Read Tom Jones Saves the World Online

Authors: Steven Herrick

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction/Action & Adventure General

Tom Jones Saves the World

BOOK: Tom Jones Saves the World
11.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Table of Contents

Title Page

Chapter One: Tom Jones and the Bottle Top Collection

Dead parents


The house

A gated community


Our old town


Shock! Horror! Belly!


Class 6 W


Time and motion


Chapter Two: Grandpa Jones and the Funeral

Grandpa Jones

Shock! Horror! Drunk!

The Grandpa Jones list of things to do at a funeral

The moon and the stars

The deal

Chapter Three: Cleo and the Escape Plan

Cleo and the pinhead parents

Aunt Ruth and Uncle Robert

Cleo, the snake, and how to be instantly popular

Tom and the snake girl

Tom and Cleo

Cleo's bright idea

The plan

Cleo's house

Cleo, the archeologist

Friends in prison

Tom, the gardener


The escape hatch

The prison gates

Chapter Four: The First Day of Freedom


Cleo—snake-charmer, escape-expert, and Queen of the Nile

The right side of the fence

The phone call

Saturday—yabbies, bulls and being a carnivore



Chapter Five: The Gardens of Mercy

Outside the gates, okay

Mercy Gardens

Tom's visit

Tom and Grandpa Jones

Chapter Six: Gobbledegook, And the History of Tom's Family



The history of Arnie and Grandpa Jones

Thick shakes

Uncle Robert, the pop-star

Chapter Seven: Cleo, the Genius

Cleo's bright idea # 2

Tom, bottle tops, and Cleo the genius

Cleo's letter

Long and loud

Tom's bottle top collection


Chapter Eight: Barbara, To the Rescue!

Mercy Gardens calls


Tom's dream

Slow and steady

Barbara to the rescue

Two secrets


Whose letter?

The Treasure Chest of Mystery

Cleo's letter #2

Chapter Nine: Tom Falls In Love ... with a Dictionary!

Cleo plan # 3

My love affair with the dictionary

Dinner with Dad

Rejoice (meaning “to celebrate, have fun, etc”)

Thomas extends his vocabulary



Double gobbledegook?

A virus

After three days, a breakthrough?


Chapter Ten: Quivering Lips, Trembling Hands, Beating Hearts and Other Stuff

Grandpa and the bottle tops from China

Quivering lips, trembling hands, beating hearts and other stuff

Thursday afternoon

Cleo, and ladders

The parcel and the possiblilities

Dead parent wish #9, or not?


Uncle Robert and Aunt Ruth at morning tea

Like riding a bike

Murchison Creek

Bulls, Hamburgers, and Dads

The reason there are so many dead parents in books

Almost caught

Two words for a moron

Chapter Eleven: Cleo's Last and Absolutely Final Plan


Skimming stones

What is Dad saying?

Cleo's last and absolutely final plan


Uncle Robert's surprise

Strangely normal

Chapter Twelve: The Time of His Life


The time of his life

Lunch, and music

The music



Steven Herrick
is one of Australia's most popular poets. He has published ten books of poetry for adults, young adults, and children.

His three verse-novels for young adults—
Love, ghosts and nose hair; A place like this
the simple gift
were all shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.

Steven's verse novel for younger readers,
The Spangled Drongo,
won the Patricia Wrightson Prize at the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Over the past ten years he has performed his poems throughout Australia in schools, pubs, universities, festivals, rock venues and on radio and television. He has also toured Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. He is one of Australia's most travelled and widely heard poets. Steven lives in the Blue Mountains with his partner and two sons.

Also by Steven Herrick
Young Adult Fiction series
Water Bombs
Love, ghosts and nose hair
A place like this
The Simple Gift
Storybridge series
My Life, My Love, My Lasagne
Poetry to the Rescue
Love Poems & Leg Spinners
The Spangled Drongo
Jam Roll series
The Place Where the Planes Take Off

As one of Australia's favourite poets, he crafts his work brilliantly, and the underlying message will benefit all ages.

Lyndon Riggall
The Examiner

Steven Herrick's unconventional storytelling works well, injecting an immediacy and intimacy that illustrates the importance of family ties and the love of true friends.

Russ Merrin

After a succession of heroes battling with difficulties after the loss of parents here Herrick turns the tables and creates an ‘over-parented' hero who longs to be an orphan like the boys in the books he reads! ... A jaunty, funny and sentimental verse novel.

