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Cyber Spooks paperback out now March 2020

Themes by chapter in Cyber Spools

Chapter 1: Halloween:  Ghosts and ghostly happenings:  Seeing yourself but it isn’t you: Having a double (doppelganger – German for double goer):  Hearing voices  

Chapter 2: Becoming a teenager:  Unlucky thirteen:  Superstitions:  Family secrets:  Norovirus

Chapter 3:   Between childhood and adolescence:  Sleepovers:  Frankenstein/ Dracula confusion: ghostly double: talking in your sleep

Chapter 4: More family secrets: Eavesdropping:  Bereavement - Mother dying in childbirth: Separated twins (or bereavement): Step families:  Imaginary childhood friends - like Pippa   : The paranormal

Chapter 5: Frankenstein/ghost confusion: googling for information:  Labels for mental health conditions:  Uncle Tom as a guardian spirit – struggling for words such as definity/affinity

Chapter 6: Homework visits:  Poltergeists:  Haunted castle: Dreaming at will/ Dream v Reality

Chapter 7: Inherited knowledge?  Herbal medicines:  Spookland

Chapter 8: Eavesdropping/ earwigging: Reincarnation/dreams of a past life: Hairstyle fashions:  Girls enjoying being looked at by boys:  Spooky smartphone picture.

Chapter 9:  Phone Apps (changes since 2013: Techie ghosts- do they exist? Contact across centuries?  I am you and you are me: In your cyberspace:

Chapter 10:  Text language/ spooky text contact: Ghosts making contact and controlling the weather:  Unexplained knowledge:  Keeping a bit of you secret:  Alien phone numbers?

Chapter 11: Long, motorway journeys: Our Winter of Disconnect (breaks from technology): Blackboard and chalk: Foreign holidays v. staycations: Limbo: Having the ‘sight’: 

Chapter 12: Age of marriage: (Child’s perception of age): Dialect (Scots): Vanishing dreams and lost memories: Unexplained knowledge: Being a bit fey: mistaken identity/ identical twins

Chapter 13: Déjã vu: holiday cottage: ‘second sight’: birth marks: adoption- reasons for/ heartbreak/ separated twins/ mistaken identity:  no mobile phone service: movement between parallel worlds –helped by cyberspace.

Chapter 14: Graveyard visit and record keeping in churches: The plague (1665) c.f. coronavirus:  Punishment for witchcraft – drowning proved innocence: Suspension of time: Lost souls through unnatural death: ‘Never-Never highway’ through Limboland

Chapter 15: Estelle’s spirit giving directions in 2 dialects: Time travel: Cave like the TARDIS time machine: Life at a 1613 castle

Chapter 16: Changing the course of history: Restless soul wandering through purgatory:  Incurable infection before antibiotics:  Time suspension: Huge respect and responsibility given to medieval 13 year olds: Birth and wet nursing in the 17th century: 

Chapter 17: Anything is possible in time travel:  More ghosts: Strange powers teaching how to do ringlets: Medieval banquet in the feudal system: Crossovers/double existence: Real or ghostly

Chapter 18: Computer genius v head woodcutter (400 years apart): Spirits in limbo can suspend time and give protection: That alien phone number: Taking 21st century luxuries for granted: Secrets that must be kept: Shooting stars that take lost souls to Heaven

Chapter 19:  Back to normal in London: Families – adoption/step family/ the big D/ the big C/ bereavement: Twins reunited: Half term/ tattie holidays: Playing twin tricks at Brentgold School: Teenage slang 2013: Happy times/ Halloween party … then more twins (more spooks?)

Chapter 20: Limboland 2026: Dream or reality- did it really happen? Will there be any more strange happenings?

What is everyone so scared of at Poppy's Halloween party?

Image: What are they so scared of at Poppy's Halloween party?

Differentiated worksheets for Years 6, 7 or 8. (Something that every pupil can do and a bit more for those who have finished.)

Cyber Spooks:       Worksheet 1

A: After you have read Chapter 1: It isn't me answer the following questions:

1. Who do we meet? Who is telling the story?
2. Where are they and what have they been doing?
3. What does Poppy see on the escalator that makes her so scared? 
4. What does her brother Ralph think of that?
5. What does Poppy need to do when they get home? Why?
6. What happens then when she's trying to listen to music?
7. Why might Poppy and Ralph's mum and dad exchange glances?


 Why do you think 'Mum' has a strange look on her face?

Poppy says, 'I'm freezing again. It's like something is stealing my warmth.'  Why do you think that might be?

Who do you think is talking to Poppy in her bedroom? Is that scary?

What do we find out about Uncle Tom? What does Dad tell us about what happened to him?


If you were planning a Halloween Party, what would you like for
* food and drinks
* costumes
* music
* games 
* anything else you can think of.


D: DRAW A PICTURE of Halloween food or a Halloween costume you would like.

'Actually' is Ralph's favourite word. Do you have a favourite word?
'Pinata [pinyata) isn't an English word. Can you think of any other words we use in English which come from other languages?
Why do you think Uncle Tom was given the 'chemical cudgel' as Dad describes it? What do you think that means?


Cyber Spooks:                Worksheet 2

A: Answer the following questions after you read Chapter 2: Next Morning

1.       Why is Poppy disappointed with what the postman brings?

2.       Who (or what) do you think Voice is?

3.       Where has Mum been hiding Poppy’s presents?

4.       Describe Ralph’s birthday parcel for his big sister Poppy.

5.       Who comes to visit Poppy and what present does she bring>

6.       What does Voice ask later in the day?

7.       Who does Dad think Voice is?


Why does Poppy want to invite Ralph and his friend Charlie to her party?

What superstitions do some people have? Are you superstitious about anything?

Poppy says, ‘She might not be my real mum but she’s a good mum…’ How did that happen and what does this make you feel?

Why doesn’t Poppy tell Katie about Voice? Do you think she should tell her? Do you ever keep secrets from your family or your best friend? You don’t have to tell what they are!

Poppy asks her mum and dad who Pippa is. How do they both show how they feel? Who do they think Pippa is?


Do you think Ralph is cute and funny? Why?

Make a list of the presents you would like for your next birthday. Would you like to have had Poppy’s presents? Why or why not?

In pairs or groups talk about the costumes you might wear to Poppy’s Halloween party


D  DRAW A PICTURE of one or some of the birthday presents you would like to receive.

LANGUAGE:  Think about how the following are used:      ‘old lady’              Pff…whatever           birthday smacker                 Teenybopper.                                           What else could have been said instead of those words? Might the meaning have been changed?

Cyber Spooks                    Worksheet 3


A:  Answer the following questions on Chapter 3: The Halloween Birthday Party.

1.       Why is everyone at Poppy’s party wearing something white?

2.       The guests at the Halloween party are A. children B. adults C. between childhood and adolescence D. adolescents

3.       The 2 youngest guests might be A. Katie and Corinne B. Sarah and Sean C. Mary and Jonathan  D. Charlotte and Poppy

4.       Why do you think Sean is loving the party?

5.       What is Poppy not sure she’s ready for?

6.       What does everyone see when the lights are low? How does Poppy explain it?

7.       Mary snores but what do Poppy’s friends tell her she does in her sleep?


Sometimes it’s difficult to be between a child and a grown-up. Talk about how you feel.

Mum and Dad don’t seem to like the way Poppy and her friends dance. What’s Poppy’s favourite music? What’s yours?

 What do you think of grown up dancing?

Why is it Corinne who asks Mr Danford if they can party for a bit longer?

Poppy is feeling annoyed and embarrassed with ‘Mum’. Do you feel like that sometimes?

Who do you think Penelope might be?


Have you ever ducked for apples, played spin the bottle, ‘Would I lie to you? ‘or ‘Would you rather?’  Or have you ever done any magic tricks?

They were drinking cherryade for Frankenstein’s blood. Do you think it was Frankenstein who liked to drink blood or was it Dracula? FIND OUT if Frankenstein was a vampire too (or did Poppy get it wrong?)

Talk about a sleepover you went to or perhaps would like to go to.

D:    DRAW A PICTURE of ONE of the characters dressed in his or her costume OR find pictures of Frankenstein and Dracula and draw sketches of one or the other or both of them.

E:    LANGUAGE:  Think of the meanings of:     ultraviolet light   Gross!     Snog     hot-dog mummies   cream crackered      guffaws     sprawled    peed off

Cyber Spooks:          Worksheet 4

A:  Answer the following questions on Chapter 4: Tell Me What?

1.      Poppy’s thirteenth birthday was great except for three things. What were they?

2.      Who is Poppy’s mother’s brother? (What was her mother’s name?)

3.      What have ‘Mum’ and Dad been hiding from Poppy? (What is her stepmother’s name?)

4.      Who was/is Pippa? What do you think happened to her? Why do you think that?

5.      Who/what do you think Poppy saw on the escalator at Brent Cross?

6.      Why does Poppy tell her dad not to be sorry?

7.      How does Ralph plan to keep Philippa/Pippa away?


Do you remember your dreams or, like Poppy, mostly forget them? Have you ever tried to get a dream back by going to sleep again?

Did you have an imaginary friend when you were small? Did s/he have a name?

Poppy sadly lost her mum, Stella, when she died in childbirth. Do you think her step mum, Rosie, is a good mum?

Are Poppy’s parents telling her the whole truth? How do you know?

Why will silver crosses and garlic not keep the ‘ghost’ away?

C:   TO TALK ABOUT (OR WRITE ABOUT)                                                                                                          Can you think of when you were both scared and excited at the same time?

Would it be easy to be in a step family (or step families)? How could (step) parents and children make things better?

D:  DRAW A PICTURE of Ralph looking like his mouth is about to catch flies. Choose one word to describe how he feels. Is there an Emoji for that?

LANGUAGE: Find words or phrases which mean the same, or almost the same as the following words, as they are used in the story:        eavesdrop       hallucinating   huddled        paranormal                                                                                                                                                            How does Ralph look when his face is ‘crumpling’?                                                                     Look at the following sentences. What do they suggest? What do they tell us or not tell us?           ‘She’s no longer with us,’ Mum Rosie adds quickly.       ‘Pippa was… taken away.’              My question is ignored.

