Located ten stops before you get to the North Pole on the Polar Express, this whimsical land grows Christmas trees all year round. All the animals look forward to the annual Christmas party at Jingle Bell Block, but none more than Maury Chris Moose. However, this year might be a scary Christmas rather than a Merry Christmas.
Maury C. Moose has his worst nightmares come to life when G.R. Inchworm invades Jingle Bell Block. In order to save his Christmas-loving forest, Maury and his friends must band together and prevent the construction of the new Bar Hum Bug.
Will a parody of the 12 Days of Christmas provide Maury the guidance needed to clean up Forest Noel and run G.R. Inchworm out of town? Or will the bugs litter the forest with their New York Slimes newspapers and their Pus Weekly magazines?
This Christmas chapter book features puns, rhymes and quirky animal characters that parents and kids will love reading about together.
About the Author
You can reach Adam at www.BlogByBake.com or Facebook.com/maurycmoose
Read an Excerpt
Maury C. Moose raced through the forest, dodging trees and hurtling bushes. Time was running out and if he didn't find the sleigh's missing speedometer right away, Santa would never be able to get off the ground to visit children across the world. Christmas would be ruined.
Maury could not believe that Santa's sleigh was missing the speedometer, and he was shocked to learn that he was the one animal Santa had chosen to track it down.
He was honored, but what did he know about speedometers? Didn't Santa have an army of elves that could just make a new one?
Just as Maury thought all hope was lost, he spotted the shiny speedometer floating down the river. There it was, just out of his reach in the water next to an unusual looking lily pad floating near the river bank.
But Maury's relief turned to panic as he realized that the speedometer was less than 30 feet from disappearing into the giant waterfall at the end of the river.
The speedometer would never survive if it plunged into the powerful waterfall.
With no time to waste, Maury dove into the river and lunged at the speedometer. He reached out his hoofs as far as moose-ly possible, but they came up empty.
The speedometer floated away, just out of his reach and disappeared into the waterfall.
"Noooooo!" Maury cried.
Boys and girls all across the world would not be receiving presents this year and it was all his fault. How was he going to explain this to Santa?
Suddenly, Maury was no longer in the river. His face was soaking wet but he was in his bed, and his mom was at his side.
"Is everything okay, Honey?" Carol C. Moose asked as she placed the back of her hoof against her son's antlers. "I heard you scream, so I came into your room as quickly as I could. Why are you so sweaty?"
"Mom, Christmas is ruined and it's all my fault," Maury said. "The speedometer on Santa's sleigh was missing, and he told me that I was the only one who could save Christmas. But I couldn't get to the speedometer in time, and it fell into the great waterfall. It's all my fault!"
"Oh sweetie, it was just another bad dream. Today is only December 3. Christmas is still three weeks away. Everything is fine, Bumpkin, let's go get you some breakfast. It's almost time for school."CHAPTER 2
While Maury is asleep he can't help but stir ... For what's next, this wise moose will need more than gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Maury was still sweating as he walked to class. This morning's dream felt so real. The forest, the trees, even splashing into the water.
Maury's imagination had always been very creative, ever since he was small.
When he was younger, dreams and a lively imagination never caused any problems. He would spend all afternoon daydreaming about becoming a movie star, the next Bullwinkle.
But in the past month, his dreams had begun to get the best of him. He had recurring nightmares about Christmas being ruined because he could not save the day.
In one dream, Prancer was sick, and Santa asked Maury to fill in, only to find out that his replacement moose couldn't move his legs.
Another time, Maury had to collect missing presents before Santa and the reindeer took off in the sleigh. The only problem was that he couldn't open his eyes wide enough to find any of the presents.
The most bizarre dream occurred when Mrs. Claus informed Maury that Jolly Old St. Nick was on a new diet and Maury had to go house to house informing all the mommies and daddies across the word that they had to bake gluten free cookies.
Would Santa really leave the fate of Christmas in the hands of an 11-year-old? Maury thought to himself as he took his seat in class. He was Rudolph's second cousin, and he did have the merriest full name in history, but saving Christmas is a lot to ask of someone who still wears hoofs-y pajamas.
