Authors: Malorie Blackman
Birthday-present burglars, a Tooth Fairy mystery, and an abandoned puppy – no adventure is too great for Maxine, also known as Girl Wonder!
This collection of seven funny short stories is perfect for building confidence in new readers, whether reading aloud or reading alone.
For Neil and Lizzy,
with love as always.
It was Mum’s birthday two and a half months after Christmas. The twins and I put our money together to buy Mum a present. We had just enough money to buy her a scarf and a card.
“It doesn’t look like much.” Anthony frowned.
“Yeah, not much at all,” Edward agreed glumly.
“It’s all we can afford,” I sighed.
“It’s not very big,” said Anthony.
“It’s not very chunky,” complained Edward.
“It should look like
when it’s wrapped up,” Anthony continued. “A scarf is going to look itchy-titchy.”
They made it sound like it was my fault!
“So what should I do?” I asked crossly.
“I don’t know,” Anthony replied. “You’re Girl Wonder . . .”
“Well, you two are the Terrific Twins,” I replied. “
think of something.”
So we all spun around and around, not feeling very super at all. We sat on the floor cross-legged, staring at the scarf and trying to think of a way to make it seem bigger and better than it was.
Then I had an extra-giga-brilliant idea.
“Let’s wrap it in tons and tons of paper,” I said. “Then it’ll look big and chunky and more like
“Good idea,” Anthony agreed.
“Not bad,” said Edward.
We ran downstairs. Mum was in the kitchen, taking the vacuum cleaner motor to pieces.
“Mum, we need a box,” I said.
“A Ginormous box,” added Anthony.
“A HUMONGOUS BOX!” Edward said eagerly.
“Why?” asked Mum.
“We want to put your birthday present in it,” Anthony told her.
“Oh, I see . . .” Mum said slowly. “If you tell me what you’ve got me, then I’ll be better able to judge what size box would suit you best.”
“We got you . . .”
“EDWARD! Don’t tell her!” I interrupted quickly. “Mum, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what it is.”
Mum mumbled something under her breath. It sounded like “worth a try”. She
looked in the cupboard under the sink.
“There’s this box that held my printer paper,” Mum suggested, taking a smallish box out from the cupboard.
“That’s much too small,” Anthony said immediately.
“Yeah, far too small,” Edward agreed.
Then Mum fished out a middling-sized box.
“How about this box?” Mum asked. “This box held all the bottles of lemonade and
cream soda that we bought from the supermarket before Christmas.”
“Still too small.” I shook my head.
“Much too small,” Anthony said.
“Far too small,” Edward agreed.
Mum looked surprised. She straightened up. “The only other box I’ve got that’s larger is the one the vacuum cleaner came in.”
“That’ll do,” I replied.
“Just,” Anthony added.
“Only just,” said Edward.
“What did you three buy me? A rhinoceros?” Mum frowned.
“You’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out,” I said.
“Where’s the vacuum cleaner box?” Anthony asked.
“In the cupboard under the stairs,” Mum replied. “Er . . . would you three like some help wrapping up my present?”
“No, thanks. We can manage,” I said.
We got the box out of the cupboard.
“Now, we’ll need some special paper to wrap the box with and we’ll need some more paper to pad the box,” I said.
“Oh? Is my present something that might break if you don’t pad the box?” Mum asked.
I hadn’t realized she was listening behind us.
“Go away, Mum,” I said crossly, my hands on my hips.
“I was only trying to help,” Mum muttered, going back into the kitchen.
More like, she was only trying to be nosy!
Mum came out of the kitchen and handed us a whole roll of brown paper. “You can use this to stuff the box and to wrap it,” she said.
Anthony, Edward and I took the box
and the brown paper and went upstairs. Half an hour later, we all sat back to admire our work. The box looked terrific! It was a bit of a shame it had only a scarf in it. We’d filled the box with crumpled, rumpled brown paper and put Mum’s scarf right in the middle. The outside was brilliantly wrapped in more brown paper. We drew stars and moons and comets and spaceships all over the brown paper and coloured them in. Then we carried the box downstairs.
“There you are, Mum,” I said, as we plonked down the box. “This is your birthday present.”
“My goodness! What is it?” Mum said. She bent down and shook the box. It didn’t make a sound.
“You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out,” Anthony said.
“Yeah, tomorrow morning,” said Edward.
“Can’t I open it now?” Mum asked, giving it another shake.
“No, you can’t. Wait until your birthday tomorrow,” I said firmly.
“Oh, all right then,” Mum said reluctantly. But she had a strange gleam in her eyes.
That night I dreamed about flying through the air faster than a speeding rocket and leaping over giant trees with just one jump, when I heard a funny-peculiar noise. It woke me up. I listened. The house was very quiet. I wondered if I’d dreamed the noise. Deciding I must have dreamed it, I pulled my duvet up around my ears and snuggled down to go back to sleep.
Then I heard the same noise again. It was the stairs creaking. We were being burgled.
I sat up, listening in the darkness. I heard another creak from one of the bottom steps. We were definitely being burgled. I got out of bed and tiptoed out of my room. I was scared – so scared – but I was a superhero and we superheroes have to be braver than brave. I went into the twins’ room. They were fast asleep. I might have guessed. It would take fifteen planes flying over our house at the same time to wake those two up.
“Come on, you two. Wake up!” I whispered. “We’re being burgled, so this
is definitely a job for Girl Wonder . . .”
“And the Terrific Twins?” Anthony whispered back, instantly awake. “Isn’t this more a job for the police?”
“Definitely a job for Mum or the police,” agreed Edward. “Or a grown-up.”
“No, I’ve got a plan,” I said.
My brothers got out of their bunk-beds and we whirled and twirled around quickly but quietly, so that the burglar wouldn’t hear us. Luckily there was a full moon so we had the moonlight to see by, otherwise the twins would have tripped over their own feet and made all kinds of noise. I whispered my plan to them. Then we crept slowly and silently down the stairs. We got to the living-room. I could hear noises. There was definitely someone in there, trying their best not to make a sound. We got a chair from the kitchen, then crept to the open living-room door.
“Ready, Terrific Twins?” I whispered.
“Ready, Girl Wonder . . .” the Terrific Twins whispered back.
The Terrific Twins pulled the living-room door shut, then I quickly placed the back of the chair under the door handle. I switched on the hall light, because with the living-room door shut, you can’t see much in the hall.
“Right then, Mr Burglar!” I called out. “We have you now! And don’t even think about getting out through the window, because there are locks on all the windows in the house and the window key is in the kitchen.”
The Terrific Twins were jumping up and down now.
“Hooray! We caught a burglar! Hooray!” Anthony shouted.
“All by ourselves.” Edward grinned.
“Anthony, you go and get Mum. Edward, you watch the door. I’ll phone the police . . .”