ADIRONDACK KIDS® #1 Through #14

Click on the following links to jump and read Chapter #1 of that Adirondack Kids® Book.

Adirondack Kids® #1
First Book, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #2
Rescue On Bald Mountain, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #3
The Lost Lighthouse, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #4
The Great Train Robbery, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #5
Islands in the Sky, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #6
Secret of the Skeleton Key, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #7
Mystery of the Missing Moose, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #8
Escape from Black Bear Mountain, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #9
Legend of the Lake Monster, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #10
The Final Daze of Summer, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #11
The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #12
The Pond Hockey Challenge, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #13
The Carousel Case, The Bicycle Race &
The Blackfly Bad Guy
, Chapter #1

Adirondack Kids® #14
Journey into the Land of MAKEBELIEVE, Chapter #1

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary VanriperThe Adirondack Kids® #1
86 pages
map and illustrations
Ages 7-12
Click here to order

"The plane was just lifting off the lake, but in a direct path with the slow and awkward moving mailboat... all three Adirondack kids hit the deck."

Justin is ten years old and likes computers, hockey and peanut butter cups. But his passion is animals. When an uncommon pair of Common Loons takes up residence on Fourth Lake near the family camp, he will do anything he can to protect them.

The Adirondack Kids #1 introduces the brand new middle reader chapter book series.

Chapter titles include "Bearly" to Camp; Best Friends; Pioneer Village; Buried Treasure; Self Sacrifice; Moss Lake; On the Wild's Side; Loons on Fourth Lake; Shhhh!; Captain Conall McBride; The Arcade; A Close Call; Dax Attack; Grounded; A Grand Finale and Epilogue.

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Chapter #1 - "Bearly" To Camp

Justin Robert sat in the back seat of the jeep staring down at his sneakers resting firmly on the carpet. It had just occurred to him that this was the first summer he could sit up normally and make both of his feet touch the floor.

"Here you go, Son," said Mr. Robert. "Soft chocolate with chocolate sprinkles, right?"

It was a Robert family tradition. Stop for ice cream at the Pied Piper in Old Forge before traveling the last few miles to camp.

"Thanks, Dad." He took the cone and shifted uneasily in his seat. "Can we get going now?"

"What's the big hurry?" asked Mrs. Robert.

"I don't know," Justin said. But he did know. He hadn't seen his best friends for months. Eight to be exact. And while they had talked on the phone a few times, it wasn't the same thing as hanging out together.

They were interrupted by a cry from someone waiting in line at the Piper for a burger. Everyone standing in the parking lot turned first to the lady making the commotion and then followed her finger pointing to the highway. People began scurrying for their cars like a crowd caught by surprise in a sudden downpour of rain. Justin scrambled to his knees and turned to peer out the rear window of the jeep. He pulled the brim of his bucket hat away from his eyes for a better look.

A long line of traffic in both lanes was at a full stop as a huge black bear lumbered leisurely down the middle of the road.

"He acts like he owns the place," Justin said. "Let's get out and see him." He reached for the door handle.

"Sit right where you are, young man," Mrs. Robert said. His mom always said young man when she expected unquestioned obedience. "We will wait right here until he passes by."

"That's right," said Mr. Robert. "Bears may look harmless, but they are still wild animals and need to be treated with respect."

"I think he's coming this way," Justin said, his eyes widening. He was right. The bear had stopped, turned and was walking in a direct path toward the Robert's jeep.

adirondack kids,adirondack kids,adirondack kids...a huge black bear lumbered leisurely
down the middle of the road...

"Roll up the windows, now," said Mr. Robert, firmly.

All three hundred and fifty pounds of black bear moved forward on four stocky legs with a purpose. The huge creature was preoccupied with a tall cylindrical can containing discarded portions of burgers and fries that stood near the front of the jeep.

Justin's heart started pounding. He liked com-puters, biking and peanut butter cups. But his passion was animals.

"Awesome," he whispered as the bear's body brushed against his window. Then it stood up directly in front of the Robert's vehicle to attack the container. Only its wide black back showed through the windshield, and for a moment it appeared as if it might sit right down using the jeep's hood as a seat.

The can tipped over with a sharp clang spilling its contents out onto the pavement. The top fell spinning and rolled away. The bear began pawing through the small pile of debris.

"Many of the local bears are used to finding a meal in garbage," Mr. Robert explained. "Since the dumps closed they are even wandering into campsites and..."

"Oh my!" Mrs. Robert exclaimed.

Justin and his dad began to laugh as she held up an empty cone in a fist colored strawberry pink with rainbow sprinkles.

"Don't laugh at me," she said. "Look at yourselves." Each of them had a hand covered with their favorite dessert. They all laughed out loud.

None of them noticed the bear slowly drift away as they shared napkins in an attempt to clean up.

Traffic returned to normal and hungry tourists began to line up at the Pied Piper's take-out window again.

"Are we ready to head for camp?" Mr. Robert asked.

"Absolutely," answered Justin, excitedly.

Summer vacation had hardly begun and he already had an adventure to share with his friends.

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary VanriperThe Adirondack Kids® #2
Rescue On Bald Mountain
77 pages, Illustrated
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Rescue On Bald Mountain

Justin Robert and Jackie Salsberry are on a special mission. It is Fourth of July weekend in the Adirondacks and time for the annual Fourth of July ping-pong ball drop at Inlet. Their best friend, Nick Barnes, has won the opportunity to release the balls from a seaplane, but there is just one problem. He is afraid of heights. With a single day remaining before the big event, Justin and Jackie decide there is only one way to help Nick overcome his fear. Climb Bald Mountain.

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Chapter #1 - The Quest

Justin Robert was clinging to the hand of his friend with all his might. "I'm falling!" yelled Nick. "Don't let me go!"

Justin was panting and speaking out between uneven breaths. "I'm trying to hold you - you're slipping - I can't help it," he said. "Get a hold - use your feet." "I can't," cried Nick. He sounded desperate. "My sneaks aren't touching anything." His sweaty fingers suddenly slipped through Justin's grasp.

Nick and Justin locked eyes as Nick lurched backwards and fell helplessly away from the rock face through the air - all two and a half feet to the ground below. He groaned and stood up, brushing pine needles off the back of his shorts and shirt.

adirondack kids,adirondack kids book,adirondack books

"That was pathetic," said Jackie. She stood at the base of the small boulder with her hands on her hips. "You two wouldn't last five minutes climbing a high peak."

Justin glared down at her. "We're not trying to climb a high peak," he said. "Just this one big old rock." He scooped up his green bucket hat and jumped down to join them. Nick Barnes and Jackie Salsberry were Justin's best friends. They spent every summer together on Fourth Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. It was Fourth of July weekend and the three Adirondack kids were on a special mission.

