The Burning Pendulum

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Juniper had no idea that donating her favorite books-a series about psychic teenagers solving mysteries-to the school library would result in a heated protest that pits her unyielding mother against irate parents determined to ban the so-called "wicked" literature. Desperate to escape scathing embarrassment and possible expulsion, Juniper is ready to give up the fight-especially when Anne, her own best friend and fellow member of the Fortune Teller's Club, won't defend Juniper in front of her new boyfriend. But ...

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Overview

Juniper had no idea that donating her favorite books-a series about psychic teenagers solving mysteries-to the school library would result in a heated protest that pits her unyielding mother against irate parents determined to ban the so-called "wicked" literature. Desperate to escape scathing embarrassment and possible expulsion, Juniper is ready to give up the fight-especially when Anne, her own best friend and fellow member of the Fortune Teller's Club, won't defend Juniper in front of her new boyfriend. But Juniper realizes she is not alone in this battle and with help from a special divination pendulum, she finds the strength to defend her beloved books and what they stand for.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738704357
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Fortune Tellers Club Series , #7
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Dotti Enderle is the author of the childrens mystery series, Fortune Tellers Club, and the educational series, Storytime Discoveries. She began her publishing career in 1995, writing for popular childrens magazines. Her work has been included in Babybug, Ladybug, Childrens Playmate, Nature Friend, Turtle and many more.

As a professional storyteller, Dotti has entertained at numerous schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1993. She takes pride in her vast collection of original stories and folktales, and specializes in participation stories, allowing the audience to join in the fun.

Dotti is a member of The Society of Childrens Book Writers & Illustrator and the Texas Reading Association.
A native Texan, Dotti lived throughout Texas as a small child, but Houston has been her home since the age of eight. She lives with her husband, two teenage daughters, and a lazy cat named Oliver.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The Assignment

Juniper waited, nervously flicking the pages of the paperback book she held. When that didn’t calm her, she fidgeted with the circular pendulum that had come with it. She wanted to ease her jitters but they kept building, stronger and stronger,
until she thought she might spontaneously combust.
She closed her eyes, thinking of her nerves as computer data, even trying to envision a delete button, but that didn’t work. Her anxiety simply multiplied like email spam.

Regan Wells was finishing her oral book report,
and Juniper was next. "So that’s why it’s important that I donate Buffalo Soldiers to our new school library—as a tribute to my great-greatgreat-
grandfather. He served as a buffalo soldier in the Civil War and I donate this book in his name."

Mrs. Blum’s clapping aroused the drowsy class,
and a few kids joined in the applause. "Well done,
Regan." She consulted a list on her desk, scanning it through her reading glasses. "Juniper. You’re next."

Juniper clamored to the front, holding the book and pendulum like a wad of tissues. She wished she could dance the report instead of speak it. She never got nervous during her dance recitals. Slowly, she held up the book for the class to see. Her mouth was completely dry, like she’d been chewing on her pillow.

"When we were asked to donate our favorite book for the new library, I sort of had a problem picking just one. See, my favorite books are in a series." The classroom snickering made her pause.

That’s when she noticed the book was upside down. Flipping it around, she continued. "This is Grave Dangers, the third book in the Psychic Circle series. The third one is really the best of the series,
I think."

She looked around at the moon-faced kids staring up at her. Some were nodding, obviously familiar with the Psychic Circle. Others had eyes glazed over from hearing too many oral reports in one hour. They’d obviously shut out all new incoming information for the day.

"The Psychic Circle is a group of teenagers who each have different psychic abilities. Using E.S.P. and other forms of mind-reading, they solve mysteries. In Grave Dangers, they solve the mystery of who’s really buried in a creepy old grave marked ‘Glover Handlestein.’" More nods from the kids who were actually listening.
"They also have lots of supernatural stuff.
Like in this book, they see zombies coming up from the family cemetery. It’s so cool. I really get caught up in this series. I think that J. D. Devers is the best author ever."