Why does Dad ‘croak’ when he says, ‘I couldn’t bring myself to say that … ‘?

What can you say about the word ‘bestest’?

Cyber Spooks             Worksheet 5

A: After you have read Chapter 5: Uncle Tom , answer the following questions.

1.      Why does Ralph put a silver cross on Poppy’s bedroom door? Will it work? Why not?

2.      What shows that Poppy, at thirteen, is just as confused about vampires as Ralph, who is only seven?

3.      What do Katie and Poppy find out about on Google?

4.      What is Poppy scared that Pippa will do and what does she tell Katy she will do if she does?

5.      What story is cooked up about ‘Spook’ coming to the Halloween party?

6.      Why has Uncle Tom been to Australia? What is his good news?

7.      Why does Poppy think Uncle Tom should not have had the chemical cudgel? Who does she think has been talking to him?

8.      What does Uncle Tom tell Poppy but not the others?


Was it Frankenstein or Dracula who was a vampire? Find out about the 2 stories if you haven’t read them.

Do you believe in ghosts and reincarnation?


 Do you use Skype or is that old fashioned?  Does anyone use a landline? What’s new these days?  Think about:  WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, Snapchat, Marco Polo, Facebook, Instagram, Jus Talk, Hangouts and WeChat etc.

D: DRAW A PICTURE of Dracula with Ralph holding up a silver cross to keep him away.



Find words or phrases which mean the same, or almost the same, as the following as they are used in the story:

            heebie-jeebies                        reincarnation              spirit                definity and affinity                bleached                        patronising                  psychiatrist                  schizophrenic              psychotic                     blabbermouth

What does the phrase ‘rejoin the normal world’ tell us about Uncle Tom and Poppy?

Cyber Spooks:                        Worksheet 6

A: After reading Chapter 6: The Time is getting Closer answer the following questions.

1.      Is Poppy happy that Pippa hasn’t been around for a while?

2.      How are Katie and Poppy probably going to present their Geography project? Will that please their teacher?

3.      Do we find out who placed the magazine on Poppy’s bed? What is it advertising?

4.      What does Poppy hear as she’s drifting off to sleep?

5.      What does Dad complain about at 8:30 in the morning and what does Mum say?

6.      Why does Poppy scream when she’s soaking in the bath? How does she feel soon after? Is this Pippa talking, do you think?

7.      What does Poppy tell Rosie Mum she fancies learning about?

8.      Why does Poppy fall asleep before she can read her book, Poppy’s Angel?

9.      Does Dad succeed in booking the holiday and who can go?

10.  What does Poppy see in her dream and why is she so keen to speak to Uncle Tom?


Have you ever prepared a Power Point Presentation? Talk about it in your group or pair.

Do you know anything about health foods? What about healthy foods? Is there a difference?

Poppy’s step mum, Rosie, is very tidy. Is that a good thing?


What do you do on a Staff Training Day? What would you LIKE to do?

Mum won’t leave Poppy at home alone because she’s only thirteen. What do you think of that?

Do you get books for your birthday or for Christmas? Talk about one or more of the books you like or don’t like.

D: DRAW A PICTURE of the woman Poppy sees in her dream on page 26 

OR of a fairy castle you might see in your dreams.

LANGUAGE:                                                                                                Find words or phrases which mean the same or almost the same as the following:

spooky stuff:      haunted:        wiped out exhausted:              poltergeist:      menace:           ghost-infested insomnia:            24/7:    dream at will.

What is implied when Poppy says they interrupted Dad’s ‘precious football’?

Cyber Spooks:            Worksheet 7:

A:  After reading Chapter 7: My name is NOT Penelope, answer the following questions.

1.      Why is Mum (Rosie) sad about taking Poppy to the Health shop?

2.      Why did Poppy’s real mum, Stella, give up studying healing plant’s

3.      How do you think Poppy knows so much about herbs?

4.      What do you think is making Poppy dizzy and so cold?

5.      How does Rosie Mum try to help Poppy to calm down? What does she give her?

6.      When it’s time to go home, how does Poppy feel?

7.      What does she not want to do when she gets home? Why?



Are there any healing plants or natural remedies that you know about? Do many people use them these days?

Poppy hears voices but she’s just a normal girl. What do you think is going on?



Do you think Poppy’s real mum, Stella, would have understood more about what’s going on than her step mum, Rosie, does?

When she grows up, Poppy thinks she might be a herbalist who makes people better. What do you think you might be?


D:   DRAW A PICTURE of a shelf in a health shop with health foods and bottles of herbal medicines. (Write labels on them but only if you want to.)



Explain, in your own words, what the following mean:

Herbal medicines:       natural remedies:       poisonous:       puzzled.

How is Rosie feeling when ‘her jaw is hitting her chin’?

