George and Gracie begin their adventure in Dover, Delaware 1776. The kids are surprised to discover that one of them changes into an animal every time they travel, and this time Gracie is a horse. All the twins want to do is return a pair of antique school desks and search for their parents. But instead they find themselves in the middle of the American Revolution and end up helping Caesar Rodney make his famous ride into Philadelphia to vote “yes” for the Declaration of Independence. Crowe lands in Delaware, too, and he plans to take the time machine—with George and Gracie inside!
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Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 25 books for kids and teen readers. She runs Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (in it’s 13th year), has an MFA in Writing for Children and Adolescents from Vermont College and writes on an active blog with fellow writers Ann Dee Ellis and Kyra Leigh Williams (www.throwingupwords.wordpress.com). She teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University and has garnered several writing related awards (Utah Arts Original Writing Contest, Nebraska Golden Sower Award, ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, PEN Award Nominee, Children’s Literature Choice List, “HM” for Newton Books Best Books of the Year, IRA Teacher’s Choice book, Selected Book for the Social Studies, Five-star Amazon Books Reader’s Review, Top Ten Romance Book for Booklist, Book for the Teen-Age New York Public Library List, Children’s Book Council Showcase, AML Winner Children’s Category, Top Ten Barnes and Noble Book, Book for the Teen-Age List New York Public Library List, PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, Whitney Award, Scholastic Book Pick for Humor, Audie Winner, and has had books on many state reading lists.). She is proudest of her five daughters who are the Carol’s best creative effort, ever. She and Cheri have been best friends for almost 20 years.
Cheri Pray Earl graduated with her M.A. in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University in 1995 and has taught writing and literature courses for the BYU Honors Program and English Creative Writing Program for the past 20 years; she was awarded BYU Honors Professor of the Year in 2005 (which she brags about whenever she can). She published a non-fiction children’s book for American Girl co-authored with Rick Walton in 2009, but in real life she writes young adult novels; she won the Utah Original Writing Competition in 1994 for the YA novel, Flat Like Me, and took Honorable Mention in 1997 for the YA novel, The Swan. Her newest novel, Mr. Ditchy, is at Agent Steve’s house. Secret Agent Steve.
(George) A Creepy Message
“Are you sure I can’t help?” I said.
Grandpa let out a grunt. “No George. I already told you.”
“Ding dang it,” I said.
Grandpa sat hunched over his workbench. He glued the cracked seat of an old wooden chair. He can fix anything. That’s his job.
I got too close and bumped Grandpa’s hand.
“Oops,” I said. “Sorry.”
Grandpa sighed and wiped glue off his pants. “Will you please let me alone to work, George?” he said. “Why don’t you go bother your sister?”
The clock rang twelve times. Midnight. I poked Gracie on the shoulder.
“Hey,” I said. “We’re up late. Way past our bedtime.”
“Duh,” Gracie said. “You think so?”
She didn’t look at me. She just kept tapping away on an old telegraph machine.
Gracie is nine. So am I. But I’m older than she is by 5.75 minutes. She’s taller than me by one and a half inches. But I’m smarter by about 2 feet.
“I’m bored,” I said. “Bore-da. Boooored. I want to go home.”
She acted like she couldn’t hear. So I made faces at her and hopped around like a monkey.
“Stop it,” Gracie said. “You’re bugging me.”
I hopped around even more.
“Sorry kids,” Grandpa said. He stretched. “I have to get this done before the museum opens in the morning. Just a little longer, okay?”
“I guess so,” I said. I stopped hopping. “Tomorrow’s Saturday anyway.”
Gracie typed away.
Tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap went the machine.
Our grandpa is the fix-it man at the Stockton Museum of Just About Everything in American History. That’s our family’s museum.
Gracie and I have lived with Grandpa for the last two years. Sometimes we come to his shop in the back of the museum after school. And sometimes he lets us help him.
I yawned and peeked over Gracie’s shoulder.
“Quit breathing down my neck,” she said.
“It would be nice if you could type something real,” I said. I’m learning about Morse Code in Cub Scouts. So I could tell that Gracie was just typing gobbledy-goop.
She kept her eyes on the telegraph machine.
“For your information,” she said, “this is how people used to talk to each other. Before there were telephones and cell phones.”
“I know that,” I said.
“And this is my own secret code,” Gracie said.
Tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap.
I rolled my eyes. “Who are you sending the message to? There’s no one at the other end.” I held up a broken wire. “It’s not even connected.”
Gracie didn’t answer. Tap, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap.
Grandpa looked over. “You two be careful with that machine,” he said. “It’s no toy.”
“All right,” Gracie said.
She typed some more. This time it sounded like real Morse Code.
“Hey,” I said. “Good job, Gracie. That was ‘S.O.S.’ You just typed the code for help. You know. Three short taps. Three long taps. Then three more short taps.”
Gracie pulled her hand back like something bit her. She looked at me. Then she stared at the machine.
“I’m not doing it,” Gracie said. She shook her head.
taptaptap Tap—Tap—Tap tap taptap
“But it can’t do that by itself,” I said. “Can it?”
“What’s going on?” Grandpa said. He walked over.
“I don’t know,” Gracie said. “The machine started working on its own.”
The three of us were quiet.
But the machine went on talking. taptaptap Tap—Tap—Tap tap taptap, it said, which means “SOS—HELP.”
Gracie touched her silver locket. It used to be Mom’s. Gracie always touches that locket when she’s nervous.
I pushed my glasses up. I was creeped out.
“You kids move away,” Grandpa said. We stepped back and he sat down in front of the telegraph machine.
“The wires are cut,” I said, and shivered.
“They’ve been cut for more than a hundred years,” Grandpa said. He rubbed at his chin.
“Your parents got this old thing in Georgia, I think.”
“Maybe we should leave,” Gracie said. “You know. Go home.”
“Good idea,” I said. I headed for the door.
“Shhh,” Grandpa said, holding up his hand. He narrowed his eyes and listened.
taptaptap Tap—Tap—Tap tap taptap
Then the tapping changed. A new message was coming. But I couldn’t understand it.
Grandpa pointed to his desk. I saw his hand shake. “Grab a pencil and some paper, George. Quick.”
“What’s happening?” Gracie said. Her eyes bugged out.
I ran to Grandpa’s desk. His notepad and pencil were lying there.
“Here.” I gave them to him. My heart thumped.
Grandpa wrote the words down. “Delaware . . . .1776. . . . Trapped . . .Please . . .help . . . .” he said out loud.
Then he dropped the pencil.
“What’s wrong?” I said.
Gracie pulled at his sleeve. “Grandpa?” she said in a small voice.
“Matthew and Laura,” Grandpa said.
“What?” Gracie said. “You mean Mom and Dad?”
My stomach got all Jell-o-y. Mom and Dad?
But it couldn’t be them. They disappeared from right here in the museum two years ago.
And they never came back.
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Book Description Familius, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Excellent Brand New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # 1608040003