Treasure on Superstition Mountainby Elise Broach, Antonio Javier Caparo
Even though Henry Barker and his two brothers learned firsthand that the urban legend about danger on nearby Superstition Mountain wasn't just a myth, this doesn't stop them from planning their return. Along with their friend Delilah, the Barker brothers soon find themselves entangled in more danger and mystery as they uncover a real treasure, but the discovery
Even though Henry Barker and his two brothers learned firsthand that the urban legend about danger on nearby Superstition Mountain wasn't just a myth, this doesn't stop them from planning their return. Along with their friend Delilah, the Barker brothers soon find themselves entangled in more danger and mystery as they uncover a real treasure, but the discovery comes at a very big price—they barely survive an avalanche. The question remains—is someone after them, or is the mountain seeking revenge?
Treasure on Superstition Mountain is the second book in Elise Broach's Superstition Mountain series.
Praise for Missing on Superstition Mountain:
An Amazon.com Best Book of the Month in June 2011
* "An exciting adventure . . . Caparo’s skillful grayscale illustrations add a spooky element: three skulls mark each new chapter, and images like a black cat sitting on a crooked gravestone inspire chills. Classic horror and thriller elements combine with modern touches in Broach’s page-turner, a very promising start to this series." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"With the unusual setting, the lure of mystery and adventure, and a certain innocence reminiscent of the Boxcar Children series, this story should find a ready audience." —Booklist
"Broach reserves plenty of suspicious characters, spooky landscapes and loose ends for the slated sequels, which both boys and girls will savor." —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Shakespeare’s Secret:
North Dakota Flicker Tale Children’s Award Master List
* "[More] evidence-driven than Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, this agreeable history-mystery may have even more appeal to budding sleuths." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Awards for Masterpiece:
American Library Association Notable Children’s Books
ABC E. B. White Read Aloud Award
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
CCBC Choice (Univ. of WI)
Chicago Public Library Best of the Best
Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award
Read an Excerpt
Treasure on Superstition Mountain Book Two
By Elise Broach, Antonio Javier Caparo
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2012 Elise Broach
All rights reserved.
THE SURPRISE IN THE BACKPACK
"Careful! She might hear you."
Henry glanced at his open bedroom door, but there was no sign of their mother lurking in the hallway. He and his brothers were clustered in front of the closet, where Delilah's neon pink backpack had been stowed for two entire weeks, untouched.
How he'd managed to accomplish that still astonished Henry. Simon and Jack were dying to see what he and Delilah had found on Superstition Mountain, and Henry was dying to show it to them. But after the hullabaloo of their adventure — their forbidden trip up the mountain to retrieve the three skulls on the ledge in the canyon; Delilah falling and breaking her leg; Henry staying behind with her while Simon and Jack went for help; finding the ancient saddlebag with the map and pouch of coins, the mysterious gunshot, and Henry's discovery of a small, secret canyon — they had to be extra careful not to arouse the suspicion of their parents. Officially, they were grounded for two weeks ... which meant there was no escaping Mrs. Barker's watchful eye. Simon pointed out that while it was not a particularly imaginative punishment for flouting the warning to stay off the mountain, it wasn't an unreasonable one either. Henry was just glad their parents hadn't said a month.
Anyway, the timing was good, since Delilah's mother was sufficiently unnerved by Delilah's injury to have whisked her away to her grandparents' condo complex in Tucson, which, according to Delilah, couldn't have been more safe or boring. She and Henry had talked on the phone twice since she left. "Don't show Simon and Jack what we found in the saddlebag," she'd begged. "I want to be there. Can't you wait till I get back?"
So despite the impatient demands of his brothers, Henry had promised to save the backpack's revelations for Delilah's return. And now here it was Monday afternoon. Delilah was home again, off crutches, in a new walking cast, and coming over momentarily. And, hooray! They weren't grounded anymore.
"But can't you just show us the coins?" Jack complained, more softly this time. "You said they're just like the ones Uncle Hank collected in his coin box. Delilah won't care if you do that."
Hank Cormody, for whom Henry was named, had been their father's favorite uncle — a cattle-wrangling, gambling, hard-living former U.S. Cavalry scout with a taste for adventure that Henry longed to find an echo of in himself. The Barkers had inherited his house here in the strange little town of Superstition, Arizona, a few months ago, when Uncle Hank died after a very long and eventful life.
