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For seven years, bad luck has followed Ivy around like a dog on a leash. Her father disappeared, her mother is a washed–up beauty–pageant winner, and now Viola and her mother have moved into a raqmshackle house on Gumm Street. Ivy's new neighbors–bookish Pru, stuck–up Cat, and wannabe adventurer Franny–are worse than unfriendly. But then a mysterious pair of ruby red slippers turn up, and the four girls are swept away...not to OZ, but to the jaw–droppingly strange lands of SPOZ, and SPUDZ, and OOZE, pursued by ...
For seven years, bad luck has followed Ivy around like a dog on a leash. Her father disappeared, her mother is a washed–up beauty–pageant winner, and now Viola and her mother have moved into a raqmshackle house on Gumm Street. Ivy's new neighbors–bookish Pru, stuck–up Cat, and wannabe adventurer Franny–are worse than unfriendly. But then a mysterious pair of ruby red slippers turn up, and the four girls are swept away...not to OZ, but to the jaw–droppingly strange lands of SPOZ, and SPUDZ, and OOZE, pursued by the fashionably mad Cha–Cha Staccato, who bears a frightening resemblance to a certain wicked witch....
Ages: 8 –12
All right reserved.
Franny liked the tops of things. She liked mountaintops and rooftops, and she wanted to be at the top of her class and a top-notch cartwheeler. Why? Because in first grade Franny became painfully aware of the middle and the possibility that she might be dismally average.
Franny sighed. Now spring break was almost over and, to take her mind off the horrible reality of going back to school, Franny stood at the top of #3 Gumm Street. Up there, she didn't feel average at all. She felt like Sir Edmund Hillary on the summit of Mount Everest or Amelia Earhart buzzing around in her airplane. Up in her tower she was Fearless Franny Muggs, Queen of All She Surveyed.
She squinted through her binoculars. No sign of Pru. No sign of Cat. Good, she thought. She swung around in the opposite direction to have a look at #5 Gumm Street. Not a trace was left from the rogue blizzard that had blown in from the west a few weeks before. It had surprised everyone in town--a blizzard in Sherbet? No one even owned a snow shovel.
One midnight right after that, Franny could have sworn she'd seen lights flickering about inside the old wreck of a house at #5 Gumm Street. She had ducked behind the railing of her balcony and strained her eyes through the glasses to see, but the lights had disappeared. Probablyzombies, Franny had decided.
If you believe in zombies (and you should), #5 Gumm Street was the perfect place for them. The house had been vacant for as long as Franny could remember, and vines had taken over to such an extent that from a distance the house looked like a giant hair ball. It leaned so badly to one side that it appeared as if it were caught in a perpetually stiff breeze.
There were no signs of zombies today, though. Instead, Franny spied a moving van off in the distance. It came closer and closer and halted right in front of #5!
Two men hopped out. They carried a few boxes and some ratty old furniture into the house. A moment later a Ford Fiesta pulled up. A woman and a birdlike girl with a bed pillow tucked under her arm--who, Franny figured, was probably the woman's daughter--stepped out of the car.
After a few quick trips, the moving men pulled themselves up into the truck and drove away. The woman and girl went inside through the double front doors that hung precariously from their hinges.
Not five minutes had passed when another moving van arrived. The woman came out of the house, and there was a lot of discussion. The moving men kept pointing and shaking their heads yes, and the woman kept shaking her head no. It seemed like she didn't want whatever it was, and Franny was afraid the moving men were just going to leave--which would be awful, because she was dying to know what was in the truck.
But then the girl came outside and said something to the woman, and she seemed to give in.
With much grunting and groaning, the moving men lifted an enormous, gleaming grand piano from out of the truck and gentled it through the front doors.
Franny went inside at this point. Her tower room was about the size of a large horse stall. There was a small freezer for her Popsicles, a microwave for her hot chocolate, and a desk with a globe on it. Thumbtacked to the small closet door was a calendar with a picture of Mount Everest and a quotation from Amelia Earhart: "Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
New people moving into the zombie house--nothing as exciting as this had ever happened on Gumm Street! I'll bet there's not even any heat or running water inside that house, she thought with a thrill. Maybe in the winter they'll have to melt snow to drink, like Sir Edmund Hillary and his faithful Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, when they climbed Mount Everest! It was time to meet the new neighbors face-to-face. Franny hung her binoculars from a hook and clattered down the spiral staircase that wound around and around the outside of her wedding-cake house.
