The secret stories

Shhh! This is where the secret part comes in. You’ve met our writers, now browse the children’s stories they’ve created. Read, digest and get creatively inspired to visualise them in your own epic way.

Featured story

All the Fun of the Fair
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Me, Mum and my best friend Aliyah trudge across the muddy field towards the funfair. Red, orange and purple fireworks blaze through the sky. We queue for candy floss, watching the hand-painted sign above the ghost train flap. ‘Scouts Halloween Fair 2020’.

The rollercoaster is mesmerising, but too fast. The shiny electrical python coils and twists, clattering over metal rails. Shouts and squeals echo.

A kaleidoscope of neon whizzes through the air. I nudge Aliyah and point to the waltzer ride. Twenty-One Pilots blasts from black speakers fixed to the entrance. Aliyah nods enthusiastically. We hand Mum our candy floss.

Waltzer is painted in faded, peeling calligraphy across the back of each car. We run up the rickety steps and squeeze in behind the rusted safety bar, giggling nervously as the ride starts to move; slowly at first, but soon the floor undulates hypnotically.

I glance anxiously at Mum, but she’s fiddling with her phone, getting ready to take photos.

With a jolt, our car spins. I squeeze Aliyah’s hand, closing my eyes. We laugh, bunched together, as a man jumps between cars, spinning us faster and faster the louder we scream. The cars orbit the central point, revolving like the earth around the sun. The G-force is so strong I can’t even lift my head.

Suddenly, the music fades and the ride slows. I open my eyes; everything a blur of colour. The man spinning us has changed! He’s younger now and a cigarette hangs out of his mouth. My hands are sweaty on the shiny chrome safety bar. The cars that pass by look brand new, the paint bright and clear. The air feels… strange. The fair looks the same, but somehow different too. The stars above glitter like tiny jewels, winking at us.

Breathless with adrenaline, Aliyah and I climb off. The song playing now is one Mum would call a ‘classic’ - All Saints: ‘Never Ever’. I squint into the darkness. Where Mum stood there’s a girl about my age, holding two sticks of candy floss so big that I can hardly see her face.

Aliyah taps her on the shoulder. “Did you see the woman who was standing here?”

The girl shakes her head.  

Aliyah nudges me wide-eyed, her mouth open. I follow her pointing finger to see a sign hanging down, flapping, from the corner of the ghost train.

I tilt my head to read it. ‘Scouts Halloween Fair 1996’.

My whole family was in the kitchen after dinner.
“Keep an eye Baby,” said Dad, “I’m going to watch football.”
“Keep an eye on Baby,” said Mum, “I’m going to read.”
“Keep  an eye on Baby,”said my big sister Megan, “I’m going upstairs.”

“Keep an eye Baby,” said Gramps, “I’m going for a nap.”
Hang on…!!  

Too late. I was on my own - with Baby. He was fast asleep, in his cot, in the corner. Baby is a BORING, USELESS BLOB! He never DOES anything.

I frowned my frowniest frown and turned away.
Three seconds later, I heard a noise.
OH NO!