Jack leaned forward on his knees, tugging the backpack out from the closet's morass of shoes, board games, and balls. Jack was six, but he was almost as big as Henry, who was ten, and far bolder. Simon was eleven, full of interesting ideas, and given to concocting schemes and issuing orders. Henry was the imaginative, bookish one. He got along with everybody and liked to use big words (though not always exactly the right way).
"No, Jack," Henry repeated. "I promised Delilah."
Jack groaned and turned to Simon for support, but luckily, since Henry had been the one to carry the backpack down the mountain, even Simon seemed willing to defer to him.
"We can wait," Simon said. "She'll be here any minute."
So they sat on the floor of Henry's room, with the sun streaming through the window and a feeling gathering in the air of something about to happen. The craggy bluffs and peaks of Superstition Mountain huddled ominously right outside.
Just then they heard the doorbell and, a moment later, their mother's voice, welcoming Delilah into the house. "Oh, honey! Look at your leg. How are you doing? Are you getting used to walking with the cast?"
Henry jumped up and ran to the bedroom door. "We're back here!" he called. Delilah appeared, clunking unevenly on her white cast, brown braids slapping her shoulders. Henry, who hadn't seen her since that strange, scary night in the canyon, felt suddenly shy. But Delilah thumped eagerly into the bedroom, grinning at all of them. "Hey," she said.
"Wow!" Jack stared at her cast. "Cool!" He knocked on it with his fist.
"Jack," Simon said, "her leg's broken! Don't pound on it."
"That's okay," Delilah said. "I can't feel anything."
"It doesn't hurt?" Henry asked. He thought of Delilah cringing in pain on the canyon floor, her bruised, cut leg propped awkwardly in front of her.
"Nope," Delilah answered cheerfully. "It's like walking around on a block of wood."
"Like a pirate!" Henry exclaimed. "A peg-leg pirate. Like in Peter Pan." Henry remembered books he had read as vividly as if he had lived through them, as if their characters and events had been part of his real life.
"Yeah, like that," Delilah agreed. "Except I can't take it off and bonk people over the head with it."
Jack grabbed a handful of markers from Henry's desk drawer and squatted next to Delilah's cast. "Can we draw on it?"
Henry noticed that, unlike the casts of kids at school, this one wasn't covered in colorful cartoons and flowers and messages. It had a few shaky cursive signatures running across it and one "Get well soon!" That was it.
"Sure," Delilah said. She sat down and propped the cast in front of them. "My grandparents signed it, and some of the old people they play cards with, but they just wrote regular stuff."
Jack eagerly set to work, brandishing a blue marker as if it were a spear. Simon rolled his eyes. "Don't draw something dumb, Jack," he said, but Henry could tell he wanted to write on the cast too.
Delilah held her foot still while Jack printed his name in crooked letters and drew big arrows around it.
"What are the arrows for?" Simon asked.
"They make it look good," Jack replied. "Like my name is FLYING."
Simon smirked and proceeded to sign his name boldly in black. He drew a skull and crossbones next to it.
"Ha!" Delilah said. "Like the skulls in the canyon."
Henry sighed. Why didn't he think of that? Simon always had the best ideas. Henry wrote his name carefully in green, then made a neat paw print for Josie.
Delilah smiled. "Aw ... Josie. Where is she?"
"Probably outside," Henry said, "hunting something." Josie had managed to catch a ground squirrel last week and had carried its tiny carcass to the back deck in triumph, held gingerly in her mouth the way she transported all her most prized possessions, from squeaky cat toys to the crunched wads of paper she liked to pilfer from the wastebasket. She'd set the dead squirrel proudly in front of the sliding glass doors for all to see. "Ugh!" their father had protested at the time. "That puts me off my dinner." Their mother had calmly scooped it up and dumped it in the garbage can. "Cats are predators. She's just following her natural instincts," she said. Now, in the early mornings and evenings, they often saw Josie stalking across the yard, clearly hoping for a repeat of her good fortune.
"Okay, okay," Simon said impatiently, gathering the markers and tossing them back into the desk drawer. "Can we finally look in the backpack? I want to see the coins and this map you've been telling us about. We've been waiting forever."
"You really didn't show them?" Delilah asked Henry in surprise.
Henry blinked. "I told you I wouldn't."
"I know, but I figured you were just saying that to make me feel better." Delilah pulled her backpack smugly into her lap. "Good! Now we can all look at them together."
Jack bounced on his knees. "Show us! Show us!"
"Keep it down," Simon warned. "Mom'll come." He quietly closed the bedroom door.
Henry looked at Delilah. "Now?"
She nodded, patting the pockets until she located the one where Henry had placed the map and coin pouch that they'd found two weeks ago in the old leather saddlebag on the canyon floor.
