Winner, IP Picks 2012 Best Junior Prose.
Tim Trickett – shy, over-protected and troubled by memories – is the new boy in a small country town. When his classmates put him up to an initiation test, he finds himself on his way to visit Granny Rags, the reclusive old lady who lives near the creek and is rumoured to be a witch.
But one visit turns into several, and soon Tim finds himself deep in a mess of buried secrets, crooked business deals and long-harboured grudges. He’s going to need all his courage and resourcefulness to put a stop to it all… before someone gets killed.
ISBN 9781922120250 (PB, 194pp)
ISBN 9781922120267 (eBook)
"This junior family thriller that embodies a not-so-fearsome witch, bullyboys, petty crooks and a mystery to be solved, moves at an un-put-down-able pace. This is just the right sort of book to help establish the ‘reading bug’.
Tim Trickett is a new boy at a small rural school and prey to the bullyboys because of his diffidence socially and physically. He also has an over-protective mother and a physical ailment that he seeks to keep secret.
Fortunately for him, before the term begins he meets Lockie, an outgoing, broadly spoken boy from the neighbourhood who acts as a social buffer for Tim. Lockie’s family is well-grounded working class; Tim’s father is a DON, Director of Nursing at the local hospital. This itself gives grist to the bullies, who relentlessly present Tim the challenging initiation test that involves him facing up to the reclusive Granny Rags, the local ‘witch’.
Tim, urged on by Lockie, not only passes that test, but also perceives that there is another face to Granny Rags. Moreover, the two boys become aware of threats to the old lady by local crooks. Old mysteries buried in the past come to light when the Schoolmaster sets the class ferreting out local history.
The plot moves rapidly, yet never loses its grounding in social reality. There is freshness in the references not only to the Harry Potter books, but sly digs at prevailing adult tastes. There is much merit in this seemingly easy to read story of small town country life."
– Maurice Saxby, Reading Time
Granny Rags is the story of Tim Trickett, a young boy starting out at a new country school. He quickly forms a strong friendship with a boy named Lockie then is taunted into going to visit the neighborhood ‘witch’ Granny Rags (Miss Ragsdale). When meets her he finds she is simply an lonely old lady. A rapport is formed, one visit turns to several and soon Tim and Lockie find themselves involved in a mess of corruption, secrets and danger.
All in all, Granny Rags is a story about friendship and the will of two young courageous boys. Janet writes a beautifully crafted, suspense tale that builds and keeps you turning the page. Recommended for readers Aged 8-12.
– Angela Kirin, Kids Creative Tales
"Well written, and suspense builds well, compelling one to read on without delay. It’s a kids’ book but also an entertaining read for adults too."
– Peter Logan
"All the ingredients for a good yarn are here: a boy starting out at a new school finds a true friend, learns how to avoid a class bully and encounters a group of kids that annoy Granny Rags, an older woman who lives alone. All the characters are appealing and well-drawn as a series of events build toward a dangerous and exciting climax. While girls will all enjoy this story, young boys will love it."
– Mary Mageau
Janet Reid grew up on a dairy farm with hay sheds and pigsties, old abandoned farm machinery, and lots of open space.
It was a haven for hours of story weaving with her sister between milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, and sneaking milk for stray cats.
She went into teaching and taught in places from the cane fields in Central Queensland to Brisbane before retiring to concentrate on her writing. She lives on the northern outskirts of Brisbane with her husband, two sons and a very ‘human’ cat called Kelsey.
Janet's first book with IP Kidz, The Ruby Bottle.
Book trailer for The Ruby Bottle.
Long grass on either side of the dusty track swayed in the gentle breeze, as if nodding its approval of what Tim was about to do. But when the sun dipped behind a stray cloud, the afternoon seemed suddenly eerie, and Tim wished he was anywhere but heading towards Granny Rags' house.
He looked back. The mailbox was hidden from view. Could he just pretend to go down to Granny Rags'? Say that she wasn't at home? But somewhere deep down, he felt curious. Anyway, he thought, how scary could the old lady be?
He walked on and saw that the track didn't just lead to Granny Rags' house; it went further, past her place. Could he just keep going? But when he came level with the house, he stopped. It looked empty and derelict with its peeling paint and rusted roof. The front door beyond the sagging verandah was closed but the windows were open, and faded curtains danced in the breeze as though they were beckoning to him.
He stepped forward and pushed the gate. It creaked as he opened it. He stopped; looked around. There was no movement; no sound. TIm walked along the cracked path, with its weeds and grass poking through, and placed a hand tentatively on the railing of the front stairs. He looked up at the closed door, eager now to see what secrets it hid.
'And what do you think you're doing?'
Tim jumped, his heart ricocheting about in his chest. There, coming round one side of the house, was the old woman. He couldn't see how old she really was; she was wearing a big hat that flopped down over her face. She brandished a black stick as she strode towards him, faster than Tim thought possible.
'What do you want?' she shouted, waving her stick in his face. Tim stepped back and his foot caught in a wide crack in the path. His hands waved in the air as he tried to right himself, but it was too late. He fell flat on his back beside the path, and the plastic bag holding the fish flew through the air and landed on his face.
'Ugh,' he said as he pulled himself backwards in fright, trying to shake the fish off, as if it were a snake. A shadow fell over him and, as he looked up, the old woman loomed above.
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