1. A Present That Wasn’t
“Eight. I am eight. Today. Amazing!” Amelia sprinted downstairs.
“Can I have some of your presents?” asked little sister Charlotte.
“Nooo. Mom, Charlotte’s trying to steal from me!”
“Now, no arguing you two!”said their mother.
Amelia rushed through breakfast. Soon after bits of wrapping paper lay between books, a dress and a new pair of swimming goggles.
The last gift. A square box, covered in silver paper. Amelia tore open the paper and lifted up the top flap of the box.
“Who’s that from?” asked Amelia’s mom.
“Err. Let me see. Oh it’s from Aunt Janet.” She pulled out a book.
“Oh look, it’s all about butterflies. I love butterflies!”
“Is there something else in there?”
Amelia put her hand inside the package and pulled out a second present.
“Oh wow. This is strange!”
“It’s a stuffed animal!” chirped Charlotte.
“I’ve never seen a cuddly look anything like this… Is it supposed to be some sort of purple octopus? But, it’s only got three tentacles, instead of eight. And why did they put hands at the end of them? And look, it’s got two skinny pink legs as well.”
“Flamingo legs!” beamed Charlotte.
“And squashy yellow feet and green toenails! Weird!”
Her mom peered at the toy. “Very strange! I wonder who came up with that?”
“Did it just—? Mom I think it just winked at me!” Amelia looked again. But this time both of the toy’s large purple eyes stayed wide open.
“Really? Well does it comes with batteries? Maybe that made its eyes move?”
Amelia turned the toy over. But no battery compartment, or anything else to explain the wink. Why did it feel so warm? Really too warm to be a stuffed animal…
Later that night, Amelia lay awake in bed thinking about her birthday, especially her strange gift.
A wriggle. Something had wriggled at the end of her bed. Amelia sat up and saw that her purple octopus present was upright and glowing, large purple eyes lit from within.
“Oh I thought you might be asleep,” said the creature in perfect English, but with a funny little accent.
Amelia was speechless. It talked. It was alive?
“Err…wh-wh…Who are …Wh…what are you?” she stuttered.
“My name is Uglesnoo and I’m from Pluto,” the creature replied. “You know Pluto? The planet? It’s in our solar system.”
“What….Do you mean that you’re an alien? A real alien!”
“Well I certainly don’t think of myself that way. But I suppose I am to you.”
Amelia bounced up and down. “This is so exciting. I got an alien for my birthday! So, you’re from what planet again?”
“Pluto, the furthest planet away. But of course the most important!”
“Oh yeah,” said Amelia. “I remember the solar system, sort of!” Earth in blues and greens, Mars all red, then Pluto, a tiny little planet, the furthest from Earth. “Well…err…what are you doing here?”
“Ah good question,” replied Uglesnoo. “Well you see I’m an interplanetary trader…”
“It means that I travel from planet to planet in the solar system, trading stuff with all the different aliens. For example, the Magolytes’ jeweled eggs from Mars are in demand everywhere. And as for the Venutons’ bliss bubbles, well—”
“Oh that sounds so exciting!” said Amelia, jumping about.
“Well, it’s not a bad life,” Uglesnoo agreed. “Unfortunately, I lost my spaceship yesterday. Although I think I remember where I left it now. And I was tired, so I wandered into an Earthling’s house for a snooze. The next thing I know I’m in a box with a book thrown on top of my head…”
Just then the walls started to shake. A growling rumble grew louder and louder. Uglesnoo clapped his hands over his ears.
“That hideous noise—what is it? It sounds like a hoard of stampeding dragons. You don’t still have dragons on Earth do you?”
Amelia sighed. “That’s my sister Charlotte. She’s a huge snorer! She wakes us all up with her racket!”
“ZZZZzzzzsnort, SNORT. ZZZZzzzzsnort, SNORT.” The rumbling thundered through the house.
“How awful for you. Most unfortunate. It must get in the way of a good night’s sleep?”
“It does. We’ve tried everything, but nothing works!”
“Pity, pity, now where was I? Oh yes a book on my head…So, I became a present. Your present. But I can’t stay your present. In fact I have to go. I have rather urgent business on the Moon.”
“The Moon? Our Moon? Do you mean you’re leaving…to go to the Moon?” said Amelia sadly. “Well, will I ever see you again? You were my most exciting present.”
2. The Quest
Uglesnoo squirmed, then a smile grew on his face. “It would be handy to have a companion. This…this task. Well…I have something very important I have to do.”
What could a space traveller from Pluto possibly need her help with, Amelia wondered. “What task?”
“My big sister Noolong got very sick recently. She came down with a sleeping sickness, but a terrible one.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. But she’ll get better eventually won’t she?” said Amelia.
Uglesnoo looked at her with pained eyes. “Not necessarily, the only cure is a repelling crystal from the planet Neptune.”
“Well at least there’s a cure! How do you get an, err…a repelling crystal?”
“That’s the thing. They’re extremely expensive. I tried to negotiate with Queen Neep—she and her husband are the rulers of Neptune you see.—but she insisted I get everything on this list.” Uglesnoo pulled out a crumpled blue note. “Only once I have absolutely everything will she give me a repelling crystal.”
