Authors: Hazel Edwards
Tags: #Children's Fiction - Mystery
Project Spy Kids I
Winning a Giraffe Called Geoffrey
Written by Hazel Edwards.
Illustrated and designed by Jane Connory.
If you're the kind of person who never wins anything, and then you win a giraffe, you've got a problem.
Of course, if you're a part-time spy like Art, you're ace at solving problems. But keeping the news of the giraffe from his Mum isn't the only thing on Art's mind.
His friend India thinks she's uncovered a dog-snatching scam, and Art agrees that if she helps him hide his giraffe, he'll help her sort it out.
Art's not keen on reading, but ...
Also in the Project Spy Kids Series, by Hazel Edwards.
Copyright Â© Hazel Edwards and Jane Connory, 2011.
Written By Hazel Edwards.
Illustration and design by Jane Connory.
Originally published by Random House, rights reverted to Hazel Edwards
All electronic rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission from the publisher. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
Teacher resources and activities available -
Chapter 1 Where Will the Prize Fit?
Chapter 2 A Giraffe Plan
Chapter 3 Cross Puffer
Chapter 4 Pet Space & Grey Flash
Chapter 5 Dog Spy
Chapter 6 Make your own Luck
Chapter 7 Dog-napping
Chapter 8 Payback
Chapter 9 The Embarrassing Bet
Chapter 10 Competitionitis
âCongratulations. You've won first prize in Annie's Amazing Animal Cookies Contest. You've won the Giraffe.'
âOh!' said Art. His luck must have been changing.
âYour name's Rick isn't it?'
âAr ... I think it was. Could be ...'
Being a part-time spy who forgot names and passwords was a problem.
That was the winning name on the entry form,' said the man. He waved the paper under Art's nose. It tickled. A curly feeling went up his nose. He couldn't stop it tickling. Art sneezed: a giant sneeze that blew the entry form across the room.
âAr ... excuse me.' Art scrabbled to pick up the paper from the floor. Spies needed clues. He sneaked a look at the name and address. Art couldn't always remember all his names.
âWas âRick Smith' his name last week? When he filled in Annie's Amazing Animal Cookies entry form? Art had to remember who he was.
Luckily, he always used his own address. There it was on the entry form. His wobbly writing said 10 Bronzewing Street. That's why Mr. Cookies was on the doorstep of No 10.
He handled Art an envelope.
âHere you are Rick. See you on Friday, the 13th. About 5 o'clock.'
A lopsided grin showed Ms Cookies' broken tooth.
âThe Giraffe will be delivered then. Will anyone be home on Friday? We want to take a photo.'
Art nodded as he opened the envelope.
âAr ... Yes.'
His Mum was on night shift. She'd be home in the day asleep. That was another problem. When a giraffe was delivered to the front door, his Mum might be cross. She wouldn't even let him keep a cat because of the fur. She wasn't keen on pets, but a giraffe was different. Of course, she didn't have a son called Rick either.
âGot somewhere to keep a giraffe?'
Art nodded. He'd think of somewhere secret. Just till Mum got used to the idea. Luckily Dad liked animals but he was away, driving his truck.
âWhat's her name?'
âWho? Your Mum? âMr Cookies looked at Art strangely.
âThe Giraffe.' Of course he knew his Mum's name and it wasn't Mrs. Smith.
âHasn't got one yet. He'll have to be named by his new owner. That's you.'
Art thought for a moment. âI'll call him Geoffrey.'
Art was an expert at losing things like socks, school notes and swimming gear. Losing Geoffrey might be more difficult. He put the envelope away without reading the letter. There would be too many big words. Anyhow, Mr. Cookies had already told him the important part. He'd won the Giraffe.
After school, Art hung around âSnip-pets' the pet shop. The animal smells and the cat fur made him sneeze.
âTshooo! What do giraffes eat?' he asked.
Another sneeze fizzed up his nose.
âDunno. Never had one in here.' Wouldn't fit.' The owner was cleaning out the puppies' cage. âEven a baby giraffe would be a head taller than me.'
That was bad news. Art looked up. The ceiling of the pet shop was higher than his roof at home.
Sideways, he looked at himself in the window. His front tooth was still there. Why didn't the tooth fall out? He needed the money to get a giraffe kennel.
The window worked like a mirror. Art froze. Behind him, he could see Mario walking his greyhounds up the street. Or the greyhounds walking Mario. Art ducked behind the âSnip-pets' sign. Having Mario in his Red reading group was bad enough.
âYou should look up giraffe food in a book, or online,' said the pet shop owner in a loud voice.
âWould it have picture too?' whispered Art trying to hide behind the chair so Mario wouldn't see him.
âNot always. What's wrong? Why are you hiding? âThe pet shop owner stared until Art stood up.
