THE SAMPLING: The Spaghetti Giraffe

By Sarah Johnson

The lovely Mina Cucina is a terrible cook! Unfortunately the Great Bonbon Confectionation, which every person in the town must enter, is coming up, and she doesn’t know what to make. Luckily, her kitchen holds a secret. You know how toys come alive when you aren’t watching? In Mina’s kitchen, it’s the forgotten food from beneath the cooker and fridge. This is an extract from the first chapter of The Spaghetti Giraffe, as the forgotten spaghetti begins its transformation.

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Reproduced with permission, from The Spaghetti Giraffe, by Sarah Johnson

Chapter One

When Mina Cucina slopped the gleaming pile of spaghetti onto the waiting plate, her hand slipped. As usual.

Mina Cucina’s hands flailed like startled cats, as the pot somersaulted through the air. The spaghetti fell from it in a glittering arc and landed on the floor.

“Bl … da … bother!” said Mina Cucina, being too well brought up to say anything more, and she stomped outside for a breath of fresh air.

The spaghetti stayed on the floor. At first, it steamed, limp and glossy in its coating of olive oil. Then it settled, strand relaxing on strand, as its heat ebbed away. The afternoon passed and the spaghetti stiffened and stuck, until the slippery mess had transformed into a tacky tangle glued to the kitchen floor.

Outside on her balcony, Mina Cucina leaned on the railing and sighed. Below her, the Bonbon Valley stretched eastwards in a riot of colour: the mint green lozenges of pasture, the brilliant blue braid of the river, and the pink, purple and yellow snippets of flowers, all bathed in the buttery summer light.

“Butter,” sighed Mina Cucina. “Bother butter.”

“Butter,” sighed Mina Cucina. “Bother butter.”

Indeed, the light that bathed everything, from the far hills to the village at the bottom of the valley, was exactly the colour of the creamiest butteriest pat. Which could mean only one thing; it was late summer, nearly autumn – time for the Great Bonbon Confectionation.

“Bah butter,” said Mina Cucina. “And bah to their bothersome Confectionation.”

But while she was bah-ing and bothering, the smell of the summer flowers sneaked its way into Mina Cucina’s nose and she began to notice the glorious patchwork of colour spread before her.

Mina Cucina’s house stood at the tip top of Meringue Hill. And Meringue Hill rose in a symmetrical swirl at the head of the Bonbon Valley. The house itself was shaped like a cupcake, narrower at the bottom than the top, with a roof of thick thatch that flopped like frosting over the eaves. Mina Cucina reached up and plucked one of the small flowers that grew in the thatch, tucking it into her own thatch of tangled golden hair.

“Ahh,” sighed Mina Cucina, more happily this time. “Who cares about their silly Confectionation anyhow?”

Below her, a person was threading their way along the pale path that wound all the way from the village in the valley, up the side of Meringue Hill, to her house at the tip top. Mina Cucina squinted into the buttery sun and the person waved.

Mina Cucina waved back. Her wave, which was rather energetic, knocked the snoozing cat off the balcony railing, into the rose bush below. Pale pink petals billowed and caught in the breeze, wafting this way and that before settling in Mina Cucina’s hair. Two tiny turquoise butterflies, that had been chasing each other through the late summer light, alighted amid the petals.

Mina Cucina didn’t notice. Below the balcony, her good friend Gorgon reached the top of Meringue Hill and strode up the path towards her. All thoughts of the Confectionation were banished, as Mina Cucina started down the steps to meet him.

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The Spaghetti Giraffe

By Sarah Johnson

Illustrated by Deborah Hinde

Published by Flat Bed Press

RRP $18.00

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