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Part 1 Chapter 1



This book is about a boggart and a bear called Jonny Razor. The bear belonged to Athena Pepperdine. It wasn’t a dangerous bear, despite its name. In fact, it was a wise old bear but like all wise old bears it had lost most of its fur and nearly all of its stuffing. Actually, when she thought about it, Jonny Razor reminded Athena of her grandad. But without the creaky knees.

Now before we go any further, you need to know three things about Athena Pepperdine. Firstly, she was eight years old, or eight and a half to be more precise. Secondly, she was an expert tree climber. And finally, she was a listoholic. A listoholic, by the way, is a person who is always making lists. And not just a shopping list. Oh, no, a listoholic makes lists about everything: clothes she owns; board games, old and new; even school dinners eaten during the week.

You could tell that Athena loved making lists because she had exercise books full of them. And her all-time favourite lists were the registers she took every morning during the school holidays. She sat at the dining room table while her dolls and teddy bears sat in a semi-circle at her feet. They were always in the same order. From left to right there was Frida Kahlo, Molly, the intrepid explorer, Mick, the red monkey with the long arms, Duncan the dragon, One-Eyed Richard, Bobbie Marlin, the Rasta fish, and, last but not the least, Jonny Razor. The doll or teddy bear who sat up the straightest was given a silver star. It was nearly always Jonny Razor.

This year, Athena was spending the last two weeks of the summer holidays at Grandad Gaz’s and Granny Karen’s house in Silksby, a village in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Which meant, of course, that her class had come with her, loaded in a giant chest next to her suitcase in the boot of her mum’s clapped out car. And because the house was so small, the morning register was always taken in her bedroom. Athena sat on the bed while her class was lined up on the window sill.

‘One-Eyed Richard?’

‘Yes, Miss.’

‘Frida Kahlo?’

‘Yes, Miss.’

‘Molly?’

Silence.

‘Molly?’

‘Yes, Miss. Sorry, Miss.’

‘Please pay attention, Molly.’

‘Yes, Miss.’

While Athena called the register, she could hear her grandad at the

kitchen sink. Splash, thud, clatter. That was a cereal bowl hitting the draining board. Splash, rattle, per-ting. Followed by a spoon. Soon he would be on to the hoovering. Click…vvvrrr…vvvrrr…vvvvvvvvvrrrrrrrrrr – yes, there it was - up and down the carpet like one of those men mowing the grass on the tennis courts at Wimbledon. She smiled to herself.

Half an hour later, Athena was in the middle of teaching a Maths lesson when her grandad called up the stairs.

‘I’m ready for the park now, poppet. Are you coming?’

‘Ten seconds and I’ll be there.’

She took the stairs three at a time and was soon pulling on her trainers. Her grandad was standing above her. Dear me, he did look embarrassing. He was wearing grubby blue plimsolls, faded red shorts, a very tight T-shirt and a green baseball cap. He was also holding two litter pick-up sticks, the ones with a mechanical grabber at the end.

‘Usual arrangement?’

Athena nodded.

‘O.K.’

This was the deal. She would help her grandad pick up the rubbish in the park and he would return the favour by helping her attach some new ribbons to the Dragon Tree.

‘Have you got your ribbons?’

‘Yes, they’re in that plastic bag hanging from the coat rack.’

She reached above her head and unhooked the bag. It was overflowing with an assortment of brightly coloured ribbons.

‘Isn’t that one of my neck-ties?’

‘Granny said that I could have it.’

‘Did she now? She might have asked me first.’

‘She said that you haven’t worn it for years.’

Her grandad tugged at his ear-lobe.

‘Yes, I suppose she’s right.’

‘She always is. Come on. We need to get to the park before anybody else turns up.’







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