When last we saw them, the Shluffmuffin twins were running for their lives. In this, the second installment, they run right into the arms of their long-lost father. But he's not quite as they remember him . . . Of course, who would be after a tragic Porta Potti accident? Instead, he has become something frightening, something far too horrifying to explain.
No, no, we can't do it, you'll just have to buck up and read the book yourself. When things get creepy, you try to cover your eyes, but you peek through anyway, don't you? Well, then, you'll get what you deservea laugh attack you'll never recover from. Serves you right.
About the Author
DAN GREENBURG is the creator of the enormously popular Zack Files series of middle grade novels as well as the author of a number of bestselling adult books, the best-known of which is How to Be a Jewish Mother. He lives in New York.
SCOTT M. FISCHER has illustrated many book jackets and has also created art for Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. He lives in upstate New York.
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Secrets of Dripping Fang, Book TwoTreachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days
By Greenburg, Dan
Harcourt Children's BooksCopyright © 2006 Greenburg, Dan
All right reserved.
Hitching to Cincinnati with a Guy Named Verne
After the gloom of Dripping Fang Forest, the blue white light from the full moon was almost blinding. Cheyenne and Wally emerged from the trees and found themselves out on the highway. The sky in the east was only just beginning to lighten up at the edges. There was no traffic, but they could see a lone car approaching in the distance.
"You think it's safe to hitchhike?" Wally asked.
"Sure," said Cheyenne. "What could possibly happen to us hitchhiking?"
"I don't know," said Wally, "but in the past twenty-four hours, we were adopted by two ladies who turned out to be giant ants, we were attacked by a glowing ten-foot-long slug, we nearly had our throats torn out by man-eating wolves, and a really nice professor who invited us to tea turned out to have a wife who's an enormous eight-legged spider. And you're asking what could happen to us hitchhiking?"
Although Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin were twins, their outlooks on life were quite different. Cheyenne saw only the good side of life, Wally only the bad. Cheyenne saw a beach and thought hot sand and thundering surf. Wally saw a beach and thought sunstroke, riptides, and choking on salt water.
As the car approached, the twins stuck out their thumbs. They heard the high hum of the car's tires go down the scale as it slowed up, then heard the car yerp to a stop.
"Hi there!" called the driver, a man with a gray crew cut. "You kids like a lift?"
"Yes, if you're going toward Cincinnati," asked Wally.
"Sure am," said the driver. "Hop in."
Wally climbed inside. Cheyenne got in after him and slammed the door. The car took off again.
"Name's Verne," said the driver. "What they call you?"
"I'm Cheyenne, he's Wally," said Cheyenne.
"You kids look pretty young to be out so late, all alone on a deserted highway," said Verne. "Your mommy and daddy know you're out so late?"
"Our mommy and daddy are dead," said Wally.
"Oh, sorry to hear that," said Verne. "Who's been takin' care of you?"
"Hortense Jolly and two giant ants," said Wally.
"That's okay, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to," said Verne. "I was just makin' conversation. Me, I used to work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. I was a janitor in Hangar 18, where they did autopsies on the aliens they found in them UFO crashes."
"Really?" said Cheyenne. She stifled a sneeze.
"Yep. I swiped me a alien brain once as a souvenir. Put 'er in a jar of alcohol, figured she might be worth somethin' someday. Keep 'er in my trunk, if you wanna have a peek." He winked at them. "Whattaya say, wanna take a peek at 'er?"
"No thanks," said Wally. "We wouldn't want to slow you down."
"It wouldn't slow me down none," said Verne. "It wouldn't take no time at all. I could just pull over to the shoulder and pop the trunk."
"Maybe some other time," said Wally. "We're in kind of a hurry to get back to Cincinnati."
"Fair enough," said Verne, "fair enough. We'll do it some other time, then. You just tell me when."
Wally leaned close to Cheyenne and whispered in her ear: "This guy's a weirdo. First time he stops, we're making a run for it."
Cheyenne nodded. Approaching them, way in the distance, were the headlights of a very large truck. She dreamily watched them getting larger and larger.