Somehow, Baby had climbed out of his cot. He’d -

Taken all the mugs out of the cupboard.
Built a tower from the floor to the ceiling.
Climbed to the top and was standing on one leg, wobbling.
You’ll fall!
I shot out of the room, across the hall, and barged into the lounge. Dad was watching the football.
D-D-DAD! Come quick! Baby’s built a tower of-
“That’s terrible!” roared Dad.
“Exactly!”
“Terrible!” he snarled. “Call yourself a footballer? You run like a fat octopus!”
Useless!
Back in the kitchen, my eyes popped out of my head.
Baby was sitting on the floor.
Mum’s make-up bag was open.
Baby had taken out all her make-up. He was putting lipstick on DOG.
Dog had bright red lips, pink cheeks, and blue liner round his eyes.
Don’t move! I panicked.
I charged out of the room, across the hall and burst into the dining room. Mum was reading her magazine.
MUM! Come quick! Baby’s put make-up on the …”
“That’s awful!” sighed Mum.
EXACTLY!  
Mum was still reading her magazine. “Awful,” she tutted. “This woman spent five thousand pounds on clothes for her pet hamster!”
USELESS!
Back in the kitchen. Oh, No!
Baby was pouring a whole box of instant mashed potato into the washing machine.
He pressed the start button.
The washing machine gurgled and sloshed.
Mashed potato began oozing out of it.
A little bit at first, then more and more
Until it was flowing across the floor like a tidal wave.
Don’t move!
I hurtled out of the kitchen, up the stairs, and burst into my big sister Megan’s room. She was listening to music. MEGAN! Come quick! Baby’s put mashed potato in . . .
“That’s dreadful!” moaned Megan.
“EXACTLY”
But Megan was still listening to music. “Dreadful,” she moaned. “Hash tag worst song ever. I’ll never listen to Dustin Dweeber EVER AGAIN!”
USELESS!
Back in the kitchen.
Baby had found the box of fireworks Dad had bought for Bonfire Night. He was lighting the fuse of a rocket -  with a MATCH!
INSIDE THE KITCHEN!
The fuse hissed, blue sparks crept along it towards the rocket.
Don’t stand so close!
I charged out of the room, across the hall, and into the room where Gramps was fast asleep in his chair.  
GRAMPS! Come quick! Baby’s lit a firework and…
“That’s appalling!” mumbled Gramps.
EXACTLY!
But Gramps was still dreaming. “Appalling,” he snorted. “How did I get into this supermarket in my underpants…!?” USELESS!
Then…
KABOOM!
…from the kitchen.
Gramps shot out of his chair. “What…?!!?”
We ALL scrambled into the hall.

In the kitchen, a cloud of thick, black smoke filled the air.
As it cleared, we saw the wobbly tower of mugs. . . then -
The dog covered in make-up . . .
The lake of mashed potato across the floor . . .
The enormous, smouldering hole in the ceiling . . .
Baby, fast asleep in his cot.  

Everyone looked at me.
It wasn’t me! It was Baby!
“Baby’s asleep!” they chorused.
For one tiny second, behind all their backs, Baby looked at me and –
WINKED…


THE END

CaptainSpare Peg
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“I’m Miss Blossom and I’m your new teacher.”  
“I’m Dil.”
“Nice to meet you, Dil. This is your coat peg. You can keep your bag on your peg.
If you have any questions, do ask.”

“I have a question, Miss Blossom.

“What if someone else is using the peg?”
“Your name is on your peg.”

“What if there are two Dils or three Dils? Or someone named Oil but they think the ‘D’ is an ‘O’?”
“There are some spare pegs at the end of the row.”

“What if the spare pegs are so far away from everyone else that I have no one to say hello to in the morning?”

“What if the spare pegs aren’t spare at all?”

“What if the spare pegs belong to someone else?”
“What if they belong to a pirate called Captain Spare Peg?”
“And he wants his peg back?”

“What if he comes back to find my bag hanging there? And it turns out it was never a coat peg at all but instead it’s where he keeps his spare hook for his missing hand? And he gets angry. Oh, he gets so angry, Miss Blossom.

“What if he yells for his shipmates in a thunderous voice that can be heard half way around the world and his crew hear him and sail their grand ship, with huge black sails

…and a Jolly Roger, across the oceans, up on to the land and right across the playground through the front doors of the school and down the corridor to our classroom?

And as the ship sails to our classroom it pulls up the ocean and drags it along into the school with all the sharks and the snapping crocodiles and it yanks out the humungous plug that was keeping the ocean in the ocean?

And we have no choice but to climb aboard the ship because otherwise we’ll all be swirling round and round and round, down the plughole as none of us have our swimming badges yet? And the sharks are starting to look very hungry? And the pirates capture us and they make us scrub the decks and pick the fish bones out of their soggy boots whilst they steal our packed lunches?

