Here is a sneak preview of the text from the first three chapters of the first book in the It’s A Kid’s Life series!
Hi, I’m Ben Collins. I’m just a nine year old boy muddling my way through being a kid. Grown-ups always tell us that these are the best years of our lives, but as all us kids know, this is just a reflection of how forgetful parents can be, as being a kid is hard.
Especially when you have three younger brothers to contend with like I do. I get the blame for EVERYTHING, just because I’m the oldest and ‘should know better’. If they aren’t trying to get me into trouble, then they are trying to wreck all my stuff. It drives me crazy.
I have recently come up with a solution to this problem though. I have this really cool intruder alarm on my door. I wanted a proper lock, but Mum told me that wasn’t going to happen, so this is the next best thing. If one of my brothers tries to enter my room uninvited, then a siren as loud as ten police cars fills the house. I get to run straight to my bedroom to catch the intruder red handed! The only problem is that I sometimes set the alarm before I go to bed, and when Mum comes to check on me she gets the fright of her life as the siren wails. She then has to spend the next hour getting my baby brother back to sleep, which she always blames me for of course.
Then there is school. Who on earth came up with the idea of sending all of us kids to school for five days every week? That is five days at school and two days at home. Who did the maths on that one? It is so not fair.
Anyway, that’s enough of me moaning. You will get the wrong idea if I carry on being negative. I’m actually quite a happy child, despite all the hardship that comes along with being a kid. So, I’m going to give you a list of my favourite things to let you see what I’m really like.
- Computer games – I absolutely could not live without playing them. Maybe I could even invent my own one day!
- My dog – the best dog in the world, Obi!
- Pyjama Days – why get dressed when you aren’t leaving the house? It makes getting ready for bed later a whole lot quicker!
- Chocolate – hey, what kid doesn’t like chocolate? The bigger the bar, the better!
- Salmon – ha, you weren’t expecting that one were you? Just checking you were paying attention. Of course I don’t like salmon – yuck!
- Play fighting with my brothers – ok, so they are good for something!
- Karate – Mum tells me that this is important for discipline. I think it’s great, as you get to punch the sensei’s big fat belly to practice your skills.
The ‘Sensei’ is the man in charge shouting all the orders. He pretends to be scary but his bark is worse than his bite as they say.
- Making money – I plan on being a millionaire by the time I am eighteen, and if you carry on reading this book you will find out how!
So there you have it. This is me, and this is my story. Only things are about to get even harder for me, as my mum and dad have made the crazy decision to move house, which means that I have to start a new school. Needless to say, I am NOT impressed!
My mum says that I’m lucky to have three brothers. She says that having brothers means that you will always have someone to play with, someone to look out for you, and someone who will always be your friend. I’m not so sure she is right, but for now I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m not entirely sure what ‘benefit of the doubt’ means, but I think it means that I have to believe her until I can prove her otherwise.
I do try to prove her wrong at least once a week, but then she reminds me that I play Top Trumps with Pocket Rocket most nights before bed, and that Big Spud and Little Spud love taking it in turns to jump on my back and pretend that I am a horse. I have to admit, it is quite good fun hearing them squeal as I bounce them up and down whilst charging round the house!
I should probably explain my brothers’ nicknames to you. Pocket Rocket is my seven year old brother. Dad started calling him this after he won his first ever race at the age of just two and a half at the preschool sports day. He ran so fast that the crowd gasped in shock as he flew over the finish line like a rocket. The pocket bit came from the fact that he was so tiny at the time that Dad said you could almost fit him in your pocket.
Big Spud is my four year old brother and Little Spud is my two year old brother. I’m not too sure where the ‘spud’ bit came from to be honest. Maybe they ate a lot of potatoes when they first started eating proper food, as ‘spud’ is a funny word for a potato. Or maybe they had faces like potatoes when they were born!
I really should ask Dad about this one. Dad nicknamed me Big Ben, as I am the oldest, but I prefer it if he just sticks to Ben these days, as it does get a bit annoying having to explain to everyone that I am not named after the bell of a giant clock!
Anyway, back to Mum telling me that I am lucky to have three brothers. She always reminds me about the time that she saw two older boys pushing her brother around in the school playground. She fearlessly ran at them, shouting her best war cry, and hit both of them with a plastic football cone that she found lying on the ground.
According to Mum, the boys ran off faster than Usain Bolt at the London Olympics. I expect that Mum exaggerates the facts somewhat. I have to admit though, I am a little bit impressed with this story, even though we must have all heard it about eighty six times by now!
Today is a day that I am glad to have my brothers though as we are starting a new school. At least I know that they too will be feeling my pain as we stand out like sore thumbs in a school where everyone else already knows each other.
It is so annoying when parents make grown up decisions without thinking how hard it is for us kids. So what if Dad has been offered a great new job with a brand new car. I was top of the class in maths, and saving up to buy a shiny new stunt scooter with my little business I had started in the school playground. I would buy packets of sweets in for 40p and sell them for 60p. I had built up a nice lot of regular customers. Now I would have to start from scratch. Did Mum and Dad not know that I planned on being a millionaire by the time I was eighteen?
