When ten-year-old Tiger Brooks and his family move into a new home, he sees some strange things at the house next door—like a talking pig in a top hat! When he and his neighbor, Luna Lopez, investigate, they discover a reclusive old woman and her magical golden frame, through which they can enter the world's greatest paintings. In this book, Tiger and Luna get pulled into the painting Surprised! or Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau. But they must escape the jungle adventure before time runs out, otherwise they'll be trapped in the painting forever!
Praise for Danger! Tiger Crossing:
"Ten-year-old Tiger Brooks and his neighbor, Luna Lopez, get up-close and personal with Henri Rousseau’s “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” in this action-driven first book in the Fantastic Frame series." –Publishers Weekly
"Oliver keeps the plot itself snappy and peppy." -Kirkus
About the Author
Samantha Kallis is a Los Angeles-based illustrator and visual development artist. Since graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, in 2010, her work has been featured in television, film, publishing, and galleries throughout the world. Samantha can be found most days on the porch of her periwinkle-blue Victorian cottage, where she lives with her husband and their two cats. More of her work can be seen on her website: www.samkallis.com
Read an Excerpt
“I saw a giant orange pig on our swing set this morning,” said my little sister, Maggie. “He was wearing a fancy black hat.”
We were eating tuna melts at the kitchen table in our new house.
“Of course he was,” I said. “And I bet he was playing ‘Jingle Bells’ on the tuba.”
“Everyone knows pigs don’t play the tuba,” Maggie snapped, sticking her tongue out at me.
I decided not to continue this conversation. Four-year-olds say weird things, and there’s no point trying to talk sense into them. The other day, it took me an hour to convince Maggie that bananas don’t dance. But our mom, being our mom, felt the little bubble brain deserved a serious answer.
“It would be very unusual to see an orange pig on our swing set, honey,” my mom said, wiping a long string of gooey cheese off Maggie’s chin.
“At least one with a fancy hat,” my dad added.
Maggie slammed her sandwich down on her plate. She can have a bad temper when she wants to.
“I saw him.” She pouted. “He also had on a white shirt buttoned all the way up his blobby pig neck and a red bow tie with polka dots.”
“This is ridiculous,” I told her. “There’s no way a pig could tie a tie. I don’t even know how to do it, and I’m a ten-year-old human. You’re just making up this whole story to get attention.”
“Tiger Brooks!” My mom frowned at me. “Don’t be so harsh with your sister, young man. She just has a very active imagination. Now clear the table, please.”
Wait a minute! Maggie talks like a crazy person and I get in trouble?
Who made that rule?
At least clearing the table got me out of doing the Saturday deliveries with my mom. She had twenty cakes to deliver that afternoon. Her business is called Cakes by Cookie, which sounds stupid until you realize that her name is Cookie. She bakes fancy cakes, mostly for little kids’ birthday parties. She’s been doing really well, which is how our family got the extra money to move into a bigger place from our small apartment in our old neighborhood. I had no interest in spending my first Saturday in our new house dropping off Elmo cakes.
Lucky for me, Maggie wanted to go with Mom. Dad announced that he was going to take a nap, so I did the dishes and cleaned up. Afterward, I checked my new Batman watch, the one my uncle Cole gave me when I told him I couldn’t tell time the old-fashioned way. It took me a while to learn, but now I could read the hands. It was only three o’clock. That left me the rest of the afternoon to set up my lab, with no four-year-olds telling me their imaginary pig stories.
My lab is what other people would call my bedroom. I like to call it a lab because it’s where science takes place. Science Tiger Brooks–style, that is. I take things apart to see how they work: clocks, radios, old tricycles, robots, windup dinosaurs—whatever I can find. Then I try to put them back together. Sometimes I do it right. But mostly, I make weird things like a toaster with wheels, or a dinosaur that ticks, or a kitchen chair that roars.
I had a lot of unpacking to do. The first box, which was labeled “HANDS OFF AND THAT MEANS YOU, MAGGIE” was filled with nuts, bolts, cogs, gears, and screws. The next carton had about a million remote controls I had collected that had gotten separated from their machines.
As I picked up that box, one of the remotes fell out and got jammed between my bed and the wall. Suddenly, I heard a whirring sound. Looking around, I saw that my radio-controlled helicopter had taken off. It circled my room and sailed out the window into the backyard.
I grabbed the remote and ran into the living room. My dad was on the couch, snoring like a grizzly bear. I dashed past him into the backyard, just in time to see my helicopter cruise by the swing set and disappear over the neighbor’s fence.
“Hey, get back here!” I called out. I tried using the controller, but the helicopter was out of range.
As I ran toward the fence, I noticed a weird pattern in the grass under the swing set. It looked like footprints, except they weren’t human footprints. Each print was divided into two sections and was pointed at the top. Could they be hoofprints? They didn’t look like horse hoofprints.
Wait a minute! Pigs have hooves.
Stop it, Tiger, I said to myself. You are not four years old. You do not see imaginary pigs. Just find your helicopter and go back into the lab.
I dragged one of the lawn chairs over to the fence. I hopped up and looked into the neighbor’s yard.
The grass in the yard was as tall as Maggie. No one had mowed it in years. There was a barbecue covered with rust and spiderwebs. A long clothesline with sheets hanging on it stretched across the whole yard. The sheets were splattered with paint—big splotches of red and purple and yellow and orange. Behind one of those sheets, I could just make out—no, even I didn’t believe it!
I stared hard and long. Then I had to believe it. My eyes don’t lie. It was a black top hat poking out from behind the sheets.
“I see you,” I said to the hat.
There was no answer.
“Whoever you are, if you have my helicopter, give it back.”
Something moved behind the sheets. I looked down and saw hooves attached to what looked like puffy orange legs!
Suddenly, a strong breeze came up and blew the sheet off the line. Standing in front of me was a large orange pig wearing a black top hat, a white shirt, and a red polka-dot bow tie. He was holding my helicopter.
“It’s you,” I whispered. “The one Maggie saw.”
A woman’s voice, old and shrill, came from inside the house.
“Chives,” the voice called. “Come in here right now. I need more blue!”
The pig gave me what I think was a smile and tipped his top hat.
“I’m very pleased to meet you, good sir,” he said.
I was so shocked, I couldn’t move. I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open.
“Chives!” the woman called again. “Right now!”
“If you’ll excuse me, Madame is calling,” he said.
Clutching my helicopter, the pig hurried through the back door of the house. I stood there, still as a statue.
Then I felt a cold, sticky hand on my shoulder. I spun around so fast, I fell off the lawn chair and landed facedown on the grass. I was afraid to look up, afraid of what I might see. The ice-cold hand of a ghost? A zombie with no face? If a talking orange pig lived next door, maybe something even weirder was lurking in my own backyard.