For Children and Adults


Children's Books

                    Now in Paperback
                    Great stories for kids 9-12

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Volume 3
Volume 2
Volume 1
Volume 1:
Philip and the Haunted House
When circumstances force Philip and Emery to sneak into a haunted house, they discover something that gives them the shock of their lives!

Philip and the Monsters
Philip and his best friend Emery are certain the new family on the block consists of the Fran-kenstein monster, the Wolfman, and Dracula. And now that family's been invited to dinner! Help!
Philip and the Fortune Teller
Philip and Emery race the clock to avert disas-ter when a gypsy gives them three wishes which turn into a nightmare. 
Philip and the Deadly Curse
When Emery has a streak of good luck, Philip sets out to find a good luck charm of his own, but what he finds turns out to be more deadly curse than good luck charm.

Volume 2:

Philip and the Superstition Kid:
Philip and Emery don't know what to do about Emery's monumentally clumsy cousin Leon, who is visiting for a week and who brings bad luck with him wherever he goes. Can they convince Leon to go home before his bad luck brings total disaster to their lives?
Philip and the Loser: Can Philip and Emery keep their promise to raise money at a neighbor's charity fair, or will Emery's monumentally unlucky cousin Leon prove their undoing when he decides to help out?
Philip and the ThiefPhilip cracks the case of the teacher's stolen money and shocks everyone, including Jason, the suspected thief, with the solution.
Philip and the Girl Who Couldn't Lose: 
Philip assures Jeanne, a girl who has bested him at every turn, that he will win the poster contest being run at the mall, but how will he ever defeat The Girl Who Couldn't Lose?
Philip and the Angel: 
Philip is determined to get a pet of his own, but even with the help of a neighborhood Angel, comedy and calamity meet Philip head-on.

Volume 3:

Philip and the Sneaky Trashmen
hen clumsy Leon helps Philip clean his room, it begins a wild adventure for Philip and Emery complete with missing jewelry, stolen pants, a crazy Aunt, and secret trips to the police station
Philip and the Miserable Christmas
Philip's young cousin Francis comes to stay for a few days over Christmas and turns the holiday into a disaster area.
Can anything bring back the joy of the day for Philip?

Philip and the Mummy
When a mummy walks into a birthday party calling Leon's name, and a valuable scarab goes missing, Philip and Emery have to get Leon out of a world of trouble.

Philip and the Dragon
Will Philip and Emery come up with a report to satisfy the demands of the most difficult assignment their teacher has ever given them? They might if only they can make a new friend and travel to New York City besides.

                    THE EMPTY HOUSES
A GHOST STORY                  

THE EMPTY HOUSES A ghost story for kids 9 and up.

Dougie’s best friend Curly dies in an accident. Yet, Dougie keeps hearing Curly’s voice coming from the strangest places. When Dougie’s mom sees him talking to… nothing, she gets very worried. When Curly’s voice tells Dougie it wasn’t an accident that sent him off the second floor porch, Dougie promises to do what he can to bring the two men responsible to Justice—if only Curly’s twin, pain-in-the-neck sister didn’t have to be involved.

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They went up the cement steps to the front door, which stood a right angle to the street and faced the front door of the house opposite it. Dougie pulled on the screen door, and it swung toward him. He tried the front doorknob, but it was locked.
"Nuts," he mumbled.

"You didn't expect to just walk in, did you?"

"Go see if anyone's coming," Dougie ordered, ignoring the presumption in Gwen's question that he was a dope.

Gwen paused, resentful at being ordered around by Dougie, but she finally stepped out in the open and checked both ways.

"Here comes a car," she said. They waited for the car to pass by. "Okay, nothing coming."

Dougie bent down and took off one of his sneakers.

"What are you doing?"

"A Creeper trick," said Dougie, giving Gwen some sarcasm back. The door had two windows, large squares, one above the doorknob and one below it. Dougie grasped the toe of his sneaker tightly and slammed the heel of his sneaker into the bottom window. The crash sounded like an explosion.

"Dougie!" Gwen searched the street to see whether they’d attracted attention.

Dougie put his arm inside the now empty space and unlocked the door.

"Let’s go in before anybody comes by." Seconds later, both he and Gwen were inside the dark house. Dougie bent to retie his sneaker.  The living room had no furniture other than one old, rotten, cushioned chair which had no cushion. A flight of stairs against the living room wall ascended to the second floor. The house smelled old and damp, and dust covered everything.

Gwen whispered, "This is what you and my brother did when you went creeping?" 

                       PHILIP AND THE MUMMY


  Can a homemade mummy rise from the dead? Philip and Emery's pal Leon thinks so. He buries a tiny mummy in his backyard. When they attend a birthday party held in the Egyptian room of the museum, and a real, live, walking, talking mummy shows up and a valuable scarab goes missing, Philip and Emery have to figure out a way to get Leon out of a world of trouble.

EXCERPT:   “So why are you late?”
 “Not my fault. Leon. As soon as we got home I had to go to his house and help him bury his mummy.”
 “You what!”
 “I had to help him bury his mummy.”
 “In the ground? You had to help?”
 “Of course, in the ground.”
 “In the cemetery!”
 “The cemetery? Of course not. In the backyard.”
 “What! And you had to help?” Philip nearly shouted.
“Shhh. Somebody’ll hear you.”
 “Never mind hearing me. What was wrong with his mommy?”
Emery shrugged. “Nothing, I guess.”
 “You buried his mommy and you weren’t sure if there was something wrong? His mommy had to be sick, at least.”
 “No, his mummy was dead.”
 “Dead! Didn’t she just go on the trip with you?”
 “Who! Leon’s mommy!”
 “His mother?”
 “Yes. His mother; his mommy”
 “Sure, she went on the trip.”
 “And when you got home you had to bury her?”
 “Bury who?”
 “His mother!”
 “Bury his mother?”
 “Yes, his mother!”
 “No, she made us lunch while we buried his mummy.”
Philip got to his knees. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Emery shrugged and spread his arms.
“Emery, start over. Who got buried?”
 “What do you mean nobody? You said you buried Leon’s mommy.”
 “No, I didn’t. I didn’t say that. I said we buried his mummy, not his mommy. How could you think we buried his mother? Get your ears checked.”
 “Get your mouth checked.”
 “You really think we dug a gigantic hole in the backyard, put Leon’s mother into it, and then covered her up with dirt?”
 “That’s what you said.”
 “I did not! You’re crazy.”
 “So Leon’s mother is okay? I thought, like, she died on the trip.”
 “Sure, she’s okay. She made us lunch, didn’t she? We buried the mummy Leon made. His mother’s fine. She didn’t die on the trip. When I left Leon’s house, though, she was dying.”
“Dying! You just said she made you lunch And she was okay. What’s wrong with her?”
 “So why’s she dying?”
 “She wants her brown hair to be a lighter color.”
Slowly, Philip said, “She’s dying her hair?”
Philip slumped back onto the dirt.


                              THE MOUNTAINTOP

Jason, a seventeen-year-old American, sets out for the mountaintop, an act forbidden in his society, to determine once and for all the truth of his city’s beliefs. On his journey there and back, Jason runs into some unexpected and eye-opening adventures. Most importantly, he meets Manda, a 17-year-old Ginder girl, who changes his life irrevocably.