Cyber Spooks:                  Worksheet 8

A: Answer the following questions when you have read Chapter 8: Ringlets in My Hair

1.      How do Mum and Dad think that Poppy has learned about herbalism?

2.      When Poppy went down to her mother’s herbal garden what did she notice?          Tick all of the following which are true:           a) birds            b) comfort      c) weeds    d) an exciting smell          e) music          f) smells and sounds from long ago

3.      What did Poppy feel she was being pulled towards in her dreams last night?

4.      Why did the morning’s dream feel different? What did the dream make her ask her mum Rosie to help her with?

5.      Then she has a picture in her head (a vision or a daydream).  What can she see and hear in it?

6.      Why do you think Poppy pretends to want ringlets because celebrities have them?

7.      Why do you think Poppy is so good at doing ringlet? What helps her? Is it YouTube?

8.      Why does Ralph say Katie and Poppy are nutcases? Are they?

9.      Do the girls have fun at Brent Cross at first? Say why.

10.  What is the really scary thing that happens at Brent Cross?

B:  TO THINK ABOUT OR DISCUSS                                                                                                         

Do you ever want to go back to sleep to finish a dream? Does it work? Do you have a recurring dream (one that comes again and again)? Talk about dreams in your group.        

Do you have any favourite celebrities? Would you like to be like them? Is it nice to be admired because you are trendy or different? Discuss. 

C:  TO TALK ABOUT OR WRITE ABOUT                                                                                             

Describe Poppy’s two dreams and a daydream in your own words either as a written story or in your discussion group. You can comment (say what you think) on why this is happening to her.                                                                                                                                                         

‘You know what it’s like when you know a piece of music but not what it’s called’ Poppy says as the narrator of the story. Does this happen to you sometimes?

D:    DRAW A PICTURE of the two people in Poppy’s morning dream, with labels, if you like.

 LANGUAGE: Think about the following 2013 slang words. Are they still used today?      Amaze-balls:   wicked:   wicked-awesome:   whatever:   shuh up!  edgy/trendy.                Guess the meanings of pampooty and lockram petticoat which are very old words, not used today.

                                                                                                                        →→→     P.T.O.

Find words or phrases which mean the same as:      mysterious:   tangle:   straggly:    hazy:   glistening:    paranoid:    rubber-necked:   scrunchies.                                                                              

What do the following imply?                                                                                                              ‘A mixture of respect and fear’     

 ‘Mum and Dad exchange glances but I’m sure they don’t think I’ve noticed.’      

 Katie’s face is as white as a sheet is a simile.  Write down 5 more similes.

Cyber Spooks:                       Worksheet 9

A:         Read Chapter 9: Cyber Spook and answer the following questions:

1.      Why does Poppy want her dad to see the picture on her phone?          

2.      Who does Katie think Cyber Spook is in the picture and what is she scared of?

3.      What does Poppy finally tell Katie all about?

4.      What happens to the image on Katie’s and Dad’s phones? Does the same happen on Uncle Tom’s phone?

5.      What do Mum and Dad do when they see the clear image?

6.      What do you think is the real reason Dad wants to ring Uncle Tom? Why do you think his hand hovers nervously over his smartphone?

7.      What does Uncle Tom tell everyone when he sees the photo and hears Poppy’s story? However, what do we learn when he and Poppy are alone?

8.      Uncle Tom warns Poppy not to move into the paranormal. Why? What happens then? What do people think? What does he tell her to do?

9.      What does Uncle say to everyone about what should happen?

10.  When Poppy freaks out and runs out into the garden, what happens before Mum comes to comfort her? What does Poppy decide to do? Why?

11.   Is there anything that tells us Uncle Tom is trying to protect Poppy?

B:         TO THINK ABOUT OR DISCUSS                                                                                                        Poppy and Uncle Tom both hear voices. Do you ever imagine you hear voices perhaps in your dreams or daydreams? Are they scary or kind? (You don’t have to talk about it if you’d rather not.)                                                                                                                                           When Uncle Tom tells Poppy she might be Penelope what does she say? Is she in denial? What do you think she really believes?

C:         TO TALK ABOUT OR WRITE ABOUT                                                                                                    Talk about the voices that Poppy and Uncle Tom hear. What do they say and where do you think they are coming from?

D:         DRAW A PICTURE of Poppy with her hair in ringlets and a speech bubble showing her thoughts on one of her dreams and/or something that Voice tells her.

LANGUAGE:                                                                                                                                             Find words or phrases which mean the same, or almost the same, as the following as they are used in this story.                     stuff:       possess:        gutted:             blurry:                         duff:   some techie ghost:       hovers nervously:            chuffed:           paranormal:    terrified/petrified: a special gift:       label:   spooked:   breezes in:   funny look.

Finish Uncle Tom’s sentence using ONE word. Yes you can. I think it’s …                                 Why do you think the writer uses block capitals for NOBODY ELSE COULD SEE HER and Across the CENTURIES!

Cyber Spooks:                        Worksheet 10

A:  Answer these questions after you read Chapter 10: Texts from the Past.

1.      What does Poppy find on her phone when her message alert whistles? Who is the only one who will know about this?

2.      Who is texting? What does Poppy think of the phone number?

3.      When Poppy asks if Philippa is still alive, she is told, ‘Yes and No’. What do you think that could mean?

4.      What keeps Poppy awake making her too tired to go to the shop with Mum Rosie?

5.      What is Poppy just in time to stop Dad doing? Does she show her anxiety?

6.      Do you think Dad knows full well that someone from the past wants Poppy to save the herbs? How can we tell?

7.      Who do you think the ‘new voice’ belongs to? What does this ‘voice’ tell Poppy she might need hawthorn berry juice for?

