Sneak Preview: Super Granny (English version)16-05-2022
The Dutch version of Super Granny has already over 10.000 downloads. According to Google Books (april 2022), Megan Havervlok is the number 1 and 2 on the list of most popular Dutch free children’s books. Bedtime stories for grandmothers and grandchildren. Funny and Free, Educational and Entertaining.
We can’t wait until the English version of Super Granny is ready. Here’s one of the stories, complete, to read.
This Case Is Cut And Dried For Granny
"No need to do any sums today, because we have an appointment at the hairdresser at noon.", Granny said yesterday, as I was about to open my sum book.
Well, you don't have to say that twice. Going to the hairdresser is not really fun, but it is much more fun than doing sums.
The hair salon in Polderdam is called «Hair Salon Dapper, The Handsome Hairdresser». The hairdresser's name is Joris Dapper. If a shop has a funny name, you'll prefer it over, for example, «Hairdresser Hairy Henry». No hair on my head thinks about going to «Hair Salon Archi-bald Bald-erdash».
The hairdresser was not busy. Mrs de Keyser, my friend Roderick's mother, sat in the chair, but hairdresser Joris was almost ready and then it was our turn. Granny went first. "Just the same model, just a little shorter.", she said.
"Ah, Granny, why don't you try something modern? Shall I show you some pictures? Look, this lady has curls and a part. And this lady has her hair up, which is also very elegant.", said hairdresser Joris, but Granny thought she had looked elegant for years, and she didn't want to change that. I found a comic book on the magazine table and had a great time with the jokes from the book until it was my turn.
When hairdresser Joris wrapped a towel around me, to avoid hairs on my clothes, a shiver suddenly went through him. "Huuuuh. Oh, there it is again. He's back…", he said.
"Who's back? I don't see anyone.", I asked, looking at the startled face of hairdresser Joris in the mirror.
Hairdresser Joris thought for a moment. He hesitated whether he could tell us this. Granny reassured him and said: "Is something wrong, Joris? You can tell us, you know. We are experts at keeping secrets."
«A secret?», I thought. How does Granny suddenly know that hairdresser Joris has a secret? But hey, that's what superheroes do.
Hairdresser Joris fastened the towel with some clothespins and began to comb my hair, explaining to Granny in a soft voice what was going on: "You know, Granny… At times, it seems haunted here. Then I feel such a cold hand on my neck, or a gust of wind against my hair while I have closed all windows and doors properly. Please don't tell anyone, because if it gets out that this place is haunted, I'll lose all my customers…"
"A ghost? Ghosts don't exist, do they?", I asked.
Hairdresser Joris had other thoughts about this: "It started in the winter. First, all the scissors and combs disappeared. I later found them in my bedroom, and I'm sure I didn't put them there myself. Then all the curlers disappeared. First only the red curlers, then the blue ones, and finally the yellow ones. We have different colours of curlers, you should know. The red curlers are for big curls, and the yellow ones for small curls. A week later, I found them in the kitchen cupboard, among the macaroni. It seems like it's haunted here."
"Ghosts don't exist.", I said bravely: "And your name is Joris Dapper, right? Dapper means brave, strong, stout. Then you certainly shouldn't be afraid of a ghost you can't see."
Granny said: "Meg is right. Don't be afraid of something you can't see. I wouldn't mind about all those strange things if I were you. There's probably an explanation for it. The cat may have thought those curlers were mice. She caught them for you and kept them in the macaroni."
Hairdresser Joris looked even more frightened: "You can say that now, but… I don't have a cat. And I've never heard of cats keeping curlers in the macaroni either. No, Granny, it's haunted here."
Granny had to think deeply about it. A ghost that makes curlers disappear? Even she had never heard of it. In the meantime, hairdresser Joris washed my long hair with nice-smelling shampoo. I closed my eyes so the suds wouldn't sting my eyes, and enjoyed the warm water on my head.
When I could open my eyes again because all the foam had been washed out, I saw something strange. Hairdresser Joris walked to the closet where he kept the clean towels. Granny was watching something on her phone. My hands were neatly on my lap under the towel and… suddenly my hair stood on end. A curler floated in and rolled into one strand of hair, and another curler rolled into another strand…
Hairdresser Joris and Granny had now also seen it.
"Twisted. It's really haunted here.", Granny whispered.
