Secrets of Dripping Fang, Book Three: The Vampire's Curse
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Secrets of Dripping Fang, Book Three: The Vampire's Curse

by Dan Greenburg, Scott M. Fischer
     
 

In an astounding turn of events, the Shluffmuffins twins' long-lost father has reappeared years after his tragic Porta Potti accident. Wally and Cheyenne, of course, are thrilled to see their dear old dad again. But would it be rude to point out how his skin appears to be rotting and falling off in chunks? Or that his breath smells distinctly like bloated roadkill

Overview


In an astounding turn of events, the Shluffmuffins twins' long-lost father has reappeared years after his tragic Porta Potti accident. Wally and Cheyenne, of course, are thrilled to see their dear old dad again. But would it be rude to point out how his skin appears to be rotting and falling off in chunks? Or that his breath smells distinctly like bloated roadkill? Come to think of it, he looks an awful lot like . . . well, a zombie. So imagine the twins' delight when they discover that their friend Professor Spydelle has developed a special life-restoring elixir, the only known cure for zombiism.

Hmmmm. Unfortunately, it seems there are still some kinks to work out on that special Elixir of Life. It cures Dad of his zombiism, only to turn him into . . . a vampire.

It would seem that things couldn't get much worse. But when two faces that look suspiciously like giant ants appear in Wally and Cheyenne's bedroom window one night, things take a turn from dismal . . . to dire.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The Shluffmuffin children are thrilled that their father is no longer dead, but they are disappointed to discover that he has returned as a zombie. Their newly adoptive dad, Professor Spydelle, convinces the zombie dad to drink an elixir of life. Unfortunately, the Shluffmuffin's have new fears, as the potion turns their zombie dad into a vampire dad. In addition to that, the Shluffmuffin children discover that the two giant ants in their neighborhood have concocted a scheme to enslave the entire human race. Can the young Shluffmuffins prevent the dangerous ants from taking over the earth? Can they prevent their dad from biting their necks and help to turn him into a regular dad? Although the premise is exciting, you will not find the answers to these questions in this book. This book is entertaining, fast paced, and funny, but there is not an ending. You will need to read the next book in the series to, hopefully, learn the conclusion. Some readers won't mind this but others may feel cheated. This is book three in the "Secrets of Dripping Fang" series. Dan Greenburg is also the author of the popular "Zack Files" series. 2006, Harcourt, Ages 8 to 12.
—Denise Daley

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152054694
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/01/2006
Series:
Secrets of Dripping Fang Series , #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
695,618
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.54(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt


Can Dad Come Inside and ­Play?

“Zombies . . . zombies . . . zombies . . . ,” said Chey­enne, thumbing through the encyclopedia under Z. “Okay, Wally, here we are. ‘Zombie: a member of the walking dead, usually the result of a voodoo curse; zombies are found chiefly in the islands of the West Indies and, sometimes, Cincinnati.’”

“‘Zombie Cures,’” said Wally excitedly, reading over her shoulder. His excitement faded as he read the next sentence: “‘There are at present no known cures for zombiism.’ ­Darn!”

“Darn!” echoed ­Cheyenne.

When the zombie outside Professor Spydelle’s house in Dripping Fang Forest had turned out to be their father, Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin were pretty surprised. Dad had drowned in a Porta Potti accident at the Cincinnati circus three years before, so they assumed he was dead. Now here he was again. But since he was a zombie, he was still technically dead. The encyclopedia said there were no cures for zombiism, so Wally and Cheyenne didn’t know what else they could do for ­him.

Wally was ready to give up, but Cheyenne wasn’t ­discouraged.

Although Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin were twins, their outlooks were quite different. Cheyenne saw only the good side of life, Wally only the bad. Cheyenne saw ice cream and thought sweet frosty deliciousness. Wally saw ice cream and thought sticky hands and spots on your shirt that won’t come out in the ­laundry.

Professor Spydelle came into the family room, puffing on his pipe—a sweet smoky ­smell.

