Never Cry

Never Cry "Arp!" and Other Great Adventures

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by Patrick F. McManus
     
 

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America's best-selling outdoor humorist for adults has a secret following: middle-grade and young-adult readers.

Never Cry "Arp!" is a lively collection of twelve stories about young Pat's misadventures in the Great American Wilderness.

All the McManus regulars are here: Crazy Eddie Muldoon, the best friend everybody wishes they had (and

Overview

America's best-selling outdoor humorist for adults has a secret following: middle-grade and young-adult readers.

Never Cry "Arp!" is a lively collection of twelve stories about young Pat's misadventures in the Great American Wilderness.

All the McManus regulars are here: Crazy Eddie Muldoon, the best friend everybody wishes they had (and everybody's mother wishes they didn't); Rancid Crabtree, the good-hearted, if gamey, woodsman; Pat's skunk dog, Strange, who lives up to his name; and Pat's pal, Retch Sweeney, who does, too.

This is a book for kids who love to start fishing at 4am (at least they say they do) or for those who prefer to experience the mighty outdoors in the safety of their homes.

"Everybody should read Patrick McManus," said the New York Times. Now, everybody can.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Based on the author's memories of his boyhood adventures in the mountains of Idaho, these shaggy-dog tales are told in colorful backwoods dialect. Not many youngsters will understand the references to Bogart, Cagney, and Bob Hope, but after the second page the narrator's strong voice takes over and readers will be able to imagine hearing a favorite relative sharing these reminiscences. The 12 episodes reek of adolescent male humor: "Cubs" is a rendition of an unforgettable outing hosted by dim scoutmaster Tiddle and two sadistic older boys, Attila and Lucifer. In "Show and Tell," the poor but creative country kids try to outdo the rich townies and impress their lovely new teacher. The most graphic selection, "Secret Places," is about an "extracurricular" science projectthe narrator and his friend's collection of urine deposits hidden in the barn rafters. The denouement is not for the squeamish! Although many characters reappear throughout, there is not a sense of continuity. In the 10th story, the characters are in third grade; in the next, they are suddenly sophomores. The last tale about a camp out ends abruptly, providing no sense of closure. Fans of Robert Newton Peck looking for darker humor may appreciate this book; however, for readers who want kindly, grandfatherly tales liberally mixed with humor, a love of nature, a strong dose of fantasy, and poetic prose, try Robin Moore's The Cherry Tree Buck and Other Stories (Knopf, 1995).Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Chris Sherman
Young people who love the broad physical comedy of Robert Newton Peck's "Soup" stories or Gary Paulsen's "Harris and Me" (1993) are sure to enjoy these 12 stories about growing up in the mountains of Idaho. Although the book is classified as fiction, McManus' introductory note assures us the adventures are all true, if "varnished, stretched, and embroidered. . . somewhat." McManus is a natural storyteller, with a voice so strong that readers will be hard-pressed not to believe his tales. They'll also probably be relieved they didn't live in his neighborhood! The tales will be great choices for readers' theater or storytelling, as well as good models for a student's own writing or telling.
Kirkus Reviews
Stories about the author's childhood adventures growing up in a small town, including one in which a delinquent dog tangles with a skunk, and two in which eminently satisfying tricks are played on pompous bullies. Others involve youthful disasters, accident-prone friends, eccentric townsfolk, camp-outs, and crazy schemes.

McManus is a sort of Dave Barry for kids. His stories are not merely amusing: They are laugh-out-loud, stomach-clutching, tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks hilarious. Factual or not, the names of people display a backwoods Dickensian humor, from Rancid Crabtree, the old woodsman, to a friend, Retch Sweeney, and his two kid brothers, Erful and Verman, and to Miss Goosehart, a teacher at Delmore Blight Grade School. The humor is often broad, but its expression is matter-of-fact; McManus writes for those with good vocabularies who can read between the lines. Really comic stories that also treat this audience with intelligence are something of a rarity; this collection is as welcome as lemonade in the desert.

From the Publisher
"McManus is a natural storyteller, with a voice so strong that readers will be hard-pressed not to believe his tales."—Booklist

"[McManus's] stories are not merely amusing, they are laugh-out-loud, stomach-clutching, tears-rolling-down-your-cheeks hilarious. . . . This collection is as welcome as lemonade in the desert."—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466809475
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
05/15/1996
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
134
Sales rank:
251,060
File size:
146 KB
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Never Cry Arp! and Other Great Adventures

1

Skunk Dog

WHEN I WAS A KID, I used to beg my mother to get me a dog.