What if all we have to eat is a rotting pirate stew of porridge and fish guts?”

“What if everyone is so upset with me for using Captain Spare Peg’s coat hook nobody wants to be my friend?”

“What if no one likes me?”

“I like you. I think you ask very interesting questions.”

“I’m going to put my peg right next to yours, Dil.”
“Now we can say hello to each other every morning”

“And I think we should make something together so that if Captain Spare Peg ever shows up he knows which peg is his.”

CREAKY CREATURES
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Roz, the young rhino, loves to help her vet-ranger dad, Nigel, run SUNSET RETIREMENT PARK. Here, wrinkled, toothless, creaky-kneed animals from around the world come to retire, (dis)gracefully! Roz inspires the elderly guests to join in with the daily activities and have fun!

One day, Roz ran to tell dad her latest idea. “An IRON MAN-IMAL CONTEST! I’ve split the animals into two teams. King Luther the lion and Donna the elephant are captains. And Granny Rose is joining in! It’s going to be WICKED!” Nigel was very proud of his daughter but sometimes her ideas worried him. Granny Rose was his frail rhino mother who shouldn’t be doing anything strenuous!

“Sounds challenging Roz!” said Nigel. “A bit too tough for our guests?”

“Dad, they’ll love it!” said Roz. “First, they’ll swim across the swimming-pool. Then race around the gardens on mobility scooters. And lastly, go on a power-walk through the woods. With walking sticks or Zimmer-frames if they need them.” Before Nigel could say another word, Roz rushed off to the pool.

Roz blew the starting whistle and King Luther and Donna dived in. Donna’s splash wave was so big it lifted King Luther over a hedge. Kylie the crocodile jumped on a Li-Lo and floated around, soaking up some sun. And Grumpa the grizzly bear’s wig fell off!

In the mobility scooter race, Monty the Highland Bull crashed into Humphrey the camel, who got the hump. Bella the pot-bellied pig’s scooter battery went flat so Granny Rose gave her a lift. But being so short-sighted, Granny drove straight into a tree!

And in the power-walk, Doddedydoo the kangaroo accidentally tripped up Bamboozle the panda with his walking stick. Bamboozle wasn’t amused! At the finishing line, Roz waited patiently but nobody crossed it?

Roz found them all back in the woods, looking for the things they’d lost. King Luther’s false teeth, Grumpa’s wig, Bella’s belly-button stud, Dodderydoo’s walking stick, Kylie’s after-sun lotion, Humphrey’s back-pain tablets, Donna’s swimming goggles, Monty’s driving cap and Granny Rose’s lipstick… all had mysteriously disappeared!

Looking up, Roz saw that the thief was a magpie! He’d taken the items and hung them from the highest branches. Roz had another idea to settle the contest. “The first team to climb the tree and get back down with all their possessions, wins!”

When Nigel discovered his mum hanging from a branch, he nearly had a heart attack!

Doggy Wants To Go Outside
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My name is Doggy.
Look at my cherry-red wheels, long brown ears and wagging tail. I have a long lead because I love to go for walks.
Every day Girl takes me for walks around the house.
We walk up and down the hall when Mum talks to the neighbour.
We walk through Dad’s legs in the kitchen when he cooks.
We walk around the living room when Boy is watching television.

But Doggy wants to walk outside with the big dogs.

Doggy is not allowed to go to Nursery.
Doggy is not allowed to go to the shops.
Doggy is not allowed to go to the library, the swimming pool, Granny and Grandad’s, or
Girl’s friend’s party.

“Can Doggy come to the park?” Girl asks.
“Yes,” Mum says.

Doggy is outside! Doggy is walking!

Look at the cloudy sky!
Look at the tickle-y grass!
Look at the pink flower!

Hello Big Dog! I’m like you.
Doggy walks outside.

Hello Swings.
Hello Slide.

Hello Mrs Bumblebee. Doggy is outside.
Hello Mr Beetle. Doggy is outside.

Hello grey cloud.
Hello whistling wind.
Hello leaf. Goodbye leaf.
Hello water from the sky.