Excerpt: I climbed about six feet up the wall. I might have gone further, but I didn’t need to. I saw the river flowing below, but not very far below. The sound of the waterfall wasn’t nearly as thunderous as the Bandar waterfall. Judging from the quiet fall of water and what I could see outside, the fall from the cave to the river would be manageable, if it were a water landing. I took a chance and stepped up one more rock to confirm the situation. The nearest part of the river I could see looked quite wide, but the river narrowed quickly as it flowed into the distance. I descended the rocks without slipping backward and made my way back to Manda by pulling myself along the rocks and ledges.
   “I’m going to go down the waterfall,” I announced. “I’ll call for you if I make it.”
    “Oh? What did you see?”
   I told her.
   “You think you’re going to be the brave one and save me?” Manda asked. “What you do, I do.” She let go of the rock and floated ahead.
    The urge to call her back overwhelmed me, but what good would it do? Anyway, I’d already decided we could make it. I pushed away from the wall and came even with her three feet from the edge. She rose up in the water and took a deep breath. I did the same, and over we went.


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                               PHILIP AND THE DRAGON 



Philip and Emery have to ace their research assignment about Chinese New Yeato save their Social Studies marks. Emery has found a boy who can help them, and they’re standing right outside his family’s restaurant.

“What’s his name?” Philip asked.
“He’s Hung Fat,” Emery replied.
“He’s what?”
“He’s Hung Fat.”
“He’s hung fat?”
“He’s hung fat in the restaurant?”
“Of course he’s Hung Fat in the restaurant.”
Philip glanced through the restaurant window. “He’s hung fat in there? I don’t see any. Why’s he hung fat in the restaurant?”
“Because…because…he’s Hung Fat everywhere. Duh!”
“In his house, even, he’s hung fat?”
“Of course he’s Hung Fat in his house. I just told you, he’s Hung Fat everywhere.”
“In school, too? The teacher lets him?”
“Of course, in school. The teacher has to let him. Why are you asking me such dumb questions?”
“They’re not dumb questions. Tell me his name, and stop telling me he’s hung fat. Who cares if he’s hung fat? It’s disgusting.”
“You must care. You asked me about it. And why is it disgusting? He’s Hung Fat. He can’t help it.”…….
“All right. Forget him. What’s his sister’s name?”
“She’s Bin Fat. See her. There she is.”
Philip glared at his friend.
“She’s been fat?” he said ominously.
Philip pulled Emery to the restaurant window and looked inside. A short, slender girl sat talking to Emery’s friend.
“That little girl’s been fat? When was she so fat?”
“I never said she was So Fat. She’s Bin Fat.”
“She’s never been so fat but she’s been fat? You’re not making any sense.”
“I’m making sense. You’re not listening any sense.”

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                            PHILIP AND THE MISERABLE CHRISTMAS 


      Philip’s Christmas turns into a disaster when his troublesome younger cousin Francis shows up to stay for a few days. Nothing is safe, not the Christmas tree, not the presents, and certainly not the good cheer of the season. Philip enlists his best friend Emery to help out in entertaining Francis but even a trip to the local mall to admire the decorations turns into a misadventure of epic proportions. Can anything bring some Christmas joy for Philip? Christmas morning holds the answer.


    Philip moaned and made a slow about-face. There sat Francis at the very top of the pile of fake presents. A man wearing a Santa Claus tie and a short-sleeved red shirt waved his arm at the boy.
    “Come down here, young man,” he shouted. “Get down from there. You’ll hurt yourself.”    
    Somehow Francis had scaled the pyramid of presents like a mountain goat and now sat on the top cube, legs dangling, unwrapping another small candy cane.
    “No, I won’t,” Francis said with certainty. He let go of the candy cane paper and watched it floated down until it fell at the feet of the man with the Santa Claus tie. A younger man in a short-sleeved white shirt and Santa hat moved next to him.
    “Shall I call security, Mr. Wackers?” the younger man asked.
    “No, no. Not yet, Bascomb.” He looked up at Francis again. “Son, come down here.”
    “I’m not your son,” Francis called down to him.
    “Thank goodness for that,” the man mumbled.
    “I’ll go up and get him,” said Bascomb.
    “No, the boxes won’t hold you, and we’d have a new catastrophe on our hands.” His eyes rose to Francis. “Come down, please, little boy.”
    “I don’t want to.”
    “Why not?”
    “’Cause I’m not done yet.”
    “Not done? Not done what? What are you doing?”
    “Yeah, and I’m not finished.”
    “Sir,” Bascomb said, “it could take him a long time to finish doing nothing.”
    Mr. Wackers scowled. “I’ll have to call your parents if you don’t come right down.”
    “They’re not here. They flew someplace.”
    “Well, who are you here with?”
    Philip’s stomach dropped when Francis pointed toward him.

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                                  RESCUE FROM ZORON

Mark Foy has returned home from his surprising trip to Planet Zoron. Prince Zincor’s throne is safe. But is it? Who shows up but Zincor’s Uncle Blaylock, still determined to take over Zincor’s throne, and his partner, the evil scientific genius Fentar? They’ve been mistakenly transported to Mark’s very neighborhood by the Tappa Ray and now have Mark in their sights, certain he knows something they don’t—the way back to Zoron. Blaylock’s quest for Prince Zincor’s throne is not over!

Excerpt:     Dozens of children went by before Fentar exclaimed, “There he is! I see him. The one in the blue jacket. There’s the boy! He’s the one. Oh, how I’d like to get my hands on him.”
                    “Yes,” said Blaylock, his eyes on Mark. “So would I. And why don’t we? Let’s follow him.” The two men started out, hiding behind trees and cars, always keeping Mark in sight.
                    Blaylock grabbed Fentar by the shoulder. “Look, he’s left his friends. He’s walking alone. Go get him. Bring him here. Hurry! He turned the corner.”
                    Fentar rushed down the street in an odd tiptoed fashion. Nearby school children pointed and laughed at him behind his back. Blaylock rolled his eyes and shook his head as he watched.
                    Fentar poked one eye around the corner and saw Mark strolling alone.
                    “What’re you doing, Mister?” asked a small child also on his way home from school.
                    “Go away, little boy. Can’t you see I’m busy?”
                    “I’m not a little boy. I’m in first grade. My name’s Morris. I want to watch. Okay, Mister? What’re you gonna do?”
                    Fentar ignored the boy and tiptoed quickly down the street. No one stood between him and Mark.
                    Morris shouted after him. “Mister, I said I want to know what you’re doing. Hey, why’re you walking so funny?”
                    Mark turned when he heard Morris shout and saw Fentar coming at him from only a few feet away. He ducked and Fentar whooshed on by, grabbing at but missing him.
                    Fentar spun to face the boy.
                    “It’s you,” Mark cried.
                    Fentar made another grab, but Mark ducked again. His baseball cap ended up in Fentar’s hand. Fentar looked at the cap, puzzled for a moment, as Mark took off down the street and didn’t stop running until he burst through his own front door.
                    Fentar made his gloomy way back toward Blaylock. When he passed Morris, who’d stood on the corner and watched the encounter, the boy followed along at his elbow.
                    “What’d you do that for, Mister? How come you took his baseball cap?” Morris snatched his own cap off and clamped it tightly under his arm as Fentar scowled at him. They continued on down the sidewalk, Morris two steps behind.
                    “If you take my hat, I’m going to tell my daddy. He’s ten feet tall and has a million muscles.”
                    Fentar paused and scowled at Morris again. Morris stuck his tongue out in revenge. Fentar ignored the insult and kept walking down the sidewalk, the boy following at a safe distance.
                    A moment later, Fentar reported to Blaylock.
                    “Well? What happened? Where is he?” Blaylock growled.
                    “I didn’t get him, but I got his hat.”
                    “His hat! You moron! What am I going to do with his hat? Who are you?” Blaylock addressed his last comment to the little boy who stood nearby watching.
                    “I’m Morris. I’m in first grade so don’t try nothing.” Morris moved his hat behind his back and held on to it with two hands. “Who are you? You can’t wear Mark’s hat ’cause your head’s too big. How come you took the hat? Give it back. You better not take mine.” Morris took two steps back. “Don’t even think of it.”
                    Blaylock took two steps toward the boy. “Get out of here you.” Morris ran off down the street.
                    Curiosity got the better of Morris, though, and when he looked over his shoulder and saw that the men weren’t chasing him, he stopped running. The two men walked away, and as they walked, the bigger man beat the hat-snatcher over the head with the baseball cap the man had stolen.


