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Jungle Tangle Thomas, Debbie

ISBN: 9781781171165

Following a hair-raising adventure last summer, Abbie Hartley can't wait to join her friend Perdita on the trip of a lifetime. Their destination? The Amazon jungle. Their mission? To find the lost wife of their friend Fernando.

There's only one problem. Fernando and his wife are shrunken heads- and the Amazon jungle is huge.

Oh, and another one. Squashy Grandma insists on coming, with her shopping bag on wheels and her pet wig.

Oh, and just one more. Abbie's arch-enemy Dr Hubris Klench, burger-on-legs and villain extraordinaire, is lurking in the undergrowth with some very wicked tricks up his very wide sleeve.

To see more books by Debbie Thomas, click here.




? ‘Happy Birthday to You.’ ?
Everyone round the table hip-hoorayed. Abbie put a paper crown on the birthday boy. Mum, Dad and Ollie clapped. Grandma grunted.
The birthday boy tried to bow. But bowing isn’t easy for a shrunken head. He lost his balance, tipped onto his nose and rolled across the table.
Abbie caught him as he fell off the edge. ‘Careful. You were nearly lunch.’ The table was standing by a pool in the middle of a zoo. On the far side of the pool four penguins flapped their wings and eyed the birthday boy greedily.
Abbie cupped him safely in her palm. ‘And now,’ she said, ‘for the cake.’
The birthday boy blinked. He gasped. He craned his cut-off neck. And well he might. Coming down the path was a cake as big as a bicycle wheel. Candles were crammed on top. The sides were covered with chocolate icing.
The Platts carried the cake between them on a huge tray.
Coriander was on the left. Her three red plaits gleamed. Her green dress flapped like a bin liner in the breeze. Her husband Matt was on the right. His three black plaits flopped. His grey boiler suit sagged from his shoulders. Their daughter Perdita was in the middle. Her three black plaits bounced. Her orange trousers shone like carrots in cling film.
She was lighting the candles with a flaming stick. ‘Four hundred and sixty … four hundred and sixty-one … four hundred and sixty-two. Happy birthday, Fernando!’ She blew out the stick. Her parents lowered the tray onto the table.
Abbie popped the birthday boy beside the cake. She wiped her hands discreetly on her trousers. No offence to Fernando, but she still hadn’t got used to touching the hard, shrivelled head of a Spanish conquistador. She grinned. There was a lot she hadn’t got used to. Four months ago life had been duller than duffle coats. But ever since meeting the Platts, it had felt like a firework was strapped to her bottom.
First there had been Coriander’s rescue. Abbie had found her imprisoned in the zoo by the wicked Dr Klench. With the help of three orang-utans and Chester, a trusty patch of chest hair, Abbie had freed Coriander. But returning home to the Platts’ Museum of Hair, they’d been recaptured by Perdita’s aunt and uncle who were in league with Dr Klench. The girls and their families – along with Fernando and the orangs – had barely escaped before the Hair Museum was destroyed.
And that was just the summer holidays.
Since then Abbie had been helping the Platts settle into their new home, the zoo. Looking after the animals with Perdita and her parents had been the biggest adventure of all. There was just one teeny problem.
Perdita’s arrival this term had gone down like a foot in a cowpat. It wasn’t just her oddness. She was smart, too. The smartest in class. Smarter even than Marcus Strode-Boylie. Which, when you thought about it, wasn’t a smart thing to be because Marcus Strode-Boylie hated being outsmarted, especially by a girl.
Talking of smart, thought Abbie – not. Dad was thumping the table with his fist. ? ‘For he’s a jolly good shrun-ken,’ he roared. Abbie winced. He really was the brightest star in the nerdiverse.
Everyone else round the table joined in. Two penguins swam across the pool to get a better look at the cake. A third one got so excited he forgot how to swim and had to be rescued from the bottom by his aunt.
Fernando’s eyes glittered. ‘All thees chocky. I never see such cake een all my born days.’
‘Too many born days by ’alf,’ muttered Grandma.
You’re just jealous, thought Abbie. Ever since Dad had suggested a birthday party for Fernando, Grandma had gone all huffy. Mind you, Dad hadn’t exactly helped with comments like, ‘Four hundred and sixty-two, and he’s still got his own hair.’ Grandma relied on Chester – who had become her wig as well as her best friend – to cover her balding head, and she was only seventy-three.
‘Take a deep breath, Fernando,’ said Dad. ‘You’ve got to blow out the candles.’
Fernando glared at him. ‘How I suppose to do that?’
Good point, thought Abbie. She’d find it hard enough to blow out that many candles, and she had lungs. Where on earth would a shrunken head find the puff?
Ollie got up from the table and crept over to Abbie. ‘Shall I get Winnie?’ he whispered.
Abbie looked at him. For a maddening little brother, he had his moments. ‘Good idea,’ she murmured. Winnie was the orang-utan mum who’d escaped the Hair Museum with her baby, Minnie, and Vinnie the dad. In all the mayhem Winnie had been injected with a potion that made her superstrong. Blowing out the candles would be a breeze for her mighty lungs. But they mustn’t let Fernando see. The proud little head would never accept help.
So Abbie distracted him while Ollie went to fetch Winnie. ‘You don’t look a day over thirty,’ she said, remembering that was just the kind of thing grown-ups like to hear on their birthdays.
It was a big mistake. ‘Of course not!’ wailed Fernando. ‘At thirty I was shreenked by tribesmen. My ageing estop there, in Amazon jungle.’
Ollie came back leading Winnie by the hand. The orang-utan – whose hair grew mega fast, also thanks to the potion – had been shaved that morning. She looked like a rusty thistle. Abbie winked at her. Winnie stood behind Fernando.
Perdita cleared her throat. ‘One, two, three …’
Fernando blew his hardest. And Winnie blew hers. A mighty wind wrinkled the tablecloth. Cream flew off cupcakes. Sausages shot across the table like supersonic slugs. Chester sailed off Grandma’s head and wrapped round the neck of the penguin that had nearly drowned, almost strangling him.
‘Well done, señor,’ shouted Dad.
‘You did it, Fernando!’ cried Coriander.
‘Good show,’ murmured Matt as four hundred and sixty-two candles smoked in the air.
‘Thanks,’ Abbie whispered to Winnie. ‘Well done,’ she said loudly to Fernando.
He blushed to blackcurrant. ‘You people so kind. I no deserve.’
‘Go on,’ cried Perdita, ‘make a wish.’
Fernando’s lips sagged. ‘You know my weesh. To find my señora, the wife of my life.
The head of my heart, the heart of my head,
Who roll on jungle floor
In deepest Ecuador.
My darling leetle Carmen.
No lady is more charmin’.’
He gave the very deep sigh of a very bad poet.
Perdita winked at Abbie, who winked at Coriander, who winked at Matt, who winked at Dad, who winked at Mum,
who winked at Ollie, who winked at Grandma … who burped.
‘Time for your presents,’ said Perdita.




ISBN 9781781171165

  • Jungle Tangle