Marianne Musgrove

Frieda, A New Australian

Frieda, a (mostly) obedient girl from Heidelberg, travels across the seas with her adventurous father and sickly mother to live Adelaide. As she embarks on a mission to make some friends, World War One breaks out and the Germans, once considered friends of Australia, are now the Enemy. Rumours circulate that Frieda’s father is a German spy, and the local children form the Junior Anti-Hun League. Should Frieda change her name and hide all trace of her culture? Or will her new friends stand by her?

The Worry Tree

Juliet’s a worrywart, and no wonder! Her little sister, Oaf, sings ‘The Irritating Song’ all day, her parents are arguing, and Juliet’s two best friends are jealous of each other. Juliet can’t fit in any more worries!

But behind the wallpaper in her new room, Juliet discovers a painting of a tree. It’s the Worry Tree, and with the help of a duck called Delia and the other Worry Tree animals, Juliet might be able to solve some of life’s big problems.


Chapter One

Juliet Jennifer Jones opened the door, stepped out of the toilet and walked straight into her little sister.

'Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds,' said Ophelia, clicking her stopwatch. 'What were you doing in there?'
'Mum!' shrieked Juliet. 'Oaf's timing me in the toilet again!'

When there was no reply, Juliet stomped out of the room.

Ophelia, also known as 'Oaf', smiled quietly to herself, pulled out a yellow pad of paper and carefully wrote 8:47 in the left-hand column. Then she tucked the notepad back into her pocket and went off to find her sister.

Juliet stormed through the house looking for an adult. She went into the lounge room but Mum had her nose in her favourite Shakespearean play.

'Give me five more minutes,' said Mum, 'and then I will speak to thee, I mean, I'll speak to you.'

Juliet rolled her eyes and went in search of Dad.
Dad was in the laundry making a model volcano and she couldn't get him to talk about anything other than lava, ash or explosions. She frowned and went in search of Nana.

Nana lived in the granny flat down the back garden but when Juliet got there, all she found was a note taped to the door of the flat: Gone to craft class. This week: macramé pot holders!

Juliet turned around, huffing. Oaf was standing behind her singing a song she'd learnt in the playground that week. It was called 'The Irritating Song' and you just kept chanting it over and over like this:

Irritating, irritating,
It's the song you'll end up hating
Just 'cos it's so irritating.
That was the first verse. The second verse went like this:
So frustrating, so frustrating,
So frustrating-strating-strating,
It's the song you'll end up hating
Just 'cos it's so [clap] frustrating.

The other twenty-two verses continued on in pretty much the same vein. Oaf really liked that song.
'Irritating, irritating ...'

Juliet gritted her teeth. She could feel her skin itching and prickling.
Oh, no, she thought. It's starting again.
Juliet was cursed with a nervous rash which flared up whenever she was stressed. It started shortly after Oaf was born (no coincidence as far as Juliet was concerned) and had continued on and off for the last seven years.
'Irritating-tating-tating ...'

Juliet ducked past her sister, down the long hallway, past The Room That Must Be Locked When Visitors Come, and into the bedroom she shared with Oaf. She shut the door firmly behind her and sank down on the floor. Now she was safe. Sort of. She gazed up at a sign on her wall. Mum had made it especially for her. I am a capable person who can handle any crisis, it said. Juliet said these words over and over when she was feeling upset. She tried to say them now but Oaf was singing on the other side of the door and it was putting her off.

'It's the song you'll end up hating ...'
Juliet bit her thumbnail. Didn't she have enough to worry about? Dad always in a muddle, Mum working long hours, Nana refusing to wear her safety alarm . . . It was extremely hard work running a family when you were only ten. And then there was Hugh Allen ...
'Just 'cos it's so irritating ...'

Juliet's rash spread like foot soldiers, straight up her arms and back down her legs. She had to do something before she was driven completely mad. There was only one thing for it.

Chapter Two

Sorting. That's what Juliet did to relax. While others lit candles, played music and took warm baths, Juliet sorted through the many strange collections she kept in her bedroom. For the record, she owned:

  • an eraser collection (143 in total)
  • a dried-cicada-shell collection (numbering fifty-one)
  • a book filled with licence plate numbers (Any car that parked in Juliet's street was recorded in this book.)
  • ribbons for perfect attendance at school (twelve at last count)
  • a box of used bus tickets (sixty-seven as of Tuesday)
  • Piranha, her Venus flytrap

She also had a row of tiny cactus plants she'd been collecting since the spring. She liked the way they kept growing even without the rain. She liked the way they managed on their own.

