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Frankie was a completely normal pet goldfish . . . until Tom's evil-scientist big brother tried to murder him with toxic gunge! Luckily Tom and his best friend Pradeep shocked Frankie back to life with a battery, and ever since he's been a BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH.
In Live and Let Swim, a normal trip to the aquarium for Tom, Pradeep, and Sami suddenly turns into a death-defying race to save Frankie from being eaten by a hungry psychic octopus during their big brothers' latest evil plan.
Then, when the TV show My Pet's Got Talent comes to town all the paranormal pets suddenly start losing their talents. Can Frankie save the day without his dangerous hypnotic powers?
Live and Let Swim by New York Times-bestselling author Mo O'Hara brings back all the kooky fun and humor you've come to expect from this irresistible chapter book series.
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About the Author
Marek Jagucki, illustrator of the MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH series, is a graduate of Falmouth School of Art and Design. He is a full-time illustrator and graphic designer based in Yorkshire, UK.
Read an Excerpt
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish
Live and Let Swim
By Mo O'Hara, Marek Jagucki
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2015 Mo O'Hara
All rights reserved.
YOU ONLY SWIM TWICE
The giant octopus and man-sized shark danced in time to the rap music playing over the Aquarium loudspeakers.
"You'll love your trip, you'll flip your lid,
With Mr. Shark and Mr. Squid!
We're here to make your day here fun,
When you visit City A-quar-i-um!"
They finished in a kind of street-dance pose. I was just about to clap, along with the three other visitors that were standing there with us, when my best friend, Pradeep, said, "That's a nice song and everything, but it doesn't rhyme."
"Huh?" the shark replied through his bulky rubber suit.
"'Fun' and 'aquarium' don't actually rhyme," Pradeep added helpfully.
The shark leaned menacingly toward us, so we could see our reflection in his huge white teeth.
"Not that it really matters." I gulped. "We could totally see what you were going for!" I shot Pradeep a look that said, "Shut up! Or we may end up being pummeled by dancers in sweaty fish costumes."
The guy dressed as an octopus wrapped a tentacle around Mr. Shark. "It's not worth it, dude. Let it go," he said gently.
The shark sighed. "You're right," he huffed.
They were just about to leave when Pradeep tugged on one of the octopus's tentacles.
"Excuse me?" he said. "I just wanted to clarify something. In the song you say you are Mr. Squid, but you are dressed as an octopus, so ..." He trailed off as the giant octopus loomed over him and waved his foam tentacles.
"It's the same difference!" Mr. Squid snapped.
"Actually, the heads are a different shape and the tentacles are arranged differently and —"
"Pradeep!" I interrupted. "Shhhh!"
"That's it! I can't take this anymore!" Mr. Shark spluttered. "This is not why I went to drama school, to sing to a room full of irritating kids!"
"Dressed as a squid!" added the octopus. I think he actually flounced a tentacle as he said it.
"You mean an octopus," Pradeep corrected.
"I quit!" the octopus shrieked, throwing all eight arms into the air.
"Me too!" Mr. Shark added as they stormed off.
Pradeep, Sami (Pradeep's three-year-old little sister) and I watched them waddle angrily down the hall. Sami tried to copy the swish of Mr. Shark's tail as he stomped along. She was wearing a bright yellow life jacket that she had begged her dad to buy her in the gift shop. It had a big yellow shark fin on the back, and ever since she'd put it on, she'd been pretending to be a shark too.
"Da-dum ... da-dum ... dum dum, dum dum, dum dum ..." Sami mumbled to herself as she crashed into my leg and shark-bit my sleeve. "Mwhy are msinging fishies mgrumpy?" she added, her teeth firmly clamped together.
"I was just trying to be helpful." Pradeep sighed.
I patted him on the back. "I don't think they were happy here. You were just the straw that broke the octopus's back."
"Octopuses don't have bones," Pradeep said, "so technically that would be impossible. But thanks anyway."
"Swishy fishy not grumpy," Sami said, unclamping her teeth and picking up the City Aquarium water bottle that I had used to smuggle in my pet zombie goldfish, Frankie.
It was one of those bottles that had little plastic fish and glitter suspended in a pocket of liquid, so that it looked like the fish were actually in your drinking water. I'd kept it ever since our school field trip here in first grade. No one would notice one more fish in there. Even an undead, brought-back-to-life-with-a-battery, green-gunk-eating zombie goldfish with hypnotic eyes.
At least I hoped not.
Pradeep shot me a look that said, "You brought Frankie to the Aquarium?"
