FIRST STORY FROM THE BALLYYAHOO SERIES OF SHORT STORIES FOR KIDS.
Bonkers in Ballyyahoo was initially broadcast on Ireland’s RTE 1 as part of their long running series of short stories for children.
It is now available as part of a series of short children’s stories and is an easy to read early chapter book – and fun for all the family.
WHERE IS BALLYYAHOO?
Ballyyahoo is a tiny town in Ireland that is so very secret that the only people who know where it is are the people who live there.
But they won’t tell – Ballyyahoo is Ireland’s best-kept secret town because it’s special, magic and lots of fun. You see, if everyone knew where it was, then they would all want to live there and it’s only a little town.
THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY
If by some chance you happened to meet someone from Ballyyahoo and asked them for directions they would probably give you a confusing answer; they might say it’s on the Wild Atlantic Way, maybe somewhere on the road to Clare, they might say it’s on the coast of Mayo, they might even say it’s in Sligo town, or hidden between the mountains of Donegal, but what they won’t say is that it’s in Galway Bay, and that’s because it’s not there either! So don’t ask!
Ballyyahoo is such a well-kept secret that even people who live in Ireland don’t know exactly where it is, so bother trying to find it.
You could end up very lost and end up in Ballyuseless and believe me you really would not want to end up in Ballyuseless!
BONKERS IN BALLYYAHOO – THE STORY
Gerry Mac and his cousin, Kevin, are two boys from Ballyyahoo who are so bored they get bored being bored. There’s actually a lot to do in Ballyyahoo but they’re just too bored to do it.
All Gerry wants to do is swing around on his garden gate but Kevin has other things on his mind. They say the devil makes work for idle hands and the only time Kevin’s hands aren’t idle is when he’s playing tricks and pranks on the poor unfortunate people of Ballyyahoo.
TRICKS AND PRANKS
Once, Kevin let an army of spiders loose in the local pub and another time he let cockroaches loose in Kelly’s shop. But, Kevin’s latest trick was a prank too far and the people of Ballyyahoo went even more bonkers than they already are and Kevin ended up being grounded for three whole weeks.
When Kevin finally got free again, he was like a completely different Kevin. He was so well-behaved that Gerry wondered if his devilish cousin had been changed forever. Gerry hoped not. He liked the old Kevin – the new Kevin never played tricks, was always good and was even more boring than boredom itself.
Gerry is worried. Has Kevin been replaced by a Doppelganger? Or is he some kind of changeling? Gerry can’t stand the new boring Kevin and hopes the old Kevin is still lurking around with a secret plan, waiting to drive everyone Bonkers in Ballyyahoo.
FROM THE AUTHOR – GRACE JOLLIFFE
WRITING THE BALLYYAHOO SERIES
Bonkers in Ballyyahoo is my first story in the Ballyyahoo series of short stories for kids. The series is set in a fictional town whose location is top-secret but just might be somewhere along Ireland’s magical Wild Atlantic Way, a place where, by some strange coincidence, I just happen to live.
ENCOURAGING KIDS TO READ, AND LOVE NATURE
I grew up in the centre of the city of Liverpool surrounded by buildings, buildings and more buildings. I wasn’t allowed to go to the park on my own because of the potential dangers lurking there, so the street became my playground.
I was luckier than most kids then, as being an emigrant’s daughter I had family in Ireland. I did have great times playing hopscotch and ball games on the street but nothing compared to the fun I had during my summers in Ireland in my granny’s place in the countryside of county Wicklow.
The freedom I enjoyed tearing around the fields, woods and beaches of Wicklow gave me a great love of nature and the outdoors and I wrote these short story books to encourage children, not just to read, that’s important, but also to get outside and explore nature. I kept the stories fun and short to encourage kids who aren’t that mad about reading longer stories to develop an appetite for more.
To accompany the series I have developed a website called www.ballyyahoo.com and I have provided supplementary character materials for young readers, parents and teachers on the site. There is also background material about nature, including the animals and wildlife in Ballyyahoo, as well as real photographs of the wonderful location where Ballyyahoo is set.
If you visit the site you’ll see that there is no reason for Kevin and Gerry to be bored because there’s actually lots to do. Despite what the boys think Ballyyahoo is not just another boring little country town – there are mountains, fields, forests, bogs and beaches and lots and lots of animals.
I love writing new characters for Ballyyahoo and you’ll see that there are quite a few new ones on the Ballyyahoo site, as well as lots of extra information on the other Ballyyahoo characters.
There are lots of characters in Ballyyahoo. One of them is Sergeant Sid, the policeman who makes up his own laws as he goes along. There is also the wonderful Maggie-Many-Cats and her Cat-orchestra, not to mention nature-loving Lucy who wants to be a detective when she grows up. There’s even a witch, with her own special brand of Ballyyahoo magic and lots more characters besides.
I have great fun writing the Ballyyahoo stories, the people who live in Ballyyahoo are a pretty special bunch to me, and each of them have their own stories to tell. Whenever I write one Ballyyahoo story I get an idea for another one and so it goes, on and on, and that to me is the magic of writing Ballyyahoo.