Hetty the Hedgehog and the Mexican Jungle is the second book in the Hetty the Hedgehog series.
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When her friends are loaded onto the wrong plane and end up in the Mexican jungle, it is down to Hetty to keep them safe.
Can she protect them from the dangers that are lurking ahead?
A fun and engaging action-adventure story for children 7-11 years old.
Read the first 3 chapters here 👇
Chapter 1 – Press-ups
“I want to see your noses touching the grass.”
“But Hetty, why do we have to do so many press-ups?” Rocky moaned.
“You don’t have to.” Rocky’s eyes lit up. “You can run five laps of the garden instead,” she continued.
Rocky looked defeated. He didn’t even bother answering Hetty. Instead, he finished off his last five press-ups in silence.
“Right, now it’s time for the obstacle course. I want to see you all jumping as high as you can over the jumps.”
The group let out a collective sigh. They had been training for what felt like hours already.
Shadow spoke up. “Hetty, why are you training us so hard today?”
“Because today is going to be our last training session for over a month.” She paused as a thought then crossed her mind. “Unless we do some training while we are on holiday.”
“Nooooo!” was the collective reply. None of them wanted to be training while on holiday.
“Okay, but you need to all put the effort in now, then.”
The animals reluctantly agreed and Shadow, Rocky and Clara went to line up at the start of the obstacle race.
“Hetty, these jumps are huge. I’m only small, how am I meant to jump over them?” Clara asked worriedly.
“Belief and training are how you’re going to be able to get over those jumps,” Hetty answered. Just to prove a point, she walked up to the highest jump, bent her knees and then leapt into the air, clearing the jump with ease. While in the air, she curled into a ball and rolled safely back onto the ground.
She didn’t need to say another word as she had proved her point. When standing up, Hetty was the same height as Clara, and if she could make the jump, Clara could too. After all, Hetty was a hedgehog and Clara a spritely Chihuahua.
The animals put their heads down and remained silent during the rest of the training session. They knew Hetty wouldn’t take excuses; she wanted the best from them. Plus, they were also all too exhausted to speak.
Finally, when the training session was over, they all collapsed in a heap, lying still, trying to catch their breaths.
“Well done today. You all did really well,” Hetty said as she walked around their tired bodies. She had done the training with them but had barely broken a sweat. She looked at their tired faces and decided to finally let them rest, they deserved it.
“Shadow! Rocky!” a voice called from the house.
“Lewis is calling, we need to go,” Rocky said, jumping up from the ground.
“Clara!” came another voice.
“That’s me, it’s my time to go too. Can’t keep Mrs Dimby waiting.” Turning to Hetty, she added, “Are you all set for tomorrow?”
“Yes,” Hetty replied.
“How are you going to do it without being caught?”
“Don’t worry, I have a plan to sneak into the car with you all,” replied Hetty.
“And what about when we get to the airport?” Shadow quizzed.
“I will find a way to get through and be on that plane with you.”
“Please be careful, Hetty, we don’t want you getting lost, or worse – hurt.”
“Ahh, stop worrying, I will be fine,” Hetty said, brushing off Shadow’s worries. “It’s you lot I feel sorry for, as you will be put in cages for the flight.”
“The cage doesn’t bother me. All I ever knew was cages. First at the pet store and then when we got kidnapped. This is the only time in my life I have been free. I don’t mind going back into a cage for a bit. It’s only for a short time and then we will be on holiday. I have never been on a holiday. It is so exciting!”
“We can tell you’re excited,” laughed Hetty.
“Oh, sorry. Am I waffling again? I can’t help it.” Clara started bouncing up and down with excitement, expelling away the tiredness. “It is going to be so amazing. My first holiday with my new owner and my best friends. I can’t wait.”
“Clara!” Mrs Dimby called from the house again.
Clara, barely able to contain her excitement, headed off to the house. “I must go. See you all tomorrow.”
Clara found Mrs Dimby and together they headed back to their home next door to get ready for their holiday.
“Shadow! Rocky! Dinner time!” Lewis called out again.
Rocky didn’t need to hear those words twice, he was off sprinting across the garden towards the house, the very thought of dinner pulling him in.
Hetty and Shadow began laughing at the sight of him once again ruled by his stomach.
“I have to go now too. Make sure you’re careful tomorrow. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Don’t worry, I will,” Hetty said, as she turned and headed out to the nearby field to go foraging for her dinner.
Chapter 2 – The Challenge
This is so boring, Hetty thought. She had been lying under Mr and Mrs Taylor’s car for ages. It was uncomfortable. The cold, lumpy gravel dug into her body. She tried to get comfortable, but every time she moved, it dug in more. How she longed for her comfortable bed, but she didn’t want to risk missing when everyone came out to the car. Deep down, she knew the adventure would be worth the wait, but right now, it was hard to think about as the cold seeped through her body.