8.      This ‘voice ‘does something very powerful to save the herb plants? What is this?

9.      How do the family and Katie and Charlie celebrate the new patio and garden furniture? What does Poppy hope is the reason for Mum and Dad looking so relaxed after a long time?

10.  What will Poppy keep secret, even from Katie?

11.  Where exactly are the family going to spend their holiday?

B:   TO THINK ABOUT OR DISCUSS                                                                                                            Poppy switches her phone on when she goes to bed. She’s thirteen. Is this a good idea in general? Why or why not?  Have times and ideas changed since 2013?  What make of phone do you think Poppy has? How can you tell? Is that the best make?

Poppy is going to keep a secret from Katie? What is it? Do you think we all have secrets?

C:       TO TALK ABOUT OR WRITE ABOUT                                                                                                       *Roll your eyes and look sideways at the person sitting next to you. What does that say?    How many other gestures with special meanings can you think of? Can you whimper?                                                      *Poppy has become very keen on gardening? Do you like gardening? Why or why not?

D:    DRAW A PICTURE of all the food served at the barbecue. What’s your favourite?

LANGUAGE:     Write out the following two text messages in correct English sentences:            here 2 stay:         U said u’d come back. How many other text abbreviations can you think of?

Find words or phrases which mean the same as the following as they are used here:       alert:    delete:   alien:     kill:   wrecked:   stroking:   Oh my giddy ghost:    bed:   miserable: wistful:    catching the sun:   spurred on

What is one word for Poppy seeing 1am, 2am 3am and 4am before she unplugs her clock? Is there a cure for this?

Cyber Spooks             Worksheet 11                                                                                                            A:            Read Chapter 11: Journey into the Unknown and answer the following questions.

1.      Why is Dad shouting, ‘Give it a rest, Ralph’?

2.      What is the only thing on Poppy’s mind? What is she missing so much?

3.      What does Mum think everyone needs a break from? What does Poppy think gave her that idea?

4.      Flick through the chapter and list all the things everyone does to pass the time inside the car and find out how many times ‘Voice’ speaks to Poppy.

5.      Where do they find the six life-size wooden statues of cowboys with their guns in their holsters? Describe what the family do at this place?

6.      Do the children begin to enjoy watching the scenery? Give one example for Ralph and one for Poppy.

7.      Why do the family land at a hotel on the shores of Coniston Water?  Describe the afternoon tea there. What time was tea?

8.      They go on a lovely lake cruise: What is it called, where does it leave from and where does it go? Who told them about it?

9.      What scary things happen to Poppy, in the café just before the cruise and when she talks to someone on the steamer?

10.  What makes Ralph happy on the trip? What about Mum and Dad? Did Poppy have a best bit about the boat trip?

11.   Why does Poppy say she’s glad she came here despite being desperate to get to her fairy castle? (Why did she count the months off on her fingers?)

12.  What is written on the menu blackboard at breakfast?

B:   TO THINK ABOUT OR DISCUSS                                                                                                         *Do you like long journeys? Discuss your best or worst journeys. Do you have to go on a plane to go on holiday? What was Ralph’s cute question about holidays?                                                  *Has your family ever had a break from technology? Do you think you can spend too much time on screens? What do people miss if they do? Are some people addicted to phones?                                                                                                                                             C:  TO TALK ABOUT OR WRITE ABOUT                                                                                          Form two groups A and B:                                                                                                                           Group A: find a copy of the poem ‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth and Group B: find out about what happened to Donald Campbell. Present a report to the other group on what you have learned.                                                                                                                                                     D:         DRAW A PICTURE of EITHER Coniston water with hills behind it reflected in the water and a boat with a red funnel OR a swan with a little brood of cygnets on the lake.

LANGUAGE: What is meant by the following as used in the chapter?   Bleating:     idolises:   signal:    rip off:   loch:    reflections:   anxiety:   chuckling:   snaps:   three plates high thing: the sight:   out of this world:   how the limbo do I know?    blessing:   curse.

Ask someone older why ‘…he is a very, very, very, very nice man’ is funny.

Cyber Spooks:               Worksheet 12

A:  Answer these questions on Chapter 12: Welcome to Scotland

1.      What starts as soon as the family arrive in Scotland which makes them laugh?

2.      What can happen at Gretna Green as Mum tells them? What does Poppy say about that without knowing where the knowledge came from?

3.      We learn something new from a new ‘Voice’, this time a man. What do we learn?

4.      How old is old, according to Poppy when she sees a bride in a white dress?

5.      Why does Ralph say, ‘Right’ to the piper in a slow and quiet voice?

6.      What does Mum say with her hand on her cheek? Why?

7.      What is Poppy scared is going to happen to her dream? Why?

8.      How does she feel when they get to Loch Lomond?

9.      Does Ralph like Glencoe? Why or why not?

10.  What is a crannog and how does Poppy know? Does she tell the others this?

11.  Has Poppy been to Urquhart castle before?

12.  Why does Poppy pretend to be asleep?

13.  What does the teenage boy say to Poppy when they arrive at Ballindourie?


Do you think sixteen is too young to get married? Would you run away to Gretna Green to get married? Talk about the different ages and traditions for marriage across the centuries and the world today?