âLooking for â¦ ar â¦ an octopus. I was just playing a game. Thanks for your help.'Art peered around the door. Luckily, Mario had gone.
Art decided to forget about giraffe books. As usual, he'd find other ways. Art shut the pet shop door firmly behind him.
âI'll start my Giraffe Plan today.' Art often talked to himself as he walked down the street. Some spies wrote messages in secret ink. Others used code. But they all needed to ask questions.
âWho would know about giraffes? And where can I keep Geoffrey?' muttered Art as he walked down the street. If he talked to himself, the ideas seemed to stick in his head.
Mario jumped out at him from the Bakery corner.
âYah! Got you Artie!'
âNo you haven't!” Art backed off as the dogs attacked.
âTalking to yourself again Artie. You ought to be careful. People will think you're out of your tree.'
Mario's greyhounds jumped at Artie. Yip.Yip. Yip. Their muzzles gleamed. Their bony legs stretched.
Artie backed away, even though his brain told his legs to stay.
Mario was always frightening smaller kids. Art was as tall as Mario but he felt small when Mario shouted and waved his arms around. So Art put on his you-can't-scare-me voice. âGet lost Mario.'
Mario just laughed and yanked his dogs away.' These dogs are better trained than you Artie. See you at school tomorrow. Just wait.'
For what? As Art hurried home to check his house for giraffe space, he thought about Mario. He liked dogs but none that belonged to Mario. At school, Mario was always teasing him about âtraining'. Especially when Art tried to train for the cross country by puffing around the school oval. One day, he'd get into the school cross country team. Anyway, nest week, Mario's greyhounds would look like ants beside HIS giraffe.
âI forgot again!' He saw the message on the fridge.
DON'T FORGET YOUR SWIMMING
Underneath, Mum had drawn a stick figure swimming. She often drew messages for him. Sometimes it was like a comic strip on the fridge. No excuse for missing the message then.
Art used to have lessons, but now he just did laps. Mum said he had to do some breathing exercises under water every night. Sometimes, he forgot, on purpose.
âI had asthma too, when I was your age,' Mum said. âIt was awful. Sometimes I couldn't breathe. My chest was all tight.'
âThen why did you give it to me?'
âI didn't mean to, âMum gave him a cuddle.' Remember, you got blue eyes too.'
âAnd slow teeth.'
âThe swimming helps your breathing, doesn't it?'
Art nodded. But swimming didn't help his teeth grow. And he needed some teeth money.
After helping himself to a snack, Art rode down to the pool. At the bottom of his street was the racetrack. Art slowed down and pulled out his notebook. Someone was sitting in a blue car watching the greyhounds exercise. He was using binoculars. Art noted the licence number: CVD 345 Names were a problem, but Art always remembered numbers.
He would have liked to stay watching the man, but he was late. And a Giraffe Plan was forming in his head. He would work out the right place for Geoffrey. But for how long could a giraffe be a secret?
âHullo Art. You're a bit late tonight.'
Mrs. M.on the front desk always said that. Once he got there at 3.55 and she still said,
âHullo Art. You're a bit late tonight.'
Art watched the show-off divers doing belly-whackers into the deep water. Their girlfriends shrieked. That gave him an idea. What about the deep end? A giraffe could stand there.
Art dog-paddled. His chest hurt and he puffed a bit. It wasn't fair. This happened at cross-country training too. He was sick of being on the sidelines when his chest didn't always do what his brain told it. He duck dived. On the bottom, the pool was greeny-blue. There was lots of room for a giraffe's legs. Art whooshed to the top, the water fizzing in his nose.
Geoffrey should fit here, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But could giraffes swim?
âNot you again!' Art ducked under the water. India chased him, making big splashes.
âClear off!' he yelled.
âIt's a free country.'
I thought India was a country.'
India just grinned. She shook her long, wet hair. Drops of water hit him in the eyes.
âI thought Art was a subject.'
âWhy did your parents give you such a dumb name?'
âThey came from India. They get homesick,'
The two children fooled around in the water.
âI won a giraffe,' blurted Art. Then he was sorry he told her.
âA giraffe?' India's brown eyes widened. Then she laughed. “Oh yeah. Just like that spy parrot you told me about. The one who squawked messages in code.'
Art squirmed in the water. India remembered everything. The spy parrot had been a good idea he made up. But the giraffe was real.
âIt's a prize. I won it. In the Annie's Amazing Animal Cookies Competition.'
âWhere are you going to keep it?'
âDunno yet. At home somewhere.'
âWhat's it called, your giraffe?
India laughed and showed her even, white teeth She had enough teeth to start renting them out. âGiraffes eat acacia leaves don't they?' India read books for fun. Her head was full of left-over facts.
âThe pet shop didn't know what giraffes eat. They've got kennels where animals can stay. But they don't keep giraffes,' said Art.
