Issue 6 December 2011
A publication of Silver Pen, Incorporated
The Silver Pen Writers’ Association Presents a Silver Pen, Incorporated Publication
Kids'Magination Magazine Director and Publisher: Sue Babcock Fiction Editor: Kellee Kranendonk Kids’Magination Magazine is a publication of Silver Pen, Incorporation, which is a non-profit organization focused on quality writing and reading. Kids’Magination Learning Center is a division of Silver Pen dedicated to children who are eager to write stories about the fantastic flights of their imaginations. Copyright ©2011. All reights reserved. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information contact email@example.com All stories herein have been compiled by Silver Pen, Incorporated under Kids’Magination Magazine. These are works of fiction. All characters and events protrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are fictitiously used.
written by Jack Horne illustrated by Sue Babcock
THe Tower of London
written by Helen Finch
The Rat Boy written by Shari L Klase illustrated by Sue Babcock
Fiction Dad’s Cooking written by Jack Horne
illustrated by Sue Babcock
Skidding on the squelching mud and ignoring scratches from brambles, I chased after my new football. Finally, I saw it come to a halt by a tree. Smiling with relief, I ran towards it and then stopped in horror as a hand reached out. “Hey – that’s my ball,” I panted, nearing the tree. A hideous face peered out at me, making me gasp. It was battered and bruised beyond recognition – and only vaguely looked human. “Could I have my ball, please, sir?” I asked, attempting a smile. To my amazement, the man began gnawing at my football. I tried to snatch it, but he snarled like a dog, revealing vicious-looking teeth. I stepped back, wondering if he had escaped from a mental hospital. My mum had always told me not to speak to strangers, but the strange man was clearly injured. What happened to you?” I asked. “Are you in pain?” He continued to bite my football. I remembered my lunch in the pocket of my shorts and offered it to him. “Dad made this pasty,” I said. “I’m afraid his cooking’s awful, but it must be tastier than” – I eyed my deflated football – “that.” He grabbed the rock hard pasty and swallowed it whole. “You really must have been hungry,” I said. “My dad’s the worst cook in the world.” Page 1
I suddenly noticed that his cuts began to heal as I spoke. He reached for a book in his pocket and slowly said, “Thank you for the medicine, boy.” “No, that wasn’t medicine - it tastes like it, though,” I laughed. “My name’s James.” I eyed his phrase book. “I can’t place your accent, where are you from?” He opened the book again and was about to answer when we heard the whirr of a helicopter overhead. He began frantically tearing at branches and attempted to cover himself. “Are you in some sort of trouble with the police?” I asked, seeing just his frightened eyes peering at me from under his camouflage. I heard a rustle of pages before he answered. “My spaceship crashed. Your people took it. They are looking for me and my crew.” “Spaceship?” I laughed and then remembered the way he’d eaten my football. “Wow, you really are an alien! Of course I’ll help you,” I said. “I cannot walk,” he said after consulting his book. “I need more medicine to mend my legs.” “Dad’s cooking won’t help mend your broken legs,” I said. “It’ll just make you ill.” On his insistence, I finally agreed. “Okay, wait here - I promise I’ll come back with more of Dad’s…efforts.” # My father had laid out a flat biscuit of a sponge cake on a cooling rack. I knew he would be angry when he discovered it was missing – although, no one else would mind. I stuffed it under my T-shirt and quietly closed the front door behind me. # I proffered the sponge cake and a hand shot out from the pile of branches and leaves. “It’ll probably just break your teeth,” I said, but I watched in amazement as the camouflage was thrown off and he stood upright. “Thank you for that medicine.” He again consulted his book. “Will you help my crew?” Page 2
“What can I do? Give them Dad’s cooking too?” I waited for his reply and said, “Okay, I’ll bring some buns tonight.” The helicopter passed overhead again. His eyes huge with fright, the alien grabbed my hand and leapt up into the trees. I laughed with excitement. “How high can you jump?” He searched for his phrasebook and realised it had fallen from his pocket. He gestured wildly, pointing to it on the ground below.
“Okay, I’ll go down to get it.”
“With that search helicopter up there you can’t climb down, right?” I said, knowing he wouldn’t understand my words.