The family drive through a venue which was used for Harry Potter films and for the James Bond film, Skyfall. Do you know any other venues for films?  

 Write about a journey you went on, perhaps on holiday or to visit someone.

D:         DRAW A PICTURE of Poppy’s fairy castle peeping out of the woodland.

LANGUAGE: Find words or phrases which mean the same as the following in this chapter: sheepishly:     chanter:            anvil:      fidgeting:      massacred:      blotting out:    turrets:  spires:               crenellations:    fey:       more this worldly:        a ruin.                              

What do you think of the made-up words SAT NAFF and cantbebotheredness?

Can you screw your eyes shut and hug your elbows? Why might you do that?

DIALECT: What do you think ‘Aye Aye’ and ‘Ken’ mean?      

Cyber Spooks:                          Worksheet 13

A: Answer the following questions after you have read Chapter 13:  Pippa

1.      How do you think Ralph sounds when he says, ‘Pippa?’ Why is that?

2.      Why do you think Poppy strangely knows where the path is going and also what Mum will find when she goes to the door of the holiday cottage?

3.      The twins, Poppy and Pippa, finally meet. Are they identical and did they know about each other through their parents?

4.      Why did Pippa never tell anyone about the voices? Looking back, why might Poppy have felt she was able to tell her family?

5.      How does everyone react when Poppy shares the texts from Penelope and the 400 copies of the deleted picture?

6.      Why can’t Poppy get through to 31101 600 613? Have you worked out what is familiar about that number yet?

7.      When everyone gets to the top of the hill, what question does Poppy ask Penelope?

8.      Poppy shares the first answer with only Pippa. What is that?

9.      What important thing does Penelope tell the twins about their mother and what does she ask Pippa to do and why? What do you think might have been tried three times unsuccessfully?

10.  Why is Dad so scared of the name Estelle?

11.  Why do Poppy and Dad rush up to the castle, after the landline rings loudly? What has Pippa found on her old phone and laptop? How many people are sharing that phone with the number 31101 600 613?

12.  What does Philippa tell the twins they have to do before they can get to the future and what is their first stop?

13.  How many days does Philippa say are left for the twins to change the course of history?


This chapter answers a lot of puzzling questions. Discuss everything that has happened to Poppy and Pippa since they were born. What do you think is the cause of all these strange events?


Put the following words into three columns headed NATURAL    SUPERNATURAL    BOTH   Bereavement: scam: adoption: separated twins: parallel worlds: reincarnation: step family:  the ‘gift’: hearing voices: paranormal: poltergeist: double/doppelganger: heebie-jeebies:   (a) spirit: déjã vu: Cyberspace: spooks: The Loch Ness monster: ghosts: the future: the past: limbo: history: haunted: dreams:                                                                                                                                         In pairs or groups, talk about why you chose the words for each column.                 →→→

D:    DRAW A PICTURE of a wild place with trees and mountains and water with the twins in the distance walking hand in hand. (See the description on page 81).

LANGUAGE: Poppy and Pippa are twins but they speak English very differently. Sometimes the words they use are the same but they speak in a different accent; that means the same words sound different. Sometimes the dialect they use is different; this means they use completely different words although they are both speaking English. Make two columns headed Poppy and Pippa and list the following words each would use, matching those words or phrases which mean the same:                                                                                        For example      Poppy                I                   Pippa                                                                                                                             Hill                      =                     brae                                                             glaikit:    haven’t:   away from:    feart:   Dinna greet:   Mam:  another:   fright:    I kent :         Did ye ken?:   frightened:   stupid:   Did you know?:   Hello: nonsense:  awa fae:   hav’nae:   anither:     Me too:  fleg:   Mum:   awa fae:   I knew:   Me an aw:   Aye aye:  Don’t cry:  havers:                                                                                                          

Find words or phrases which mean the same or almost the same as the following as they are used in Chapter 13:                                                                                                                                         wrong in the head:   having a loose screw:   tetchy:   bags I have:   hazy:    miffed:         heebie-jeebies:   vulnerable:    ominous:   unsettling:    glum:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Gestures which say something:   What might you be saying when you scratch your head? What might the following gestures mean?                                                                  *dropping your jaw / letting your mouth fall open         *shrugging your shoulders      *pushing your hands through your hair (like the twins’ dad)

Why is, ‘I wouldn’t be seen dead in that!’ both funny and scary?

Cyber Spooks:                        Worksheet 14

A:   When you have read Chapter 14: Thirteen Days to Go, answer the following questions.

1.      Where do the twins go in the morning? Do they know what they’re looking for?

2.      Why does Pippa never look around the graveyard and what does Poppy say?

3.      What makes the twins shiver and cling to each other?

4.      What do they find outside the graveyard?

5.      What do we find out from The Minister and the Parish register about when, how and why Penelope, Estelle and Philippa die in the 1600s (the 17th century)? What do the twins think is happening to their souls?

