Our Bedtime Reading Series

David J Ford
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Here’s a story for readers at the older end of our range.
It’s called A Very Smelly Adventure

A collection of nine stories especially for bedtime.
Suitable for ages 4 to around 10.
This book is also available for Kindle at around £1.99 – Click here
Here is one of the stories. I’d love it if you could leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. Thank you.

Fin Lightning on the World of Wobbles

Fin Lightning, Intergalactic Superhero, was assembling his latest and greatest spaceship. He had piled the cushions off the sofa just right, and he had found a largish cardboard box. He was wondering if it would make a really powerful engine, or if it would be better as a gun turret for the cannons. Then he found that the top folded inside, and so it was no good for either, really. He realised then, that it would make a very good wind-shield, and that if you put your socks in the box then you could crouch down behind it as you zoomed round the corners on the Milky Motor Way.
He jumped into the driver’s seat. ‘Come on Dinosaur,’ he called, ‘I’ll bet there are plenty of people who need rescuing today.’
‘Right Fin,’ Dinosaur replied, ‘I’ll switch on the Troublescope and see what I can find.’
Click. Dinosaur switched on, and almost immediately a red light on the top started to flash. Beep – Beep, the box went urgently.
‘Come in, Fin Lightning. Come in, Fin Lightning,’ called a voice from the Troublescope ‘Calling Fin Lightning and Dinosaur. Come in, Fin Lightning.’
Dinosaur worked the controls of the Troublescope for a few minutes.
‘Right Fin,’ he said at last, ‘there is a serious problem on the World of Wobbles. We had better get there as fast as we can.’
‘We’re on the way, Dinosaur,’ said Fin, Crouching down behind the windscreen, he zoomed the spaceship round in a circle and hurtled off, heading straight for the World of Wobbles.
‘What exactly is the problem, Dinosaur?’ Fin asked, as they shot through space at top speed.
‘It’s complicated, Fin,’ Dinosaur answered, still twiddling the controls on the Troublescope. ‘You see, the World of Wobbles has a massive jelly mountain, and the miners there dig in the jelly to find black cherries.’
‘Why don’t they just eat the jelly, Dinosaur?’ asked Fin.
‘They can’t, Fin. It is Smelly-socks flavoured jelly. It tastes horrible – and it smells even worse. The miners have special clothes-pegs to fit on their noses while they work.’
‘Gosh that must be hard work,’ said Fin. ‘What’s happened to cause a disaster there, Dinosaur?’
‘Well, the miners found a place in the middle of the jelly mountain, where there were lots and lots of cherries, and they started to dig them out. But when they dug the cherries out they made a big hole in the jelly, and the hole was soon so big that the jelly collapsed, trapping them inside the smelly jelly. One of the miners has lost his clothes-peg and is in a bad way. They don’t know if he will survive.’
‘Hold tight, Dinosaur. We’ll get there as quickly as we can,’ Fin shouted, and zooming round a few more corners in space they saw the World of Wobbles just ahead.
Fin manoeuvred the spaceship down to land near the miners’ camp. He opened the hatch to climb out. ‘Oof. what a smell.’ Quickly, he closed the hatch again. He looked at Dinosaur. ‘We had better put on our spacesuits,’ he said. Dinosaur, after one sniff of the smelly socks smell, nodded his head in agreement. As quickly as they could they put on their suits. Then they climbed out to greet the miners, who had come out to meet them.
‘Thank goodness you’re here,’ the Chief Miner said. ‘Things are really desperate. We need to rescue our friends as soon as we can get to them.’
Although you could see he was very worried, he spoke in a very funny voice because of the peg on his nose.
‘Right,’ said Fin, ‘we’ll start right away.’
He and Dinosaur climbed back aboard the space ship and took off.
‘What do you think, Dinosaur. Shall I try to burn the smelly jelly away with the laser on low power?’ Fin asked.
‘That would certainly work, Fin,’ Dinosaur answered thoughtfully, ‘but the smoke would make a terrible smell.’
‘Let’s burn the smelly jelly away and rescue the miners first,’ Fin decided, ‘then we can decide what to do about the smoke afterwards.’
So saying he dived down towards the jelly mountain and, adjusting the lasers for very low power, he fired.
Phoar, phoar phoar. went the lasers as he dived. Up he zoomed and round for another go. Phoar, phoar, phoar.
Once more he fired on the lowest of low power. At each shot the smelly jelly boiled away in a thick, black smoke.
A third time he went round, and dived with all lasers blazing. This time the jelly boiled away right down to the ground, and there were the trapped miners huddled together near a large pile of black cherries.
‘Hooray,’ yelled our two intrepid heroes and, as they circled round, they saw the rescue party from the mining camp running towards their freed friends.
‘You know what, Fin,’ Dinosaur said thoughtfully, ‘if you dived and swooped through the cloud of smelly smoke, I think it would waft it all away.’
‘Good idea, Dinosaur,’ Fin replied. ‘Hold on tight for some super swooping.’ So saying, Fin dived and swooped the spaceship through the terrible-smelling smoke cloud, until it was all gone.
They landed, and putting on their space suits to protect them from the smell, they climbed out and went to meet the miners’ leader.
‘Well done, Fin Lightning and Dinosaur,’ he said, warmly shaking Fin’s hand, ‘that was a great idea. We managed to get a new peg fitted on the poor unfortunate fellow, just in time. A few days rest and he’ll be as right as rain.’
‘Good,’ Fin said. ‘Well, you seem to be very busy here, so Dinosaur and I will be on our way.’
‘We are, very busy indeed,’ the miners’ leader said, seriously. ‘Thanks to your timely arrival, the worst trifle shortage in living memory has been averted. The entire Universe is in your debt. We can’t thank you enough.’
‘Oh, that’s all right,’ Fin said. ‘Just call us any time, we’re pleased to be able to help.’
Fin and Dinosaur climbed back into the spaceship and, waving to all the miners, they zoomed away.

