Shape-shifting foxes, samurai crabs and a seriously cranky octopus… The balance of the worlds is again under threat and Miku must travel to the Dragon King’s underwater kingdom to put things right. Book 4 in the award-winning TAKESHITA DEMONS series.
Praise for TAKESHITA DEMONS:
“The book is amazing…I hardly put it down” – Chicklish
“A thrilling contemporary adventure wittily shot through with the powerful fantasy stories of the old demons from the Japanese past.” – Julia Eccleshare on LoveReading4Kids
“Miku? Your mother’s here.”
Mr Lloyd gestured at the classroom door. Mrs Jackson, our deputy principal, was standing in the doorway. She was wearing her usual jacket suit with shiny black shoes, but she had three silver rings through her eyebrow and a stud in her nose.
Even weirder, someone dressed as my mother was standing next to her. She was chewing a large wad of gum and had her hair in pigtails. And come to think of it, Mrs Jackson had pigtails too.
“Miku,” said Mr Lloyd. “Your mother…”
I gulped and stared. Even Mr Lloyd must realise that wasn’t my mother. And it certainly wasn’t Mrs Jackson. “Are you sure?”
“It’s no problem,” he smiled. “Cait can give you the notes, can’t you Cait?”
I turned to my best friend, making my eyes wide. She gave a quick nod and fake smile to Mr Lloyd, then she flicked me a troubled look.
Cait wasn’t my best friend for nothing. She knew demon trouble when she saw it.
“It’s OK, Miku,” said the Mrs Jackson, chewing her own gum now.
She paused to blow a tiny pink bubble, no larger than a marble. “Nothing to worry about.” She twisted the bubble into her mouth with her tongue. “We just need to talk to you.”
The Mum nodded, but I could tell she didn’t really care. She was going cross-eyed, blowing a huge purple bubble and watching it grow. The whole class was watching.
Before it could pop, she raised a hand to her mouth and twisted the gum from her lips.
“Check it out,” she said, holding the bubble so the Mrs Jackson could see. I noticed her fingernails were black and twice as long as usual.
The Mrs Jackson rolled her eyes. “So what? We’ve business to attend to.” She cleared her throat and looked right at me. “Miku, your mother is waiting.”
I waited. Surely Mr Lloyd would do something. I wasn’t going anywhere with those demon fakers. But before I could shout or raise the alarm, the Mrs Jackson spoke again.
“Quickly now, Miku,” she said. “We have a message for you, from Aka-san. You remember Aka-san, don’t you?”
I heard Cait gasp and Alex’s chair scraped as he jumped to his feet. Mr Lloyd knew Alex was a trouble-maker, so Alex’s desk was right at the front.
“What about Aka-san?” he demanded, his floppy black hair jumping around. “What have you done with him?”
We hadn’t heard from the little red demon in weeks. He’d been a houseguest at Alex’s, then one day, he’d just disappeared. Alex gripped his desk as if he might toss it aside any moment
Sit down, I willed him. Alex and Cait might know about Aka-san, and the other demons, but the rest of our class didn’t know a thing.
The three of us worked hard to keep it that way, to keep the balance between demons and humans, and to keep our friends and family safe. Because not all demons were evil.
Aka-san was the perfect example. He was a Filth Licker, a frog-like creature who cleaned dirty bathrooms.
And although the two creatures in the doorway were clearly not human, they might not be evil either. And if they had news from Aka-san…
I stood up. “Coming, Mum. I’ll just grab my things.”
“Miku, no.” Alex shoved his desk aside to stand between me and the creatures at the door.
“Alex,” snapped Mr Lloyd. “Sit down, please. And take your desk with you.” He glared at Alex, then smiled apologetically at the Mrs Jackson.
She just nodded, blowing another teensy bubble with her gum.
“I’ll be OK,” I said, trying to speak to Alex with my eyes. I know something’s up. But I’ll be careful. Even Alex must realise: we needed news from Aka-san.
The Mrs Jackson smiled, picking at the stud in her nose with a long, curved fingernail. “This way, Miku,” she said. “We shouldn’t be long.”
I grabbed my bag, stuffing it with books and pens, then I looked at Alex and Cait and tried to smile. “Back soon,” I said, sounding fake even to my own ears.
And then I walked to the door. The Mrs Jackson and the Mum stood aside to let me through, then they led me down the hall, and they didn’t look back.
About the Author:
Before I became a writer I was a performer in a science circus, a garbage analyst for a university, and an editor for a childrens science magazine (CSIRO’s Scientriffic).
Other random facts:
– I learned to scuba dive in Japan (sugoi desu ne!)
– I have lived in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Switzerland and the U.K. I live with my fabulous husband, our two super sons, and zero goldfish (because our goldfish always die, sob :-/).
– I like chocolate milk, fruit bowls, children’s books, hiking, energetic people, dogs, bicycles, spag bol on a cold windy night, opportunities, good luck
– I dislike queues, banks, most cats, having cold feet
– I regularly create lists, plans, book ideas, piles of clothes
My first book, Takeshita Demons, won the 2009 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Book Award and was selected as part of the 2010 Booktrust Booked Up program. Book 2 is The Filth Licker and Book 3 is Monster Matsuri.
More! More! More!
– I studied science, which was super-interesting and full of fun people: I was working at CERN in Switzerland when they turned on the atom-smashing LHC.
– I have worked as a garbage analyst (smelly), patent translater (slow), Santa’s helper (fun), editor of Scientriffic (awesome), editor of iSGTW (busy), performer in the Shell Questacon Science Circus (noisy) and mother (yikes).
– As a feature writer, I’ve researched giant wetas, DNA technology, women’s boxing, Japanese paragliding, killer tomatoes, trends in tea…you name it!
– I have a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication, and a Masters in Professional Communication.
– My first children’s manuscript, One Weekend with Killiecrankie, won a “Young and Emerging Writer” fellowship at Australia’s Varuna House and went on to win the 2008 Voices on the Coast writing competition, held in Queensland as part of the Voices on the Coast literature festival.
– I work as a freelance editor and writer of magazine features, popular science and childrens books. My first ever article was about ear wax.