Authors: Jacqueline Wilson
When Dad and Mum break up, Em does her best to cheer up her little brother and sister, even though she's miserable too. She tells them exciting tales because she knows a good story can make life seem better. Meeting the author of her own favourite books would be a dream come true. But could her other greatest wish be granted? Is any story powerful enough to bring Dad back?
A charming book about real family life from prize-winning Jacqueline Wilson â now with a new introduction by the author!
For Molly Lajtha
(plus a big thank you to Emma ChadwickâBooth)
I feel very fond of Em, the girl who tells the story in
. She tries so hard to be a good big sister to irritating little Vita and Maxie and she's a true friend to her mum. She adores her dad. The story starts with a very traumatic Christmas, though Em thinks it's going to be the best Christmas ever. I do hope her next Christmas lives up to expectations.
I love writing about Christmas, especially choosing all the presents for everyone. I also liked making up the stories that Em tells Vita and Maxie. I think she's the sort of girl who might well become a writer when she grows up. She certainly loves reading. When I was writing the story I tried hard to think what sort of books Em would like reading best. I imagined this shy, sweet girl going into a bookshop and browsing in the children's section. What would she choose?
The thought popped into my head that maybe she'd choose my books. Yet I couldn't actually put that in
. It would sound horribly like showing off. So I decided to invent an alternative me, Jenna Williams. We'd share the same initials and write very similar books. I wrote about a child called Elsa in
The Bed and Breakfast Star
. Jenna Williams wrote
. I wrote
about Gemma and Alice who wanted to stay friends forever. Jenna Williams wrote
. I wrote
The Diamond Girls
and old copycat Jenna wrote
The Emerald Sisters.
Nick Sharratt drew a picture of Jenna Williams talking to Em at a book signing session. He drew her looking very like me, with short spiky hair, black clothes and a lot of big silver jewellery. There's only one difference between Jenna and me â she has long dangly earrings, whereas I don't ever wear earrings. I don't even have pierced ears.
There's one other character in
based on a real person. In
, Em falls when running to her dad and breaks her arm. She's taken to hospital by Jenna Williams' special driver Bob in his silver Mercedes.
When I'm doing book tours all over the country I have a lovely, jolly, fair-haired gentleman called Bob driving me everywhere in his Mercedes. Look out for him if you ever come to one of my book signings. He'll be very happy to say hello!
I THOUGHT IT
was going to be the best Christmas ever. I woke up very very early and sat up as slowly as I could, trying not to shake the bed. I didn't want to wake Vita or Maxie. I wanted to have this moment all to myself.
I wriggled down to the end of the bed, carefully edging round Vita. She always curled up like a little monkey, knees right under her pointed chin, so the hump that was her stopped halfway down the duvet. It was so dark I couldn't see at all, but I could feel.
My hand stroked three little woolly socks stretched to bursting point. They were tiny stripy socks, too small even for Vita. The joke was to see how many weeny presents could be stuffed inside.
Vita and Maxie appreciated Santa's sense of humour and left him a minute mince pie on a doll's
tea-set plate and a thimbleful of wine, and wrote him teeny thank-you letters on pieces of paper no bigger than a postage stamp. Well, Vita couldn't fit her shaky pencil printing on such a tiny scrap but she wrote â
Dear Santa I love you and pleese leeve me lots and lots of little pressents from your speshal frend Vita
' on a big piece of paper and then folded it up again and again. Maxie simply wrote a letter âM' and a lot of wonky kisses.
I wrote a letter too, even though I was only pretending for Vita and Maxie's sake. I knew who filled the Christmas socks. I thought he was much more magical than any bearded old gent in a red gown.
I felt past the socks to the space underneath. My hand brushed three parcels wrapped in crackly paper and tied with silk ribbon. I felt their shapes, wondering which one was for me. There was a very small square hard parcel, a flat oblong package and a large unwieldy squashy one, very wide at one end. I hung further out of bed, trying to work out the peculiar shape. I wriggled a little too far and went scooting right over the end, landing on my head.
Maxie woke up and started shrieking.