A collection of seven stories especially for bedtime.
Suitable for ages 4 to around 10.
This book is also available for Kindle at around £1.99 – Click here
Here is one of the stories. I’d love it if you could leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. Thank you.

Michael and The Toast Dragon

Michael was a little worried. Yesterday he had used the last of the breakfast cereal and had helped Mummy by putting the empty box in the bag with the other cardboard, ready to be recycled. He wondered what would happen to his friends, the elves – Grobbit, who always wore a green hat, and Robbit, who always wore a red hat now that the box had been thrown away.
He sat down at the table, and there on the back of the new cereal box, peeping out from behind the huge bowl, he saw his two friends. He gave a little ‘Phew’ of relief and waved to them.
‘Hello, Michael.’
‘Hello, Michael,’ they both waved back.
‘Hi, Grobbit – hi, Robbit,’ Michael said, ‘is it still you, or are you a new Grobbit and Robbit too. I mean, erm, did you come new with the new box?’
The two elves laughed. ‘Oh, it’s still us, we’re just the same, but we have a nice new box to play on. It’s quite exciting,’ Grobbit said, ‘we think that there’s a dragon here!’
‘Wow. How do you know that?’ Michael asked.
‘Well, there’s smoke and quite a bit of roaring from over the hill – you remember where the swings were on our old box? Do you have any bread?’
‘Yes, would you like some?’ Michael said politely.
‘Not for us, but when the dragon roars, he seems to be roaring, “Bread. Bring me bread,”‘ Robbit put in. Just at that moment Michael seemed to hear a faint roaring sound and, looking at the box, he thought he saw a smoky smudge behind the green hill in the picture on the back of the box. He picked up a few slices of bread. ‘How do I come to you? Oh, I remember. I have to count from five backwards.’ Robbit and Grobbit nodded, so he closed his eyes and counted ‘Five – Four – Three – Two – One.’
‘Hello, Michael.’ ‘Hello, Michael.’ The two elves took his hands and danced him around.
The roaring sound was much louder here on the back of the box. Robbit and Grobbit pulled Michael around behind the big breakfast bowl.
‘We must hide in case Mummy comes into the kitchen,’ Robbit said.
‘Gosh, that roaring is so loud.’ Michael put his hands over his ears.
‘Yes, it seems worse at breakfast time. When we go back in the cupboard after breakfast it stops until we come out again,’ Robbit said.
‘That’s why we think it must be a part of this new land,’ added Grobbit.
‘Have you done any exploring yet?’ asked Michael.
‘A little. We started to climb the hill to see if the playground was still there and we heard the roaring, so we ran back down here to hide by our bowl until you came.’ Grobbit looked a little scared as he said this.
‘Then it was breakfast time, so we thought we would wait for you,’ said Robbit.
‘Bread! Bread! Bring me bread,’ roared the voice. ‘Roar. Roar. Roar.’
‘Well,’ Michael said, ‘we do have some bread now, so if we took it to whoever is doing all that roaring, do you think we could ask him if he would roar a little more quietly?’
Robbit and Grobbit looked at Michael and then they looked at each other.
‘You two can’t spend your whole time hiding here behind the big breakfast bowl,’ said Michael firmly, ‘we have to do something. At least, let’s climb up the hill and see if we can peek over the top without being seen.’
You could tell that Robbit and Grobbit were nervous, but they knew they had to live in this land until the breakfast cereal was all eaten.
‘Couldn’t you just eat two bowls of cereal every day and empty this box, and find us a new land to live in?’ asked Robbit, anxiously.
‘Oh, yes, that’s a good idea,’ Grobbit agreed enthusiastically.
‘Oh gosh, no. I’d never manage two bowls every day.’ Michael shook his head firmly. ‘No, there is no way around it, we have to go and find out where the roaring is coming from.’
The three of them crept to the edge of the bowl and peeped out. Mummy must have been busy somewhere else as she wasn’t in the kitchen. They set off along the path that led around the green hillside and over the top.
The roaring came again. ‘Bread! Bread! Bring me bread,’ roared the voice. ‘Roar. Roar. Roar.’
Robbit and Grobbit held Michael’s hands tightly and they all crouched down.
Just at the top of the hill, but a little way to the right of the path, there were a few small bushes.
‘Let’s go and hide behind those little trees,’ Michael whispered. Robbit and Grobbit nodded.
They left the path and climbed up the hillside towards the bushes. It wasn’t as easy climbing the hill as it had been walking along the path, but the roaring had stopped, so Robbit and Grobbit were able to let go of Michael’s hands. A good thing, too. All three of them needed to use their hands to scramble up the last part of the climb.
