KACHUNKA! Added£1.29
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(A long short story of 12290 words)



by Enid Richemont

With fourteen fingers, blue hair and a name that sounds like a sneeze, Mrs Kachunka is no ordinary dinner lady. She has a strange eyeglass that puts people's minds in a spin. Theodora thinks she's great, but Thomas won't have anything to do with her. Mrs Kachunka, however, is not easy to ignore! A junior novel with chapters aimed at 7 - 10 year olds.

Class Five had just lined up when the woman unlatched the gate and walked across the playground.

People turned to watch her. It would have been difficult not to. Even the caretaker's cat stiffened and nosed at the air.

Class Five began muttering, "Who's she? Who's she?"

Simon shrugged and tapped his forehead. "Some loony..."

"Bet she's a clown," said Amanda. "Hope she comes to us."

"Hope she doesn't," said Simon. "Boring. Boring."

Miss Fielding frowned. "Come on, you lot," she said. "Manners. It's rude to stare – you know that."

"But she's got blue hair!" shouted Thomas.

"S-s-sh," hissed Miss Fielding. "Maybe she likes it that way. Maybe you'll dye yours blue one day."

Thomas touched his pale, untidy fuzz. "No I won't," he said loudly. "My dad wouldn't let me."

Simon groaned. "Your dad, your dad..."

"That's enough," said Miss Fielding. "Let's go in."

Amanda turned and pointed. "Look! Snowball likes her."

"So what?" said Simon.

In the corner of the playground, the woman was speaking to the head dinner lady.

"I saw your notice," she was saying, tucking a braid of sea-blue hair under an orange wool cap.

"What notice?" said Mrs Harries warily.

"About needing extra help..." The woman smiled down at the white cat who was now sniffing delicately around the hem of her skirt.

"Oh yes," said Mrs Harries, staring at the strange green bloom on the visitor's plum-brown skin.

"I can help with school dinners..."

"Oh yes," said Mrs Harries, frowning at the frayed and dangling lining of the baggy tweed coat.

"And with playground duty..."

Mrs Harries watched with distaste as Snowball rose and rubbed herself against the woman's lumpy canvas boots.

"And school trips..."

"Got references, have you?" said Mrs Harries suspiciously. "Worked with children before?"

"With all kinds of beings." The woman smiled and held out her hand, enclosing Mrs Harries' cold pink fingers in a warm, furry grasp."Kachunka," she announced.

"Bless you!" grumbled Mrs Harries.

"Mrs Kachunka."

Mrs Harries quickly withdrew her hand. "Oh, pardon me, I'm sure."

Then Mrs Harries counted. She counted again to check.

"Too many," she said.

"Oh, not for me," said the woman. "I can cope. I like children."

"Fingers," said Mrs Harries, pointing.

"Oh those..." And the woman spread her russet green hands.

Mrs Harries stepped hurriedly backwards. She could clearly count fourteen downy fingers, each one tipped with an ivory point. Wasn't natural, she thought. Wasn't right.

Mrs Kachunka smiled. "And you have?"

"Ten," said Mrs Harries firmly. "Like everyone else."

"Oh dear," said Mrs Kachunka.

Mrs Harries looked down at her own hands. "So what's wrong with ten?"

"So few..."

Mrs Harries coughed. This was getting ridiculous.

"Are you one of our parents?" she demanded.

The small whiskers on Mrs Kachunka's downy cheeks twitched with amusement. "Do I look like one of your parents?"

"Can't say that you do," said Mrs Harries gruffly. She was beginning to feel cross. Someone was trying to make a fool out of her. Well she wasn't having any. No one could make a fool out of Mrs Harries. Blue hair? Had to be a wig. Green whiskers? Stuck on with some kind of glue. And those extra fingers? Plastic, probably. You could buy things like that in joke shops.

"You're one of them actors, aren't you?" she said disapprovingly. "That's what you are. Didn't fool me though... not for one minute." She sniffed. "I'll take you to see Mr Carey. Got an appointment, have you?"...


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A review of KACHUNKA! from the CUT team....

Enid Richemont’s junior novel introduces younger readers to a fun and imaginative character who guides two young children through a number of quirky and off-beat adventures. Inventive, imaginative and memorable.

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