This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.View all copies of this ISBN edition:
From the moment that Jimbo and his best friend Charlie bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know that nothing is as it seems. But what does "spudvetch" mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluroscent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps the teachers are bank robbers speaking in code; perhaps they're spies, or aliens. Whatever they are, Jimbo and Charlie know that there is a big adventure on its way: a nuclear-powered, one-hundred-tonne one, with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gains speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way — with a BOOM!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
MARK HADDON is an author, illustrator and screenwriter who has written fifteen books for children, and has won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, won seventeen literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award, and is an international bestseller.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I was on the balcony eating a sandwich. Red Leicester and gooseberry jam. I took a mouthful and chewed. It was good but not a patch on strawberry jam and Cheddar. That was my best yet.
I spent a lot of time on the balcony. The flat was tiny. Sometimes it felt like living in a submarine. But the balcony was amazing. The wind. The sky. The light. You could see the 747s circling slowly in the stack, waiting for a space on the runway at Heathrow. You could watch police cars weaving their way through the tiny streets like toys, their sirens whooping.
You could see the park too. And on this particular morning you could see, in the middle of the huge expanse of grass, a solitary man holding a metal box in his hands. Buzzing high above his head you could just make out a model helicopter, banking and swerving like a dragonfly.
Dad has always been crazy about models. Trains, planes, tanks, vintage cars. But after he lost his job at the car factory it became the biggest thing in his life. To be fair, he was brilliant. Give him a brick and a rubber band and he’d have it looping the loop before you could say, ‘Chocks away!’ But it didn’t seem right somehow. It was a hobby for little boys and weird blokes who still lived with their mums.
A flock of pigeons clattered past and I heard the sound of a familiar motorbike engine. I looked down and saw Craterface’s large black Moto Guzzi turn into the estate car park. My darling sister, Becky, was on the seat behind him, a grimy leather jacket over her school uniform.
She was sixteen. I could remember the time, only a couple of years back, when she tied her hair in bunches and had pony posters on her bedroom wall. Then something went badly wrong in her brain. She started listening to death metal and stopped washing her armpits.
She met Craterface at a gig six months ago. He was nineteen. He had long greasy hair and enormous sideburns with bits of breakfast stuck in them. When he was younger he had spots. They’d gone now, but they’d left these holes behind. Hence the nickname. His face looked like the surface of the moon.
He had the brain of a toilet brush. Mum, Dad and I were in complete agreement about this. Becky, however, thought he was God’s Gift to Women. Why she fancied him, I haven’t a clue. Perhaps he was the only person who could stand her armpits.
The bike rumbled to a halt ten storeys below and I experienced a moment of utter madness. Without thinking, I peeled off half my sandwich, leaned out and let go. I realized almost immediately that I had done a very, very stupid thing. If it hit them I would be murdered.
The slice wobbled and flipped and veered left and veered right. Craterface turned off the engine, got off the bike, removed his helmet and looked up towards the flat. I felt sick.
The slice hit him in the face and stuck, jammy side down. For a couple of seconds Craterface just stood there, absolutely motionless, the slice of bread sitting there like a face pack. Becky was standing beside him, looking up at me. She was not a happy bunny.
Now, normally you can’t hear much from the balcony, on account of the traffic. But when Craterface tore the sandwich off and roared, I think they probably heard him in Japan.
He stormed towards the doors but Becky grabbed his wrist and dragged him to a halt. She wasn’t worried about me. She’d have quite liked him to kill me. Just not in the flat. Because that would get her into trouble.
Craterface finally saw sense. He waved his fist and shouted, ‘You’re dead, scum!’ climbed onto the Moto Guzzi and thundered away in a gust of dirty grey fumes.
Becky turned and strode towards the door. I looked down at the rest of my sandwich and realized that I no longer felt very hungry. There was no one in the car park now so I dropped this half too, and watched it wobble and flip and veer and land neatly beside the first slice.
At which point the balcony door was kicked open. I said, ‘It was an accident,’ but Becky screamed, ‘You little toad!’ and hit me really hard on the side of the head, which hurt quite a lot.