                                         PLANET ZORON



While sitting at his bedroom window staring at the moon, a burst of green light whisks Mark Foy away to Planet Zoron, where Prince Zincor and Princess Zayla need Mark’s help to regain the prince’s throne from Blaylock and Fentar, two evil councilors to his late father.

EXCERPT:    Mark Foy, ten years old, tossed his books on the table beside the front door, shouted hello to his mother, and raced up the stairs to his bedroom, relieved another boring day of school had ended. What would usually be another boring evening at home loomed ahead. Not tonight, though, not tonight. Mark hurried straight to his bedroom window. The sky wouldn’t darken for another three hours yet, he knew, and even then the moon wouldn’t appear until an hour later. He rechecked his almanac. He didn’t want to make a mistake and miss it. The moon would rise in the night sky at seven twenty-seven, he read, and he would be there to greet it.

                    He found his library card in the pants he’d worn on Saturday, crumpled but not ripped. It wasn’t like him to be so careless with his library card, one of the few things that kept his boring life from driving him crazy. He’d planned to stop at the library on his way home from school, but when he didn’t find his card in his wallet, he had to retrace his steps from the weekend. Now, he’d have to make another trip, because he needed something interesting to keep himself occupied until the moon rose tonight. Mark tucked the library card into his wallet and headed out.

                    After dinner, Mark went upstairs to his room. He angled his digital clock so he could see it with barely a twist of his head. He would not miss seven twenty-seven. He moved his desk chair to the window, ready when he needed it. He plumped up a pillow and sat back in bed to look over the books he’d brought home from the library—two mysteries, two science-fiction, and a book about Robin Hood he’d never seen before. He chose Robin Hood and opened to page one.

As he read, Mark thought about what a great time that must have been to be alive. Robin and his Merry Men never had to worry about feeling bored. Living in a forest. Fighting the Sheriff’s men. Robbing the rich people stupid enough to travel through Sherwood Forest. Always winning. Never doing anything wrong. Good strong friends. If only his life would be so interesting. He glanced at the clock—six fifty-four. In about half-an-hour, it very well might be. At least for a little while.

When the clock clicked to seven-twenty-five, Mark turned his book upside down on the bed, turned out the light, and moved into his desk chair. He opened the window and stared into the dark sky from his dark room as the top edge of the moon slowly became visible.

A week ago, as he casually glanced from his bedroom window, Mark had noticed a strange green glow flash from the upper edge of the moon a few minutes after it appeared. He’d looked for it the next night and each night thereafter, and each and every night, for a few seconds only, the green flash appeared and disappeared as quickly as a lightning bolt slices through the sky and vanishes.

When he told his school friends about it, they weren’t interested. They laughed and said he was seeing things. Even after he told them the right time to watch the moon, no one ever came back to him and said they’d seen the green glow. No one believed him. He’d even mentioned the green glow to his teacher, but she merely smiled and said, “Interesting.” Interesting? What good was telling him it was interesting if she didn’t check it out for herself? Mark knew what he knew, though, and chose to ignore all of them. Now, as the blue numbers of the digital clock turned to seven twenty-seven, Mark concentrated on the moon as its white, shiny curve appeared.

                    Then, there it was! A tiny circle of green light sparkled like a tiny dancing leprechaun. What caused it? Mark wondered. He couldn’t possibly be the only person in the whole world to notice. He should have asked for a telescope last Christmas instead of the double volume 101 Arabian Nights.

                    He sat up straight. What was happening? The green light got brighter—brighter than ever before. Mark leaned forward. The shimmering light lingered. He heard his mother’s footsteps coming up the stairs. Suddenly, the green light froze and burned steadily. Mark heard his mother’s hand jiggle his doorknob. His bedroom light clicked on, and from the corner of his eye, he saw his mother’s leg as she stepped into the room.

                    “Mark,” she said, “can I . . .”

                    Then the room exploded in a flash of green light. A thousand bees buzzed in his ears, and he was gone!

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At stake--the deed to The Clifton Heights Home for Children.  Emmaline Gremlin wants to close the orphanage. Her runaway husband wants to turn the deed over to Mr. Bloober, Superintendent of the Home, to ensure its continuation.

Mickey Allston, age nine, and his friend Warren Towers, who is visiting from the Clifton Heights Home for Children, join forces with Mr. Camden Chatsworth, owner of a marvelous collection of old toys, and the runaway Mr. Gremlin, newly arrived in Pennypack and living under the name of Montague Dobson.

As the Monday deadline looms, Emmaline steals the deed, but as the clock ticks down, Warren hatches a clever plot which Camden Chatsworth, Montague Dobson, and the two boys attempt to pull off in the library of the Home as the deadline looms. Will they succeed? Can they reclaim the deed in time to save the Home?


    Emmaline paused when they reached the first corner. Shanks, looking over the top of the heavy paper
bags, stopped next to her.
The tiny woman pointed at three children walking down the other side of the street.
    “What do you think, Shanks?” she said. “Do they look like orphans to you?”
    “Who? Where?"
    “There, there, you blind boob,” and she reached up and twisted Shanks’ head in the proper direction.
    Shanks gave his grocery bags a little shake-up and studied the children, two girls and a boy.
“No, they don’t.”
    Emmaline faced him. “Why not?”
    “Because they’re laughing. They’re smiling. I have never seen you do either.”
    “That’s because I was an orphan, Shanks. A poor unfortunate orphan.”
    “Then you should be kind to other poor unfortunate orphans, don’t you think?”
    Shanks began this same conversation whenever Emmaline got on his nerves as she had back in Mr. Bumbey’s store. It always ignited a red-faced reaction in Emmaline, which delighted Shanks. He mouthed the words along with the angry, sputtering woman.
    “I will never . . . never be kind to those who were unkind to me.”
Shanks shifted the grocery bags again. He’d forgotten about them in his glee at sending Emmaline into her usual rant about being an orphan.
    “Can we go?” he asked. “These bags are heavy.”
Emmaline would ignore his plea, he knew, until she finished her standard arm-waving speech.
    “The other orphans despised me. They wouldn’t play with me. They teased me. They called me . . . ugly! Do you believe it, Shanks? Me? Ugly! The orphan-keepers wouldn’t stop them. They sent me back for more. They all despised me, and I will never forget.” She lifted her right arm and waggled her index finger.
    “Despised you,” Shanks muttered. “I wonder why?”
    “Excuuuse me, Shanks. What did you say?”
    “Oh my. I said oh my. That’s all I said.”

