Disaster awaits when the most annoying girl in school discovers the existence of our favorite tiny dinosaurs in the fifth installment of Dustin Hansen's illustrated chapter book series.
Vicky Van Varbles, AKA Lin's nemesis, AKA the most annoying person on the planet, has discovered the microterium! Lin is convinced that this is the Worst. Thing. EVER! Vicky has never kept a secret in her life. The only solution is to trap her in a bug jar for the rest of eternity.
But Danny has a different plan . . . if they can induct Vicky into the (newly created) International Microsaur Protection Agency, he's sure she can be convinced to keep their secret. But first Vicky has to pass Lin's increasingly difficult and dangerous tests . . . If Danny can't get Lin and Vicky to work together, then the microsaurs really might be doomed!
About the Author
Dustin Hansen author of Game On! and the Microsaurs series, was raised in rural Utah where he spent many days hiking red rock canyons that once belonged to the dinosaurs. After studying art at Snow College, Dustin began working in the video game industry, where he has been following his passions of art and writing for more than twenty years. When not writing or making video games, Dustin can often be found hiking with his family in the same canyons he grew up in, with a sketchbook in his pocket, a new idea in his mind, and a well-stocked backpack over his shoulders.
Read an Excerpt
BURRITOS, CREPES, AND IMPOSSIBLE TESTS
Some days you wake up with absolutely nothing to do. You have time to catch up on your comic books. Maybe watch a little TV.
Today was not one of those days.
Before I'd even brushed my teeth, Lin had left me fourteen text messages and three video messages, and nearly worn out the battery on my Invisible Communicator. All because Vicky Van-Varbles, Lin's sworn enemy, had spent the night at her house. A sleepover of epic proportions, and thanks to all the messages, I knew every detail.
After double-checking my backpack for supplies, I bolted out the door and was knocking on Lin's before she could call again.
"Danny, good to see you this fine morning," Lin's dad said as he answered. He was wearing a dish towel around his neck, and he smiled his nice dad smile, which always made me feel good.
"Thanks, Mr. Song. It's nice to see you, too. Is Lin here?" I asked.
"Nope. NASA stopped by this morning and asked her to go on a secret space mission," he said. "She won't be back for twenty-seven years. You just missed her."
"Well, in that case, I guess I can help myself to her video game collection. All the games will be outdated by the time she returns," I said.
Mr. Song stepped out of the doorway and motioned for me to enter. "Help yourself. Oh, and help yourself to some breakfast, too. We've got a special chef in this morning."
No doubt about it, Mr. Song is funny. Of course the NASA story was a joke — nobody goes away for twenty-seven years — but I could tell by the smell in the air the chef thing wasn't. I heard the clink and clang of knives and forks attacking dishes as I made my way into the kitchen.
"Danny! ChuChu wuv Vicky pwapes. YUMMMMY!" Lin's little sister, ChuChu, said from her high chair. Her face was covered in whipped cream, and her hair was slicked back with syrup. Before I could say hello, ChuChu picked up a pancake from her plate and flung it like a Frisbee. It soared an inch above Mrs. Song's head and slapped right to the front of my shirt, where it stuck with a FLAP!
"ChuChu!" Lin's mom and dad said at the same time. But I was more interested in the round circle of thin goodness stuck to my shirt. I peeled it off and held it to the light.
"This pancake is so thin I can see through it," I said.
Just then, I noticed Vicky. She was wearing a purple chef's hat with a matching apron. Her name was stitched across the front of the apron in red gems, and she held a pan in a hand covered in a bright purple hot-pad glove. She flicked the pan and one of the thin pancakes did a perfect flip and landed back in the pan with a sizzle.
"Thanks. They are wonderfully thin if I say so myself. Master Chef Jean-Louise taught me how to make them when I was in Paris last summer on a cooking vacation. Oh, and they aren't pancakes. They are crepes," Vicky said.
"ChuChu wuv pwapes!" ChuChu said again.
"Ohhh! Isn't that the sweetest thing?" Lin's mom said.
"ChuChu wuvs Vicky," ChuChu said.
"Ohhhh! Now that is the sweetest thing," Lin's dad said.
"Thanks, Chooch! Vicky wuvs you, too," Vicky said as she slid the crepe from the hot pan to a plate.
I heard a thunk and looked over to find Lin. She was sitting next to her mom, and her head was slumped on the table. She groaned.
