Oscar, Arabella, and their friends can't wait to begin their second termat theMammoth Academy. But when they arrive at school on the first day after winter break, there's a threatening graffiti message waiting for them.
It seems the Cave Skool has moved nearby, and its pupils—those wild and dangerous animals called humans—are wreaking havoc. When a huge snowstorm hits and everyone is trapped inside the academy, the humans attack!
With a little teamwork and a lot of explosive materials, the mammoths and their friends just might be able to save the day.
|Publisher:||Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)|
|File size:||7 MB|
|Age Range:||7 - 10 Years|
About the Author
NEAL LAYTON has illustrated many books for young readers, including The Mammoth Academy, Oscar and Arabella, and That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown. He lives in England.
Neal Layton was born in Chichester, England. He is the illustrator of many wonderful books for children, including Smile If You're Human, by Michael Rosen, about which Booklist said: "Layton's zany cartoon illustrations set this tale apart from the average picture book."
Read an Excerpt
THE NEW TERM
Oscar was a woolly mammoth, and so was Arabella. They lived a long time ago in the Ice Age.
Oscar and Arabella had been having a terrific time on winter break, romping in snowfields, uncovering secret mountain paths, rooting out mountain berries, and playing Ice Frisbee, but now it was time to go back to the Mammoth Academy.
Both Oscar and Arabella were looking forward to going back to the Academy, mainly because the new term would end in the fabulous Founder's Fiesta!
The Founder's Fiesta is one of THE most exciting days in the Mammoth Academy year. The whole Academy gets decorated with banners and balloons. Cook bakes enormous Founder's Fiesta desserts. There are no lessons and no uniforms, and there is plenty of feasting and dancing until very late at night.
EVERYONE was excited about it!
On the first day back, Oscar and Arabella greeted the friendly Megaloceros who helped them across the glacier. As they walked across the icy plains, the sun was shining and they were both in high spirits.
Along the way, lots of their school pals joined them. There was plenty of friendly banter.
"Hey, Fox! Haven't seen you in ages! How are you doing?"
"I'm cool! How are you?"
"Look! There's Giant Sloth and Prunella!"
Prunella was Arabella's best friend at the Academy. She was also the smallest pupil in the whole school.
Arabella liked Prunella because she was fashionable and wore pretty bows. Prunella liked Arabella because she was clever and strong and would look after her in the busy school corridors.
"Hi there, Prunella!"
"Hi there, Arabella!"
Everyone was carrying a big bundle of paper, books, ink, and lots of things to be used to prepare for the Founder's Fiesta.
As more and more first years joined the procession, the level of excitement rose ... until they arrived at the Mammoth Academy gates.
Then suddenly everyone went very quiet.
This wasn't the welcome back to the Academy that anyone had been expecting.
As the school assembled to hear the headmistress give her "start the term" speech, you could have heard a pinecone drop.
"Welcome back, everyone," she began. "As you know, this term will end with the Founder's Fiesta. I had hoped to talk about it this morning, but it seems a more pressing matter has come up.
"You will have noticed that some unpleasant graffiti has appeared outside the school gates. We think that this could mean there are humans about!
"In case you've forgotten, this is what they look like. They are wild and dangerous animals and are to be avoided! Take care when entering or leaving the school, stay close to your friends, and if anyone sees anything suspicious, contact a member of the staff immediately.
"Now, here are your schedules. Off you go."
After that, they had lots of new lessons, including science with Dr. Van Der Graph.
"Right, everyone. Put on your safety goggles, your safety aprons, and your safety gloves.
"And now, start mixing things in test tubes...."
Fox's test tube turned brown.
Oscar's test tube turned orange.
But Arabella's test tube started to fizz and spit little silver sparks all over the place, finally going POOF! in a cloud of thick green smoke.
"Fascinating!" said Dr. Van Der Graph. "I think you have just made a scientific discovery!"
Next was dance class with Mrs. Waft. "This term we are going to learn a special dance to perform at the Founder's Fiesta," she told them. "I want you all to imagine you are tiny feathers floating on the breeze...."