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      Philip begins his summer in a bad mood.  His mother insists he clean his room. But when Philip allows Leon, the clumsy jinx-boy of the neighborhood, to help, it sends Philip and his best friend Emery off on the wildest summer adventure they’ve ever had. Missing jewelry, stolen pants, a crazy Aunt, and secret trips to the police station keep Philip and Emery hopping until the night when it all explodes!


            “You never know. Sometimes people like to see the person they gave a gift to using the gift. My aunt gave me a computer game for my birthday. Dumbest game ever. Something about sheep jumping over bushes and turning into puffy white clouds. She kept making me play it so she could watch. I think she’s kind of crazy, too. Not as crazy as your aunt, but still crazy. She kept pointing to the screen and saying that’s a ewe.
            “That’s a-you? Is your aunt Italian?”
            “Italian? What? No. You crazy? She kept pointing at the screen and saying that’s a ewe.”
            “How could that be you? How are you in the game?”
            “I wasn’t in the game.”
            “But she said you were?”
            “No, she didn’t say I was in the game. She said that sheep’s a ewe.”
            “There. She said it again. How could you be in the game?” Philip said, his voice rising. “How could you be a sheep or a puffy white cloud?”
            “I’m not a sheep or a puffy white cloud. I’m wasn’t in the game,” Emery yelled back. “She said a ewe’s a sheep.”
            “Me? Now I’m in the game? Me? I’m no sheep. What are you talking about?”
            “Not you. You aren’t a sheep. A ewe’s a sheep.”
            “How can I not be a sheep, but I’m a sheep? Emery, why do you always talk like this? You never make sense.”
            “I’m telling you something you don’t know. A ewe’s a sheep.”
            “And I’m telling you something I do know. I’m not a sheep.”
            “I know you’re not a sheep, but a ewe is."
            “I’m not but I is? Now you can’t even speak English. And why would your aunt think you were a sheep for Pete’s sake?”
            “She didn’t think I was a sheep for Pete’s sake! What is wrong with you? She kept pointing at the sheep and saying that’s a ewe. She was pointing at a girl sheep. The name for a girl sheep is a ewe. A ram is a boy sheep. My aunt kept pointing and saying ‘That’s a ewe.’   She wasn’t saying that’s you… me.”
            “That’s you…me,” Philip mumbled and put his hand to his forehead. He took a deep breath. “Can we change the subject?”
            “Sure, if you want.”
            Philip glared at his friend.
            Emery smiled. “I didn’t say baaaaad. A ewe said it.”

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                 THE REVENGE OF THE CRITCHES  
Things did not stay peaceful long in Shumbus after Paul and Billy’s summer adventure there. The Critches are out for revenge. The Golden Mushroom is in danger and so is the very city where the Shumians have lived forever. With Jess Hubbard planning to help the Critches, they are sure to succeed unless Paul, Billy, and Argo can come up with something fast!

When only a short distance remained between the trees and the front of the Shumian line, a loud voice from the rear rang out.

Oh, no. Look! Look back toward the city. The Meglars are loose.”

 Those who chose to look saw tiny dots moving gently high in the sky. More dots joined them.

 The front of the Shumian line entered the forest, and the people started to spread out looking for safe, comfortable spots.

 Another voice shouted, “They’re coming this way.” The Shumians turned back and saw the dots in the sky growing larger, drawing nearer. The end of the line broke apart as Shumians ran every which way toward the forest, no one wanting to be in the open when the Meglars arrived. The birds’ keen eyesight caught the movement of the panicking, scurrying Shumians, and they soared through the sky toward them.

 “Argo,” Billy cried. “The Meglars are getting closer. Not everyone is going to make it into the forest in time.”

 The dots in the sky were no longer dots but distinct, angry birds. The Meglars beat their powerful wings and closed in.


                                                 THE GOLDEN MUSHROOM


   Soon-to-be fifth graders, Paul Drummond and Billy Sparks’ summer vacation at the beach with Lige Drummond, Paul’s grandfather, is interrupted when Lige’s best friend Jess Hubbard disappears, and the boys are off to find him in Shumbus, a strange land deep within the Earth.

  Billy paused but then slid into the dark space with Paul close behind.
   Billy waited for Paul to come up next to him, and they crawled toward the far corner.
   “Yuck. Feel how muddy this place is,” said Paul. “Mr. Hubbard had to be down here to get as muddy as you said.”
   Billy preferred looking for spiders and rats to answering his friend.
   “Shine the light over here, Billy. Stop looking for the . . . the other stuff.”
    Billy aimed the flashlight into the corner.
    “Yeow!” both boys cried.
    The circle of yellow light fell upon a large round hole in the mud. Both boys crawled through the slimy mud to the hole’s edge and peeked into it. Billy stretched the flashlight as far down the hole as his arm reached.
    “I can’t see the bottom,” he said.
    “That’s ’cause the hole curves. Give me the light,” said Paul.
    Billy handed the light to Paul, who reached as far down the hole with it as he could. Left in the dark, Billy nervously inched closer to Paul and the dimly lit hole.
    “Hey!” Paul exclaimed when Billy bumped into him, and he felt himself sliding in the slippery mud at the edge of the hole. He grabbed Billy to keep from falling into the hole, but this only pulled Billy along with him.
     “Let go of me,” Billy pleaded. “We’re slipping down!”
     “I’m falling!” screamed Paul.
     “We’re going down,” Billy cried. “Look out. Here we go!”

                                      PHILIP AND THE LOSER


Philip and Emery dread their school assignment: perform an activity demonstrating brotherhood. Philip gets an inspiration, though, when a neighbor tells him about her women’s club fair which will raise money for charity. He and Emery decide to create a game for the fair and donate the money they collect. Creating a game proves more difficult than they thought, especially when Leon, Emery’s unlucky cousin, shows up to help out. Can Philip and Emery deliver their game on time, or will Leon’s monumental bad luck prove their undoing?


