Litter – a children’s story

Someone to whom I read this story suggested that it ought to be a children’s story, and so I rewrote it and added illustrations. It is set up to be on 5.5” by 8.5” paper with the appropriate illustrations facing the text. I couldn’t make this work on this blog and so the illustrations which ought to face the text follow it. I hope that this isn’t too confusing for bloggers. I invite my adult blog readers to offer suggestions on how to make it more attractive for a younger audience.

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Madi and Josiah were going on caravan holiday at a beach in west Scotland. It was a long drive from home. When they arrived at the Cameron farm where they planned to camp they got out of their car. They were tired, stiff, and excited. Their father asked them and their mother to stay beside the car while he crossed the farmyard to greet Mr. Cameron.

They stood and stretched and gazed at the farmyard. Presently Madi saw a black and grey cat which lay in the entrance to the barn feeding a litter of kittens. She pointed the cat out to her mother and to Josiah. They watched and listened to the cat purring and the gentle sound of the kittens sucking.

Soon the men shook hands and their father returned to them. He looked happy and asked them to get back into the car. While they were getting in he spoke,

“Our camping spot is in a field up here on the left.

During the week we will have the beach to ourselves. There will be day-trippers on the weekend but they will park in the field on the right. We can get water, fresh eggs and milk from the farm. It is idyllic!”

cat

How many kittens were in the litter?

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When they were back in the car he turned and smiled at his wife, and then leaned back to face his children. “This place is heaven,” he beamed, “and, oh yes, Mr. Cameron is most particular about litter. We must be careful not to leave any. The cove is beautiful, and he wants to keep it unspoiled. He says that the weekend day-trippers are a problem and asks that we help pick up after them. I told him that we didn’t mind having a holiday chore!”

After the caravan was parked and unhitched from their car their father carefully leveled it. It stood on springy marine shore grass a few feet from the beach. Then he took Madi and Josiah down to the shore to play. They paddled in the water. It was icy cold. Their mother stayed behind to prepare supper.

caavan

Can you count the birds in the air?

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After supper their father went outside and sat on the caravan steps. He breathed deeply and gazed at the view before him. It was close to sunset and the sun hung low in the sky as it approached the spot where it would dip into the waters of the horizon.

Madi, Josiah and their mother joined him. They sat on a blanket and ate Smarties as they watched the sun set. They breathed in clean salty air and savored the peace of nature and the happiness of their loving family.

sun2

Can you find the sun?

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Three days later the day-trippers arrived. Mr. Cameron spent most of the day standing at the gate into his field parking lot collecting fees. Although he had placed a barrel for rubbish, when the last visitor left the beach was strewn with trash. It ranged from coke bottles, to sandwich wrappers, and newspapers. Madi and Josiah and their parents saw Mr. Cameron sitting on a large rock where a family of five had picnicked. They walked over to him and their father said,

“No problem, I volunteered; my children and I will pick up the litter.”

Mr. Cameron looked relieved and nodded a quick, “Thank you.” He turned to face Madi and Josiah. He said, “Look carefully, for sometimes money falls out of people’s pockets and you may find it in the sand. I consider finders to be keepers!” He gave them a conspiratorial wink and left the beach. They watched him walk up the road to his farm.

litter beach

Can you find the red bottle?

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Madi and Josiah and their parents took bags and began their task. With all four at work it didn’t take long and soon they came to the big rock.

There, nestled under the worst irresponsible mess of abandoned bottles and bags was a new five pound note.  Five pounds was just enough money to be interesting but not so much that they might have worried about trying to return it. They decided to set it aside in case the family returned the next day and after that they recalled what Mr. Cameron had said,

“Finders are keepers.”

litter rock

Can you see the hidden money?

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The following day there were more day-trippers and after they left, the whole family eagerly collected trash. Their father even walked half a mile across the bay to investigate a small white object nestled in the far rocks. He explained that he thought that it might be more money but when he got close he saw that it was a white flower.

The following weekend was the same. The family was so diligent that Mr. Cameron gave them a special accolade when they departed the next Monday.

He offered them one of the black kittens, from the cat’s litter as a reward for their collecting all the day-tripper’s litter. The children enjoyed petting it but their parents said that kitten was too young for their long drive home.

flowerkittten

 

Did you spot the flower on the hill on page 9?

What would you name the kitten?

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Two days after the family left Mr. Cameron entertained his neighbor, Mr. Morrison. He also had a coastal farm and also augmented his income by opening his beach to day-trippers and campers. As they stood looking over the beach before supper Mr. Morrison commented,

“Your beach is so clean. How do you do it?”

Mr. Cameron pointed to the big rock,

“Someone always picnics there and so I incentivize my campers.”

“You what?”

“I incentivize my campers! First I ask them to help to keep the beach pristine, and then, on the first day, I slip a fiver in the litter next to this rock. After they find that money nothing can stop them. It is the best investment ever!”

farmers

The beach is clean.

 What color is Mr. Cameron’s sweater?