Last came art class with Professor Sable. "Hi! This term you're each going to make something AMAZING and INCREDIBLE with all the materials you have collected during the break. First I want you to sketch your ideas. You can do this on your own or in a group. Let's go!"
And then — BONG! BONG! BONG! — the gong rang to tell everyone it was time to go home.
After the exciting day, Oscar, Arabella, and their friends had almost forgotten about the humans. But as they walked through the Academy gates to head home to the herds, they were quickly reminded that they must take extra care.
All the friends stayed very close together as they walked, and nobody said much. They were looking out for signs of trouble.
As they passed by the big forest, Prunella thought she heard a strange noise. "What's that?" she asked. But her voice was so quiet that nobody heard her.
Prunella didn't want to unnecessarily alarm anyone, so she didn't mention it again.
The next day, more graffiti had appeared on the Academy walls. Everyone agreed that this could only be the work of the Cave Skool humans.
"Look at the handwriting and the bad spelling," said Arabella. "It just has to be them."
A window had been smashed in Cook's kitchen. Cook was not pleased. "If I ever get hold of the little savages, I'll show 'em what for!"
The news spread fast around the Academy, but there was nothing to do except carry on with business as usual.
That day's art lesson was spent working on the Founder's Fiesta projects.
Prunella constructed Prunella's Beauty Parlor, but with everyone so busy talking about the humans, nobody went to visit.
Arabella began working on the Mammoth Mammoth. Oscar's project wasn't going too well, so he asked if he could help. Arabella had just the job for him.
Fox thought the Mammoth Mammoth looked a bit saggy, so he went off to find lots of things to stuff it with. 49
The rabbits suggested that wheels and a rope might make it easy to parade about. And Prunella, after the unsuccessful opening of the beauty parlor, wondered if she could join in and pointed out that a few bows might make it look prettier. Owl and Giant Sloth were keen to help, too. In fact, by the end of the lesson, EVERYONE was involved in one way or another.
"This is going to be so cool when it's finished!" said Fox.
"Yeah!" Everyone agreed the class project was coming along very well indeed.
And suddenly — BONG! BONG! BONG! — it was time to go home again.
As the students walked through the graffiti-covered gates to the icy plains, they noticed more signs of human activity. The snow was littered with footprints, bits of rubbish, and the odd bit of dung.
"Urgh! How disgusting!" exclaimed Prunella.
They could definitely hear strange noises in the trees that seemed to go something like "Nah-nah, nah-nah!" and "Ugh!"
Oscar, Arabella, Prunella, Fox, and all their friends hurried homeward as fast as their legs would carry them.
As the term carried on, something became apparent: The Cave Skool humans had moved into the area. There was more litter, dung, and noise, and a huge stone flag went up in the forest that read "CAVE SKOOL."
There was also more graffiti.
What should have been the BEST term of the year was now turning out to be the WORST.
Every day as the mammoths and their friends went to and from the Academy, the Cave Skool pupils would lurk in the woods, jeering and throwing snowballs.
The problem had gotten so bad that the friendly Megaloceros had to accompany the Mammoth Academy students all the way from the glacier right up to the school gates.
One day, when Oscar, Arabella, Prunella, and Giant Sloth went to go home, they found their path blocked.
Ahead on the icy plains stood a group of humans. "Ugh!" the humans said.
"I don't like the look of this," said Arabella.
"What shall we do?" squeaked Prunella.
"Heh heh UGH!" sniggered the humans.
And suddenly — THWACK! — something landed near Arabella's foot, and — FEEEEEEEE! — something whizzed toward Oscar, who just managed to hold up his school bag to deflect it.
"Ouch!" Oscar said. "That wasn't a snowball, that was an ice ball! Quick! Run for it!"
But before they could run anywhere — THWACK! — a third, much larger ice ball hit Giant Sloth squarely in the face.
Giant Sloth let out a deafening howl and waved his arms. His eyes, normally half shut, became as wide as saucers, and all his fur stood on end. He was obviously very, VERY angry!
The Cave Skool humans dropped their half-finished ice balls, turned tail, and ran scrambling and howling back up the mountain into the woods.
