Book excerpt

The Mammoth Academy in Trouble!

Neal Layton; illustrations by Neal Layton

Holt Books for Young Readers

1.THE NEW TERMOscar was a woolly mammoth, and so was Arabella. They lived a long time ago in the Ice Age.Oscar and Arabella had been having a terrific time on winter break, romping in snowfields, uncovering secret mountain paths, rooting out mountain berries, and playing Ice Frisbee, but now it was time to go back to the Mammoth Academy.Both Oscar and Arabella were looking forward to going back to the Academy, mainly because the new term would end in the fabulous Founder's Fiesta!The Founder's Fiesta is one of THE most exciting days in the Mammoth Academy year. The whole Academy gets decorated with banners and balloons. Cook bakes enormous Founder's Fiesta desserts. There are no lessons and no uniforms, and there is plenty of feasting and dancing until very late at night.EVERYONE was excited about it!On the first day back, Oscar and Arabella greeted the friendly Megaloceros who helped them across the glacier. As they walked across the icy plains, the sun was shining and they were both in high spirits.Along the way, lots of their school pals joined them. There was plenty of friendly banter."Hey, Fox! Haven't seen you in ages! How are you doing?""I'm cool! How are you?""Look! There's Giant Sloth and Prunella!"Prunella was Arabella's best friend at the Academy. She was also the smallest pupil in the whole school.Arabella liked Prunella because she was fashionable and wore pretty bows. Prunella liked Arabella because she was clever and strong and would look after her in the busy school corridors."Hi there, Prunella!""Hi there, Arabella!"Everyone was carrying a big bundle of paper, books, ink, and lots of things to be used to prepare for the Founder's Fiesta.As more and more first years joined the procession, the level of excitement rose ... until they arrived at the Mammoth Academy gates.Then suddenly everyone went very quiet.Text and illustrations copyright © 2007 by Neal Layton NEAL LAYTON has illustrated many books for young readers, including The Mammoth Academy, Oscar and Arabella, and That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown. He lives in England.