Once upon a time there was a red boy called Phillip Hemingway. He was on the way to see his Harriet Connor, when he decided to take a short cut through The Amazon Rainforest.
It wasn't long before Phillip got lost. He looked around, but all he could see were trees. Nervously, he felt into his bag for his favourite toy, Little Mouse, but Little Mouse was nowhere to be found! Phillip began to panic. He felt sure he had packed Little Mouse. To make matters worse, he was starting to feel hungry.
Unexpectedly, he saw a wise mouse dressed in a red waistcoat disappearing into the trees.
"How odd!" thought Phillip.
For the want of anything better to do, he decided to follow the peculiarly dressed mouse. Perhaps it could tell him the way out of the forest.
Eventually, Phillip reached a clearing. In the clearing were two houses, one made from sprouts and one made from macarons.
Phillip could feel his tummy rumbling. Looking at the houses did nothing to ease his hunger.
"Hello!" he called. "Is anybody there?"
Phillip looked at the roof on the closest house and wondered if it would be rude to eat somebody else's chimney. Obviously it would be impolite to eat a whole house, but perhaps it would be considered acceptable to nibble the odd fixture or lick the odd fitting, in a time of need.
A cackle broke through the air, giving Phillip a fright. A witch jumped into the space in front of the houses. She was carrying a cage. In that cage was Little Mouse!
"Little Mouse!" shouted Phillip. He turned to the witch. "That's my toy!"
The witch just shrugged.
"Give Little Mouse back!" cried Phillip.
"Not on your nelly!" said the witch.
"At least let Little Mouse out of that cage!"
Before she could reply, the wise mouse in the red waistcoat rushed in from a footpath on the other side of the cleaning.
"Hello Big Mouse," said the witch.
"Good morning." The mouse noticed Little Mouse. "Who is this?"
"That's Little Mouse," explained the witch.
"Ooh! Little Mouse would look lovely in my house. Give it to me!" demanded the mouse.
The witch shook her head. "Little Mouse is staying with me."
"Um... Excuse me..." Phillip interrupted. "Little Mouse lives with me! And not in a cage!"
Big Mouse ignored him. "Is there nothing you'll trade?" he asked the witch.
The witch thought for a moment, then said, "I do like to be entertained. I'll release him to anybody who can eat a whole front door."
Big Mouse looked at the house made from macarons and said, "No problem, I could eat an entire house made from macarons if I wanted to."
"There's no need to show off," said the witch. Just eat one front door and I'll let you have Little Mouse."
Phillip watched, feeling very worried. He didn't want the witch to give Little Mouse to Big Mouse. He didn't think Little Mouse would like living with a wise mouse, away from his house and all his other toys.
Big Mouse put on his bib and withdraw a knife and fork from his pocket.
"I'll eat this whole house," said Big Mouse. "Just you watch!"
Big Mouse pulled off a corner of the front door of the house made from macarons. He gulped it down smiling, and went back for more.
Eventually, Big Mouse started to get bigger - just a little bit bigger at first. But after a few more fork-fulls of macarons, he grew to the size of a large snowball - and he was every bit as round.
"Erm... I don't feel too good," said Big Mouse.
Suddenly, he started to roll. He'd grown so round that he could no longer balance!
"Help!" he cried, as he rolled off down a slope into the forest.
Big Mouse never finished eating the front door made from macarons and Little Mouse remained trapped in the witch's cage.
"That's it," said the witch. "I win. I get to keep Little Mouse."
"Not so fast," said Phillip. "There is still one front door to go. The front door of the house made from sprouts. And I haven't had a turn yet.
"I don't have to give you a turn!" laughed the witch. "My game. My rules."
The woodcutter's voice carried through the forest. "I think you should give him a chance. It's only fair."
"Fine," said the witch. "But you saw what happened to the mouse. He won't last long."
"I'll be right back," said Phillip.
"What?" said the witch. "Where's your sense of impatience? I thought you wanted Little Mouse back."
Phillip ignored the witch and gathered a hefty pile of sticks. He came back to the clearing and started a small camp fire. Carefully, he broke off a piece of the door of the house made from sprouts and toasted it over the fire. Once it had cooked and cooled just a little, he took a bite. He quickly devoured the whole piece.
Phillip sat down on a nearby log.
"You fail!" cackled the witch. "You were supposed to eat the whole door."
"I haven't finished," explained Phillip. "I am just waiting for my food to go down."
When Phillip's food had digested, he broke off another piece of the door made from sprouts. Once more, he toasted his food over the fire and