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Beth and Patrick raced each other to Whit's End. They hurried to the basement.
The Imagination Station sat in the center of the vast workroom. The machine looked like the front part of a helicopter. The doors on each side stood open.
The cousins rushed to get inside the Imagination Station.
"I get to push the red button," Patrick cried.
"Not if I get there first," Beth said. She jumped over a broken TV to move ahead of Patrick.
"Whoa!" Mr. Whitaker said. He held up his hand to signal them to stop.
The cousins slowed down.
"But we're ready to go," Patrick said.
Mr. Whittaker stood next to his workbench. "Aren't you forgetting something?" he asked.
Patrick thought a minute. "Please?" he said.
Mr. Whittaker chuckled. "Saying 'please' is a good thing," he told them. "But that isn't what I meant."
"Our gifts!" Beth said.
"That's right," Whit said. Gifts is the word they used for the things Whit gave them for their adventures. The gifts helped the cousins in times of need.
Whit's workbench was cluttered with all kinds of things. Beth saw a hammer and several screwdrivers. Bits of wire and tiny springs were scattered all over.
Whit lifted up a white cloth from the workbench. Underneath was a long, thin object.
Beth gasped with delight. "Is that a fife?" she asked.
"Yes, it is," Whit said. He placed the fife in Beth's hands.
"I have a recorder at home," Beth said. "I learned to play 'Yankee Doodle' on it."
Patrick shook his head and said, "What's the difference between a fife and a recorder? They look the same to me."
"The fife is a simple wood flute," Mr. Whittaker said. "It's held sideways. The recorder is held longways. And it has a full mouthpiece."
"Why did the Continental army use a fife for marching?" Beth asked.
"The fife was easy to carry and use," Mr. Whittaker said.
Beth held the fife to her lips. She blew across the mouth hole. A soft, high whistle came out. She moved her fingers across the finger holes and slowly played "Yankee Doodle."
"Very good," Whit said.
Whit handed the white cloth to Patrick.
"What's this?" Patrick asked.
"It's a handkerchief," Whit said. "People used these before paper tissues were invented."
"You mean to blow their noses in?" Patrick asked, wrinkling his nose. "Eww. Gross." He carefully lifted the handkerchief between his thumb and pointer finger.
"Don't worry," Whit said with a chuckle. "It's clean."
Beth thought Patrick's handkerchief was an unusual gift. She wondered why she had been given a fife. She wanted to ask but knew she would find out in time.
"Can we go?" Patrick asked.
"May we?" Beth said, correcting her cousin.
Beth knew Patrick wanted to meet George Washington. She did too.
Whit nodded. "The program is ready," he said. "Just push the red button."
Beth sat down in the Imagination Station again. Patrick sat next to her. The doors slid closed with a soft swoosh.
Beth held one hand over the large red button on the dashboard. She felt a familiar thrill bubbling up inside. "May I?" Beth asked Patrick.
"Yes, you can," Patrick said.
Beth laughed. Then she punched the red button.
The machine rumbled and shook.
Beth's seat jiggled underneath her. She closed her eyes. She felt like Alice in Wonderland. She was falling down, down, down a deep, dark hole.
The machine jerked. The rumble grew louder.
The Imagination Station whirled.
Suddenly, everything went black.
Excerpted from Surprise at Yorktown by Marianne Hering, NANCY I. SANDERS, DAVID HOHN. Copyright © 2014 Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted November 22, 2014
Just like the other Imagination Station books, this one is awesome! This is the 3rd in a sub-series revolving around the Revolutionary War. We read this book as part of a homeschool unit study on the American Revolution. Like the other Imagination Station books, this had all of my kids (ages 6, 9, and 10) on the edge of their seats--I read this series aloud to my 6 year old while my 9 and 10 year olds read them silently (mainly b/c they can't wait to see what happens next!) My oldest daughter devoured this book in one day and she can't wait to read the next one! Every time one of these books come in the mail, it's cause for celebration at our house!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.