Juliet pulled out a bright blue box. Written on the lid in thick silver texta were her initials: JJJ, just like three fishhooks in a row. Juliet kept her collection of teeth inside, lying on white cotton wool, just so they'd be comfortable.

How should I sort them today? she wondered. Colour (white, whitish-yellow, yellowish-white, grey); shape (fat and square, sharp and pointy, those with fillings, those with holes); or owner (Dad, Oaf, herself, or her best friend, Lindsay)?

She sat down on the carpet, crossed her legs neatly and balanced the box on her lap. 'I think shape,' she said. She took hold of the lid and lifted it up. She looked inside. The teeth were not there! Juliet's mind raced to one grim conclusion: 'Oaf!'

Shortly after, Mum found the two sisters arguing in the bedroom.
'Why can't you leave my things alone?!'
'Mm?' said Oaf.
'I know you took my teeth.'
'Yes, teeth! The ones from my collection!'
'Ohhhh, thoooose,' said Oaf. 'I borrowed them to make a set of false teeth.'
'With some plasticine.'
'And some superglue.'
Juliet's skin itched like mad. She let out a long, loud shriek.
'All right, girls,' said Mum. 'No more fighting today. It's not helpful.'

As a psychologist, Mum had a great understanding of Conflict and Sibling Rivalry, which is another way of saying fights between sisters.

'But Mum -' began Juliet.
'I mean it, you two. Shouting and screaming won't solve a thing. I think it's time the three of us sat down and talked things through.'

Juliet and Oaf groaned. Talking Things Through was never a pleasant experience.

'I reckon she's going to make us Name Our Feelings,' muttered Oaf.
Please, no, thought Juliet.
'I've been thinking things over,' said Mum, 'and I've decided we should all name our feelings.'
Oaf raised an eyebrow. 'Told you,' she said.

The girls had been through this naming exercise before. The idea was to say things like 'I feel x when you do y.' For example, 'I feel angry when you lick all the Tim Tams then put them back in the packet' (message from Juliet to Oaf) or 'I feel frustrated when you follow me around with binoculars taking notes' (another message from Juliet to Oaf).

'So, girls,' said Mum, looking from one daughter to the other, 'who wants to go first? Anyone? Anyone at all? No? Well, all right then, why don't I start things off?'

Mum settled herself on the carpet and folded her hands. 'When you girls fight and shout at each other, I feel upset and frazzled and the noise makes me feel tense and unhappy. Now,' she said, turning to Juliet, 'what do you have to share with us, Worrywart?'

Oaf pricked up her ears. 'Juliet has warts? We should probably all wear thongs in the shower.'

Juliet's skin throbbed. She was very, very tired of Oaf and her so-called Humour. Maybe it was time she named some of her feelings.

'When Oaf,' she said, looking down at the empty box, 'takes my things without asking, again and again and again and again, I feel like punching her in the face.'
'Juliet!' said Mum. 'That's not in the spirit of the exercise.'
Juliet crossed her arms.
'Right then, Oaf,' said Mum, 'you name your feelings.'
Ophelia looked thoughtful.
'Wendy and Brian,' she said.
'Very funny, Oaf,' said Mum, looking exasperated. 'You know that's not what I meant. I think we'll give the naming exercise a miss today. What you two really need are your own rooms.'
'Really?' said Juliet. 'But doesn't that mean -'
'Yes,' said Mum. 'It does. Hold on to your hats, girls!'

Excerpted from The Worry Tree. Copyright © 2007 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge

As a soldier’s daughter, Romola has changed schools five times, always having to make new friends … and now enemies. Meanwhile, Sebastian’s mum is about to make the biggest mistake of their lives, unless Sebastian can find his dad in time to stop her.

Thrown together by chance, these two thirteen-year-olds set out to even the score. But once that big old ball of revenge starts rolling down the hill, there’s not an awful lot they can do to stop it … or is there?

If you found the perfect way to pay someone back, would you do it?BGR_Teachers_Notes



The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge by Marianne Musgrove
‘Revenge is sweet and not fattening.’
– Alfred Hitchcock

Chapter One
Friday morning, 15 April
Subject: Urgent!