I had held my breath in shock, but when the third curler was twisted in my hair, I thought it was enough. I said to the ghost: "I don't want any curls in my hair. A little bit off, trimming the dead ends, that's nice enough. And then a ponytail. Get those curlers out."
Hairdresser Joris was trying to imitate a statue. His jaw dropped as he saw curler after curler fall to the floor. Granny thought everything was completely normal. As a superhero, you are probably used to stranger things, I thought.
Granny got up and took the big towel from Joris's hands. She moved behind me and draped the towel over where she thought the ghost's head would be. The towel did not fall, but hung neatly, with the ghost underneath.
"So, we've found you, ghost.", Granny said: "In other words, we've covered you. The only way you can detect undercover ghosts is with a white sheet or something similar. This spooking around has to end. You even scare Joris Dapper. I don't think that's fair."
Joris Dapper was not as brave as his name. He was shaking like a straw.
Granny reassured him: "It's nothing to be afraid of, Joris. It's just a ghost that wants to help you with your job. That's what I thought. Most ghosts are friendly. They want to help us, but they often do things wrong because they can't listen well. We need to teach this ghost to tell the time, so that he or she knows when it is midnight. Ghosts have permission to haunt between midnight and 1 a.m., at least according to the ghost law, as long as they don't do anything people don't like. Hiding curlers among the macaroni is nothing for well-educated ghosts. We will quickly unlearn him that."
Hairdresser Joris wasn't so scared anymore. He even started to think it was funny, especially now it didn't surprise Granny and me when a large, white towel floated through his barbershop.
"Do ghosts speak a different language, Granny?", I asked.
"Indeed.", Granny explained: "Ghosts don't understand us and they can't talk to us. That makes it a bit difficult to explain something to them, but luckily I have my phone, with a button, or an app, to convert spoken language into spooky language. Watch."
Granny spoke to her phone and said: "Good afternoon, ghost. Would you be so kind as to take a good look at the clock hanging above the mirror? It says it's 12 o'clock, but that's 12 noon. You are too early or you are too late. You may not start haunting until it is 12 o'clock midnight. Then it is also dark outside."
When she finished, Granny pressed a button, or an app, on her phone and then some extremely low tones came out of the device, like someone s-p-e-a-k-s r-e-a-l s-l-o-w-l-y. Ghost language. But it did work. The ghost took the last curler out of my hair and placed it with the other curlers. Then the towel floated to the clock, then to the window to look outside, and finally, the ghost, with the towel and all, disappeared into hairdresser Joris's kitchen.
"I think it's a clever ghost. At least he (or she) understood exactly what I wanted to say. He probably won't bother you anymore, Joris.", said Granny. She put her phone back in her handbag.
Hairdresser Joris took the hairdryer and dried my hair so he could cut it. "Just trim the ends and a ponytail? That'll be all right. But… what about that ghost?", he asked.
"Ah, ghosts prefer to sleep in an empty bottle. Now, if you have an empty bottle that smells good, a shampoo bottle or an empty bottle of cologne or something, you just put it uncapped in a corner somewhere. The ghost just sleeps all day until it wakes up at 12 o'clock, midnight. And then it's already late and you won't have any customers in your store anymore, so you don't have to worry.", explained Granny.
"And if my curlers are gone again?", asked hairdresser Joris.
"Well, then you just look in the kitchen cupboard between the macaroni. Those curls of the macaroni look a lot like curly hair, that's why. Maybe you should just put away your hairdressing supplies a little better when you're done working, then the problem will be solved."
Anyway, I thought it was a fun adventure. I'd never seen a ghost in real life, but now I knew the hair salon ghost, I'd never be afraid of ghosts again. As long as they don't start putting curls in my hair.
But one last question still haunted me. Would I dare to ask? Of course. I love adventures, and for adventures, you have to be brave, as brave as a hairdresser. I asked: "Granny, please ask that ghost if he, or she, next time, maybe… can hide my book of sums."
"That's not what ghosts are for.", Granny thought, and hairdresser Joris agreed with her. Unfortunately. But of course you can never know whether this ghost has also understood. I'll try it myself tonight when I'm in bed, just with a-n e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y l-o-w v-o-i-c-e, and s-p-e-a-k-i-n-g r-e-a-l s-l-o-w-l-y. I hope the ghost will understand me then.