Within moments Franny was on the threshold of #5 Gumm Street. She could hardly wait. She'd always wanted to see what this house was like on the inside. From behind the door came the sound of someone playing the piano. Franny remembered her own piano lesson days. The endless practicing, the interminable scales, topped off at the end of each week by . . . The Lesson. It's true that Mr. Staccato, her piano teacher, was very patient and sympathetic, telling Franny that she wasn't tone-deaf, just "musically challenged." But she got worse instead of better, and once she played so poorly she actually thought Mr. Staccato was going to cry. She stopped taking lessons after that. But what she was listening to now . . . well, it made her sound like Beethoven.
The music--if you want to call it that--continued, but the door creakily opened, and the woman Franny had seen earlier appeared.
"Hello," Franny said. "My name is Franny Muggs, and I'd like to be the first one to welcome you to Gumm Street!"
"Thanks, hon," replied the woman. "I'm Pearl Diamond, and that's my daughter, Ivy." She hooked her thumb over her shoulder in the general direction of the piano behind her.
Only one word came to mind as soon as Franny saw Pearl Diamond--sparkly. She had gleaming blond hair arranged in a complicated way, and on her T-shirt she had rhinestones in the shape of a French poodle. She had sparkly bracelets, sparkly blue eyes, and sparkly white teeth.
"Tell me, hon, you know any piano-type people around here?" Pearl said.
"I'm musically challenged," Franny replied. "At least, that's what Mr.--"
"Staccato," said a man with an English accent from behind Franny.
Excerpted from The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls
by Elise Primavera
Copyright © 2006 by Elise Primavera.
Excerpted by permission.
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.
Posted January 2, 2007
This thrilling tale is about a girl named Ivy and her 'enemy's' who slowly become friends as they go through many mishaps together. Ivy had always been unlucky and had a jinx following her since she was 4. Then once her mother and her inherit her aunts house and her piano teacher disapears into the sky some weird things happen. Fran, Prunella, Ivy, and Cat formed a secret order to keep Ivy safe from all the wicked people trying to get her. I would recomend this book to people who either love the OZ books oor have read the OZ books.
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Posted May 28, 2014
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Posted March 5, 2013
This book rocks! My friend suggested it to me a long time ago, and I thought it didn't look that interesting, like some modern Nancy Drew book except with a bunch of little girls solving happy mysteries like where the cookies went, but it is the entire opposite. The girls hate eachother, and can't stand to be near eachother, but they put their differences aside and help eachother fight against evil. Please check out this book, it's awesome!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2013
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Posted August 19, 2011
This book is very good! I would recommend it to anyone. Children, teenagers, and even adults would enjoy this adventure filled book. All four main characters are likable and can be related to in some way. This book gives a great twist on the Wizard of Oz and I could read it several times.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2011
The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls... I didn't know what to think, when I first picked up the book, randomly. At first glance, it doesn't look like much. But you should never judge a book by its cover. This book was innovative in that the four main characters absolutely LOATHE each other, which isn't like most other books. And, needless to say, when you put four characters who hate each other in an adventure, you'll get some pretty crazy dialogue. It didn't quite end as I wanted it to, mainly because they become friends in the end, and I personally just wanted to see some more hate between them, because it was so amusing! An overall enjoyable read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 8, 2011
Posted September 17, 2009
I Also Recommend:
This is a fantastic book of summer tales, dreams, Wizard of Oz withces,pink, and bad luck that will change the way you see nails again! The book reaches out to eveyone and it is wonderful. Captivating and a good read, this book should have a sequal! The novel is fairly new however, but it catches your eye at one glance and should be read, placed next to the Wizard of Oz and never be forgotten.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2009
This book is very good, I loved it very much. Whenever I would read it, I wouldn't want to put it down. This book teaches great lessons, and shows real friendship. I highly recommend this book to you. Please order this book or go to a bookstore and get this FABULOUS book. Please go buy it, so that Elis Primavera can fund the sequel. Once you finish this enchanting book, you will want to go out and get the sequel right away, which hasn't come out yet. Please write reviews on websites for this book, so that she can make the sequel. If you like the Wizard of Oz, this is deffinitly the book for you. It is a magical, and kid AND adult friendly.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2009
Posted September 12, 2008