Showing posts from January, 2011

Catch Us If You Can (Summary of Chapters 13-21)

Chapter 13
The Great Escape. Darren offers the use of his mom's caravan and Rory plans the escape with great detail. Granda relies on Rory to get out of Rachnadar.
Chapter 14
Granda is like a little boy, allowing him to be led; safe in the knowledge that Rory would look after him. He is happy to be in the caravan and decides that he is indeed a lucky man to deserve a boy like Rory. Rory has done all of this so that they could be together. He realises that he would never let anyone separate them.
Chapter 15
Happy in the caravan, Granda recovers his old self.

Chapter 16
While fishing, they meet strangers and Granda is prejudiced when he calls them “tinkers”. As Granda's health improves and both of them are happy, Darren sends Rory a text message saying that the authorities are after them.
Chapter 17
Rory prepares Granda for another move away from the police but as they move through the woods, the strangers whom they had met the day before, reach out and help them.
Chapter 18
Rory has no c…

Catch Us If You Can (Summary of Chapters 1-12)

Chapter 1
Readers are introduced to Rory and his Granda as they wait for Dr Nicol in the waiting room. The doctor is concerned that Rory is too young to take care of his grandfather. However, Rory is aware that there are only two of them in the family.
Chapter 2
Granda has a failing memory; always misplacing things. Rory has the sole responsibility of taking care of Granda like buying him his lunch every day.
Chapter 3
Rory sacrifices some of the things he likes for Granda. He gives up football so that he can be at home with his Granda. Rory's worry is that if Granda is put into Rachnadar, they would be separated. Rory's dad had left them many years ago and Granda is very disappointed with his son, not wanting to see him again.
Chapter 4
Granda is very popular with Rory's friends and meets Mrs. Foley for the first time. Granda accidentally sets fire to his and Mrs. Foley's coats at the school's Parents' Night.
Chapter 5
Val Jessup, a social worker is assigned to ta…

The Curse (Summary of Chapters 7-12)

Chapter 7
Asraf is concerned about his grandmother's deteriorating health. At the same time, Hj. Ghani, mourns at Madhuri's tombstone. While deep in thoughts, he almost saw someone, a woman in a flowing white dress, strolling past the trees. At home, Azreen's father reprimanded her for not latching up the chicken coop. A chicken carcass, with its neck broken, lies on the bottom step of the coop. The next morning, Azreen reads Julian's letter about the examination week in college. Then, she reads Madhuri's letter of her marriage and relationship with Kak Fatihah (Haji Ghani's first wife). The letter also hints that Madhuri has a secret to be revealed to Azreen when she returns home for her holidays.

Chapter 8
Azreen's mother dies. Meanwhile, Mohd. Asraf continues to worry over his sickly grandmother. Mohd Asraf goes to the market to look for medicinal plants for his grandmother but fails to find any. In desperation, he goes to the Old Lady's house for h…

The Curse (Summary of Chapters 1-6)

Azreen hurriedly leaves her studies in England to return home after receiving news that her sister had died. Her coursemate, Julian Ng, tries to offer his sympathy and condolence but she was not in the mood to talk about the matter.
CHAPTER 2 On the plane home, Azreen experiences flashbacks of her early days with Madhuri and how Madhuri was well-liked by people. Madhuri was beautiful and soft-spoken compared to Azreen, who was an obstinate child.

CHAPTER 3 Back home, on an island south of Langkawi Island, Pn. Kamsiah was talking with her daughter Siti about their neighbour, Normala, who is spreading rumours that Madhuri was murdered and she spilt white blood. Datin Sharifah and her husband were ready to fetch their adopted daughter from the airport. They were trying their best not to talk about Madhuri's death.
CHAPTER 4 Mourners gather at Azreen's house to pay their last respects to Madhuri before burial. The women folk gossip among themselves that Madhuri was murdered…

Stories (Vignettes) within Step by Wicked Step

Colin's Story: The Bluebird of Happiness
Colin and his mother left his father when he was a few weeks old. His mother takes up with a person whom he thinks of as his father. However, his immature mother also leaves this stepdad after a while. Now he misses him so badly that it hurts.

