Authors: Belinda Murrell
Meet Lulu Bell. Where there's Lulu, there's family, friends, animals and adventures galore!
It's a hot day and the Bell family is going for a swim. But when a runaway dog chases a little penguin that is waddling up the beach, Lulu has to leap into action!
Is the little penguin hurt? And as if that's not enough for Lulu to worry about, where is Pickles the cat, who's about to have her kittens? Let the search begin!
For Pippa Masson and Paul Macdonald, who encouraged me to create Lulu, and for Zoe Walton, Kimberley Bennett and Serena Geddes, who helped Lulu come alive.
It was Tuesday morning and the Bell family was getting ready for school. Lulu Bell looked closely at the tortoiseshell cat by her feet.
âPickles is looking very round,' said Lulu. âI think she might pop!'
âThat's because she's going to have kittens any day now,' said Mum.
Pickles stared at Lulu and meowed. She wanted more breakfast. Lulu stroked
Pickles and rubbed her plump tummy.
Mum was making chicken-and-lettuce sandwiches. She dropped a chunk of chicken in the bowl for Pickles to gobble up.
Lulu's little sister Rosie was sitting on a stool at the bench. âI wonder how many kittens Pickles will have?' she asked. âMaybe she'll have twenty!'
Mum laughed. âDad thinks maybe four or five,' she replied. âIf Pickles were having twenty, she really would pop!'
Lulu's dad was a vet, and the family lived in the rambling house behind Shelly Beach Veterinary Hospital.
Lulu went to the pantry to get out
some cereal for breakfast. The box felt very heavy. When Lulu shook it over her bowl, a pile of plastic action figures fell out.
âOh no,' wailed Lulu. She checked inside the box. âThere's no cereal left.'
The kitchen door flew open and in darted a big brown dog. She was chased by a tiny superhero. A pair of bright brown eyes peered out from behind the hero's black mask. He wore a cheeky grin.
Lulu glared at her brother. âGus, did you eat all the cereal?' she asked. She waved the empty box and the handful of toys.
The grin disappeared and Gus shook his head. He pointed at the big dog beside him.
âJessie did,' said Gus.
Lulu wrinkled her nose. âHow did Jessie get the cereal?'
Jessie slunk away and hid under the table. Her ears drooped.
âJessie naughty,' said Gus. He stuck his thumb in his mouth.
âDo you mean you fed her the cereal, Gus?' asked Lulu.
Gus zoomed off, his antennae bobbing.
Mum smiled at Lulu. âNever mind, honey bun,' Mum said. âI'll make you
some toast for breakfast. Rosie, why don't you read your home reader out loud to us while the bread toasts?'
While Rosie read from her homework book, Lulu worked on her latest drawing. She was making a book of flower fairy drawings. She had finished Fairy Rose and Fairy Daisy, and was now working on Fairy Lily.
âLovely reading, Rosie. You are doing so well.'
Rosie glowed with pride at her mother's praise.
Mum brought the toast to the bench and buttered it.
âHow's the drawing coming along, Lulu?' said Mum. She peered at the drawing upside down from the other side of the bench. âI think the rose is my favourite fairy. I love the colour you've
used for her ball gown â blush pink with a tinge of palest yellow.'
Mum was an artist, so she always encouraged the girls to draw and paint. Gus rarely sat still long enough to draw.
âThanks, Mum,' replied Lulu. She compared the three drawings. âI don't know whether to make the Fairy Lily's skirt white or pink.'
âWhy not orange?' suggested Mum. âThe colour of a tiger lily?'
Lulu picked out a bright orange pencil and looked at it closely. Mum was right. The orange was perfect. She carefully began to colour the skirt.
Lulu thought about school. Yesterday Miss Baxter had hinted that she had a surprise announcement for the class. She had warned them that she needed lots of good arty ideas today. Lulu loved doing art. And she especially loved surprises. What could the surprise possibly be?
While the girls munched their toast, Mum peeled two oranges. She cut up the fruit and put it in plastic snack containers.
The girls packed their lunches and homework into their schoolbags. They found their hats and were ready at last.
Lulu's best friend Molly was waiting out the front with her mum and her younger brother Sam. He had started school only two weeks before.
Molly stroked Asha's silky ears.
âCould I walk Asha, please, Chrissie?' she asked.
âOf course you can, Molly,' agreed Lulu's mum. âLulu can take Jessie.'
The group walked down the hill, chatting and laughing. Mum pushed Gus in the pram. A neighbour waved and called hello as they passed.
It was a fine morning, with a deep-blue sky. A flock of white-and-yellow cockatoos swooped overhead. They squawked and cawed.
âIt's going to be scorching today,' said Mum. âIf it's still hot this afternoon, we might go to the beach for a swim. Would you, Molly and Sam like to come too, Tien?'
Molly's mum Tien nodded. âWhat a lovely idea,' she said. âWe can take a picnic afternoon tea.'
âYay,' cried Lulu, Rosie and Molly together. Sam smiled.
âCan we take our boogie boards?' asked Lulu.
âAnd my angel wings?' suggested Rosie.
âWhy not?' replied Mum. âIt'll be fun. Perhaps we can have fish and
chips for dinner on the beach.'
Jessie wagged her tail extra-fast. âDinner' was her favourite word.
the dog asked. She looked back and forth between Mum and Lulu.
âNot you, Jessie,' replied Mum. âYou and Asha are staying home.'
Jessie's tail drooped and her eyes stared up mournfully. Lulu patted her head.
âNever mind, girl,' said Lulu. âWe'll save you some chips.'
Jessie smiled happily again. She really was the smiliest dog in the world.
At the school gate, Mum kissed both of her girls and waved goodbye. Gus waved goodbye too.
âSee you this afternoon. Have a lovely day,' called both mums.
âBye, Mum. Love you, Mum,' called Lulu, Rosie, Sam and Molly.
âLove you, too.'
Now Lulu had
things to look forward to. First was Miss Baxter's surprise. Then there was the trip to the beach.