âSsh! Shut up, Maxie! It's OK, don't cry,' I said, crawling past the presents to Maxie's little mattress.
He doesn't want to sleep in a proper bed. He
likes to set up a camp with lots of blankets and cushions and all his cuddly toys. Sometimes it's hard to spot Maxie himself under all his droopy old teddies.
I wrestled my way through a lot of fur and found Maxie, quivering in his going-to-bed jersey and underpants. That's another weird thing about Maxie, he hates pyjamas. There are a
of weird things about my little brother.
I crawled onto his mattress and cuddled him close. âIt's me, silly.'
âI thought you were a Wild Thing coming to get me,' Maxie sobbed.
Where the Wild Things Are
was Dad's favourite book. The little boy in it is called Max, and he tames all these Wild Thing monsters. That's where our Maxie got his name. Reading the book to him was a
mistake. Our Maxie couldn't ever tame Wild Thing scary monsters. He wouldn't be up to taming wild fluffy baby bunnies.
âThe Wild Things are all shut up in their book, Maxie,' I whispered. âStop crying, you'll make my nightie all wet. Cheer up, it's Christmas!'
âIs Father Christmas here?' Vita shouted, jumping out from under the duvet.
âSsh! It's only six o'clock. But he's been, he's left us presents.'
âHas he left any presents for me?' said Maxie.
âNo, none whatsoever,' said Vita, jumping down the bed and pouncing on the presents. âYay!
For dear Vita, love from Santa
. And here we are again â
To darling Vita, even more love from Santa
. And there's this one too,
To my special sweetheart Vita, lots and lots and lots of love from Santa
. Nothing for you two at all.'
Maxie started sobbing again.
âShe's just teasing, Maxie. Don't let her wind you up. Shut
, Vita. Be nice, it's Christmas. Leave the presents
. We open them in Mum and Dad's bed, you know we do.'
âLet's go to their room now!' said Vita, scrabbling at the bottom of the bed, scooping up all three parcels and clutching them to her chest.
âNo, no, it's not time yet. Mum will be cross,' I said, unpeeling Maxie and jumping up to restrain Vita.
âMy daddy won't be cross with me,' said Vita.
I always hated it when she said
daddy. It was a mean Vita trick to remind me that he wasn't really
He always said he loved me just as much as Vita and Maxie. I hoped hoped hoped it was true, because I loved him more than anyone else in the whole world, even a tiny bit more than Mum. More than Vita and Maxie. Much more than Gran.
âWe'd better wait until seven, Vita,' I said.
âHalf past six then. Mum and Dad were out till late last night, they'll be tired.'
âThey won't be tired, it's Christmas! Stop being so boring, Em. You just want to boss me about all the time.'
It's almost impossible to boss Vita even though she's years younger than me and literally half my size. She's the one who's done the bossing, ever since she could sit up in her buggy and shriek. It is a royal pain having a little sister like Vita. You have to learn to be dead crafty if you want to manage her.
âIf you come and cuddle back into bed I'll tell you another Princess Vita story,' I said. âA special
Princess Vita story where she gets to fly to Santa's workshop and has the pick of all his presents. And she meets Mrs Christmas and all the little children Christmases â Clara Christmas, Caroline Christmas and little Charlie Christmas.'
âCan Prince Maxie play with Charlie Christmas?' said Maxie.
âNo, he can't. This is
Princess Vita story,' said Vita.
I had her hooked. She got back into bed. Maxie grabbed an armful of teddies and climbed into our bed too. I lay between them, making up the story. Princess Vita stories were very
always had to be about sweetly pretty show-off Princess Vita. Everyone adored her and wanted to be her friend and gave her elaborate presents. I had to go into extreme detail describing each designer princess gown with matching wings, her jewelled ten-league trainers, and the golden crown the exact shade of Princess Vita's long long curls.
Vita wriggled and squirmed excitedly, and when I started describing the golden crown (and the pink diamond tiara and the ruby slides and the amethyst hair bobbles) she tossed her head around as if she was adorning her own long long curls. She hasn't really got any. Vita has very thin, fine, straight baby hair like beige cotton. She's been growing it for several years but it still hasn't reached her shoulders.