"Have a seat, Danny," Mrs. Song said. "There's a spot next to Lin. Don't worry. I don't think her morning grumps are contagious."
"Yes they are, Mom," Lin said under her breath as I sat down next to her.
"Danny. Wait until you try these. Vicky made each of us our own special crepe toppings. It's like she can read our minds," Mrs. Song said. "Mine had cinnamon apples with a hint of spicy pepper."
"It was cayenne, Mrs. Song," Vicky said as she chopped something on the counter behind me.
"And mine was peanut butter and banana," Mr. Song said.
"With nutmeg. Don't forget the nutmeg," Vicky said.
"How could I? It was magnifique!" Mr. Song said in a French accent. Then he kissed his fingertips, and everyone except Lin giggled.
"What was on yours?" I asked Lin. I already knew that ChuChu's crepes were strawberry and cream because she was pretty much wearing them at this point.
"Peaches, jalapeños, caramel sauce, with a little bit of whipped cream," Lin said. She looked up at me and rolled her eyes.
"What? Weren't they good?" I asked.
"They were perfect," she said, then thumped her head back to the table again.
"And speaking of perfect," Vicky said, surprising me as she stood behind me with a plate. "Bon appétit!"
She placed the plate down in front of me. Two perfectly rolled-up crepes filled with fluffy white cheese. There were stripes of dark red syrup or something perfectly swirled in curvy lines on top of the crepes.
"What's inside of them?" I asked.
"Take a bite, and then I'll tell you," Vicky said. "Come on. Be adventurous."
I liked the challenge, and the crepes smelled pretty good, so I took Vicky's advice. I took a bite, chewed it a couple of times, then closed my eyes.
"Ham, cream cheese, and green onions. Topped with red-raspberry syrup," Vicky said.
"Oh, gross!" Lin said. "Ham and raspberries? And ONIONS! I think you messed up this time, Vicky."
I opened my eyes, and everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to say something.
"This is the best breakfast I've had in my entire life," I said.
"Of course it is," Vicky said, and Lin opened her eyes so wide I thought they might fall out and roll onto the floor. "Now, I'll clean up while you finish, Danny. Then it's off to the Microterium. We have a lot to do today."
"You don't need to clean up, Vicky. We'll do it," Lin's mom said.
"What? I have to clean up when I cook," Lin said.
"Vicky is our guest, Lin," Mrs. Song said.
"It's okay. I like cleaning," Vicky said.
"Of course you do," Lin said.
"Well, at least we can help," Mr. Song said as he started adding dishes to the sink.
ChuChu banged her spoon on her high chair. She was obviously finished with breakfast, so Lin used a washcloth to clean her up while we took a few seconds to talk about the day.
"Hey, did you finish your list for the IMPA challenges?" I said.
"My what?" Lin asked.
"The list of challenges to be part of the International Microsaur Protection Agency. You know, so we can convince Vicky to keep this whole thing a secret. That's the entire reason she slept over at your house last night," I said.
"Yeah, I got it. I was up half the night thinking about it. But I started calling the challenge something else," Lin said.
"What have you been calling it?" I asked.
"It's the TROVFPTBACAAMMMLHSIFHTTM list," Lin said, saying every initial.
"I'm afraid to ask, but what does that stand for?" I asked as I shoveled another bit of ham crepe into my mouth.
"Oh. It's my Total Revenge On Vicky For Pretending To Be A Chef Angel And Making My Mom Like Her So I'm Feeding Her To The Microsaurs list. Yours is shorter, though, so let's go with the IMPA," Lin said. "For now, that is."
"Probably a good idea," I said.
"What's a good idea?" Vicky asked as she neatly folded her dish towel and placed it on the counter.
"For us to get going to the Microterium," I said.
"But I need to change first. I can't go like this," Vicky said, motioning to her hat and apron. "I'll be right back."
Vicky ran out of the kitchen, back toward Lin's bedroom. I looked over at Lin and was about to ask a question, but she answered it before I could get a chance.
"Her mom had someone drop off red pajamas, the purple cooking costume, and a few ingredients that we didn't have. And of course, new clothes for today," Lin said.
"Let me guess. Purple," I said.
"Purplish, and very sparkly," Lin said with a grossed-out look on her face.