   “Now what?” Emery asked glumly.
   “We’ll try something else, that’s what,” Philip replied sharply.
   “I know we’ll try something else. But what something else?”
   Philip thought a moment. “You mentioned three games before, when I asked you. The cats, the ring toss. I forgot the third one?”
“Balloons,” he said. “Throwing darts at balloons.”
“Oh yeah,” said Philip, perking up. “Busting balloons. That’s gotta be an easy game to make. Find some darts and blow up some balloons. We should have thought of balloons first. You know what you have to get, right?”
Emery gave Philip a puzzled look. “Darts and balloons?”
“Oh, one more thing,” said Emery with a knowing smile.
“Darts, balloon, board.” Emery emphasized the word “board” because he thought of it first, not Philip.
“Bored? What do mean bored? This is no time to get bored. You better stay interested until we’re done.”
“I’m interested,” said Emery, offended by Philip’s accusation.
“So, why’d you say you were bored?”
“I didn’t say I was bored.”
“You did,” Philip said, his voice rising. “You said darts and balloons and then you shouted out you were bored.
“I never said I was bored. I said darts, balloon and board,” Emery insisted in the same voice as before.
“There! You said it again! You said bored!”
“I said board, but I’m not bored.”
Philip glared at Emery and in a slow, patient voice said, “If you’re not bored, then why did you say you were bored?”
In an equally slow and patient voice, Emery said. “I didn’t say I was bored. I said we needed a board. We have to have something to put the balloons on, don’t we?”
Philip continued to stare quietly at his friend. “Why do you always do that?” he finally asked.
“Always do what?”
“Say one thing when you mean something else.”
“I didn’t say one thing and mean something else.”
“You did. You said bored but you meant board.”
Emery narrowed his eyes and stared back. He thought carefully for a moment and then replied. “Right, I when I said board, I meant board. You thought I meant bored, but I didn’t mean bored. I meant board. See? You get confused because you’re always yelling and not understanding me.”Available from:  Gypsy Shadow Publishing:
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Philip and Emery are granted three wishes by a gypsy from the circus sideshow, but to get these wishes, they  must perform a chore for the gypsy. They must recover some jewels, including a magical scarab, from a  dangerous location. They undertake the chore, but soon regret their decision. Disaster looms. Yet, if they can set  things right quickly, all will be well.
But the police are on their trail!

    Phillip and Emery are best friends and share everything. Emery receives an offer of three wishes that he is unable to refuse, and needs Phillips help to earn. What is a little breaking and entering among friends? The Gypsy and Egyptian need to get the missing jewels back and are not above using pre-teens to get the job done. Unknowingly, they selected two boys who are smarter than the average pre-teen. Phillip and Emery are willing to help out for a price, but soon find the price they will pay may be too high. With a different point of view, will Phillip and Emery make the right choice? Come along for an adventure to entertain the child at heart. I loved the integral relationships between the best friends and the neighborhood at large. The story is entertaining and the lesson behind the story is important for children to learn. The entertaining mystery of the Pharaoh, Gypsy, Egyptian and the missing jewels provide an exciting world to visit.


  They hurried toward Lighthouse Field but slowed down considerably once they entered the grounds.
“Wow!” said Philip. “Everybody’s so busy. Is that the guy?”
“Him? Does he look like a gypsy to you?”
“He looks like something.”
“He’s an Egypt guy, a pharaoh. See the snake thingie on his head piece? Don’t you remember? We saw pictures of them in school this year.”
“Oh, yeah. I remember. I like Isis.”
“Nothing’s open yet. You can’t get any.”
Philip stopped walking. “I can’t get any what?”
“Ices. I like mango.”
“You like mango what?”
“Mango ices.”
“What are you talking about? Who’s mango Isis? They don’t have mangos in Egypt.”
“Whose mango ices?  Anybody’s.  And what’s Egypt have to do with mango ices?”
Philip’s voice rose. “There’s no mango Isis or banana Isis or apple Isis. There’s just Isis.”                                                                  
“There’s mango and banana. I’ve had them. They’re good. Especially when it’s hot out. I don’t think there’s apple, though.”
!” Philip howled. “Let’s start over. The Egypt guy. I said Isis. I didn’t say ices.”
Emery stared at his friend. “Can you say that again?”
Philip scrooched his mouth together hard, trying to be patient. “I said, I said Isis. I didn’t say ices.”
“You said ices, but you didn’t say ices?”
“Right. Now you got it.”
“I got it? I don’t even know what I’m talking
about. Are you feeling all right?”
Philip’s voice rose. “We studied Egypt, and we studied Isis. She’s like a goddess or something.”
“Ohhhh. Isis. You said Isis. I thought you said ices.”
Philip nearly screamed. “I did say Isis!”
“I thought you mean ices, like cold stuff in a cup. Mango, remember?”
Philip threw his hands to his head. “Why would I be talking about an Egypt guy and mango ices at the same time?”
Emery shrugged. “Yeah, I thought you were
talking kind of weird.”
“I was talking weird? You were listening

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Hayden and his fellow cats find their way to paradise: TALULA TUPPERMAN’S HOME FOR DISTRESSED FELINES.  But Rodney and Stanley, cat kidnappers, are on their trail, and suddenly cats begin to vanish.  Can Hayden and his troop put a stop to these mysterious disappearances before they mysteriously vanish, too?


“…Shut up and enjoy the evening. Look,” said Stanley.
“There on the hill. Over there.”
“What hill? This place is nothing but hills.” 
“There. There. Those two tiny pairs of lights.”
The light from the full moon lit Tiger’s and Pouncie’s eyes. They watched the shack from the highest pile of debris they could find. They’d followed the two dump-men this far, determined not to lose them. The two men had come to the barn after dark, as Pouncie predicted, and with their expert cat vision, the two cats followed the men along the road and through the dump to the shack. Now, they lay down, their chins on their paws, and watched the men.
“Oh, yeah,” Rodney said, getting to his feet. “I see.”
“Eyes,” Stanley said.
Rodney turned to his friend. “You’s what?” He sat back down and stared at him.
“I’m sorry?”
Rodney looked puzzled. “Why? What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything? I mean what do you mean?”
“What do you mean what do I mean? What do you mean? You’re not making sense, Stanley.”
“I’m making sense? You’re not hearing sense. When I said I’m sorry, I didn’t mean I’m sorry for anything I did. I mean I don’t know what you mean?”
“You don’t have to yell.” Rodney shook his head. “You’re always yelling.”
“I have good reason to yell when your brain goes bling blang blung.”
“I’m sorry?”
“Don’t apologize, pay attention.”
“I’m not apologizing for anything I did. I mean I don’t know what you mean—bling blang blung?”
“Rodney, Rodney, Rodney. What are you talking about? What were we talking about?”
“You said I’s.”
“Yes, there on the hill, eyes.”
“There on the hill you’s what?”
“What do you mean, there on the hill you’s what?” 
“You’re shouting again. You can’t say there on the hill I’s. You gotta say there on the hill I’s something. Like I’s hungry. I’s sleepy.”
“I’s hungry? I’s sleepy? That’s ridiculous and not even good English. And I didn’t say ‘I’s,’” Stanley cried, poking his chest with the fingers of his right hand. “I said ‘eyes,’” making wide eyes at his friend.

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Philip runs into Jeanne, a new girl in the neighborhood, who defeats him at every game they play. Philip enlists his best pal Emery to help him, but even when they join forces, they lose to Jeanne. In his frustration, Philip foolishly assures Jeanne that he will win the poster contest being run at the mall. She laughs off his challenge, certain first prize will be hers. Philip cannot allow himself to lose again to this girl, but how in the world will he ever defeat The Girl Who Couldn’t Lose?

