Meet Jasmine Green — an aspiring veterinarian who adores animals! Can her kindness and know-how save a piglet in trouble in this delightful series debut?
Jasmine Green loves animals. Her mother is a veterinarian. Her father is a farmer. And her brother and sister are . . . well, they’re mostly annoying. But being in the Green family means seeing and taking care of animals all the time. While helping her mom on a house call, Jasmine visits a new litter of piglets and discovers a forgotten runt hidden underneath its brothers and sisters. Poor little piglet. It is so tiny that it can’t even drink! Its owner refuses to rescue it. So it is up to Jasmine to save the pig . . . secretly. What will happen if anyone finds out? Author Helen Peters and illustrator Ellie Snowdon introduce the irresistible pair of clever, caring Jasmine and lovable Truffle, while capturing the beauty and bustle of a family farm. A kind of James Herriot for a new generation, this first book in the Jasmine Green series is for anyone who loves helping animals.
About the Author
Helen Peters is the author of numerous books for young readers that feature heroic girls on farms saving the day. She grew up on an old-fashioned farm in England, surrounded by family, animals, and mud. Helen Peters lives in London.
Ellie Snowdon is a children’s author-illustrator from a tiny village in South Wales. She has a master’s in children’s book illustration from Cambridge School of Art. Ellie Snowdon lives in Cambridge, England.
Read an Excerpt
You Poor Little Thing
Jasmine was lying on her bed with her cats, reading her favorite magazine, Practical Pigs. It was a Friday afternoon in late November, and Jasmine, absorbed in an interesting article about rare breeds, was completely happy.
“Jasmine!” called her mom up the stairs. “I have to go to a calving at Carter’s. Do you want to come?”
Jasmine swung her feet to the floor. Mr. Carter was a grumpy old farmer with a permanent scowl on his face, but he kept pigs, and that was reason enough to visit his farm. Jasmine’s dad was a farmer, too, and he kept plenty of calves. But, despite Jasmine’s constant pleading, there were no pigs at Oak Tree Farm.
“I’ll be back soon,” Jasmine murmured to the cats, stroking the tops of their heads. “Have a lovely sleep.”
Marmite purred as Jasmine stroked her thick black fur. Toffee lay curled up on a blanket at the end of the bed, and didn’t open his eyes as Jasmine left the room.
Jasmine’s mom, Nadia, was standing at the bottom of the stairs in her coat and boots, jingling her keys like she always did when she was impatient.
“Come on, Jas. Grab your coat, I need to go.”
As a farm vet, Mom often got called out at inconvenient times. Jasmine sometimes thought farmers purposely waited until mealtimes to make their emergency phone calls to the vet.
Jasmine pulled her muddy waterproof jacket from its hook by the Aga stove in the kitchen. Her older sister, Ella, sat at the kitchen table, frowning over a textbook. The table was covered with schoolbooks and files and scraps of paper and pens.
“We shouldn’t be too long,” Mom said to Ella. “I’ve put some baked potatoes in the Aga.”
“Uh-huh,” said Ella vaguely. She didn’t look up from her books.
Jasmine and Mom walked out into the front garden, past the kennel where Bramble, the old springer spaniel, lived.
The kennel always made Jasmine sad these days. Until last month, there had been two dogs living there. But Bramble’s sister, Bracken, had died of old age a month ago, and now Bramble was on her own. It must be so strange and lonely for her, Jasmine thought.
At the moment, the kennel was empty. Bramble was out in the fields with Jasmine’s dad.
Mom opened the gate. “Manu, Ben, I’m going out on a call,” she hollered into the tangle of bushes at the edge of the farmyard.
There was a rustling noise, and two mud-smeared faces poked out through the damp twigs.
One belonged to Jasmine’s five-year-old brother, Manu, and the other to his best friend, Ben, who lived in the house at the end of the farm road.
“Do you want some of our crumble?” asked Manu. He thrust a plastic tub through the leaves.
“What sort of crumble?” asked Mom.
Jasmine peered into the tub.
“Mud crumble, it looks like. With a crunchy dead-leaf topping.”
“It’s got yew berries and acorns in it, too,” said Ben.
“It’s dying crumble,” said Manu.
“Dying crumble?” asked Mom.
“Yes,” said Manu. “If you eat it, you die.”
“It sounds lovely,” said Mom, “but I think I’ll pass. Daddy’s checking the sheep in the Thirteen Acres and Ella’s inside if you need anything.”
“OK,” said Manu.
“Thank you, Dr. Singh,” said Ben. He was always super polite to adults. That was how he got away with being so naughty.
“And don’t eat that crumble,” called Mom.
“No, Dr. Singh, we won’t,” said Ben. “Thank you, Dr. Singh. Bye, Dr. Singh.” And their heads disappeared back into the bushes.
Mr. Carter appeared from a cowshed as they drove into the farmyard. He was a stocky, middle-aged man in a dirty waterproof coat and baggy overalls tucked into enormous black boots. As always, he had a scowl on his face.
“Afternoon, Jim,” said Mom, getting out of the car.
Mr. Carter didn’t return the greeting. “Breech birth, I reckon,” he grunted as Mom opened the trunk of the car and took out her cases of medicine and equipment. “Been straining for hours.”
“Can I go see the pigs?” asked Jasmine.
Mr. Carter gave a grunt, which Jasmine took as a yes. She was halfway across the yard when he called, “There’s a sow just farrowed. Eleven, she’s had.”
Jasmine gave a squeal of delight. Newborn piglets!
“Watch out for that old sow, though,” called the farmer.
“And disinfect your boots first,” said Mom. “Here,” she said, taking from the trunk a plastic bucket containing a bottle of disinfectant and a scrubbing brush.
Jasmine took the bucket and filled it from the tap in the milking parlor. She poured disinfectant in, carried the bucket back to the yard, and handed the scrubbing brush to her mother. Mom scrubbed her boots and passed the brush to Jasmine, who did the same. It was one of those boring jobs that had to be done, like brushing your teeth. “We can’t risk spreading infections between farms,” Mom always said.
Now that her boots were thoroughly disinfected, Jasmine splashed through the muddy puddles to the pigsties. Every sty had a stable door. The bottom halves were bolted shut, but the top halves were open.
Jasmine leaned over the half door of the first sty and peered in. It was empty. The second sty contained one old sow lying asleep on a pile of straw. But there were rustling and grunting noises coming from the third one.
Jasmine looked in. A sleek pig lay on her side in a bed of straw. Sucking busily at her long double line of teats was a row of silky little newborn piglets, pink with black splotches. Their tiny curly tails wriggled with delight as they drank their mother’s milk.
Jasmine grinned at the scene. “You,” she said to the piglets, “are so lovely. And you,” she told the sow, “are very clever.”