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Authors: Patricia Reilly Giff

Pickle Puss

BOOK: Pickle Puss
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The Polka Dot Private Eye books:

are designed especially to entertain and enlighten young people. Patricia Reilly Gif f, consultant to this series, received her bachelor's degree from Marymount College and a master's degree in history from St. John's University. She holds a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University. She was a teacher and reading consultant for many years, and is the author of numerous books for young readers.

For Jerri and Ed Reilly, Freddie Schonenberg,
Lome Norton with love

Emily Arrow jumped down the steps. She rushed across the lawn.

“Wait for me,” her little sister, Stacy, yelled.

Emily looked back.

Stacy opened the screen door.

She was wearing a tablecloth on her head.

She had her mother's high heels on her feet.

“You can't go like that,” Emily said.

“I'll take off my veil,” Stacy said. She dropped the tablecloth. It landed on the grass.

Emily closed her eyes. “Hurry.”

Stacy clicked down the path. “Mrs. Baker will love my red Shoes.”

Emily started across the street.

“Walk slow,” Stacy said. “It's hard to keep up.”

Emily took Stacy's hand. “Try. We're almost late.”

At the next corner they saw Richard Best.

He was crawling under a bush.

“Hey, Beast,” Emily called.

“Where are you going?” he yelled.

“To the library,” Emily said. “Today's the day Fish for a Good Book starts. We can do it all month.”

“Not me,” Beast said. “I read enough in summer school. Too much.” He sat back. “Besides, it's August. School starts soon.”

“Emily's going to fish,” Stacy said. “Right, Emily?”

Emily nodded. “I'm going to get a pile of them.”

“So is Dawn,” said Beast. “And Jill. And Timothy Barbiero.” He shook his head. “Too bad Matthew moved away. He'd like to fish too.”

“Did you hear from him?” Emily asked.

Beast held up one finger. “I got a letter. A skinny little letter. Matthew's a terrible speller. I couldn't understand it.”

“Come on, Emily,” Stacy said. “It's too hot to stand still.”

Emily and St^cy went down the street. They turned in at the library.

“Whew,” said Stacy. “Lots of kids are here today.”

Emily waved at Jill and Dawn.

Then she looked up. There was a new picture on the wall.

It was a picture of a boy fishing. He was fishing in blue paper water.

Red and blue and tan paper fish swam in the water.

Up on top it said fish for a good book.

“I'm going to get lots of fish,” Stacy said.

Emily shook her head. “You don't have a card.”

“Mrs. Baker will give me one,” Stacy said.

“No,” said Emily. “Not until you can write your name. That's the rule.”

Stacy stuck her lip out. She looked as if she were going to cry. “How can I learn to write? Nobody will let me go to school.”

Emily patted her shoulder. “Next year.”

Just then Mrs. Baker came over. She smiled at them.

All her freckles crinkled up.

“I'm going to find a book,” Emily told her. “A good one.”

“Right,” said Mrs. Baker. “I'll print your name on the chart. Then every time you read a
book, you'll get a fish. You can put it next to your name.”

Emily went to the shelves. She pulled out a book.
Five Children and It.

It was too fat.

“I read that book,” said a boy.

Emily looked at him. He had a nice face.

He was the fifth-grade monitor in school.

“My name is Freddie S.,” he told her. “That's a good book.”

Emily looked down at the book.

It had about a skillion pages.

It would take forever to read.

“Well …” she said.

“Go ahead. Try it,” said Freddie.

“I guess so,” Emily said.

She went to Mrs. Baker's desk.

Too bad she didn't have a skinnier book.

She looked back.

Freddie was talking with his friend Edward.

Emily stuck the fat book on the book cart.

She grabbed another one.

It was much skinnier.

She gave it to Mrs. Baker.

Mrs. Baker checked it out. “You like snakes?” she asked.

“Yucks,” said Emily. Then she looked at the book.

There was a snake on the cover. It was the kind with the fat neck. Its tooth was sticking out.

“I mean, I love them” Emily said.

She grabbed the book.

She went out the door with Stacy.

It was after supper the next week. Thursday.

Emily could hear the kids outside.

She looked down at her book. She was up to page two. It was about cobras, snakes that lived in India.

It said that cobras liked to spit. Sometimes they spit in people's eyes.

It said some other things too.

Emily didn't know the words though.

She closed the book. She went outside.

“Hurry,” Beast yelled. “It's almost dark.”

“You're it,” Dawn said.

Emily pressed her nose against the tree. She shut her eyes tight.

She loved to play hide-and-seek.

“Ten. Twenty. Thirty. Forty. Fifty,” she yelled. “Here I come, ready or not.”

“Not ready,” Jill Simon shouted.

Emily waited a minute. She kept her eyes shut.

Jill was too fat to run fast.

Someone was hiding in the bushes.

Emily could hear him moving around.

It was probably Beast.

Without thinking, Emily opened her eyes.

“No fair peeking,” Dawn Bosco called.

Emily made a face. “I'm not a cheater.”

She thought about Dawn Bosco.

Dawn had three bathing suits.

She had ladybug earrings.

Her middle name was Tiffanie,

Sometimes she was a big pain.

Emily waited another minute.

Then she yelled, “Here I come. Right now.”

She walked down the driveway. She could see something pink behind the fence.

It was one of Jill's bows.

She didn't look at Jill.

Jill would cry if she were caught.

Emily walked backward toward the bushes. She made believe she was looking at the tree.

She'd catch Beast.

She dived into the bushes. “Got you,” she yelled.

Something yowled.

Emily jumped back.

A black-and-white cat streaked past her. “Hey,” Emily yelled.

Just then she heard steps behind her.

Running steps.

Emily twirled around.

Dawn was racing for the tree.

Emily raced for the tree too. She tried to run faster than Dawn.

At the tree they bumped heads.

“Got you,” Emily yelled.

“Home free,” Dawn shouted.

“No fair,” Emily said. “I tagged you first.”

“I'm not playing with cheaters,” Dawn said. She made a fresh face.

BOOK: Pickle Puss
2.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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