"I'm going to enter the contest," said Jeanne.  "Are you?"
Philip made believe he was reading the announcement for the first time.  He shrugged his shoulders.  "Sure.  It sounds easy."
  Jeanne smiled.  "I already have a good idea.  I can't tell you what it is, though."
"I don't care about your idea.  I have my own idea.  Who needs yours?"
"You got an idea so fast?  What is it?"
"Oh, no.  You didn't tell me yours.  I'm not going to tell you mine.  You might steal it and win first prize."
"Your idea is going to win first prize?" said Jeanne in disbelief.  "Yeah, like you and Emily were going to score a touchdown.  I'll bet my idea is way better than your idea."
"No way," said Philip, feeling anger creep over him.  "And his name is Emery."
"Whatever."  Jeanne smirked confidently at Philip.  "Hey, I'll bet you my poster is better than yours."
"You'll lose.  My poster will be a genius poster."
"Right, like you're a genius football player."
Philip thought of how Jeanne sent him flying through the air and glared at her.  "What do you want to bet?"
"Bet," Jeanne scoffed.  "You don't have anything to bet."
"You said you'd bet.  Now you're scared to."
"Scared?  Of you?  Ha!"
Philip blurted out his challenge.  "I'll bet you five candy bars, any kind."
Jeanne considered.  "Five candy bars?  Yeah, I can bet you five candy bars.  And you better pay off because I'm going tell people at school about the bet."  Jeanne turned and walked into the shoe store to join her mother.
Philip stood still, shocked at what he'd done.  He'd made a bet with the girl who couldn't lose.

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PHILIP AND THE BABY                             

     Philip and his best friend Emery, detectives on the trail, try to cope with a mystifying little girl who runs them a merry chase.

     Philip resents the fact that a new baby is coming into his house. Will anything get Philip to love and accept his new baby sister before he drives his parents crazy with his behavior?


     Philip snapped his fingers. “Let’s call on the phone.”
     “But we don’t have her phone number.”
     “What’s the grandmother’s name?”
     “My mother called her Mrs. Dykans.”
     Philip ran to the hall closet and returned with a big phone directory. He riffled through the pages. “No luck. There’s no
     “Y,” said Emery.
     “I don’t know. There just is none. I looked. You want to look?”
     “No, no. ‘Y’,” Emery repeated.
     Emery was making his stomach clench up again. Philip raised his voice. “Because it’s not there. They didn’t print it. Maybe she doesn’t have a phone.”
     “Y, Y, Y,” Emery insisted. Philip banged his hand on top of ghe page he had searched. "I don't know why. It's not here, that's all. There's no Dikans. Are you deaf or what?"
     Emery shook his head and took the directory. He turned forward a few pages and said, “243-6885.”

     "We have a surprise for you."
     "Can I see it, Daddy?"
     His father laughed. "You’ll have to wait until September to see it, Flipper."
     Hmmm, thought Philip. It sounded like a riddle. This was May. September was when school started again. That was a long way off.
     "You tell him," his mother said to his father.
     "Flip Flip. Good news. In early September we are going to get another member in our family."
     Philip thought a moment, then asked slowly. "Are you getting me a dog?"
     His parents laughed. Philip didn’t laugh. He was beginning to get the picture.
     "It will be even better than a dog," his father said. "Mommy is going to have a baby. You’re going to have a baby brother or sister. Isn’t that great?"
     Philip screamed, turned, and ran upstairs to his room.

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      This is the fun and dramatic story of Philip and Emery trying to deal with a sixth grade bully. The story begins with an art competition that Phillip and Emery enter. The bully, Johnny Visco, also enters a piece in the competition. What ensues at the awards ceremony sets off a very comical tale of how Philip and Emery, with help from a very unlikely source, teach Johnny Visco that victory does not always go to the tough and mean.


     “Sir, I don’t want the painting explained,” Tracy said in a loud voice. “I want the M & Ms explained.”
     Mr. Conway gave her a look.
     “Explain M & Ms? Silliest thing I ever heard of.” He shrugged. “Well, you take a little chocolate and cover it with this colored candy. Print an ‘M’ on it and, Bingo! M & Ms. Melt’s in your mouth, not in your hand.” He threw a handful of M & Ms into his mouth and held up a clean hand before Tracy’s eyes.
     Tracy stared at him, her eyes and mouth gaping.
     Now, the two adults who’d come with Johnny Visco began demanding an explanation. Mr. Conway talked on about Everyday Things. Philip and Emery tried to explain their mistake. The rest of the crowd began talking among themselves, explaining what they thought had happened. Some people in the back began to laugh. And above it all Johnny Visco cried over and over that the old buzzard was still eating M & Ms and Tracy better do something. When he couldn’t get the attention he wanted from Tracy, who was trying to get the room quiet, pay attention to the boys’ explanations, and ignore Mr. Conway’s continuing discussion of Everyday Things, he grabbed what some M & Ms from the bowl and threw them at her.
     “Please, now. Stop that,” Tracy cried, shaking a red M & M from her hair. “Can we all simply return to the main room? Please. Everyone back to the main room. Please!”
     Slowly and noisily the people started moving. On his way out Mr. Conway went over to the blue bowl and scooped out the remaining M & Ms and shoved them into his jacket pocket. As he passed Johnny Visco, the boy looked at him and screamed, “Put them back, you old buzzard.” Mr. Conway nodded his head politely at the boy and kept on going.
     By the time everything was sorted out, the competition was cancelled; Philip and Emery were in disgrace; and Johnny Visco was angry.                                                    

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     Philip and Emery are forced to spend time with Leon, Emery's monumentally unlucky cousin, but when Leon's perpetual bad luck starts rubbing off on Philip and Emery, they decide to take drastic action!

Author John Paulits' characters walk a fine line between honesty and humor in this second children's story about Philip. Philip and the Superstition Kid has Philip and Emery hatching all sorts of plots to keep Emery's cousin out of their way--coincidentally meaning he's always in Emery's mother's way. But it's one thing to laugh at someone else's bad luck, and quite another to see it rubbing off on you. Soon their plots are coming back to haunt them and troubles abound. Of course, with twin babies, Emery's mother has more than enough troubles of her own to cope with, and the portrayal of parents at the end of their tether is sweet and generous--genuine enough to glide past a child while adult readers will squirm and smile with sympathy. Rational Philip, fairly rational Emery, mostly irrational Leon--in the end they're all kids, all zany, all fun, and that's as it should be.


     Suddenly, the boys heard a scream from outside. They ran to Emery’s window and were shocked to see Leon running along the sidewalk at top speed.
     “What’s he doing?” Philip asked softly.
     “Who knows?” Emery said disgustedly, lifting the screen so he and Philip could lean out and watch Leon.
     When Leon reached the corner, he paused, turned, and ran back toward them just a fast as he could.
     “Is he holding his nose? I think he’s holding his nose. He is holding his nose,” Philip noticed in amazement.
     “Maybe he pooped his pants,” Emery suggested.
     Philip ignored Emery. “There he goes.”
     Leon tore past the window, his fingers still pinching his nose. The boys watched Leon pause at the corner, cross the street and start running down the other sidewalk.
     “Call him,” Philip suggested.
     When Leon drew near, Emery shouted, “Hey, Leon. What are you doing?”
     Leon turned his head and saw his friends. He switched the hand he was holding his nose with and waved the other hand at the two boys. “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” he cried as he kept going.
     Philip and Emery watched Leon’s travels as if they were hypnotized. When Leon got to the corner, he crossed to Emery’s side of the street and started running again.
     “Here he comes,” said Philip.
     “Leon,” Emery cried again.
     This time Leon pulled to a halt, breathing hard.
     “What are you doing, Leon?” Emery called down.
     “I saw a man walking with a limp. He really had a limp. He went right past me. Up and down; up and down. Limp, limp, limp.”
     “Leon, let go of your nose,” Emery ordered. “You sound stupid.”
     “I can’t. I can’t. I saw a man walking with a limp.”
     “What’s that got to do with anything?” Emery demanded.
     “If you see a man with a limp, you get bad luck unless you hold your nose until you see a dog. I can’t find a dog. I was just having good luck and now this,” Leon cried in his twangy, nose-holding voice. “Ahhhhhhhhh.” And off he charged, looking for a dog.

