Calista brings her snooping to camp…
Nine-year-old Calista is curious about everything and everyone. She often sneaks into her older sister Hailey’s room to read Hailey’s diary and borrow her belongings without asking. When Calista brings this bad habit to Camp Pelican, her counselor and cabinmates catch her snooping and are furious with her.
After someone steals the camp’s mascot, Percival Pelican, Calista’s counselor suspects she’s the guilty one. According to camp legend, the last time Percival vanished, bad luck plagued the camp. A blood-red moon hovers over Lake Pelican, and people start getting hurt, so Calista must act fast. If she can turn from snooping to investigating and catch the pelican thief, she just might clear her name and redeem herself.
Targeted Age Group:: 7-12
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I write the Camp Pelican books with the help of my eight-year-old twin daughters. I read the book aloud to them, and they make suggestions for improving the story. I loved camp as a kid and hope that one day my daughters will enjoy swimming, horseback riding, and playing flashlight tag on the cabin walls at camp as much as I did.
Derek waited as campers made their way over. "I'm sure you've all heard about Percival Pelican disappearing," he said. "And I have a spooky campfire tale for you. It's called 'The Curse of the Missing Pelican.'"
He held up three fingers. "You know how bad things come in threes? Well, when Percival disappeared years ago, a bad moon rose in the sky, just like tonight, and five awful things happened."
"Two bad things already happened today," Derek continued. "The director sprained her ankle, and a cook twisted her knee. What will happen next? Well, historians like to say that history repeats itself. So, let's use the past to understand the present, as I tell you about the last time Percival disappeared.
"Back in the 1990s, a boy named Mitch Weaver came to camp. Now Mitch was a prankster. He liked nothing more than causing trouble and playing practical jokes. His favorite things in the world were a whoopee cushion and his packs of joke gum that tasted like rotten fish.
"When Mitch came to Camp Pelican for the first time, he decided to play the ultimate prank, stealing the camp mascot, Percival Pelican, who hung from the ceiling of the dining hall. But stealing Percival was more challenging than he'd imagined.
"On the first night of camp, Mitch waited for the dining hall to empty of campers. But the maintenance man, who everyone called Old Joe, showed up and shooed Mitch out before he could steal Percival.
"When the same thing happened again at breakfast and lunch the next day, Mitch lost his patience. How could he get rid of pesky Old Joe? Now Mitch had observed that Old Joe was pretty slow to get around and also that Joe had no patience for rude campers.
"So, the next night after dinner, when only Old Joe remained in the dining hall, Mitch returned inside, thanked Old Joe for cleaning up so well, and offered him a stick of his fishy gum. That poor sucker Joe was touched because most campers never looked him in the eye, let alone thanked him and gave him a present.
"Thinking maybe all the campers weren't ungrateful little devils, Old Joe unwrapped the gum and put it in his mouth. As he started chewing that fishy gum, his eyes got big, and his face scrunched up.
"When Old Joe spat the gum on the floor and followed it up with a swearword, Mitch hee-hawed out the loudest, braying laughter he could muster and dashed out of the dining hall. Mitch's ploy worked because Joe chased him outside, and Mitch was able to double back and steal Percival.
"Now Mitch might have been a little bad, but he wasn't truly an evil kid. He wasn't a thief, and he didn't want anyone to get hurt. He planned to hold onto Percival for a couple of days until everyone was hot and bothered and then fly Percival from the flagpole and have himself a big laugh.
"At first, everything went according to plan. Mitch was a little worried because he was sure Old Joe suspected him of stealing Percival. Joe might not have been a young guppy anymore, but he was still as sharp as a fishing hook. Mitch was sure Old Joe would tell the camp director what had happened and was waiting for someone to question him about Percival's disappearance. But no one ever came.
"Feeling paranoid that Old Joe would take revenge into his own hands, Mitch made sure to be the last one in and the first one out for breakfast the following day.
"It was after breakfast that Mitch found out why Old Joe hadn't told anyone about the fish gum prank. Old Joe had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving home from camp and crashed his car. He was going to make it, but he was in the hospital.
"That night, a ruby red moon rose over the camp. It was round and full, like a wood tick about to pop from drinking too much blood, and it gave Mitch the creepy crawlies. But he dismissed it all as coincidence and decided to stick to his plan. He'd wait a couple of days and then fly Percival from the flagpole.
"But the next day, four more awful things happened. The director sprained his ankle, a cook twisted his knee, a camper suffered an allergic reaction, and a canoer almost drowned.
"Well, that canoer was Mitch, and he was convinced stealing Percival had cursed the whole camp, himself especially. He didn't even bother to hide his guilt. He grabbed Percival from where he'd hidden him inside a rotted-out old tree, sprinted through the camp, rehung that pelican, marched to the camp office, and turned himself in, begging to be sent home for his crimes.
"The camp director was a strict man and happily complied. And that was the last Camp Pelican saw of Mitch. Later that night, the bloody moon drained to pale yellow, and the misfortunes stopped. And that is the story of what happened the last time Percival Pelican disappeared."
Derek turned his head in Calista's direction. It was too dark to be sure, but Calista was pretty sure he had her right in his sights.
"So, whoever took Percival, better give him back quick," Derek warned. "You don't want to end up like Mitch Weaver."
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Sonja Glumich has taught students of all ages, from preschool to graduate school, including as a public school science teacher. She works as a computer scientist for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Along with her husband, she currently homeschools her three school-aged children. She created the free K-5 Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooling curriculum "Under the Home" at underthehome.org. She is currently working on writing the Camp Pelican series of books. Keep up-to-date with the latest Camp Pelican book releases and special offers at camppelican.wordpress.com.