THE SPARKLEBANG CODE
News of Giant Sloth's heroism went round the school fast. Students waved and cheered as he passed in the corridors, and teachers let him sit quietly at the back of the class and rest.
Everyone hoped that this might be the end of the Cave Skool and that it would move away from the Academy and never be heard from again.
With the humans out of the way for the time being, life at the Academy began to go much better.
The caretaker managed to clean up the litter, scrub away the graffiti outside the gates, and replace the broken window. The students could walk to and from the Academy without worry, and everyone could carry on preparing for the fast-approaching Founder's Fiesta.
Arabella, under the guidance of Dr. Van Der Graph, had made hundreds more discoveries ... ... and found that glorious things happened when certain mixtures were heated.
This prompted Dr. Van Der Graph to write a code of use for all sparklebang mixtures.
Then Fox had another one of his great ideas. "Hey! Why don't we add some sparklebang mixtures to the Mammoth Mammoth? We could parade it about at the fiesta and then at the end of the evening start it sparkling. It would look amazing spitting and fizzing at night!"
Everyone agreed this was a splendid idea, and so Dr. Van Der Graph began joining in the art lessons, making special mixtures with Arabella and placing them carefully inside the Mammoth Mammoth.
Mrs. Waft had also taken to spending her time in the art room, saying it would give her inspiration for the special Founder's Fiesta dance she was creating.
In fact, everything was going really well ... until the day the storm arrived.
It started with a gray sky and a few wispy flakes of snow, but by lunchtime, the sky had turned black. The snow began falling so heavily that it was impossible for the mammoths to see their trunks in front of their faces. Students crossing the courtyards had to shuffle along carefully in long lines,each holding the tail in front. The sharp wind blowing from the icy plains caused huge snowdrifts to pile up against the walls and windows of the Academy.
By late afternoon the storm was at its height. None of the mammoth teachers could remember weather this bad, and some of them had very long memories indeed.
It was decided that sending the students home in such terrible weather would be unwise, so everyone had to spend the night in the Academy.
The gates were closed, and lots of blankets and sheets were brought down to the gymnasium so that it could act as a temporary sleeping area for students and staff. Ormsby said that the gym mats smelled of cheesy feet and that he wasn't keen to sleep on them, but nobody listened to his complaints.
Cook gave out hot soup, and everyone tried to bed down and get some sleep, while outside the storm raged on.
For the first few days, staying overnight in the Academy was quite fun, rather like a camping trip or a sleepover at a friend's burrow. But everyone was relieved when, after several days and nights, the wind began to drop.
Most of the lower windows were completely covered with snow and ice, but from the higher windows the animals could peer out and survey the weather. Some of the students thought they saw dark shapes moving outside, and some heard strange noises.
"There are lots of animals out there!" exclaimed Fox.
"I think they are HUMANS!" shouted Oscar.
"Please remain calm," said the headmistress. "It seems that we are surrounded. All students will remain here until help arrives. Once the weather clears, it shouldn't be too long."
But it kept snowing.
The staff and pupils tried to carry on with lessons as normal. They had to rush on to the roof every now and then and throw a few hundred snowballs to keep the humans at bay.
Outside, Cave Skool lessons seemed to be continuing as well.
And still it kept snowing. Days passed. Oscar, Arabella, and their friends missed the herds and got more and more anxious.
And then, with Cook unable to go shopping, food started to run out. All that was left were wheat-husk crackers and cabbage. And though Cook did her best to be creative, her recipes were not the most appetizing of foods to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Toilet paper was getting low, too. Professor Snout allowed each pupil three sheets a day, which is not very much at all.
A few days later, the tusk paste ran out, so everybody had cabbagy breath.
Outside the Academy walls, the Cave Skool seemed to be forming a plan.
Inside the Academy, the animals were worried and scared.
And then the scratching started. Nobody was sure who got them first, but the cause of the problem was clear: FLEAS!
The entire Academy was crawling with them!
Everyone was in a very disheveled and miserable state. Even Fox, who normally enjoyed being disheveled, hung his head in dismay and looked at the floor.