"We have one more day to help Nick get over his fear of heights," said Jackie. Nick hung his head and moaned. "I wish I'd never won that plane ride," he said. "Well, I'm glad you did," said Justin. Nick could pick two people to join him in the flight. Rather than his mom and dad, he chose Justin and Jackie. "It's going to be so cool, looking down on Fern Park and watching a thousand ping-pong balls drop all over the field."

Nick frowned. "Stop talking about looking down," he said. "All the kids will just look like teeny tiny ants, anyway. We won't even see the balls hit the ground."

Justin knew his friend was scared, but he couldn't stop himself from rubbing it in. "I heard the pilot has to fly upside down," he said. "That way all the balls can pour out of the window."

"Cut it out, Justin," said Nick. "I mean it, or you're not invited, and the only ping-pong balls you'll see are the ones popping you on the head." "So what," said Justin. "Then I'll just turn them in at the prize stand and win a bunch of neat stuff while you're a billion miles up in the air turning green."

It was the closest the two friends had come to having their first major summer fight. Jackie saw the blow-out coming, and interrupted them. "I'm telling you, the best way for Nick to overcome his fear of heights is to climb Bald Mountain," she said. "It's not too hard and the views are fantastic." She looked straight at Nick. "And it's safe."

Jackie had climbed Bald Mountain several times. Justin had once. But Nick had always avoided it. In fact, he had bunk beds in his room and had never used the top bunk.

"I don't know..." Nick said.

"That's a maybe, and maybe is yes," said Jackie. "It's settled then. We'll pack tonight and climb in the morning." Nick moaned.

"Now what's wrong?" asked Justin. "You're not going to chicken out, are you?" With arms bent at the elbows, he moved them back and forth like flapping wings and bobbed his head up and down. "Bawwwk- bawk-bawk-bawk."

"No," said Nick, defensively. "I'll do it." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a candy bar with chocolate oozing from each end of the package. "Smushed," he said.

Justin still couldn't help it. "Just think," he said, and grinned. "Tomorrow, that could be you.

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #3
The Lost Lighthouse
82 pages, Illustrated
Ages 7-12
Click here to order
The Lost Lighthouse

Justin Robert, Jackie Salsberry and Nick Barnes are fishing under sunny skies when a sudden and violent storm chases them off Fourth Lake and into an unfamiliar forest - a forest that has harbored a secret for more than 100 years!

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Chapter #1 - The Storm

"Get the worm yourself," Justin Robert said. "I'm trying to draw."

Nick Barnes sat in the middle seat of the putt-putt and leaned forward to plunge his fingers into the white pint-sized container filled with fat, moist night crawlers. The small aluminum boat rocked as he moved.

"Cut it out, Nick," said Justin, and frowned. He turned his #2 pencil upside down and began erasing vigorously. "You made me mess up again."

A deep sigh came from the back of the boat. "Was I wrong?" Didn't we come here to catch the biggest fish in the Fulton Chain?"

It was Jackie Salsberry, the only native Adirondack kid among the three best friends who spent every summer together on Fourth Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. They had been fishing for hours well off the west end of Algier Island. It was the coolest place to be during the extended hot and humid weather. She cast her line out toward the south shoreline.

"Yes," said Nick, happy to have Jackie on his side for a change. "I am going to catch the biggest fish in these waters and win the Adirondack Kids Fishing Derby this year, or my name isn't Captain Ahab!" He worked the wriggling worm onto his hook and threw his own line into deeper water out and away from Algier Island.

"Well, your name is not Captain Ahab," said Justin. "And you'll be lucky if you catch a cold."

Jackie pointed into the direction Nick had cast his line. "I thought you didn't use bobbers," she said.

"I usually don't," said Nick.

"That's not a bobber," said Justin, and laughed. "That's another one of those ping-pong balls Nick dropped into the lake last weekend. Look, there's another one - and another one."

Nick had won the chance to fly in the seaplane over Fern Park in Inlet for the annual ping-pong ball drop on the fourth of July. But he pulled the release lever too soon after take-off, and hundreds of colorful balls cascaded from the bottom of the plane and into Fourth Lake.

"We'll fish them out of the lake before we leave this spot," said Jackie.

Nick hung his head. "How many does that make today?" he asked, glumly.

"Fourteen," said Justin, and changed the subject. "Hey, how does this look?" he asked, and smiled. The budding artist held his small sketch book open for Nick and Jackie to glance back at over their shoulders.

"It looks really great," said Nick. "Um, what exactly is it?"

Justin's smile disappeared. "It's Dax on the bow of the boat," he said, and pointed firmly with his pencil. "See, there's her head and legs and tail. And there's the Shoal Point Lighthouse in the background, right there."

"It really is pretty good," said Jackie. "Especially for just beginning."

Justin's calico cat jumped from the bow of the boat and landed right next to the minnow bucket. She peered into the pail and slowly lifted her paw.

"Don't even think about it, Dax," said Justin, and scooped her up and away from the bait. He noticed Jackie was squinting - staring hard, well beyond her bobber, toward the southern shoreline. She looked concerned. "What are you looking at?" he asked.

Jackie began reeling in her line quickly. "The Red Admirals are dancing," she said. "We had better get going right now."

Nick scanned the shoreline. "I don't hear any music. And I definitely don't see anyone dancing.

Jackie barked out a command. There was urgency in her voice. "Pull up the anchor, Justin," she said, as she reeled in the last of her line and dropped the pole into the boat. With a jerk of the engine cord, she had the small outboard motor running. "Red Admirals are butterflies," she said. "They dance in the air together at dusk, or when..." She was interrupted by a sudden boom of thunder. "...or when it's going to storm."

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #4
The Great Train Robbery
82 pages, Illustrated
Ages 7-12
Click here to order
The Great Train Robbery

Its all aboard the train at the North Creek station and word is out there are outlaws in the region. Will the train be robbed? Justin Robert and Jackie Salsberry are excited. Nick Barnes is bored. But he won't be for long.

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Chapter #1 - "All Aboard!"

"What's the big surprise?" Justin Robert asked his cousin, Zack. "You have to tell me before the train leaves." He looked toward the North Creek Depot Museum. People were moving quickly out from under the porch's gable roof into the hot summer sun. "Come on Nick. Come on Jackie." Neither of them were among the many passengers making their way along the station's long wood plank platform with tickets in hand. Justin took a deep breath and sighed. "They're going to miss the surprise and the robbery."

Zack wasn't really listening. He was staring at Justin's strange-looking watch. "How can you even tell what time it is without any numbers on that thing?" he asked.

Justin looked down at his timepiece. The large pocket watch his grandfather had just given him nearly filled the palm of his hand. It was a family treasure. Shaped like a miniature flying saucer, the gold casing cover was smooth on the bottom, and on top featured a raised engraving of a white-tailed deer, jumping over a log in the forest. "It's easy to tell what time it is," he said, and pushed a small latch. The watch yawned open like a clam shell.

"Awesome," said Zack. "So, what time is it?"

