Series: Amy Wild, Animal Talker
By Diana Kimpton
“Which one shall I take?” asked Amy Wild, as she stared at the three objects on her bed. There was a black and white photo, a tatty teddy bear and a medal painted to look like silver.
Hilton, the cairn terrier, jumped onto her quilt and pushed the bear with his paw. “Take this,” he barked. “It’s got the most interesting smell.”
“That’s not important,” squawked the parrot perched on the window sill. “Amy’s teacher wants the class to take in things that are old.”
“This bear is old, Plato,” said Hilton. “It’s got bald patches and one of its ears is wobbly.”
Amy wasn’t surprised that she could understand what the dog and the parrot were saying. The string of golden paws she wore around her neck was magic – it let her talk to animals. She looked at the bear and smiled. “Perhaps I should take that. It was Mum’s when she was small.”
“I think the medal’s more interesting,” said Plato. “Did one
of your ancestors get it for being a hero?”
Amy laughed. “No. Dad got it for playing football at school.”
Hilton peered at the black and white photo. “I recognize that place. It’s your school.”
“But it was taken a long time ago,” said Amy. “That’s Granty’s class photo from when she was my age.”
“Wow!” said Plato, as he flew onto the bed for a closer look. “That really is old. Which one is she?”
“The girl in the middle,” said Amy, as she pointed her out. “Look – she’s wearing my necklace.” It was Granty, her great-aunt, who had given her the necklace of paws when Amy first moved to Clamerkin Island. And Granty was the only other human in the world who knew about its secret magic.
At that moment, Dad shouted up the stairs, “Hurry up or you’ll be late!”
“Coming,” yelled Amy. She glanced once more at the three objects. Then she made up her mind, grabbed the photo and raced downstairs.
The hall was empty. So she pushed open the swing door that separated the public and private parts of her home and ran into the Primrose Tea Room. Dad was there. So were Mum and Granty. They were busy spreading clean yellow cloths on the tables, ready for their first customers. But they all stopped to see Amy off to school.
“Here’s your lunch,” said Dad, pushing a box into her hand.
“I’ve popped in some of my banana cake,” said Granty. “I know that’s your favourite.”
“Look at the time,” said Mum. “You’d better hurry or you’ll be late.”
Amy glanced at the clock and realized Mum was right. She’d taken too long deciding what to take with her. Now she’d have to hurry to get to school on time.
“Bye!” she shouted as she ran out of the Primrose. She raced down the cobbled street and turned into a narrow, twisty lane with hedges on either side. To her dismay, it was deserted. All the other children were already at school. She could hear them in the playground.
She started to run faster. But she’d only gone a few steps when a flash of black and white feathers dived out of the sky. The magpie flew so close to her face that she felt the tip of its wing brush her nose.
The bird landed on the ground just in front of Amy. She dropped the object she was carrying in her beak, and cried, “Help me!”
Amy stopped. She couldn’t resist a request like that, however late it made her. And being late was good in one way – it meant there was no one around who might hear her talking to the magpie. She had to be careful. She had promised Granty she would always keep her special power secret.
“What’s wrong, Joy?” she asked as she bent down beside the bird. “I hope you haven’t been stealing again.”
Joy hopped nervously from foot to foot. “I hope I haven’t too. I’ve been really careful since you told me it was wrong. I never take shiny things from human houses any more, however much I like them.”
“So what’s the problem?” asked Amy, stroking the soft feathers on the magpie’s head.
“This is,” Joy replied, as she poked the object in front of her with her beak. “I picked it off the ground when I saw it glint in the sunlight. But now I’m worried. It looks too much like one of those ring things that humans wear.”
Amy lifted it carefully and laid it on the palm of her hand. The magpie was right – it was a ring. But it was bent and dirty. The stone that decorated it was covered with earth. It must be a long time since anyone wore it.
She cleaned the stone on her sleeve and examined it again. This time she noticed there was a picture of a man’s head engraved on it. He had a circle of leaves balanced on his hair that reminded Amy of a photo she had seen in a history book.
Joy tipped her head to one side and looked into Amy’s eyes. “Was I right to bring it to you?” she asked.
“Definitely,” said Amy, with what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “It’s best if you don’t keep human things.”
“What will you do with it?” asked Joy.
“I’m not sure,” Amy replied, as the bell rang out from the playground. “I’ll have to think about it later. If I don’t get to school soon, I’ll be in trouble.” Then she thrust the ring deep into her pocket and started to run.
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A valuable Roman treasure is uncovered by one of Amy’s feathery friends and rumours spread across the island of a whole hoard of treasure. Islanders leave no stone unturned in search of the buried booty, uprooting the animals’ homes. Can Amy help them without revealing the secret of her magic necklace? Welcome to the world of Amy Wild, where dogs tell their secrets, cats perform rescue missions, and an entire island is squeaking and squawking with animal magic! Animal lovers everywhere will be instantly enchanted by this Dr. Dolittle for a new generation.
“Kimpton’s beautifully illustrated Animal Talker books have everything a child could want.”
The Lancashire Evening Post
“In this delightful story of eight short chapters, a magpie brings Amy an old ring which she takes into school... The well constructed, simple plot makes for an exciting read and the quirky illustrations enliven the text on nearly every page.”