by Lynne North
Plot Summary:Gertie Grimthorpe is born into a society of witches and grows up in Vile Vale, but there is something very wrong with her... she is beautiful and couldn't be nasty if she tried. When she finds out that she is to attend a private academy for magical children, Gertie hopes to find her witchy way in the world. With a moat monster suffering from stomach ache, a short-sighted owl familiar and mishaps galore, Gertie's adventures are hilarious and heartwarming. Join Gertie as she struggles with growing up (and longing to grow her first wart), learning magic and working out how to deal with a grumpy enchanted umbrella, named Bat. "What a wonderful read this book is! Fun and laughter from beginning to end. Are we getting anymore 'Gertie' books? Can't wait!" - Amazon Review
Book Excerpt:Gertie stared hard at the umbrella. ‘Right,’ she said, pondering, her finger in her mouth. After some time, she summoned up every ounce of her concentration. She pointed intently at the umbrella handle, and began her spell.
‘Come to life and be my friend,
Talk to me, so I don’t have to pretend.’
Well, she wasn’t used to making spells yet. This was her first try at thinking up a rhyme herself. Nevertheless, though Gertie tried very hard to believe, nothing happened. She concentrated even harder, and tried again. She had no reason to wonder why it shouldn’t work, so she believed with all her heart. This time, she felt sure she saw the bat’s little nose quiver. Encouraged by this, Gertie tried again. She wasn’t one to give up easily.
‘A…a…Atishooooooooo!’ sneezed the bat’s head. ‘Gor Blimey,’ he continued, ‘I’ve got a blinking cold. No wonder mind, being out in all weathers. How would you like it? Being upside down with cold water pouring down your ears? Never think of me do you? Oh no, you don’t take me out on nice sunny days do you?’
Gertie tried to reply, but didn’t get a chance.
‘No,’ the umbrella continued. ‘I only see light of day when it’s pouring rain. What a life. Don’t interrupt,’ he added, as Gertie tried to speak. ‘At last, I can have my say, and no one is going to stop me. I HATE rain, do you hear me? I hate it. Why I was put on this Earth to be an umbrella I don’t know. I must have done something really evil in a past life to deserve this, that’s all I can say.’
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all he could say. Because he continued.
‘Not only rain either. You take me out when it’s snowing too, and blowing a gale. My ears get blooming freezing. And what do I get when we arrive home for all my hard work? Cocoa? Hot chocolate? Kind words and a nice warm fire? No, a blooming good shake. That’s what I get.’
‘I’m sorry, I never thought,’ said Gertie in a small, ashamed, voice.
‘No. No one ever does. After all, I’m only a blooming umbrella. ONLY an umbrella! But what would you do without me, eh? YOU’D get soaked. See if you would like that. And do you hear me complain? No, you don’t. Why? Because we umbrellas blooming well can’t, that’s why! Well, believe me, things are going to be very different from now on. Mark my words. Hey, what are you doing? Put me down. Hey. Where are we going?’
Gertie had reached the wardrobe by now, and carefully stood the umbrella in the corner.
‘HEY!’ the umbrella’s head exclaimed more loudly. ‘IT’S DARK IN HERE YOU KNOW. THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE I DON’T …like.’
The last word came out muffled, as the wardrobe door was closed firmly. Gertie went off to tell her mother she didn’t think she would be using the animation spell again.
The umbrella bat continued to bemoan the fate of umbrella-kind from the back of the wardrobe.