Children Ellen Titlebaum Down Under

ISBN 13: 9780671047528

Down Under

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9780671047528: Down Under

H2 Uh Oh... On vacation in Australia, Sabrina joins up with Gwen, the British witch she met on her last vacation in Rome. Together they explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, go on a deep-sea dive with famous marine biologist Dr. Julian Martin, and meet the mysterious and very cute Barnaby...who turns out to be a merman! However, something's fishy when a strange sea virus threatens the local aquatic population. Sabrina and Gwen vow to restore the ocean to its original glory, especially since the disease is affecting their new friend Barnaby. The young witches must find a way to help the doomed sea creatures and at the same time, protect the secrecy of the mer-species...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Ellen Titlebaum lives in New York City in an apartment with a garden. She has always secretly believed that she has magical powers of her own (she's still perfecting her conjuring spell for making her rosebushes bloom), and she was delighted to explore her powers in Sabrina Down Under. She has written many books for younger children, including I Love You, Winnie the Pooh!, Winnie the Pooh and the Family Tree, and adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Sabrina sat close to the large window of the helicopter, gazing at the open ocean below. I can't believe I'm finally on vacation, she thought. Far away from homework and curfews, witch training tests and getting up early... Sabrina smiled at the thought of Harvey and playfully twirled her blond hair And yes, far away from Harvey...but I'm only away for a week, and whenever I close my eyes I see his handsome face smiling down at me...Besides, now's my chance to see my best witch friend, Gwen!

Suddenly, schools of brightly colored fish caught her eye as they disappeared momentarily inside a huge coral formation. This is more beautiful than anything I could conjure up, she thought with a smile.

"There it is!" cried Sabrina. "The Great Barrier Reef."

The pilot smiled, his handsome face weathered from the sun. "That's a piece of her, anyway. She goes on for another two thousand kilometers."

Wow, thought Sabrina. Will Gwen and I have time to explore all of that? Sabrina laughed, remembering how much fun she and Gwen had had in Rome. They had solved a four-hundred-year-old mystery, met some super hunky guys, and enjoyed some of the most amazing art in the world. At least, she had been blown away by the art. Gwen had just managed to turn Bernini's statue of David into a real, live guy with a thing for jellybeans and slingshots ...

Half-submerged coral reefs were laid out across the turquoise sea like a never-ending necklace. It sparkled gold, brown and orange against the bluegreen sea. "It's even more beautiful than I'd imagined," said Sabrina softly.

"First time down under?" asked the pilot.

"Yeah Sabrina nodded. "Though for being 'down under' everything is surprisingly right side up! I've wanted to come ever since I read this fantastic book about the reef," she said, pulling a book out of her bag. "Here it is. The Secrets of the Reef by Dr. Julian Martin."

The pilot chuckled. "Now there's a bloke who spends more time underwater than most fish."

"Fortunately for us, he writes better than most of them, too. His research institute is attached to the resort. Supposedly, guests can dive with -- look!" Sabrina pointed to a group of dolphins leaping playfully in the clear sea. "We crash, I die happy. It's hard to imagine there's a whole other universe just below the surface," said Sabrina, unable to look away from the window. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed. Something was down there that looked more like a man than a dolphin.

"Did you see that?" she asked incredulously.

"What? Something in the water?"

"Yeah. Hurry, turn around. I think I saw someone," said Sabrina, peering below.

The pilot quickly turned the helicopter back and hovered low over the water. "Are you sure you saw someone? We're too far out, even for divers."

After a long look, Sabrina turned back to the pilot. "It was just a flash, but I could have sworn...Sorry, I guess twenty-two hours on a plane is catching up with me."

"Not a problem," said the pilot, turning the helicopter toward land. "The reef is always playin' tricks on people."

Sabrina watched the shadow of the helicopter dart across the liquid blue of the sea. I know I saw someone out there, she thought. I just know it...

Long after the helicopter had disappeared from the sky, the dark outline of a man appeared on the coral. He pulled himself onto the reef, his long fish tail fluttering in the waves. Then he gracefully slipped back into the water, the sun shimmering off the scales on his tail. With a sudden, blinding flash, he vanished into the clear sea.

The helicopter began its descent onto Hamilton Island. The island was green and lush, surrounded by milky-white beaches and crystal clear water. From her aerial view, Sabrina could see boats swaying in the water by the marina, palm trees blowing in the sandy air by the beach, and past the resort she could make out the beginning of the wildlife sanctuary. Forests of thick tropical trees spread out for miles, untouched by developers. She could almost see the wallabies hopping, and hear the bright green parrots singing for her arrival. Sabrina was so excited to be here and to see her best witch friend, Gwen, that she could hardly keep still.

"There it is. Hamilton Island. Home to some of the best diving in the world," said the pilot, as the helicopter touched the landing pad.