"It's almost one o'clock," said Justin, and hesitated, "I think."

The black numbers on the white watch face were Roman Numerals. They were exactly like the numbers on the giant clock at the top of the town hall back in Justin's home town. The big hand was almost on the twelve which looked like a large X followed by two capital I's. The little hand pointed toward a line that looked like a single capital I.

It wasn't easy to figure out the numbers at first and took some getting used to, but he loved it. The antique time piece was the first really important thing his grandfather had ever given to him.

"Take good care of this watch," his grandfather had told him just before he left camp at Eagle Bay to visit his cousin, Zachary Casey, in North Creek. "Someday you may give it to your grandson."

It wasn't cool like Jackie's sports watch that glowed in the dark and had more than a dozen colored buttons on it. It was cool in a different way. It was handsome. And heavy. And it felt like he really had something impressive in his hand.

Adirondack Kids,adirondack kids,ADIRONDACK KIDS"All Aboard!" The conductor bellowed out the command.

Dozens of summer tourists began forming orderly lines along the platform, ready for their turn to climb up one of the short ramps provided at each end of the train.

Justin noticed the conductor pull out a pocket watch on a chain similar to his own. His is silver, mine is gold, he thought. It gave him a good excuse to proudly pop open his watch again. The big hand was now directly on the XII and the small hand on the I. "It's exactly one o'clock," he said. "Right on time." He snapped the lid closed and put the watch with its long gold chain back into his pocket.

-and-gray machine accented with yellow stripes and rails bore the words UPPER HUDSON RIVER on its side. Five long passenger coaches, each painted forest green and Johnsburg brown, sat in line coupled to the engine. At the rear was an open air caboose that looked more like a deck encompassed by a simple wood railing.

Justin noticed an engineer in white-and-blue pin-striped overalls start up the steps of the steep ladder to take his place high above in the locomotive's cab. He looked again for some sign of his friends. "Where are they?" he said aloud in frustration.

A familiar voice called out from somewhere behind him. "Hey Justin, are you guys coming or not?" It was Nick Barnes, one of his two best friends in the whole world, already in line holding a fresh bag of popcorn and about to board the train. Jackie Salsberry, his other best friend, was right next to him, smiling.

"What took you so long?" asked Justin, as he and Zack ran over to join them.

"It wathn't me, it wath her," Nick mumbled, his mouth full of popcorn. He swallowed and pointed at Jackie. "She was reading all the stuff in the museum about how a United States President shot 26 buffalo right here in North Creek, New York."

Jackie's smile disappeared and she nodded in dismay. "Weren't you paying attention at all? I said ‘President McKinley was shot in Buffalo, New York. He died, and Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President right here in North Creek'. You'll see during the reenactment on Sunday."

Nick shrugged his shoulders and hopped up into the train. He stopped abruptly at the top step and looked back over his shoulder at his friends. "So - where is the big surprise?"

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #5
Islands in the Sky
78 pages, Illustrated
Ages 7-12
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Islands in the Sky

Justin Robert, Jackie Salberry and Nock Barnes can't wait. They are planning to climb their first high peak - Algonquin. Will they make it? Join The Adirondack Kids® as they learn to expect the unexpected while hiking on the trail in the spectacular Adirondack wilderness.

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Chapter #1 - "Happy Trails"

Justin Robert took his time signing the register at the Heart Laker trailhead. The end of his tongue stuck out and curled around the corner of his mouth. He was concentrating. It would be important to write down all the information in the book clearly and correctly in case he and his hiking companions were lost or needed help.

"Hurry up," said his friend, Nick Barnes. "My pack is killing me."

Justin ignored him and kept on writing. There were 4 people in their group and they would be on the trail for 3 days. He jotted the numbers in the designated boxes on the page.

"That's it, I'm taking this thing off," said Nick. He unstrapped his green backpack that contained a food canister, dropped it to the ground, and sat on it. "Let us know when the story you're writing is all done."

Jackie Salsberry pulled her blonde hair back into a ponytail as she reviewed all the information pinned up on the inside walls of the small kiosk that housed the register. There were maps and posters and camping instructions with stern warnings. Most of the information she already knew. But she still read everything, even what was written in her favorite second language - French. "Hiking in the Adirondack high peaks is really serious business," she said, and turned to face her two summer best friends.

Nick seemed totally uninterested and remained sulking and sitting on his pack. Jackie shook her head. "If you knew how to carry that thing, you wouldn't even know you had it on," she said.

Nick cocked his head and smiled with a closed-mouth grin that said, 'Not funny.'

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary VanriperJustin has stopped writing and stared at the next question in the register, He was stuck. Destination? He and his friends had been planning this trip for two weeks. He just hoped he could spell it right. Algonquin, he wrote, and then hopped off a second food canister he had used as a stool to reach the book. "Finished!" he announced.

"Good timing," said Jackie. "Here comes your grandfather."

Grandpa Robert was moving from the Information Center across the busy parking area to join them. His long, sturdy strides took him quickly past open-backed vans and SUVs parked along the outer edges of the lot. Hikers of all ages and sizes were yanking out their gear - some sitting to pull on wool socks and waterproof boots. As tall as he was, the morning sun reaching over the trees caught only the top of his backpack that seemed to tower above his graying head. "All set?" he asked.

"Aren't you going to check the trail register and make sure I filled it out all right?" asked Justin.

"I am sure you did fine," said his grandfather.

That was one of the things Justin liked the best about his grandfather. He always seemed to treat him, even at ten years old, more like a grown-up. But that also made him feel a certain pressure to want to do things right and never disappoint him.

"Excuse me." A small band of hikers emerged from the woods. The leader stepped into the open kiosk to sign his group out on the trail register. He looked upset.

"Where is your pack?" Jackie asked.

"That's something we wanted to tell you and anyone else hiking this weekend," said the young man. He took off his wide-brimmed hat and ran a bandanna through his sweaty sandy-colored hair. "Be careful out there. A pushy bear cut our trip short. A very bold one. We used a canister to protect our food, but he caught us off guard - raided us right at dinnertime and got everything - tore my pack to ribbons."

He picked up the pencil and flipped back through several pages of the register to find his group. "There we are," he said, and made a check mark to sign out. "We're going to report the bear incident right now." Then he ran to catch up with his buddies who were already halfway across the parking lot.

Nick stood up, stared down at his pack and pointed at it. "There is no way I am carrying this canister," he said. "Why am I the one stuck carrying all the food?"

Jackie corrected him. "First of all, you are not the only one carrying food," she said. "And second, you are the one who insisted on carrying as much food as you could."

Nick frowned. "That was before I knew that giant bears were out attacking everybody."

"Well, Justin is carrying a canister and it doesn't bother him," Jackie said. She helped him strap the black container onto the back of his pack. "Right, Justin?"

"Um, right," said Justin. He managed a weak smile. Then it occurred to him someone was missing. "Hey, where's grandpa?"

