Val's Diary

Page 1


Family | Love & Friendship | Holidays

Audio Files

Stage 3 B1


- Focus on: A World of Cakes, Famous Diaries - Glossary of difficult words - Comprehension and grammar activities including B1 Preliminary style exercises and 21st century skills activities - Final test

Look at the inside front cover flap to find out how to download your free Audio files. 600 headwords 800 headwords 1000 headwords

Elementary Pre-intermediate Intermediate

A1 A2 B1

Movers Flyers/Key Preliminary



RS -1 l. E 11 .r. AD I s E ry -32 EL LI R Dia 36 E l’s -5 8 EN Va 8-8 97


Eli Readers is a beautifully illustrated series of timeless classic and original stories for learners of English.

The pleasure of Reading

T e e n E L ITeen R e a d e Readers rs ELT A 1



Stage 3 B1

In this reader you’ll find:


Val’s Diary


Val’s Diary

School’s over at last! The summer holidays are here but who wants to spend them in the countryside? Not Val, of course! She hates the country, but eventually she’ll change her mind. Guess why! Read her diary and find out. She tells her diary all about herself, her moods, her emotions and her dreams. This country holiday is really boring and she can’t stand it, but don’t despair … something very exciting will happen soon, thanks to Luke and the others!

Mary Flagan

Mary Flagan Val’s Diary

Mary Flagan

Stage 1




Audio Files

Val’s Diary Book brief

1 2 3 4 5

Set in modern times, it tells the story of Val and her family on holiday in a village in the countryside. As the title of the book suggests, the story is told through what Val writes in her diary. Through her diary, the reader can understand how Val feels when lots of changes start to happen in her life. Val can’t stand the countryside and is horrified when she discovers that her parents are thinking of moving there forever. Main themes include friendship, change, emotions and dreams. 1

Spazio didascalia

In this reader: 21st Century Skills

To encourage students to connect the story to the world they live in.


B1 level activities.

Story Notes

A brief summary of the text.


Explanation of difficult words.

Picture Caption

A brief explanation of the picture.


These icons indicate the parts of the story that are recorded.


start stop

To encourage students to develop their critical thinking skills.

The FSC® certification guarantees that the paper used in these publications comes from certified forests, promoting responsible forestry management worldwide.

For this series of ELI graded readers, we have planted 5000 new trees.

Mary Flagan

Val’s Diary Retold and with activities by Silvana Sardi Illustrated by Laura Ferracioli





Main Characters


Before you read


Chapter 1




Chapter 2




Chapter 3




Chapter 4




Chapter 5




Focus on... A World of Cakes


Focus on... Dear Diary...


Test Yourself

63 Syllabus

Summer in the Country A Surprise Meeting Who’s a Good Cook? Val’s First Date All’s Well that Ends Well

Main Characters

Mrs Pe


Mrs Rowell

Val’s mum. She isn’t good at making cakes.

Mr Rowell

Val’s dad. He loves growing s vegetables in hi . en rd ga

y One neighbo of the u great a rs. She’s t makin g cakes.


She’s 14 years old and loves living in the city.


Val’s brother. He’s 12 years old.



Dr and Mrs Smollett’s son. He’s 16 years old and good-looking.

Mrs Smollet

The doctor’s wife. Her name’s Sarah and she’s friendly.


Dr and Mrs er Smollett’s young s ar ye 12 s son. He’ n. so Ja old like



He’s gr mollet e playing at at darts.



Val’s best friend in the city.

Before you read

Speaking 1 Use the words in the box to describe the picture.

lake wood bike track manor house

Vocabulary 2Unscramble the letters in the the jumbled words to find out

what Val’s dad and Jason are saying.

3 Hi! My name’s Jason and I can’t wait to go to the country in our lettil cottage. ____________

I’m Mr Rowell. My dream is to

live in the ceyorsnidut. countryside ____________

1 In the country the air is canle and the people are hdrawkoirng! ____________________ ____________________ 2 I’ll do some vegetable gardening: I’ll grow and eat our own crortas, tmoateos, lttueec, oonins and patsotoe. ____________________ ____________________ ____________________

4 Wow! I can make a teer hsoue and use my rkcuscka! ____________________ ____________________ 5 Come on! Let’s go simwmngi and hiking! ____________________


Vocabulary 3 Match the words to make phrases. g polluted ■ 1 ■ block of 2 ■ shopping 3 ■ fast food 4 ■ best 5 ■ chat 6 ■ computer

a restaurant b on the phone c centre d flats e friend f games g air

Reading B1 Preliminary 4 Complete the text about what Val says with one word in each


in the city. My little flat is (1) ______ beautiful that I love living ______ I’d like to live here forever. When I look (2) ______ of the window, I (3) ______ see all the cars in the streets. The place is always (4) ______ of people shopping or going (5) ______ the cinema. I love chatting to my friends on the phone for hours or having (6) ______ to eat in our favourite fast food restaurant. 21st Century Skills

Speaking and Writing

5a Complete the mind map with the adjectives. Then add your own.

There are no correct or incorrect answers. You can use the adjectives to describe either or both cities and the country. relaxing boring quiet busy noisy clean exciting polluted

city country

5b Now discuss with your partner if you prefer life in the countryside or in the city and say why.


Chapter 1

Summer in the Country Friday, 1st July 2

Val isn’t happy because she got hiking boots and not rollerblades for her birthday. She couldn’t have a party because it’s the summer holidays and all her friends are away.

Dear Diary, It was my birthday last Saturday. What a disaster1! I wanted a pair of rollerblades2. And what did I get? A pair of hiking boots3! Yuck! I hate the countryside. Mum was watching me when I opened the present. ‘Oh, Val, you’re never happy!’ she said. Well, I wanted rollerblades not hiking boots, but I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t have a birthday party because school is over4 for the summer and all my friends are at the seaside or abroad. Even Sally, my best friend, is away and here I am all alone with just my parents and my horrible little brother. His name is Jason and he’s 12, two years younger than me. I can’t stand him. He’s so annoying! He gave me this diary for my birthday. 1

disaster when everything goes wrong rollerblades 3 hiking boots 4 over finished 2



Val is only writing her diary because she’s bored. She’s thinking about all the presents she didn’t like that she got for her birthday.

Val’s Diary What a stupid present! I’m only writing in it because I’m so bored. It’s going to be an awful1 summer.


awful when everything goes wrong


Mary Flagan

Friday, 1st July

Val isn’t happy about going on holiday to Greenhill, a small village in the countryside. However, her brother likes the idea and her parents would like to live there forever.

Dear Diary, We’re going on holiday to Greenhill tomorrow. Dad’s driving. It’s a small village in the middle of nowhere about 20 miles1 from the city centre. Mum and Dad want to go and live there forever. They say that they’re tired of all the traffic and air pollution2 here. Jason is really happy. His rucksack is packed and ready. He put in nails, a hammer, a small saw, a rope, a blanket, a water bottle, a magnifying glass, a box of matches and three tins of meat! He calls me Friday and I’m fed up3 with it. I don’t like playing silly games like Robinson Crusoe! Nobody ever asks me what I want to do. I like living here in the city. I’ve got my school and 1

mile about 1.609 km air pollution dangerous and damaging gases and chemicals in the air 3 fed up with tired of 2

Box of matches Hammer Nails

Magnifying glass


Water bottle


Jason is happy and is getting everything ready for his holiday in Greenhill.

Val’s Diary all my friends and my bedroom here in our little flat. I certainly don’t want to go and live in Greenhill! What a silly name for a town anyway! ‘We’ll just have a nice relaxing holiday there and then we’ll decide,’ said Mum. Humph! What she really means is that she’ll decide! Democracy1 doesn’t exist in this family!


Val loves her life in the city and doesn’t want to go and live in the countryside. She knows that in the end, her parents will decide.

democracy (here) when everybody decides together, not just one person


Rope rucksack

Tins of meat



Mary Flagan

Sunday, 3rd July

Greenhill is tiny with only about ten houses, a church and one shop that sells everything. Jason loves it because there’s a wood, a lake and a bike track.

Dear Diary, We arrived at Greenhill today. It’s a tiny village. There isn’t even a cinema or a fast food restaurant! There are only about ten houses, a church and a corner shop which sells everything under the sun: food, newspapers, clothes and even shoes. There’s a café at the back where you can eat and drink. There are only about three tables. My brother is over the moon1 because there’s a lake, a wood and a bike track2. As soon as we arrived, he ran out into the garden. He began jumping about and shouting. ‘Mum, Dad, look!’ Mum, Dad and I ran into the garden. ‘What is it?’ asked Dad. ‘A tree that’s just perfect for a treehouse,’ said Jason. ‘That’s a really good idea! I’ll help you,’ said



over the moon really happy 2 bike track cycle path


The village of Greenhill.

Val’s Diary


Mary Flagan

Jason’s dad likes the idea of making a treehouse and playing Robinson Crusoe but Val just wants to be left alone in her room.

Dad, ‘I’ll be Robinson and you can be Friday.’ ‘No’, said Jason, ‘you can be Robinson, I’ll be your son and Val can be Fri ...’ ‘Don’t even think about it,’ I said. ‘Now I’m going into the house to find my bedroom and I don’t want to be disturbed1 for the rest of the holiday. I certainly won’t be Friday.’ I put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign on my bedroom door, but I know that Jason is going to drive me mad2 anyway. When can I go home?



Do your parents ever choose holiday places that you don’t like?

1 2

disturb annoy drive someone mad make someone very annoyed


Jason and his dad want to make a treehouse but Val just wants to stay in her room.

Val’s Diary


After-reading Activities • Chapter 1

Reading Comprehension 1 Decide if the statements are true (T) or false (F). Correct the

false sentences. 1 2 3 4 5

Val has recently had a birthday. Val is fed up with living in the city. Jason’s rucksack is empty. Jason is going to make a treehouse. The sign on Val’s bedroom door says: Come in! Greenhill is a big town.


3 ■ ■ ■ ■

■ ■


■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Writing 2 Collect information about Greenhill village from Val’s diary

and write notes in the table. Village

Facilities - shops, library



Grammar 3 Complete the sentences with the verbs in the correct tense. want 1 2 3 4 5



put up




gave Val a diary for her birthday. Jason ______ Jason ______ lots of things in his rucksack. Val ______ rollerblades but she ______ hiking boots. Jason ran into the garden and ______. Val ______ to her bedroom. Then she ______ a do not disturb sign.

Vocabulary 4 Match the phrases with their meanings. f democracy doesn’t a he makes me angry ■

exist in this family 1 ■ over the moon b very happy and enthusiastic 2 ■ fed up with c I find him very annoying 3 ■ he drives me mad d everything you can think of 4 ■ I can’t stand him e tired of something or someone 5 ■ everything under f not everyone can make decisions the sun in the family

Before-reading Activity

Speaking B1 Preliminary 5a Work in pairs. Each of you is going to talk on your own for about a minute.

Student A turn to page 17.

Look at the picture. Tell your partner what you can see. Student B turn to page 27.

Look at the picture. Tell your partner what you can see.

5b Discuss what you think is going to happen in the next chapter.


Focus on...

A World of Cakes Pastry shops, bakeries and cake shops are everybody’s favourite places to stop and look around. The trouble is that all those gorgeous cakes are rarely labelled and we are forced to resort to pointing and saying ‘One of those, please!’ This alphabetical list will help you out.

Bath Buns

They were invented by Dr W. Oliver, an 18th century physician, who treated visitors in the famous Bath Spa. His bun proved so popular, and his patients grew so fat that he had to invent a plain biscuit - the Bath Oliver biscuit - for his patients to eat instead. The chunks of sugar sprinkled on the top of this otherwise rather plain bun were originally sugar-coated caraway seeds.

Bread ‘n’ Butter Pudding In the past it was a way for poor people to use up leftover stale bread. It is actually made from slices of bread soaked in milk, with sugar, raisins and spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). It is traditionally eaten hot with custard.

Belgian Buns

There are several cakes (and biscuits) named after places, and the question is whether this name actually reflects their place of origin. Apparently, no Italian has ever eaten or heard of a Florentine in Florence, or heard that the best Chelsea buns are baked in Cambridge or that Danish pastries bear no resemblance to pastries made in Denmark. So nobody can confirm that Belgian Buns - an iced bun with a cherry on top - come from Belgium.


Chelsea Buns

Was this cake named after its place of origin? Actually, there was a place in London called The Chelsea Bun House in Grosvenor Row, Pimlico, not exactly Chelsea, but authenticated by an old print at the British Museum. It also appears that Jonathan Swift visited it in 1711 and got a stale bun for a penny. It was even patronised by King George II and Queen Charlotte. Charles Dickens also mentions it in Barnaby Rudge (the beginning of Chapter 42) and in Bleak House (Chapter 53). This delicious cake is curiously square but made of a spiral of a raisin-filled dough. It can be enjoyed in the traditional way by biting it, or by unrolling the spiral and nibbling as you go.


Another cake derived from leftovers, the first doughnuts were reportedly made to use up leftover bits of bread dough. The basic doughnut is a ball of dough, covered in sugar, with jam in the centre or a ring of dough covered in sugar. There are a number of toppings and fillings, originally from the USA. It has been made famous all over the world by Homer Simpson.


Here’s another big transatlantic favourite. Traditionally, it is a soft white-bread cake, split and toasted with jam on. Nowadays globalised muffins have become home-baked cakes from a bag of ready-prepared self-raising flour from any supermarket.


Focus on...

Dear Diary... ‘I never travel without my diary - one should always have something sensational to read in the train.’ Gwendolen Fairfax from The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

Diaries, Journals, Logs, blogs, whatever we call them, they can become an addictive way of unleashing your feelings. Others seem like an affirmation of the writers’ existence, as if by writing it down, it has actually happened. Diaries are usually thought to be a cathartic experience for writers who express their emotions and detail their responses to events. Writing a diary represents an effort to process experiences, to order it and make sense of it. Psychologists have often pointed out how writing a diary can have a positive impact on health. And then there are the online diaries - personal blogs. Here the motives are different, because they are intended to be public and therefore probably lack candour. Most bloggers will be thinking ‘My mum could read this.’ Throughout history, diaries have given an interesting insight into the past. Not only have they recorded the life of the writers but also the events of a country. Several diaries have hit a historical status and have remained best sellers on literary lists throughout the world like, for example, Samuel Pepys’ Journals, Lewis Carroll’s and Virginia Woolf’s.


Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) is the earliest diarist who is well known today; his diaries, now in Magdalene College, Cambridge, were first transcribed and published in 1825. Pepys first managed to make his journal not only a record of business transaction, but also a chronicle of personal events. Lewis Carroll (pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) the inventive writer of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass had kept a diary nearly all his life (13 plus another 4 missing volumes). They throw a light on Victorian life and mentality, and on his peculiar attitude to word play, logic and fantasy. Virginia Woolf, the well-known British writer of Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and The Waves began keeping quite an emotional diary at around the age of 15, in 1897. Her diaries provide us with a view of her thought processes. The reader can see how she feels and how she develops the characters in her novels. As her later life was influenced by severe depression that lead to her suicide, her diary also gives great insight into how depression can affect life.

Fictional diaries are also both entertaining and informative. The most popular have been: Adrian Albert Mole (born 2 April, 1967) is the fictional protagonist in a series of books by British author Sue Townsend from 1982 onwards. In her six books about Adrian, she wrote about the inner life of an adolescent boy in a realistic and humorous way. They also give a touch of Britain from the Thatcher period to New Labour days dysfunctional families, working-class drinking, unemployment, feminism, racism and the Iraq War. Bridget Jones is the 30-something heroine created by Helen Fielding in Bridget Jones’s Diary published in 1997. It brilliantly evokes the life of a single woman in the late ’90s with all her worries about weight and diet, love problems, emotional ups and downs. It is humourous and witty.


Test Yourself 1 Decide if the sentences are true (T) or false (F). The Rowells have gone on holiday to the seaside. 1 Greenhill is a little village in the countryside. 2 There’s no landline in the house in Greenhill. 3 Mrs Perry bakes delicious cakes. 4 The Rowells make friends with the Smolletts. 5 Luke isn’t very good-looking. 6 Val has a date with Jason. 7 Luke kisses Val underwater. 8 The Rowells are going to buy a house in Greenhill. 9 Val is happy to go back home.


■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

2 TRIVIA QUIZ. How much do you remember about Val’s story? Answer the questions.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Who said, ‘Poor little girl, so pale and thin’? Mrs Perry _______________________________________________ . What’s Luke’s mother’s name? _______________________________________________ . Where does Val’s dad come in the darts competition? _______________________________________________ . Who said ‘I’ll take one of my salads’. _______________________________________________ . What time does Val meet Luke to go swimming? _______________________________________________ . Who goes to the manor? _______________________________________________ . Is custard included in the list of ingredients for the fruit flan? _______________________________________________ . What was Val eating when she bumped into Luke in the shop? _______________________________________________ . How old is Luke? _______________________________________________ .


F 3 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Syllabus This reader contains the items listed below as well as those included in Levels A1 and A2. Topics Family Friendship, love Holidays Tenses Present simple - Present continuous Past simple - Past continuous Present perfect simple - Past perfect simple Verb forms Passive forms: present and past simple Verbs + base form / infinitive / gerund Phrasal verbs Future with present continuous, going to and will Modals Can - Could Would Must - Have to - Need Conditional sentences Type 0, 1 and 2 Adjectives Comparative and superlative forms Adverbs Regular and irregular forms




Stage 1

Maureen Simpson, In Search of a Missing Friend Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales Janet Borsbey & Ruth Swan, The Boat Race Mystery Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Angela Tomkinson, Great Friends! Edith Nesbit, The Railway Children Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna Anna Sewell, Black Beauty Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Stage 2

Elizabeth Ferretti, Dear Diary… Angela Tomkinson, Loving London Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mary Flagan, The Egyptian Souvenir Maria Luisa Banfi, A Faraway World Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island Elizabeth Ferretti, Adventure at Haydon Point William Shakespeare, The Tempest Angela Tomkinson, Enjoy New York Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy Michael Lacey Freeman, Egghead Michael Lacey Freeman, Dot to Dot Silvana Sardi, The Boy with the Red Balloon Silvana Sardi, Scotland is Magic! Silvana Sardi, Garpur: My Iceland Silvana Sardi, Follow your Dreams Gabriele Rebagliati, Naoko: My Japan

Stage 3

Anna Claudia Ramos, Expedition Brazil Charles Dickens, David Copperfield Mary Flagan, Val’s Diary Maureen Simpson, Destination Karminia Anonymous, Robin Hood Jack London, The Call of the Wild Louisa May Alcott, Little Women Gordon Gamlin, Allan: My Vancouver