"Yes!" cried Sabrina happily. Gwen was standing nearby, waving frantically. She looked really good. She was wearing a red tank top that made her short, chestnut-brown hair shine, and a long, black wraparound skirt. Her clear plastic bag, stuffed with jellybeans, a camera, suntan lotion and this month's edition of Young Witch magazine, glittered in the morning sun. Sabrina laughed at the jellybeans, remembering Gwen's long-standing passion for anything sweet.

A porter opened the helicopter door and helped Sabrina out. He gently placed a shell necklace around her neck and said, "G'day. Welcome to Hamilton Island."

Delighted with her necklace, Sabrina smiled warmly and said, "G'day to you, too."

"Sabrina!" shrieked Gwen, running up to her and giving her a big hug. I forgot how cool Gwen's English accent sounds, Sabrina thought, hugging her friend tightly.

"Gwen! It's so good to see you. You look great! How long have you been here?" But before Gwen could answer, two fishermen passed by arguing loudly. They were carrying pails and fishing rods, but curiously, no fish.

"...I'm telling you, two hours ago my bait turned into a kangaroo and hopped away," one of the fishermen said angrily.

Sabrina rolled her eyes and turned to Gwen. "I've been here about two hours," said Gwen, looking away.

"Gwen, you promised me that you wouldn't use your magic on this vacation." Sabrina sighed. When you had magic, it was hard not to conjure and point whenever you felt like it. But magic has consequences, and I don't want to deal with all that here. I'm on vacation! Just a regular sheila enjoying the sun and sea ...

"But I've been practicing. I'm really a lot better than the last time you saw me. Watch," said Gwen, clenching her fist. The shells on Sabrina's necklace magically grew into tropical flowers.

"Wicked! Told you I've been practicing," said Gwen happily.

Yeah, and it would have been perfect...if you hadn't just given me a tail!" Sabrina turned around to show off her brand-new bunny tail. A porter, his arms full of luggage, nearly fell over at the sight of Sabrina's fluffy, white tail.

"In my defense," said Gwen, pouting, "I didn't say I was good, I just said I was better."

Sabrina grinned and with a quick point of her finger she was tailless once more.

Soon, Sabrina and Gwen were walking past one of the resort's pools. The place was hopping! People were lounging on deck chairs, relaxing at the pool bar, and splashing in the clear blue, water.

"Coming here is the best idea you ever had, Sabrina. This place has absolutely everything," said Gwen with a smile. Her smile grew even bigger as a very cute guy walked by, carrying a surfboard. "And I mean everything," she added.

"I know two things it doesn't have," said Sabrina "Salem and Stoney. I can't believe we've finally managed to escape our furry chaperones."

Sabrina's cat, Salem, was her familiar. He was really a warlock who was forced to spend time as a cat for trying to take over the human world. Now, he spent most of his time eating too much, napping, and generally being a major pain in her life. Gwen's familiar was a fluffy hamster named Stonehenge, who delighted in making fun of Gwen's conjuring skills.

"Do you think a week is long enough to rebuild my self-esteem?" asked Gwen. They looked at each other and laughed happily. Free at last!

As Sabrina and Gwen made their way to their room, two porters passed by carrying luggage and a cat case. They opened the door to a luxurious suite and placed the cat case on a dresser.

You ever seen this Saberhagen guy?" one of the porters asked as he opened the blinds, revealing a stunninng view of the beach.

"Nah. No one has. And he's been coming here for years," replied the other porter, sticking his finger into the cat case to pet the black feline inside. "What kinda nut spends a week locked in a hotel room with a mangy cat -- ow! This thing bit me! I'll probably need to get a shot," he added as they left the room.

"And I'll need to wash my mouth out. Ptui!" snarled Salem from his cramped quarters. The cat case popped open, and Salem sauntered out. "Note to self Get a case with more leg room. And better movies." Salem leapt onto the table and caught a glimpse of the breathtaking view. For someone who almost ruled the world, this is more like it. "Hello, paradise!"


"Hello, paradise," said Sabrina, walking into their tropical bungalow. The room was airy and comfortable and smelled like an ocean breeze. The sun spilled in through two large glass doors that faced the water. The twin beds were separated by a small table and were covered in sea-blue bedspreads. Sabrina threw her bag onto the bed and emptied the contents. Leftover apples from the plane, bottled water, and a camera lay scattered on the bed. I can't wait to take pictures and show Harvey -- he would love this place, she thought with a grin. Sabrina ran to the bathroom and slipped on her favorite flowered bikini and grabbed a beach towel. She made a quick call to her aunts back in New England so they'd know she'd arrived, and then she took Gwen's hand, and they skipped outside onto their private deck. "So, what are we waiting for? Let's get this vacation started," said Sabrina.

