I'm very excited to share with you my newest book release, The Lumpy Duckling - Another Weaver Tale.
Lumpy is the third standalone title in my Weaver Tale series. It's about friendship and expectation, transformation and doubt. Wheezy over thinks things to the point of making them happen. Lumpy is humble, sweet and (thank goodness) persistent. If you have a middle grade reader in your life, I think you'll be happy you shared this book with them.
Lumpy may be hefty with a misshapen mouth, but he’s funny and the most loyal friend Wheezy could ask for. When she meets Unwanted, she casts a wish for people to be able to see her best friend like she does. Her wish nearly kills him.
Available in hard and soft cover and electronic formats:
What people are saying:
Kai Strand explores friendship, perception, and the consequences of wishes in this fast-paced read. –Amazon Customer
This is a wonderful story of loyalty and friendship. It also shows how one’s fears and insecurities sometimes sabotage the good things we have in our lives. Like Wheezy, we have to learn to trust, to accept change, to be patient and understanding, and to try not to jump to conclusions. The end is most satisfying, but it’s an exciting, nerve-wracking ride getting there. The Lumpy Duckling is highly recommended for middle grade readers. –Penelope Anne Cole, award winning author
Excerpt, Chapter 1:
“Now where has that girl gone?” Mrs. Frickles grumbled. “Eloise Talemaker?”
Eloise popped up from behind the lab table. A clump of frizzy red hair, an escapee from her pigtails, rested like a veil over her left eye. She blew at it ineffectively. “Here, Mrs. Frickles. I guess I was carrying my folder upside down, because my papers fell out. I’m just retrieving them, ma’am.”
The teacher lifted her gaze to the ceiling before taking a deep breath. A frequent reaction she saved for the girl who squatted to the floor again and continued scooping up her papers. “Very well, Eloise. Make it quick.” Glancing across the room she smiled fondly at Wendell and checked his name off on the roll sheet.
Not one to allow an opportunity to make fun of a less popular classmate pass her by, Tosh hissed a tale at Eloise.
“Sneezy Wheezy—such a klutz.
The start of class she is prolonging,
by dropping all her prized belongings.
She should just sit on her…butts.”
Eloise, or Wheezy as all the kids called her, shook her head. “Tosh, stick to horror stories. Rhyme isn’t your thing.”
“Horror?” Tosh crossed her arms over her chest and spun on her lab stool presenting her back to Wheezy.
Smiling to herself, Wheezy stuffed her papers into her folder. Tosh’s usual style of Word Weaving was actually a pretty standard storytelling voice, nothing close to horror, but Wheezy couldn’t resist the dig at the girl’s mean personality. With all her papers collected, Wheezy scrambled onto her own stool at the table next to Tosh just in time for Mrs. Frickles to start the day’s lesson.
Wheezy’s next class was history. She gathered her belongings and followed her classmates out the door.
A fresh layer of spring snow had fallen the night before. The morning warmed enough for it to begin to melt off, and lavender, purple, yellow, and white crocuses poked holes through their nighttime blanket to greet the students while they walked through town from class to class. The town of The Tales was unique in that classes were held in people’s homes. History expert, Mr. Middy, taught class in the front sitting room of his house. Wheezy plunked onto a cushy couch next to Harken Herald.
“Hey Hark.” Wheezy yanked the tie off her left pigtail, recaptured the wayward hank of hair and re-tied it again.
Hark blinked at her. “Uneven.”
Wheezy shrugged. “Just so it stays in this time.”
The couch cushion under Wheezy puffed with air, launching her sideways into Hark. She giggled and leveraged herself against his arm so she could push herself back into the middle of the couch. The burst of air tickled her nose. She sucked in one breath, two breaths, and finally a sneeze burst from her.
Hark grunted in frustration, frowning at Poesy before offering a blessing to Wheezy.
“That never gets old,” Poesy said, smirking at Hark. She set her messenger bag on the floor unconcerned about the growing puddle of snow melting off her boots. She looked at Wheezy expectantly.
The second and third sneezes followed. Wheezy’s sneezes were always divisible by three.
“Bless you. Your pigtails are uneven.” Poesy reached for the one Wheezy just fixed.
Fluttering her lids to clear her watery eyes, Wheezy flipped her head to present the other one. “I have a hank that keeps escaping that one, so they have to be higher.”
“Not. A. Problem.” Poesy stuck her tongue out of the corner of her mouth while she worked to even up her friend’s hairstyle.
Wheezy scowled when Tosh sauntered through the front door, batting her eyelashes at the class heartthrob, Edward Telling. The two popular kids didn’t even glance in Wheezy’s direction. She and her friends were considered a non-issue unless the perfect opportunity to tease one of them presented itself, like it had in science that morning.
Poesy glanced to see whom Wheezy scowled at and quickly looked back at the hair she tied into place, a blush coloring her cheeks. It bothered Wheezy that Poesy had developed a crush on Edward; City Word Weaving Champion, youngest to ever receive the title of Top Tales Debater, the most decorated poet under the age of eighteen, and an epic ego, appropriately oversized from all the recognition. Poesy with her spiky black hair and uneven hems didn’t stand a chance against the ‘Toshes’ of The Tales. And there were plenty of ‘Toshes’ for Edward to choose from.
Besides, isn’t seventh grade too young to worry about boys? In that way at least. She always worried about her very closest friend, Lumpy. She and Lawrence Nightingale had been inseparable since she tripped over him in the sandbox almost nine years ago. Well, inseparable might be a bit strong, since they couldn’t even go to school together, Lumpy being a year older than
her and all.
Being picked on wasn’t the only thing they had in common. Wheezy smiled. They both liked…um…they preferred…um. Her smile fell away when she stared out the window picturing herself and Lumpy together.
They had nothing in common. He liked to watch sports and whittle wood; she liked to create sand art and find shapes in the clouds. He chowed down steak and pan fried potatoes, or liverwurst and ketchup sandwiches, while she nibbled pickled zucchini spears and rye crisps. He spit into a pennywhistle, calling it music, while she sang like a songbird.
Even their Word Weaving was different. She weaved reports and updates of current events while he …um…whatever his weavings were classified as, they made people laugh. Gnawing the inside of her cheek, she searched for a
commonality in their personalities, hobbies or interests. A reason they were friends.
An image of Lumpy, a dirt stained baseball cap slightly askew, round face, red from laughing, an ever present lumpy grin on his lips which sparked in his bright blue eyes, formed in her mind, and a smile brightened her face again. It didn’t matter that they had nothing in common. He was her best friend. That was enough for her.
Again Lumpy is available in hard and soft cover and electronic formats:
Visit my website to read more about the entire Weaver Tale series: