Copyright © 2010 Jerry Dunne
Recommended reading age 8 years +
This collection of short stories features a girl’s problems with her stinky parents, a child-hating shopkeeper, a disgusting witch who makes people bald and a boy with a beautiful beard – as well as other wicked, brave and cracking characters.
Short extract from My Stinky Parents:
Their eyes were glued to the TV. Both were fat and very pale and the sofa sagged really low under their weight. Dad had a big bald head with the back of his neck made up of three rolls of fat as thick as three rolled-up newspapers. He wore a mangy string vest that I’d never seen off him. Each day it looked and smelled like it had soaked overnight in a bucketful of six-month-old sweat. Mum’s black hair, shiny with grease, hung lifeless off her skull like an unwashed mop head. She always wore the same dress every day. Years ago it had been white. Now it looked yellow-brown.
From Paddy’s Beard:
Paddy Flynn was only ten, the same age as the others, but unlike them he had a long beard that stretched right down to his belly button. With the sunlight flooding the room, the beard glittered and winked like gold dust. It was thick and tough like a lion’s mane, yet to touch it was like touching the finest silk.
But Mr Scalppen’s face only darkened. “There’s always one,” he hissed. “Always one. Name, boy?”
Paddy gulped, “Paddy Flynn, sir.”
“Playing a joke on me, Mr. Paddy Flynn?”
“What do you mean, sir?”
“Wearing a trick beard to tease me?”
“No, sir. No trick beard.”
The teacher dashed forward, sniffling, grabbed the beard and wrenched upward. Paddy howled like a wolf as his feet shot off the ground and he dangled helplessly in the air.
From Herbal Tea:
A solemn voice said, “If he’s dead they’ll blame us.” Everyone turned to Fursey McDoogal. “We bought him the herbal tea and it’s done for his ticker. They’ll say we wanted a teacher dead, ‘cause we don’t like maths.”
“Don’t be stupid!” Benny Musgrove said.
Fursey shrugged. “All right. But has anyone done their maths?” No one answered. “Exactly. That’s what they’ll say.”
“He can’t be dead.”
Fursey shrugged again, and seemed to lose interest as he played with his mobile phone. But they kept staring at him.
“Is he really dead?” a trembling girl asked.
Fursey put away his mobile and got to his feet. He stood beside Janet and stared down at the teacher. “My uncle works in a cemetery and I’ve been up there many times. So I know dead people.” He grabbed Mr. Smith’s wrist and felt his pulse. “Mr. Smith is one of ‘em.”
From The Class Groveller:
Every class has one. Our class was no different. Jasper Goates was constantly grovelling to Miss Chapman, our form teacher.
You won’t believe it, but Jasper Goates actually brought an apple each morning for Miss Chapman. A big, red, shiny one. I’m not kidding.
“Thank you, Jasper. What a lovely gesture,” Miss Chapman would say before sinking her fangs into the apple, making all our mouths water.
Round faced, with little, round silver glasses and round pink cheeks, Jasper looked almost doll-like – until you noticed his cold-blue reptile eyes. At Miss Chapman’s words those round pink cheeks would shine like the apple and he’d mouth off all treacly, “Oh, it’s my pleasure, miss.”
Listening to this rubbish made us all cringe. How could Miss Chapman let anybody get away with it? If I were a teacher, I’d throw the apple at him and tell him, ‘Stop being a dirty little groveller!’ I’d tell him, ‘You’re disgusting!’ But our teacher loved it all to bits, believing every word.
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