Once upon a time Tommy Donbavand
Illustrated by Peter Richardson
Titles in GEMS Eggs on Legs Cat Brace Face Deep Trouble Malekin Once Upon a Time Pony Mad Pink Football Boots The Sweet Trail Mystery The Best Day Ever! The Terrible Tale of Melody Doom
Jean Ure Danny Pearson Danny Pearson Jane A C West Tommy Donbavand Roger Hurn Ian MacDonald Ian MacDonald Roger Hurn Tommy Donbavand
Badger Publishing Limited Oldmedow Road, Hardwick Industrial Estate, King’s Lynn PE30 4JJ Telephone: 01438 791037 www.badgerlearning.co.uk Once Upon a Time... ISBN 978-1-78147-474-7 Text © Tommy Donbavand 2013 Complete work © Badger Publishing Limited 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any form or by any means mechanical, electronic, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. The right of Tommy Donbavand to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Publisher: Susan Ross Senior Editor: Danny Pearson Design: Julia King Illustrator: Peter Richardson 2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1
Contents Chapter 1
Home alone 5
A bedtime story 11
A change of clothes 15
You shall go to the ball! 19
The prince who rocked 25
garish plastered quiff quartet ridiculous
Main characters: Ella
I sat at the bottom of the stairs in my pyjamas as my mum and dad pulled on their coats. Dad tapped his back pocket, muttered “Wallet!” and dashed up to their bedroom. “We’ll be back before 11pm,” my mum said. “Both our mobile numbers are on the pad by the phone, along with the number for the restaurant, if you need to get in touch with us.”
“We’ll be fine, Mum!” I insisted. “You two go and have a nice time. Your wedding anniversary only comes once a year.” “I know you’ll be fine,” my mum said, “it’s your sister I’m concerned about.”
Ella slumped against the wall and studied her black fingernails through a mass of shocking pink and black hair. “What have I done now?” she groaned. “Nothing – yet,” Mum replied. “But the last time we left you here to babysit for Andrea, several dozen of your emu friends just happened to drop in to have a party...” Ella tutted. “They’re not called emus – it’s emo!” “Ella...”
“My name isn’t Ella any more. It’s Midnight,” said my sister. My mum ignored her. “Ella, I don’t want any of your friends in the house tonight, do you hear? Especially not that boy with the silly blue hair. What does he call himself? Chimp? Chump?” “Chomp!” Ella grunted. “And you only don’t like him because he’s cool and plays guitar in a band.” “No,” said Mum. “I don’t like him because the last time you invited him round, he ate everything in the fridge – including the ice-pack Dad uses for his bad knee.”
I giggled and Ella threw me an angry look. Mum spotted it. “If you can’t behave, I can easily call Aunt Helen and Aunt Julie round to babysit for the pair of you.” I thought I saw Ella’s eyes widen in horror beneath her floppy fringe. “We don’t need Lumpy and Grumpy to look after us.” “Don’t talk about my sisters like that!” said Dad, coming back down the stairs. He winked at me. “The names do suit them, though.”
Mum opened the door. Outside it was windy and raining. “Now, are you sure you’ll be alright together?” “Yes!” snapped Ella, flashing a smile to try to disguise the frustrated tone in her voice. “Now, go and have a nice time!” She ushered our parents out of the door and closed it behind them.
“I thought they’d never go!” sighed Ella. Then she raced through the living room to open the patio doors. There, standing in the rain in the garden, was a thin, teenage boy dressed all in black and with a shock of blue hair. “I’m wet,” said Chomp, stepping inside and shaking the rain from his hair like a dog. “And hungry.” I hurried over to my sister. “Ella...” I began.
She scowled at me. “My name,” she said flatly, “is Midnight!” “Whatever,” I said. “Mum told you he wasn’t allowed in.” Ella grabbed my arm and glared down at me. “Well, Mum’s not going to find out, is she? Now go upstairs to bed.” “It’s not my bedtime yet.” “I don’t care. But you’re not staying down here with me and Chomp.” I sighed. “Alright,” I said. “I’ll go to bed if you tell me a story.”
“What?” cried Ella. “A story? How old are you?” “Not too old to have a bedtime story,” I pointed out. “Or do you want me to tell Mum and Dad that you let your boyfriend in again?”
“He’s not my boyfriend!” hissed Ella. “At least, not yet...” “So, do I get a story?” “Yes, alright!” Ella snapped. She turned to Chomp and fluttered her eyelashes at him. I don’t know why, neither of them could see anything through their ridiculous fringes. “I’ll just tuck Andrea in, then I’ll be back down,” she crooned. Chomp sniffed noisily. “I’ll be in the kitchen.”
“What story do you want?” Ella asked, scanning my bookshelf. “Cinderella,” I said with a smile, sliding the book out from beneath my pillow. “What? No – you can’t have Cinderella!” “Why not?” “Because it’s stupid!” Ella protested. “A girl gets a new dress from a fairy and goes to a ball in a pumpkin – in glass slippers!”
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked. “You can’t dance in shoes made out of glass!” my sister said. “They’d shatter and cut your feet to pieces.” I shrugged. “Maybe they were made of safety glass?” Ella slumped onto the bed beside me, snatching the book from my hands. “Let’s get this over with,” she sighed. “I don’t know how much longer I can stand being in such a pink and fluffy room.” She opened the book and a pale pink light began to glow from its pages.
“What now?” Ella groaned. “Have you been messing with your books?” I shook my head. “It’s never done that for me,” I said. “It’s always just – ” FLASH! I blinked hard, trying to bring the world back into focus. When I could finally see again, I was amazed to discover that we weren’t in my bedroom any more. We were in an old kitchen with a stone floor. And Ella looked very different... “What are you wearing?” I gasped.
