Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail

Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail

by Angela Spady


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High-Flying Adventure to the Wild West!

When fourth-grade artist Channing O’Banning unearths something very weird on the school playground, she’s sure it’s going to be the biggest thing ever to happen at Greenville Elementary. But things take a rocky turn, and Channing never wants to show her face at school again.

Thankfully, Channing finds lots of rocks to hide under when her family visits the American West. With her signature colored pencil stuck in her ponytail and Teeny, the coolest pig on the planet, by her side,

Channing discovers that art comes in many different forms—and that God is the greatest artist of all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718032364
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile: 610L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 10 Years

About the Author

Author Angela Spady is an award-winning educator, curriculum author, and mother to two daughters. Her innovative teaching techniques have been featured on PBS, KY Teacher Magazine, and in various print media around the country. She is a noted advocate for encouraging art and self-expression among elementary school children and is often sought out by both parents and teachers on this critical topic. She and her family live in Kentucky.

Read an Excerpt

Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail

By Angela Spady, Tammie Lyon

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2015 Santa Cruz Press, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3239-5


Dig In!

"There it is! There it is!" said my best friend, Maddy. She used a paintbrush to sweep away the dirt and get a closer look.

"Are you sure we're supposed to use a paintbrush for this?" I asked. "This is weird, Maddy. Very weird."

I wondered if my best friend knew what she was doing. After all, I'm the expert when it comes to using art stuff.

"Oh, but it's not weird to keep a pencil stuck in that ponytail of yours?" Maddy asked. "I wouldn't talk about weird if I were you, Channing O'Banning!"

Maddy did have a point. But I liked to be ready to draw at all times. Having a pencil in my ponytail made perfect sense to me.

"As for my paintbrush, this is how they do it on Quest for Bones. I'm positive," Maddy continued.

"She's right," Cooper interrupted. "They use all kinds of different brushes to sweep away dirt. Once, they uncovered a fossil that was actually a dinosaur egg."

Cooper always explained every single thing he'd seen on Quest for Bones. He told us whether we asked about it or not.

"Hmmm ..." Cooper said, pushing his glasses back up on his nose, "I wonder if cavemen ate dinosaur eggs for breakfast? That would be one big omelet!"

Maddy and I stared at Cooper like he was an alien. Sometimes his brain was on another planet. Who cares if cavemen ate omelets?

We got down on our hands and knees and looked closer at the rocks. We'd been digging in the same exact spot for a whole week. On days when it was too cold to go outside, we stayed in at recess and planned our next move.

The whole thing started when Cooper dared me to race him to the end of the playground. Of course, I would have easily beaten him by a mile if I hadn't tripped over a dumb rock. I even tore a hole in my zebra high-top sneaker. It was totally embarrassing. Not only did I trip on a rock and wreck my favorite shoes, but I let a boy beat me in an easy race. That was just plain wrong.

But the rock that tripped me didn't look like any normal rock. It was gray in some spots and white in other places. Part of it was sharp and part of it was smooth.

So Maddy and Cooper decided to start digging and digging and digging. Did I mention there was digging? Because there was—every single day. Cooper and Maddy were sure there was something amazing buried under the Greenville Elementary playground, but I didn't really care. I just wanted my friends to get more interesting hobbies, ASAP!

We'd even been studying about rocks in Mr. Doring's science class. Boring Doring gave each one a fancy long name that I could barely pronounce. Why can't rocks have non-weird, easy-to-remember names?

"Got any other ideas of what it might be, Maddy?" Cooper asked anxiously. He had rocks on the brain.

"I'm not sure, Coop," Maddy answered and continued to brush away dirt. "I wonder if it's some sort of fossil."

"Really?" Cooper squealed. "That would be so cool. Maybe there are arrowheads under there too! Dig harder, Maddy! Dig harder!"

"Move out of the way, Cooper, and let me get a better look," I insisted.

"Don't be so bossy, Channing O'Banning. If it weren't for me daring you to a race, or should I say beating you in a race, we wouldn't have made this discovery in the first place."

"Don't remind me," I mumbled. "I wish I'd never agreed to your crazy challenge. I could have saved myself a shoe! Come on, let's go do something else."

Anything has to be better than this. Even playing on the monkey bars. My palms get sweaty and I usually end up falling off before I'm even halfway across. But even that is better than digging in the same boring spot for all eternity.

"Hey, Chan," Maddy suddenly asked, "will you do a sketch of the rock for us? You never know, we might need it later."

Yes! Finally, something I like to do. Scratch that—something I love to do!

I looked closer at the dig site and pulled my Gray Elephant colored pencil from my ponytail. Nana bought it for me when I was into drawing African animals, so that's why I named it Gray Elephant. It was times like this that I was glad to have a pencil close by. Plus, it looked cool in my ponytail. I drew a picture of our dig site in my sketchbook. Drawing was much more interesting than playing around in the dirt, anyway. Before long, I was finished with my sketch.

"Want me to help brush away the dirt, Mad?" I asked. The sooner we get to the bottom of this, the sooner we can do something else at recess.

"Sure, Chan, but try not to damage anything. This might end up in a museum or something."

"A museum? That would be awesome!" Cooper screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Shh ... not so loud!" Maddy whispered. "We don't want the whole school knowing about our discovery yet! Anyway, we have to stop digging and go to social studies class. Bummer."

