Time Dogs: Balto and the Race Against Time

Time Dogs: Balto and the Race Against Time


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An exciting new illustrated chapter book series for dog-loving readers!

When a pack of senior dogs find themselves transported back in time—and turned into puppies!—they must make their way back home, helping real-life historical dogs along the way.

In this first adventure, meet Baxter, Trevor, Newton, Titch, and Maia—the time dogs!—as they find themselves transported through time and space to 1925 Alaska. There, deep in the wilderness, the puppies must help Balto in his famous sled race to deliver medicine during a diphtheria outbreak.

Adorable illustrations and an action-packed story make this the perfect read for fans of Paw Patrol!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250186331
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Series: Time Dogs , #1
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 807,889
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 490L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 7 Years

About the Author

Helen Moss is the author of many best-loved books for children. She lives near Cambridge with her family—including a menagerie of dogs, hens, gerbils and lizards. When not writing, she can be found taking the dogs for long walks, climbing trees, playing badminton and, whenever possible, climbing up or skiing down mountains. She is the author of Adventure Island series and Secrets of the Tombs series.

Misa Saburi was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she illustrates children’s books, including Monster Trucks, written by Joy Keller, and Bearnard's Book, written by Deborah Underwood.

Read an Excerpt



I was snoozing on the porch when it all started. My friends Newton, Trevor, and Maia were there, too. Curled up in a patch of winter sunshine, we were dreaming dreams of our puppyhood days, long, long ago.

Snore. Snuffle. Snore.

Snore. Snuffle ... RUMBLE.

I pricked up one ear. The rumble grew louder. Was it my stomach telling me it was hungry? It usually is. I can't help it; I'm a Labrador retriever. But this particular rumble was coming from across the yard. An old van was backing out of the barn. When it stopped, two humans hopped down from the cab and walked back inside.

I wagged my tail. Everything normal. Just Lucy and her grandma moving a van.

Then the van changed into a tree.

That was not normal. My fur stood on end.

There are a lot of things I don't understand. But one thing I do know. Vans are vans. Trees are trees. They're not supposed to turn into each other. "Hey, Newt!" I hissed. "Wake up!" Newton is a border collie. That means he's mega-smart. He'd soon figure it out. He's also getting a little deaf. I leaned down and yelled in his ear. "NEW-TON!"

Newton jumped up with a start. "No need to shout."

I waved a paw at the tree. "Look!"

"A tree? Baxter! You woke me to look at a tree? I was having a great dream, too. I was rounding up a runaway sheep and ..." Newton tilted his head to one side. He always does that when he's thinking. "But now that you mention it, I don't remember a tree in that spot ..."

We had to investigate, of course. I stretched the creaks out of my back legs and picked up my tennis ball. Then we set off to give the tree a sniff. Metal. Rubber. Gasoline. Roads. Those were not tree smells. "Hmm," murmured Newton. "That is most suspicious."

Trevor ran to join us. Or rather, waddled. He's a Jack Russell terrier and shaped like a small barrel on legs. He nosed at the tree. "What's all this commotion about? Rat trouble, is it? I'll soon track 'em down."

There was a sudden soft pop and the tree turned back into a van.

A crow took off from a disappearing branch with a croak of surprise. It had started to snow, and a few fluffy snowflakes drifted down onto my pale gold fur. I wanted to run away, too. But I had a job to do. I may be getting old and slow, but the farm is still my territory. I have to investigate any Suspicious Goings-On. I'm the only one of us who lives at Happy Paws. Newton, Trevor, and Maia stay here when their humans are busy. And as for Titch — the big black dog who had just lumbered into the yard — she's a stray. She comes and goes as she pleases.

The back doors of the van were open. I peeped inside. It was fitted out like a little house, with a table, closets and shelves, a small refrigerator, and even a bed. But up front, near the steering wheel, was a shiny box covered with dials and flashing lights.

Beep! Beepety-beep! BEEEEP!

I yelped in fright. The tennis ball fell from my mouth, rolled across the floor, and disappeared under the driver's seat. I really did not want to go inside the van. Flashing lights and beeping noises are at the top of my Things I'm Most Scared Of list. But that was my favorite ball. I'd chewed it to the perfect level of fuzziness. I had to get it back!

I climbed into the van and padded to the front. Inside it smelled like thunderstorms.