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     Philip is desperate to have a pet of his own, especially after his best friend Emery’s father brings him home a dachshund puppy. Philip turns to his invalid neighbor, a girl his age named Angel, for help. She helps him, all right, but as usual with Philip, things don’t go exactly as planned.

READ A REVIEW:  Philip, in common with many fourth-graders, would like a dog. His friend Emery has one, but Philip's mom remains adamantly opposed, despite all his attempts to persuade her. John Paulits' Philip and the Angel recounts the events of that long summer between fourth and fifth grade as David walks to the park with his friend and plots how to get his own way. Hilarious disasters, poignant friendships, and enterprising adventures ensue in this novel, peopled with very real children, parents stubborn and attentive, new girl on the block, sharp-eyed neighbor and all the other characters who belong on an everyday street in an everyday suburb.

Philip and Emery's conversation is delightfully evocative--the perfect non-sequiturs and misunderstandings of childhood, and just the right mix of innocence and concern. Will Philip's mom lose her dislike of pets? Will Emery lose his distrust for girls? Will the little girl be allowed out to play? And will Philip find four-legged companionship? You'll have to read to find out. It's a perfect book to give to or share with young readers--wise and innocent; exciting and safe; gentle and determined as the children whose lives it portrays.


     Philip waited while Angel pondered. He could hear her mother buzzing around in the kitchen.  He recalled looking down over the carboard to see the two little kittens drinking milk.  The were so small.  No bigger than his fist.  He thought of the two kittens who weren't 'moving.  Angel's voice woke him up.
     "You know the little shed behind my house?"
     Philip nodded. 
     "You can bring the family there.  There's even a hole in the back wall where the mother can get in and out.  You'll need a box to carry the kittens." 
     "What about the mother?  She growled at us when we got close." 
     "She wants food.  Go and buy one can of cat food.  If you look in the shed, you should find the old hamster cage I never got to use.  It's big enough.  Put the food inside the cage, and when the mother goes in to get the food, close the door.  The kittens you can just pick up and put in the cardboard box." 
     "You should see how small theya re.  Their eyes aren't even open." 
     "Helpless," Angel murmured.

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     A community service project leads Philip and Emery straight to a haunted house. Disappearing lunches and windows that mysteriously open and close on their own don't deter the two boys from going inside the house to look for stolen money they think robbers may have left behind. When they bravely go down into the dark basement of the house, they are flabbergasted by what they find!


     “You ready? Here I go,” Philip whispered. He took his hand off the doorknob and wiped his palm. “Shall I throw it open fast or open it really slow?”
     Emery thought a moment. “Fast,” he whispered. “If anything is there, it’ll be surprised and make a noise and we’ll hear it and run. And yell. If you open it slow, it won’t hear us and we’ll walk right into it.”
     “Don’t say ‘it.’”
     “Whatever will hear us then.”
     “Don’t say whatever.”
     “Some nice polite robber will be waiting for us. How’s that? Better?”
     Philip rolled his eyes and reached out for the doorknob again. He looked at Emery. “Ready?” he whispered in his quietest voice yet.
     “I’m ready. I’m ready.”
     Without speaking, Philip mouthed the numbers, “One, two...” He swallowed, took a deep breath, and yanked open the door.
     Both boys screamed. Something awful did wait on the other side of the door!

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     Could the Frankenstein monster, Dracula and the Wolfman actually move into someone’s respectable neighborhood? Philip and his best friend Emery are convinced it has happened when a suspicious new family moves in down the block. The boys have seen the vampire bat; they’ve heard the werewolf’s growl; they’ve witnessed the coffin delivery to the house. When Emery’s mother invites the new family to dinner, Philip and Emery have no choice but to prepare for the worst.


     Philip knocked on Emery’s closed bedroom door.
     “No,” came Emery’s voice in a shout. “No, I’m not coming out. I’m staying right here, and I’m not coming out until tomorrow, and you can’t make me. No, no, no.”
    Philip opened the door slightly. “Emery?”
     “No, I said I’m...Philip? What are you doing here?”
     “I was having lunch when my mom said we’re eating here tonight with…”
     “I know. I know. Lawrence Talbot is coming here. With his family. They’ll all be here; him, Dracula, and baby Frankenstein.”
     “Isn’t his family a wife and a little girl?”
     “Who knows? Maybe they’re his family during the day before the moon comes up, but what about after? Who are they then? I’m not leaving my room. N-O!”
     “Maybe it’ll be all right if our moms and dads are there.”
     “What difference will that make? Are moms and dads stronger than the power of the full moon? Can moms and dads keep you from having your blood sucked right out of you? Larry Talbot is coming here for a reason, and I’m the reason.”
     “What do you mean you’re the reason? Why’s your hand under the pillow?”
     Emery withdrew the hidden hand and thrust it at Philip as if he were a prince and expected Philip to kiss it. After two seconds of confusion, Philip saw what Emery wanted him to see. There on the back of Emery’s left hand was a five-pointed star. A pentagram!
     “I’m going to be the werewolf’s next victim,” said Emery.

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     Philip runs into an awful streak of bad luck at the same time as his best buddy Emery runs into a streak of good luck. When Emery reveals that he's been using a newly acquired good luck charm, Philip sets out to find one of his own, but what he finds turns out to be more deadly curse than lucky charm.


     “Hi, Philip. What do you want?”
     “I want to know which came first. The chicken or the egg?”
     “I’m still trying to find a lucky charm, and I need to know which came first. The chicken or the egg?”
     “Are you going to carry an egg in your pocket for good luck? What if it breaks?”
     “No, I’m not going to carry an egg around. Don’t be dumb.”
     “You’re not gonna walk around with a chicken, are you?”
     “What a stupid question! No, I’m not gonna walk around with a chicken. Where would I get a chicken?”
     “The supermarket has them.”
     “Yeah, right. I’m gonna walk around with a dead chicken wrapped in plastic around my neck and expect to be lucky.” Philip raised his voice as often happened when he tried to have a serious discussion with Emery. “Listen, I need to know what came first. The chicken or the egg?”
     After a moment of quiet Emery said, “Is it a boy chicken or a girl chicken?”
     “What difference does it make?” Philip cried in exasperation. Why couldn’t he ever get a straight answer from Emery?
     “Because a boy chicken couldn’t lay an egg so the egg had to come first ’cause it couldn’t ever come second.”
     “So the boy chicken came from the egg?”
     “No, it probably came from a farm.”
     “What do you mean, it came from a farm? Didn’t the boy chicken come from an egg?”
     “Only if there was a girl chicken who laid the egg, so the boy chicken wouldn’t have been first or second. He would have been third.”
     “Who said anything about a girl chicken?”
     “Me. There’s gotta be a girl chicken. If there were only boy chickens there could never be any eggs. Boy chickens don’t lay eggs.”
     “All right. All right. No boy chicken. It’s a girl chicken. Which came first? The girl chicken or the egg?”
     Emery thought a minute. “People eat eggs. Maybe the egg wouldn’t last long enough to hatch a girl chicken because somebody scrambled it. So the egg had to come first.”
     “Who’s talking about scrambling eggs? People eat chickens, too. Suppose the girl chicken got eaten; then there wouldn’t be any eggs. So I guess the chicken came first.”
     “People don’t eat live chickens.”
     “I know that!” Philip yelled into the phone.
     “So if the girl chicken was alive to start with and nobody ate her, she’d lay eggs. So I guess the chicken came first.”
     “I just said that!”
     Philip’s mother called in to him. “Stop that yelling, Philip.”
     “So the answer’s easy,” Emery concluded. “If people ate the chicken there wouldn’t be an egg. If people ate the egg there wouldn’t be a chicken.”
     “Oh, that’s the answer, you think? Everybody’s eating everything and nothing came second?”
     “I gotta go. You’re making me hungry. See you tomorrow.”
     “Emery, just tell me what came first….”
     Philip had a dial tone in his ear. He replaced the phone and decided that asking Emery for help proved he had the worst luck of anybody in the world. He decided he didn’t care whether chickens or eggs came first or second as long as he found a good luck piece somewhere in his house. He’d keep looking.

