With illustrations by
Published in 2014 in Great Britain by Barrington Stoke Ltd 18 Walker Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7LP www.barringtonstoke.co.uk Text ÂŠ 1974 Michael Morpurgo Illustrations ÂŠ Faye Hanson The moral right of Michael Morpurgo and Faye Hanson to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in any part in any form without the written permission of the publisher A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library upon request ISBN: 978-1-78112-352-2 Printed in China by Leo This book has dyslexia friendly features
Contents 1 Menace
2 A Cloud of Wasps
3 On the Attack
4 A Trip to Hospital
5 Harvest Time
6 Dolly and Her Calf
7 Bottle Feeding
9 The Holidays Are Over
10 Goodbye, Minikid
Menace The summer I was ten, our cousin Billy came to stay with us. I heard Mum and Dad talking about how his mum and dad were having problems. Mum said Billy would have to live with us for a while until they sorted things out. Dad said that could take for ever and a day.
Me and Lisa were meant to help look after Billy, but I wasnâ€™t sure about him. He was a menace, there was no doubt about that. Bullet, they called him at school. We called him Minikid, and mini he was. He stood about three foot tall in his shoes. He had a head shaped like a cannonball and a body built like a tank.
A Cloud of Wasps Until we found the nest, it was one of those good days. It was a Sunday in August. Dad was flat out in his deckchair with his newspaper over his face and “Sounds of the 70s” blaring out of the radio next to him.
The four of us were mucking about with a hose at the bottom of the gardenÂ â€“ me, my sister Lisa, my mate Tom and Minikid.
Lisa was on the attack, which was no problem because she always shut her eyes when she aimed.
She sprayed a tree stump beside the vegetable patch. And then, all of a sudden, she dropped the hose and screamed. Wasps poured out of the
stump â€“ a cloud of them. They sounded angry and we didnâ€™t wait to find out if they were. We ran for the house, screaming and laughing all the way.
In the safety of the kitchen, we looked out. The wasps were gone. “Let’s burn them out,” I said. “Yeah, let’s burn them,” Minikid said. His eyes lit up like a daredevil’s. “No,” Lisa said. “You mustn’t. Dad gets Mr Holton to do it. It’s dangerous.”
“She’s right, Chris, you know,” Tom said. “Mr Holton keeps bees. He knows how to do it.” There was a know-all tone in his voice, and I didn’t like the way they had ganged up on me. They’d been doing that a lot the last while. “Just because you’re scared,” I said.
Tom looked at me – he was angry now. “Scared?” he said. His top lip quivered. “Don’t be silly, Chris,” Lisa joined in.
“Yes. Scared. That’s what I said. Scared.” I was shouting now. “Right,” said Tom, and he rushed past me. Lisa followed him. Minikid was running next to Tom. He wanted to be part of whatever happened next.