Ella looked down at herself. Instead of the black leggings and baggy jumper she had been wearing earlier, she was now wearing a dress made from random scraps of material.
My sister screamed. Properly screamed. “What happened to my clothes?” she demanded. “I spent hours trawling round the charity shops to find them!” Before I could comment, the kitchen door crashed open and my two aunts – Helen and Julie – waddled in. At least, I think they were my two aunts. They were dressed in garish, multi-coloured dresses, and had plastered their faces with heavy make-up.
“There you are, Midnight, dear!” cried Aunt Helen. “We have some news for you, don’t we, Grumpy?” “We do indeed, Lumpy!” bellowed Aunt Julie. “We’ve all been invited to the Prince’s Ball at the palace – but you can’t go...” “I’m afraid that’s true,” said Aunt Helen, producing three silver slips of card from her handbag. “Something terrible happened to your ticket, didn’t it Grumpy?” “It was heart-breaking, Lumpy!” said Aunt Julie, snatching one of the tickets and tearing it into pieces.
“See what we mean?” She sprinkled the pieces of silver card over my sister, then the two ladies left the room, giggling together. “What is going on?!” shouted Ella. “I think I know...” I said. “I think we’ve been dragged inside the story book... “ I paused as a pink glow began to surround me, and I felt a tingle in my wings. Wait... my wings? I had wings! I fluttered up into the air. “We’re in the story of Cinderella – and I’m the Fairy Godmother!”
Ella frowned. “Who does that make me?” I rolled my eyes. “Try to work it out,” I said. “Now – don’t worry, Ella... you shall go to the Prince’s Ball!” I found a magic wand in my hand and waved it over my older sister. She began to spin on the spot and, when she stopped, she was dressed in a beautiful, pink ball gown and glass slippers. Ella scowled. “I’m not going anywhere dressed like this!” she spat. “Especially not to a ball run by some stupid prince!”
I bent to collect up pieces of the ruined ticket. “You may change your mind if you look at this,” I said. Ella joined me and studied the picture on the invitation. It was from Prince Chomping and featured a picture of a very cool-looking teen in a black suit with swept-back, blue hair. The image caught him with his head thrown back as he played a solo on a lute.
“OK,” said Ella. “But if I’m going to this ball – I’m going on my terms. Wave your magic wand again.” I did as my sister asked and, once more, she began to spin. This time, when she stopped, her dress was black, her hair was piled high and shocking pink, and she was wearing a pair of unlaced glass boots. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about!”
The carriage (made from a potato and pulled by a quartet of rats) pulled up outside Prince Chomping’s castle. Ella – or Midnight as she again insisted on being called – jumped down from her seat and gazed up at the palace before her. “I always knew he’d make something of himself,” she said proudly. I nodded in agreement. “Not bad for someone who eats ice-packs.”
We climbed the steps towards the entrance and I laid a hand on my sister’s arm. “Remember, Midnight,“ I said, “you have to be home before... er... midnight, or the spell will fail and you’ll be dressed in rags once more.” But my sister wasn’t listening. She was racing up the steps towards the sound of music. Thrashing, ear-splitting, heavy rock music.
Everyone turned and stared at Midnight as she entered the ballroom, but she only had eyes for the lute player, currently playing yet another solo on his instrument – this time behind his head – on stage with the band. It was Prince Chomping. He stopped and stared at my sister, and everyone in the room held their breath – except for my aunts... er... Lumpy and Grumpy, who were steadily making their way through the buffet table, plate by plate.
Midnight approached the stage and held out her hand. Prince Chomping stopped playing his lute, tossing the instrument to a fellow musician, and jumped from the stage, his bright blue, heavily gelled quiff bobbing. The band struck up a new, rocking tune, and the entire ballroom let out a delighted “Ahhh!” as the Prince swept Midnight into his arms and began to dance with her. Far too soon, the clock at the end of the ballroom struck twelve. I turned to my sister and said, “ Midnight – it’s midnight...”
“Well, I’m not running anywhere!” said Ella. “Especially if I have to leave one of my glass boots behind and then Chomp has to scour the kingdom, searching for a girl with the same shoe size as me! I’d rather – ” FLASH!
I was back in my bedroom, Ella asleep beside me – and I could hear Mum and Dad returning home from their meal. “Hello?” called Mum. “Girls?” I slid past Ella and padded down the stairs, barefoot. “Did you have a nice evening?” I asked. “Not bad,” said Dad, heading for the kitchen. “Too much salt on the chicken, though. I’m very thirsty...” Mum eyed the living room, warily. “This all looks very tidy,” she said. “What have you and your sister been up to?”
“Oh, not much,” I said, sitting down on the stairs. “Ella and I had a ball.” Mum took her coat off, smiling – and then we heard the cry from the kitchen. “Anyone know why there’s a boy with blue hair asleep, face-down, in our fridge?”
Questions Where are Ella’s and Andrea’s parents going, and why? Why don’t they trust Ella to behave while they are out? What happens when Ella starts reading the book to Andrea? How would you describe the aunts when they appear. Which characters from Cinderella do Ella, Andrea, the aunts and Chomp become? Why does Ella change the magic clothes that Andrea has given her? What was Ella’s coach made out of? What was the coach made out of in the original Cinderella story? Did Ella and Andrea really go to a ball? What do you think happened?
Once upon a time Tommy Donbavand Ella and her sister are about to read a fairy tale that will change their lives forever. But will it end with a happily ever after?
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