I'm scared of thunderstorms, too. They make my fur go all prickly. I shook it out, scattering snowflakes over the shiny box. Suddenly the van lurched to one side. Quivering with fear, I crawled to the back doors and peered out.

The van — with me inside it — was slowly rising off the ground.



The van rose until it was hovering level with Newton's ears.

"Baxter," he shouted. "Jump down!"

But it was no good. My legs wouldn't move.

"Don't panic!" barked Trevor. "We'll rescue you." He leaped for the van doors. They were too high. He missed, bouncing off a tire. He tried again. And missed again. He took a run up and finally made it, with a push from Newton, who scrambled up after him. "Come on, Maia!" Trevor shouted. "Remember the pack motto: Never Leave a Dog Behind."

I peeked out through my paws. Since when did we have a pack motto?

Maia trotted across the yard and sprang into the van, her pink ribbons fluttering from her fluffy ears. She's a papillon, and an old lady now, but in her younger days, she won medals in agility competitions and talent shows, and she still likes to show off.

Titch turned away. "Enjoy the ride! I wouldn't get in that freaky flying machine if it was giving out free pretzels. Look After Number One. That's my motto."

There was a yell from the barn. "Baxter! Stay away from the van! It's not safe." I didn't understand all the human words, of course. But I could tell from Grandma's voice that I was in trouble.

"Uh-oh," groaned Titch. "I'm not hanging around to get the blame for this. Hold on to your fur, I'm coming aboard." With that, she hauled herself up into the van, clinging on with every tooth and claw — the ones she had left, that is. Titch had been in a lot of fights. She was missing most of her teeth, half an ear, and a whole back leg.

She made it just in time.

The doors slammed shut.

The van spun around and around.

Then we shot straight up into the sky.



Newton jumped into the driver's seat and placed his front paws on the steering wheel. I climbed up next to him. I wasn't so scared now that I had my friends with me. And I was seriously impressed. "Wow, Newt! I didn't know dogs could drive."

"I'm not driving. The van is driving itself. Or rather, flying itself." Newton's ears were tucked down flat with worry. "This is no ordinary van."

Titch shoved her head between the seats. "I think we'd all figured that one out, Brainbox!"

Newton didn't hear her. "It must be an invention," he said.

I'd never really understood what inventions were. But I knew that my girl, Lucy, and her grandma spent a lot of time making them in the barn. It's the only place on the farm I'm not allowed to go.

Newton wrinkled his nose. "It has a very suspicious smell."

I sniffed. Rotting hamburger, pigeon poop, pond slime. But that was just Titch. She always smelled that way. Newton tapped his paw on the shiny box. "I reckon this is a control panel of some kind."

I pretended I knew what a control panel was and gazed out the window. Swarms of tiny sparkles rushed past in the darkness. It was nighttime already. "How did that happen?" I wondered out loud. "We haven't even had dinner yet."

"Dinner?" said Titch. "Now you're talking, buddy. Where are the snacks in this machine?" She charged at the door of the small refrigerator. Clang! Titch glared at the door, which now had a head-shaped dent in the middle. "Why do humans make these things so hard to open?" She flopped down under the table. "I'm taking a nap. Wake me when we get to Miami."

"Miami?" I asked.

"Yup! That's where I ended up last time I hitched a ride. I was on the run from the dog pound. Hid in the back of a taco truck ..."

My stomach rumbled for real this time. "Will there be tacos in Miami?"

"Tacos, burgers, pizzas ..." Titch drooled as she spoke. "You name it. I know all the best trash cans in the city. Then we'll go to the beach for ice cream."

"Would you two pleeeease quit talking about food?" wailed Maia. "I don't feel so good." She was curled up on the little bed, her puffball ears flopped over her face. "I need my travel sickness pills. And I have to get home. I'm going to a pamper party with Ayesha tonight."

Ayesha is Maia's human lady. My tail didn't know whether to wag or droop. Miami sounded fun. But I needed to get home, too. Who was going to play Frisbee with Lucy if I wasn't there?

"I don't have time to go gallivanting off to Miami!" grumbled Trevor from under the bed, where he was checking for rats. "Old Jim lives on his own. I have to fetch his newspaper and take him for a walk ..."

All of a sudden, the van began to shake and bounce. Pots and tools crashed from the shelves. Drawers popped open. Clothes and boots flew out. "Take cover!" Trevor yelled. "We're under attack!"

