Little Charlie hung around in my mind long after I had written my first book about him. I had no intention of writing a second book, but as I trundled about doing my daily routine I kept finding instances where I could imagine Charlie getting into trouble. Every time I had an idea I jotted it down, often on the back of a receipt or on a chocolate wrapper ( I always seem to have one of those nearby!). Finally I had enough ideas to write about his further mishaps, for mishaps were what Charlie’s life consisted of. Can you imagine being that tiny? Wherever he went in the world of ‘proper-sized’ humans he was sure to get into trouble.
The character of Grandma was rather a feature in this second book. She suffers from very bad eyesight and dotes on her awful cat, Zimbo.
Here is an extract from The Further Mishaps of Charlie Chumpkins (which now forms the second half of the book) when Charlie gets caught on the control pad of Grandma’s hospital bed:
Suddenly Charlie activated another button. The bed started folding up with Grandma inside. She was going to be a Grandma fajita! I fumbled round with Charlie and the control pad, but he was so firmly attached I couldn’t get behind him to undo the paper clip. Luckily Grandma slept on. As Charlie wriggled, so Grandma began to unfold, stretching, stretching. I was worried that she would begin to do a back bend and continue to curve until her head was touching her heels.
`Straighten her up! Straighten her up!’ I shouted, hastily pulling the curtain around the bed as the other old ladies began looking over. Grandma was snoring loudly as she went into reverse again and her face came up to meet her toes. I yanked Charlie with all my might. His braces snapped with a ping and he was free. He sat in my hand.
`Forgive me, Sam, but I find myself somewhat amused by that little experience.’ He chortled into his hand.
The curtain zipped open and there were Mum and Dad with the crackers.
Grandma woke up.
`Were you having a little snooze, Mum?’
Grandma looked around to get her bearings.
`Oh, what a funny dream. I was having a workout with Jane Fonda. And, do you know, I’ve even got the aches to go with it!’ Grandma laughed heartily.
The cover before it was amalgamated into a bumper two-in-one edition