My look answered, "I've brought him to school, to a museum, on vacation, on a camping trip, to our sports day and the school play. I'm not gonna let him miss out on a trip to somewhere fish are actually supposed to be!"
"Fish are supposed to be IN an aquarium, they aren't supposed to VISIT one!" Pradeep looked back.
"Not till now!" I said out loud.CHAPTER 2
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET GOLDFISH
"Say hello, swishy fishy," said Sami, holding Frankie's bottle up to the piranha tank. The piranhas swam by, completely ignoring us, until Frankie smiled at them with his big jagged teeth. Suddenly, they all threw themselves at the glass in full attack mode.
Pradeep, Sami and I all leaped back and I might have screamed for a second.
I could swear Frankie was sniggering to himself as he swam safely in his bottle.
"Um, maybe we should move on to the next tank. I don't think Frankie is making friends here," Pradeep said.
"Good call," I replied. "Hey, how long is it until the Amazing Antonio is on?"
"Mmwant mto msee moctopus!" Sami mumbled while shark-biting my leg.
"We're meeting our dads and Mark and Sanj at the shark tank in an hour for the shark feeding, and then at the octopus tank an hour after that for the Amazing Antonio, the Octopus's Psychic Prediction Show," Pradeep answered, looking at the laminated schedule his mom had given him.
Both of our dads had been stuck on their phones with work texts and e-mails since we'd gotten to the Aquarium. As soon as we left the shop, where they had bought Sami her shark life jacket and me and Pradeep each an Aqua Survival key ring, they'd headed to the café to work.
Sanj (Pradeep's Evil Computer Genius big brother) and Mark (my Evil Scientist big brother) had gone off together, leaving us with Sami.
It had worked out pretty well, actually, as it meant we could take Frankie out of my backpack so he could see the Aquarium properly, even if all he'd done so far was terrify a cuttlefish, spook the angelfish and provoke the piranhas.
All Pradeep and I really wanted to see was the Amazing Antonio anyway. For an octopus, he has a pretty impressive record for making psychic predictions. So far, he has accurately predicted the results of over twenty soccer games, five horse races, one heavyweight boxing championship, three global elections and a sudden surge in Chilean chocolate prices.
"OK, we've got time then," I said. "Let's explore."
As we continued wandering through the Amazonian section, Frankie started getting fidgety. I peered into his water bottle. His eyes were a bright zombie green and his fins were balled up, ready for a fight.
"Frankie, what is it?" I asked.
Frankie pointed to a door labeled "Staff Only" just beyond the piranha tank. It was open a crack, and there was a puddle of water on the floor. We could see what looked like tiny, wet paw prints trailing from the puddle.
"Mess!" Sami cried, shark-toddling toward the water.
Just as we were heading over to investigate, a silver-haired janitor with a square jaw and a scar across one cheek came out of the "Staff Only" door. As well as his City Aquarium janitor coat, he wore a black bowler hat and carried a tightly rolled umbrella. He looked around, then pressed a button on the side of his umbrella. It instantly lengthened and a mop head popped out of the bottom. He quickly mopped up all the evidence, then pressed the button again and the mop disappeared back into the umbrella.
He tipped back his hat and gave us a look that said, "There's nothing to see here. Move along." Grown-up looks are usually really hard to read, but this was pretty clear.
We grabbed Sami and walked back toward the other fish tanks.
"Did you see that janitor's cool umbrella?" I asked Pradeep.
"Yes, and did you see the way he mopped up all the paw prints before we could investigate them?" Pradeep whispered back.
"Maybe he's just really tidy," I suggested.
"Or maybe he's covering something up," Pradeep added.
"Whatever it is, Frankie's eyes are still glowing zombie green, which means there's something fishy going on," I said. "I think we should keep an eye on that janitor."
"Agreed," Pradeep said. "There's something just not very 'janitor-y' about him."
We were walking past a huge tank of tropical fish when we spotted Sanj and Mark.
"Get back," I whispered. "Evil big brothers dead ahead."
We all ducked behind the tank.
"Do you think they could have had something to do with that puddle?" whispered Pradeep.
"Let's follow them and find out," I replied.
We crept along the side of the tropical fish tank, but when we got to the corner, Mark and Sanj were gone. All we could see was another "Staff Only" door down by the clownfish tank, along with some overexcited toddlers screaming "Nemo! I found Nemo!" and hammering on the glass. A piece of plastic tubing was propped against the wall outside the door.
"Where did they go?" Pradeep asked.
"Maybe they just wanted to avoid us?" I suggested. Then I realized it was silly to even try and think of a non-evil reason for whatever they were up to. "Or maybe they are planning something evil? But seriously, how evil can you be in an aquarium?"