"You've got a dog," she would say.

"No, I mean a real dog," I'd reply.

"Why, you've got Strange, and he's a real dog, more or less."

Strange was mostly less. He had stopped by to cadge a free meal off of us one day and found the pickings so easy he decided to stay on. He lived with us for ten years, although, as my grandmother used to say, it seemed like centuries. In all those years, he displayed not a single socially redeeming quality. If dogs were films, he'd have been X-rated.

I recall one Sunday when my mother had invited the new parish priest to dinner. Our dining roomtable was situated in front of a large window overlooking the front yard. During the first course, Strange passed by the window not once but twice, walking on his front legs but dragging his rear over the grass. His mouth was split in an ear-to-ear grin of sublime relief, and possibly of pride, in his discovery of a new treatment for embarrassing itch.

"Well, Father," Mom said in a hasty effort at distraction, "and how do you like our little town by now?"

"Hunh?" the pastor said, a fork full of salad frozen in mid-stroke as he gaped out the window at the disgusting spectacle. "Pardon me, what were you saying?"

During the next course, Strange appeared outside the window with the remains of some creature that had met its end sometime prior to the previous winter, no doubt something he had saved for just such a formal occasion. As he licked his chops in pretense of preparing to consume the loathsome object, Mom shot me a look that said, "Kill that dog!" I stepped to the door fully intending to carry out the order, but Strange ran off, snickering under his breath.

"More chicken, Father?" Mom asked.

"Thank you, I think not," the priest said, running a finger around the inside of his Roman collar, as if experiencing some welling of the throat.

Fortunately, the dinner was only four courses in length, ending before Strange could stage his grand finale. A female collie, three dead rats, and the entrails of a sheep were left waiting in the wings.

Mom said later she didn't know whether Strange was just being more disgusting than usual that day or had something against organized religion. In any case, it was a long while before the priest came to dinner again, our invitations invariably conflicting with funerals, baptisms, or his self-imposed days of fasting.

Strange was the only dog I've ever known who could belch at will. It was his idea of high comedy. If my mother had some of her friends over for a game of pinochle, Strange would slip into the house and slouch over to the ladies. Then he would emit a loud belch. Apparently, he mistook shudders of revulsion for a form of applause, because he would sit there on his haunches, grinning modestly up at the group and preparing an encore. "Stop, stop!" he would snarl, as I dragged him back outdoors. "They love me! They'll die laughing at my other routine! It'll have them on the floor!" I will not speak here of his other routine.

In general appearance, Strange could easily have been mistaken for your average brown-and-white mongrel with floppy cars and a shaggy tail, except that depravity was written all over him. He lookedas if he sold dirty postcards to support an opium habit. His eyes spoke of having known the depths of degeneracy, and approving of them.

Tramps were his favorite people. If a tramp stopped by for a free meal at our picnic table and to case the place, Strange would greet him warmly, exchange bits of news about underworld connections, and leak inside information about the household: "They ain't got any decent jewelry, but the silver's not bad and there's a good radio in the living room." The tramp would reach down and scratch the dog behind the ears as a gesture of appreciation, and Strange would belch for him. Face wrinkled in disgust, the tramp would then hoist his bedroll and depart the premises, no doubt concerned about the reliability of food given him by a family that kept such a dog.

My friends at school often debated the attributes of various breeds of dogs. "I tend to favor black labs," I'd say, going on to recite the various characteristics I had recently excerpted from a Field & Stream dog column. Somehow my classmates got the impression that I actually owned a black lab and had personally observed these characteristics. While I was aware of the mistaken impression, I didn't feel it was my business to go around refuting all the rumors that happened to get started. Sooner or later, however, one of these friends would visitme at home. Strange would come out of his house and satisfy himself that the visitor wasn't a tramp in need of his counsel. That done, he would yawn, belch, gag, and return to his den of iniquity.

"That your uh dog?" the kid would ask.

"I guess so," I'd reply, embarrassed.

"Too bad," the kid would say. "I always thought you had a black lab."

"Naw, just him. But I'm planning on buying me a black lab pup first chance I get."

"I sure would," the kid would say, shaking his head.