6.      Can you guess what Pippa and Poppy are supposed to do before August 9th?

7.      How old was Philippa when she got married?

8.      Describe Poppy’s feelings when she’s left alone upstairs in the castle.

9.      Why do you think the twins can’t see a birthmark on the girl from the past in the picture of the three people which Estelle might have sent to Pippa’s laptop?

10.  Why do you think Poppy’s dad and step mum seem so happy to see the twins together?

11.  What does Rosie Mum tell the twins Stella believed about shooting stars?

12.  When Poppy rings Uncle Tom, what advice does he give the twins?

13.  What does Voice (perhaps Estelle) tell the twins to do in the morning?


What three life events can we find out about in graveyards and old Parish registers which began in 1552? Is it important to find out these details?  Think about what happens today.

In pairs or groups, talk about why Penelope, Estelle and Philippa became like lost souls wandering through Limboland, looking for Heaven. Do you believe in all this? Do we believe in witchcraft these days?


Find out about the plague, which Philippa died of, and the 1918 Spanish flu. Were they different from the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic? Write a short story about your experiences during the 2020 pandemic.

D:    DRAW A PICTURE in pencil of Penelope Davenport’s gravestone with the writing on it and then colour in your picture.


                                                                                                →→→→     P.T.O.


LANGUAGE: Look up the word anachronism in a dictionary, or on the internet, and then describe the anachronism(s) in this story.                    

Find words or phrases which mean the same as the following as they are used in this chapter:   kirkyard:   green mould:   giddy ghost:   scrabble around: ancestors: confined:  fusty musty:   née:   dittos:   baptised:   puzzled:   appreciate:   bachelor:   spinster:   confectioner: intrigued:  stalking:   loch:   shivering:   boots up:   blurry:    hysterical:   meddle:   dappled sunlight:  stroll:   clamber:  

Do you know anyone who is a bit New Age like Stella was?

The twins speak ‘in exact’ unison,’ ‘exactly together’ or ‘in perfect unison’. What does this tell us? Look up the word telepathy.

Fantabulous is a new word made of two other words. What are they?

Translate the following Scots dialect into Standard English: Ah weel:   yer:   Och lassie (hard)   wasnae:   Aye:  didnae:   deid:   Wait a minty!:   auld:   tae:   goin’:

Cyber Spooks:                  Worksheet 15

A:       Read Chapter 15: Behind the Bumble Bee Willow Tree and answer these questions.

1.      The twins set off to sort out what Estelle’s ghost tells them will ‘take some time’. What else did Estelle’s last text say? How do you think that can be possible?

2.      Why does Pippa not want to take the low road near the water? Describe it.

3.      What makes Voice chuckle?

4.      Describe what’s just behind the bumble bee willow tree, before the path.

5.      Who do the twins meet as they walk along the path? Pippa remembers some things about him. What does she remember and how could she remember that?

6.      What gives the girls a shock when they look down at themselves?

7.      What does Poppy say might have happened to the twins, if they had turned up in the Middle Ages wearing trainers and denim shorts?

8.      Find out the name of the wooden thing across the shoulders of the woman carrying water. Her dialect is different. What kind of English might ‘Doon fur watter’ be?

9.      Why does Pippa say, ‘Don’t tell me about 21st century pollution, ever again’?

10.  Who or what crosses the twins’ path, forcing them to stop?


Try to imagine that you are in Pippa and/or Poppy’s situation. How would you feel? Discuss this in your pairs or groups.

Can you think of any famous stories where there is some kind of entry leading to another world or another time in the past or future?


Do you think life was better in the 17th century than it is today? Why or Why not? Create three spider diagrams for SOUNDS, SMELLS and SIGHTS and add all the details described in this chapter. Is there a difference between a sound and a noise?

D:   DRAW A PICTURE of the woman fetching water from the loch AND/OR Poppy or Pippa dressed in medieval clothing AND/OR a scythe. Label your drawing(s).

LANGUAGE: Find other words or phrases for the following as they are used in Chapter 15.         Mega excited:   flushed and flustered:   chuckle:   catkins:   droopy:   darker and danker:   crackling:    posy:  dumb:    dangled:   odour:   snort:   splutter:

Translate the following slang, dialect or Middle English into Standard English:                  mega:    nae the day:   ahint:   lavvy:   Faur ye gaen?:   Doon fur watter: Tae the loch?:       Aye, the work o’ gan fur watter niver stops:  oota the park:

GESTURES:  Beckon to someone near you. Can you beckon differently in different cultures? Could someone be bad-mannered without realising it?  Purse your lips.

Cyber Spooks:                Worksheet 16

A:    Answer the questions after you have read Chapter 16: Can the Laird’s Bairn be saved?

1.      Who is the pretty woman with long red hair and very green eyes? Translate into Standard English what she tells Philippa and Penelope in the first paragraph.

2.      Why has she brought the twins back to Ballindourie Castle in 1613?

3.      What did she do on October 31st in 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000? How do you think she managed to do that? Think about how she did that in 2000.

