Janet Reid

Janet Reid grew up on a dairy farm with hay sheds and pigsties, old abandoned farm machinery, and lots of open space.

It was a haven for hours of story weaving with her sister between milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, and sneaking milk for stray cats.

She went into teaching and taught in places from the cane fields in Central Queensland to Brisbane before retiring to concentrate on her writing. She lives on the northern outskirts of Brisbane with her husband, two sons and a very ‘human’ cat called Kelsey.


Janet's first book with IP Kidz, The Ruby Bottle.

Book trailer for The Ruby Bottle.


Long grass on either side of the dusty track swayed in the gentle breeze, as if nodding its approval of what Tim was about to do. But when the sun dipped behind a stray cloud, the afternoon seemed suddenly eerie, and Tim wished he was anywhere but heading towards Granny Rags’ house.

He looked back. The mailbox was hidden from view. Could he just pretend to go down to Granny Rags’? Say that she wasn’t at home? But somewhere deep down, he felt curious. Anyway, he thought, how scary could the old lady be?

He walked on and saw that the track didn’t just lead to Granny Rags’ house; it went further, past her place. Could he just keep going? But when he came level with the house, he stopped. It looked empty and derelict with its peeling paint and rusted roof. The front door beyond the sagging verandah was closed but the windows were open, and faded curtains danced in the breeze as though they were beckoning to him.

He stepped forward and pushed the gate. It creaked as he opened it. He stopped; looked around. There was no movement; no sound. TIm walked along the cracked path, with its weeds and grass poking through, and placed a hand tentatively on the railing of the front stairs. He looked up at the closed door, eager now to see what secrets it hid.

‘And what do you think you’re doing?’

Tim jumped, his heart ricocheting about in his chest. There, coming round one side of the house, was the old woman. He couldn’t see how old she really was; she was wearing a big hat that flopped down over her face. She brandished a black stick as she strode towards him, faster than Tim thought possible.

‘What do you want?’ she shouted, waving her stick in his face. Tim stepped back and his foot caught in a wide crack in the path. His hands waved in the air as he tried to right himself, but it was too late. He fell flat on his back beside the path, and the plastic bag holding the fish flew through the air and landed on his face.

‘Ugh,’ he said as he pulled himself backwards in fright, trying to shake the fish off, as if it were a snake. A shadow fell over him and, as he looked up, the old woman loomed above.

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