Hello? Hello?
Is there anybody there?

Go away callous crow!
Go away slimy slug!
Go away big dark!

Doggy is cold.
Doggy is wet.
Doggy wants to go inside!“

There you are Doggy,” says Dad. “What are you doing out here? You’re needed at home.”

“Naughty Doggy!” Girl gives me a hug. “Never run away again.”

GOOMRA’S BIG ADVENTURE
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Goomra was the best-looking motor-scooter in the whole village.
Scrub-scrub! Every day, Mr Gupta scrubbed Goomra clean.
Wash-Wash! Every day, Mr Gupta washed Goomra fresh.
Polish-Polish! Every day, Mr Gupta polished Goomra shiny.
Goomra was spicky-spack clean and tippy-top shiny.
After the scrub, wash and polish, every day, Mr Gupta would start him up.
FUTFUTUUUFUT – VROOOM! BEEP-BEEP!

Goomra hoped Mr Gupta would take him off the stand and go on an adventure. But Mr Gupta always switched off the engine and never took him anywhere.
Goomra was tired of being spicky-spack clean and tippy-top shiny. So, one day, Goomra jumped off his stand, tiptoed from the driveaway and took off!
FUTFUTUUUFUT – VROOOM! BEEP-BEEP!
Goomra went past the postman’s van and the window-cleaner man. BEEP-BEEP!
Goomra honked as he went past an ice-cream van, a very tired fisherman and a circus caravan. BEEP-BEEP!
Goomra sped through the countryside.
Quack-Quack!
Oh no! Ducks in the way.
BEEP-BEEP! BEEP-BEEP!
Goomra swerved off the road… and he skid down a mud path and straight into a… lake. SPLASH!
Goomra was splattered with mud. He slowly staggered back on to the motorway. Soon he reached the seaside.
Goomra stopped to watch the waves. As the sun set and the beach got dark, Goomra was alone, dirty and tired.
SPLASH-SPLASH! The waves reminded Goomra of Mr Gupta’s washing. Goomra wished he was home, spicky-spack clean and tippy-top shiny. He quickly turned around and raced down the motorway, past the countryside and through the village.
BEEP-BEEP!
Mr Gupta was waiting by the door. “There you are,” he said. “Did you take off an adventure on your own?”
BEEP-BEEP said Goomra!
“You need a good scrub, a soapy wash and a full polish,” said Mr Gupta.
BEEP-BEEP! Goomra agreed.
The next morning, Mr Gupta came out of the house without the bucket and cloth. Mr Gupta came out wearing his riding jacket and riding helmet.
“Ready Goomra?” he asked.
FUTFUTUUUFUT – VROOOM! BEEP-BEEP!

I Love Football
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Luke lived with his mum but he loved it when his dad came to see him on Sundays.
The best part was when they drove around the carpark next to the flats.
Luke’s dad would put Luke on his knee and allow Luke to steer the wheel.

“I’m driving!” Luke would say. “Look, Dad – it’s me! I’m driving the car!”
“Yes, you are,” smiled his dad, even though, secretly, he was one working the pedals.

But there was something missing. Luke’s dad never hugged him or told him he loved him. Luke really wished he could get a hug from his dad. He knew in his dad’s big, strong arms he would feel so safe.

One weekend, Luke’s dad said he was going to take Luke to a football match.
But, even before they arrived, Luke didn’t really like it. As they approached, he could see the huge stadium rising up above them like a scary monster. Then, when the game started, the noise was so loud Luke had to cover his ears because he thought they might burst.

As soon as the game stopped, Luke pulled on his dad’s sleeve.
“I want to go home,” he said.
“You know it’s only half time?” said his dad but he could see Luke wasn’t enjoying it.

So Luke and his dad left the stadium and Luke thought that would be the last football match he ever went to.  But a few weeks later Luke’s dad said he wanted to take him again.
This time, Luke wasn’t so scared. He knew where he was going and, when he saw the stadium in the distance, it seemed much more friendly and welcoming.