“Ah, there you are, children,” he said in his dignified British accent. “Did you bring in more ­firewood?”

“Not yet,” said Wally. “Professor Spydelle, we need to ask you a favor. A big ­one.”

“Why, certainly, Wally,” said the professor. “What is it?” He sank into one of the net hammocks that stretched across the Spydelle living room. His joints creaked as he settled ­down.

“Somebody we know sort of well is outside,” said Wally. “He looks kind of gross, but if you don’t mind, we’d like to bring him ­inside.”

“Who is this person?” asked the professor with a kindly ­smile.

“Our father,” said ­Cheyenne.

“Your father?” He frowned. “I don’t understand. I thought you children were ­orphans.”

“We are orphans,” said Wally. “Dad is ­dead.”

“Great heavens!” cried the professor, hopping out of his hammock. “Let me help you with the ­body.”

“Oh, you don’t need to,” said Cheyenne. “Dad isn’t exactly a body yet. He’s just kind of staggering around out there. He seems to have become a ­zombie.”
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“A zombie? My word! How fascinating! Let’s go out and have a look at ­him.”

Professor Spydelle followed the Shluffmuffin twins outside. Zombie Dad stood in the front yard, muttering to himself. Hanging from his body were pieces of rotting skin. You could smell him from clear across the yard, the sickly sweet odor of bloated roadkill before it ­explodes.

“Shy, Wa, me Da,” he ­muttered.

The professor was as thrilled as a kid with a new ­puppy.
“It is a zombie!” cried the professor. “This is extraordinary! I mean, of course, I’m so terribly sorry for your tragic loss and all that, but, um, this is absolutely ­extraordinary!”

“Shy, Wa, me Da,” muttered Mr. ­Shluff­muffin.

“Can you make out what he’s saying?” asked the ­professor.

“Not really,” said ­Cheyenne.

“Can you tell me how he ­died?”

“Sure,” said Wally. “Three years ago he fell into a Porta Potti at the circus and ­drowned.”

“Remarkable!” said the professor. “You know, children, besides voodoo curses, the only other way to become a zombie is drowning in a Porta ­Potti.”

“Really?” said Cheyenne. “I didn’t know ­that.”

“Oh yes,” said the professor. “That’s a well­-­known scientific ­fact.”

“Awesome,” said Wally. “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to know of a cure for zombiism, would ­you?”

Know of one?” Professor Spydelle chuckled. “My dear boy, I invented ­one.”

“Shy, Wa, me Da,” muttered the zombie. He broke off a rib and used it to scratch an itch between his shoulder ­blades.

“What do you mean you invented one, ­Professor?”

“Years ago,” said the professor, “I spent a great deal of time and money developing a special life­-­restoring elixir. My first efforts were a disaster, but eventually I found a way to make it work. I was able to bring back to life one of the museum’s deadest animals, which had been found frozen in a glacier—a saber­-­toothed tiger. It had been dead, oh, at least fourteen thousand years, but my Elixir of Life made it live ­again.”

“Awesome!” said Wally. “What ­happened?”

“Well, unfortunately, the saber­-­tooth ran amuck,” said the professor, looking embarrassed. “It smashed several expensive exhibits and, sadly, it also killed a night ­watchman.”

“How awful,” said Cheyenne. “What did you ­do?”

“Well, I had to, uh, de­-­animate the tiger and return it to its glass case. I didn’t want to answer embarrassing questions about the tiger and the elixir. So, although I sensed it was somehow wrong of me to do so, I stuffed the night watchman, dressed him up in an animal skin, and put him in the caveman ­exhibit.”

Zombie Dad tapped Wally on the shoulder. “Shy, Wa, me Da,” he ­repeated.

“Just a minute, Dad, we’re talking with the professor here,” said Wally. “Sorry, Professor. What happened ­next?”
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“People kept asking what happened to the night watchman,” said the professor. “It became quite tedious. Eventually, they stopped, though, and all went well for a time. Then one day my beloved human wife, Shirley, got bitten by a black widow spider. By nightfall she was ­dead.”

