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The Fifth Story.......

Jake Goes To Toronto!

Jake goes to Toronto

Jake’s Grandma has picked him up from nursery school today. They have got back home and are having tea. Jake looks in his lunchbox to see if anything is left over from lunch. Now he has got used to going to nursery, he feels comfortable eating with the other children. He turns his lunch-box upside down and shakes it out.

    ‘Look, Grandma, there is nothing at all left!’

    So Grandma makes a cup of tea for herself and prepares a bowl of fruit for Jake.  In the bowl she puts:

    4 slices of banana

    4 quarters of an apple

    4 segments of Satsuma

    and 4 grapes  

    The number ‘4’ is his favourite number.  He eats all the 4 segments of everything up quickly because he wants to play with Grandma. But Grandma’s tea is hot and she is still drinking.  he says to him,

    ‘Jake, I have a present for you today. If you’d like to fetch my basket we can find it.’

    Jake jumps down from the table to fetch the basket. What will the present be? Will it be a new piece perhaps for his railway set, will it be car, or tractor?  Or something you can do exciting things with, with flashing lights and buttons?

He peers into the basket. Grandma puts her hand in, past the books and papers and fishes something up. She hands it to him. 

    A plain old brown and white feather! This is so disappointing he feels like crying.

    ‘Look at the size of it,’ Grandma says. ‘I think it must be a kind of Hawk. Do you see the ripple of white and brown? Here, let me stroke it across your cheek, isn’t it soft? I was out walking Drummer and Munro when I came upon it. It’s quite special, don’t you want it?’

Grandma fishes out a feather

He shakes his head. ‘Have you finished your tea now Grandma?’

    Jake leads Grandma up to his room. He has a game coming into his head. He picks out some of the toys around his bed. He asks Grandma to carry downstairs:

    1 large black bear

    1 teddy bear, 

    1 floppy horse

    1 dog

    1 sailor-boy

    and he carries down the 2 remaining teddy bears, one in each hand.  


They collect the toys

He explains when they get downstairs. ‘We are going to make a boat and go to Toronto’ (He’d been with his Mummy and Daddy while they were working in Toronto. Toronto is in Canada, and a long way over the sea.) ‘You can all be my passengers, and I will be the Captain of the boat.’


Jake makes the boat up of cushions.  There are five cushions on the sofa, on which Grandma goes to sit, but Jake pulls them all onto the floor for his boat. There are two cushions on the green armchair, and two on the small sofa by the window. With the nine cushions the boat looks like this: 

Making the boat

Jake shows Grandma a way onto the boat so she goes on board with the seven soft toys, her ‘children’ and Jake settles them down for the night with a big blanket over them all.


He needs a machine to use to drive the boat. He gets an old cordless telephone Daddy has given him and the blinking light from the television remote control. He makes a noise, which is the horn sounding in the funnel telling the passengers that the boat is ready to go. He is just about to press the blinking light when he remembers: ‘Oh no, there is just one more thing! We will need some food for the journey.’


Grandma gets up from her bed, climbs down the gangway. She comes back with the rest of the banana, a handful of raisins and some tiny wedges of cucumber in a plastic container.

She slips the feather into her pocket.


Jake lets her back onto the boat, through the ‘gate’ made of the open cushion and back to her bed where she lies down again with the soft animals. Once more he sounds the horn to tell everyone that the boat is about to leave the harbour. He again goes over to the blinking light and is about to push it when:

    ‘Just one more thing! We need some tools in case the boat breaks down. Can you to help me find something?’

    ‘What, you want me to get up again, do you?’

    ‘Yes, yes.’

Once more Grandma throws off the blanket and leaves the boat after Jake let’s her through the gate cushion, and goes off to find some tools. She comes back with a spanner, a screwdriver, 2 clothes pegs and a long-handled wooden soup ladle. 

    ‘What is that for, Grandma’

    ‘It could be useful.’

What's that for Grandma?

He is not absolutely persuaded but still he lets Grandma back onto the boat and puts the blanket round her and her children.

    But would you believe it?  The boat is all ready to leave the harbour when Jake remembers that they might need some books to read. 

    And after that, when Grandma lies back down in the boat once more, Jake looks at her with a twinkle in his eye. He must, just MUST have a torch, and Grandma knows where one is and he doesn’t.

     Grandma has been up and down so many times she is getting rather tired. So when she finds the torch and gets back on the boat, up the gangway and lies down and Jake tucks her up with the soft toys, she says, ‘Jake, that is the very last thing.  Grandma is not getting up any more, and unless you get the boat into the sea very soon and get going we won’t ever get to Toronto!’ and she looks at him in the way adults sometimes do look at children so that Jake knows that she really, really means it.

Then Jake smiles and says anyway they were all ready to go.  He makes the loudest noise yet so that everyone will know the boat is off. Then he presses the blinking light and uses his old phone to press more buttons and soon the boat is on its way across the Atlantic ocean.


Jake is a very good captain. He looks after everyone on the journey. He makes a delicious meal for everyone, though the banana gets a bit squashed. He reads to the soft toys to pass the time. And then he tells them all to go to sleep, and that he will watch the boat.

And then a dreadful thing happens. Jake himself gets tired watching the boat all by himself, and also a little bit lonely AND HE FALLS ASLEEP. 

Asleep at the wheel

It is the middle of the night and getting cold. There is a bright moon shining. A pelican sitting on the mast can see that they are coming closer and closer to an iceberg. The sea lions swimming along by the boat see what is going to happen. The gulls flying in the sky make noises of alarm to tell each other what is going to happen.  But, oh no! Jake is fast asleep by the wheel of the boat, while all his passengers are tucked up downstairs. And the boat gets nearer and nearer to the iceberg.  Any minute now there is going to be a big BUMP! Oh wake up Jake!