We looked over at Sami, who was holding Frankie in his bottle. They were both making silly faces at the clownfish. The clownfish didn't seem impressed.
"You're right," said Pradeep. "Let's just relax and check out the tropical fish section."
We headed over to join Sami. Frankie was clearly enjoying scaring the cute little clownfish when he suddenly froze, as if he'd spotted something suspicious.
We were just down the hall from a big display tank that had a black curtain around it and a sign on the front that read:
Pradeep and I turned to look where Frankie was looking and caught a glimpse of the silver-haired janitor slipping through another staff door, right next to Antonio's tank.
That in itself wasn't suspicious. I mean, he works at the Aquarium, right? That's what "staff" means.
But the way that the janitor looked around before he went through the door, as if he was checking to see if anyone was watching him — that was suspicious. That, and the way that he looked like he was talking into the handle of his umbrella.
"There's definitely something fishy about that janitor," I whispered to Pradeep.
I lifted Frankie's bottle out of Sami's hands. "Is he who you're suspicious of, Frankie?"
Frankie glared at the door.
"Look, more wet paw prints!" I added, spotting a trail on the ground. The prints led into the staff area.
"OK, let's look at this logically," Pradeep said. "Shifty-looking janitor — check. Suspicious wet paw prints — check. Sanj and Mark disappearing, confirming possible presence of Mark's evil vampire kitten sidekick, Fang, who could have left wet paw prints — check."
"We should investigate," I said. "Frankie's zombie sense is telling us something is wrong, and he tends to be right about these things." I paused. "Not that it ever really goes well when we follow Frankie's instincts. To be honest, we usually end up being tricked by a booby trap and suspended from the ceiling ... but you know ... Frankie's instincts are still right."
"So are we going in?" Pradeep asked.
"Yes!" Sami said, and shark-toddled ahead of us toward the door.CHAPTER 3
THE BOY WITH THE GOLDEN FISH
We inched open the staff door and could hear voices inside. Well, one voice, actually. It was the janitor, I guess, and he seemed to be talking to someone.
"How're you doing today?" the janitor started to say. Then, "No, no, no! Get back in the tank, Houdini. No escape tricks today."
We peered in from behind the door. The janitor was on the other side of the room behind a big tank. That's when we realized who he was talking to. Inside the tank — or rather, climbing out of the tank — was Amazing Antonio the Octopus.
At least I assumed he was Antonio. He looked the same as in all the online videos I'd seen of him, but I couldn't swear to it in an octopus identification lineup.
While the janitor was gently lifting Antonio's tentacles back over the edge of the tank with his umbrella, we took the opportunity to get closer.
I shot Pradeep a look that said, "Let's hide in the closet just next to this doorway. We'll get a better view."
He nodded and we all tiptoed through the doorway and into the supply closet.
Sami, Pradeep and I peeked out again just as the janitor finished flipping Antonio's tentacles back into the tank. The octopus gave the janitor a very disappointed look.
"Did you take the lid off your tank again?" the janitor asked.
The octopus had two clear plastic boxes next to him in his tank. He used them to predict stuff. One of the boxes was labeled "YES" and the other "NO." I guess they had different labels depending on what Antonio was predicting.
He curled up in the YES box.
"You can't do that," the janitor scolded him. The octopus climbed out of the YES box.
"And look at this mess out here. I guess it's down to me to clean up all the water you spilled getting out?"
The octopus curled up in the YES box again and turned away from the janitor.
"Yeah, yeah, always down to Oddjobz to do everything," the janitor muttered. He deployed his umbrella mop again. "I'm going to need a bucket to clean all this up."
He started heading right for us but there was nowhere to go!
Light fell onto three kids' faces and one green-eyed fish as he opened the closet door.
"Arggggggggggggggghhhhh!" the janitor screamed, and dropped the umbrella mop.
"Arggggggggggggggghhhhh!" I screamed, and dropped the bottle with Frankie in it.
"Arggggggggggggggghhhhh!" Pradeep screamed, and would have dropped whatever he was carrying, but he wasn't carrying anything.
Then it started ...
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Sami screamed at a pitch that would cause dogs in the next county to come running.
The janitor, Pradeep and I stopped screaming and covered our ears instead. Suddenly, we had a much more pressing problem than being caught in the "Staff Only" supply closet. How could we stop this horrible sound?
I tried to calm Sami down. "It's OK, Sami, you just had a scare. We're all fine!" I screamed over her screaming. But nothing worked.
The janitor looked down at us. "How long can she keep doing that for?" he yelled, still covering his ears.
