but it isn't too successful.
Nelly jumped back in alarm as Glug's jaws
clamped down ferociously onto the branch and his head began to shake.
His jaws shook with such force,
his two orange tongues actually blurred into one.
In a slobbering, slavering frenzy of snarls,
he reduced the branch to sawdust.
Nelly stood motionless in the garden for a moment,
trying to banish thoughts of what jaws like that could do to
her legs should Glug become prematurely peckish.
Still, at least Nelly knows it's nearly Glug's dinnertime!
With a twist of her wrist she peered down at her watch.
It was 6.45. Alligator chunks.
Alligator chunks in 15 minutes, she smiled.
Alligator chunks? Urghh.
Course, monsters eating you is one thing,
but when Glug runs away, Nelly knows she's in even bigger trouble.
Imagine telling two monster parents that you've
lost their precious baby.
I loved being read aloud to when I was little and I remember my mum
and dad were really good at doing different voices.
And then I went to my friend's house and her dad read us
the same book but he didn't do the voices. I was really disappointed.
What I love about reading is you imagine a character one way
and somebody else might imagine it differently. It's up to the
reader to decide how the character talks and what they look like.
Nelly keeps a secret diary of all her monster-sitting jobs.
Which she makes sure her snotty sister Asti never finds.
And in this book, there's a great map showing where all the monsters live.
When I started this book, I imagined Nelly would be terrified!
Ooh, thank you...
But in fact, every time she goes monster-sitting,
she has an amazing adventure.
I mean, the monsters may be green, prickly, fuzzy, purple,
massive, hairy, ugly and squelchy.
But do you know what?
They're actually really lovely and you soon get used to them.
I know I have. Get your tentacle off the cushion!
She's the star of this fantastic book
by Jacqueline Wilson, called Lizzie Zipmouth.
I'm reading Tom's Midnight Garden. What a fantastic book. Here's Tom.
Now, Tom's staying at his aunt and uncle's flat.
He's lonely, he's bored and right now, he's lying awake in the
middle of the night stuck listening to the crazy old grandfather clock
downstairs striking all the wrong hours as usual.
11, 12. "Fancy striking midnight twice in one night," jeered Tom, sleepily.
13, proclaimed the clock. Then stopped striking. 13.
Tom's mind gave a jerk. Had it really struck 13?
Of course, there is no such time as 13.
The stillness had become an expectant one.
The house seemed to hold its breath.
The darkness pressed up to him, pressing him with the question,
"Come on, Tom, the clock has struck 13.
"What are you going to do about it?"
I'll tell you what Tom did about it.
He rushes downstairs and he checks the grandfather clock and whilst
he does this, he opens a door that he's never bothered with before.
Why would she? It just leads out to a small yard full of rubbish and bins.
But not tonight.
Tonight, that door opens into a garden, a huge, beautiful garden.
The type that is filled with trees to climb,
places to explore, adventures to have around every corner.
And now, that garden is Tom's to visit every single night.
But only when the time was exactly right.
I loved this book when I first read it.
And I suppose I was a little bit like Tom, you know,
always looking for adventures, easily bored.
Tom had to keep this book a secret, I'm not sure
if I could have done that.
I really would have wanted to show off the garden to my friends.
It's amazing how the writer describes all the adventures in the garden in
so much detail. It's like you get to know the garden as well as Tom does.
It's like it's your own personal place and I wouldn't mind that.
Ade's Midnight Garden. How cool would that be?
Tom gets frustrated
because he can't open any of the doors in the Midnight Garden.
But he's not going to let that stop him.
He tries pushing hard against one of the solid wooden doors.
Now, if he can't open it, Tom's going to try going through it!
At first, the body came through evenly from top to bottom.
Then, the upper part seemed to stop,
and the bottom part came through in its entirety, legs first.
Then one arm came through, then another.
Finally, everything was through except the head.
The truth was that Tom was now a little lacking in courage.
The passing through the door of so much of his body had not been
without enormous effort and peculiar,
if indescribable, sensations.
"I'm just resting a minute," said Tom's head,
on the garden side of the door,
yet he knew that he was really delaying because he was nervous.
His stomach, for instance,
had felt most uncomfortable as it passed through the door.
What would the experience be like for his head, his eyes, his ears?
