Did Bigfoot Steal Christmas?: Peanut Butter Club Mysteries: Book 3

( 2 )


The escapades of the Peanut Butter Club continue in this exciting third installment of the Peanut Butter Club Mysteries. On this adventure, Abby and Josh take their four grandchildren and two friends to a northern Minnesota ski lodge called the Husky Hideaway to celebrate Christmas and to visit cousins Hannah and Basil. Soon they discover that intrigue and excitement await them there.

The ski lodge has plenty of chores to keep the children busy, like chopping wood and caring for...

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Did Bigfoot Steal Christmas?: Peanut Butter Club Mysteries: Book 3

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The escapades of the Peanut Butter Club continue in this exciting third installment of the Peanut Butter Club Mysteries. On this adventure, Abby and Josh take their four grandchildren and two friends to a northern Minnesota ski lodge called the Husky Hideaway to celebrate Christmas and to visit cousins Hannah and Basil. Soon they discover that intrigue and excitement await them there.

The ski lodge has plenty of chores to keep the children busy, like chopping wood and caring for a bunch of Siberian husky race dogs. Even so, there's still time for fun. Thirteen-year-old Audrey has to make the tough decisions to keep her rambunctious twelve-year-old cousin Jenny and shy friend Missy in line. Denny-Jenny's twin-and his buddy Randy continue to take risks that bring them face-to-face with a big black wolf. Eight-year-old Ty is a source of delight as he and Laddie, the family dog, have one adventure after another, including a run-in with an angry bull moose.

But the fun comes to a halt when the kids find out that someone is vandalizing the Husky Hideaway and trying to prevent Basil from winning the Northern Lights Sled Dog Race. Who could it be? Is the culprit Bigfoot? With good teamwork, true friendship, and some help from the adults, the Peanut Butter Club members search for clues to solve the mystery!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781475994506
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/20/2013
  • Pages: 156
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Did Bigfoot Steal Christmas?

Peanut Butter Club Mysteries: Book 3

By Mary Ellen Erickson

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2013 Mary Ellen Erickson, PhD.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4759-9448-3


Destination: Husky Hideaway

"Ahhhhhh!" Jenny screamed as the van slid into the ditch. The twelve-year-old, blonde, blue-eyed drama queen always overreacted to any situation.

"You just busted my eardrum!" Audrey, a fourteen-year-old high-school freshman yelled, and she scowled at her cousin.

"Now, now, children, settle down!" Grandma Abby tried to quiet the six youngsters who were all talking at once. She smoothed her short, curly gray hair and started putting on her warm stocking cap. Next she bent over and picked her glasses up off the floor where they had fallen when the van had come to an abrupt halt.

"Grandpa should be able to get out of this ditch if we all get out and push," Grandma assured the children as they became eerily quiet.

"Yeah," Grandpa Josh agreed. "All of you get out while I turn down my hearing aid. This noise has given me a headache."

The three girls piled out of the old van first. Audrey's warm stocking cap was sitting loosely on top of her heavy, shoulder-length auburn hair. She pulled the cap down so low it almost hid her big brown eyes. "It's cold out here," she wailed.

Jenny followed her older cousin out of the car. She didn't have any comments, for a change. Missy, Jenny's twelve-year-old friend, was next. Her long black hair, neatly braided, showed from under her warm wool cap, which protruded on either side of her face to protect her sparkling black eyes.

The boys scampered out on the heels of the girls. Denny, Jenny's willowy blond twin brother, was first, followed by his friend Randy, who was a year older and taller. He had dark shoulder-length hair and black eyes that reflected his Native American heritage.

Ty, the youngest member of the family, with his reddish-brown hair, big brown eyes, and freckles, was the last child to exit. He was followed by Laddie, the ageing family collie.

"This is so exciting," the eight-year-old bubbled. "I love pushing cars."

"How do you know you love pushing cars?" Denny asked. "How many cars have you pushed out of ditches? Pinhead!"

"Don't be sarcastic, Denny," Grandma scolded. "We need cooperation here—not criticism."

"Come on, Denny, we'll push from the front," Randy suggested. "It's probably best to go backward to get out of this ditch."

"Randy's right," Grandma said, smiling at their thirteen-year-old guest. "Now, all of you line up at the front of the car."

"Randy's always right." Denny grinned at his friend. "He knows lots of stuff about lots of things."

"Yeah, sure," Audrey scoffed. "He's a regular walking encyclopedia."

I'm glad he's here to help me with all these dumb girls, Denny thought.

Grandma shook her head in dismay, took a deep breath, and let out a puff of air. "It has been a long day! I'm sure the ski lodge is just around the corner. Let's all cool it another few minutes, and then we'll be able to relax. Cousin Hannah promised us a lovely pork dinner when we called her about an hour ago."

