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Candice Lemon-Scott

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Stinky Ferret and the JJs
by Candice Lemon-Scott   

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Books by Candice Lemon-Scott
· Unloched
· Hubert and the Magic Glasses
                >> View all

Category: 

Children

Publisher:  Penguin Books ISBN-10:  014330397X Type: 
Pages: 

96

Copyright:  2008 ISBN-13:  9780143303978
Fiction

Adrian hates ferrets. They're boring. They're ugly. And they stink. So when it's his turn to take home the classroom pet, Adrian knows he's in for a bad weekend.

But when his skate park is taken over by the JJs, will it actually be Ferret who saves the day?

Penguin Books
Booktopia
Stinky Ferret and the JJs

Children's chapter book for independent readers aged 10 plus.

Adrian hates ferrets. They're boring. They're ugly. And they stink. So when it's his turn to take home the classroom pet, Adrian knows he's in for a bad weekend.

But when his skate park is taken over by the JJs, will it actually be Ferret who saves the day?


Excerpt

There are three things that you should know about ferrets. Number one: ferrets stink. Number two: ferrets are ugly. Number three: ferrets have sharp teeth.

Oh yeah, and there's one more thing you should know about ferrets. Our teacher Mrs Garrison is obsessed with them. Every day we have to listen to stories about the pet ferrets she's owned. She thinks it's the funniest thing to watch ferrets when they run through the piece of old PVC pipe she got from a plumber friend of hers. She says
it's the greatest thing taking her ferrets for a walk in their harness. And she goes on and on about how they're always hiding her car keys and the bath plug in the strangest of places. She always lets out a little laugh at the end of her stories. She doesn't seem to notice that none of us even crack a smile.

At the start of the year she pulled down the solar system chart and put up a huge poster of a ferret in its place. There are at least four books on ferrets in the bookshelves. We even had to do a project on why ferrets are great to own.

But the worst thing of all? This term we got a class pet. And it's a ferret called Ferret.

It doesn't even have a real pet name like Ginger or Fluffy. I don't know why I ended up with a teacher who loves ferrets. Why couldn't she like rabbits? Or rats? Or guinea pigs? At least a rabbit is kind of cute and fluffy. A rat is smart. And a guinea pig, well, a guinea pig is pretty funny. Some of them even have spikes and mohawks. But a ferret? A ferret is just plain ugly. And did I mention that they stink? I mean they really, really stink. Worse than my dad's socks when he takes his boots off after work. And I can tell you, that's bad.

At first, some of the parents complained about Mrs Garrison's choice of class pet. But she hit them with her 'Everything There is to Know About Ferrets' list:
• They're hypo-allergenic (apparently that means their fur doesn't make people sneeze and cough and stuff)
• They don't mind being kept in small spaces (ideal for a classroom)
• They are friendly (sure they are)
• They're more intelligent than dogs or cats and can be toilet trained.

I guess no one could argue with that. So the ferret stayed. To top it all off, we have a roster where everyone has to take him home for a weekend. Mrs Garrison said something about it being 'character building.' She said it was important to learn how to care for animals. Everyone has to write up a report on what they discovered about ferrets. I know what I'll be writing: Ferrets are dumb and smell disgusting.

'Adrian. Adrian?'

I pretend I'm working really hard on my maths exercises but I can't ignore Mrs Garrison forever. I've been dreading this Friday ever since the start of term. And now it's my turn. I can hear the others laughing as I walk up to the front of the class.

Mrs Garrison beams. 'You didn't forget, did you?' she asks.

I grimace. How could I forget? I've been trying for months to come up with excuses why I can't take Ferret home. And now it's too late. I don't know why, but everyone else gets all excited when it's their turn to have Ferret. They all wanted to have him first. But not me. I was just glad I was the last one on the list. It was Michael's turn last weekend, and when he came back he had bite marks all up one arm. (Michael was the one who had the bite marks that is, not Ferret). It could have been because Michael was trying to squish him into an empty toilet roll at the time, but still, ferrets are vicious animals and should not be allowed as pets.

'Everyone else please finish your maths while I get Ferret ready for Adrian,' Mrs Garrison says. Everyone groans about having to do maths. I groan about having to have the ferret. I pack my Batman pencil, Batman ruler and Batman eraser into my Batman pencil case as slowly as I can.

I love Batman. He's the best superhero ever. He can fight off even the most deadly villains. I wish we had a bat as a class pet instead of a stinky, boring ferret. A bat could just hang upside down in my wardrobe all weekend. Easy!

I slowly make my way over to the pet corner. I don't know why it's called the pet corner when there's only one pet. A pet corner should have at least three or four animals. I grab the take-home box off the shelf. I wonder if flimsy cardboard will be strong enough to hold a ferret. I notice tiny bite marks along the top edges of the box. Inside there's an old baby blanket, shredded newspaper, and a pet toy that has been chewed so much it doesn't even look like a mouse any more. I place the box on the table and Mrs Garrison goes over the rules for looking after Ferret. I don't hear much of what she's saying though because I'm staring nervously down at the long, slim body of Ferret. His tiny black eyes glare at me. He has soft brown fur but I know he's not really cuddly because I can see a row of tiny razor-sharp teeth inside his mouth.

'Okay Adrian,' Mrs Garrison says after going over all the rules. 'You can take Ferret out of his cage and put him in his box now'

I don't move. I feel frozen like an icy-pole. Usually I'm pretty brave. I even went on the roller coaster twelve times in a row at Dreamworld. But I have to admit, I feel nervous about picking up the ferret. What if he scratches me? Or bites me? Or worse, runs up the arm of my jumper? I so don't want to pick him up that I'd rather be doing maths with everyone else. That's how much I'm scared of Ferret.

The bell goes and Mrs Garrison turns back to the class. 'Make sure you have your projects on Australian wildlife handed in by Monday. It's the last week before the end of term and I don't want any projects in late.'

Everyone is packing up but I still can't move. My brain is trying to will me to step towards the cage but I feel like I'm stuck to the floor with superglue. Mrs Garrison turns back and sees me still standing there.

'It's okay. Just reach in very slowly, place your hands gently under his belly, and lift him out.'

I look over at the rest of the class. Michael and Baden are sniggering. Mrs Garrison gives me a gentle push on the back.

I don't know whether it's not wanting to look like I'm scared in front of everyone, or if it's the push from Mrs Garrison, but I find myself stepping up to the cage.
I lift the lid of the cage a tiny bit and lean in. I place my arms under the ferret's belly and lift him slowly and carefully. He's actually pretty soft and he hangs limply over my hand. I can still see those beady eyes, though, and I don't forget about his teeth. I let him go as soon as his feet touch the bottom of the cardboard box. My hands are shaking like a wobbleboard as I carry the box to my desk.

Mrs Garrison hands me a scrappy piece of paper. 'Here's a list of the things you'll need to get for Ferret.'

Ferret Essentials
• Pet mince (chicken, turhey, beef, or lamb)
• Treats such as dry cat food
• Kitty litter or shredded newspaper for his litter tray.

I stuff the paper into my back pocket.

'And don't forget his bag,' Mrs Garrison says, handing me a grubby-looking sports bag. 'It's got water, a ball and a blanket. You can carry him around in it when you go on outings.'

Outings? This is the first time she's mentioned taking him on 'outings'.

'And make sure you add a little something special to the bag for Ferret. Something you think he'd like.' She smiles cheerfully. 'Well, I think that's about it.'
I wonder how I'm ever going to make it through the whole weekend.




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