The mouth of the trail was still in deep shadow. They all looked just in time to see the back of Grandpa Robert suddenly disappear into the dark woods.

"Let's go," said Justin. Boots pounding and backpacks jiggling, he and Jackie hurried to follow him.

Nick struggled to pull his pack back on as he stumbled off after them. "Hey, wait up," he said, and briefly knelt to adjust one of his socks. "Bears don't eat people, do they?" He stood and ran to catch up. "I'm walking in the middle! The bears will get you before they get me!" And in a moment, the woods had swallowed him up, too.

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #6
Secret of the Skeleton Key
71 pages, Illustrated
Ages 7-12
Click here to order
Secret of the Skeleton Key

While preparing their pirate ship for the Anything That Floats Race, Justin and Nick discover an antique bottle riding the waves. Inside the bottle is a key that leads The Adirondack Kids® to unlock an old camp mystery.

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Chapter #1 - "The New Kid"

"Man overboard!" yelled Justin Robert, as his sailboat collided with another small, wooden craft on the silver surface of Fourth Lake. A sudden breeze had caused his boat to turn sideways without warning in the early morning fog and plow into the side of a helpless vessel moving alongside his own. He threw off his purple bucket hat and plunged headlong into the still, dark water.

"No fair!" cried his friend and neighbor, Nick Barnes, who reached over the end of the dock and plucked his capsized and wounded boat from the contest. He pointed his bruised vessel at Justin who was still in the water retrieving his own small boat. "You snapped my mast and now the sail is all messed up. If you're going to cheat, then I am not playing."

Jackie Salsberry sighed. The Adirondack summer was more than halfway over, and the boys were still acting like...boys. "Will you two stop fighting?" she said, and pointed out along the shoreline. "See? My boat has already made it to the other dock."

It was true. Between patches of fog they could see her small craft had indeed reached the far-away finish line they had all agreed upon. "I win - again," she said. "Just like I am going to do in the real race on Saturday."

Justin rescued his own boat from the water and climbed the short ladder to join them back on the dock. He stood facing Jackie, his other lifetime summer friend, and cradled the small craft still dripping wet in the palm of his extended hand. He didn't understand how she could even win a race with hardly any wind, but he couldn't let her comments go unchallenged. "Sailing one of these little boats we made at the Blue Mountain Museum will be a lot different from what we'll be sailing this weekend in the Anything That Floats Race," he said.

"I don't doubt that," Jackie shot back. "The boat you and Nick plan to sail this weekend won't just tip over, it will sink for sure."

"How do you know?" said Nick. "You haven't even seen our boat yet. And besides, just because you've won a few races doesn't mean you know everything about sailing."

Jackie shook her head. "I heard all about the wreck that you have hiding in the woods that your uncle towed to your camp last week, " she said. "Work on it all you want." She shrugged and spoke with unnerving confidence. "It doesn't matter what you'll be racing in anyway. I have 75 square feet of sail that will carry my 120 pounds of hull ahead of you so fast, that when I look back, your boat will seem like it's anchored. It really won't matter if you sink or not."

Justin didn't quite understand all Jackie had just said about her sail and hull and the square feet and the 120 pounds, but he did know one thing for sure. She fully expected to win. And she had the trophies at her family's Fourth Lake island camp to back her up. Three victories in three years in real sailboat races - even against adults. He glanced past her shoulder and changed the subject. "Hey look," he said. "It's that new kid."

The new kid was little more than four foot four, and was all tan. A slight breeze was picking up as the fog slowly burned off the lake. It tossed his sandy-colored hair which was bleached nearly white by the hot August sun. Sounds were exaggerated on the quiet lake this time of day, and it was surprising motor boats with skiers weren't already out to take advantage of the flat water.

The boy stood in his swim trunks on the dock across from them waving Jackie's small boat back and forth high up over his head. "Want me to bring it to you?" his voice echoed out to them.

"Do you think someone finally bought the huge camp and boathouse?" said JaJckie.

"Hope he didn't mind we used his dock for our finish line," said Nick.

"What do you think, you guys?" asked Justin. "Should we invite him to Pioneer Village?"

"It's fine with me," said Jackie. "What do you think, Nick? You're still the mayor."

Nick struck a pose to give the impression he was in deep thought.

Justin shrugged. "Go ahead and take your time," he said. He picked up his bucket hat and waved it to the new kid, motioning for him to meet them among the thick pine trees along the shore which sheltered their secret village. He and Jackie raced the length of the long plank dock and veered off toward the woods.

"Why did you even bother to ask me?" yelled Nick. His sneakers pounded the dock as he ran after them. "I am the leader. I didn't vote yet. You can't rush the leader ..."

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #7
Mystery of the Missing Moose
77 pages, Illustrated
Click here to order
Mystery of the Missing Moose

Justin Robert has the camera. Nick Barnes has the binoculars. And Jackie Salsberry has the common sense! One animal adventure leads to another as the Adirondack kids search Eagle Bay for a missing moose, and are led into a series of unexpected wildlife encounters all along the way.

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Chapter #1 - "Stir Crazy"

"You're bored?" Justin Robert's mother did not want to hear it! "Find something to do," she said. "Work on the puzzle. Ride your bike. Go fishing." She handed him a copy of the Weekly Adirondack newspaper. "It's Friday. Maybe there is a new movie playing."

Justin held the newspaper in his hands and sighed while his mom returned to her work on the camp computer.

It had been a great summer - one of the most exciting ever. But how could she blame him for being bored? It was the middle of August and he had already caught the same six sunfish and three rock bass that hid under the dock at least a million times. He had even named them.

The sunfish that was missing one eye? That was Cyclops.

The smallest, thinnest sunny that took the bait most often? That was Captain Hooked.

And the meanest, darkest, greasiest rock bass that always fanned and stiffened its top fin stabbing any poor fisherman who was unlucky enough to catch it was named, Stegosaurus, like the dinosaur with the pointed plates on its back.

Justin's best friend, Nick Barnes, had always wanted to eat a rock bass to see what it tasted like, and every time Stego pricked Justin's tender palms, he was tempted to turn the nasty fish over to his hungry friend with french fries and a big bottle of ketchup.

Over the past seven summer weeks, Justin, along with Nick and another best friend, Jackie Salsberry, had investigated nearly every inch of Eagle Bay and Inlet. They had fished, hiked, sailed, kayaked, biked, shot arrows and explored the vast waters of Fourth Lake in Jackie's putt-putt motoring from island to island and shore to shore.

Even Justin's cat, Dax, was bored. Laying in the hot sun out on the porch floor, the sleek calico rolled onto her back, stretched and yawned. What else was there to do?

Justin joined his cat on the porch and slowly slid his short body back into an Adirondack chair. Mindlessly, he began thumbing through the newspaper, making sure he crinkled the pages loud enough so his mom would know he was reading it. He simply decided if he couldn't find anything to do in the paper, maybe he could at least make something from the paper - like fold it into a hat or a kite or a boat.