"Get in front of the van and push," Grandpa ordered the group from his open window. "When I put the van into reverse, everyone push at once."

The six children lined up in the snow at the front of the van, while Laddie went across the road to potty. Audrey had to push aside a small bush to find a place to stand. Grandma grabbed the rearview mirror and door handle on the passenger side of the van. When Grandpa put the van into reverse and pushed down the gas pedal, the van began moving backward.

"Push!" Jenny cried, as she pushed with all her might. She had appointed herself cheerleader.

Everyone pushed as hard as they could, and the van was soon back on the road.

"Hurrah!" The children jumped and cheered.

When the celebrating ended, the group heard Laddie barking. The family pet seemed to be focused on something in the woods.

"What's that smelly dog barking at?" Jenny asked.

"I thought I saw something moving out there," Audrey said.

"I didn't see anything," Ty said.

"Me either," Denny agreed.

"Well, we don't have time to run after something in the woods, so get into the van," Grandpa shouted out the window. "It's beginning to snow. Let's get to the lodge before dark, or we'll really be in a mess."

I know I saw something—sort of big and furry, Audrey thought as she settled down in her seat for the remainder of the trip to the lodge.

* * *

The Haskell grandparents, their four grandchildren, and two of their neighbors' grandchildren had been on the road since early morning. They were traveling from their small diversified farm north of Aberdeen, South Dakota, to a small, cross-country ski lodge in Northwestern Minnesota.

The Lake Toby Resort was well known in the Marshall County region for its cross-country skiing and dogsled racing in the winter and its water skiing and walleye fishing in the summer. Since the Husky Hideaway Lodge on Lake Toby was also a bed and breakfast, which featured Hannah's excellent cooking, in the fall of the year many hunters came to the lodge to hunt pheasants, ducks, and deer.

Basil and Hannah (Larson) Elliott had purchased the lodge after they'd retired from their office jobs in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, in 2000. Hannah had been an outstanding cross-country skier at the University of Minnesota during the 1960s and Basil was interested in raising husky sled dogs, so the lodge was the perfect place for them to practice their hobbies and keep busy in their retirement years.

The Elliotts had invited the Haskells and their grandchildren to the lodge for the Christmas holiday. Not many guests came during the holiday, so there were plenty of rooms available.

The Elliotts' only son, Brad, was an engineer who worked for a large company in South Africa. He didn't come home very often. Hannah and Basil thought it would be fun to have a bunch of kids around for the holidays.

* * *

"That must be Lake Toby," Grandma Abby said, pointing to a large frozen body of water on the right side of the road, while the old van moved slowly up the hill toward a large, Tudor-style two-story building.

"At last we're here!" Jenny said, and she gave a big sigh of relief.

"I'm hungry!" Denny complained.

Grandpa stopped the van in front of the lodge. The children piled out as if the van were on fire and ran up the porch steps to the ornately decorated entrance to the lodge. The Christmas wreath hanging on the door had a sign beneath it that read Velcommen, the Scandinavian word for welcome.

Hannah flung the doors wide open before the children had a chance to ring the bell. "Come in," she shouted above the clamor of excitement.

The sixty-five-year-old, tall, muscular woman picked Audrey up from the floor of the porch as she hugged her. Hannah's long, gray-blonde hair was tied in a bun at the nape of her neck, and her blue eyes sparkled when she saw the children.

Next Hannah hugged Jenny and then Denny. After tossing Ty into the air, she gave him a big bear hug that left the youngster breathless.

"And who are these two strangers?" Hannah asked, looking at Randy and Missy.

"This is Missy, and that's Randy." Jenny introduced her friends by pointing at them. "They are Grandma and Grandpa's neighbors' grandkids."

"I hope you don't mind us bring them along?" Grandma asked as she approached the door.

"Not at all. The more the merrier." Hannah laughed loudly with joy.

Just then, Hannah's husband, Basil, appeared at the door. "Welcome," he said as he broke loose with a robust laugh that sounded like Santa Claus.

Basil was a dark French Canadian. His black beard was showing signs of gray, and the graying black hair on his head was thinning. Basil was also muscular, with sparkling dark eyes. He stood well over six foot four inches tall.

The children became quiet while they stared at the Paul Bunyan lookalike from the north woods. Paul Bunyan was a giant fictitious hero of folklore they'd heard of who had great skill in harvesting lumber from the Northeastern United States forests.

Grandpa Josh walked over to Basil and shook his hand. "Do you know what you've gotten yourself into?" he asked Basil.

