Rainbows and Halos
CHAPTER 1 Brilliant Baking!
GLITTERSOME!” ELLA BROWN LOOKED over Poppy’s shoulder at the perfect heart-shaped cookies she was icing.
“Thanks, Ella!” Poppy pushed back her messy blond curls. “For once I’ve done
something more neatly than you!” she teased.
As Ella looked down at her own cookies, she could see exactly what her friend meant. The icing was all wobbly, the shape looked more like a square than a heart, and the cookies were all splotchy! Still, it was only their first angel baking lesson.
“I guess they don’t need to look good to taste good,” Ella said hopefully.
“Well, we’ll soon find out!” Poppy closed her eyes and took a bite of one of her cookies. “I wish for happy thoughts . . . ooh, that’s lovely,” she smiled. “Butterflies and bluebirds!”
Ella took a bite of one of hers. “Ooh, yum,” she squealed as she munched. “Delicious. It tastes like strawberries and cream!”
“Don’t forget to make a wish before you finish it!”
Poppy reminded her quickly.
Ella closed her eyes and thought her wish.
“What did you wish for?” asked Poppy curiously.
“That it wasn’t so hot!” sighed Ella. “It’s baking in here.”
Poppy nodded, fanning herself. “I’m melting like ice cream!”
“I’ve never known it to be so sunny,” said Ella. It had been like this all summer so far. They were in the middle of a heat wave at the Guardian Angel Academy.
“I hope the weather changes soon,” Poppy said. “Or we’ll be boiled alive at sports day next week! Imagine trying to run and jump and fly in this heat?”
Ella nodded and was just about to take
another bite of her cookie when their teacher came rushing over.
“Ella! What are you doing?” she cried out. “Halos and wings! There’ll be nothing left. We’re supposed to be icing the cookies, not eating them!”
“Whoops, sorry Angel Seraphina,” Ella grinned. “They are rather delicious though.”
“Oh, maybe I’ll just try a little bit!” said Angel Seraphina. She took one of the cookies. “Mmm, delicious indeed. Zero marks for neatness, Ella, but ten out of ten for taste!”
Ella glowed. She really liked her teacher.
Angel Seraphina turned to the rest of the class. “Let’s get cleaned up!” she called out. “The sooner we clear away, the sooner we can go outside and get some fresh air. Now, Poppy,
can you bring your cookies into the other room? I want to have a proper look at them.”
Ella gazed out the window to where a group of fourth graders were playing angel volleyball. Multicolored butterflies swooped over the lawns and the gentle hum of bees filled the air.
She turned and almost knocked over an angel hurrying past. “Sorry, Tilly!” she gasped.
“No problem.” Tilly had light-brown hair and was wearing a sapphire uniform. “I’m just trying to catch ONE . . . OF . . . THESE . . .” The words came out in short bursts as she reached up to try and catch a chocolate cupcake that was whizzing above her head.
Ella fluttered her wings and rose up in the air, grabbing the cake. “Gotcha!” She grinned. “Here you go.” She handed it over to Tilly.
Jess, an angel with a long dark ponytail, joined them. “Have you got them all?” she asked.
“Yes, Ella’s just caught the last one.”
“Thanks, Ella,” Jess smiled. Tilly and Jess were the other two angels that made up a dorm with Ella and Poppy. The four of them were the best of friends.
Ella looked at the flying cupcake in Tilly’s hands. Its wings were beating frantically. “Flying cupcakes are hard to make. You’ve done really well. My wish cookies are a mess. They don’t even grant wishes,” she said,
looking out to where the sun was still beating down.
Tilly held the cupcake up to examine it. “It was really all Jess’s cooking, not mine. But it does look good.”
“Let me see,” said Ella. She took it and her eyes glinted mischievously. Angel Seraphina had gone to the other cooking room with Poppy. “Hey, it really flies well!” she said as she let it go. “Look!”
It hovered above her head before shooting off and whizzing around the room.
“Ella!” Tilly and Jess exclaimed.
“Oh, no. We’ll never catch it now!” said Tilly.
Ella giggled as Tilly flew into the air and chased after it. Every time she neared the
cupcake, it jetted off in another direction, as if it was playing a game of tag with her!
Tilly finally managed to grab it. “I’ll get you for that, Ella Brown,” she called as she swooped down. “Food fight!”
And, picking up the nearest spoon,
she splattered Ella with some gloopy cake mixture.
“Right!” cried Ella, grinning, splattering Tilly in return.
“Stop it at once! You’ll ruin my dress!” a voice behind them screeched.
Ella spun around. Primrose! She might have guessed! The most perfect-looking angel in the school was also the most odious. She looked Ella up and down with a snooty look. “Have you forgotten the school rules? ‘Angels should strive to be neat and tidy at all times.’ ”
Ella raised her eyebrows at Tilly and then splattered her friend again. Tilly ducked and it hit Jess head on.
“Ella!” Jess shrieked and then she burst out laughing.
“Well, I suppose that at least it wasn’t my dress that was spoiled,” sniffed Primrose. “Not that I’ll be in this babyish white dress for much longer,” she said, doing a smug little twirl.
“Yes, we know.” Ella sighed crossly. “You’ve only got one more halo stamp to get before you go up to sapphire level.”
All the angels started at the Academy with plain white dresses and halos. As they did angelic things, they were awarded halo stamps and went up levels. White to sapphire, sapphire to ruby, and so on, until they reached gold and then gold became diamond. That made you a Guardian Angel. Not only that, but your wings grew at every stage until finally they were the largest, downiest of wings that changed with every color of the rainbow.
“So how many halo stamps do you have left to get to sapphire level, Ella?” Primrose asked, her eyebrows arched.
“You already know the answer to that,” said Ella with a scowl.
It was a bit of a sore subject. While most of the third graders had already gotten their sapphire halos, Ella still had to earn hers. Tilly and Jess had gone up a level last term, and Poppy, like Primrose, was only one halo stamp away. Ella still had another three stamps to go. It seemed like a never-ending task!
Just then Angel Seraphina came back in with Poppy. They were both looking hot, but Poppy was beaming. As Angel Seraphina fluttered off to help another student, Ella went over to join her friend.
“You’re looking happy, Pops.”
“I know!” said Poppy. “That’s because I am! I just got another halo stamp—for my cookies.”
“That’s angel-tastic!” cried Ella. “Doesn’t that mean—”
“Yes! I’ve got enough halo stamps for sapphire!” Poppy exclaimed. Her excitement suddenly faded and she looked a little embarrassed. “You don’t mind, do you, Ella?”
“Mind? Of course I don’t mind!” Ella gave her friend a big hug. Last term, she had been worried about how she would feel when the last of her friends filled in their card, so it was good to find that she actually felt all right about it.
“It’ll be you next, Ella,” Poppy told her.
“I hope so,” sighed Ella, turning as a groan came from the other side of the kitchen.
It was Angel Seraphina, holding a sponge cake that she had just taken out of the oven. “It’s collapsed!” the teacher exclaimed.
Ella looked at the cake in Angel Seraphina’s hands. The lovely yellow mixture had a big gaping hole in the middle of it.
“It must be the heat,” Angel Seraphina said. “Well, that’s it! I’ve had quite enough baking for one day! Come on everyone . . . outside!”