As a hunting dog, Strange was a good deal worse than no dog. Nevertheless, he clearly thought of himself as a great hunting guide. "Fresh spoor," he would say, indicating a pine cone. "We can't be far behind him. And for gosh sakes shoot straight, because I judge from the sign he'll be in a bad mood!"

Chances of shooting any game at all with Strange along were nil. He had no concept of stealth. His standard hunting practice was to go through the woods shouting directions and advice to me and speculating loudly about the absence of game. I would have had more luck hunting with a rock band.

Strange did not believe in violence, except possibly in regard to chickens. He couldn't stand chickens. If a chicken walked by his house, Strange wouldrush out in a rage and tell the bird off and maybe even cuff it around a bit in the manner of early Bogart or Cagney. "You stupid chicken, don't ever let me catch you in dis neighborhood again, you hear?"

Some of our neighbors kept half-starved timber wolves for watchdogs. Occasionally one of these beasts would come loping warily through our yard and encounter Strange. Since Strange considered the whole world as his territory, he fel =no particular obligation to defend this small portion of it. He would sit there, figuratively picking his teeth with a match, and stare insolently at the wolf, who was four times his size, its lip curled over glistening fangs, hackles raised, growls rumbling up from its belly. After a bit, the wolf would circle Strange, back away, and then lope on, occasionally casting a nervous glance back over its shoulder. "Punk!" Strange would mutter. Probably the reason none of these wolves ever attacked Strange was that they figured he was carrying a switchblade and maybe a blackjack.

Despite the peculiar passive side to his character, Strange did commit a single act of violence that was so terrible my mother actually considered selling the farm and moving us all to town. At the very least, she said, she was getting rid of Strange.

The episode began one warm spring evening when my grandmother sighted a skunk scurrying under our woodshed.

"He's probably the one that's been killing our chickens," Gram said. "I wouldn't be surprised but that he has his missus under there and they're planning a family. We'll be overrun with skunks!"

"Well, we'll just have to get him out from under the woodshed," Mom said. "Land sakes, a person can scarcely get a breath of fresh air in the backyard without smelling skunk. Maybe we should get Rancid Crabtree to come over and see what he can do about it."

"He'd certainly overpower the skunk smell," Gram said, "but I don't see that's any gain."

"What I mean is," Mom said, "maybe Rancid could trap the skunk or at least get it to leave. It's worth a try."

"I don't know," Gram said. "It just doesn't seem like a fair contest to me."

"Because Rancid uses guns and traps?" I asked.

"No, because the skunk has a brain!"

Gram and Rancid were not fond of each other.

The next day I was sent to tell Rancid we needed his expertise in extracting a skunk from under our woodshed. His face brightened at this news.

"Ha!" he said. "Thet ol' woman couldn't figureout how to git a skonk out from under yore shed, so fust thang she does is start yelling fer ol' Crabtree! If thet don't beat all!"

"Actually, it was Mom who told me to come get you," I said.

"Oh. Wall, in thet case, Ah'll come. Jist keep the ol' woman outta ma ha'r."

When we arrived, Gram was standing out by the woodshed banging on a pot with a steel spoon and whooping and hollering. The old woodsman nudged me in the ribs and winked. I could tell he was going to get off one of his "good ones."

"Would you mind practicin' your drummin' and singin' somewhar else?" Rancid said to her. "Me and the boy got to git a skonk out from under thet shed."

If Gram could have given the skunk the same look she fired at Rancid, the creature would have been stunned if not killed outright. The glare had no effect on Rancid, however, since he was bent over laughing and slapping his knee in appreciation of his good one. It was, in fact, one of the best good ones I'd ever heard him get off, but I didn't dare laugh.

"All right, Bob Hope," Gram snapped. "Let's see how you get the skunk out from under there. Maybe if you stood upwind of it, that would do the trick!"

"Don't rile me, ol' woman, don't rile me," Rancid said. "Now, boy, go fetch me some newspapers. Ah'm gonna smoke thet critter outta thar."

"And burn down the shed most likely," Gram said.

"Ha!" Rancid said. "You thank Ah don't know how to smoke a skonk out from under a shed?"

Fortunately, the well and a bucket were close at hand and we were able to douse the fire before it did any more damage than blackening one corner of the building.

During these proceedings, Strange had emerged from his house and sat looking on with an air of bemusement. There was nothing he loved better than a ruckus.

"Maybe we should just let the skunk be," Mom said.