"We're doomed!" moaned one mammoth.
"It's the end! The end of the Mammoth Academy and the end of us!" whispered another.
"There's no hope," mumbled a third.
Suddenly, everyone heard a loud "HEY!" They looked around to see who was speaking.
It was Prunella. She had climbed right up to the top of the Mammoth Mammoth and was shouting at the top of her voice through a rolled-up piece of paper.
"HEY!" she shouted again. "That attitude simply isn't good enough! I may be the smallest one in the Academy, but there is no way that I am giving up, and you can't either!
"Have you all forgotten that the Founder's Fiesta is TONIGHT? Well, I am not going to have it ruined by some silly humans!
"We need to pull together. We can beat the humans! We can beat the hunger! And we can beat the fleas!
"Whoever comes to my beauty parlor will get their fleas combed out and a free new fur-style as well!"
The line for Prunella's Beauty Parlor went twice around the great hall, but somehow Prunella managed to keep up with demand.
Briskly brushing, quickly combing and clipping, she removed fleas from animal after animal and gave them all snappy new styles.
All the grooming was generating huge amounts of fluff, and Arabella had just the use for it. "It lends the Mammoth Mammoth such a realistic air, don't you think?"
Finally, with everyone working together, the banners were hung, the tables were set, and the amazing and incredible Mammoth Mammoth was ready for the Founder's Fiesta parade!
Suddenly, the special alarm gong was sounded.
"THE HUMANS HAVE ENTERED THE ACADEMY! Quick! Everyone to the emergency escape tunnel!" cried the headmistress.
THE MAMMOTH MAMMOTH
The teachers rushed all the pupils down corridors, across courtyards, and into the secret emergency escape tunnel. It was very dusty and very dark, but there was no other choice. The mammoths stumbled along blindly, following the twists and turns, climbing stair after stair, until they eventually emerged onto a small ledge halfway up the mountain.
Meanwhile, inside the Academy, the humans were going berserk, jumping on tables, throwing bits of paper about, and knocking over bookshelves.
They turned Cook's kitchen upside down, scattering jars, smashing plates, splintering cupboards, and eating vast quantities of wheat-husk crackers and cabbage.
And then they found the Mammoth Mammoth.
For a few seconds they stared at it in awe. They had never seen anything like it. It was the biggest mammoth they had ever seen — or, as they thought, the biggest DINNER they had ever seen.
Forming a circle around it, they began shouting "Ugh!" and waving their spears and clubs.
The Mammoth Mammoth stared calmly back at them.
Then they began waving their spears and clubs more vigorously and shouting "Ugh!" a bit louder.
The Mammoth Mammoth continued staring calmly.
With confidence growing, one of them threw a spear at the Mammoth Mammoth. THOCK! The spear landed quivering in its side. More spears followed, and ice balls, and rocks, and books, and anything else that came to hand. After several more direct hits, a bit of its ear came off, and its head began to slump to one side.
A great cheer went up from the humans. Their prey had been defeated! FOOD!
Professor Ugh advanced toward the Mammoth Mammoth. He grabbed the Sparklebang Code stuck carefully to the front of the trolley and put it in his mouth. It obviously didn't taste very nice because he spat it out.
Then he took a bite of the Mammoth Mammoth's leg. This seemed to taste better.
After realizing it was too big to push on his own, he ordered the smaller humans to help him by pulling the two ropes handily attached to the front. They began wheeling it out of the great hall, through the gates, and toward their makeshift camp outside the Academy walls.
They couldn't wait to start feasting upon it.
Huddled on the mountain ledge, the mammoths and their friends looked on with interest.
Excerpted from "The Mammoth Academy In Trouble!"
Copyright © 2007 Neal Layton.
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. - THE NEW TERM,
2. - NEW LESSONS,
3. - TROUBLE BREWING,
4. - GIANT SLOTH,
5. - THE SPARKLEBANG CODE,
6. - SURROUNDED!,
7. - TEAMWORK,
8. - THE MAMMOTH MAMMOTH,
9. - AT LAST!,
10. - FINALLY,