The Possum Always Rings Twice (Chet Gecko Series)

The Possum Always Rings Twice (Chet Gecko Series)

by Bruce Hale

Paperback(First Edition)

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Get ready for muckraking time at Emerson Hicky Elementary. The race is on for student council president, but it's quickly getting fishier than the bottom of a pelican's lunch box. Someone is sending candidates ominous threats and posting signs with messages like FIR IS FIRST! and DOWN WITH FEATHERS. Could someone be trying to rig the election? Good thing Chet and Natalie are around to expose the filthy frauds!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152052331
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 04/01/2007
Series: Chet Gecko Series , #11
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 573,811
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.33(d)
Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author

BRUCE HALE is the author of five picture books as well as the Chet Gecko mystery series. A popular speaker, teacher, and storyteller for children and adults, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Read an Excerpt

The Boy Who Cried ­Wolverine

Let’s face it: Elementary school is a jungle. Want to survive? Know your beasts. The herds of nerds, the packs of bullies, the rich kids, the jocks—each creature in this jungle has its own identifying ­marks.

Take Ben Dova, ­wolverine.

One look told the tale. Dagger claws, check. Furry boulders that passed for shoulders, check. B.O. strong enough to make a stinkbug cry, ­check.

Ben Dova might just as well have had bully stamped across his ­forehead.

He was ­big.

He was ­bad.

And he’d been hogging the tetherball for ten ­minutes.

Wolverine or no wolverine, I wanted to ­play.

“’Scuse me, bub,” I said. “You almost ­finished?”

“Grrr,” he ­replied.

Did I mention that Ben was also a brilliant ­conversationalist?
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He planted a pair of hamlike fists on his hips, snorkeled some air through his nose, and scanned the ­scene.

“Pee-yew,” he said. “What ­stinks?”

I gazed up at Ben. “Your armpits come to mind,” I said. “As does your breath, your sister, and your grades. Pick ­one.”

Ben’s lip curled, flashing fangs that a great white shark would’ve ­envied.

I reached for the tetherball. “Hey, if you’re not going to play . . .”

The wolverine hoisted the ball out of my reach. “Smells like barf,” he said. “Smells like a pukey little ­lizard.”

This brought some girlish giggles. A weasel and a rabbit stood nearby ­watching.

Sheesh. It’s always worse with an ­audience.

My jaw tightened. “Look, pal. Why don’t you give someone else a turn, and get back to practicing your tough­-­guy ­talk?”

Ben’s bullet­-­hole eyes burned yellow. “You gonna make me, ­punk?”

Normally, I try to deal with bullies the Rodney Rodent way. (You know, the star of Rodney Rodent’s House of Cartoons?) Rodney always says: Don’t show fear; speak firmly but politely; and just walk ­away.

I didn’t show fear. Speaking firmly, I said, “I don’t make beanheads, I bake ­them.”

I’ve always had problems with the polite ­part.

Turning to go, I nodded to the girls. A paw like a catcher’s mitt swung at my ­head.

I ­ducked.

The gleam in Ben’s eyes went from yellow to red. That was my ­cue.


I pelted across the blacktop, straight for the nearest portable classroom. Mere steps ahead of the wolverine, I reached ­it.

Fa­-­zzup! I scuttled up the ­wall.

Whether you’re a PI like me or just a fourth grader trapped in a sixth­-­grade world, it pays to have serious climbing skills. In three shakes, I made the ­roof.

“Come back here, Gecko!” yelled Ben ­Dova.

I laughed. “If you think I’m coming down to get creamed, you’re so dumb you put lipstick on your forehead to make up your ­mind.”

A snarl below told me the joke had found its mark. I savored the ­moment.

“Verrry funny,” came an oily voice from behind me. “You should try stand­-­up.”

A huge brown bat hovered in ­midair.

“I did,” I said, “but I kept falling ­down.”

“Too bad you didn’t fall farther,” she ­crooned.

Swell. Another bully. Even for Emerson Hicky, this was ­excessive.

“What is this, Let’s Pick on a PI ­Week?”

The bat wore a dorky pink hair ribbon and a savage sneer. Her smooshed­-­in nostrils twitched as if she smelled something ­stenchy.

As if that something was ­me.

She opened her mouth to ­speak.

I held up a hand. “I know, I know,” I said. “I’m a smelly little lizard and blah­-­blah­-­blah.”

“Verrry perceptive,” said the ­bat.

“Look, Flappy, can we just skip to the part where I run away? It takes me a while to come up with new ­insults.”

The bat smiled, baring fangs as yellow as a stale harvest ­moon.

“But of course,” she said. Miss Flappy flexed her ­wings.

I sprinted for the nearest ­treetop.

Flump­-­flump­-­flump! The thrumming of bat wings grew ­louder.
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My leafy sanctuary was only steps ­away.

Some instinct said duck! The bat’s swoop trickled chills down my ­spine.

I stumbled headlong—off the roof and into a ­tree.

Plummeting downward, I bounced from limb to limb like a deranged pinball. Finally I landed—ka­-­whump!—in a heap on the ­grass.

Dizzier than a carload of cheerleaders, I struggled to my knees. Then a large brown shape landed nearby. A massive black­-­and­-­tan figure rounded the ­corner.

Bullies to the left, bullies to the ­right.

I was ­doomed.

Copyright © 2006 by Bruce Hale

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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