4.      Why did the Laird’s bairn and his lady die and who was blamed? Was she guilty, do you think?

5.      What does Pippa say most Scots can do?

6.      Is Estelle really at the castle or is she somewhere else which gives her great power?

7.      Describe what is tearing the twins apart.

8.      The twins come up with a possible cure at exactly the same moment. What is it?

9.      Describe in detail how they manage to get the cure and bring it back to 1613.

10.  Without pockets, how does Poppy/Penelope carry the medicine?

11.  What surprises Philippa and Penelope about how they are treated at the castle?

12.  Which TV programmes help Penelope to do the job she is given?

13.  Does it succeed? What happens after that?

14.  Describe the jobs that medieval Penelope and Philippa did at this time in 1613.

15.  What is that worries the twins now that they have changed history?


When the twins get back through the tunnel, the time has stood still. If you could suspend time, where would you like to go into the past or the future and why? What would you miss about here and now? What do the twins like and dislike about life in a medieval castle and what do they miss about today’s world?


Why did the cure succeed in 2013 although it failed in 1713, 1813 and 1913? How has modern medicine, food and hygiene changed the world? Has this always been a good thing? What has happened to the World Population and how has that affected Planet Earth?

D:       DRAW A PICTURE, with labels, of Pippa in her 2013 clothes and Penelope in her 1613 clothes.

LANGUAGE: Find words or phrases which mean the same as the following:   petrified:   grief:   perchance:   poor mite:   lairdship:   bairn:   tortured:   escorted:  purgatory: the minister:   prescription:   distraction:   petticoat:   anxiously:   whisked away:   curtseying:   mead:   marchpane:   ploden cloak:   forehead:   hovering:   gross:   squatting: swaddled:  wet nurse:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          →→→ PTO

Read these words spoken by the twins. Why do we not need to say who said them?        ‘Have you noticed Estelle changes her words when she speaks to me from when she speaks to you?’                                                                                                                                                              ‘Aye, I mean yes; most Scots can do that.’

Who was the first speaker and who was the second? In the story Pippa and her mum and dad keep trying to change their accent and dialect so that Poppy and her family can understand them. Estelle does the same thing in 1613, but of course she had special powers helping her then.                                                                                                                                                    Do you have two or more languages, dialects or accents you can use to fit different situations?

Cyber Spooks:                                    Worksheet 17

A:      Answer the following questions on Chapter 17: Will she let us go?

1.      Why are Pippa/Philippa and Poppy/Penelope panicking? Are they right to panic?

2.      What reasons do they have to spend a little more time at the medieval castle?

3.       Which two questions do the twins ask their first mother? What are her two answers?

4.      What has the twins’ father Simeon being doing in his very busy job ever since they arrived back in 1613? Why does he fall asleep in his chair?

5.      What does the laird, Baron Gavin, give Penelope as a thank you gift?

6.       What has Philippa’s job been in the castle and what tricky little task does Penelope help her with?

7.      What happens to the huge amount of the extra food after a medieval feast?

8.      What does Lady Isabella ask Penelope to do because she does it so well? Who do you think organised the practice for Poppy with Rosie Mum and Katie?

9.      Who is going to help the twins to crossover back to their century? Were you surprised?

10.  Estelle says some very confusing things before the twins leave. What do you think of what she says and why she seems to disappear? We are left with more questions.


Think about the care, food and drink Lady Isabella was given to make her strong for the birth of her baby and look at the list of food and drink ordered for the celebration banquet.  How are the care, food and drink different from today?

Describe how Lady Isabella and her new baby are dressed up and prepared for being presented to the baby’s new world. What’s different today?


Estelle tells the twins that they still have a double existence, one in 1613 and one in 2013. If you could have 2 places and times to live in, when and where would you like the other one which is different from the one you have now?  

D:         DRAW A PICTURE of one of the 3 swan centrepieces and one of the 2 peacock centrepieces on the banqueting tables. (Draw them all if you want to.)  (Writer’s note: the American spelling of centerpiece in the book was a typing error; centrepiece is correct in UK.)


                                                                                                →→→      P.T.O.

LANGUAGE: Find other words or phrases for the following as used in this chapter:                           complicated:   time travel:   feast:   ale:   lilt:   delight:   treasure (verb):   unspeakable:      pigs’ trotters:   employed:   wasted:  hearty (meal):   time suspension: loony bin:                              nicked:   pinch (myself):   groaning (table):   scruffy:   gorgeous: inhabit.

Dialect: Translate these words in Scots dialect (or Middle English perhaps), into modern Standard English:            bonny lassies:   abody frae fifty miles aroon:

Slang:   Sometimes Pippa and Poppy lapse into 21st century slang and initialisms.  When Pippa says Robert is fit, what does she mean?                                                                                 Look up the word acronym.  What do OMG and OTT mean and are they initialisms or acronyms? What about FOMO, GIF and UNICEF?

Sarcasm: When Philippa explains the dates that she and Penelope have been at the medieval castle, Poppy is confused so she says, ‘Can’t you make that any more complicated?’  Finish this sentence using one word.. She is being _____________.

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