Thumbing through page after page, he looked at the pictures first, and then skimmed the headlines of the short stories that explained what kinds of activities were happening in the area. Most of what he found was for adults and mainly involved sitting around. There were lectures and concerts, quilting and basket weaving.

Justin sighed again.

Dax yawned again.

"Stop it, Dax," said Justin. "You're going to make me yawn." He was about to give up searching and start folding the paper into a kite, when a short headline in large bold type on the back page caught his attention.

Dax closed her eyes.

Justin's eyes grew wide. He jumped up and began moving frantically around the porch. Dax was so startled, she stood immediately, the hair on her back bristling.

"Where is my new camera, Mom?" he called out. Before she could answer, he found it sitting with his orange bucket hat alongside the partially-finished puzzle on the card table.

That stupid puzzle! he thought. Every summer his dad would pour out the pieces from a new jigsaw puzzle and then hide the box so no one would know what it looked like.

This year's camp puzzle had been especially tough. No one in the whole family was able to figure out. They had found the four corners and put together most of the outside frame, but not much more. What is it a picture of? he wondered. The question was driving him crazy.

Justin glanced at the odd-shaped pieces that were all organized in small piles according to their color. He slipped on his bucket hat and to his surprise, found a blue piece that fit in the upper right-hand corner. A piece of the sky. Or was it water? Maybe they had the puzzle upside down. He snapped the piece in place and kept on moving.

Clutching the camera in one hand and the newspaper in the other, he called out to his mom again as he pushed with his shoulder to open the front screen door. "I'm going to Pioneer Village," he said, and bounded down the porch stairs. With Dax in swift pursuit, the door banged shut less than an inch from the end of her long, black tail.

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #8
Escape from Black Bear Mountain
70 Pages - Illustrated
Ages 7-12
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Escape from Black Bear Mountain

Justin Robert wants to climb all of the mountains near his family's Fourth Lake camp before the summer is over. Jackie Salsberry can't wait to join him. Nick Barnes would rather go fishing. Next on the list is Black Bear Mountain. An easy hike, right? If only they had noticed the Trail Closed sign before they took off together!

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Chapter #1 - "Green with Envy"

Justin Robert stood in the shadow of the towering lion and carefully aimed to get his best shot.

"Don't miss!" said his friend, Jackie Salsberry. "This may be your last chance!"

His friend, Nick Barnes, didn't offer much encouragement. "He'll choke," he said. "And it will be all over."

"No sweat," said Justin. He spoke boldly and with great confidence, but his palms were sweating, and the longer he waited to take the shot the faster his heart pounded.

"Do it," said Nick. "Do it now."

Justin held his breath and softly tapped the purple ball. It rolled slowly through the lion's shadow, through a narrow tunnel, and emerged to hit a pinecone that had dropped into the middle of the green. Then the ball bounced gently off the brick wall and dropped straight into the center of the small silver cup.

"You did it!" said Jackie.

"Of course," said Justin.

"That was all luck," said Nick. The color of his face matched his golf ball - dark red. "And I call interference. That pine cone was in the way."

Justin beamed. "I win - again," he said, as he plucked his purple ball from the hole. "So I get to choose what we do this afternoon - again." Then he tipped his silver bucket hat and bowed in the direction of the statue of the Tin Man. "Thank you, thank you," he said.

Jackie turned to Nick who was still brooding over Justin's third consecutive first-place finish that summer. "You would have a good chance to win if you would stop skipping the seventh hole," she said. "That costs you four penalty strokes every time we play."

Nick frowned and marched over to a sign that read: Beware! Flying Monkeys. Jackie and Justin followed him.

"Do you see that?" Nick said, and with great passion, pointed his finger at the sign. Then he motioned the handle of his putter toward the treetops over the seventh hole, stabbing it into the air for emphasis. "I told you, there is no way I am going anywhere near those creepy monkeys. I didn't like them in the movie, and I don't like them here."

Justin held his bucket hat to his head, and ran back across the short path of yellow bricks. He struck a pose on the putting green, mimicking the large statue of the Cowardly Lion. "You should stand right here like this all day and take his place," he said, and laughed. "You need some courage."

"I do not," insisted Nick. He pointed at the Lion and the Tin Man. "We only play golf here so Jackie can hang around these characters she likes so much from her favorite baby book, The Wizard of Oz."

"Have you ever read, The Wizard of Oz?" asked Jackie.

"I don't have to," said Nick. "I've only seen the movie with my parents, like, ten thousand times. They make me watch it." He glanced up at the treetops again suspiciously, and with narrowed eyes. "I only skip the part with the monkeys."

Jackie sighed. "Then you don't know what you're talking about," she said. "The book is way different from the movie."

Justin nodded. "She's right," he said. "I was surprised. I read most of it, and it has some pretty gross stuff in it."

Nick suddenly seemed interested. "It does?" he said. "Can I borrow it?"

The thick evergreen branches above the seventh hole started shaking.

Justin and Jackie looked to see what was making the commotion so high up in the trees.

Nick didn't wait. As soon as he saw a branch begin to move, he started running for the parking lot as fast as his legs would carry him. He never saw the four black crows emerge from the canopy and fly off toward the highway.

Jackie turned to Justin and shook her head. "It's funny how your imagination can fool you, isn't it?" she said.

Justin nodded, but his mind was already on something else. He knew what he wanted to do with the rest of the day, but time was running short. "Let's go rescue Nick," he said, and they ran to join their friend in surrendering their golf balls and putters at the concession stand.

"It was only a bunch of crows," Jackie announced, to their timid friend. She leaned against the counter and opened the scoring card to double-check the final totals.

"You don't have to do that," Nick said, and reached out to shake Justin's hand for winning. "So what are we doing this afternoon?" he asked, and hoped it would be fishing.

"Yes," said Jackie. "What's the plan?" She didn't care what they did, as long as it was something outside.

Justin's mom pulled into the parking lot in the family jeep. "You'll see," he said, as they piled into the vehicle for the brief ride back to Eagle Bay. "I'll tell you as soon as we get to camp."

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #9
Legend of the Lake Monster
96 Pages - Illustrated
Ages 7-12
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Legend of the Lake Monster

In this adventure, The Adirondack Kids® are in search of a legendary lake creature reported by many eyewitnesses to be living in the deep waters of Lake Champlain. Is there anything mysterious lurking in those deep waters at all? Join The Adirondack Kids® on their quest for the answer!

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Chapter #1 - Fact or Friction?

"I don't really believe in monsters," Justin Robert said.

His friend, Nick Barnes, shook his head. "I can't believe your dad is going underwater to look for one."

"He's not," Justin said. "He's only going to take pictures of some shipwreck."