I looked at the ground below and froze. I suddenly realised how far I could fall – and knew my father’s cooking wouldn’t heal me. I closed my eyes and clung to a branch, my limbs shaking. I imagined the boys in my class standing below, ready to laugh at me, and I slowly began the descent. I glanced back up at him and he smiled, uttering unintelligible sentences of encouragement. “Termite,” he said as he saw me safely pocket the book. “Yes, tonight,” I said, grinning. # Later that night, I crept from my home. Literally afraid of my own shadow, Page 3
I kept looking over my shoulder. The park gates were locked but I crawled in under the bushes and made my way to the tree. “It’s okay – it’s me,” I whispered. In less than a second I was surrounded by aliens. They were little more than three silhouettes in the dusk, but judging by the way two were limping, they were injured. The tallest one didn’t need to use a phrasebook. “Yanzero” – he gestured to my friend – “told us you would bring medicine.” I held out my dad’s heavy fairy buns and they were eagerly swallowed. “Dad’s medicine is the most powerful in the universe,” the tall one continued, clearly healed. “We have signalled for the mother ship to take us home and must take Dad back with us.” “No,” I cried, and looked to my friend for help. “I need my dad. He looks after my sister and me. He’s all we have” – my lip quivered – “since my mum died.” He and the tall alien exchanged a babble of words and then the third alien spoke. “We leave Dad. You give us medicine. We give you jewels. Yes?” I nodded. “Yes, you can have everything he cooks for the rest of his life!” # My father was pleasantly surprised to learn that his culinary skills were appreciated, and he stared in disbelief when he saw the overflowing casket of treasure that the aliens offered in return for his efforts. “We will give you one of these every time we visit,” my friend promised, consulting his phrase book. Dad happily gave up his job at the factory to become the revered medicine man of the universe. From that day on, as I toyed with my inedible food, I always remembered that I was eating the elixir of life – although, it just makes earthlings sick!
AUTHOR BIO: Jack Horne is married and lives in Plymouth, England, where he works for the local theatre. Quite a few of his short stories, poems and articles have appeared in magazines,anthologies, and webzines, and have also been read out on the radio. Heâ€™s had some competition success too. ILLUSTRATOR BIO: Sue Babcock is the Director of Kidsâ€™Magination, the managing editor for Liquid Imagination (www.liquid-imagination.com), and the fiction editor for Silver Blade (www.silverblade.net).
History THe Tower of London written by Helen Finch
The Tower of London is one of Londonâ€™s most famous buildings. Tower Bridge is a short walk away and has a museum inside the pillars where you can go see how the bridge was designed and built. This is a good place to visit after the Tower of London, if youâ€™re not too tired. A magnificent castle, the Tower of London is situated on the banks of the River Thames in London, England near to the City of London. It was built around the year 1066 which is about the time that William the Conqueror came to Britain from France and defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. Some of the stone for the White Tower was sent from Normandy in France (where William was born) and it was completed by 1100. Many other towers were added over several hundred years and what you see now is a magnificent building that has withstood many historic events in London. Examples of these are the Plague, the Great Fire of London and more recently World War Two.
The Tower of London is made up of lots of different parts, including The White Tower, The Bloody Tower and the Waterloo Barracks where the famous Crown Jewels are stored. During its life, the Tower of London has had many uses. It is well-known as a prison but it has been used for keeping things safe, which it still does with the Crown Jewels and also a royal residence. Although Iâ€™m sure with all the prisoners being taken there the Kings and Queens preferred to use many of the other palaces available to them. Even now, when one walks through the towers, it isnâ€™t difficult to imagine life over the hundreds of years. A chill can be felt or could it be one of the ghosts said to haunt the place? People taken to the Tower as prisoners would usually arrive by boat along the Thames and enter by a very scary looking wooden gate called Traitors Gate. This can still be seen if you are travelling along the River Thames on one of the pleasure boat trips from Westminster Pier. The trips start near to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and end at the Old Naval College, Greenwich. This was originally known as Greenwich Palace and was the birthplace of King Henry VIII in 1491 and his daughters Queen Mary in 1516 and Queen Elizabeth I in 1533. Many prisoners never left the Tower of London and ended their days there. Beheading was one of the punishments; several of these were carried out on Tower Green. The heads would then be displayed on spikes around the Page 7
castle grounds. Three English Queens were condemned to death in this way, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey who at 16 years old was only Queen for nine days. There is a memorial near to this site which lists the people executed near to the site. Some people would be executed in front of the public but others would come to their end in private with only a selected few present. In 1941, during WW2, a prisoner called Josef Jakobs was found guilty of spying for Germany. He was executed by firing squad at the Tower. This is most probably one of the last executions to happen here. One of the towers which was used to house prisoners is the Beauchamp Tower. It was named after a prisoner, Thomas Beauchamp. If you look carefully, graffiti can still be seen here on the walls, scrawled by prisoners awaiting their fate. In the Lower Wakefield Tower you will see examples of torture equipment. This was the place where prisoners were taken and then tortured to try and get information from them. One of the pieces is made of iron and is called the Scavengerâ€™s Daughter. The prisoner would be put in this and it forced them to remain in a kneeling position. You can imagine how uncomfortable that would have been. After all, kneeling down for a short while can make your legs go numb and start tingling. Put in this contraption for any length of time would surely make the prisoner confess. Page 8