"You know there is no J. D. Devers," Nicole Hoffman spouted. "That’s just a made-up name.
They hire different writers to write those books."

"That’s called ‘ghost writing,’" Mrs. Blum added.

"I knew that," Juniper said, clutching the book with white knuckles. But she hadn’t really known.
Her heart sank like a yo-yo. She’d always imagined J. D. Devers as an old-looking Mark Twain fellow, writing on an ancient typewriter and surrounded by candles, E.S.P. cards, and pictures of astrological symbols covered in milky cobwebs.
And it was especially painful to learn the truth from one of the Snotty Twins.

"Anyway, here’s the best part." She dangled the pendulum in front of her. It was nothing more than a jade-colored plastic ring attached to a length of waxed purple string, but its presence caused the kids to sit up at their desks. The droopy fog had cleared, giving the air a perky feel. Juniper had them.

"Each book comes with a special device that lets you play along and guess the outcome.

Grave Dangers comes with a pendulum." She opened the book and thumbed through to a particular page. "Here’s how it works. At the end of each chapter there is a set of clues. In some of the books, the clues are written. In this one, there are pictures. You hold the pendulum over the page and concentrate."

She closed her eyes, letting the pendulum hang limp over the page of clues. She didn’t concentrate because she already knew the answer. It would be easy. She’d read this particular book three times. But for some reason, her arm tingled,
just as it did when she was doing real psychic work. She cleared her mind, focusing on the pendulum. In just a matter of seconds it started to swing, slightly at first, then in large sweeping motions. A few Ooooooos rose up from the class.

"The pendulum will swing toward a clue,"
Juniper continued. "That’s how you try to solve the mystery along with the Psychic Circle." But it didn’t swing toward the clue. Instead it heated up, the string circling wide and counterclockwise.
Odd. Was the pendulum trying to tell her something?

She stopped the swinging pendulum and laid it down on the book. What was that all about? She blocked the confusion and continued her report.
"I’m pretty good at it, myself. I’ve never missed yet on solving a case before the end of the book."

She decided not to tell them about the tingling sensation she has when she works with different forms of divination. Or that it had happened right then! Most of the kids already knew it was her passion anyway, and a few even knew about the Fortune Tellers Club.

"So . . . I’m going to donate Grave Dangers, and three other Psychic Circle books, to Mrs. Thompson for the new library."

Juniper quickly scooted back to her desk. She was so glad the book report was over and that hers was the last one for today. Her throat felt like the Sahara, and she desperately needed a drink of water—make that a gallon.

"Can I see that?"

Juniper turned in her desk and handed the book to Caitlin Greeley, sitting kitty-corner across the aisle. She watched Caitlin skim the book with interest, pausing to read a sentence or two. "Thanks," she told Juniper, handing it back.
"I’d loan it to you, but it’s for the library,"
Juniper said.

"That’s okay."

The bell rang, causing the usual hurried scuffling and loud voices. Juniper gathered her things for the next class. She was sure she’d done well with the report, but still, something didn’t seem right. She clutched the pendulum, then instantly loosened her grip. Still hot . . . too hot. Why doesn’t it melt the plastic? She glanced out the window on her way to the door. Sunny and beautiful out. Hmmm . . . why did she feel like a storm was brewing? Something was definitely up. She could smell it in the air.

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Table of Contents

Contents Chapter 1 The Assignment . . . 1
Chapter 2 Grave Dangers . . . 9
Chapter 3 The Wrath of Mom . . . 19
Chapter 4 Threatened . . . 33
Chapter 5 Library Refuge . . . 43
Chapter 6 Nowhere to Hide . . . 55
Chapter 7 Message Received . . . 65
Chapter 8 Marble Magic . . . 75
Chapter 9 Negotiating . . . 85
Chapter 10 The Top Ten . . . 93
Chapter 11 Extra! Extra! . . . 101
Chapter 12 The Verdict . . . 109
Chapter 13 Cockeyed Confessions . . . 121

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