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STORY TIME

The Backyard Adventures of

Knights and T hunders

A read-aloud story for parents and children of all ages BY FELICITY WILLIAMS

Sun Knights was fiddling around in the toy chest. She threw out a cowgirl boot. She threw out the fire-fighter doll with the broken arm. She found a yellow shirt with long, frilly sleeves, and put it on. The sleeves fell all the way down to the floor.

Thunders thought about it. Cosmic dust sounded untidy. He liked untidy, and he liked exploding. He came out from the bushes and ran in a wide circle around the lawn, swooshing the cymbals together, and trying to be here, there and everywhere, all at once. The party hat fell off and rolled across the lawn. Clinnnnng! Clonnnng! Swinnnng! Swonnnng!

Clinnnnng! Clonnnng! Bediggity-dong!

Diggity-donngg!

‘Perfect’, thought Knights, as she shot out the door of the playroom.

Knights jumped forward, grabbed the hat, put it on, and continued her cart-wheels. She did a handstand.

Thunders was in the garden, playing on the cymbals. He was wearing a foil birthday hat with a fringe of tinsel. Clinnnnng! Clonnnng! Knights began to whirl around and around, and the frilly arms spun upwards in a golden blur. ‘Faster!’ she cried. ‘Louder!’ Thunders looked up through the tinsel fringe. No one had ever asked him to play the cymbals louder. They mostly asked him to stop. Or go somewhere else.

‘Happy birthday to you’, Knights sang upside down, ‘Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear sunshine ...’ She flipped back up. ‘4.6 billion birthdays’, she said. ‘That’s how old the sun is. So 4.6 billion candles. Which is why the sun is so shiny — it’s the 4.6 billion candles that never blow out.’ She flopped down on the grass. ‘No wonder I’m tired.’

Have Fun & Make The Sun!

Clinnnnng! Clonnnng! Diggity-dong!

Clinnnnng!

Knights cart-wheeled from one end of the lawn to the other.

‘It’s night-time’, said Knights. ‘You can be the moon.’

Diggity-dong!

Knights had seen the moon. It didn’t explode. It wasn’t untidy. It hung there, silvery and silent.

HERE’S HOW

He made a tiny tap on the cymbals …

1. Cut out one large circle using cardboard from an old cereal box and lots of smaller sunbeam shapes to go around the outside.

Knights leapt and twirled. ‘The sun!’ she yelled. ‘Fiery and bright, and dangerous if you get too close.’ Thunders moved backwards into the bushes. Donnng! ‘Quantum Quirks for Curious Kids. Episode 14. Which I watched. And which I am. Curious.’ Knights did another batch of cart-wheels. ‘But even though I’m the most important star in the universe’, she continued, ‘because Quantum Quirks said so, I can’t do all the work —’ and when Thunders didn’t move — ‘so you can help me and be cosmic dust. Exploding across the galaxy here, there and everywhere, all at once. Like me’, she added, ‘but not as big. And not as dangerous.’

Tinnnng! And began to tiptoe around the backyard. ‘Take your time’, said Knights. ‘My 4.6 billion candles are far away, warming up the other side of the world. It’s only fair’, she added, ‘to share myself around.’ She pulled down the hat so that it covered her eyes. Thunders kept tiptoeing and tinging. He wondered how many candles the moon had once had, and who had blown them out.

Felicity Williams spent many happy years playing in the backyard when she was little. She learned about science swinging around at breakneck speed on a rotary clothesline, about biology by frequent venturings inside a smelly chicken coop, and about commerce and finance with weekend-long monopoly marathons. Now that’s she’s somewhat grown up, she provides weekly improvised play experiences along similar lines for hundreds of children at Canvas Bag Drama School. canvasbag.nz

46 Summer / 2017

2. Fill in the middle with yellow, orange and red streamers, shiny chocolate wrappers, cellophane and scrunched-up wrapping paper. 3. Use PVA glue or sticky tape to stick all the bits on. 4. Use paint or dye to splatter the sunbeams, staple them around the outside of the sun, and then throw glitter over everything. Art Activity designed by Mozarts Kindergarten

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