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From the Publisher"Hale entertains with a noir style adapted for a young audience. . . .
Those who haven't read a 'Chet Gecko' mystery don't know what they're missing."—School Library Journal
In these two wisecracking, sidesplitting mysteries from Chet Gecko's tattered casebook, the fourth-grade detective and his punning mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, keep the peace at Emerson Hicky Elementary. In the first, the two sleuths blow the lid off a cheating ring in Mr. Ratnose's classroom, and in the second, they track down the winning ticket for the biggest, chocolatiest, most gut-busting dessert ever, the Malted Falcon. Danger ...
In these two wisecracking, sidesplitting mysteries from Chet Gecko's tattered casebook, the fourth-grade detective and his punning mockingbird partner, Natalie Attired, keep the peace at Emerson Hicky Elementary. In the first, the two sleuths blow the lid off a cheating ring in Mr. Ratnose's classroom, and in the second, they track down the winning ticket for the biggest, chocolatiest, most gut-busting dessert ever, the Malted Falcon. Danger has never been so delicious!
When my morning began with a lumpy bully, a fire drill, a mysterious stranger, and a cootie attack-all by recess-I knew it would be one of those days. A day when you wish you'd strangled your alarm clock. A day when you wish you'd perfected that fake cough and stayed home sick.
Unless you're a detective, that is. We eat trouble for breakfast, with a side order of danger, hold the mayo.
The whole thing started with the plop of a pop quiz onto my desk.
Mr. Ratnose's quizzes are scarier than a broccoli-and-liverwurst smoothie. Especially when you haven't done the homework.
I stared at the sheet. The questions made about as much sense as training wheels on a Tyrannosaurus rex. Cold sweat trickled down my cheek.
Only one thing could save me....
Ring-ah, ring-ah, ring-ah!
The fire bell.
A smile curled my lips. Saved by the drill.
Mr. Ratnose's pointy kisser wore a puzzled frown, but he gave us our marching orders.
"Single file, everyone," he said. "Line up."
We formed a line and trooped out the door. Just my luck, Shirley Chameleon cut right in front of me.
"Oh, hi, Chet," she said, as we walked down the hall.
She had big green peepers and a long, curled tail. If I went for dames, I might have thought she was pretty cute.
But this gecko doesn't go for dames.
"It's...um, would you...er," Shirley mumbled.
"Spit it out, sister," I said.
She turned a delicate pink. "Would you be my valentine?" asked Shirley.
"Really?" she said.
"Yup," I said. "When monkeys fly out of my nostrils."
Shirley's face fell like a kindergartner's home-baked cake. "Chet Gecko, you are so mean!" She rushed off, taking her cooties with her.
Just ahead of me, Bitty Chu, a goody-good gopher, turned in place. She gave me a dirty look.
I gave her a dirtier one. She turned back around. What makes dames so ding-y around Valentine's Day?
By this time, we had reached the playground. Lines of kids covered the grass like army-ant sauce on a sundae. Natalie's class stood by ours, but my mockingbird pal was out of earshot.
Teachers huddled at the front of the line, swapping complaints. We weren't going anywhere, so I checked out Natalie's class.
Like my own, it was packed with mugs, mopes, and misfits. I recognized Wyatt Burp, a bullfrog who could belch like an opera star, and Paige Turner, a spoiled titmouse in a cashmere sweater.
Paige waved at Bitty Chu. They stepped across the gap between the lines and began whispering. All I caught was something about a "moldy falcon."
Secrets fascinate me. I drifted toward the gossiping pair. Then I bumped into what felt like a tree trunk.
"Hey!" said the tree. I glanced up. A tall, spiky reptile with enough peaks on his back for a small mountain range was glaring down at me.
"I'm allergic to hay," I said. "Can we make it clover?" (Not one of my best quips, but why waste the good stuff on a stranger?)
"You bumped me, mate," he rumbled. "Apologize."
"All right. Sorry you got in my way."
The lumpy-looking mug snarled. "Wise guy, eh?"
I smirked. "Not really. I'm a C-plus student."
"I oughta teach you a lesson," he said, clenching his fists. The big guy eyeballed Paige and Bitty, who'd turned to watch.
"Fine." I put my hands on my hips. "You can start by teaching me what kind of wacko reptile you are."
The creature's eyes narrowed. The spikes on his head got spikier.
"What dipstick doesn't know a tuatara when he sees one?" he said.
I drew myself up. "The kind who's never seen a too-ra-loo-ra before, that's who. Dipstick yourself."
We stood toe-to-toe, locked in a sneer-a-thon.
Soft wing tips brushed my arm. "Chet?"
It was my partner, Natalie Attired. A mockingbird with impeccable fashion sense, she was sharper than a vice principal's tongue. Just then, she wore a worried frown across her beak.
When she tugged, I stepped back.
"Ah, you've met our exchange student," she said. "Little Gino, Chet Gecko."
The tuatara bared his teeth. "And he'll be flat gecko if he keeps buggin' me."
Before I could make a snappy comeback, the school bell rang all clear.
"Come along, class," called Mr. Ratnose. "Let's move out."
I nodded at Little Gino.
"Next time, mate," he said with a sneer.
"Promise?" I asked.
As I turned to march back to the room, I reflected. It's a good thing I don't have much to do with Natalie's class, I thought. You couldn't pay me to hang out with those weirdos.
But just like the kid who took a pop quiz blindfolded, little did I know how wrong I was.
Copyright © 2003 by Bruce Hale
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.
Posted November 17, 2004
The best book ever! I love these books. I read everyone so far and I love them. Bruce Hale make more these exciting mysteries.This is coming from a kids mouth.
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Posted November 5, 2013
Posted September 6, 2013
Posted October 7, 2012
This book is just like one of my own my book is called bullseye's curiousity.Im only nine but I am pretty creative say not only me but my whole family.Both books are fiction mine is about a donkey that is named Bullseye and he thinks he is to curiouse but then he finds out the ant that bit him gave him super powers allowing him to fly to have super strength and xray vision.
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Posted May 26, 2011
Life is not easy for these two best friends Shawn and Russell who both lack many of the essentials of life. They both have to overcome adversity. They live in somewhat impoverish conditions and are bullied mainly because of it.
Russell lives in a camping trailer behind his Uncle's house because Russell believes his Uncle Cory is irresponsible and not trustworthy according to his father who himself is in jail. But is Uncle Cory as irresponsible and not to be trusted as Russell's father says?
The boys decide to get a dog to protect them from the bullies they have to deal with. They begin scooping poop one scoop at a time to make the $200 they need for one of Princess' puppies.
Princess, a Rottweiller, looks vicious, far from what her name suggest of her. She seems to always want to attack them when they see her and her puppies in the basement of the house owned by a scary guy named Nick.
One time, they arrive at the wrong time. It doesn't take much for Russell to understand something bad might be happening after hearing barking, growls, and cries from the dogs along with people seeming to be having a good time coming from the garage behind Princess' house.
On the next visit to see their puppy and make another down payment on it, the boys discover not only is Princess cut up and injured but so are the three pit bulls that are kept cages in the yard.
As the boys learn compassion for the dogs in trouble they see their vision of having a dog scary enough to protest them might not be the right thing at all. And that dogs can be in need of protection themselves not unlike Shawn and Russell.
I loved this story. The author's clever writing on a serious subjects and the well timed jokes make it a book worth reading for grades 5 and up.
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Posted January 27, 2013
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