Ralph's Story: A Tale of Three Stepmothers Ralph's life, though merry, is as complicated as a maze as he has three stepmothers and many step-family members.

Claudia's Story:Green Pyjamas After Claudia's parents' divorce, Dad finds a girlfriend, Stella. Claudia feels disloyal to her mum whenever she has a good time with her father and his new girlfriend. Even though Stella tries her best to be accepted by Claudia and her daddy's friends, she is being ignored. Finally, Claudia realises her rudeness and she comes out of her closet by wearing the green pyjamas given by Stella.

Pixie's Story: The Pains in My Life Pixie has to deal with two really irritating stepsisters and a father wh…

Synopsis of Step by Wicked Step

This novel is really five stories within a story that are induced by a story, like a nesting puzzle. So, we have six stories in the book. There may be a lack of a principal plot here but it is of no consequence as the novel's main purpose is to serve as a forum for six various stories of Richard Clayton Harwick, Claudia, Colin, Ralph, Pixie and Robbo.
In Step by Wicked Step, five boys and girls find themselves in an old house on a stormy night. In a hidden tower room they discover an old diary, that of Richard Clayton Harwick, who left behind a journal account of his wicked stepfather. 'Read and Weep' says the spidery writing on the cover of the book. After Richard Clayton Harwick's father passes away, he was sent to Mordanger School for four long years. He wishes to burn Mordanger to 'ashes' as to him, 'there's no meaner place on earth' than this boarding school. When he returns to Old Harwick Hall, he could not get along with his wicked and loveles…

Horse Characters in Black Beauty

Black Beauty

Black Beauty plays an important role as a sharp observer of human nature, commenting on the morals, cruelty and weaknesses of people. He is a handsome black horse with one white foot and a white star on his forehead. He is well-bred with gentle manners and a good heart. He is hardworking and always ready to serve and please his masters. Physically and mentally strong, he is brave and calm in emergency and danger. He is able to endure hardship and pain, with a strong will to survive. He knows how to appreciate kindness, care and good treatment of people to him. He loves nature, especially the meadows and countryside.


Duchess is Black Beauty's mother. She is gentle and amiable. She advises Black Beauty to be good and always do the best, and never to kick or bite. Black Beauty has a good upbringing because of her.


Ginger is a high breed mare. She received harsh treatment when young and became rebellious. She could have become a racing horse but ends up as a ca…

Synopsis Of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Journey to the Centre of The Earth is an adventurous science fiction. Professor Lidenbrock discovers a coded message in an ancient  manuscript about a way to get into the centre of the Earth through a mountain in Iceland. After decoding the message , Lidenbrock and Axel set off to Iceland to begin their journey to the centre of the Earth. There they hire an Icelandic guide, Hans Bjelke to help them on their journey.
Professor Lidenbrock, Axel and Hans Bjelke find and enter the volcanic crater that marks the entrance to the centre of the Earth. Inside they face several difficulties and see a  lot of strange things, including prehistoric life. They reach a vast underground cavern filled with a deep ocean, surrounded by a coastline.
The travelers build a raft and set sail on the ocean and reach a coastline. They enter a passage that they assume is the way ahead but discover that it is blocked by cave-in. They blast the rock but the explosion causes the sea to rush in. They are swept into…

Why Learn Grammar In The First Place?

I notice that nowadays, many agencies have been organizing English camps and short courses for students and youngsters. This is good because it provides our children with opportunities to improve in the language. However, there are some organizers who promotes modules which concern less on grammar while trying to encourage their participants to speak in English. Their reason is that grammar has been constraining people from speaking in English; they are too scared to make grammar mistakes that they choose not to speak at all.
In my personal view, the blame should not be put on grammar. I believe that it is the attitude of the people that makes it difficult for one to speak in English. Malaysians are basically very shy people and they are really concerned about what others think of them. At the same time, they have this fondness of looking for other people's mistakes so that they could laugh at them. Based on my personal experience as an English teacher, I could clearly see that thi…