Basil let out a big ho, ho, ho chuckle that shook the porch. Then he answered, "This looks like a lively group. Hope they can chop wood!"

"Chop wood!" the children exclaimed together.

"Sure," Basil said with a wink. "All we burn here is wood. We need lots of chopped wood to keep the fires going. You want to be warm, don't you?"

"Well, yes," Audrey answered first. "We can help, can't we?" She looked at her fellow travelers.

They all nodded meekly in agreement. No one felt the need to argue with Basil.

"We're okay for tonight." Basil smiled. "No chores until morning; then we'll all learn how to chop wood and feed dogs."

"Dogs? Oh boy!" Ty said excitedly. "How many dogs?"

"About a dozen Siberian huskies. This is the Husky Hideaway, you know," Basil said proudly.

"Bring in all your things," Hannah instructed. "We'd better close this door soon, or we'll have to chop more wood before the night is over."

Everyone marched quickly to the van and grabbed their suitcases, along with boxes full of food, Christmas gifts, and warm clothes. Grandma had spent days packing her canned goodies, lots of warm boots, mittens, coats, and gifts for everyone—she was always well organized. In case of a snowstorm, they would be well equipped through the holidays.


Who is Sasquatch?

The conversation around the big oak table in the kitchen was very lively. The children were all excited and had many questions about the Husky Hideaway.

"How often do you go to dogsled races?" Denny mumbled through a mouthful of potatoes and gravy.

"Don't talk with your mouth full of food," Grandma Abby scolded. Then she added with a sigh, "Children—I don't know how many times I have to tell them!"

Cousin Basil laughed. "Well, young man, I'll tell you. We go whenever we feel the dogs are ready and can win a race. You have to pay entrance fees, so it gets costly if you never win. We won't be entering any races until after Christmas."

"How many dogs to a sled?" Randy asked while chewing on a piece of pork roast.

"Depends on the race, conditions of the course, health of the animals—stuff like that. I only have nine racing dogs right now, so that's all I can use. Two of my female dogs are with pups right now, so they don't race. I usually go with seven dogs."

"You mean there are pups here?" Ty gasped with so much excitement that he nearly tipped his glass of milk as he reached for another swallow to wash down his food. He was eating so fast that he seemed to have forgotten how to chew properly.

"Slow down, young man!" Grandpa warned. "You'll choke on your food."

"Yes," Basil said in reply to Ty's question, "we've got two sets of pups—eight in all."

"Can we go see them, please?" Ty begged.

"No," the four adults answered in unison.

"They're bedded down for the night. We'll see them in the morning," Basil promised.

"How many different kinds of huskies are there?" Audrey asked. She always wanted to be the one to ask the most intelligent questions.

"The two most popular purebred sled dogs are the Siberian husky and the Alaskan Malamute," Basil replied. Then he went on to explain. "There are many types of mongrel dogs used in teams too. Back in the late 1980s, a team of standard poodles ran in the Iditarod and did okay."

"What is the Iditarod?" Ty asked.

"The Iditarod is an annual sled-dog race that lasts for eight to fourteen days over a thousand-mile stretch from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. It's very popular in Alaska," Basil explained.

"I'll bet that it takes a really tough guy with strong dogs to win that race," Randy speculated.

"Not at all!" Hannah grinned. "The race has been won many times by women, and the dogs are male and female."

"Oh," Randy muttered while digging in to his green beans. The girls at the table snickered.

"What kind of huskies do you raise?" Denny asked.

"We have the Siberian huskies, because we like to sell them for breeding stock and racers. However, I've seen some mixed breeds that are very good racers."

"This all sounds very exciting," Jenny commented. "I can't wait to see a race."

"Don't you have any questions?" Hannah asked Missy.

Missy smiled shyly. "No, I learn more when I'm listening."

Everyone laughed.

"Ain't that the truth?" Hannah exclaimed. "Now, who needs dessert?"

"I do!" the children all shouted at once.

Grandpa Josh turned down his hearing aid and shook his head.

"What's for dessert?" Ty asked.

"Gooseberry pie," Hannah answered.

"Gooseberry!" Ty gasped in horror. "How many geese did you have to kill to find enough berries to make a pie?"

Everyone laughed.

"None at all," Hannah said. "Gooseberries grow on small bushes. We grow the Pixwell brand. They turn a pale pink when they are ripe and make excellent pies and preserves. I sell the pies and jams to tourists and guests in the summer."

"Here you go," she said as she handed Ty a piece of pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

"Ty looked at the pie, lowered his head, and said, "I think I'll wait for everyone else to get their pie before I eat mine."

"He's chicken," Denny said. "He's afraid to go first."