He handed it over to Amelia. On it were a series of strange symbols. “Err Uglesnoo, I can’t read this.”
“I forgot. It’s written in Plutonian. I’ll translate.”
Barter Requirements for the Sum of One Repelling
Crystal from Neptune:
Earth – 5 Boxes of Dandelions
Earth’s Moon – 10 boxes of Moo-Bons
Venus – 20 Bliss Bubbles
Mercury – 5 Pairs of Flying Shoes
The Sun – 40 Jars of Snapperjack Honey
Mars – 20 assorted Jeweled Eggs.
Jupiter – 10 Blazebolts
Saturn – 1 Portable and Fully Stocked Satsut Apothecary
Uranus – 1 Vial of Future Air
Pluto – 1 Creation Vacation
Upon list’s completion, return to the Planet Neptune to receive one repelling crystal.
Amelia’s eyes widened, as Uglesnoo read. “That seems like a lot for one crystal,” she said.
Uglesnoo nodded and rubbed his eyes. “That’s not the only bad news. This sleeping sickness. It gets worse, and quickly. I have only two weeks to get everything on this list before…”
Uglesnoo stopped and choked. He blinked his wet eyes at her before finishing. “Before she slips into an endless sleep.”
“You-you mean if you get this crystal to her in two weeks, she’ll recover. But if not, that’s it!”
A nod from Uglesnoo. “So you see the situation is urgent. Very urgent. But if I had an assistant, these tasks would be more bearable. I wonder, would you…Do you want to come along?”
“You mean go to the…err…actual moon with you. But that’s so far away. What about my mom and dad? And my baby sister. And isn’t it…dangerous out there in outer space?”
“Oh nonsense. I travel throughout the universe and I’ve never had any trouble. Well, apart from that foot singeing business on Mars,” Uglesnoo said offhandedly. “Oh and there was the time my ship took a direct hit from a blazebolt…But that’s nothing,” he trailed off, noticing the alarm on Amelia’s face.
“Well, I’m not sure…” began Amelia.
“Hmmm. It’s possible we could find a cure for your sister’s terrible snoring while we’re out there. We have lots of medicines in outer space. The Satsuts of Saturn are brilliant at curing diseases. I trade medicines with them. We have a lot of the same illnesses out there as you do on Earth you know.”
“Yes, well colds, flu, stomach aches, measles, sun withers.”
“Sun withers? What’s that?”
“It’s when your fur starts to fade…”
“Oh silly me, you don’t have any fur. Well you don’t have to worry about that one. But if you come to the Moon with me, we can ask the Moochins if they have a medicine that might help your sister.”
“Yes, the creatures that live on the Moon.”
“How many other aliens are out there?”
“Oh heaps. The universe is chock full of them. So do you want to come with me to the Moon?”
“That would be really exciting…It would be amazing if we found a cure for Charlotte’s snoring. It wakes Mom and Dad up a lot, and they get so tired. But I don’t know… it still seems a bit scary.”
“Nonsense. I’ll tell you what. This trip to the Moon can be our experiment. I’ll have you back by morning. And if you don’t want to visit any more planets after that, that’s fine. It really would be nice to have someone with me. I am under terrible pressure here.”
“Yes, I can see that. Well alright, I’ll come with you.”
“Great!” said Uglesnoo. “Get dressed and we’ll go and find my spaceship.”
What do you think? Should Amelia venture into outer space with Uglesnoo on his quest? What will the Moochins be like? What are Moo-Bons and how do you get them? Is Amelia in over her head?
If you want to find out how the adventure ends, you can click on the link below (where you can preview) and/or buy, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace’:
Evonne Blanchard is the author of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace,’ and ‘Amelia, the Venutons and the Golden Cage.’ These are the first two books in, ‘Amelia’s Amazing Space Adventures,’ an exciting series of ten books set in outer space, (for children ages 5-9).
Ever wondered if aliens exist? What if one needed your help? Would you travel into outer space? For the adventures…of a lifetime!
New – Book Two: Amelia. the Venutons and the Golden Cage
Uglesnoo needs Amelia’s help. His sister is very sick. The only cure is a repelling crystal from Neptune. With his Earthling friend, Amelia, they must continue their quest. More items are needed to buy the crystal. But Venus is full of danger and angry aliens. Are Uglesnoo and Amelia in over their heads?
Click below for a preview:
Book One: Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace
When is a present not a present? When it’s a friendly purple alien called Uglesnoo, from the planet Pluto! Uglesnoo needs to leave right away for the Moon. Uglesnoo also desperately needs Amelia’s help. Should Amelia venture into outer Space?
Click below for a preview:
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“Appealing Illustrations combine with lots of text to make this a great read for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.” – Kirkus Reviews
“The story is imaginative and fun…and a perfect book to stretch my oldest in his independent reading with something fun to keep his attention.” —Beautiful Books for Children
You can read the first few chapters, FOR FREE, of, ‘Amelia, the Moochins and the Sapphire Palace.’ Simply click on the link below: