Sal's secret

Supports ASIC's MoneySmart Teaching Year 3 unit of work

Dear diary,
I have a secret.
It's a big secret that only I know.
Nobody else knows that I know.
But I know.

It started a few weeks ago. I saw my older brother, Jamie, holding something small and shiny. He stood on a chair and placed it on the top shelf of his cupboard. I asked him what it was.

'Sal, stay away from my cupboard,' was all he said.

A week later, my sister Colleen sold her pencil case.

When she handed over the pencil case, I heard her say, 'Thirty-five, forty, fifty.' Then I saw her put something on the top shelf of Jamie's cupboard. What were they storing there?

I also overheard Jamie talking to his best friend, Isaac, on the phone.

'So that's ten dollars for each hour. That equals … thirty dollars. That sounds fair.' Isaac's sister told me that Isaac earns money by playing guitar.

But why would Jamie pay Isaac to play music?

Then I found this note. Colleen had left it on the kitchen table.

Colleen doesn't know that I saw it. She didn't even realise when I quietly fixed her mistake.

My final clue came when I saw this receipt lying on the floor, after Jamie and Colleen had gone shopping with Mum.

Balloons? Streamers? Forty people? Prize bags? Music? I don't know what 'EFTPOS' means. I still don't know what is on the top shelf of Jamie's cupboard. But I do know this: They are planning a party.

My birthday is on Sunday. They are planning a surprise party for me. The only problem is that it won't be a surprise.

That's my secret. My secret is that I know. I know their secret. I know about the surprise party.

I don't want them to know that I know. So I sit in my room, in front of my mirror, and practise looking surprised.

I pretend not to notice when Jamie and Colleen go on their secret shopping trips.

I pretend I can't hear when my best friends – Max and Stacy – say, 'See you on Sunday!' Then I pretend I can't see when they cover their mouths because they remember that it's a surprise.

Nobody knows that I know.

But I know.

Dear diary,

Today was my birthday.

I woke up so excited. I couldn't wait for the party because I knew there would be friends, music and streamers.

When I got to the breakfast table, no-one said anything about my birthday.

By lunchtime, no-one had come over and there were no streamers in sight.

By the afternoon, I was wondering if my party was ever going to happen.

'It's such a lovely day,' said Jamie. 'I think we should go for a long walk.'

A long walk? I didn't want a walk; I wanted my party!

I was walking with Jamie and Colleen when we saw Stacy in her front garden, bouncing on her trampoline.

'Hi, Sal,' she said. 'I thought I might see you today. I hope I see you tomorrow too!' She kept bouncing and didn't say anything about my birthday.

We kept walking and I saw Max, walking a dog. 'Hi, Sal. I'm walking Isaac's dog because he's busy playing with his friends.' Playing with his friends? It didn't sound like he would be playing guitar at my party.

Maybe I got it wrong. Maybe there was no surprise party. Maybe everyone forgot my birthday.

Then Colleen said, 'We might as well head home.'

And Jamie said, 'Yes, it's getting late.'

And I thought, 'I really think everybody has forgotten my birthday.'

It was dark by the time we reached my house. I stepped inside. Can you imagine my surprise when Jamie switched on the lights?

There were streamers and balloons everywhere.

The room was full of people.

Isaac was playing music with his friends.

Jamie and Colleen had been saving money to buy my birthday present. They kept the money in a piggy bank in Jamie's cupboard.

I had a very surprised look on my face and I wasn't pretending. I was really surprised. And that was no secret!

The end

Restart this book More teaching resources