Jackie Salsberry had her own camera and snapped a picture of the wide sign in front of them. Brilliant light from the late August sun reflected off three painted panels that were filled with the names of witnesses and the dates the creature had been seen. "CHAMP SIGHTINGS IN BULWAGGA BAY AREA," she said, shading her eyes and squinting to read the top of the middle panel. A second lifelong friend, she turned to Justin. "Normally, I would agree with you on something like this, but there sure are a lot of people listed here who said they saw the monster. Do you really think every one of them could be wrong?"

Painted at the top of the middle panel was an artist's rendition of a snake-like creature swimming in a lake. It had a green underbelly and was covered with even darker green scales. Nick studied the artwork thoughtfully. "It's got fangs and looks kind of sad," he said, and then pointed to the dozens of names. "Are you sure this isn't a list of people the monster ate?"

"I told you, my dad is not going to look for a monster," Justin said, who was starting to become as nervous as he was annoyed. The trip to Lake Champlain was supposed to be fun. The plan? While his dad traveled over the New York state border to Vermont to take some underwater photographs of a famous shipwreck for a magazine - his mom and two friends would camp out at Crown Point. He had never even heard of this creature called Champ, a lake monster, until his parents pulled over along the highway and stopped to show him and his friends the sign. Could this many people be wrong? There was a brief sense of excitement at the prospect of seeing such a monster himself. But that feeling was mixed with the fear that his dad could be swimming around in the lake with some strange, unfriendly thing with fangs that could do him harm. He spoke firmly. "He is going to take pictures of a shipwreck and that is all."

"Okay," Nick said. "But what if there really is something way down deep in that lake? I haven't read the book yet, but I know the Box Car Children looked for a monster near a lake, and that was in the Adirondacks, too."

"Yes, but that wasn't real - that was fiction," Jackie said. "But this?" She pointed at the painting of Champ on the sign. "I'm pretty sure this is real."

"Look at the first name on the list," Nick said. "He saw the monster way back in 1609."

"Samuel de Champlain!" Jackie said. "This must be real."

"Hey, his name is just like the name of the lake," Nick said.

Jackie and Justin looked at him.

"What?" Nick said, and paused for a moment. "Oh, I get it. I think." He paused again. "He was born here, right?"

"No," Jackie said. "According to this sign, Samuel Champlain, the famous explorer who discovered this lake, was also the first person to see the creature. The lake is actually named after him."

Samuel de Champlain - famous explorer, thought Justin. His fear was slowly surrendering to the stronger sense of adventure that he always had in the more familiar surroundings of the family camp back on Fourth Lake. What about Justin Robert - famous explorer?" he thought. He didn't like the idea of his dad swimming around in a lake with a monster, but what if this Champ creature was real and they could actually see it - maybe even get their names listed on the sign? "I guess he doesn't look that scary," he said. "I wonder if this painting shows what he's really supposed to look like?"

"What makes you think it's a he?" asked Jackie. "Maybe Champ is a she."

Nick interrupted. "I vote we look for IT!" he said. "If we see it, then we'll know if it's a boy or a girl."

"We'll never even have a chance to see it," Justin said. "We're camping at some place called Crown Point. This is Port Henry."

Justin's mom called out to them from the Jeep. "Let's get going you three," she said. "We're going to the library first, and we still want plenty of time to set up camp."

"We're coming, Mom," Justin said. He turned to his friends. "Besides, we only have two days. That's not nearly enough time to look for it."

"I vote with Nick," Jackie said. "How about it, Justin. Two days. Vote right now. Before we leave. Will you look for Champ or not?"

"I don't know," Justin said. He grimaced and bit his lower lip as soon as he said it.

"That's a maybe," Nick said, beaming.

"And you know what that means," Jackie said, proud of her power of persuasion.

Justin sighed. "I know - I know," he said. "That was a maybe - and a maybe is - yes."

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #10
The Final Daze of Summer
68 Pages - Illustrated
Ages 7-12
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The Final Daze of Summer

It's Labor Day weekend at Eagle Bay, and a Rare Bird Alert causes Jusint, Jackie and Nick to spring into action on the waters and along the shores of Fourth Lake. In all the excitement, The Adirondack Kids® forget the Labor Day Bear may once again be on the prowl.

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Chapter #1 - Justin Attempts a Laker

"Wait until I put my thumb up," Justin Robert called over the sound of the family motor boat, the Tamarack, idling in the waters of Fourth Lake. He trusted his best friend, Jackie Salsberry, to be his spotter.

His other best friend, Nick Barnes, was also in the boat, but far too often he got the hand-signals confused and gave the driver poor directions. Earlier that summer, Justin signaled for the boat to wait and Nick thought he wanted to go. The boat took off and Justin wasn't ready. The rope went taut and the sudden jolt made his arms feel like they were coming out of their sockets! He was so sore he couldn't swim or cast a fishing line for days. Nick was a great friend, just not a very good spotter. His job on this ride? Keep a watchful eye on his calico cat, Dax.

Jackie pulled her long, blonde hair back into a pony tail so it wouldn't toss and tangle in the wind that would be created by the speeding boat. "Are you almost ready, Justin?" she called back.

Sitting on the edge of the family dock, Justin had already slipped his feet into the black rubber boots of the wakeboard and holding on to the long yellow tow rope, jumped in with a splash. He loved this sport. It reminded him of skateboarding, except it was a lot faster! A red maple leaf carrying a damsel fly sailed by his face that was now half-submerged in the late-August water which was warmer than the air.

This was it – his last chance before the end of summer vacation to try and make one full lap all the way around the lake's perimeter without falling. The Labor Day crowds had not yet arrived to churn the water with their final rides of the season, and the calm face of the lake this early morning shone like glass. Justin positioned his body as if he was sitting in a rocking chair. He tipped his head back and took a deep breath. "Okay!" he said, and pointed his thumb at the sunny Adirondack sky.

Jackie relayed the signal to Justin's mom who was seated at the wheel of the Tamarack. The engine gunned and the rope tightened. Justin leaned his weight onto his right leg and slightly turned his hips. Maintaining a firm grip on the rope, he suddenly popped to the surface.

Justin couldn't hear her, but he could tell from Jackie's expression and upraised hands that she was cheering. It was a perfect start, but what he didn't know was whether or not he had the physical strength to endure the entire fourteen miles in forty-five minutes that it would take to complete his very first laker!

adirondack kids,children books,books,Justin Van Riper,adirondack kids press, reading,reading books,Gary Vanriper The Adirondack Kids® #11
The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga
90 Pages - Illustrated
Ages 7-12
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The Fall of Fort Ticonderoga

It is autumn in the Adirondacks and three is talk of revolution in the air! Join The Adirondack Kids® as they are inspired to lead a reenactment of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys and the capture of Fort Ticonderoga.

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Chapter #1 - Whistling in the Weeds

Justin Robert sorted through the small pile of acorn cups cradled in the palm of his hand. The size of nickels and dimes, they reminded him of bottle caps or little hats. The ones with stems looked like tiny painters' berets. He had popped the tops off more than a dozen of the acorns that he found littered on the sidewalk underneath a giant oak tree during a quick stop with his mom and dad in the hamlet of Old Forge.

Selecting a top he hoped might produce the loudest sound, he stuffed the balance of the small pile back into his pocket. Turning the shallow cup rim-side up, Justin covered the entire circle with his thumbs. Then he bent his knuckles and separated his thumbs just enough to leave a small opening in the shape of a V.

Satisfied he was holding it correctly, he lifted the cup to his lips and blew into the opening. There was no noise, with the exception of a loud hissing sound, accompanied by some spit. He blew again. More hiss and spit. Determined to make it work, he changed the angle of the cup and blew across the top of his thumbs, pushing air into the pie-shaped hole again. This time a shrill whistle pierced the quiet of the late summer landscape. He smiled. There was the squeaking of bicycle tires growing louder and louder and Justin knew his friend had heard the signal.

It was Jackie Salsberry, tall, blonde and the oldest sixth grader at the Inlet Common School. The Adirondack native rounded the lazy bend of the side road, along which she and Justin were conducting a search in the weeds. She coasted to a stop where the whistle- blower was on his knees examining the underside of leaves on several stalks of milkweed. "Did you find one?" she said.

"Not yet," Justin said. "But I'll bet we'll find one now, maybe even more than one." He pointed toward two stone pillars, each with an engraved capital letter B, that marked the entrance of an old abandoned driveway.

"Look at all the milkweed growing over there." Jackie leaned her bike against one of the pillars and joined Justin in the hunt. "Do you have the jar?" she said.

"Right here," Justin said, and lifted it from underneath a sea of ferns that was already beginning to turn shades of yellow and brown with the change of season.

"Good," Jackie said. "Because I found one."

"Already?" Justin said. "I knew this would be a great place to look." He ran over and knelt down next to her.

Jackie exposed the plump caterpillar with its multiple black, yellow and white stripes that was slowly inching its way along the leaf's hairy underside. "Go ahead, take it," she said. "It won't bite."

"I know," Justin said. "Let me get the lid off the jar." He knew the caterpillars were harmless, but it still bothered him to pick one up. Their pudgy bodies felt to him like they were made of jelly and he was always afraid they might pop and squish in his hand. The mere thought of gooey, creamy caterpillar oozing between his fingers made him shiver.

Jackie sighed. "Are you going to grab it, or not?" she said.

"Hold on," Justin said. He held the container directly underneath the spot where the insect had temporarily frozen in place, and gave the top of the leaf a gentle tap. The caterpillar lost its grip and dropped to the bottom of the jar.

Jackie nodded. "Good," she said. "Now put some milkweed leaves in there so it has something to eat. And a stick for it to crawl up on."

"I know what to do," Justin said. He tore several of the thick, oblong leaves from the stalk and stuffed them into the container. "We raised Monarch butter- flies last year in our class for a science project, too."

The two friends stood and with fingers sticky with the white sap that had leaked from the broken leaves, Justin screwed the lid with its pre-punched air holes back onto the jar. "I'll find just the right stick for it to make a cocoon on later," he said.

He held the container up; and together they peered at their trophy, magnified in size through the thick glass. With black antennae bent and probing, the captive insect was already busy nibbling at one of the leaves.

"This caterpillar is not for a school science project," Jackie said.

Justin was puzzled. "I thought that was why we were searching for one," he said.

Jackie shook her head. "Nope," she said. "And we still need to find two more."

"If they're not for school, then what are they for?" Justin asked.

"Lunch," Jackie said. Justin's eyes grew wide. "What?" he said. "I'm only kidding," Jackie said, and laughed. "You'll see what I have planned. Just trust me."

The Pond Hockey Challenge Adirondack Kids Book 12 The Adirondack Kids® #12
The Pond Hockey Challenge
80 Pages, illustrated
Ages 7-12
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In this brand new adventure, winter has arrived and beloved characters, Justin Robert and Nick Barnes are on school break and discover their best friend, Jackie Salsberry, has committed them to a pond hockey game against an experienced team from the community next door!

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Chapter #1 - Let It Snow

Justin Robert was hoping for a white Christmas. And he was getting one. The temperature in the Adirondack hamlet of Inlet was the lowest it had been throughout December in years, and fluffy snowflakes the size of quarters were beginning to make their lazy decent to the frozen ground. Cars passing by were sweeping them off the busy highway ¬– but it was easy to see the branches of the Christmas tree across the street in front of the Town Hall becoming fringed with the white of winter.

"Do you think it's true?" Justin asked his best friend, Nick Barnes, who was busy attempting to capture one of the large wet flakes in his wide-open mouth.

Nick smiled as one of the flakes appeared to be landing near the tip of his tongue. He followed it until his eyes were nearly crossed, and frowned as it suddenly changed direction with all the swiftness of a drifting autumn leaf. "Do I think what is true?" he said, and opened his mouth to try for another one.

Justin removed his blue bucket hat, which was becoming caked with the freshly fallen snow, and shook it. "About these snowflakes," he said. "Do you think it's true that every single one of them is different?"

"How can anybody know for sure without checking each one?" It was Jackie Salsberry, Justin's other best friend. And she was bounding down the steps of her favorite gift shop, swinging a colorful, holiday bag.

"We thought you were going to take forever," Nick said.

"There's only one shopping day left," Jackie said. "I had to find something just right for Mom and Dad."

"I always make something for my mother at school," Nick said. "And my father likes it when I make him a card." He grinned. "My mom told me he still has every one I've ever made."

Justin was excited. "I can't wait until my parents see what I have for them," he said. "I found the perfect present this summer."

It had been a hard secret for Justin to keep for so long. He was afraid his mother and father might find the surprise, so he kept changing his special hiding place. He almost forgot to bring it with him to camp, but thanks to his cat, Dax, he remembered. The last place Justin had hidden the gift was in a corer behind her litter box. It had been a very safe hiding place since it was his job – and his job alone – the clean the box. And that was his final chore before the family piled backpacks and packages into the Jeep to head north.

Jackie turned to him. "I am so glad your parents turned your cabin into a four-season camp this fall," she said. "We finally get to spend a Christmas vacation all together."

Justin could not remember when her smile was brighter.

"Hey there, Miss Jackie Salsberry." A tall boy with dark hair and darker eyes brushed by Justin and Nick and walked up to her, invading her personal space.

"Hello, Braedon," Jackie said. "What brings you to our humble little town of Inlet?"

Justin recognized that tone from his friend. It was Jackie's, be-very-careful-what-you-say-to me-next voice.

The tall boy ignored her question and looked back over his shoulder down at Justin and Nick. "Don't tell me these two are on your team," he said.

Jackie gave him an icy stare. "Yes, they are," she said.

The boy shook his head as he walked away with a wry grin. "You promised us competition," he said. "Maybe you should look that word up in a dictionary."