After seeing the darker side to the Tower of London it is refreshing to visit Waterloo Barracks and see the Crown Jewels. All the crowns, jewellery and Coronation Regalia are the “real thing”. They are still used on state occasions and for Coronations (this is when a new Queen or King takes the Throne), Royal Weddings and other royal occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament when the Queen is present. The Crown Jewels were originally kept in the Martin Tower. In 1671 Thomas Blood and three other men tried to steal the Crown Jewels. No-one knows why they wanted them but they managed to tie up the Keeper of the Jewels and made their escape. Thankfully they were caught. In the astounding White Tower you can see displays of armour and weapons. It is also a museum telling the story of weaponry over many hundreds of years. There is on display, armour belonging to King Henry VIII and his horse. A visit to the Tower of London is not complete without catching a glimpse of the famous Ravens. Now legend says that if any of the ravens leave, the Tower will fall. They are looked after by the Ravenmaster and eat 170g of raw meat a day, special bird biscuits soaked in blood and a few other special raven treats every now and then. Let’s hope we don’t get a rebellious raven and they never leave, otherwise London will be in trouble. Page 9
Last but not least are the Yeoman Warders, otherwise known as Beefeaters. There are special rules to become a Yeoman Warder. You have to be of a certain age, have completed service in the military and obtained certain medals. They wear the blue “undress” uniform most of the time and the famous red uniform for special occasions. They give tours to visitors and act as security guards. The Yeoman Warders live permanently at the Tower of London in their own little village, performing numerous duties. One of these is the Ceremony of the Keys which happens every single evening. This is a tradition that has been going for over 700 years when the castle is locked at the end of the day. The Tower of London has been around for hundreds of years. Let’s hope it is still standing for many years to come.
AUTHOR BIO: Helen Finch is a working Mum of two boys aged 12 and 7. She loves writing all sorts and has two non-fiction books published, most recent Kiddiwalks in London. Her hobbies include: Painting, walking, cycling, genealogy, knitting, crafts and holidays beachcoming for fossils with our rescue mastiff, but she particularly enjoys spending time with her husband and boys.
Fiction The Rat Boy written by Shari L Klase illustrated by Sue Babcock
Benjy peeked out from the crack in the wall. He knew he had to be careful now because the family had recently acquired a cat. The cat was fat and silky and always hungry. Before the cat, Benjy’s life had been uncomplicated, well, aside from the fact that two members of his family had been caught in a trap. Benjy shivered because he had seen the trap snap. He had just been small. Of course, he was small now. Mice are small, but he was practically a baby then. If he hadn’t seen the trap snap and his sister flipped over, he would have never known that delicious food on wooden blocks was to be avoided. But he was smart now. So traps were no threat to him. There was plenty of other food the human family left around, the house food that fell to the floor. His mom said that food was called free and clear. He could take all he wanted. The other food, wrapped up, was called bought and paid for. He could only nibble that and make it quick. The family got very angry when they found evidence of mice in their food. If it hadn’t been for his greedy brother, Jeffrey, who had to eat too much bought and paid for, there would have been no Roscoe. Roscoe was a very dangerous, mouse-killing cat. So Benjy peered out of his den cautiously before he set out for the night. When he was sure it was safe, he took off like a rocket, speeding along well traveled paths. These paths were frequented by his mom and dad and his remaining siblings. If only today he had paid more attention. He might have been able to save her. The her he wanted to save was Veronica. Veronica was a sweet and Page 11
very agreeable girl mouse, who often twitched her whiskers at him. But mom and dad always said “Look out for number one!” That was what he was doing when he scurried as fast as lightning across the floor to the seed store. Chirpy and Cheerio were settled down for the night. All day they had scattered their seeds from their cage while they ate. The seeds had fallen soundlessly to the floor, free and clear. Every night when he was sure it was safe; he rushed in and began devouring them. That night, while keeping one eye out for Roscoe and one eye on the food, he noticed Veronica on the opposite side of the wall. She was gobbling seeds, too. Veronica smiled at him. He thought he should tell her, “Hug the wall,” but it did seem safe. He always stayed close to the wall himself. Then he saw the gleaming of the cat’s eyes. He began to squeak out, “Veronica!” but it was too late! A paw swatted her. Page 12
She yelped. Benjy stood frozen in time as Veronica was thrown into the air. Then his dad grabbed him and whisked him away to their den, safe and sound. Tears came to his eyes as his mom tucked him into their little nest of feathers and fluff. “But what about Veronica?” he asked pitifully. “Shush,” his mother said. “You are safe. That is all that matters.” was asleep.