At last they reached the safety of the bushes.
‘Phew,’ whispered Robbit,’we made it.’
‘Bread! Bread! Bring me bread!’ The voice seemed so much louder. ‘Roar. Roar. Roar.’ There was a fireworks sort of smell, too, and a cloud of smoke wafted over the bushes. The three friends crouched down.
‘Ggggosh!’ said Grobbit, and even though he was whispering, his voice sounded frightened and squeaky. Robbit just squeezed Michael’s hand tightly.
‘Roar. Roa . . .’ The voice started off as loud as ever, but halfway through it became suddenly quieter and quieter, and eventually it stopped in the middle of a roar.
‘Oh, dear me,’ said a quite ordinary sounding voice, ‘I think my batteries must have gone flat.
What a nuisance. Even worse, no one brought any bread, Now what am I going to do?’ Michael and the two elves looked at each other in amazement.
‘Oh, well, at least I don’t have to have that smelly smoke around all the time,’ the voice went on. ‘This is going to be quite a lonely box, if there’s no one around to play with. Phoof. Phoof. At least let me see if I can get rid of the smoke. It’s such a pity no one came to play.’
Carefully, Michael moved the branches of the bush in front of them. The three friends peeped out between the leaves. What do you think they saw?
There was a very colourfully striped tent. On a pole, next to the tent hung a group of very large loudspeakers. On the other side of the tent was a small table, and on the table were spread some screwdrivers, and what looked like the parts of a phone or a radio control car. Standing by the table, frowning down at the array of parts, stood a small dragon, no bigger than Robbit or Grobbit.
‘Hello, there.’ Grobbit waved a hand through the leaves.
The little dragon jumped. ‘Oh, oh. Oh, hello. Come on down, I was beginning to think that I was here all on my own!’
‘Oh! Oh!’ he said as Michael and the two elves stepped out of the bushes. ‘Oh, no. A people.’ He scurried behind his little table and peeped out at them. ‘Are there people allowed on this box, then? Is it tame?’
‘This is Michael,’ said Grobbit with a smile, ‘he’s our friend.’
‘This is his Breakfast Land we are in,’ Robbit added.
‘I’ve brought some bread for you,’ said Michael, in a really friendly way.
‘Oh, bread?’ the little dragon bounced around from behind his table. ‘Really? Oh, thank you, thank you. Bread, at last. Now we can play the game!’
He took the packet of bread from Michael and put it behind his table. He brought a big tub out from his tent and put it on the table.
‘Now,’ he said to the three friends, ‘my batteries have gone flat so I can’t play you the big voice. But … Roll up. Roll up. Roll up for the lucky dip!’ One at a time the friends dipped their hands into the sawdust in the tub.
Grobbit brought out a small jar of raspberry jam; Robbit found a jar of lemon marmalade; Michael pulled out his hand and found he had a little jar of blackcurrant jam. The little dragon brought out a jar of strawberry jam.
‘Yummy,’ he said, ‘now, line up the jars on the table. Good.’ They all placed their jars of jam in a neat line. ‘Now for the fun part,’ said the dragon.
He rummaged in the tent until he uncovered a long toasting fork. He carefully stuck one of the slices of bread on the fork.
‘Stand back, please,’ he said. ‘Raspberry jam first.’ Swoosh. He blew a stream of flames from his nostrils onto the bread on the fork. A couple of swooshes and the bread was toasted to perfection. Somehow, when the dragon handed the toast to Grobbit, it was already buttered and spread with a layer of raspberry jam. He toasted a lemon marmalade slice for Robbit next. Then he started to toast a slice for Michael.
Suddenly, far away and muffled, they heard Mummy calling. ‘Michael. Michael. Where are you. Have you finished your breakfast yet?’
‘Quick, Michael, close your eyes and count to five,’ gasped Grobbit, ‘before Mummy comes into the kitchen.’
‘Don’t forget your toast,’ said the dragon urgently. ‘Goodbye, and come again, won’t you?’
”Bye, Robbit. ‘Bye, Grobbit. ‘Bye, Dragon.’ Michael took his toast, closed his eyes and counted. ‘One – Two – Three – Four – Five.’
He was back in the kitchen – just in time. Mummy came in at that moment.
‘Oh, there you are. What’s that you’re eating?’
‘Toast,’ said Michael, ‘would you like a bite?’
‘Mmm,’ Mummy said, biting off a corner, ‘blackcurrant jam, my favourite. But where did you find that?’
‘The Toast Dragon made it for me – I won it in the Lucky Dip.’
Mummy shook her head. ‘You do come up with some strange things.’
Michael didn’t answer, he was too busy eating his lovely, crunchy toast