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After Philip solves a few neighborhood mysteries, he decides to open a detective agency with his best pal Emery. Their classmate Jason starts making fun of their efforts, though, and being a detective suddenly isn’t so much fun. But soon Jason is accused of stealing money from the teacher, and Emery encourages Philip to solve the case and get Jason thrown out of their class. Philip sets to work and shocks the class when he reveals the solution to the mystery.


     “Somebody will tell on him,” said Emery.
     “Him, who?”
     “Himwho? Who’s Himwho?”
     “Who’s him who? What do you mean ‘who’s him who?’ What are you talking about? Him who’s him, the culprit.”
     “Himwho’s the culprit who took the money? We don’t have any Himwho in the class.”
     “I never said anybody named Himwho took any money. You said somebody would tell on him and I said him who?”
     “There, you said it again. There’s no Himwho in the class. Who are you talking about?”
     Philip gritted his teeth then spoke slowly.
     “Emery. You said somebody would tell on him. Did you say that?”
     “Yeah, and somebody will tell on him.”
     Philip’s voice rose. “There are two hims. Tyler and Jason. You didn’t say which him you meant when you said somebody would tell on him and I asked you him…” Philip paused. “…who? Which him did you mean when you said somebody would tell on him? Him who?””
     “Ohhhh.” Emery laughed. “I thought you meant a third person—like Billy Himwho.”
    “Billy Himwho! Who’s Billy Himwho?” Philip’s voice rose in exasperation.
     “He’s nobody.”
     “How could nobody take the money?” Philip’s voice rose higher.
     “Nobody couldn’t take the money. Somebody had to take it. I just made up the name Billy Himwho like I thought you meant we had a boy in class I never heard of who took the money.”
     Philip threw his hands into the air. “How could there be someone in our class you never heard of?”
     Emery’s mom’s voice came up the stairs. “Stop that shouting.”
     Philip pulled in a deep breath.
     “Somebody will tell on Jason or on Tyler you said. Who did you mean?”
     “That’s what I meant. Somebody will tell on Jason or Tyler.”
     Philip narrowed his eyes and squinted fiercely at Emery.
     “Jason probably.
     “So why didn’t you just say so?”
     “I did. I said….”
     “Please, never mind.” Philip rolled his eyes. Emery had the makings of a great detective. 

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     There's a new boy in Philip's class who acts quite a bit differently from Philip's other classmates. Philip and his best friend Emery set out to discover why. 


     “Wait,” said Philip. “I’ll play with you if you want to.”
     The boy kept walking. He didn’t look back. Philip watched as the boy tossed the ball up, caught it, and kept on going.
Philip wrinkled his forehead. What was wrong with this kid? He hadn’t even said hello or anything. Philip had offered to play with him, but the kid had just walked away. Philip thought of his lunch dishes and realized he wasn’t someone who was fussy about manners. But this kid didn’t have any. Philip hoped the boy wasn’t planning to go to his school, Donovan Elementary. And if he did go there, he’d better not be a fourth-grader like Philip was. Philip decided, shy or not, the less he saw of this new boy the happier he would be.

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     The Director hires nine-year-old Tommy Whitaker to be a character in a book set in 1957. Tommy readily agrees and soon becomes involved in a gang of thieves ...and a murder.

     “I see you’re a little confused.” The Director cleared his throat. “Let me explain. Books and stories need to be...worked out. They have to be real...both to the author writing the story and to the person reading the story. Understand?”
      Tommy nodded even though he didn’t understand.
     “Now, the best way, really the only way, for this to happen is for the characters to be alive to the author. To be actually living out his story. This is where I come in. I find characters who act out the story for the author.”
     Tommy didn’t speak. This was getting weirder by the minute.
     “You’re not agreeing yet. Yes, well. You’ll be a character in a book. I will pick you up, oh, right here, probably not every day but almost every day. I’ll drive you through the tunnel and when you reach the other side; you’ll be in the book. It’s simple! So, what do you think? Are you in?”
     “I’m in.”
     The Director threw his head back in relief. “Meet me here tomorrow at ten o’clock. The story’ll begin five minutes later. I have to go. See you tomorrow.”
     Tommy watched the Director drive off.
     Tomorrow at five minutes after ten, he would be a character in a book. A book with a murder in it. At a different time and in a different place. Unbelievable! Tommy could not wait.

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                                                                              TOBY'S TREK


     Toby Manders is a bored sixteen-year-old Earth immigrant to Hobson’s Planet who is tired of living the quiet life of a farmer. After running away from his father and home, he becomes close friends with Jar Kensch, a native Walber boy. He and Jar, who has family troubles of his own, get themselves entangled in the feud going on between the Earth immigrants and the Catonians, conquerors of Hobson’s Planet.
      Can Toby resolve the trouble he and Jar get into, resolve his estrangement from his father and avoid the boring life he left behind?                                       
A Young Adult book.



     Another bolt of light sliced through the forest but missed him by a good deal, and Toby relaxed. When the trees thinned out, Toby ran. He hoped the Catonians would think he was one of the farmers and armed. They would never follow him if they did. Another bolt of light sliced through the darkness well behind him.
     When the trees thickened again, Toby angled toward the road, but kept to the trees. He didn't bother stopping as he passed the second farmhouse, but made a beeline toward New Town.
     New Town, a row of buildings on each side of a hard-packed dirt street, stretched along the river for two blocks. Toby knew where he could find a raft, so he made his way through the darkness until he came out from behind the final building on the block. He saw a pair of Catonian soldiers patrolling and waited. When he thought they were far enough away, he scurried across the road and nestled in the grass which grew everywhere on the planet and here stretched down to the river's edge. He sat calming himself and listening for the soldiers. This running away was more strenuous than he'd imagined.
     Finally, Toby scuttled to the water and searched along the river's edge for a raft. He found a small dilapidated one a short way up the riverbank. Toby crawled forward and put his shirt, shoes, and food bag onto the raft. Then he poked the raft into the easy current near the riverbank and began to drift. He was off. His adventure had begun.

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