Hi Dad
You there? Found out something really bad. Went a bit mental. Did something extreme. Possibly maybe went too far. Please call ASAP on mobile. I’m not home. I’m in Canberra.
Last few months’ emails bounced back. Really hope this makes it through.
Love Seb


‘Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt.’
– Thomas Moore

Chapter Two
Friday evening, 15 April

‘Mum, you’re doing the lipless thing again.’

We’re in the car parked outside Riley’s place and Mum’s staring out the window, lips pressed together so tightly they’ve disappeared inside her mouth. If she’s not careful, her entire face will be sucked into itself like a black hole.


She blinks, releasing her lips with a smack. ‘Sorry, I was miles away.’

‘You don’t have to worry about me, you know. I’m not going to stuff things up like last time. This is the new and improved me, remember?’

New And Improved Romola
is cool, calm and collected
does not feel compelled to share bizarre factoids she has read on the internet
laughs in a delicate, feminine way that does not sound like a cross between a vuvuzela and a seal giving birth
always observes others closely so that she can fit in and
MOST important of all: does NOT draw attention to herself

‘It’s not that, darling,’ says Mum. ‘I was thinking of something else.’ Her lips disappear again and I realise she’s not worrying about me, she’s worrying about Dad. The fears I’ve tried so hard to bury the past few months unearth themselves. Dad. Afghanistan. Stray bullets. Bombs. If I don’t get these bad thoughts under control, they’ll multiply. Believe me, I know, and since I’m not a huge fan of bad thoughts, I do a little trick I like to call burialisation.
Step One: Imagine a cemetery.
Step Two: Dig a hole.
Step Three: Throw in any bad thoughts or feelings.
Step Four: Cover with dirt.
Step Five: Erect a headstone.
Step Six: Walk away. Congratulations, you are now free of your bad thoughts!

Only this time they’re not being as cooperative as normal and I’m forced to beat them back down with a shovel.

‘I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation why Dad didn’t Skype today,’ I say, giving Mum a reassuring smile. ‘The internet’s probably fried or he had to go off base for some reason. I’m sure he’s okay.’

Mum turns to me, her brave face firmly in place. ‘You’re absolutely right, Romola. Now, go inside and enjoy yourself. You look lovely.’

I take a quick look in the mirror to make sure everything’s in order. I’m wearing the purple and red friendship band Riley made for me and some jeans Paige said were cool. My hair is in a loose bun on the top of my head the way I’ve seen Amal wear hers. It’s held in place with my peacock feather comb but it keeps slipping out – probably because I have so much hair. (I can sit on it if I tip my head right back. One day, I’m going to cut it off and have it made into a wig so that when I go grey, I can wear my wig and always have long brown hair.) As I reposition the comb, it occurs to me that this is precisely the kind of weird thing New And Improved Romola would not talk about. I file my wig plans under ‘Topics To Avoid’ and open the car door.

‘Oh, and love,’ says Mum, touching my arm, ‘there’s nothing wrong with the old Romola. And you didn’t stuff up anything, okay? What happened at school last year wasn’t your fault.’

‘Hm,’ I say, not wanting to get into it. School Last Year takes up a whole row of headstones in my imaginary cemetery, right next to School The Year Before and School The Year Before That.

‘Thanks for the lift, Mum. See you at 10.30.’

I climb out of the car awkwardly, trying to balance a tray of cupcakes, a gift and my bag. As I bump the door shut with my hip – thunk – faint party sounds filter out into the street: music, chatter, the occasional shriek of laughter. It’s time to attend the first birthday party I’ve been invited to in eight years.

Excerpted from The Beginner’s Guide to Revenge. Copyright © 2012 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Don’t Breathe a Word


‘I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew, do solemnly swear never to communicate anything about what happened tonight.’

That’s what I promised my sister Tahlia, and I’ve tried my best to keep that promise. It’s hard, though. Grandpa is acting so strangely since his accident. I’m sure Mrs B. suspects something, and Mahesh must think I’m weird for avoiding him. My best friend Annie is too busy hanging out with Regan and Tegan to notice. But someone will find out if we’re not super careful.

It’s lucky Tahlia has a plan . . .

The story begins


Tahlia said we couldn’t tell anyone. Not ever. Not Annie, not Mahesh, not Mahesh’s mum, not the doctor, not my teacher. We couldn’t even tell Lydia.