Jackie turned away from him and sighed. "Those boys have no idea what they are in for," she said.

The confrontation made Nick forget that his feet were getting numb from standing on the cold sidewalk so long. "What team?" he said.

"He was looking right at us," Justin said. "What competition?"

Before Jackie could answer, the giant window of the gift shop shattered from the inside out, shards of glass scattering onto the glazed sidewalk and into the street.

The Carousel Case, The Bicycle Race & The Blackfly Bad Guy The Adirondack Kids® #13
The Carousel Case,
The Bicycle Race &
The Blackfly Bad Guy
82 Pages, illustrated
Ages 7-12
Click here to order

It is spring in the Adirondacks and there is more than the buzz of blackflies in the air. While best friends Justin Robert, Jackie Salsberry and Nick Barnes are planning a bicycle race, they find themselves caught up in an adventure revolving around the disappearance of Bug-Eye, the blackfly, from the famous Adirondack Carousel!

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Chapter #1 - What's All The BUZZ?

"How many riders do you think we'll get? Justin Robert asked, struggling to spread out a small map on a short and stocky game table.

"Probably not many," said Jackie Salsberry, and reached out to help him. "Wait, tuck the part we don't need under like this and the section we want to look at should fit perfectly."

It did.

Justin opened an aluminum lawn chair and sat down at the table. "We'll need to get our own chairs to sit on this summer," he said. "All the ones in here go down by the dock." The cold metal bars of the seat against his legs made him shiver. "Right now we could use some kind of heater."

"What do you expect for early Spring in the Adirondack mountains," Jackie said. She grabbed a chair and joined him. "Maybe this will warm you up. Take a look at our route for the race."

Justin didn't feel any warmer looking at the map, but the excitement surrounding their latest plan did take his mind off his chilly seat.

Every year a famous bicycle race, The Black Fly Challenge™, took place in early June between Indian Lake and Jackie's home hamlet of Inlet.

Justin loved riding his bike and had always wanted to take part in the race, and his dad was even going to take photographs for a magazine at this year's event. Still, Justin had to miss it.

"I think it's very cool your science project won first place," Jackie said, as she turned the map her way for a better look at it. "You pick up your award that Saturday and we'll do our race on Sunday."

"Thanks again for figuring all this out," Justin said.

Jackie smiled. "No problem," she said, and lowered her finger to a point on the map. "We'll start right at this trailhead on the Uncas Road. From there we'll –

The door of the Robert's Army Camp suddenly burst open, and a familiar voice rang out. "Are you guys in here?"

It was Nick Barnes, from the camp next door, third in the trio of very best friends. Justin's calico cat, Dax, flashed between his legs and beat him through the door. "You won't believe what happened!"

Jackie didn't look up from the map. Neither did Justin. They were both used to Nick's dramatic entrances. He was carrying a small box and set it on the floor. "You guys!" he said. "This is serious!"

Dax jumped into Justin's lap. He smiled and worked his fingers into the white fur under her chin and down through her neck. Then he looked up at Nick. "You still have your face painted?" he said.

Nick frowned. "Why not?" he said. "You're still wearing that homemade bug shirt."

"But I didn't sleep in it!" Justin said.

Jackie remained focused on the map. "What is it, Nick? What won't we believe?"

Nick took a long deep breath and slowly exhaled to calm himself down.

"It's Bug-Eye," he said. "Bug-Eye is gone."

Jackie and Justin were silent. They looked at one another and back at Nick.

"Don't you get it? Nick said. "Bug-Eye, the giant black fly that Justin rode on the carousel yesterday! Gone! Missing! Stolen!"

Nick was right.

They couldn't believe it.

TJourney into the Land of MAKEBELIEVE The Adirondack Kids® #14
Journey into the Land of MAKEBELIEVE
80 Pages, illustrated
Ages 7-12
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Journey into the Land of MAKEBELIEVE

The surprise discovery of a painted pirate fires the imaginations of The Adirondack Kids®, inspiring the three best friends to recreate worlds in the woods based on their favorite classic stories. Join Justin Robert, Jackie Salsberry and Nick Barnes, as together they journey into the Land of MAKEBELIEVE.

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Chapter #1 - Summer Reunion

Justin Robert and one of his very best friends, Jackie Salsberry, were biking through the hamlet of Inlet as fast as their churning legs would take them. Tearing through the town parking lot, they flew past the tennis courts before ditching their bikes on the lawn over- looking the shoreline of Fourth Lake.

Justin was faster than Jackie on wheels, but Jackie's legs were longer than his. The two were neck-and- neck as they raced on foot toward the lonely pirate ship where it rested in the sand on the empty public beach. It was a tie as the two stopped and doubled over panting for breath in the shadow of the large wooden hull.

The steady rhythm of gentle waves reaching in vain for higher ground was the only sound.

Justin removed his brown bucket hat to let the easy breeze dry his sweaty hair, and he quickly scanned the landscape. "I don't see him anywhere," he said.

"We should have known better," Jackie said. "How else would he want us to begin our summer vacation together?"

"But why would his mom send us all the way down here?" Justin said. He checked behind the trunk of a thick pine tree that stood next to the boat. "It doesn't make sense. He's probably watching from some secret hiding place right now and laughing at us."

Jackie wasn't so sure. "Do you expect anything Nick Barnes does to make sense?" she asked. "I agree that he's laughing at us. But my guess is if he is hiding anywhere, it's back at his camp where he's probably eating his first s'mores of the summer."

There was a scratching noise from somewhere deep inside the belly of the ship.

"Ah," Justin said. He put his hat back on and smiled. "So, it's not an empty vessel after all."

Jackie struck her classic pose with hands on hips. "Come on out, Nick," she said, and kicked the port side of the boat with the flat of her boot. "Now!"

The dull thud against the boat had the desired effect, but only disclosed the presence of a nervous chipmunk. The tiny animal jumped through one of the small octagon windows located on the ship's starboard side.

Justin and Jackie stood together and watched it scamper away, a peanut clenched in its teeth.

"Looking for me!" The voice from above boomed like a cannon from the ship's main deck and sent a startled Justin and Jackie reeling. They fell backward, planting their backsides on the beach.

"Nick Barnes -" Jackie said, obviously annoyed as she stood and brushed the tiny grains of sand from the back of her jeans.

"Thank you for flushing the stowaway out from his hiding place," Nick said. "There be just the two of us aboard now, ready to shove off into dangerous waters in search of adventure and riches."

Justin had also returned to his feet and was shaking the clingy sand from his shorts. A new summer vacation had only just begun, and their spirited friend was already using his most irritating pirate voice.

"What do you mean, there are two of you on board?" Jackie said. "Who else is sneaking around up there with you?"

The pirate voice vanished, at least for a moment. "Come on up and see!" Nick said. "He's the whole reason I told my mom to send both of you here!"

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