The door to Lin's room opened, and Vicky was standing there, pulling a bright purple belt around her waist. She was dressed head to toe in her favorite color. Then she pulled on a purple jacket that looked like it had been dipped in glitter. It was so sparkly I had a hard time focusing on it for a minute.
"My goodness, you look adorable," Mrs. Song said. "Lin, doesn't she look adorable?"
"She looks like a frosted cupcake," Lin said.
"I know, right?" Vicky said. Then she did a little twirl.
Mrs. Song clapped, and Lin groaned and rolled her eyes.
Lin snapped on her skateboarding helmet. "Bye, Mom and Dad. We gotta run. We'll be at Penrod's Microterium." As we left, she grabbed a jar with a lid on it from the kitchen table and stuffed it in my backpack. "Come on. Let's go before someone starts picking out the perfect matching fingernail polish to go with a muddy day in the Microterium."
"Wait. Is it going to be muddy?" Vicky said, and I could hear the worry in her voice.
"It's always muddy in the Microterium," I said.
"Be careful," Mr. Song said as we made our way to the door.
"We're always careful. Besides, it's probably more safe than a twenty-seven-year space trip to Mars," Lin said with a grin that told me she enjoyed the joke as much as her dad did.CHAPTER 2
"Look, all I'm saying is if I knew it was always going to be muddy in the Microterium, I wouldn't have worn my brand-new, custom-fitted, limited-edition amethyst Ruby Girls tour jacket," Vicky said as we made our way through the deep grass in Professor Penrod's backyard.
"We aren't going to the mall to get our hair done. We're going to a living Microsaur environment. If it isn't muddy, we're doing something wrong," Lin said.
"I should call my mom and arrange for another outfit," Vicky said.
"Maybe she can bring you something bite-proof, like a suit of armor?" Lin said. I heard her giggle to herself a little.
"Bite-proof?" Vicky said.
I held open the door to the barn-lab, the old building that worked as a hiding place for the most amazing place on earth, Professor Penrod's Microterium. "Don't worry, Vicky. What you're wearing is just fine."
"Are you sure?" Vicky asked. I nodded, and she smiled at me as she entered. "Thanks, Danny."
The inside of the barn-lab was dark, cool, and familiar. While it was only Vicky's second visit, Lin and I had been there every day since Twiggy, a tiny-dactyl, led us to the mysterious place. Lin marched right past me, heading for the large metal step that acted like a trigger for the Shrink-A-Fier, Professor Penrod's incredible shrinking invention. But I thought it was worth setting down a few rules before we entered.
"Hang on, Lin. Let's go over the plan," I said.
"I know the plan already," Lin said. "Less talk, more action. That's the plan."
"I'd like to hear the plan," Vicky said. "It's always good to be prepared."
"I agree," I said, and Lin gave me a grumpy look. "What? I do agree. I can't help it. I'm a planner."
"Make it quick," Lin said.
"Okay. There are four tasks you need to complete before you can become a member of the IMPA. And it's super important that you are a member, because you have to pass in order to hang out with us in the Microterium and help us protect the Microsaurs," I said.
"I like this plan already," Vicky said with a grin.
"I like some of it. The four-nearly-impossible-terrifying-death-defying-tasks part sounds pretty good," Lin said.
"The what?" Vicky asked.
"Oh, nothing. Go on, Danny. Tell us the rest of the plan," Lin said.
"So, the four tasks won't be easy, but they are NOT death-defying. There will be a food challenge, a bravery challenge, a quest challenge, and the Promise Keeper's Oath. Which is the most important, because if you take the Promise Keeper's Oath, it means you have to keep the Microsaurs a secret forever," I said.
"Great. I'll do the food challenge first. I've been working on some amazing recipes. Even better than the crepes we had for breakfast. Where is the kitchen in this place?" Vicky said.
Lin walked behind me, unzipped my pack while I was still wearing it, and pulled out the jar she'd put in there earlier. "Oh, there is no kitchen, and you won't need your recipes. And there's another thing. You don't get to pick the order of the challenges. I do."
Vicky looked like she was going to argue for a second, but then she thought better of it.
"Fine. Give me your recipe, and I'll do my best. Which we all know is excellent. After all, I went to a cooking camp last year in —"
Lin cut her off. "In Paris. We know already." She pulled a piece of tape off a wide roll on Professor Penrod's workbench and found a black marker in a long drawer. She started writing something on the jar, then kept explaining.