The Source

Chapter One

Dead parents
I wish I was like
those kids I read about
in books.
The kids who live with
weird Aunts because their parents
died in a car accident
of some heartbreaking disease.
The kids who lead exciting lives
without parents to moan about
unfinished homework
unmade beds
uncombed hair.
When these kids
don't do homework
or don't make their beds
everyone thinks
“oh, that's all right,
they're still recovering from the loss.”
Even when the accident
happened ten years ago,
the kid is allowed
to be a slob.
Don't get me wrong.
I don't want
Mum and Dad to die.
Maybe if they went
to live in another country
for twenty years
and left me alone?
That would be enough.
My name is
Thomas Wilbur Johannas Harold Jones.
But, please, call me Tom.
Everyone else does,
except Dad
who calls me Thomas
because he says Tom
is what you call a stray cat,
and Mum
who calls me Darling,
or Sweetie,
or if I do something wrong, Honey.
(Now you know what I mean
about dead parents.)
I live in a big brick home
in a new suburb
called Pacific Palms.
Between us and the Ocean
are five suburbs—
Pacific Meadows
Pacific Green
Pacific Heights
Pacific Crescent
and, of course,
Pacific Beach.
Because of our name
every house has a palm tree
planted smack-bang
in the middle of the frontyard.
There are no other trees.
Everyone has planted
shrubs instead.
That's all Mum
and Mrs Johnson next door
talk about.
“Your camellias are looking lovely, dear.”
“Why thank you, Mrs Johnson.
And so are yours.”
Dead Parent Wish # 1
The house
The Real Estate Agent
said it was an
five-bedroom, two-bathroom
slice of heaven set
among immaculate gardens
in the prestigious gated-community
of Pacific Palms”.
Well, the architect
must have been very popular
because I've already counted
fifty-two houses
exactly the same as ours.
Yes, it does have five bedrooms–
one for Mum and Dad,
one for me,
and three for Dad's
bottle top collection.
(Dead Parent Wish # 2).
The bathrooms each have a spa.
And the “immaculate gardens”
are one palm tree
and forty-eight varieties of Camellia.
All of this is surrounded by
a wrought-iron fence
on which Dad has hung
a sign that reads
NO Hawkers Allowed
NO Junk Mail
BEWARE! Dog on Premises
That last line is a lie.
Dad said if the first two lines
didn't work
the last one would.
A gated community
To get into our suburb
you drive
down Cherrywood Avenue
and at the end of the street
is a sandstone wall
and a massive iron gate.
To get through this gate
you reach out of
the car window and punch your
Personal Entry Number (PEN)
into the keypad on the pole.
The gate slides open,
you drive through,
and it closes behind you.
Often there is a Security Guard
in the office beside the entrance.
He sits at his desk
reading the paper
waiting for something to happen.
After two months
of living here
I realised it was
like a prison that
parents paid lots of money
to live in so
they could say things like
“I feel so secure now.
Thomas can walk the streets
and I know he's safe.”
In our old town,
I used to walk to the shops
to the river
to the school.
I knew everyone.
At Pacific Palms, I only know
Mrs Johnson
who keeps trying to show me
her garden.
I live in a Camellia Prison.
My Dad is Arnold Jones
from Beacham Beacham Beacham and Zibrowski,
Arnold the Accountant.
Each morning
Dad drives his clean white Commodore
down Cherrywood Avenue
to his office at Pacific Beach for a day spent
adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
He returns at exactly 5:30pm,
parks the car in our double garage,
removes his shoes at the back door,
and says
“I'm home, dear”,
places his briefcase in his office—
Bottle top Collection Room # 2—
kisses Mum,
sees me in the kitchen doing homework
and says,
“How was your school experience today, Thomas?”
Dead Parent Wish # 3).
I answer “Okay, Dad”.
Arnold the Accountant
then goes upstairs to
change into
white shorts, white polo shirt,
white bowling hat,
white long socks,
and white running shoes.
Arnold the Albino Accountant
then walks downstairs
and out the front door with Mum,
also dressed all in white,
for their “Afternoon reflection walk”
as Dad calls it.
Sometimes, they ask me
if I'd like to go with them.
I lie about too much homework,
watch them walk, wiggling bottoms,
down the street,
then I run upstairs
and change into my swimmers
and jump into the spa,
sit back,
and read novels
about children with dead parents.
Some people have all the luck!
BOOK: Tom Jones Saves the World
11.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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