Roger and the Shadow

One day Roger and his family moved house to be near Dad's new job.

Roger loved their new house, it had a huge garden, a gigantic playroom, but best of all it was only a short walk from Nanny and Grandad's house, so Roger could visit as often as he liked.

The only problem was that Roger had to start a new school, which made him feel a little nervous.

Roger's first day at his new school was awful. None of the other kids spoke to him and to make matters worse the teacher gave the class some difficult sums for homework. Roger didn't even know how to begin them.

At the end of day bell Roger went straight to Nanny's house. He felt safe with Nanny. She always had time to listen to him, even when Mom and Dad were busy with work and other things.

Nanny opened the door. As usual she was delighted to see Roger.

"Roger, how was your first day at school", she asked.

Roger didn't answer but Nanny could see he felt sad.

"Come in and have some squash and cookies", she said.

Roger and Nanny went into the kitchen and he took a long drink. Then he told Nanny about how he hadn't made any friends and that he couldn't do the sums teacher had given him.

"Don't worry", said Nanny reassuringly. "It's very hard to make friends on your first day. Maybe you'll make friends tomorrow, or in a few days. Take your time and everything will be alright."

Roger felt a little happier; Nanny could always cheer him up. But he reminded her about the sums.

"Don't worry", said Nanny. "Just tell teacher you can't do them and she'll show you again."

"OK", said Roger. He didn't feel quite so sad but Nanny could tell he still wasn't his usual self.

Medal"Here, I've got a special present for you", said Nanny opening a drawer in her favorite cabinet. She took out a silver medal and gave it to Roger.

"My grandad gave this to me when I was a little girl", she told him. "He won it for playing football. He told me to look at it and hold it whenever I felt sad and it would cheer me up. It always worked for me and now it will help you too."

Roger thanked her and put the medal in his jacket pocket. Then he left and made his way back home.

Just as he arrived at the front door he put his hand in his pocket. The medal was gone. Roger was horrified. Nanny had kept it since she was a little girl and he had lost it in a few minutes. He walked all the way back to Nanny's house, looking at every inch of the sidewalk. But the medal wasn't there. Then he made his way back home again. But still he couldn't find the medal.

"You're late." said Mom.

"How was your first day at school?" asked Dad.

Roger just said it wasn't too bad and told them he'd called in to see Nanny on the way home. They could tell he didn't feel much like talking.

After tea he had his bath and climbed into bed. He took another look at the sums. He didn't even know how to begin them. He closed his schoolbook and opened the book of ghost stories Nanny had given him for his birthday.

All of a sudden out of the corner of his eye Roger noticed a shadow moving on his bedroom wall. He turned to look at it but there was nothing to see. He carried on reading, but soon caught a glimpse of the shadow again. He turned round quickly, but again there was nothing. He felt a little scared but tried to concentrate on a story about a boy and an old house.

Again he thought he saw a shadow. This time when he looked round he was shocked to see the figure of a boy about his own age standing next to his bed. Roger was just about to scream for Mom and Dad when the boy spoke.

"Don't be scared." he said, "what's your name?"

"Roger." said Roger, "what's yours?"

"My name's Norman." said the boy. "Why do you look so sad?"

The boy sounded kind so Roger told him all about his bad day at school.

"There's nothing to be sad about," said Norman, "you haven't really lost Nanny's medal. Why don't you look again in your jacket pocket. You'll find there's a hole in the pocket and if you put your finger through the hole you'll find the medal."

Roger climbed out of bed and went over to his jacket. He put his hand in the pocket where he'd put the medal and sure enough there was a hole in the lining. He poked his finger through and there was the medal. Roger felt so relieved and put it on his desk.

"Thanks." said Roger to Norman.

"Now," said Norman, "I'm pretty good at math. Let's have a look at these sums, shall we?"

Roger reluctantly opened his schoolbook and watched in amazement as Norman whizzed through the first sum, explaining to Roger how he was solving it. Roger hoped Norman would finish them all, but he didn't. Instead he asked Roger to try the next one while he explained how to do it. Roger found that with Norman's help he could do it. Then he finished the next one and the next one until all the sums were done and by the end he didn't even need Norman's help.

"But how can I make friends with the other kids at school?" sighed Roger.

"It's easy," said Norman, "just do like I did with you. Choose someone who looks friendly and just start talking to them. You'll find that's all there is to it."

"Hey, can I have one of those chocolates?" Norman asked, pointing to the box of chocolates by Roger's bed.

"Of course." said Roger, turning round to get the box to offer to Norman.

When he turned back again he was shocked to find Norman had disappeared. Then...

Roger woke up. It was the middle of the night and he'd been dreaming. But it all seemed so real. Roger felt more cheerful even though Norman had only been a dream.

Roger put his bedside lamp on and decided to get out of bed and check inside his jacket pocket. To his surprise there was a hole in the lining and when he poked his finger through he found Nanny's medal. He took it out and put it on his desk just as he had dreamed.

Roger got back into bed and tried to remember how Norman had helped him with his sums. He opened his schoolbook and found he could do all the sums easily. He soon settled back into a deep sleep and when Mom woke him next morning he was looking forward to another day at his new school.

When Roger got to school he noticed a boy who looked a bit like himself.

"Hello," said Roger, "my name's Roger. What's your name?"

"Norman." the boy replied. "You're new here, aren't you?"

"Yes," said Roger, "I only started yesterday."

"Do you like soccer?" asked Norman.

"Yes." said Roger.

"Some of the boys are going to play soccer at break time. Would you like to join us?"

"Yes, Norman, I would!" said Roger, happy to have made some new friends.

Next Roger and the picnic