The gulls tell the pelican to hop close to Jake’s ear and squawk into it. Luckily Jake wakes up just in time to use Daddy’s old phone to press this button and that and make the boat slow down at the very last moment. So when they do hit the iceberg it is with only a small bump and not a large one. But the boat is stuck on the iceberg.


Then the moon goes behind a cloud and the night is very dark. From downstairs Jake hears Grandma calling, ‘What has happened Captain?’ For the boat is pulled up out of the water at an angle.

Oh, Wake up Jake!

Jake feels around for the torch and turns it on. ‘Nothing to worry about, everyone, ‘he calls. ‘Captain has it all under control.’ Then he directs the torch to the iceberg and sees how stuck his little boat is and wonders how to get it free once more. He thinks hard because he knows like all good Captains do that in an emergency you have to think carefully and calmly. Of course! He will use the wooden ladle the Grandma put in as his tool to lever the boat off the iceberg with its long handle. 

And so he does.

Escaping the iceberg

The moon comes out again and the gulls and the sea-lions and the pelican and Grandma and all the soft toys all call ‘hooray hooray!’ Because Jake has got the boat in the water again and it is sailing on to Toronto.

Jake thanks the Pelican and the sea-lions. He sings a song to the passengers to help them fall asleep again. He stays up, this time with the three teddy bears for company. When they come to more icebergs he steers the boat safely round them. On one of the icebergs they see a polar bear, and they all wave to one another. The teddy bears are amazed by how ENORMOUS the polar bear is and how WHITE.

An enormous, white Polar Bear

Not long after this Jake puts on his binoculars and sees land ahead. Soon they are sailing into the harbour of Toronto. Jake wakes Grandma and all his passengers. They stand on the deck looking excitedly at all the tall buildings with the sun on them as Jake, steers the little boat to its dock. Then he puts down the gangplank, opens the cushion gate and they all get off the boat to have a breakfast of sausages and pancakes and maple syrup at a cafe.

Pancakes and maple syrup in Toronto

 ‘Grandma, when we get home, can we have pancakes and sausages for supper? I think Mummy still has some of that Maple Syrup she brought back from Toronto.’ 


Grandma agrees that a Captain who has so cleverly manoeuvred them off an iceberg should perhaps be allowed a pancake on this occasion. And perhaps, she wonders, ‘Would you like to stir the pancake batter for me? 

All of a sudden home seems such a long, long way. He wants to be back in the next minute. But how are they to get there unless they take another long trip across the ocean?


Then Grandma takes the feather out of her pocket and whispers for him to hold it. The toys crowd round the table to see what Grandma is going to do. She asks Jake to count them. So he starts: One, two, three, four, five, six.... But wait a moment, seven is missing.

    ‘We will need all the toys here before the feather can do it’s work,’ says Grandma. They find Floppy Horse disappearing round a corner to discover what the noise is further along. The other animals bring him back.  


Come back Floppy Horse!

 ‘Hold the feather straight up in your hand, Jake like this.’ Then Grandma whispers something else to him, which only Jake hears. He smiles. He now sees the magic gold in the brown feathers and the magic silver in the white. All he has to do is wish to be back in London in their house, in their sitting room and they will be there. 

Flying back home
The Magic Feather

So here goes...


With his eyes shut, he wishes for Grandma and him and all the toys to have wings like birds, so they can fly home. 


And there they go... 

He was very tired when Mummy and Daddy came home from work, later. They ate the pancakes Grandma had made for them all.  They asked Jake, ‘Did you have a good day at nursery school? What happened?’ But they didn’t know that since he’d come home from nursery he’d been all the way to Toronto and all the way back again. Tomorrow he would tell them...

Jake has supper

You can play the game Jake did, by taking a pretend boat-trip to somewhere over the sea you have gone on holiday, or would like to go to, or a place one of your friends, or uncles and aunts live in. Make the boat out of cushions, or anything else you choose. Make it big enough for you to be able to get into with your Mummy or Daddy and some of your toys. Choose which toys you will take as passengers on the trip. You will want food and anything extra you can think of for the journey. On the way, in the night, you will hit an iceberg, or have some other adventure. But because you are a clever Captain of your ship you will be able to right the boat and go on your way. When you get to the end of your journey you and all your passengers will have a great meal to celebrate. Then perhaps, like Jake’s Grandma, you will perform some magic to get you home fast!


Tips for More Things To Do To S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Mind



You can look up in an atlas where Toronto in Canada is. You can discover how many miles it is over the sea from London to Toronto. You can look up the place you choose to visit on an atlas, and find out how long it would take to get there by boat. 


Would there be icebergs or would the danger on your route come from a big storm, winds and strong currents, or perhaps from a pod of Whales in your path, or a leaky boat, a broken engine, or something else? You choose.


Jake and his passengers ate pancakes with Maple Syrup in Toronto as that is a typical Canadian breakfast.  If you are going to another country you can find out what the typical breakfast is there.


You can think about the characteristics of the animal friends you are taking with you. Which, do you think, is more likely to go exploring on his own, and have to be brought back by his friends, as happened to Floppy Horse?


When you go outside, you can look for feathers that you think have magic in them. You can get help from Mummy and Daddy telling you which birds those feathers come from.


You can look for the largest spoon in the kitchen drawers, and find new uses for it.

If you've enjoyed the PlayStories, do leave a message in the box to encourage other parents to try them.

And if you felt moved to support The Care Workers Charity with a donation, however small – that would be even more brilliant!

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