For a couple of seconds everything went double. I could see two Beckys and two balconies and two rubber plants. I didn’t cry, because if I cried Becky would call me a baby, which was worse than being hit. So I hung onto the rail until the pain died down and there was only one Becky again.
‘What did you do that for?’ I asked. ‘It didn’t land on you. It landed on Craterface.’
She narrowed her eyes. ‘You are so lucky he didn’t come up here and hit you himself.’
She was right, really. Craterface had a black belt in kung fu. He could kill people with his ears.
‘And another thing,’ she hissed. ‘His name is Terry.’
‘Actually, I’ve heard his name is Florian. He just pretends to be called Terry.’ I stepped backwards to avoid the second punch but it never came. Instead, Becky went very quiet, leaned against the railing and nodded slowly. ‘That reminds me,’ she said, in a sinisterly pleasant way. ‘There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.’
‘Amy and I were in the staff room the other day, talking to Mrs Cottingham.’ Becky took a packet of cigarettes from the pocket of her leather jacket and lit one very slowly, as if she were in a black and white film.
‘Smoking’s bad for you,’ I said.
‘Shut your ugly mouth and listen.’ She sucked in a lungful of smoke. ‘We overheard Mr Kidd talking about you.’
‘What was he saying?’
‘Bad things, Jimbo. Bad things.’ This had to be a wind-up. But she wasn’t smiling. And it didn’t sound like a wind-up.
‘What bad things?’ I pulled nervously at the rubber plant and one of the leaves came off in my hand.
‘That you’re lazy. That you’re a nuisance.’
‘You’re lying.’ I slid the leaf of the rubber plant down the back of the deckchair.
‘According to Mr Kidd your work is rubbish. According to Mr Kidd – and this is the really good bit – they’re thinking of sending you to that school in Fenham. You know, that special place for kids with problems.’ She blew a smoke ring.
‘That’s not true.’ I felt giddy. ‘They can’t do that.’
‘Apparently they can.’ She nodded. ‘Jodie’s brother got sent there.’ She stubbed out her cigarette in one of the plant pots and flicked it over the railing. ‘Jodie said it’s like a zoo. You know, bars on the windows, kids howling all the time.’
The glass door slid open and Mum stepped out onto the balcony holding one of her shoes in her hand.
‘Hello, you two,’ she said, wiping the sole of the shoe with a wet cloth. ‘Honestly, the mess on this estate. I just trod on a half-eaten sandwich, of all things.’
I turned round so that Mum couldn’t see my face, and as I did so I saw, in the distance, Dad’s helicopter clip the top of a tree, burst into flames, spiral downwards and land in the gravel of the dog toilet, scaring the living daylights out of a large Dalmatian.
Dad threw the control box to the ground and lay facedown on the grass, hammering it with his fists.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description David Fickling Books, 2009. Condition: Very Good. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Seller Inventory # GRP30336338
Book Description David Fickling Books. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in excellent condition. Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0385617739I4N00
Book Description Paperback. Condition: Fair. A readable copy of the book which may include some defects such as highlighting and notes. Cover and pages may be creased and show discolouration. Seller Inventory # GOR003465830
Book Description Paperback. Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Seller Inventory # GOR003586974
Book Description David Fickling Books, 2009. Paperback. Condition: Used; Good. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # FH505177
Book Description David Fickling Books 03/09/2009, 2009. Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Seller Inventory # 7719-9780385617734
Book Description David Fickling Books 03/09/2009, 2009. Condition: Very Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Seller Inventory # 6545-9780385617734
Book Description Oxford David Fickling Books, a division of Random House Children's Books 2009, 2009. Condition: As New. First Edition, first impression, with printing sequence line '13579108642'. SIGNED by the author on the title page. Publisher's orange, illustrated paper-covered boards with lettering to spine and front board, illustrated rear board and endpapers. No dust-jacket issued. Octavo. pp. , 200. Complete with paper advertising band. All now in clear, archival protective Lyfjacket. A book in Fine condition. Seller Inventory # 101532