"Oh, why does that goofy bell ring just when we're getting to the good part?" Cooper whined. "I wish we could wait and have social studies class tomorrow."

I didn't mind going to our next class. Social studies was one of my favorite subjects, besides art, of course. Mr. Reese always made class fun and sometimes even a little crazy. When we studied about ancient Egypt, he came to class dressed up like a mummy (Cooper almost fainted). When we learned about China, Mr. Reese gave everyone a fortune cookie and even showed us how to use chopsticks. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my fingers to hold them the correct way. I almost poked Maddy's eye out just trying to pick up a wad of paper.

This week we were supposed to study Native Americans. It sounded totally boring.

"Don't be such a grouch. Learning about Native Americans might be fun," Cooper said.

"Not to me. You guys are such nerds. I wonder which Indians he'll talk about today. They all seem the same to me—bor-ing!"

"Not really, Chan," Cooper said as we walked into class. "They're all really different. And they're called Native Americans—not Indians. Don't you remember what Mr. Reese said yesterday?"

I didn't have a clue, but luckily, I could tell Maddy didn't either, which made me feel a teensy bit better. Sometimes my BFF and I get busted for talking in class and not paying attention. Come to think of it, yesterday was one of those days.

"Native Americans lived here long before we did," Cooper pointed out. "The only reason they were called Indians is because Columbus thought he was in India when he landed here."

Now I was really confused, but I didn't dare admit it to Cooper. I didn't see why we had to study this sort of stuff.

"Columbus traveled to India?" Maddy asked. "Wow, I had no idea."

"You still don't, silly," Cooper laughed. "Columbus was in North America but thought he was in India. He didn't realize he'd blown off course and was way over in America."

Cooper traced the distance from America to India on a map. "Crazy, huh?" he asked.

"Yeah, crazy!" I blurted out without thinking. "I guess you could say that Columbus really lost it!"

Everyone laughed at my joke. Even Mr. Reese giggled a little.

After checking attendance, our teacher had a surprise for everyone. Mr. Reese brought out a small cardboard box from his supply closet and set it on his desk. Maybe we were getting new pencils? Or maybe he'd brought candy for all of us? Maybe he had gummy turtles for the entire class? Then he'd be my favorite teacher forever!

But Mr. Reese reached inside the box and pulled out three things: a tiny blue rock, a pot with two holes in the top, and a plastic dinosaur. What is he up to this time?

Weird. Very weird.


The Mystery Box

"Class, today you're going to learn some interesting facts about Native Americans and the Wild West!" Mr. Reese said.

It did sound sort of fun, especially the Wild West part. I looked closer at the things from the box. I'd never seen a blue rock before. And it was such an amazing shade of blue—sort of like the ocean.

Why couldn't a rock like that be out on the play-ground? Then I might be interested!

I grabbed a blue pencil from my backpack and quickly drew the rock in my sketchbook. I needed a good name for that pencil but hadn't thought of one yet.

Surely Mr. Reese would tell us more about this rock before the bell rang. I pulled the gray pencil from my ponytail and replaced it with the blue one, just in case I needed to use it again.

"Remember, kids, there are more than two hundred tribes that live in North America. Each has its own unique way of life," Mr. Reese said, pointing to the large world map.

"Wow," Cooper whispered. "I thought that only the Cherokee and Apache lived in America. I used to watch western movies about them with my grandpa. They were awesome!"

"I guess there are more tribes than you thought," I whispered back. "But if Mr. Reese makes us memorize every single one, I don't know what I'll do. I'm afraid I'd get a giant F for flunk-o-rama."

"He won't be my favorite teacher anymore, that's for sure!" said Cooper.

"Told ya. Studying about this stuff is going to be a total brain drain," I whispered back, rolling my eyes. "One of these days you people will listen to me!"

The Native Americans seemed boring, but I still wanted to know more about that blue rock.

Suddenly I noticed Mr. Reese had stopped talking and was staring straight at us. It was like he had teacher radar and could read our minds.


"Cooper, Maddy, and Channing, would you three like to stand in front of the class and tell us more about Native Americans? You seem to enjoy talking to one another."

I got a lump in my throat and quickly looked down at my neon pink high-tops. Maddy buried her head under her social studies book. Cooper froze like a statue.

"As I was saying, there are many tribes in North America. For example, the Zuni live in Arizona and New Mexico," said Mr. Reese. "They create beautiful works of art, including pottery and colorful tribal jewelry. Channing, would you like to make a poster on Native American art?"


Excerpted from Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail by Angela Spady, Tammie Lyon. Copyright © 2015 Santa Cruz Press, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.

Table of Contents


1. Dig In!, 1,
2. The Mystery Box, 9,
3. Boring Doring, 16,
4. Computer Crash, 21,
5. Surfing the Wave, 26,
6. The Woman Who Loves Horses, 34,
7. The Worst Day of My Stinky Life, 41,
8. Nana Knows Best, 47,
9. Pack Your Bags, 53,
10. The Wild, Wild West!, 58,
11. Santa Fe Surprise, 67,
12. Shop Till You Drop, 71,
13. The Turquoise Trail, 78,
14. Here Comes the Bride, 83,
15. Lost and Found, 88,
Did You Know?, 99,

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