It’s the first day of summer vacation and twelve-year-old Mallory, armed with too much imagination and not enough common sense, sets out to prove she really does have a guardian angel, only to discover that everything she believed is not quite how she imagined it, especially when her bullying cousin Jo visits the farm and proves to be more trouble than Mallory or her guardian angel can handle.
Targeted Age Group:: 9-12
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I was writing my second book, The Saga of Bayou Billy, a young girl was a huge fan of the weekly stories, but because she was too young for some of the content, her mother would read them to her. When I heard about this, I wrote a story for her that she could read. Years later I decided to rework that story and turn it into a middle-grade book.
I’ll never forget the first time I died. It’s not every day you get to experience a life-changing event like dying. You tend to remember stuff like that, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
Hi, my name is Mallory Malo.
Did you ever look up your own name to see what it means?
I did. I learned that Mallory was originally a French name that meant the unlucky one, and my last name was Spanish for bad. So basically, my name means I’m bad luck. Go figure.
If you think that’s funny, just wait until I tell you just how bad my luck really is…
I was playing in the woods behind my house…
Well, ‘playing’ is the wrong word. I’m twelve and a half; I don’t play with dolls or stuff like that, but I do enjoy making up stories and imagining what it would be like to be on a great adventure like the ones I read in my favourite books.
It was during one of my make-believe adventures when I got the bright idea to build a raft and sail across the pond.
Okay, so maybe it wasn't really a pond and was just a bog that was only a few feet deep, but it was really wide. I couldn’t walk through it because the bottom was all muddy and icky, so I decided to build a raft and sail across the bog instead.
I didn’t actually know how to build a raft, but when did that ever stop me?
Besides, if that Huckleberry Finn guy could float down the Mississippi river with that runaway slave fella like I read in the book, then sailing across the bog should be a piece of cake.
Or so I thought.
My big rafting adventure didn’t go exactly as planned; you could say it was a complete disaster.
Did I mention that chopping down trees with a dull and rusty hatchet was a lot harder than you might think?
It was taking forever!
So instead of cutting down a bunch of big, fat trees to use for my raft, I started chopping down little, skinny trees instead because it was a lot easier.
That was mistake number one.
Well, if you count building a raft when I really didn’t know what I was doing as my first mistake, then chopping down those itty-bitty trees to use as poles for my raft was my second mistake.
It took forever, but eventually, I had enough poles for my raft, and I used pieces of rope and twine I found in our barn to tie them all together.
My version of a raft wasn't exactly up to Huck Finn’s standards, but it was my raft and I was quite pleased with myself.
It took a bit of effort – okay, a lot of effort – but eventually, I managed to drag the raft to the bog.
It wasn't until later that I learned Huckleberry Finn wasn't even a real person, and he never sailed down the river on a raft!
That little tidbit of information would have been especially helpful before my imagination decided to go rafting across the bog.
Not having an imagination was never my problem; my mom said mine always got me into trouble, but my knot-tying ability wasn't about to win me any merit badges. Not that I was ever a Girl Scout or anything like that.
If I was, I would have known to first test the raft before I set sail aboard the S.S. Huckleberry.
Well, I had to name it something!
Anyways, when I pushed myself offshore, two things occurred to me…
First, I didn’t bring another pole so I could keep pushing myself the rest of the way across the bog. After my initial push, I drifted out about ten feet or so and that was it, I wasn’t going anywhere.
Then my feet were starting to get wet – it didn't take a genius to know that wasn't a good sign.
The second thing that occurred to me was untying a couple of the knots so I could use one of the poles from the raft to push myself the rest of the way across was a really, really bad idea.
As soon as I undid that first knot, the whole thing fell apart.
I could have just jumped in the water and walked ashore, the water wasn’t that deep, but that meant I would have to explain to my mom why I was soaking wet and covered in mud without getting myself grounded for forever.
But no… genius me had the bright idea to balance myself on one of the poles like I watched those lumberjack guys do on TV.
Logrolling looked like a lot of fun, but let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks!
For starters, you need a really big log to properly balance yourself. The logs on my raft were mostly just sticks, hardly bigger than a can of soda.
Not to mention, you’re supposed to switch from running forwards and backwards to help you keep your balance on the spinning log.
I was just running full steam ahead in one direction until I eventually ran right off the log. But I did manage to stay on the log for at least a good ten seconds.
It’s hard to say for sure – my life was flashing in front of my eyes at the time, so maybe it was more like two or three seconds before the log shot out from under my feet, and I fell face-first into another log.
I remember how scared I was when I saw that log rushing towards my face in slow motion…
‘Rushing’ because everything was happening so fast, and ‘slow motion’ because I had plenty of time to see every little bump and twig on that log…Right before it punched me in the face.
That’s gonna leave a mark!
I remember how warm it was that day, and how cold and icky the water was. It smelled like stinky gym socks and used kitty litter.
I even got some in my mouth!
I even remember the sounds of frogs and crickets, and how smelly I was from my mom covering me in bug spray.
I never understood why she insisted on spraying me with that stuff because it didn't do a very good job of stopping the bog bugs from biting me.
I hate fly bites; they get so itchy.
Anyways, after I was done thrashing around trying to stay on the poles, I remember lying in something that felt soft and squishy against my back as I looked up at the sky.
They were big fluffy clouds too, but they were all blurry and wavy. They looked like that because I was under the water looking up at them.
But the one thing I don't remember doing is standing up…
That's because I didn't.
That’s because I died.
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Born in Toronto in 1966, Kenn Crawford grew up in the coalmining town of Glace Bay on Cape Breton – an island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Growing up, Kenn was painfully shy and spent his childhood reading books and making up stories; a hobby that led to his love of writing – poetry, songs and short stories. Eventually he began writing books and screenplays; he wrote a weekly newspaper column about songwriting and home recording, and he was showcased in The Cape Bretoner Magazine as the featured songwriter.
In 2016 he took his love of making up stories to the next level by writing, shooting and directing short films. He won the Canada Shorts Director’s Award of Commendation in 2018, and he founded Film Cape Breton – a non-profit organization designed to help bridge the gap between local, independent filmmakers and the viewing public.
Kenn lives in his hometown of Glace Bay with his fiancé, Margie, shooting short films and music videos, teaching writing and filmmaking workshops, and is currently working on several new books, including the sequel to The Misadventures of Mallory Malo.