"But since you brought it up, I think we should start with the food challenge. It'll be a nice warm-up for the rest of the day," Lin said as she dotted an i, crossed a t. She looked over at Vicky with a smile that made me a little nervous.
"Are you ready?" she asked.
"I'm ready," Vicky said.
"I'm worried," I said.
"Okay, this one should be easy. First, you need to know you won't be making food for us. You'll be making food for the Microsaurs. Pizza and Cornelia, to be exact. All you have to do is feed them one Microbite each."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Vicky said. "I met them yesterday. They're the twin Microsaurus rexes, right?"
I was confused. I thought Lin was going to make things difficult, but feeding a Microbite to the twins was something we did every day.
"That's them. Oh, and I forgot to mention you'd be wearing this." Lin pulled a small plastic lunch bag out of her back pocket. Inside was a half-smashed, half-eaten corn dog and a slice of pepperoni with two holes punched in it. "A corn-dog hat slathered with loads of mustard, of course, and a pepperoni jacket. I already stabbed the armholes in it for you. Probably not as cool as what the fashion models wear in Paris, but Pizza and Cornelia are going to LOVE it!" Lin said.
"Umm, I don't know if that's a good idea," I said.
"It's a GREAT idea. I'm kind of jealous, actually. It sounds fun. And they are especially hungry in the morning," Lin said.
"Maybe, I, umm ... I don't know," Vicky said as she took a step back toward the barn-lab door. "Maybe I will just, umm ... go for now and try this again tomorrow."
"Wait! Don't leave. We won't send you into the T. rexes dressed like a snack," I said.
"But that's the whole challenge part of the challenge," Lin said.
"We can't turn her into lunch," I said.
"Danny, we're all lunch in the Microterium. But you and I know how to stay off the menu. She has to learn how to deal with dangers of the Microterium one way or another," Lin said.
"I think she can do that without being dressed like the main course. Sorry, Lin, you need to rethink this one," I said. Then I leaned in and whispered into Lin's ear, "Look, we need her to go along with this. If she gets involved and sees how awesome the Microsaurs are, she'll help us keep the secret. That's the plan."
Lin whispered back, "No, the plan was to set up a test so hard that when she fails we get to keep her in a bug jar for the rest of her life."
"I think we have different plans, Lin," I whispered.
"You guys know I can hear you, right? You are both horrible whisperers," Vicky said. "Also, I'm not wearing that stuff. I'm not afraid, I just refuse to wear a greasy glob of carnival food for a hat and a slimy meat coat over my favorite new jacket. No way."
"Fine. We'll go on to the next one while I rethink the food challenge. But this is still part of the deal," Lin said as she spun the jar around, showing us what she had written on the tape. "Come on. It's time to shrink!"
Lin tiptoed into the Microterium, then carefully placed the bug jar down next to the Fruity Stars Lab 3.0. She turned and looked back at us and dusted off her hands.
"I just realized Lin doesn't like me," Vicky said out loud, which I thought might have been a mistake. She looked like she had no idea that anyone on earth, even Lin, didn't like her.
I've known for as long as I can remember. But I did my best to make her feel like everything was going to be fine.
"Don't worry. She's just testing you. I don't think she wants you to get hurt. I just think she wants to see you in a bug jar," I said with a smile as I stepped on the big metal step.
"True. That's pretty much my main goal in life," Lin said as she got on the step with me.
"Great. That's so much better," Vicky said, then joined us on the metal step. The Shrink-A-Fier whirled to life, and in no time, orange liquid bubbled up into the coiled tube that stretched from the tank to the large showerhead above us. Tiny sprinkles floated down, and we began to shrink.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Microsaurs"
Copyright © 2019 Dustin Hansen.
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
Chapter 1: Burritos, Crepes, and Impossible Tests,
Chapter 2: Making Plans,
Chapter 3: The First Official Challenge,
Chapter 4: Frank's Bog,
Chapter 5: He's not that Cuddly,
Chapter 6: The Snuffle Cloud,
Chapter 7: Ahoy, Mateys,
Chapter 8: Sprinkler,
Chapter 9: The Microterium Provides,
Chapter 10: Snow Lake,
Chapter 11: A Tree Full of Trouble,
Chapter 12: Dr. Carlyle's Miracle Fog,
Chapter 13: Back to the Bog,
Chapter 14: The Promise Keeper's Oath,
A Message from Penrod,
Facts about Spinosaurus,
About the Author,