"Land sakes, yes!" Gram shouted at Rancid. "Before you destroy the whole dang farm!"

Rancid snorted. "No skonk's ever bested me yet, and this ain't gonna be the fust!"

After each failed attempt to drive out the skunk, Rancid seemed to become angrier and more frenzied. Furiously, he dug a hole on one side of the shed. Then he jammed a long pole in through the hole and flailed wildly about with it. No luck. He went inside the shed and jumped up and downon the floor with his heavy boots. Still no skunk emerged. At one point, he tried to crawl under the shed, apparently with the idea of entering into hand-to-gland combat with the skunk, but the shed floor was too low to the ground. Then he grabbed up the pole and flailed it wildly under the floor again. Next he dropped the pole and yelled at me, "Go git another batch of newspapers!"

"No, no, no!" screamed Mom.

"Leave the poor skunk alone," Gram yelled. "I'm startin' to become fond of the little critter!"

Rancid stood there panting and mopping sweat from his forehead with his arm. "Ah know what Ah'll do, Ah'll set a trap fer him! Should of did thet in the fust place. No skonk is gonna ..."

At that moment, the skunk, no doubt taking advantage of the calm, or perhaps frightened by it, ran out from under the shed and made for the nearby brush.

"Ah figured thet little trick would work," Rancid said, although no one else was quite sure which trick he was speaking of. "And this way, there ain't no big stank, which is how Ah planned it."

Then Strange tore into the skunk.

The battle was short but fierce, with the skunk expending its whole arsenal as Strange dragged it about the yard, up the porch and down, into thewoodshed and out, and through the group of frantically dispersing spectators. At last, coming to his senses, the dog dropped the skunk and allowed it to stagger off into the bushes.

Strange seemed embarrassed by his first and only display of heroism. "I don't know what came over me," he said, shaking. "I've got nothing against skunks!" Still, I couldn't help but be proud of him.

The skunk was gone, but its essence lingered on. The air was stiff with the smell of skunk for weeks afterwards.

"That dog has got to go," Mom said. But, of course, Strange refused to go, and that was that.

It was years before Strange was entirely free of the skunk odor. Every time he got wet, the smell came back in potent force.

"Phew!" a new friend of mine would say. "That your dog?"

"Yeah," I'd say, proudly, "he's a skunk dog."

Collection copyright © 1996 by Patrick F. McManus

Meet the Author

Patrick F. McManus was born and raised in Idaho and now lives there and in Spokane, Washington. He is a regular contributor to Outdoor Life, and a five-time New York Times best-selling author. The Grasshopper Trap, How I Got This Way, and The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw are among his best-known books.


Patrick F. McManus has written twelve books and two plays. There are nearly two million copies of his books in print, including his bestselling They Shoot Canoes Don't They?; The Night The Bear Ate Goombaw; and A Fine and Pleasant Mystery. He divides his time between Spokane, Washington, and Idaho.

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Never Cry "Arp!" and Other Great Adventures 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is hilariously funny and I laughed outloud on more than just a couple occasions. My favorite story was 'Eating Sign'. That story kept me laughing possibly the entire time while I was reading it. Throughout the book I had a clear picture of what was going on due to the words he used and they weren't too long for me to be confused with their meaning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1-Map<p>2-Karakura town<p>3-The Karakura high school((I totally blanked out on the name of it. Lol))<p>4-Urahara's shop<p>5-Soul Society<p>6-Rukon district<p>7-Squad1<p>8-Squad2<p>9-Squad3<p>10-Bios<p>11-Squad4<p>-12-Squad5<p>13-Squad6<p>14-Squad7<p>15-Squad8<p>16-Squad9<p>17-Squad10<p>18-Squad11<p>19-Squad12<p>20-Squad13<p>21-Head Captian's place<p>22- The Royal place((Forgot this name too it's the place with the Soul king person man i hate it when i forget important things like this))<p>23-Hueco Mundo<p>((if i forgot any places or if i messed up just post it here as the to notify the rest who are here and fix it among yourselves))
Jb1914 More than 1 year ago
Genuinely funny humor of real life in early Idaho. Great for all ages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just 89 pages and includes material from other books. If you have read his other books I wouldn't bother with this one and if you haven't, then read his earlier books, which are highly enjoyable!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is COOL dude.anyone know of a good piercinng place?i wanna get a nose ring and earring.they look cool on guys like me.im gonna impress my girlfrien