‘Especially not Lydia,’ said Tahlia. ‘You can never breathe a word of it. You know what’s at stake.’ She grabbed me by the arm and hauled me into my bedroom. ‘Get your lucky doorknob.’


Don’t Breathe a Word continued...

'Bossy boots,' I muttered, reaching under my pillow. The doorknob was made of glass. It had heaps of facets that made it look like a big diamond.

I called it lucky because the day I found it, I'd been walking in the park with Mum. It was one of the few memories I had of her.

'Repeat after me,' said Tahlia. 'I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew.'

I spat on the doorknob and held it against my heart. 'I, Mackenzie Elizabeth Carew.'

'Do solemnly swear never to communicate anything about what happened tonight. Go on, Kenzie, say it.'

I said it.

'And the rest.'

I closed my eyes and said the sacred words,

'May my nose fall off and my hair turn blue,

May I fall in a tub full of alpaca poo.'

Tahlia nodded. 'We have some major thinking to do.'

Chapter One: The Thing

Two days earlier.

Something's blocking it,' I said, giving the front door an extra shove. 'Something heavy.'

'Let me try,' said Tahlia, pulling me away. 'You probably didn't turn the key properly.'

I rolled my eyes and gestured for her to have a go. She was in such a mood today. Earlier, she'd told me off for letting on we were sisters in front of her dance-class friends. She said I'd done it deliberately. Okay, maybe I did accidentally-on-purpose drop by the studio and call her 'sis'. Really loudly. Anyway, we were sisters, whether she liked it or not.

She gave the door a good push. 'That's weird,' she said. 'It really is stuck.'


I peered through the window. I wasn't prepared for what I saw. 'Tahlia! Look!'

She came over to see for herself. 'No!' she cried. 'Quick! Go round the back and climb in through the bathroom window.'

'Around the back? Please, Tahlia, can't you do it? I'd have to, y'know, go past the Thing.' I drew back, trying to blot it out of my mind.

'What thing?' asked Tahlia. 'Oh, the Thing. Can't you just shut your eyes or something? I'm too big to fit through the window. Kenzie, please, before it's too late.'

I glanced through the window again. 'All right,' I said, taking a deep breath. 'I'll do it.'

Excerpted from Don't Breathe a Word. Copyright © 2009 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


Lucy the Good

Lucy van Loon knows she’s a good girl. So why is she always sitting on the Time Out chair? After all, she had a very good reason for tipping Jacinta’s unicorn pencils all over the floor. And she only had a shriek because her grumpy aunt called her a bad girl and a greedy liar, which was UTTERLY not true. But what if Lucy is bad? Her aunt has brought something from Holland that Lucy wishes she’d never seen. Now she has to figure out how to avoid it, and fast. It’s time to prove she really is Lucy the Good. But how?


Chapter One

Lucy was in the Time Out chair now. She was supposed to look straight ahead, but she turned around when she heard her teacher talking to Jacinta.

'And what's your poem about?' said Ms Denny.

'A unicorn,' Jacinta replied.

'Nice work, Jacinta,' said Ms Denny. 'Good girl.'

'I wrote it all by myself. Not like some people.' Jacinta looked over at Lucy and smiled a smile that grown-ups think is a friendly smile, but kids know really means, 'Ha, ha, ha. You're in the Time Out chair and I'm not.'

Lucy gave Jacinta her best squinty-eyed look of hate then turned to face the wall again. She imagined she and Jacinta were on a boat. A storm was coming. Jacinta had fallen overboard and Lucy was the only one who knew she was in the water. She was the only one who could throw her a life jacket.

'Please, Lucy!' cried Jacinta. 'Please throw me a life jacket!'

'Well, I don't know …' said Lucy, imagining herself holding the jacket just out of Jacinta's reach. 'Are you going to tell the truth?'

'The truth about what?' said Jacinta.

'The truth about my poem .'

That morning, Ms Denny had asked everyone to write a poem about their favourite animal. Lucy had chosen a two-humped camel, the same as her favourite toy, Nathan.
Writing poems was something Lucy was good at. She had worked hard on her camel poem all morning, doing lots of crossing out and rewriting.

When she was finished, Ms Denny asked Lucy to read it out in front of the whole class. Lucy did so in her best speaking voice and everyone clapped at the end. Then Ms Denny gave her a peppermint from the tin on her desk. Ms Denny only ever gave out peppermints for the very best poems.