"Okay, young man," Hannah said as she handed Denny a big piece of pie and ice cream. "You go first."

Denny stared at the pie.

"Give it to me," Missy said, "I like gooseberry pie. I've tasted it many times at my Aunt Red Feather's place—it's delicious."

Missy took a big slice of the pie with some ice cream, and began eating. "Mmmm," she said as she tasted the heavenly dessert.

Ty dug into his pie. He couldn't let a girl be braver than he was. Soon everyone was enjoying Hannah's wonderful dessert.

* * *

After supper, the family sat around the fireplace in the large family room, which they called the great room. The logs crackled as they burned. Once in a while sparks shot out onto the hearth.

"I think I saw something in the woods when we slid into the ditch," Audrey said. "Laddie was barking, and I swear I saw some large, hairy beast run through the trees."

"Just like a girl," Randy said as he shook his head. "They are always afraid of everything that moves in the woods."

"Well," Basil said, looking concerned, "we've had sightings of Sasquatch lately."

"Who's Sasquatch?" Jenny asked, wrinkling her brow while she made a funny face.

"Sasquatch is also called Bigfoot, Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman, depending on who sees it and where it is spotted," Hannah explained. "I've never seen it, but people claim it's a big hair-covered creature that looks something like an ape. I think it's all a hoax."

"I've heard of such a creature," Audrey said. "It's probably some big person dressed in an ape suit."

"That could be true," Basil agreed, "but why would anyone want to go to all that trouble just to scare someone?"

"People do strange things," Grandma Abby suggested. "I guess they need to get a life."

"Amen to that!" Hannah ended the conversation when she saw the fear in Ty's eyes. No use scaring the children, she thought.

* * *

The children got to sleep in the hunters' dorm attached to the back of the lodge. They got to this by going through the small shed that was attached to the kitchen. The two large rooms in the dorm were paneled with knotty pine and had a large picture window at one end and a very large closet at the other end. The four beds in each room were made of maple wood and were very comfortable, with pillow-soft mattresses. Each bed had a small dresser to put clothes and other items into. Each room had a small refrigerator, and there was a big colorful braided rug in the middle of each room. There was also a bathroom for each large room. The whole look was warm and comfortable.

"Wow—four beds!" Ty said excitedly as they entered the boy's dorm room. "Now Laddie can have his own bed." The old collie followed Ty everywhere and was his best buddy.

"Whoopee ding!" Denny said with a smirk. "It's not enough we have to put up with the squirt—we also have to take the old dog."

"Relax!" Randy patted his buddy on the back. "These are pretty cool digs we are in."

"Yeah, this is a nice room," Denny agreed. "I guess we can handle the two oddballs." Then he playfully poked Ty with his fist.

Ty ignored the poke and picked out two beds on the right side of the room. He threw his suitcase on one of the beds. "You take that other bed, Laddie." He pointed to the empty bed.

The old dog looked at Ty and then at the bed Ty was pointing to. Next he jumped onto the bed with the suitcase on it.

Excerpted from Did Bigfoot Steal Christmas? by Mary Ellen Erickson. Copyright © 2013 Mary Ellen Erickson, PhD.. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Destination: Husky Hideaway....................     1     

Chapter 2 Who is Sasquatch?....................     7     

Chapter 3 Lots of Work and Fun....................     15     

Chapter 4 Chopping Wood....................     23     

Chapter 5 Snowmobile Fun....................     31     

Chapter 6 Christmas Preparations....................     38     

Chapter 7 Lost in a Snowstorm....................     47     

Chapter 8 Christmas Carols....................     54     

Chapter 9 A Grinch on the Loose?....................     58     

Chapter 10 Skiing is Hard!....................     65     

Chapter 11 Christmas Eve....................     72     

Chapter 12 Spying on Christmas Day....................     79     

Chapter 13 Spotting Bigfoot....................     88     

Chapter 14 Learning to Be a Musher....................     99     

Chapter 15 The Plot Thickens....................     107     

Chapter 16 A Moose on the Loose....................     113     

Chapter 17 The Big Race....................     119     

Chapter 18 The Race Is On....................     126     

Chapter 19 Willow City or Bust....................     133     

Chapter 20 Who Won the Race?....................     141     

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Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013


    If you're looking for a cute Christmas book to take you back to some of your younger days and some light reading this is the one. It has some nice, simple, pen and ink drawings that really carry keep you reminded that it is a story about "the Peanut
    Butter Club" and just a really cute story with the kids as the main characters--kind of reminded me of some of the stories that could be told around a nice fire place or outdoor bon fire type of story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013


    Hovers around a large star piece. Is an admin Jirachi

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