"Her record is seven hours and twenty-three minutes. Then she just fell asleep mid-scream," Pradeep yelled back.
"Aha!" I punched the air. "I know what can make her stop!" I picked up Frankie's bottle and unscrewed the lid. Frankie poked his head out, fins over the side of his head, and stared straight into Sami's eyes.
The screaming stopped. We all uncovered our ears.
"Swishy little fishy," Sami said quietly, grabbing the bottle.
The janitor frowned. "Did that fish just —"
"He didn't really do anything," I interrupted, nudging Pradeep.
"Yeah ... I mean no, he didn't like, hypnotize her or anything," Pradeep said. I nudged him harder. "Ouch, I mean ... she just really likes our fish. Always calms her down to see him."
The janitor nodded and spoke in a low, gravelly voice. "I understand the little lady. That's why I've worked here for the last few years. It keeps me calm being surrounded by all these fish. Perfect job after such a dangerous career ..." He stopped himself and a serious look came to his face. "These areas are not open to the public, you know," he scolded us. Then he smiled and held out his hand. "I'm Oddjobz," he said. "The name says it all. And you are ...?"
Pradeep stepped forward. "I'm Pradeep, and this is my little sister, Sami."
"And I'm Tom," I said, "and this is Frankie." I nodded to Frankie, who was looking over Oddjobz's shoulder at something.
"Bit of a funny thing to bring a pet fish to an aquarium, but who am I to judge?" the janitor muttered.
Frankie thrashed and pointed behind Oddjobz, who turned around just in time to catch the octopus red-handed (or red-tentacled) climbing out of his tank again.
"My fault. I didn't put the lid back on," the janitor said quickly, edging Antonio back into the water and pulling the heavy lid most of the way across the top of the tank.
"Why does the octopus want to get out so much?" Pradeep asked.
"I don't know ... Maybe he misses the ocean. They caught him off the coast of South America somewhere. Then the Aquarium people spotted how smart he was and started getting him to make predictions," Oddjobz replied.
He started rooting around in a small tank nearby, from which he pulled a water-filled plastic jar containing a small, worried-looking crab. "Nearly feeding time," Oddjobz explained.
"So he doesn't like predicting World Cup–winning soccer teams or who'll be the next president of Luxembourg?" I asked. "I think that would be pretty cool."
"Sad little octi," Sami said. She walked over to the tank, still carrying Frankie in the bottle. He had clearly released her from the hypno-stare. Sami put her hand up to the tank and Antonio put his tentacle up to meet it on the other side of the glass.
"I make you smile," Sami said. She started doing some shark-toddler impressions for him.
Antonio still looked pretty sad though.
"Do you think she can communicate with the octopus like she could with the evil eel in Eel Bay?" Pradeep's look said to me.
"No, I think she can just tell he's sad. I mean, look at him. That's one glum octopus," I answered in looks.
Sami stared into the eyes of the octopus. "Maybe octi lonely?" she said. She climbed up the stepladder to the octopus tank and popped open the lid of Frankie's bottle. "Swishy fishy play with you!" she cried, and dumped Frankie into the tank.
"Noooooooooooooooooooooo!" we all shouted.
Well, all of us except Sami.
Excerpted from My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O'Hara, Marek Jagucki. Copyright © 2015 Mo O'Hara. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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
Part 1: Agent Octopus-Sea,
Chapter 1: You Only Swim Twice,
Chapter 2: On Her Majesty's Secret Goldfish,
Chapter 3: The Boy with the Golden Fish,
Chapter 4: The Tank is not Enough,
Chapter 5: For Your Fins Only,
Chapter 6: License to Swim,
Chapter 7: Evil Kittens are Forever,
Chapter 8: Quantum of Fish Food,
Chapter 9: Sky-Fin,
Chapter 10: Tomorrow Never Dives,
Chapter 11: A view to a Tank,
Chapter 12: Gold-Fin-Ger,
Chapter 13: Dive Another Day,
Part 2: My Pet's Got Talent,
Chapter 1: A Wild Ride,
Chapter 2: In Line for Stardom,
Chapter 3: Tortoise-Napped!,
Chapter 4: Attack of the Flying Budgie,
Chapter 5: An Evil Plan a Day Keeps the Blues Away,
Chapter 6: The Great Escape,
Chapter 7: A Star is Scanned,
Chapter 8: Talent Transmission 101,
Chapter 9: The Plan is Afoot,
Chapter 10: Pretty Little (Evil) Kitty,
Chapter 11: The Show Must Scan On,
Chapter 12: Fang's Big Night,
Chapter 13: A Menagerie of Multitalented Pets,
About the Author and Illustrator,