how the story begins...



The man who'd just moved in next door looked really boring. He was short and plump, with thick, round glasses on a dangling gold chain. Daisie'd been hoping for a family with children. Daisie'd been hoping for someone to play with.

That evening, the man next door came to call. Up in the tree, a stripy cat grinned.

The man held out his hand. 'The name's Dodd.' Through his round glasses his eyes crinkled amber. 'Carolus Dodd,' he added. 'I'm going to be your neighbour for a while.'

Mum smiled. 'Pleased to meet you, Mr Dodd,' she said. 'This is Daisie, my daughter.'

Old Doddery Dodd, thought Daisie, but, 'Hi,' she said sweetly.

Next day, Mr Dodd came bouncing out of his house just as Daisie was leaving for school.

'Morning!' he said briskly.

He wore a grey stripy suit and carried a black leather briefcase.

'Oh, hi,' yawned Daisie. He's so boring, she thought.

Mr Dodd went striding down the street in his polished black shoes, tick-tack-squeak, tick-tack-squeak.

He went marching up a cherry tree, swish-swoosh, swish-swoosh, sending showers of pink blossoms all over the pavement.

Daisie shook herself and stared. 'I don't believe it!' she breathed.

Mr Dodd stepped into the sky, swung upside-down and vanished.

Daisy whistled. 'Wow!'

Akshar from up the road came past, swinging his school bag. 'What are you yelling about?' he asked. 'Bird done a poo on your head, Daisie Jones?'

'A man just walked up that tree,' Daisie told him.

'Oh yeah?' Akshar grinned. 'And I'm a purple banana!'

'We've got this weird man next door,' Daisie boasted. 'He walks straight up trees and into the sky.'

Daisie's gang sniggered. 'He never, Daisie Jones!'

'Yes he did!' protested Daisie.

'What did your mum put in your porridge this morning?' teased Anthea, playing with her shoulder-length blonde hair.

'It's true,' said Daisie.

'It's a load of rubbish, say it!' Anthea insisted.

'No I won't,' said Daisie firmly. 'I saw it with my own eyes and I'm not a fibber.

The other girls began tapping on their foreheads.

'You're out of this gang, Daisie Jones,' Anthea told her. 'You know why? You're nuts. Just like your grannie!'



Maybe Mr Dodd isn't quite as boring as Daisy thinks... Whatever is he doing? Would you like to guess? NB The grinning cat holds a clue!