“I don’t understand,” said Cheyenne. “Shirley is a giant spider ­herself.”

“True, but she wasn’t always one. When I first married her, she was a normal human, just like you and me. When poor Shirley died, I was devastated. My whole world collapsed without her. But then I had an idea. Using my Elixir of Life, I was able to bring her back from the dead.”

“You actually brought Shirley back from the dead?” Wally ­asked.
“Yes,” said the professor. “Unfortunately, during the process something went terribly wrong. Shirley started growing huge and hairy. She developed extra eyes. She developed extra legs. She eventually transformed into a giant ­spider.”

“What did you do?” asked ­Cheyenne.

“Well, naturally, I was disappointed to find my wife had become a giant spider. But I got over it. I told her I still loved her, and we’ve learned to adapt to her, uh, new ­habits.”

“What kind of new habits?” Cheyenne ­asked.

“Food preparation, for one thing. As a hu­man, she used to cook food in the normal human way. As a spider, she . . . well, she injects her saliva, which turns it into a kind of mushy jelly. It’s actually rather tasty once you get used to it. But then there’s the problem of making ­babies.”

“Uh, what problem is that?” asked Wally, not sure he wanted to hear the ­answer.

“Spiders can’t make babies without killing and eating their husbands,” said the professor. “So, as you can imagine—”

“SHY, WA, ME DA!” screamed Zombie ­Dad.

Okay, Dad, okay,” said Wally. “Professor, can we bring my father ­inside?”

“Of course,” said the professor, “of ­course.”

With the professor leading the way, Chey­enne and Wally brought Mr. Shluffmuffin into the ­house.

Shirley entered the family room from the kitchen. When she saw the zombie, she leaped straight up in fright, landing on the ceiling with all eight spidery feet, like a cat falling ­upward.

“Oh, sorry to startle you, my dear,” said the professor, peering ceilingward. “We have a guest, the children’s father.” He turned to the twins. “Frightfully sorry, but I don’t believe you told me his ­name.”

“It’s Sheldon,” said Cheyenne. “Sheldon ­Shluffmuffin.”

“Shirley,” said the professor to the spider on the ceiling, “may I present Mr. Sheldon Shluffmuffin. Mr. Shluffmuffin, my wife, Shirley ­Spydelle.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Shluffmuffin,” said Shirley from above their heads. She slowly let herself down from the ceiling on a nearly invisible silk ­thread.

“Shir Spy, me Da,” said Zombie Dad. “Spy, you clyde uppa waaa ­spow?”

“What did he say?” Shirley ­whispered.

“I don’t know. We can’t understand him,” said ­Cheyenne.

“How old a gentleman is he?” whispered Shirley discreetly. “Do you mind if I ­ask?”

“Forty­-­one,” said Cheyenne. “But he’s been dead for three ­years.”

“Ah, I see. Well, that explains it,” Shirley whispered. “I was going to ask why he didn’t take better care of himself. Is he going to be, uh, staying with us for a while? I only ask because of the ­smell.”

Cheyenne and Wally turned to the professor for an ­answer.

“Right,” said the profesor. “I thought I’d try a little of my Elixir of Life on him, Shirl. If I start mixing it up now, I could have some ready right after ­dinner.”

“Well then, please do stay for dinner, Mr. Shluffmuffin,” said ­Shirley.

“Me Da,” said Zombie ­Dad.

“Do you know what he’ll eat?” Shirley ­asked.

“Most zombies do seem to like human flesh,” said the professor ­helpfully.

Copyright © 2006 by Dan ­Greenburg
Illustrations copyright © 2006 by Scott M. ­Fischer

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.

Meet the Author


DAN GREENBURG is the creator of the enormously popular Zack Files series of middle grade novels as well as the author of a number of bestselling adult books, the best-known of which is How to Be a Jewish Mother. He lives in New York.

SCOTT M. FISCHER has illustrated many book jackets and has also created art for Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. He lives in upstate New York.
www.fischart.com

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