Pushing your head through a door?
I told you this was an unusual garden.
And here's another puzzler.
Night after night, Tom spends hours
and hours exploring the garden. But when he hurries back to
the flat, it's still only a few minutes past midnight.
One night, Tom sees a fir tree fall to the ground in a massive storm.
But the next night, the tree's standing again.
So is time going backwards?
And if Tom can see other people's footprints in the dew-covered
grass, why do his own feet leave no mark at all?
I love reading books that actually make time fly. Have you ever had that?
It's such a cool feeling. You know you're so in the world of the
book that you don't notice your food going cold, you don't notice
it going dark, you actually don't ever want to put the book down.
Time. There's never enough of it for Tom!
Not when he wants to figure out the true
secrets of the Midnight Garden before he has to go back home again.
Why not grab a few magic hours yourself?
You could read this amazing book and, like Tom,
you could solve the mystery of the Midnight Garden.
She's the star of this fantastic book by Jacqueline Wilson
called Lizzie Zipmouth.
Lizzie's not having a great time at the start of this book.
She's on the move...again.
She's off to live with her mother's new boyfriend, Sam,
and his two sons, Rory and Jake.
Thing is, Liz was perfectly happy with it being just her mum
They were like two best friends.
So why did everything have to change?
That's what she wants to know.
Lizzie doesn't get upset, well, not in the way that you'd expect.
She just stops speaking.
And I don't just mean for a few hours, I mean for days and days.
Maybe for good.
That's why, when Lizzie moves into her new house, Jake very
unkindly calls her Lizzie Zipmouth.
It's pretty clear that Lizzie hates everything about being
in the new house.
I hated it in my room, too. All that bright red and purple hurt my eyes.
I opened up my new wardrobe and shut myself inside.
It was lonely in the wardrobe.
I put my slippers on my hands and made them do a dance in the dark.
I couldn't think of any other games I could play.
After a while, I heard Rory calling for me
and then Mum and Sam and even Jake.
"Lizzie! Lizzie, where are you? Lizzie Zipmouth!"
They shouted and shouted and shouted and shouted.
I still didn't say anything at all.
I kept my mouth well and truly zipped.
After all the trouble about hiding in the wardrobe,
Lizzie curls up under her duvet.
Have you ever done that?
I have sometimes and I've taken a little torch and a book.
But Lizzie's not reading under there, she's just there,
by herself, feeling a little bit lost.
What I love about this book is that I really understand what
Lizzie's going through. You sympathise with her. You want
to help her but you can't. You just have to keep reading.
Because what I love about books is that you put
yourself in the character's situation and then think, what would I do?
It's not a sad book though. Everything's in this story!
Good days when everything's really good and bad days
when things are horrible, but that's what's so brilliant about it.
It's about real people like you and me
and the problems that we face and how we get through things.
Lizzie's new stepdad, Sam, tries to be friendly.
But Lizzie remembers her first stepdad was friendly too for a while.
Until he started shouting. So Lizzie just keeps her mouth tight shut.
And it stays shut. Even when Sam drives them all to visit Rory
and Jake's great-gran.
Great-Gran seems scary and strict
and meeting her isn't exactly on Lizzie's wish list of things to do.
"Say hello to Rory and Jake's great-gran, Lizzie,"
said Mum, though she knew I wouldn't.
And I didn't. I stared at the doormat. It said "Welcome".
The doormat was telling fibs. Great-Gran tutted.
"Well, you'd better come in," she said.
Mum held my hand tight and we stepped inside. "Dear, dear!
"Wipe your feet! Watch my beige carpet," Great-Gran fussed.
But I wasn't watching her carpet.
I was staring all around the walls in a daze.
Hundred of shining eyes were staring back at me.
Can you guess what those shining eyes were?
All I'm going to say is that Lizzie was in the car all the time
after that because she wanted Sam to drive her to Great-Gran's flat.
Are you surprised?
Great-Gran was super stubborn, just like Lizzie,
but she could turn out to be the one person
that would help Lizzie settle into her new life.
When I was little, my dad used to travel a lot,
because he worked for the airlines, so I got into reading,
because it was a way of escaping missing him.
And then I just fell in love with it.
Did you know, Jacqueline Wilson
wrote her first story when she was nine?
