by, Anne Donnelly
“All crew inside, the hatch is closing.”
Beep, beep, beep.
Captain Leticia and First Mate Jerome went down deep into the ocean to start their incredible journey.
The submarine gently touched the sandy floor. Jerome raised the periscope and looked through it.
“A shark!” exclaimed the First Mate. “It is watching something.”
The shark’s beady little eyes were fixed on a nearby coral bed. The reef was rich with colourful coral of different shapes and textures. The sea grass danced in the water as fish darted in and out of it.
“Captain, I see a large group of fish swimming together,” reported Jerome.
“School,” said Leticia.
“I am not sure where they are going Captain,” reported Jerome.
“No Jerome. Groups of fish are called schools of fish,” explained Leticia.
“Ah,” nodded Jerome.
There were so many things to look at. Small black, white and orange fish swimming in and out of coral that looked like short fat fingers. A large octopus hanging on the side of a rock. Its tentacles were outstretched but one was waving to the submarine – Hello!
Fish with stripes going up and down and fish with stripes going from front to back. Fish with long, tall fins that looked like flags swaying in the wind.
“I see stars!” said Leticia
“Captain, we are in the ocean, not in space,” said Jerome.
“Sea stars” explained the Captain. Starfish lit up the seafloor.
“We must get that shark away from these fish,” said the Captain. “Let’s circle around it, then full steam ahead so it will follow us away from here.”
“Aye, aye Captain.” Jerome cleverly steered the submarine around the shark. It worked!
“Go as fast as you can First Mate,” commanded Leticia.
“Aye, aye Captain.”
The submarine was at full speed, but the shark was right behind them. What if they were too slow? Would the submarine survive a shark attack?
Just then, they noticed a large shadow overhead. It was a big stingray. The ray swam around the shark, teasing it to follow, and it did. The ray glided through the water with the shark following it, into the dark distant ocean.
“Thank you, Stingray,” said the Captain, as both the crew saluted. But now, they were lost. They had gone off course and didn’t know the right way. Would they fail their journey and have to live in the ocean forever? Or worse still, would they miss lunch? Mum had made spaghetti, so that would be a disaster! Luckily, there was a huge green turtle wading by.
“Mr Turtle,” called out the brave crew. “Can you help us find the SeaHorse Kingdom please?”
“Yes, happy to show you,” said the turtle, “if you stop calling me Mr Turtle. My name is Mavis.”
The submarine followed Mavis through warm seas and cold, until they reached the grand gates of the SeaHorse Kingdom. They thanked Mavis, put on their snorkelling masks and gas tanks and left the submarine.
Two large sea horses were waiting to take them to the King’s secret rooms. The seahorses felt bony to sit on, but the ride was smooth.
The kingdom was amazing! There were sea horses of all sizes, shapes and colours. There were seahorse children at the school crossing, there were fire-sea horses wearing red coats and there were seahorse magicians pulling tiny shrimp out of their magic hats.
The Sea Horse King’s grand hall was decorated with tall reeds, coral and pretty shells. Leticia and Jerome knelt at the throne.
“We bring you treasure, Sea Horse King,” said Leticia as she pointed to something Jerome held. It was a crown fit for a King of course!
Leticia and Jerome had made it at home. It was made from shiny cardboard, with patterns cut from paper and gems stuck onto it.
“You honour me with your gift. But above all, I’m impressed that you took such a long journey,” he said.
“We go on all sorts of journeys,” said Jerome. “We can go anywhere!”
The Captain and First Mate said goodbye to the Sea Horse King and made their way home.
“That was an awesome adventure,” said Jerome. “But I’m hungry now, let’s go eat spaghetti!”
“Yeah,” agreed Leticia, “then afterwards we’ll fly up to the top of the beanstalk on our magic carpet to help Jack get the hen!”
About the Author
Anne has three children’s picture books out, all in the Ori Octopus series. The latest one, Ori’s Clean-Up, is endorsed by Clean Up Australia and has sold out of the first print run. Aside from libraries and book shops, many zoos, national parks, museums and holiday retailers around Australia have embraced it.
Anne is a proactive author who likes to present to children and adults a-like. So far this year she has 39 events, and last year completed 55. She reviews books, writes articles and teaches short courses, is a committee member with and CBCA North Sydney branch managing the travelling suitcases and attends festivals and conferences.
Anne’s website is a treasure trove of free activities; with approx. 16 free activity sheets to match each of the three books and entertaining videos to watch. Watch out for Anne on her Facebook page too.
Love this story! Wish I could ride on a seahorse!