There was a boom and a snap of metal. The doors rattled. A crack shot across the windshield.

"Newt!" I shouted. "Do something!"

"I'm trying!" Newton jabbed at the buttons on the shiny box. The lights flashed like crazy. "Nothing's working!"



I closed my eyes tight and clung on to Newton.

But then, as suddenly as it had started, everything stopped. Bouncing, booming, snapping, rattling, cracking. It all just stopped.

There was a moment of silence. Then we were falling. Fast ... faster ... faster still. Straight down like the swoop of a hawk.

We landed at last with a gentle thud.

I opened my eyes and looked around. The van was still in one piece. The lights on the control panel had settled into a strange pattern:


Titch yawned and scratched fleas from her ear. "Taco time!" she cried, charging for the back doors. I flinched, waiting for the clang of her head on the metal. At the last moment, Maia flipped up onto her back legs and pressed the handle on the nearest door with her paw. Both doors flew open.

She gave a bow. "I won Pets Got Talent with that trick."

Titch sailed through the doors and belly flopped into a large snowdrift. Looking out, I saw a vast wilderness of white and gray. The sky swirled with snow. Strange, I thought. Titch said Miami was a city. Where were the buildings? Where were the cars and people?

Titch didn't care. She was wriggling on her back, making lopsided snow angels. I couldn't wait to join the fun! Grabbing my tennis ball from under the driver's seat, I leaped out into the snow. Trevor, Maia, and Newton were right behind me.

The terrifying journey was forgotten! We rolled in the snow and slid down snowy banks. We dove into drifts. We chased one another and caught snowflakes on our tongues. My legs usually felt stiff and creaky in cold weather. But today they were full of bounce.

We played so long we didn't notice darkness fall. There was a storm coming in, too. An icy wind was now hurling the snow into our eyes and ears. I shivered. Our road trip to Miami had been a great adventure. But I was ready to go home now; home to Lucy, dinner, and my warm, cozy basket.

That's when I heard it. Far off in the wilderness, other dogs were calling. Their howls wove through the whistling of the wind. I knew my manners. I threw back my head and howled in reply. "Hellooooo! My name's Baxter ..."

I didn't think Newton would hear the distant calls, but his ears had pricked up, too. "Greeeeeeetings!" he called. "Is this your territory?"

We all listened for a response. The calls grew louder. But they were like nothing I'd ever heard before.

"By jiminy!" said Trevor. "That's not dogs, that's wolves!"



"Wolves?" I gulped.

I'd never met a wolf before. I wasn't sure I wanted to. Their calls were wild and fierce. In fact, wolves had just shot straight to the top of my Things I'm Most Scared Of list.

The wolves' calls were closer now. There was another noise, too. I could hear it through my paws as well as my ears. Creak! Crackle! Creeeeeak! The ground beneath me was trembling even more than I was. "N-N-Newt," I stammered. "What's that?"

"It's ice cracking." Newton's eyes were wide with fear. "There must be a frozen river under all this snow. We have to go back to the van and get out of here. If the ice gives way, we'll be ..."

"Fish food!" barked Titch. She turned and ran — surprisingly fast for a dog with three legs. But she didn't get far before she was swept up in a blur of shaggy fur and thundering paws. The wolves exploded out of the snow-pebbled, wind-raked night. Yelping, panting, and then the snapping of straps, the swishing of wood on snow. The wolves were pulling a sled behind them! They hurtled past, leaving nothing but a trail of churned-up snow — and Titch, spinning slowly on her side.

The ice rumbled and shook. It was beginning to split apart. I ran and pulled Titch back from the edge. Just in time. The crack raced across the ice like a zigzag of lightning, growing wider and wider as it gathered speed, exposing the cruel black water of the river beneath. And the wolves were speeding straight at it. "Watch out!" I yelled.

The wolves veered away, leaning hard into the turn. Behind them the sled slewed from side to side. They were almost out of danger when — crash! — a slab of ice started to give way under the sled. The wolves kept pulling, but the sled was slipping back, slowly, slowly, toward the edge of the crack in the ice. Yipping in fear, the wolves reared up, as the weight of the sled began to pull them with it.

"We've got to help them!" Trevor barked. "They'll drown if the sled drags them into the water."

"We?" Titch snorted. "No way! I'm not risking my neck for that bunch of road hogs!"

But Trevor, Maia, and Newton were already sprinting toward the wolves.

