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Books  >  Middle Grade Novels  >  The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother  >  Sneak Preview


The World’s Worst Fairy Godmother
Chapter 1
Another Fine Mess

Maybelle Clodnowski stood at the edge of the swamp and took two frogs from her apron pocket.

“Here we go,” she said, looking at them fondly. “This should suit you just fine.”

Before Maybelle could put the frogs into the water she heard someone clear his throat behind her. It was a deep sound. A fierce sound. A definitely disapproving sound.

Maybelle turned around. Her eyes went wide. She swallowed once, then whispered, “Hello, boss.”

Mr. Peters was as tall and slender as Maybelle was short and podgy. His nostrils flared and he raised his eyebrows so high Maybelle was afraid they might shoot right over the top of his forehead and keep on going.

“What,” he asked in his deepest, crankiest, most boy-are-you-in-trouble-now voice, “What in heaven’s name do you think you’re doing?”

“Sending the young lovers off to a new life?” asked Maybelle, smiling hopefully.

Mr. Peters scowled.

“They’re both happy,” Maybelle added defensively.

“Happy?” roared Mr. Peters. “Happy?!? Maybelle, they’re both frogs!”

“Well, they like the outdoors.”

Mr. Peters made a rumbling sound deep in his chest. “Maybelle, the Prince of Burundia and the Princess of Ghukistan were not raised to be frogs. They were raised to be rulers of a kingdom.”

“Well, I know that, boss. But the poor things really didn’t like the idea much, and I was trying—”

“You were trying, you are trying, and it looks very much as if you always will be trying!” roared Mr. Peters. He made a gesture with his hands, and the frogs disappeared. In their place, coughing and wheezing in a cloud of blue smoke, stood a handsome prince and an extremely beautiful princess. They both looked bewildered, and a little embarrassed.

“You two go on home,” said Mr. Peters sharply. “As for you, Maybelle, I want you to meet me in my office tomorrow morning at nine sharp.”

With another wave of his hand he disappeared in a cloud of white smoke.

The smell of daisies lingered behind him.

“His office?” asked the prince, stepping out of the swamp. He shook a minnow from his boot.

“Up there,” said Maybelle, pointing toward the sky.

“Heaven?” asked the princess, her blue eyes wide.

“You could call it that,” said Maybelle. “Though at the moment it doesn’t quite feel that way.” She sighed, then turned her eyes from the clouds back to the swamp. “I’m terribly sorry about the frog thing. I didn’t mean for it to happen that way. When Princess Igrella kissed you, Prince Arbus, you were supposed to turn back into a human. Why Princess Igrella turned into a frog instead I’ll never know.”

She shook her wand in disgust, then tucked it into the belt that held her skirt close to her plump waist.

Princess Igrella patted Maybelle on the shoulder. “No need to apologize. I was pretty upset at first, but when I thought about life in court versus life in the swamp… well, somehow a lily pad began to seem a lot more comfortable than a throne. As far as I’m concerned, all that really mattered was that Prince Arbus and I could be together.”

Maybelle smiled. “At least you’re still both the same species. But maybe I can—”

Prince Arbus put his arm around Igrella’s tiny waist. “We’ll be fine, Maybelle,” he said nobly. “One way or another. Please… feel free to go on to your next case.”

“But maybe I should stay and—”

“We’ll be fine,” repeated the prince firmly, his voice a little desperate. “Thank you for your help.”

“Oh, it was my pleasure,” said Maybelle cheerfully. She glanced at the sky. “Certainly more of a pleasure than tomorrow morning is going to be.”

The cloud directly above her grew dark and rumbled with thunder.

Maybelle rolled her eyes. “Such a fuss over one little mistake.”

A bolt of lightning seared down beside her, charring a clump of ferns just inches from her right foot.

“All right, all right! So it wasn’t a little mistake. So no one’s perfect, all right? I’ll see you in the morning.”

Wrapping her cloak around her, she vanished in a cloud of pink smoke.

The smell of fresh baked muffins lingered behind her.

“I hope she’ll be all right,” whispered Princess Igrella.

“I’m sure Maybelle will be fine,” said the prince. “It’s her next client I’m worried about.” He shook his head. “Really, she has to be the worst fairy godmother in the entire world.”

As Prince Arbus guided Princess Igrella out of the swamp, a teardrop fell from far above him, landing on his head.



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