“COME ON BOYS, we can’t be late on your first day,” Mum shouted from downstairs. I was standing in my bedroom wearing just my pants. Thinking that this probably wouldn’t be a very good look to meet my new classmates in, I quickly pulled on the rest of my new uniform. I guess it could be worse. At least this one didn’t come with a tie like my last school. I never could get the hang of tying that thing. Shoe laces were far easier than ties.
Before I knew it, we were all sitting in the school office, waiting to be taken to our new classrooms. If you thought I was nervous, you should have seen Big Spud. He was sitting there, white as a sheet, holding on to Mum’s hand like he was glued to her. Mum didn’t stand a chance of getting him into his new classroom without her. I decided that, being the big brother, I would set a good example, even if I did wish that the ground would open up and swallow me whole. So when my new teacher, Mrs Ramsbottom, walked over smiling at us, I tried my best to smile back, only I think it came out as more of a lop sided grimace with a look of sheer terror in my eyes.
Suddenly, I wished that I was four again, and could grab onto my mum’s hand and scream, “Mummy, help me!” But I wasn’t four. I was nine. Next year I would be in double digits as I entered the exciting world of a ten year old. I had to act like a man and go to meet my new classmates.
“Class, this is Ben!” shouted Mrs Ramsbottom as we walked into my new classroom. There was an eerie silence as every head turned to look at the new boy who had just walked in.
I could feel a warm rush of blood running to my cheeks as they turned as red as a big dollop of tomato ketchup. All I wanted to do was make a run for the open window on the other side of the classroom. If there was one thing I hated more than eating salmon, it was being looked at by a zillion eyes all at once.
With about thirty kids in the class there were probably only actually about sixty eyes, but right then, it felt like a zillion.
I mustered up a clumsy sort of wave which looked more like my arm had a floppy lettuce stuck to the end of it. My teacher then ushered me to a seat at the back of the classroom, not a moment too soon. The spare seat was next to a boy who was sitting chewing a pencil. He looked very bored.
“Ben, this is Tommy. He is going to be your buddy,” said Mrs Ramsbottom.
Tommy managed to look a little less bored for a minute as he muttered a very unenthusiastic ‘hello’.
“Anything you need to know, just ask Tommy,” continued Mrs Ramsbottom. “He is going to make sure you settle right in here at Summercroft School.”
“Right class, time to learn about some poems,” she shouted as she headed back to the front of the class. Thankfully, everyone’s eyes moved away from my tomato ketchup coloured cheeks as they busied themselves with their pens and writing books.
The teacher was rambling on about an acrostic poem, and seeing as I had recently learnt about this at my last school, it gave me a good opportunity to check out my fellow classmates.
Tommy didn’t really say an awful lot all morning, so I was undecided as to whether he would make a good friend or not. He seemed pretty clever though, so should make a good maths buddy if nothing else. Most kids thought I was crazy for liking maths, but it was my favourite subject, and it would come in very useful for managing my millions when I’m older. I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up and run my own little business, making lots of money.
Mum always tells me that money isn’t important and it is love that makes the world go round.
I, on the other hand, would quite like to be rich when I’m older. As I said, by the time I am eighteen I will be a millionaire! I plan to have a big house with a swimming pool, a games room, and a TV the size of the wall to play computer games on. There will be a never ending supply of lemonade coming out of the kitchen tap too!
After what seemed like an eternity, the bell went to let us know that school had finished for the day. In my last school, I just walked out by myself to find Mum outside Pocket Rocket’s classroom. I kind of hoped that she would be waiting for me outside my classroom today though as my nerves from this morning hadn’t completely vanished yet.
I looked out of the classroom window and felt relieved to see my mum standing there waiting with a few of the other mums. My relief quickly turned to embarrassment though as she spotted me and started waving at me like a crazy mum with a big cheesy grin on her face. It reminded me of the time she had walked me into school, and instead of saying goodbye to me at the school gates she followed me all the way to my classroom. As I walked in the door she poked her head through and shouted in her most shrill voice, “Love you darling, bye!” I froze in horror as the entire class fell silent, and all of the kids turned to look at me. It was the worst thing Mum could have ever done to me, and I still haven’t forgiven her for it.
I should have expected it though as the day before, she told me that if I continued to walk off from her without so much as a, “see you later alligator,” then she would shout some kind of ‘embarrassing mum’ comment to me. I thought she was just bluffing. Mum always threatens us with things and then doesn’t go through with them. This time though, she called my bluff. I was called ‘darling’ by my classmates for an entire term.
Luckily for me, the kids soon forgot about teasing me when Billy Walsh was caught giving his mum a big kiss goodbye just before walking in the classroom door.
Surely he knew that it was a big no-no to kiss your mum in public after the age of five!