When the game started, Luke watched what his dad did. If there was a close chance, his dad jumped off his seat and shouted: “OOOOOOhh!”
Luke found it funny and started copying him.
“OOOOOOhh!” they shouted together whenever it was nearly a goal.

At half time, Luke’s dad handed him a drink.
“Do you want to go home?” he asked. “It’s ok if you do.”
Luke thought for a second.
“I want to stay,” he said. “I want to see our team score a goal.”

Then the game re-started and the best player on the whole pitch had a shot. Suddenly everyone in the stadium went silent. They all watched as the ball raced through the air like a bullet. The goalkeeper dived to catch it but his fingers could not reach far enough…The ball hit the net and there was an explosion of noise!

Luke leapt out of seat and screamed: “GOALLLLLLLLLL! It’s a GOAAAAALLLLL!”

And before he knew what was happening his dad had swept him up into his arms and was hugging him so tight.

“We scored, Dad! We scored!” shouted Luke, hugging him back. He buried his head in his dad’s big chest and screamed for joy.

After that day, Luke and his dad never missed another match. And nothing in the world felt as good as when they celebrated a goal together.
That was because, deep down, Luke knew that when they were jumping up and down, hugging each other tight, what they were really saying was: “I love you.”

Kylie's Cake
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Kylie’s Gran made wonderful cakes. Swiss rolls and sponges, fruit cakes and cupcakes, tea loaves, savarins and amazing chocolate brownies. She could make a cake out of anything.
Kylie’s dad tried to catch her out. He’d bring her a bag of courgettes. Or a pumpkin. Or a bunch of carrots. “Bet you can’t make a cake from this!”

Gran just smiled, went into the kitchen and shut the door. An hour later—TADA! There was a fantastic cake. Kylie longed to bake like that, but Gran never let anyone watch her cooking.
A week before Gran’s sixtieth birthday, Dad said, “She must have a birthday cake, Kylie! But I can’t make one.”
“I’ll do it,” Kylie said.
She spent the next week watching baking videos and she chose the easiest recipe. The day before Gran’s birthday, Dad sneaked out and bought the ingredients. When Gran went off to her Zumba class, Kylie crept into the kitchen and found Gran’s mixing bowl.
It looked a bit dusty, so she gave it a quick rub. Suddenly—
WHOOSH! A huge genie billowed out of the bowl.
“What is your command?” it boomed.
Kylie blinked. “I—I need a really special cake,” she stammered.
“More special than usual? One of these?” The genie waved its hands in the air, conjuring up extraordinary images. Cakes like castles. Meringue butterflies. Towers of rainbow cupcakes. A Stonehenge of swiss rolls...
Kylie blinked. It was impossible to choose!
The she thought, It doesn’t matter what I like. What would Gran like best? And suddenly she knew. She whispered into the genie’s ear.
It stared. “Are sure, O Great Baker’s Granddaughter?”
“Certain,” said Kylie. “Please do it before Gran—I mean the Great Baker—gets back.”
The genie sighed, took a deep breath and zoomed round the kitchen. An hour later, the cake was ready.

Kylie smiled. “It’s perfect,” she said.

The next day, when Gran had unwrapped her presents, Kylie went into the kitchen, put the cake on a plate and lit the candles.
When she carried it into the living room, Gran clapped her hands. “Lovely! You’re a clever girl, Kylie!”
It was a rather lumpy lemon cake, with Happy 70th Birthday on top. In wobbly letters.
“It’s not as good as your cakes,” Kylie said.
Dad nodded. “You’re still the best baker in the family, Mum.”
And your secret is safe, Kylie thought.

SNOW MONKEY
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Some Macaque monkeys are having a day at the seaside.
They groom, paddle and fish for crabs in rock pools.
The smallest monkey is Yuki.  She’s not part of the fun.  A wave knocks her over. As she lies on the sand, a snowflake lands on her nose.  She squints at its beautiful fractals. She looks up to find great sheets of snow are falling

All the other monkeys hurry to the warmth of the hot pools (see picture)
By the time Yuki gets to the hot pool it is full.  
The bigger monkeys bat her away.