Carefully, she took out the small brown sack with the coins in it. She cupped it in her palm for a moment, then passed it to Henry. "You do it," she said.
The pouch felt heavy and lumpy in Henry's hand. He untied the rawhide string and tugged open the fragile neck of the sack, sending a shower of dust and leather fragments onto the stretch of carpet between them.
"That looks OLD," Jack commented.
Henry reached in and pinched a coin between his fingers. Its surface was cold to the touch. He drew it from inside the bag.
Simon took it from him and scrutinized it in the sunlight. "Look ... it is the same. Just like the ones from Uncle Hank's coin collection."
"It has the guy with the long hair and the girly ribbon!" Jack crowed. He grabbed the pouch from Henry and turned it upside down, shaking it, "Let's see how many coins there are."
Coin after coin tumbled out, dark with age. They clinked softly against one another as they landed in the middle of the carpet.
"Jack, careful," Henry told him. "They're so old they're ... decrepit." He was just appreciating the sound of that fancy word leaving his mouth when he froze.
"Oh!" Delilah gasped.
There in the jumble of ancient coins was something that didn't look like a coin at all.
Something small and jagged, the size of a berry.
Something that glinted in the sunlight.
Even Jack was completely silent, his eyes huge.
"Hey ..." Simon picked it up, and Henry thought it almost seemed to glow.
"Is that ...?" Delilah whispered.
Henry stared in amazement.CHAPTER 2
"It's gold! It's gold! We found GOLD!" Jack cried.
"Shhhhh!" They all turned on him at once.
"Everything okay?" Mrs. Barker's voice drifted down the hallway.
Simon glared at Jack, scrambled to his feet, and quickly opened the bedroom door. "Yeah, Mom, we're fine. Jack's just being loud."
"Sorry," Jack whispered, chastened.
They waited a minute, in case she was coming, but then they heard the distant rustling in her office and knew she'd returned to work. Mrs. Barker's latest medical illustration project was a book on kidney disease, which meant that her sketchpad was filled with drawings of misshapen kidneys — swollen ones that looked about to burst and tiny shriveled ones that resembled rotting fruit, covered in strange bruises and lesions.
When Simon sat back down, Henry reached out and took the nugget. It was surprisingly heavy. Henry rubbed his thumb across the rough surface, and its glitter blinded him.
"Gold," he repeated, wonder-struck. "So there is a gold mine somewhere in that canyon."
Delilah grabbed it and held it aloft. "But where? We didn't see anything that looked like a mine."
"What about the gunshot?" Henry persisted. "Maybe that's why they were shooting at us! Because we were getting too close to the secret gold mine."
"But you said the shot was probably hunters," Simon said. "That's what the police thought too."
Henry lifted his shoulders helplessly. "I don't know what it was." When he thought of the echoing boom of the shot in the canyon — the shock of it — it was hard to believe it had really happened. Even at the time, it seemed like there had to be some other explanation.
"Let me hold it," Jack insisted. "It's my turn." Delilah dropped it into his outstretched palm.
"I wonder how much it's worth!" Simon rubbed his hands together. "I mean, this has got to be several ounces, don't you think? How much do people pay for an ounce of gold?"
Henry shook his head. "I don't know. We could look it up on the computer ... but we'll have to wait till Mom's finished."
Their mother was annoyingly fussy about the boys' computer use. It mustn't interfere with her work or their father's accounting for his stonemasonry business. As a principle, she thought their time was much better spent outdoors. Also, she had a constant worry that they would accidentally delete one of her files. But to be fair, the internet was so unreliable in Superstition that they could never count on doing what they wanted on the computer even on the rare occasions when their mother gave them permission to use it.
"We're RICH!" Jack declared, plunking the nugget down in front of them.
"Well, probably not," Simon corrected him. "But if we could ever find that gold mine, we would be. Wait — what about the map? That was the other thing you found in the saddlebag, right? Where is it?"
Delilah delved into the side pocket of the backpack again. "It's here. But we didn't see anything that looked like the symbol for a gold mine." Gently, she extracted the tattered brown paper and opened it across the carpet.
In the glare of the sun, it looked even older and more frail than it had that day in the canyon, Henry thought. The dark ink marks were faded and hard to decipher.
"The squiggly line is a creek," he explained to Simon and Jack. "We think these spikes are trees, and the upside down V's are the mountain peaks all around."
"And these," Delilah added, her finger hovering over two jagged parallel lines, "show where the canyons are. This is the canyon with the skulls, and here's the little secret canyon Henry found."
"Hmmm," Simon said, leaning over it. "So nothing that looks like a gold mine?"
Henry shook his head. "I don't see anything. But what kind of symbol would it be, anyway? A black circle? An X?" He was thinking of the map in Treasure Island, the X that marked the spot where the treasure chest was buried.
"I don't know," Simon said. "But you're right. I don't see anything that looks like a gold mine." He sat back on his heels and rubbed one hand over his hair, making it even spikier than usual. "Where can we find out more about gold mines?"
"There was some stuff about the Lost Dutchman's Mine in that book of legends I got at the library," Delilah said. "But it was pretty much what we'd already heard. Jacob Waltz found it, kept the location a secret, and lived off the gold for years until he died. Nobody else ever discovered where the gold mine was."
Henry jumped up and crossed the room to his nightstand, where a stack of books teetered perilously close to his pillow. "There's the chapter about Superstition Mountain in that Arizona history book we checked out," he said, pulling it from the pile. "But it doesn't have much about gold miners." He thumbed through the pages. "Maybe we should go back to the library?"
"With that creepy librarian?" Jack shuddered. "Ugh."
"Oh, come on, Jack," Simon scoffed. "You can't be scared of a librarian. That's goofy. And we have to renew those books anyway."
"I'm not SCARED," Jack argued. "She's weird! And her name was on a tombstone."
That made Henry shudder. He thought of the day in the cemetery, the area of old graves, with JULIA ELENA THOMAS carved across one of the tilted headstones.
"Our name was on a tombstone," Simon reminded him. "Thomas ... Barker ... they're common names."
Henry looked at him doubtfully. It was what Simon had said at the time, but it hadn't seemed a good explanation then, and it didn't now.
Simon gathered the coins and dropped them back in the pouch. He cupped the gold nugget in his hand for a minute, rolling it over his palm. "Okay, let's put it back," he said. "Take one last look." He lifted it into a beam of sunlight from Henry's window, where it flashed brilliantly. They all stared.
"What if we found lots of gold rocks just like that?" Jack whispered. "What if we found a HUNDRED?"
"If we find that gold mine, there will be more than a hundred," Simon said, slipping the nugget into the sack with the coins. "That's why we need to go to the library."CHAPTER 3
Delilah slipped the pouch and the map carefully into the side pocket of her backpack and slung it over her shoulder.
"Wait!" Simon said. "You can't take that. We need to keep it here."
Delilah frowned. "But it's my backpack."
"We could hide the map and the gold somewhere else," Henry suggested.
Simon shook his head. "If it's in our stuff, Mom might find it. She won't go nosing around in Delilah's backpack. That's the best place for it." He turned to Delilah. "If you take it home, your mom might look through it. You don't need it until school starts, so what difference does it make?"
Delilah balanced uneasily on her cast, still holding the backpack. "I just don't like leaving it here, is all," she said.
"It'll be safer," Henry told her. "Please?"
She looked at him, thinking. "You guys better not let anything happen to it. Or spill anything on it. Or get it all crumpled and dirty."
Excerpted from Treasure on Superstition Mountain Book Two by Elise Broach, Antonio Javier Caparo. Copyright © 2012 Elise Broach. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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.
Meet the Author
Elise Broach is the author of the award-winning books Masterpiece and Shakespeare's Secret, and Desert Crossing. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University and lives with her family in Easton, Connecticut. Her novel Masterpiece will be an animated feature film in 2014.
Antonio Javier Caparo has illustrated many books for children, including the Magic Thief series and The Young Reader's Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream. He lives in Montreal, Canada.
Elise Broach is the New York Times bestselling author of Masterpiece, Shakespeare’s Secret and Desert Crossing, Missing on Superstition Mountain, the first book in the Superstition Mountain Trilogy, as well as several picture books. Her books have been selected as ALA notable books, Junior Library Guild selections, a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book, a New York Public Library Best Book for the Teenage, an IRA Teacher’s Choice, an E.B. White Read Aloud Award, and nominated for an Edgar Award, among other distinctions. Ms. Broach holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Yale University. She was born in Georgia and lives in the woods of rural Connecticut, walking distance from three farms, a library, a post office and two country stores.
Antonio Javier Caparo has illustrated many books for children, including the Magic Thief series and The Young Reader’s Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He lives in Montreal, Canada.
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This book was a mystery with many twists and turns keeping you on th edge of your seat. I am very excited for the next book.
Wonderful book filled with mystery and fear. Can't wait for the third book!