âOr elephants, or zebras or lions orâ¦'India splashed him.' And you don't either. I bet you one hundred dollars.'
âA hundred dollars!' That was worth more than twenty teeth. âShake?' If she shook, she'd have to pay. Art put out his wet hand and nearly sank. He spluttered, the water going down the wrong way.
India looked at the clock.
âNearly 5 o' clock. Got to go.' She dashed into the girls' changing rooms without shaking Art's hand for the bet.
Art scrambled out, pulling jeans over his wet togs and got to the turnstile, just as India was leaving.
âHey wait! Shake hands on it.'
In his head, Art had a one hundred dollar pictures.
âIt's got to be a real, LIVE giraffe. When does it come?'
India shook hands, but her eyes didn't believe him.
âOn Friday. About 5 o' clock. They're taking a photo.'
âI'll be there.'
Outside, India untied her dog from the bike rack. Tiny wasn't tiny. But his rainbow coloured dog-jacket was. India said he felt the cold. And since he was a singing dog, he had to keep his chest warm. âHappy Birthday' is his latest song ,' said India proudly. âCome on Tiny. Sing.'
Tiny put back his head and howled.
Art took a step backwards.
âIs he singing yet? Or is he just practicing?' Art wasn't sure.
âDon't know much about music, do ya, Art. I'm going to rent him out for birthday parties,' said India proudly as she patted Tiny.
âWhat does Tiny eat?' asked Art. The way Tiny sang, guests might leave in a hurry and he could eat all the party food.
âEverything!' India tugged on the lead. âThat's why he has to be kept on this.'
Art stepped back. âD'you reckon a giraffe would eat much?'
India nodded. âTrees of food.'
Art frowned. What kind of trees? Some people keep sheep to eat the grass. Could he get Geoffrey to mow the lawn instead of him? Getting the money to feed Geoffrey could be a problem too.
âWhat's the tallest mammal?'
Art turned quickly. The T.V. quiz master was showing his teeth in a big smile. Usually the television talked to itself in the corner. Art didn't watch much. It was always on.
âThe Romans thought the giraffe was a spotted camel or âcamelopardalis',' said the quizmaster.
Art watched until the end of the program. He liked the sound of that word. He said it aloud. âCamel-o-pard-alis' .Even better than a swear word. When Dad dropped the big spanner on his foot, he had been worried that Art might have collected a new swear word .But Art knew lots of words.
âOff to bed before I go to work,' Mum switched off the television.
âMrs. Next-door will be in soon.'
Next morning, Art asked Mrs. Tasker about âcamelopardalis'. He wasn't sure if he'd said it right.
âYou mean giraffes, Art?' Mrs. Tasker nodded. âBeautiful creatures. They're the tallest of all the mammals.'
How tall?' asked Art who liked learning facts if he didn't have to read.
âAbout 5.5 metres. That high.'
Mrs. Tasker pointed towards the roof. Art gulped.
âA giraffe has a short body and a very long tail. The tail is tufted and it has a short mane.'
âHas it got horns?'
Mrs. Tasker was better than reading any old book. She was so old that her use-by date was gone. But she kept interesting things in the saggy pockets of her big, sloppy jacket. Last term, on pet day, she'd had a kitten in one pocket.
âYes, there are between two and four short, skin-covered horns.'
âWhat colour are the spots?' asked Art.
âSame colour as my jacket. Reddish brown. They're a sort of camouflage so the giraffes can fade into the background ,then lions won't attack them. Now go and get changed for sport, or you'll be late for cross country practice.'
This was the day Art had been training for. Every lunchtime, he jogged around the oval. He was usually last in any race, but he wanted to finish the course today. There was a problem.
Should he take his puffer with him?
âI've got lots of pockets,' Mrs. Tasker said. âWhy don't I keep your puffer during sport. I'll be around. If you need it, let me know.'
âThanks.' Art didn't want to carry anything extra. He'd even had his haircut last week. Now the wind could blow past his ears more quickly.
At the start, Mario was showing off his new running shoes. âThis time, I'll run like a greyhound.'
'You're not fast enough,' said India.' Greyhounds are skinny and you're not.'
Mario swore. India just walked away.
Art was busy warming up. He stretched. Then he jogged on the spot. Nearby, the others were forming a wobbly line at the start.
âFollow the blue flags,' said Mr. Douglas. âRun down the track and up the hill. Mrs. Tasker will be at the big gum tree. Go around her. We'll give you your times at the Finish.'
Art looked around. Kids were pushing and shoving.
Ready. Set. Go!' said Mr. Douglas.
The children ran down the track. India was one of the fast ones. Art could see her hair bouncing down her back. Art let the others get in front. He jogged well, at first. He reached the skinny gum tree, when the trouble started.
He gulped for air. His chest went up and down. The other kids were way ahead of him now. They ran down the track and vanished into the trees.