Later, while their teacher handed out some work sheets, Jacinta leant over and whispered, 'You copied that poem.

'What?' said Lucy.

'I've read it before,' said Jacinta. 'In a magazine. You didn't make it up. You copied it.'

Some of the other kids murmured their disapproval. The back row boys, Paolo, Blake and Girang, jeered. Lucy turned around and stuck her tongue out. She had a very long tongue that could touch the tip of her nose. She waggled it in the boys' direction.

Paolo pushed his lips together with his fingers and did his frog face.

'Lucy,' said Ms Denny, 'face the front, please. No bad behaviour.'
Jacinta waited till Ms Denny was further away then whispered, 'Everyone knows you're a copier so why don't you just admit it?'

'I am not!' hissed Lucy. 'Take it back.'

She pushed her peppermint to the corner of her desk. She didn't feel like eating it now. She wouldn't enjoy it properly.

'Copier,' repeated Jacinta.

Lucy turned to her best friend, Harriet, for support. As usual, Harriet was sucking her long blonde plait. Lucy couldn't suck her hair because it was too short. She wore it in little pigtails that stuck out on either side of her head like taps squirting water.

'Lucy never copied,' said Harriet, taking her plait out of her mouth. 'So why don't you be quiet, Jacinta.'

Jacinta pretended not to notice her. She doodled on her pencil case and sang softly to herself, 'Lucy copied her poem, Lucy copied her poem.'

'I did not,' said Lucy.

'Lucy copied her poem, Lucy copied her poem,' said Jacinta a little more loudly.

A couple of the other kids joined in.

'Lucy copied her poem, Lucy copied her poem.'

'Settle down, class,' said Ms Denny.

The rest of the children stopped singing but not Jacinta. She looked Lucy straight in the eye and mouthed the song without making any noise.

'Lucy copied her poem, Lucy copied her poem.'

'I did not,' said Lucy.

'Lucy copied her poem, Lucy copied her poem.'

'I – did – not!'

'Lucy,' warned Ms Denny.

Jacinta smiled, still mouthing the words. Red hot feelings rumbled inside Lucy. It was coming. Lucy knew it. Anger was pressing against her skin from the inside.

'Lucy copied her poem. Lucy copied her – Hey!'

Jacinta said the 'Hey!' out loud because Lucy had got to her feet and grabbed Jacinta's pencil case. She tipped it upside-down so that pencils decorated with tiny unicorns fell on the floor. Unicorn-shaped erasers fell out too. And unicorn stickers. They scattered all over the floor in a big mess. Lucy shook the pencil case one last time and a unicorn stamp dropped out. Lucy kicked it so hard that it skidded under desks and chairs and hit the wall. Lucy hoped it got wrecked!

'Lucy van Loon!' said Ms Denny. 'Time Out chair! Now!'

One of the worst things about sitting in the Time Out chair was having to stare at Ms Denny's Good Attitude Chart. It listed the names of all the students in the class. Next to each name was a space for stars. If a student had a good attitude, they got lots of stars. If they had a bad attitude, they didn't get any.

Lucy didn't like the word 'attitude'. Her dad used it sometimes when he was mad at her. 'You need to change that attitude of yours, Lucy,' he would say, or, 'Lucy, we don't need any of that bad attitude.'

That's what he'd said that morning when he'd reminded Lucy that her great-aunt was coming to visit.

'Tante Bep's plane gets in this afternoon,' he said, 'and I'd like you to be on your best behaviour. Do you promise to be a good girl?'

Lucy couldn't understand why Dad needed to ask. He should know she was a good girl. And anyway, Lucy and Tante Bep were going to have the best time sharing Lucy's room and staying up late. Lucy was going to show Tante Bep all her things and Tante Bep was going to tell Lucy stories about what it was like to live in Holland. She was even going to give Lucy a pair of Dutch wooden shoes called clogs. What was Dad worrying about?

The Good Attitude Chart had lots of names on it. Lucy's eyes rested on Jacinta's. She snorted. Eight stars already. She looked further down the list. Harriet Spiegel – five stars. Well, that made sense. Harriet always seemed to know what the school rules were. Even the secret ones Lucy had never heard of, such as that you shouldn't sit under the tree in the playground because that was where the tough kids played.
Lucy kept looking till she got to her own name. Lucy van Loon – one star. The only person with less stars was Blake, and he glued kids' faces to their desks!

