Jake and his sister, Molly, are looking for a new place to live. When the mice discover Public School 42, they wonder if they should make it their new home. But Jake has scary encounters with an owl and the bully cat Big Gray, and wants to go back to his family. Meanwhile, Molly makes friends with a gentle hamster named Gino (who is also a ghost!) and with Miss Clark's class pets, and wants to stay. Can she convince her brother to live at P.S. 42, even though it is haunted?
About the Author
Frank Asch, a graduate of Cooper Union, has written more than eighty children’s books, among them the bestselling classics featuring Moonbear and Baby Bear; Russian National Book Award recipient Here Comes the Cat; and Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio Golden Award winner Like a Windy Day. Mr. Asch lives in Hawaii.
John Kanzler, his wife, Diane, and their five cats live on a small farm in Greenfield, Massachusetts, which is also home to many, many mice.
In the rear of the vacant lot stood a tall wooden fence. Molly slipped under with ease, but Jake had to search around for a knothole large enough for him to squeeze through. On the other side they found themselves standing on blacktop beside a swing set. Next to the swing set was a slide and a set of monkey bars.
"What kind of weird stuff is this?" wondered Jake out loud.
Molly sniffed the base of the monkey bars. "Smells like kid sweat." She sniffed again. "Kid sweat, chewing gum, and soda pop."
"And what's that?" Jake pointed toward an old brick building with large windows and white trim.
"Kind of big to be a house," said Molly. "Maybe it's a store?"
The letters and numbers above the front door read: P.S. 42.
"Can you read that?" asked Jake.
Molly had taught herself how to read a few labels by watching Deli Dan unpack cartons of food in the basement.
"All I see is a P and an S," she replied after some careful thought. "The P could mean pickles, pork, or popcorn. And the S could stand for soup, sauerkraut, or sandwiches. But I have no idea what those numbers are all about."
"I love popcorn," said Jake. "I say we go inside and check this place out."
At the corner of P.S. 42 Molly found a crack in the cement block foundation. The crack was just a little larger than her head.
"Never go where your whiskers aren't welcome," said Jake, quoting their poppa.
"My whiskers fit fine," replied Molly. "It's the rest of me I'm worried about."
"Here, let me give you a push," said Jake, and he shoved his sister through the crack.
Once inside, Molly called out, "It's nice and warm in here. I think I'm in some kind of kitchen."
"Smells good to me!" squeaked Jake. "How's the rat situation?"
Molly sniffed and sniffed again.
"No scent of rats whatsoever!" she reported.
"Good, I'll be right there!" said Jake, and he stuck his nose into the crack.
Molly waited for a full minute before she grew impatient. "What's taking so long?" she called through the crack. "I want to go exploring."
"I can't fit," confessed Jake after his third try.
"Do you want me to come out?" offered Molly.
"No, don't bother," grumbled Jake. "I'll find some other way in and meet you on the inside."
"Oh, Jake, do be careful," warned Molly.
"That goes double for you, Sis," replied Jake.
Text copyright © 2002 by Frank Asch
Illustrations copyright © 2002 by John Kanzler