"Maury?" "Maury?" "MAURY CHRIS MOOSE, can you hear me?" asked Miss L. Toad, the 5 grade teacher at Forest Noel School, interrupting Maury's thoughts on whether or not he was qualified to save Christmas.
"I'm sorry Miss Toad." said Maury. "What was the question?" The class laughed as Miss L. Toad explained that she was taking roll.
"Do try to pay attention, Mr. Moose," said the teacher as she continued with roll call.
"Present," said Maury's best friend who was also the class clown.
"Julie & Rob Birds?"
"Simon C. Owl?"
"Eb and Neezer Beetle?
"Yeah, we're here."
"And last, but not least, our foreign exchange student from the Holly Jolly Sea, Stock King Crab?"
"That's eight presents and one yeah we're here. Sounds like my house on Christmas morning," joked Mikey.
Again the students laughed. "Class, before we begin today's math lesson, I have a very important announcement to make," Miss Toad said. "I regret to inform you that this year's school wide Christmas party at Jingle Bell Block has been cancelled."
What was just laughter among the students suddenly turned to shock.
"No way," blurted Mikey.
"That's impossible," said Page. "I've already picked out the dress I was going to wear."
"Please settle down class," said Miss Toad, noticing a class full of gloomy faces. "This was not my decision. I was just made aware of the cancellation this morning. If it was up to me, we would still have the party. Unfortunately, Jingle Bell Block will not be available this year."
As the kids whispered about the bad news, Maury's face went as white as the first snow of the season. He tried to pinch himself to wake up from another nightmare.
Only this time ... he wasn't dreaming.CHAPTER 3
The Christmas party is cancelled and we don't know the reason ... This is going to put a damper on Forest Noel's holiday season.
"Baloney! Grade A baloney. That's what this Ir is," said Mikey as the class was dismissed. "Christmas parties and Forest Noel go together better than peanut butter and jelly beans, better than salt and peppermint, better than B-list celebrities and Dancer with the Stars."
"What could have caused the cancellation?" asked Stock.
"Maybe it's because of budget cuts," said Page.
"The rumor from the older kids is that it is a lack of Christmas spirit," added Simon.
"You are all dummies. We know the real reason that the party is being cancelled," said a voice from behind the group.
The students spun around to find Eb and Neezer Beetle smirking.
"What then?" asked Maury. "What's the real reason?"
"Our uncle is buying the land at Jingle Bell Block and turning it into a Bar Hum Bug. It is going to be a place where bugs of all shapes and sizes can go to escape the pathetic Forest Noel. The bugs are sick and tired of all the holiday cheer around here, even in the summer. Summer Christmas Camp, really? Who does that? Well, we are not going to stand for it any longer."
"No way!" shouted Justine. "The great folks of Forest Noel would never let the bugs take over Jingle Bell Block."
"Never say never," laughed Eb and Neezer as they scuttled away.CHAPTER 4
Things are not good at Forest Noel ... What is now a construction site was once the beloved Jingle Bell.
"I need to see this for myself," said Maury. "I can't believe the bugs would want to take over a place like Jingle Bell Block. Such a clean area doesn't seem like a good place for bugs."
To get first hand proof, the group of students walked to Jingle Bell Block. As the kids climbed over Wreath Mountain and looked down on the Block, they couldn't believe their eyes.
"That's JB Block?" asked Page.
"We must have gone the wrong way," said Justine. "I don't remember there being trash everywhere."
"This place is a dump. A grade-A dump," said Mikey. "I've swam in sewers that are cleaner than this place."
"For someone who gets straight C's, you sure seem to know a lot about things being grade-A," joked Simon.
"When did this happen?" asked Maury. "My family has been coming here since before I grew antlers and I've never seen it this bad. I guess we haven't been here since the new 'Deck The Mall' was built across town, but not in my wildest dreams did I think it could get this bad around here."
As the group discussed how this could have happened, Maury thought back to all the years he visited JB Block. The giant Christmas tree in the middle of the block, when fully decorated, lit up the town like a city of fireflies. Now the tree looked like an abandoned building in the center of a dump.
"What is G.R. Inchworm Construction?" said Julia, pointing to an ugly green sign posted into the ground that read "FUTURE SITE OF BAR HUM BUG" in big letters.
"That must be Eb and Neezer's uncle's company," answered Rob. I bet he's the one who is trying to take over this land so he can build that bug bar. According to the sign the land will be his in 12 days."
"Maybe we can talk to him and ask if he will take his construction project to another town," said Page. "We just need to explain to him how much JB Block means to everyone."
"Yeah right," said Mikey. "If he is anything like Eb & Neezer then I'm sure he is a real joy to talk to. There is only one of us who could possibly convince him to leave the Block alone. For this job we are going to have to throw a Hail Maury!" With that, all eyes slowly turned to the largest one in the group.CHAPTER 5
It appears that Jingle Bell Block will be replaced by a bar ... In this time of trouble the desperate group looks up to its North Star.
Maury couldn't help but feel the heat of 14 eyes firmly focused on his six foot frame.
"What is everybody looking at?" Maury playfully asked. Do I have a booger in my nose or something?"
"Yes, but that is not why we are looking at you this time," replied Mikey. "Unless you plan to use those boogers to scare G.R. Inchworm away from Jingle Bell Block."
"Come on guys," Maury said as he wiped his nose. "I am not the Moose for the job. Why me? What do I have that you don't?"
"Enough with the boogers," Justine interrupted Mikey. "Beside the size, the brains and the merriest full name ever, I guess you have nothing on us. Seriously, Maury, you are the only one of us who stands a chance to convince G.R. Inchworm to leave."
"Just tell him about the upcoming Christmas party and how it is an annual school tradition. Explain that Christmas will be ruined if he builds his bar."
"Let him know about the memories JB Block has made for all of us," added Page. "Like the time our 1 grade class took a field trip to the block to go ice skating and the rink didn't have skates small enough for me. So you let me sit on your antlers as we raced around the rink, chasing after Mikey. After he hears about how much this place means to us, he will surely move his bar somewhere else."
"Yeah, and if that touching story doesn't work, you can just squish him with your giant feet," said Mikey.
"Fine, I will go talk to G.R.," said Maury. "But I'm going to need back up."CHAPTER 6
Our hero, the moose, is off to talk to the worm ... A task so daunting, it would make even Rudolph squirm.
Maury's knees were shaking so much he could hardly walk in a straight line as he and Mikey approached G.R. Inchworm Construction headquarters.
The place reeked of rotten eggs and had a look that not even three blind mice could love. And that was just from the outside.
Maury and Mikey plugged their noses as they entered.
"What do you two want?" snapped a roach at the receptions desk.
"W-W-We'd like to see Mr. Inchworm," stuttered Maury.
"Ha! No chance," said the female receptionist as she turned back to the New York Slimes newspaper she was reading. "Mr. I. doesn't want to be bothered."
"Can't we just see him for a few seconds?" pleaded Maury. "We will not take long."
"No way. The great G.R. Inchworm has much better things to do than meet with you two lousy kids."
Maury turned to leave when Mikey shouted, "Well these two lousy kids have a stink bomb, and if we don't get to see Mr. I. immediately we will be forced to shoot ... uh, I mean detonate this smelly thing."
The receptionist put down the newspaper. "Oh yeah? Where's the stink bomb?"
"Let's just say, if I lift up my right wing, this whole place will smell worse than Maury's feet after basketball practice."
"What are you doing?" Maury whispered to Mikey.
"Just go with it."
"Oh, uh, yeah, you don't want that. My feet can get very stinky. Just ask my mom. She hates doing my laundry after basketball practice." said Maury.