"What type of music you kids like to listen to while we drive?" Verne asked.
"Oh, happy songs," said Cheyenne, blotting her runny nose.
"Happy songs, eh? Okay, let's see what we got here," said Verne.
He leaned across the twins, opened the glove compartment, and started to rummage through it.
"Maybe you should keep your eyes on the road, Verne," said Wally.
"Good advice, buddy," said Verne, still rummaging. "Darned good advice."
The truck, an eighteen-wheeler, hurtled toward them in the opposite lane. As Verne's car drifted over the double yellow line into its path, the truck driver flashed his brights and sounded his air horn. Verne kept on rummaging.
Just before the vehicles collided in an ugly mangle of metal, Wally grabbed the steering wheel and yanked it hard to the right. The truck swerved. The car rocked violently in the whoosh of air from the passing truck. Wally yanked the wheel back to the left before they hit the shoulder.
"Whoo-hoo!" yelled Verne. "Close one! The way these truckers drive, it's a wonder they give 'em licenses at all, eh, Wally?"
"Yeah," Wally gasped.
"Well, little lady," said Verne to Cheyenne, "all I could find is this here CD of Greatest Funeral Favorites, if that's okay with you."
"That's fine." Cheyenne gulped.
So they listened in silence to an hour of suffocatingly grim organ music from Greatest Funeral Favorites as they drove to Cincinnati while the sky turned pink in the east.
The first stoplight they hit was a five-way intersection that bordered the swamps at the city limits. Cheyenne and Wally leaped out of the car and ran for their lives.
Copyright 2006 by Dan Greenburg
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.
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should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.
Excerpted from Secrets of Dripping Fang, Book Two by Greenburg, Dan Copyright © 2006 by Greenburg, Dan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Hitching to Cincinnati with a Guy Named Verne
Enter the Zombie
Jolly Days, We're Here Again
Treachery, Betrayal, Double and Triple Crosses
Longing for the Patter of Tiny Feet Around the House. Hundreds of Tiny Feet Around the House.
The Return of the Giant Adopters
A Big Bad Bus Ride to Nowhere
How to Drown in Three Feet of Water
Death by Chocolate
At Least We Don't Have to Worry About Dagmar Anymore. Do We?
Things You'd Be Willing to Eat If You Were Starving to Death in the Swamps
What's an Eight-Letter Word Beginning with P, Meaning
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having barely escaped from the Onts (really two giant ants who wanted to kill them), Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin have no choice but to hitchhike their way back to Jolly Days Orphanage. After catching a ride with a truck driver who claims to keep a brain in his trunk, Wally and Cheyenne are happy to be back at Jolly Days but Hortense Jolly is less pleased to see them and rats them out to the Onts. Wally and Cheyenne are soon on the run again with the Onts hot on their trail. Wally and Cheyenne have to deal with getting lost in a swamp, quicksand, no food, police, and a giant spider. As if that wasn't enough, just why does that zombie look like their late father? Taking place right after "The Onts", the first book in Dan Greenburg's Secrets of Dripping Fang series, ended, "Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days" is great fun. There's a nice sense of humor throughout the book which is full of odd ball characters like Verne the brain touting truck driver; Hortense Jolly; the Onts; the Zombie; a bus driver who insists on exact change because it's the law; the orphans of Jolly Days; and Edgar Spydelle who just happens to be married to a giant spider. There are also some laugh out loud gross moments, mostly dealing with the zombie. While this is a children's book and therefore most of the humor is aimed at children, there are also some especially funny moments that adults will love: the full page ad for the Jolly Days Orphanage that is in the yellow pages; policemen named Beckett and Kafka; and a small diner with an amazing menu that includes filet mignon and coq au vin. The illustrations by Scott Fischer are also very funny and readers should look closely at them for hidden jokes. At 124 pages, the book is just the right length for young readers. "Treachery and Betrayal at Jolly Days" is jolly good fun.
i have read books 1-8 pretty quickly. if you want a quick read for when you are going on a trip, this would be the best. the characters are very detailed and the pics are great! i am 12 years old.