In what seemed a moment, Benjy woke up. “Time for school,” his mother yelled. Benjy was sitting up in bed. He was breathing hard and his eyes were wet. “What’s the matter with you?” Edgar, his older brother, asked. “You didn’t have that dream again?” Benjy wiped his eyes in embarrassment. “I told you. It’s not a dream. It’s like another life. Every night it’s the same.” “Yeah, yeah,” Edgar replied. “And in this dream, you’re a mouse and Roscoe always tries to eat you.” “Don’t laugh. He got Veronica last night.” “Veronica? That girl mouse you have crush on in your dream? Man, you are sick!” Edgar rolled his eyes. Benjy jumped up and grabbed some clothes. “I know. I know. But it seems so real.” As he sat at the breakfast table, Benjy kept eyeing Roscoe. Roscoe was sitting, smiling at him lazily on the table. “Get that cat off the table,” his mom ordered. Benjy obediently lifted Roscoe off and put him on the floor. “Did Roscoe catch any mice last night?” Benjy asked, swallowing hard. “That’s what we got him for,” his mom answered absently. Benjy hesitated. “Yeah, but did he catch one last night?” “As a matter of fact, he did.” Page 13
She pointed to the trash where a brown mouse lay still and cold. Benjy broke into a cold sweat. He felt sick as he stared at the mouse. What was the matter with him anyway? “You better get to school, nut job,” Edgar reminded him. Benjy grabbed his books and ran out the door, trying to forget a certain mouse in the trash can. When he got to school, he couldn’t concentrate all morning. He was bad at math, and he stumbled over words when he was reading out loud. He could tell Mrs. Sharp was disappointed in him. At noon, he went off to lunch with his best friend, Tim, his head hanging down. Benjy played with his food while Tim ate voraciously. “What do you got?” Tim asked curiously, wolfing down a ham sandwich. “Cheese sandwich,” Benjy said, without thinking. He tore it into little pieces before popping it into his mouth. “Hey, what’s up with you? You’ve been doing dumb things all morning.” “Veronica died!” he croaked out. “Who?” “Veronica,” Benjy repeated. “The girl mouse.” Tim looked at him funny. “You know you’re crazy! Nobody else I know has a dream world where they’re a rat.” Benjy glared at him. “I’m not a rat. I’m a mouse, and it’s not a dream.” “Yeah, I know and your cat’s in the dream,” Tim smirked, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, and sometimes my mom and dad, too, and my brother.” “Did you ever run into yourself coming around the corner?” Tim laughed. “No!” Benjy snorted angrily. “That’s good!” Tim replied. “Because then you’d really be bonkers.” Benjy swept his brown bag aside. “Can I help it if I’m a boy who dreams he’s a mouse?” Tim stared at him and then guffawed. “Hey! Maybe you’re really a mouse who dreams he’s a boy!” Page 14
“Very funny!” Benjy shouted. But kids were looking at him now and he shut up. The rest of the day he kept wondering about what Tim said. Was he a boy who dreamed he was a mouse or a mouse who dreamed he was a boy? When he went to bed that night, he was more uneasy than ever. “Good night, rat boy!” Edgar told him. Benjy ignored him. He covered up and tried not to sleep. But the next thing he knew he was waking up in his den with his parents smiling at him, Page 15
their ears quivering in joy. “Wake up sleepy head,” his mom said happily. “We have a surprise for you.” He woke wide awake and glanced around. There was Veronica, safe and sound! His heart jumped. “But how?” he asked. “I saw her in the trash can.” Veronica looked away. “That was Celia. She was so brave. She jumped out to save me.” “Your sister! I’m so sorry, Veronica!” Benjy’s mom said. “But at least you are safe,” Benjy stared at her in relief. “I’m glad you’re still here,” he said quietly. It was then that he realized that he didn’t care whether he was a mouse or a boy. Either way he had a family who loved him, and a special friend who hadn’t been eaten by a cat.
AUTHOR BIO: Shari L Klase is a writer and poet, who loves to write stories for children. She has been published in Stories for Children Magazine, The Kids Ark, and Guardian Angel Kids. Writing is not a hobby for her. It is seen as a gift and a passion.
ILLUSTRATOR BIO: Sue Babcock is the Director of Kids’Magination, the managing editor for Liquid Imagination (www.liquid-imagination.com), and the fiction editor for Silver Blade (www.silverblade.net).