She curled herself up to try to keep warm and keep her mind off the cold. She thought about how fun it would be going on an aeroplane for the first time. When Shadow and Rocky had first told her that their owners Mr and Mrs Taylor were taking them on a long holiday and Clara and Mrs Dimby were going too, she knew she had to find a way to go with them, even if it meant lying on the cold, dark, gravel floor waiting around for ages; a holiday with her friends sounded too good to miss. She was also secretly looking forward to the challenge of sneaking on holiday with them and not getting caught.
After a while, her eyes began to grow heavy, and she slowly drifted off to sleep.
Creak! Crunch, crunch!
Hetty was jolted awake. She heard the front door opening then footsteps crunching across the gravel drive towards her.
She peeked out from behind the wheel to see Mr Taylor heading towards her, carrying a suitcase and jacket. When he reached the car, he opened up the boot and threw them in before heading back to the house.
With Mr Taylor gone and the boot open, Hetty saw her opportunity and dashed out from underneath the car. Sensing that she didn’t have long before he returned, she quickly took a few steps back from the car. She then turned and started running, going as fast as her little legs could take her. When she was just a few steps away, she leapt into the air, reaching her legs out in front towards the bumper. Her toes touched the edge and she pushed off it, jumping higher into the air. As she reached the open boot, she threw her body weight forward and curled into a ball, rolling into it at speed, coming to a stop by Mr Taylor’s jacket.
“Meow!” Hetty heard Shadow’s warning as Mr Taylor was coming out of the house again. This time he was carrying a cage with Shadow inside. She had made sure to let out a loud meow to warn Hetty they were coming.
Hetty dived into the large side pocket of the coat to hide, making it under the safety of the cloth just as Mr Taylor reached the boot and put Shadow’s cage inside. He then headed straight back inside for Rocky.
“Hetty, Hetty, are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here, inside Mr Taylor’s jacket. Thank you for warning me you were coming.”
“That’s okay, I’m glad you made it.”
Their conversation was cut short as Mr Taylor returned with a large empty cage and Rocky trailing by his side. He put the cage in the boot and then instructed Rocky to climb up and into the cage.
Rocky was hesitant.
The only time he had ever been in a cage was when he was kidnapped last year and made to work in the factory. That was not something he would forget easily.
“Come on, boy, I know you don’t like cages, but it will be okay,” Mr Taylor said calmly, trying to usher Rocky up into the cage.
“Come on, Rocky, you will be okay, me and Hetty are here,” Shadow added.
Rocky had forgotten that Shadow was already in the car and, although he couldn’t see Hetty, knowing she was there gave him some comfort. Without another hesitation, Rocky jumped up into the boot and nestled himself into the big cage.
Mr Taylor bent down and gave Rocky’s ear a scratch before closing the cage door behind him. “Good boy, it won’t be for long, only until we get out of the plane.”
Mr Taylor checked both Rocky and Shadow were securely in the car boot before heading back inside to get the luggage. He returned, bringing out the last of the luggage, followed by Mrs Taylor and a very sleepy looking Lewis, their son. He slowly made his way to the car, dragging along his blanket, letting out a yawn as he opened the car door and flopped inside. He managed to strap himself in and cover back up in his blanket before drifting back off to sleep.
“You’re not taking that old jacket with you?” Mrs Taylor pointed into the car boot. “Take it out and go and get the new one I bought you.”
Mr Taylor, not wanting to argue, leant into the boot and removed his jacket.
Before Shadow and Rocky could do anything to help, Mr Taylor slammed the boot shut as he made his way back to the house, coat in hand.
“Rocky, Rocky, what do we do?”
“What do we do about what?”
“Hetty was inside that coat.”
“Ooooh!” Rocky answered, looking worried.
“Can you see out of the boot?”
Rocky stood up tall and could just see out of the glass window.
“I can see Mr Taylor, he’s about to walk into the house.”
“Any sign of Hetty?”
“No, I can’t see her anywhere,” Rocky said with panic entering his voice.
Something banged on top of Shadow’s cage.
Followed by a flash of brown dropping down in front.
“Hetty!” Shadow let out a sigh of relief.
“Hetty, I was worried you were going to be left behind. How did you make it back into the car?”
Hetty smiled at them both then took a short pause to catch her breath… “I heard Mr Taylor reaching for the coat, so I prepared myself for a quick getaway. As soon as the coat dropped down by his side, I jumped out and rolled under the car while he was busy closing the boot. When he headed back to the house, I snuck under the car towards Lewis’s open door.”
Rocky and Shadow were both leaning forwards into their cage doors, excited to find out what happened next in Hetty’s story.
“Luckily, he was fast asleep, and Mrs Taylor hadn’t made it round to the other side of the car. I pulled myself up using his blanket that was hanging down and climbed on his shoulder. That was when Mrs Taylor opened the car door to get in. I quickly jumped from Lewis’s shoulder over the back seat and onto the top of your cage.”
“You were lucky that they didn’t see you,” Shadow added.
“I kind of think Lewis did. He was startled awake as I jumped off his shoulder and I caught his eyes open just as I passed his head. He was so tired, bless him, I don’t think he fully registered me there.”
“Well, he hasn’t said anything, and no one has opened the boot to look, so I think you’ve got away with it,” Shadow said, relieved.