One of the stars next to Jacinta's name was peeling off. Surely she could spare one, thought Lucy. She peeked over her shoulder to see what Ms Denny was doing. She was busy helping Girang.

Reaching up slowly, Lucy began to peel off the star. It came right off, stuck to the tip of her index finger. She checked over her shoulder again then stuck it next to her own name. She pressed down hard with the heel of her hand. There, she thought. I do have a good attitude. The chart says so.

Still, she only had two stars. Three would be nicer. Lucy jammed her thumbnail under another of Jacinta's stars and worked away at it. When it finally came off, she pressed it next to her own name. It stuck for a moment then curled away from the wall. Lucy licked the back of it to try and make it stick. She banged her fist over the top of it.
Without warning, the smell of peppermints wafted over her.

'What's this?' said Ms Denny, appearing behind her. 'Lucy van Loon, what are you doing?'

Excerpted from Lucy the Good. Copyright © 2008 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.</p?


Lucy the Lie Detector

When Lucy accidentally scratches Dad’s brand new car, one small mistake turns into an enormous fib involving Lucy’s best friend, Harriet, Lucy’s worst enemy, Jacinta, a telepathic camel and a guinea pig with an escape plan. Is it time for Lucy the Lie Detector to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Just like in Lucy the Good, you’ll be snorting with laughter as you read about the irrepressible, the outrageous, the one and only… Lucy van Loon!LLD_Teachers_Notes


Chapter One

'How about that one?' said Lucy, pointing at a car parked in their street.

She looked over her shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

Her best friend, Harriet, got out a ruler and held it up against the tyre. 'Just as I thought. More than thirty centimetres away from the kerb.' She shook her head disapprovingly. 'Some people have no respect for the law.'

Lucy and Harriet were playing traffic cops, their favourite game that summer holidays. Lucy had taped a piece of blue cellophane onto an empty margarine container and tied it to the front of her bicycle, just like a police siren. The girls had metal jam jar lids for badges and Lucy had borrowed a cap from Mum's work. Mum was a tram driver so her cap was blue and looked like a real police officer's.

'I'm fining them fifty dollars,' said Harriet, taking a square of card out of her pocket. She wrote on it and slipped it under the windscreen wiper. Since she knew all the road rules, it was her job to write out the tickets.

Lucy wasn't so good at remembering rules. Her favourite part was zooming up and down on her bike, crying nee-nar nee-nar nee-nar like a police car.

Hoping to discover a criminal committing an actual crime, Lucy peered up and down Berry Street. Her short, messy pigtails stuck out beneath her cap like two little fountains.

A familiar car cruised past and turned right into Bottle Lane.

'Mr Polkinghorne didn't indicate!' she cried.

'Quick! Get him!'

The two girls jumped on their bikes and gave chase.

'He's getting away!' cried Lucy. She narrowed her eyes and pedalled extra hard.

Lucy imagined catching up to their neighbour and arresting him. She and Harriet would bring him to the local police station. 'You've got a remarkable daughter,' the police officer would say to Mum and Dad. 'We'd like to give the girls a medal and make them junior police officers.' Lucy would take the medal to school and show it to Jacinta Preston. Jacinta would be so jealous. She'd beg to hold it and, depending on how she felt, Lucy might – or might not – let her.

When Lucy and Harriet reached the end of the road, the car was far away. Since they weren't allowed to leave Berry Street, they had no choice but to let him escape.
'We need a camera,' said Harriet, 'so we can get proof next time.'

'I'll get one from home.'

Lucy turned her bike around and raced off. She was still daydreaming about the look of envy on Jacinta's face when she sped into her place. Unfortunately, she'd completely forgotten about her parents' new car parked in the driveway.
'Whoa!' she cried, hanging onto the handle bars. The bike wobbled wildly as she hurtled down the path between the car and the fence. There was a nasty scraping sound as Lucy and her bike toppled over.

After brushing the dirt and stones off her hands and knees, Lucy straightened up. Only then did she see the long scratch running down the side of Mum and Dad's brand new Toyota.

'Uh-oh,' she said.

Excerpted from Lucy the Lie Detector. Copyright © 2010 by Marianne Musgrove. Excerpted by permission of Random House Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.