I hesitated for a moment. I was scared of wolves. I was scared of breaking ice. Together they were the stuff of nightmares. But then I remembered Trevor's pack motto. Never Leave a Dog Behind.

My friends had jumped into the van to rescue me.

Now it was my turn. I had to help them rescue the wolves.



The wolves were dangerously close to falling into the river. Thrashing on the crumbling ice, they had tangled themselves in their straps like flies in a spiderweb.

We clamped our teeth around anything we could — fur, harnesses, straps — and dragged them up onto more solid ground. Then, all working together, we began to haul the sled away from the ever-widening crack in the ice. That's when I noticed; there was a human on the sled, a man dressed all in furs. Suddenly he lunged forward, trying to stop something falling off.

Too late! A wooden crate tumbled out from under a pile of blankets, slid across the ice, and dropped into the water with a splash. The man opened his mouth and howled. "No! The serum!"

I didn't know what serum was. But I could hear the panic in his voice. The crate was sinking fast. Already just one corner poked up from the water. Ripples fanned out across the surface.

In the flick of a whisker it would be gone forever.

I launched myself off the edge of the ice. I'm a Labrador. Fetching things is what I do. Leaping into water is my specialty. It was only when I was in midair that the fear kicked in. I looked down at the surface — black and glossy as a crow's wing. This was not the sunlit pond back on Happy Paws Farm. What horrors might lurk in the frozen depths?

Giant catfish? Sea snakes? Slimy things with ... tentacles?

But there was no turning back.

I slammed into the water. The cold squeezed the breath out of my lungs.

Titch's words rang in my ears. Fish food.

That's what I was going to be any moment now.



The water pulled me down deeper and deeper.

I fought against it, paddling for my life.

At last I burst through the surface. Gulping and panting, I swam in frantic circles, searching for the crate. I spotted the corner just as it sank. I tried to grab hold of it. Disaster! The crate was too big. I couldn't fit my teeth around it.

Something was tangling around my legs. Was it a snake? Or a slimy tentacle? I twisted around and tried to bite it. I was so numb with cold that I bit my own leg by mistake. I spat out a mouthful of fur and tried again. This time I got it. With a wave of relief, I realized it wasn't a tentacle. It was a rope. A rope attached to the crate. I was back in the game! With the rope gripped firmly in my jaws, I swam for the edge.

Shards of ice bumped against my nose. The crate kept dragging on the rope. It was like a game of tug-of-war — and the crate was winning! I couldn't swim any more. My legs were too heavy. I'm not going to make it. But then I heard my friends. "Go on, Baxter!" they barked. "You can do it!"

I found one last scrap of strength and paddled like crazy. My claws scraped against solid ice. Newton pulled me out of the water. Trevor and Maia took the rope from my mouth and hauled the crate ashore.

I fell down onto the snow. Newton licked my fur to warm me. "Looks like a bite," he said, sniffing at a patch of blood. "Did something attack you?" I pretended I didn't hear. I wasn't going to admit that I'd almost bitten my own leg off. I looked around. The wolves and the sled were all safely out of the water.

Suddenly the man from the sled was crouching beside me. "Goodboy!" he murmured. That's one of the human words I do know. Lucy says it when she's happy with me. I licked the man's face to tell him I was glad to help. He patted me and ruffled my ears. Then he picked up the crate and took it back to the sled.

Titch lumbered over to see how I was doing, slipped, and crash-landed on top of me. It was like being sat on by a horse. A horse that stinks of pigeon poop and has a bad case of fleas. She dropped something from her mouth. "I found this in the van. Put it on. You'll look like a prize goofball, but it'll keep you warm."


Excerpted from "Time Dogs Balto and the Race Against Time"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Helen Moss.
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
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

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
1. Suspicious Goings-On,
2. Remember the Pack Motto,
3. No Ordinary Van,
4. Calls on the Wind,
5. Watch Out!,
6. No Turning Back,
7. You Can do it!,
8. A Long Way from Home,
9. Bad News,
10. Worse Than a Bear,
11. Don't Panic!,
12. Tougher and Rougher,
13. So Alone,
14. A Spot of Trouble,
15. A Delicate Operation,
16. Pull Together,
17. Mission Accomplished,
18. Long Goodbyes,
19. No Time for Feelings,
20. On the Road Again,
21. Good to be Home,
Author's Note,
About the Authors,

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