Yuki sits alone on a rock, snow piling onto her head.  

Curious, she scoops off a handful.  In her hand it naturally forms a snowball.  

Puzzled she squeezes it into shape and draws a face on it.
She rolls it away from her. It gathers snow, getting bigger and bigger.
Delighted Yuki builds a snow macaque.

She smiles up at it. It seems to smile back.

She’s made a friend, literally.

In the pool the biggest monkey looks up and sees the silhouette of Yuki and the snow macaque. Intrigued, she goes to get a closer look.  All the monkeys follow this big one.

They’re all thrilled with the snow macaque. They crowd around it, as if taking selfies and team photos.
Once again Yuki is excluded.

But she takes her chance and huddles down in the now-empty hot pool.
.
There’s a noise. The others are inviting the snow monkey down to the hot pool.
The snow monkey lands in the pool with a splash and a hiss of steam as - obviously - he melts.
The monkeys are disappointed.
The steam takes the shape of the snow monkey and drifts away.  
Yuki chases after him but the steam monkey vanishes into air.
The forlorn Yuki pensively picks up a handful of snow and shapes it but then lets it go.  It rolls away and bounces off a rock
It hits the biggest monkey - who has not returned to the pool - in the face.
A tense moment.
Then big monkey laughs and throws a snowball back.
A huge happy snowball fight ensues.  
Yuki has accidentally invented monkey snow ball fighting.
In the course of it,  Yuki and Big become best friends.
Big carries Yuki back to the hot pool in triumph.
Soaked and shivery from snowball action, they produce huge clouds of steam as they get into the water.

SUPERCORN
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ACT 1
Downtown Broccolopolis: the fruit and veg citizens go about their happy lives - including teenage Cami Corn, striding down the street – effortlessly cool. A radish passes by and <fist-bumps> Cami. She stops by a pram and sings to a crying baby pea, soothing it at once - then <moonwalks> onto a traffic-crossing to halt a bus full of kindergarten carrots as a geriatric Cauliflower crosses the road. A kid mushroom watches, in total awe: “You’re so cool, lady!”

Suddenly a vast shadow looms over the fruit-crate skyscrapers. A huge TIN CAN appears like a budget UFO with an evil grin. “Tis I, Tin Can Man! Now gimme all your fruit for my mighty fruit salad. MwahahaHAAA”

Citizens flee in terror “He’s so manufactured!” “So mass-market!” “so… metal!” Cami narrow her eyes: “And so cliched he’s got me all hot and bothered!”

Cami starts heating up – her yellow skin turning red and her body starting to bubble “Oh no. Not again. Please, not right now.” She spies an alley-way and runs off to hide. We stay on the alley, Cami out of view, then -- <POP!>

ACT 2:
Cami emerges to a <FANFARE> as… a fluffy lump of popcorn, with a smoke-smudge across her eyes like Zorro’s mask. She strikes a pose and sees her foe ahead: “Tin Can Man, here comes Supercorn!” She soars into the air as citizens marvel at the flying lump: “Is it a bird?” “Is it a plane? “Wait, I see a teddy bear.” “No, it’s a whale… with a hat!”

Meanwhile, Tin Can Man is greedily stuffing himself with fruit, spilling more to the floor below. Supercorn races over to where they will land: “Okay, something to catch them. I can do this!” She <POPS!> herself into a new shape – a trampoline. “Oh great.”

The tumbling fruit <BOUNCE> onto Supercorn – and straight back up into Tin Can Man: “Mmmm, thanks Supercorn -- <BURP!>”

“You’re so lame, Superlady!” heckles the kid mushroom. Supercorn flushes red hot with embarrassment. “Oh no. Why am I such a superklutz?”