Giggling, Sabrina and Gwen raced down the steps of their bungalow and ran toward the resort's open-air lobby. The room was bursting with activity. People were shopping in the gift shop and eating in the snack bar nearby. Others were lounging on the sofas, gazing at the waves breaking onto the shore and the sunbathers lounging in deck chairs by the pool. Potted palm trees lined the walls, vases full of tropical flowers scented the room. A table was piled high with refreshments and brochures about diving in the coral reefs and hiking in the wildlife sanctuary. Gwen eagerly picked up one of the brochures and began reading aloud. "We can go windsurfing, snorkeling, hiking, water-skiing..."

"First thing we have to do is find a dive shop," interrupted Sabrina. Out of the corner of her eye, Gwen noticed a guy with an amazing smile heading toward the beach with snorkeling equipment. "Did I mention they have snorkeling?" asked Gwen with a mischievous grin. Sabrina laughed and pulled Gwen past the front desk and toward the dive shop.


Hilda Spellman whirled around the living room, her silver sequined gown twinkling in the soft glow of candlelight.

"Hmm...something's missing," she said with a slight frown. Then, she pointed and the living room was transformed into a fairy-tale ballroom. Dozens of men in black tuxedos danced with beautiful ladies in long, white gowns. A string quartet played in the corner, and everywhere, drops of glitter, sparkles and magic dust swirled in the perfumed air.

"Dum dee dum ta dee," she sang gaily, twirling and spinning to the music. Suddenly, a dashing man entered the ballroom. He was twice as tall and twice as good-looking as every other man there.

The music stopped. The dancers stopped in mid-twirl and stared. A hush filled the room. He crossed the floor in several strides and knelt at Hilda's feet, a single white rose in his hand. She caressed the petals and gazed deeply into his dark, mysterious eyes...

"Not the mysterious stranger in the ballroom fantasy again," snapped Zelda, pushing past the imaginary quartet. Her blond hair was pulled back and she had on what Sabrina called her New England librarian attire; a long skirt, matching sweater set, and practical shoes. Her favorite new book, Physics for Witches, was tucked under one arm.

"Now that Sabrina's away for a week, I was thinking we should do something useful with our free time," she continued in her older sister voice. "It's such a nice feeling to be purposeful, Hilda."

Hilda sighed, and with a quick, regrettable point,the dancers, quartet, and ballroom disappeared in a swirl of sparkles. She pointed herself into a leather miniskirt and a tiger-spotted silk shirt.

"You know, Zelda, we should use this time to relax. To enjoy our powers freely," said Hilda,plopping down onto the couch.

The two sisters had given up their glamorous life of intergalactic jet-setting witches when they assumed the guardianship of their brother's daughter, Sabrina. Zelda felt it was important that they showed Sabrina a stable home life, even if they were witches. So, they had both the fancy living.

"Well, can't we enjoy our powers and do something worthwhile?" Zelda countered.

"As long as my man of mystery can come along, and you leave me out of whatever science projects you have in mind, that's fine with me," said Hilda, smiling broadly.

"It was so nice of Sabrina to call us. I do hope she gets a chance to see some of the exotic undersea life while she's there," said Zelda.

Hilda sat up eagerly. "Oh yes! I hope she sees kangaroos and rides on a dolphin and meets some good-looking guys..."

Zelda laughed. She couldn't help but feel a little excited herself -- their Sabrina was on an adventure!

Hilda jumped off the couch and faced her sister with a look of mischievous delight. "I've got a great idea!" she cried. "It's not terribly purposeful, but I'm sure you could think of a way to make it purposeful -- let's surprise Sabrina! Let's go to Australia!"

"Well..." said Zelda, crossing her arms on her chest. "There is a lot to learn about marine life in the Great Barrier Reef...not to mention cleaning up toxic waste dumps. And there's always the problem of overfishing...okay! Let's do it!"

The two sisters giggled with anticipation. Hilda closed her eyes, concentrated and pointed. The Spellman sisters were on their way...

The phone rang loudly at the front desk, and the manager, David Hadley, answered. "Mr. Saberhagen! I didn't realize you'd arrived," he said nervously. He covered the mouthpiece with his hand and barked angrily at his staff, "Why didn't anyone tell me Mr. Saberhagen had arrived?"

Back in his palatial suite, Salem was talking to the manager on speakerphone. He had already picked through the tropical fruit in the welcome basket and had successfully finished two jars of macadamia nuts.

"Nice fruit basket. Though you cheaped out on the macadamia nuts," drawled Salem, clicking his nails against the deep mahogany desk.

"I'll send some up immediately. I need nuts," he mouthed to his staff.

"You remember the drill, don't you?"' asked Salem.

"Of course. No one is ever to enter your room unannounced. And your cat Salem has complete and total access to the resort. The staff has already been alerted." David...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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