Everyone wants to go to Miss Smellie’s school. Nobody wants to go to Mrs Yeller’s school, which is just around the corner.
At Miss Smellie’s school spelling is fun. Reading is fun. Writing is fun. Counting is fun. Cleaning is fun. Helping each other is fun.
One day an inspector came to Miss Smellie’s school.
“I’ve heard the children have fun here,” he said. “That’s not right. They are here to learn, not have fun.”
“But they do learn,” said Miss Smellie. “In the SMART exams my class was in the top ten percent of the whole country.”
“That’s not possible,” said the inspector. “You can’t learn and have fun at the same time.”
“I think you can,” said Miss Smellie. “Why don’t you spend a day in my class and you’ll see for yourself.”
So the inspector sat at the back of Miss Smellie’s class for a whole day. He saw reading and dancing and spelling and poems and painting and writing and sums and singing and the more he watched the more he frowned. At the end of the day he said,
“Too much fun. Much too much fun.”
“But the children were learning counting and reading and writing and public speaking and physical fitness…” said Miss Smellie.
“No,” he said at the top of his voice. “TOO MUCH FUN.”
And on Tuesday when the children came to school Miss Smellie wasn’t there. In her place was Mrs Yeller. Mrs Yeller was the one who had complained about Miss Smellie’s school because she wanted to take over. She came to school very early so she could take down all the paintings and stories and other special projects the children had made. She had arranged all the tables in neat rows facing the front and she had written two hundred sums on the board. Mrs Yeller wore a brown jumper, brown pants, brown socks and brown shoes. Her hair was brown. Her voice was brown, most of the time. When she was angry it was black.
“What..” said Abbie Ash.
“Sit down,” said Mrs Yeller.
“Where..” said Ted Topp.
“Be quiet,” said Mrs Yeller.
“Who..” said Queenie Quee.
“Stand in the corner,” said Mrs Yeller. “Today we’re doing sums.”
And all day long they did sums until their brains hurt.
That night Benny Big dreamt a billion was biting him.
Ernie Egg dreamt an eight was eating him.
Fran Fry dreamt a forty was following her.
Harry Hoo dreamt a hundred was hissing at him.
Millie May dreamt a million was munching her.
Ned Nutt dreamt a nineteen was nuzzling him.
Queenie Quee dreamt a quarter was quarrelling with her.
Sue Soo dreamt a seven was slapping her.
Ted Topp dreamt a ten was twisting him
Zeke Zed dreamt a zillion was zapping him.
Wendy Wing dreamt a one was walking on her.
On Wednesday instead of twenty six children in the class there were only fifteen.
“Why..” said Rose Redd.
“Be quiet,” said Mrs Yeller. “Today we are doing spelling.”
And they did spelling all day long until their heads were ready to blow up.
Carol Cook dreamt a cactus was cackling at her.
Dottie Downs dreamt a dinosaur was dancing on her.
Gay Green dreamt a gorilla was gobbling her.
Kay King dreamt a kilometre was kicking her.
Lennie Lee dreamt a library was licking him.
Ollie Oz dreamt an octopus was oozing on him.
Pat Pitt dreamt a piranha was punching him.
Rose Redd dreamt a radish was raking her.
Un Yen Un dreamt an umbrella was uploading him.
Xavier Xtra dreamt an X-box was exploding him.
And Yee Yin Yip dreamt a yeti was yapping at him.
On Thursday instead of fifteen children in the class there were only four.
“When..” said Iggy Ip.
“Be quiet,” said Mrs Yeller. “Today we are doing Geography.”
And they learned the names of countries all day long until their ears were dropping off.
Iggy Ip dreamt that Italy was ignoring him.
Joe Jumper dreamt that Jamaica was jostling him.
Vin Vee dreamt that Victoria was videoing him.
And Zeke Zed dreamt that Zambia was zapping him.
On Friday instead of four children at school, there were NONE.
“Well!” said Mrs Yeller. “What a nuisance. Today we were going to do History. But never mind, I’ll do it all by myself. It’s so nice and quiet without the children.”
When the inspector opened the door of his office that morning there were fifty two parents and twenty six children in there. They were sitting on the desk. They were sitting on the floor. They were sitting on the filing cabinet. They were sitting on the windowsill. And the room was full of hundreds of balloons, every colour under the sun, bobbing on the roof, bouncing on the floor, floating in the air and out the door down the passage and into the street. And every balloon said, “Bring back Miss Smellie.”
The inspector’s phone began to ring. When he picked it up, what did he hear but the voice of the Prime Minister Bernard Bomp, saying, “Bring back Miss Smellie.”
*This is the first chapter in Miss Smellie goes to Canberra. There’ll be more slices as the fancy takes us.