Kids into books: The Long Walk Home

Author: Pauline Cartwright

Illustrator: Paul Rogers

Publisher Puffin Books, $6.95

Age Group: 6-12 years


Dad had been angry about Mum wanting to sell the house. He had rung up and Brad had heard them quarrelling.

Well, he'd heard Mum talking - until he hid under the blankets. There had seemed a faint chance that Dad might come back if they were in their own house but, when Brad had earlier begged for them to stay, his mother had said firmly, "I'm starting again. I'm not taking you away from your friends or your school, but there is no way I'm staying in this house."

She had put the house on the market and Brad had been secretly pleased that for eight months it had remained unsold. That is, until today, Brad thought as he watched his mum cook.

"You can watch the movie with John when he comes over tonight," his mother said, giving Brad a big hug. "Then off to bed."

Lying in bed after the movie, Brad thought about lying in bed in another house. He didn't want another house or another room, whatever colour it was.

He wanted this room with the stain on the carpet where he'd spilled the cocoa, and the small high windows with the bubbly glass in which he found animal shapes if he stared at them from the distance of his bed.

He wanted his room with the striped curtains he had chosen, and the wardrobe door that squeaked no matter how often it was oiled. Then, Brad remembered the bike he wanted.

His mother had said, "When the house is sold, we'll know where we are with money. Then we can think about things like a mountain bike."

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