At this point, the roach behind the front desk was already reading the newspaper again and clearly did not want to be bothered, stink bomb or no stink bomb. "Honey, you are in the wrong place if you think a stink bomb is going to scare anyone. But I'm tired of dealing with you, so I am going to let you see Mr. Inchworm. It's the third door on the left. We will see who drops the bomb."
Mr. Inchworm was on the phone as Maury and Mikey entered the gigantic, moldy office.
"I've sleepwalked into better deals than this. I don't care what the Ogre Swamp costs. JUST BUY IT!" yelled G.R Inchworm as he slammed down the phone, knocking over the larva lamp on his desk.
"Who let you back here?"
"Your lovely receptionist," answered Mikey.
"What do you want?" asked an irritated G.R.
"Go for it, Maury," said Mikey, quickly backing away and hiding behind his much larger pal.
"M-Mr. Inchworm, sir. W-W-We came here to talk to you about your construction project at Jingle Bell Block," said Maury. "We wanted to see if you would move it to a different location."
"HAHAHAHA," laughed G.R. "This has to be a joke. Am I on an episode of Skunk'd? Where are the hidden cameras?"
"No joke, sir," said Maury, his heart racing. "We just thought you'd like to know how much the Block means to Forest Noel. Our school holds the annual Christmas party there, and animals throughout the forest do not want to see the land changed."
"Listen here, son, if you think I am just going to walk away from a goldmine just so you and your friends can have your silly little Christmas party, then you aren't the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree," G.R. barked.
"In 12 days the land will be mine and you can kiss your beloved Jingle Bell Block goodbye. And after I own the block, I'm coming after the rest of your Forest Noel, or as I like to call it, NO WELL. Now why don't you and your feathered friend get out of my office IMMEDIATELY!"CHAPTER 7
Maury and Mikey's plan had failed ... If they don't come up with something fast, their Polar Express will be derailed.
Maury and Mikey's walk from G.R. Construction back to the group felt as cold and as long as a winter snowstorm. Maury kept replaying G.R.'s cynical laugh over and over again in his head.
This feels just like a bad dream, if not worse, Maury thought to himself as they approached their classmates.
"How did it go?" asked Julia
"Yes, what did he say?" asked Rob. "Did he agree to let us keep the land?"
"Let's just say, we bombed," said Mikey.
"Maury, you look like you just ate something sour," said Simon. "Is everything okay?"
"I'm really, really sorry guys, but I let you down," Maury said. "G.R. isn't going to leave. In fact, he said he plans to take over the rest of Forest Noel after he is finished with JB Block. I just couldn't change his mind ... I failed."
"No, you didn't fail. You didn't let us down," said Justine.
"Yeah, Maury, I'm sure you did better than any of the rest of us could have done," said Page.
"I still say you should have just squished him," joked Mikey.
"What do we do now?" asked Simon.
The group stood silent as no one knew the answer to Simon's question. Then Maury spoke first.
"G.R. said in 12 days the land will be his and JB Block as we know it will be destroyed. Unless anyone knows how to stop a rich and powerful worm, I am not sure what we can do."
"Does anyone have a giant can of Bug-Be-Gone?" asked Mikey.
"Come on Mikey, that isn't funny," said Page. "Our forest is at risk, and I don't think this is a time for jokes."
"How do you stop an evil inchworm and his army of bugs?" asked Justine.
"I don't think he can be stopped," Maury said, dejected as he walked away from the group, alone.CHAPTER 8
All seems to be lost and it appears that G.R. Inchworm has won ... The group breaks apart, with seemingly nothing left to be done.
Maury walked home in a haze. He couldn't stop thinking about Christmas, G.R. Inchworm and how he let his friends down. Mentally and physically exhausted, he went straight into his room and flopped down on his bed, hoping to forget the previous few hours.
Closing his eyes, Maury tried to ignore the shining colorful lights and dozens of festive decorations dangling throughout his room. But he couldn't put them out of his mind. Looking at them brought him back to this afternoon when he was embarrassed in front of his friends.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Maury C. Moose and The Forest Noel"
Copyright © 2014 Adam Baker.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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