Hetty nestled herself behind Shadow’s cage and hoped that no one looked into the boot from the back seats. She began to think sneaking away with them was going to be harder than she thought and started to doubt if she should have come along at all. She worried she would just be getting in her friends’ way and causing them to worry.
“Good morning, are you all packed and ready?” Mr Taylor called across the drive at an approaching Mrs Dimby.
“Yes, I am. Where do you want the suitcase?”
Mr Taylor locked up his front door before heading across the drive to help Mrs Dimby. He took her suitcase and put it into the roof box while Mrs Dimby jumped into the back seat of the car with Clara inside a small cage on her lap.
“Right, if everyone is ready, let’s head off on an adventure!” Mr Taylor shouted gleefully as he jumped into the front seat of the car and started up the engine.
Chapter 3 – Staying Hidden
“We’re here!” Mr Taylor announced as they drove into the airport car park. Once parked up, he called out, “I will go and find a trolley to put the cages on.”
“I will help you, Dad,” Lewis called out, now wide awake.
“Hetty, how are you going to get into the airport without being seen?”
Hetty pulled herself out from behind Shadow’s cage before replying, “Don’t worry about me, I will find a way.”
“You’d better think of a way quickly, as Mrs Taylor is making her way round to the boot.”
Hetty, not even having the time to answer, quickly climbed to the top of Rocky’s cage. She could see Mrs Taylor reaching for the boot, she needed to act quickly.
Mrs Dimby was getting out of the car and was looking the other way, and Hetty noticed that Lewis’s door had been left wide open. Without a moment to spare, she hopped onto the back seats and bounced straight down into the footwell. Mrs Dimby, who was now out of the car, turned around and was reaching in to pick up Clara, who was still nestled in her cage.
Hetty stayed as quiet as she could. She pushed herself against the seat, trying to stay out of view, not easy when you have a back full of spines. She was sure Mrs Dimby was going to spot her but it was too late to move now. All she could do was stay still and hope she was not caught.
She closed her eyes and could hear Mrs Dimby fumbling around with the cage on the seat above her.
Hetty held her breath.
Finally, she heard the car door shut and let out the breath she had been holding, leaping out of the car. On the ground, she spotted a pair of worn-out trainers on the other side of the door.
She ducked down, throwing herself on the ground, just as the car door flew towards her as Lewis slammed it shut. The air rushed past her spines and she just scraped under the closing door in time, quickly rolling under the car.
“What was that?”
“What was what, Dad?”
“I swear I saw something go under the car. Did you drop anything, Lewis?”
“No, I didn’t drop anything.”
“Something must have fallen out of the car, then. Let me just have a look.”
Hetty knew she would be caught if she stayed where she was.
In a split-second decision, she climbed up the underside of the wheel. From there, she jumped across and grabbed hold of the wheel axle, swinging her body around it. She then tucked herself on top of the axle and out of view.
“That’s so strange, there’s nothing here. I could have sworn I saw something roll underneath.”
“Maybe you’re seeing things, Dad,” laughed Lewis.
“Yes, maybe I am,” admitted Mr Taylor. “Come on, let’s get the rest of our stuff, we don’t want to miss the flight.”
Mr Taylor got up and made his way around to the boot with the empty luggage trolley. He gently picked up Shadow in her cage and placed her onto the trolley. Mrs Dimby then walked over and added Clara’s small cage.
“Right now, how do we get this cage onto the trolley?”
They all turned to look at Rocky sitting there eagerly inside his very large cage.
“Ummm, that’s a good question,” answered Mrs Taylor.
Mr Taylor looked over to Mrs Dimby. “If you hold the trolley still, we will lift him out.”
“Dad! Rocky weighs a tonne, especially in such a huge cage like this.”
“I know, but it’s not far to lift him and there are three of us. We’ll be fine.”
Lewis let out a loud sigh but reached into the boot ready to help his mum and dad lift Rocky out.
“You help your mum with that side, and I’ll take this side,” ordered Mr Taylor.
“Ready?” They nodded at Mr Taylor in preparation. “Lift!”
All three of them lifted Rocky’s cage up from the boot and over to the trolley.
“That’s it, now let’s lower him down gently.”
Lewis lowered his side a little too quickly.
The cage unbalanced and Rocky started to slide. In a desperate attempt to stay upright, he started to claw at the back of the cage to stop himself from falling.
It was no use.
He slid back into the cage door and came to a stop with his backside squished through the bars.
“Oh gosh, what a sight,” chuckled Shadow as she watched Rocky’s predicament.
“What’s happening? What’s happening? I can’t see what’s happening. Why did they have to put my cage this way around?” Clara answered.
“Well, Rocky has gone flying into the cage door backwards and right now all I can see is parts of his backside squeezing out through the bars.”
Clara and Shadow began laughing.
Mr Taylor managed to get a hand on Lewis’s side and regained the balance of the cage. He then managed to lower Rocky onto the trolley with the others.
“Not fair. Don’t laugh at me. That hurt.”
“Sorry, Rocky, but it was just too funny not to,” Shadow said, trying to recover from laughing so much.
“Now, where’s Hetty?”
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