ACT 3:
But the cool inner voice of Cami pipes up: “Keep calm, girl. Sounds corny, but you can turn your clumsy powers to good – just focus.” Supercorn takes a deep breath and <POP!> catapults herself through the air, straight towards Tin Can Man.Mid-air, Supercorn keeps cool, shrinks back into Cami Corn – then lands inside Tin Can Man:

“Stand back citizens, this could get sticky…”<POP!> Cami explodes like an airbag, freeing the fruit and blasting Tin Can Man into metal confetti, which falls to the street like a tickertape parade. The citizens <CHEER!> as Cami picks herself up from a puddle of gloopy syrup and the kid mushroom runs over: “Lady? That was EPIC! You’re my hero!”

The Secret Shopper
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The windows of Partridge’s Department Store were plump with Christmas presents.
In Cosmetics, Max sniffed a tube of hand cream. His mum’s hands were always raw from long nights cleaning the hospital. He only had a few coins in his pocket, but he wanted something perfect for her.

A security guard prodded Max’s rumpled clothes. He barked at Max, who squeezed the cream in fright, squirting a long pink splat into the man’s face. The furious guard chased him up the escalator.

Max fled, hiding in a wardrobe in Homewares. He sat still as he could, waiting for angry footsteps. But none came. It was warm and dark in the wardrobe. He felt sleepy.

As the last shoppers left, and Partridge’s metal shutters came crashing down, Max opened the wardrobe, rubbing his eyes. Where had everyone gone? A jolt of fear gave way to joy. He had all night to find the perfect present. But first, he’d have some fun.

In Bedrooms, he bounced between mattresses, diving into piles of pillows. In Lighting, he swung from the big chandelier, and made shadow puppets chatter on the wall. He played football through Menswear, dodging through mannequins, scoring into the elevator. He celebrated in Confectionary with fistfuls of fizzy strawberry laces.

He rode a sled from Sporting Goods down the escalator, cannoning into Pets, where puppies played behind a fence. Max pulled out a caramel-coloured Labrador, who licked the strawberry sugar from his face.

The pup followed him to Womenswear, and the coat Max’s mum always sighed over – bottle green with bright gold buckles, but much too expensive. He clutched the coins in his pocket. A stolen present was a cheat’s gift.

When Max stumbled into Jewellery, he stopped dead. Gems and gold had vanished from every glass shelf. The guard squirmed on the floor, tied up and a thief’s shadow moved in the corner.

Hearing movement, the thief turned. A huge dog’s shadow on the wall made him freeze. And then, Max launched his football with one big kick – it smacked into the thief’s balaclava, tumbling him backwards into a shatter of glass shelves. Max untied the guard while the thief groaned. The puppy yapped, running away from the guard’s torch, its shadow shrinking.

The police arrived with Max’s mother, who swept him into her arms. Mr Partridge, the shop’s owner, wondered how he could every repay him. Max knew how. On Christmas morning, Max’s mum unwrapped a bottle green coat, and the Labrador puppy played under the tree.

LITTLE ACORN
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Louis didn’t like his hat.
“You look like an acorn” said Mum.
“Yuck” said Louis.
She tied a little bow so he couldn’t take it off.
“Mummy’s little acorn!” said Mum.
“You’re too little to play football, little acorn!” Said David.

Louis didn’t want to play football anyway.
“You’re too young to go on the climbing frame, little acorn” Said Elsa.
Louis didn’t want to play on the roundabout anyway.
“We’re closed, little acorn.” Said the ice cream man.
Louis didn’t want an ice cream anyway.
Louis had to have a bit of alone time.
That’s when he noticed a squirrel…
It was looking at him in a funny way.
[A squirrel is looking at him in wonderment!]
And so was another…
And another…And another and another and another…
Until there were a million squirrels.
A million squirrels playing football…
A million squirrels on the playground…
A million squirrels eating ice-cream.,,
Until mum turned up.
Louis waved goodbye to the squirrels.
“You can take your hat off now” said Mum.
“I’d rather keep it on” Said Louis.

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