Now, do you have a story or an idea in your head?
There's no reason to wait - start writing it now.
You'll be surprised what you can do.
So, do you think Lizzie does decide to talk?
I'm not saying a word - you'll just have to read the book.
And then you'll also discover how soon,
Great-Gran needs help to talk, too.
And how sometimes, when you're least expecting it,
you can make a new friend.
POLICE SIRENS WAIL
Diamond Brothers - what do we know about them?
They're two private detectives in this brilliant book,
-The Falcon's Malteser.
Tim is the older brother - pretty much the worst detective ever.
-Lucky for him, he's got his kid brother for a partner.
Now, Nick is great, because he's smart, he's brave and...
he really knows when trouble walks through the door.
Which it does, in the shape of this,
a package they're asked to look after.
-It sounds like a box of chocolates.
-It IS a box of chocolates.
And it also plunges Nick and Tim into a whole world of danger.
It turns out that those chocolates are worth £3.5 million.
Soon, the brothers are being pursued
by some of the scariest villains in the world,
who all want to get hold of that package.
Villains like The Fat Man, the world's thinnest master criminal.
He gives them a deadline to hand it over, and the key word here is...
-DOOR SLAMS SHUT
LIGHT SWITCH CLICKS
I can wait all of 48 hours, but if I haven't heard from you
in two days, you may wake up to find
something very unpleasant has happened to you.
Like, you no longer have any feet.
-I love the fact he meets them in Trafalgar Square in London,
-so he can feed the pigeons.
-Yeah, with poisoned corn.
Nick only realises that once The Fat Man has driven off in his Rolls.
A few feet away, a pigeon suddenly gurgled and keeled over
on its side, and a moment later,
two more joined it, their feet sticking up in the air.
By the time the Rolls-Royce had reached the corner
of Trafalgar Square, and turned off towards Hyde Park,
we were surrounded by corpses. CHURCH BELL TOLLS
"Do you think he's trying to tell us something?" I said.
I'd say it's pretty clear - today it's pigeons,
next time it's them.
There's so many great characters in the book.
You've got Nick and Tim, then The Fat Man, the Rich Widow,
-Also, the two henchmen,
who I think are really well-described by the writer, Anthony Horowitz,
because at one point they're making tea, playing the piano,
and the next minute they're tying Nick up in a chair.
We're used to adult detectives being really clever.
Or pretending they are.
This time we've got Nick - he's 13 and he's just way ahead of everyone.
Soon, the owner of the chocolates is dead.
Tim is blamed and thrown in jail.
And Nick's left with a mystery to solve.
All while being threatened by the police, by some heavies...
Oh, yeah, and don't forget - by a rich widow's alligator.
The last time I saw an alligator, it was hanging on some rich woman's arm
with lipsticks and purses inside.
But this one was no handbag, it was very alive,
waddling out of the pool,
its ugly, black eyes fixed on the plate of meat.
-The widow said.
"He's very fond of strangers."
"Yeah? Cooked or raw?" I asked.
I mean, when someone tells you they've got a pet called Fido,
you're not expecting that kind of pet, are you?
I pointed at the alligator.
It was getting too close for comfort. As far as I was concerned,
100 miles would have been too close for comfort!
"Do you have a license for that thing?" I asked.
-"I don't know..."
-"It was a present from my late husband."
"Have you ever thought about pussy cats?"
"Fido ate the pussy cats."
I thought of turning and running,
but I couldn't be sure I'd make it to the door.
The alligator had short, wrinkled legs,
but at that moment, I can't say mine felt much better.
'You're listening to the BBC World Service...'
One thing I love doing when I'm reading is
stopping halfway through and trying to guess
where all the different stories are going to end up.
You're trying to figure out the same clues as Nick at the same time?
I think this is a great book to do that with. Maybe next time
you're reading, put the book down, play detective a little
and see if you can work out what might happen next.
He's attacked, knocked out,
tied down and almost blown up!
Imagine how that must feel!
So, who is the Falcon?
Why is...is this package worth so much money?
Is Nick going to stay alive long enough to figure it all out?
-Read the book.
-I'm talking to these guys!
So, read the book to find out all the answers.
And keep the secret to yourself.
You never know who might be listening.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd