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Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot

Illustrated by Hatem Aly
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Paperback
$8.99 US
5.13"W x 7.69"H x 0.52"D   | 9 oz | 36 per carton
On sale Jan 14, 2020 | 208 Pages | 978-0-7352-3178-8
Age 7-10 years | Grades 2-5
Reading Level: Lexile 660L | Fountas & Pinnell V
Among the towering fir trees of the Pacific Northwest, a famously elusive creature is in serious trouble.

INCLUDES AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS STORY about the medieval Secret Order of the Unicorn!

All Elliot wants is a nice, normal day at school. All Uchenna wants is an adventure. Guess whose wish comes true?

Professor Fauna whisks the kids—and Jersey, of course—off to the Muckleshoot territory in Washington, where film crews have suddenly descended en masse to expose Bigfoot to the world, and the Schmoke logging company is bringing in some awfully large machinery.

Can the Unicorn Rescue Society escape the blades of the Schmokes’ chain saws? Outsmart a cable news team? And are those big, hairy creatures running through the forest really Bigfoot?
Praise for the Unicorn Rescue Society series:

The Creature of the Pines is a 2019 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (Middle Reader) finalist!
 
"An easy, fun hook for readers." -New York Times Book Review
 
"A rollicking tale with engaging characters and an irresistible premise." -Booklist
 
"As facts are interwoven and also combined with a multitude of puns, the narrative is informative and lighthearted.... Learning while laughing is the goal, and it is achieved." -School Library Journal
© Lauren Mancia
Adam Gidwitz taught in Brooklyn for eight years. Now, he writes full-time—which means he writes a couple of hours a day, and lies on the couch staring at the ceiling the rest of the time. As is the case with all of his books, everything in them not only happened in the real fairy tales . . . it also happened to him. Really. Learn more at www.adamgidwitz.com, on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter: @AdamGidwitz. View titles by Adam Gidwitz
Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children’s book author, poet, novelist, and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. He is the coauthor of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series with Michael Caduto. Bruchac's poems, articles, and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief. View titles by Joseph Bruchac
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured in multiple publications worldwide. He currently lives in beautiful New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife, son, and more pets than people. His illustrated work includes the Newbery Honor winner The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz, The Unicorn Rescue Society series also by Adam Gidwitz with several amazing contributing authors, The Story Pirates book series with Geoff Rodkey and Jacqueline West, early readers series Meet Yasmin with Saadia Faruqi, How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, and The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed. Hatem has more upcoming books and projects in the works. You can find him online @metahatem. View titles by Hatem Aly

 

Unicorns are real.

At least, I think they are.

Dragons are definitely real. I have seen them. Chupacabras exist, too. Also Sasquatch. And mermaids—though they are not what you think.

But back to unicorns. When I, Professor Mito Fauna, was a young man, I lived in the foothills of Peru. One day, there were rumors in my town of a unicorn in danger, far up in the mountains. At that instant I founded the Unicorn Rescue Society—I was the only member—and set off to save the unicorn. When I finally located it, though, I saw that it was not a unicorn, but rather a qarqacha, the legendary two-headed llama of the Andes. I was very slightly disappointed. I rescued it anyway. Of course.

Now, many years later, there are members of the Unicorn Rescue Society all around the world. We are sworn to protect all the creatures of myth and legend. Including unicorns! If we ever find them! Which I’m sure we will!

But our enemies are powerful and ruthless, and we are in desperate need of help. Help from someone brave and kind and curious, and brave. (Yes, I said “brave” twice. It’s important.)

Will you help us? Will you risk your very life to protect the world’s mythical creatures?

Will you join the Unicorn Rescue Society?

I hope so. The creatures need you.

Defende Fabulosa! Protege Mythica!

Mito Fauna, DVM, PhD, EdD, etc.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Uchenna Devereaux looked around the class­room.

Something was wrong.

All the usual kids were there. Jimmy, the big boy with the crew cut, had learned to fart to the tune of “Happy Birthday” over the weekend, and was showing his new skill to his pals Jasper and Johnna. They were singing along. Janey was star­ing out the window, digging into her nose with a finger—no, now two fingers. Pai Lu was wearing black eyeshadow, black nail polish, and black lip­stick, and she sighed heavily as she read from a book of poetry by Algernon Swinburne called A Ballad of Death.

All of this was normal.

And yet, there was definitely something wrong. . . .

Their teacher, Miss Vole, was trying to teach them about trees. “Do you children know what an oak tree is?”

Uchenna sighed. Miss Vole always treated them like they were in kindergarten.

“An oak tree is one of the tallest trees here in New Jersey. But on the West Coast, in states like California, Oregon, and Washington—” She paused. “Have you heard of the West Coast, children?”

The lesson made Uchenna want to stick a pencil through her ear canal and into her brain. Which meant Elliot, her best friend and an expert on pretty much everything, was probably ready to throw himself through one of the hermetically sealed classroom windows. Uchenna glanced at him. . . .

Elliot! That’s what was wrong. Where was Elliot?

Uchenna swiveled around in her chair, look­ing for Elliot Eisner, the only other kid in the school who was a member of the incredibly secret Unicorn Rescue Society. What happened to him? Why wasn’t he in school? Was he sick? Had there been an accident? Maybe one of their enemies had captured him! Or was it—

BAM!

The door flew open, knocking three framed pictures off the wall.

Standing in the doorway was a tall man with a black-and-white beard, crazy hair, a threadbare tweed suit, and eyebrows that looked like some­thing out of a science experiment.

Buenos días, Miss Vole!” Professor Fauna ex­claimed. Professor Fauna was the school social studies teacher. Everyone thought that he was a weirdo, and that he believed in unicorns, and that his office was a torture chamber under the school. Only Uchenna and Elliot knew the truth: that he was definitely a weirdo, that he did be­lieve in unicorns, and that his office under the school was not a torture chamber, but rather the headquarters of the Unicorn Rescue Society. “I am so sorry to interrupt you,” Professor Fauna continued. “But I need to, ahem, borrow Elliot and Uchenna for a moment.” His eyes landed on Uchenna, and his face lit up. He whispered to her, “It’s about Bigfoot!” But because she was halfway across the room, his whisper was loud enough for everyone to hear.

“Did you just say it’s about Bigfoot?” Pai Lu demanded, her words dripping with sarcasm.

Professor Fauna suddenly straightened up and looked very awkward. “Er . . . ah . . . um . . .” Everyone was staring at him. “Yes!” he said at last. “I did say Bigfoot! My big foot. You see, my right foot is bigger than my left. On the bottom of that big foot I have a horrible wart.” The children all gri­maced. “It is very painful,” the professor went on. “And . . . and infected! So I need Elliot and Uchenna to help me!”

Miss Vole looked confused. “Why do you need Elliot and Uchenna to help you with your wart?”

“Right. Well . . . um . . . because . . . ,” Profes­sor Fauna stammered. “Because . . . I must drive to the doctor! But I cannot press upon the gas pedal because the wart is so painful! So one of them must do that for me while I drive. And . . . I have another wart on my thumb! So I cannot steer! So one of them will push the gas, and the other will steer, and I will sit in the driver’s seat, telling them what to do.”

Everyone stared at the professor, their mouths hanging open.

“It is no problem,” Professor Fauna added. “We have done it before.”

Finally, Miss Vole said, “Professor, that doesn’t make any sense.”

¡Mala palabra! Am I not a teacher? Since when do teachers make sense? They are com­ing with me. Elliot, Uchenna, let’s go.” Then he looked around the room. “Wait, where is Elliot?”

Uchenna shrugged.

“Come! ¡Vámonos! We will find him on the way!”

And with that, Professor Fauna turned and swept from the room. Uchenna hurried after him, glancing back at her class as she left.

Their mouths were still hanging open.

Then Jimmy farted the final two notes of “Happy Birthday.”

 

CHAPTER TWO

Elliot Eisner poked his head out of the caf­eteria.

He looked to the right, in the direction of his classroom. There was no one in the hallway. Perfect.

By dawdling, hanging back, and, finally, hid­ing behind one of the big cafeteria doors, he had waited just long enough to avoid the crush of the morning crowd. Crowds made him nervous. Ac­tually, everything made him nervous. Even his best friend, Uchenna, made him nervous some­times.

To be clear: Uchenna was awesome. She knew a ton about music, she always dressed like the lead singer in a punk rock band, and she didn’t even mind that he obsessively read books like Deadly Beasts of Kazakhstan. And Scottish Poisonous Snakes. And The Ten Thousand Worst Ways to Die, volumes 1, 2, and 4 (volume 3 was missing from the public library).

Of all the things that made Elliot nervous, though, there was something that made him more nervous than anything else.

Actually, not something. Someone.

Elliot looked to the right again, down the hall, and then to the left, in the direction of the stairs that led to the subbasement. It was all clear. That certain someone was nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it was going to be a good day. Per­haps he was finally going to do only normal stuff. Learn about something boring, like commas or trees. Not about supposedly mythical creatures that turn out to be real, like Jersey Devils and vi­cious dragons with magical saliva.

Not today, Elliot thought. Please let this be a boring day.

He shouldered his backpack and stepped cautiously out into the hall. Still nothing.

He began to walk toward the classroom. His shoes squeaked on the newly waxed floor.

No mythical creatures, he thought. No evil billionaires, no hazardous quests, no plane crashes. And not him. Please, not him.

Elliot glanced behind, at the stairs to the subbasement. Still clear. He turned toward the door of his classroom—

SMACK!

Elliot blinked. He was now staring at the ceil­ing, lying flat on the floor.

And he was looking down at Elliot. The one person in the world Elliot really did not want to see this morning. It was a wild-haired, black-and-white-bearded man with a very intense look on his face.

No, Elliot thought. Let this just be a bad dream. He closed his eyes, hoping that when he opened them again he would be waking up at home.

“Elliot!” Professor Fauna whispered. “This is no time for a nap! Come on!”

Elliot opened his eyes. Uchenna was grin­ning down at him.

She said, “We’re going to rescue Bigfoot.”

Elliot closed his eyes again, sighed, and said, “Of course.”

 

CHAPTER THREE

Professor Fauna pushed open the doors of the school and marched toward the parking lot.

“Bigfoot?!” Elliot said, trying to keep up. “Se­riously? Bigfoot doesn’t even exist! That myth has been debunked hundreds of times!”

Uchenna was singing softly to herself:

What is a Bigfoot?

Do we even know?

In the deepest winter,

Is it white as fallen snow?

Living in the jungle,

Is it orange like an ape?

Hiding in your lunch box,

Is it purple like a grape?

Elliot looked at her. “I have to admit,” he said, “that was one of your better songs.”

Uchenna grinned.

“If Bigfoot is a myth, Elliot,” Professor Fauna was saying, “why did I just get a call from Mack geqideb?”

“Mack guh-kay-dub?” said Uchenna, trying to pronounce the unfamiliar word. “That’s an unusual name.”

The professor raised an eyebrow. “You think so? I have known a number of people named Mack! There is even a tasty sandwich named that. Have you never heard of the Large Mack Donald?”

“I don’t think that’s what it’s called.”

“Anyway, Mack is a member of the Muckleshoot Indian Nation. His name, geqideb, in Muckleshoot means ‘bright minded.’ His peo­ple live in the state of Washington. Now that is an unusual name, is it not? Washington? Why would someone name anything after two thou­sand pounds of laundry?” Professor Fauna shook his head. “Anyway, Mack and his family, like many of the Muckleshoot, are concerned about protecting the natural world . . . including crea­tures unrecognized by science!”

They had come to Professor Fauna’s blue-and-white airplane, the Phoenix. It was in its usual three parking spots, between Principal Kowalski’s seafoam-green hatchback and Miss Vole’s Harley motorcycle.

A shiver skittered down Elliot’s back. It was not just that the Phoenix was scarred with rust and dents, or that its front window was spider-webbed with cracks. It wasn’t even that on their last flight, the plane had crashed. It was that, as Professor Fauna happily admitted, the Phoenix crashed on every flight. But somehow the pro­fessor and his friends always got it flying again. Elliot wished they would stop doing that.

Professor Fauna flung open the passenger door of the small plane and helped Uchenna in. Elliot hung back. Inside the plane, Uchenna picked up a camouflage backpack with holes poked all over the main compartment. She un­zipped it. A small blue creature popped out. Its head looked like the head of a tiny deer. A tiny blue deer.

“Hey, Jersey,” said Uchenna.

Jersey, the Jersey Devil, stood up in the bag and spread his bright red wings. Then he licked Uchenna’s face.

Uchenna looked through the open airplane door at Elliot. “Aren’t you coming?”

Elliot was staring at the Phoenix like it was trying to kill him. Which, as far as he was con­cerned, it was.

Suddenly, Jersey leaped from Uchenna’s arms and glided on outstretched wings over to Elliot. The little blue creature dug his claws into Elliot’s shirt. Then he licked Elliot on the nose.

Elliot sighed.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s do this thing.”

About

Among the towering fir trees of the Pacific Northwest, a famously elusive creature is in serious trouble.

INCLUDES AN EXCLUSIVE BONUS STORY about the medieval Secret Order of the Unicorn!

All Elliot wants is a nice, normal day at school. All Uchenna wants is an adventure. Guess whose wish comes true?

Professor Fauna whisks the kids—and Jersey, of course—off to the Muckleshoot territory in Washington, where film crews have suddenly descended en masse to expose Bigfoot to the world, and the Schmoke logging company is bringing in some awfully large machinery.

Can the Unicorn Rescue Society escape the blades of the Schmokes’ chain saws? Outsmart a cable news team? And are those big, hairy creatures running through the forest really Bigfoot?

Praise

Praise for the Unicorn Rescue Society series:

The Creature of the Pines is a 2019 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (Middle Reader) finalist!
 
"An easy, fun hook for readers." -New York Times Book Review
 
"A rollicking tale with engaging characters and an irresistible premise." -Booklist
 
"As facts are interwoven and also combined with a multitude of puns, the narrative is informative and lighthearted.... Learning while laughing is the goal, and it is achieved." -School Library Journal

Author

© Lauren Mancia
Adam Gidwitz taught in Brooklyn for eight years. Now, he writes full-time—which means he writes a couple of hours a day, and lies on the couch staring at the ceiling the rest of the time. As is the case with all of his books, everything in them not only happened in the real fairy tales . . . it also happened to him. Really. Learn more at www.adamgidwitz.com, on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter: @AdamGidwitz. View titles by Adam Gidwitz
Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed children’s book author, poet, novelist, and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. He is the coauthor of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series with Michael Caduto. Bruchac's poems, articles, and stories have appeared in hundreds of publications from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored many books for adults and children including Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two, Skeleton Man, and The Heart of a Chief. View titles by Joseph Bruchac
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured in multiple publications worldwide. He currently lives in beautiful New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife, son, and more pets than people. His illustrated work includes the Newbery Honor winner The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz, The Unicorn Rescue Society series also by Adam Gidwitz with several amazing contributing authors, The Story Pirates book series with Geoff Rodkey and Jacqueline West, early readers series Meet Yasmin with Saadia Faruqi, How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller, and The Book That Almost Rhymed by Omar Abed. Hatem has more upcoming books and projects in the works. You can find him online @metahatem. View titles by Hatem Aly

Excerpt

 

Unicorns are real.

At least, I think they are.

Dragons are definitely real. I have seen them. Chupacabras exist, too. Also Sasquatch. And mermaids—though they are not what you think.

But back to unicorns. When I, Professor Mito Fauna, was a young man, I lived in the foothills of Peru. One day, there were rumors in my town of a unicorn in danger, far up in the mountains. At that instant I founded the Unicorn Rescue Society—I was the only member—and set off to save the unicorn. When I finally located it, though, I saw that it was not a unicorn, but rather a qarqacha, the legendary two-headed llama of the Andes. I was very slightly disappointed. I rescued it anyway. Of course.

Now, many years later, there are members of the Unicorn Rescue Society all around the world. We are sworn to protect all the creatures of myth and legend. Including unicorns! If we ever find them! Which I’m sure we will!

But our enemies are powerful and ruthless, and we are in desperate need of help. Help from someone brave and kind and curious, and brave. (Yes, I said “brave” twice. It’s important.)

Will you help us? Will you risk your very life to protect the world’s mythical creatures?

Will you join the Unicorn Rescue Society?

I hope so. The creatures need you.

Defende Fabulosa! Protege Mythica!

Mito Fauna, DVM, PhD, EdD, etc.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Uchenna Devereaux looked around the class­room.

Something was wrong.

All the usual kids were there. Jimmy, the big boy with the crew cut, had learned to fart to the tune of “Happy Birthday” over the weekend, and was showing his new skill to his pals Jasper and Johnna. They were singing along. Janey was star­ing out the window, digging into her nose with a finger—no, now two fingers. Pai Lu was wearing black eyeshadow, black nail polish, and black lip­stick, and she sighed heavily as she read from a book of poetry by Algernon Swinburne called A Ballad of Death.

All of this was normal.

And yet, there was definitely something wrong. . . .

Their teacher, Miss Vole, was trying to teach them about trees. “Do you children know what an oak tree is?”

Uchenna sighed. Miss Vole always treated them like they were in kindergarten.

“An oak tree is one of the tallest trees here in New Jersey. But on the West Coast, in states like California, Oregon, and Washington—” She paused. “Have you heard of the West Coast, children?”

The lesson made Uchenna want to stick a pencil through her ear canal and into her brain. Which meant Elliot, her best friend and an expert on pretty much everything, was probably ready to throw himself through one of the hermetically sealed classroom windows. Uchenna glanced at him. . . .

Elliot! That’s what was wrong. Where was Elliot?

Uchenna swiveled around in her chair, look­ing for Elliot Eisner, the only other kid in the school who was a member of the incredibly secret Unicorn Rescue Society. What happened to him? Why wasn’t he in school? Was he sick? Had there been an accident? Maybe one of their enemies had captured him! Or was it—

BAM!

The door flew open, knocking three framed pictures off the wall.

Standing in the doorway was a tall man with a black-and-white beard, crazy hair, a threadbare tweed suit, and eyebrows that looked like some­thing out of a science experiment.

Buenos días, Miss Vole!” Professor Fauna ex­claimed. Professor Fauna was the school social studies teacher. Everyone thought that he was a weirdo, and that he believed in unicorns, and that his office was a torture chamber under the school. Only Uchenna and Elliot knew the truth: that he was definitely a weirdo, that he did be­lieve in unicorns, and that his office under the school was not a torture chamber, but rather the headquarters of the Unicorn Rescue Society. “I am so sorry to interrupt you,” Professor Fauna continued. “But I need to, ahem, borrow Elliot and Uchenna for a moment.” His eyes landed on Uchenna, and his face lit up. He whispered to her, “It’s about Bigfoot!” But because she was halfway across the room, his whisper was loud enough for everyone to hear.

“Did you just say it’s about Bigfoot?” Pai Lu demanded, her words dripping with sarcasm.

Professor Fauna suddenly straightened up and looked very awkward. “Er . . . ah . . . um . . .” Everyone was staring at him. “Yes!” he said at last. “I did say Bigfoot! My big foot. You see, my right foot is bigger than my left. On the bottom of that big foot I have a horrible wart.” The children all gri­maced. “It is very painful,” the professor went on. “And . . . and infected! So I need Elliot and Uchenna to help me!”

Miss Vole looked confused. “Why do you need Elliot and Uchenna to help you with your wart?”

“Right. Well . . . um . . . because . . . ,” Profes­sor Fauna stammered. “Because . . . I must drive to the doctor! But I cannot press upon the gas pedal because the wart is so painful! So one of them must do that for me while I drive. And . . . I have another wart on my thumb! So I cannot steer! So one of them will push the gas, and the other will steer, and I will sit in the driver’s seat, telling them what to do.”

Everyone stared at the professor, their mouths hanging open.

“It is no problem,” Professor Fauna added. “We have done it before.”

Finally, Miss Vole said, “Professor, that doesn’t make any sense.”

¡Mala palabra! Am I not a teacher? Since when do teachers make sense? They are com­ing with me. Elliot, Uchenna, let’s go.” Then he looked around the room. “Wait, where is Elliot?”

Uchenna shrugged.

“Come! ¡Vámonos! We will find him on the way!”

And with that, Professor Fauna turned and swept from the room. Uchenna hurried after him, glancing back at her class as she left.

Their mouths were still hanging open.

Then Jimmy farted the final two notes of “Happy Birthday.”

 

CHAPTER TWO

Elliot Eisner poked his head out of the caf­eteria.

He looked to the right, in the direction of his classroom. There was no one in the hallway. Perfect.

By dawdling, hanging back, and, finally, hid­ing behind one of the big cafeteria doors, he had waited just long enough to avoid the crush of the morning crowd. Crowds made him nervous. Ac­tually, everything made him nervous. Even his best friend, Uchenna, made him nervous some­times.

To be clear: Uchenna was awesome. She knew a ton about music, she always dressed like the lead singer in a punk rock band, and she didn’t even mind that he obsessively read books like Deadly Beasts of Kazakhstan. And Scottish Poisonous Snakes. And The Ten Thousand Worst Ways to Die, volumes 1, 2, and 4 (volume 3 was missing from the public library).

Of all the things that made Elliot nervous, though, there was something that made him more nervous than anything else.

Actually, not something. Someone.

Elliot looked to the right again, down the hall, and then to the left, in the direction of the stairs that led to the subbasement. It was all clear. That certain someone was nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it was going to be a good day. Per­haps he was finally going to do only normal stuff. Learn about something boring, like commas or trees. Not about supposedly mythical creatures that turn out to be real, like Jersey Devils and vi­cious dragons with magical saliva.

Not today, Elliot thought. Please let this be a boring day.

He shouldered his backpack and stepped cautiously out into the hall. Still nothing.

He began to walk toward the classroom. His shoes squeaked on the newly waxed floor.

No mythical creatures, he thought. No evil billionaires, no hazardous quests, no plane crashes. And not him. Please, not him.

Elliot glanced behind, at the stairs to the subbasement. Still clear. He turned toward the door of his classroom—

SMACK!

Elliot blinked. He was now staring at the ceil­ing, lying flat on the floor.

And he was looking down at Elliot. The one person in the world Elliot really did not want to see this morning. It was a wild-haired, black-and-white-bearded man with a very intense look on his face.

No, Elliot thought. Let this just be a bad dream. He closed his eyes, hoping that when he opened them again he would be waking up at home.

“Elliot!” Professor Fauna whispered. “This is no time for a nap! Come on!”

Elliot opened his eyes. Uchenna was grin­ning down at him.

She said, “We’re going to rescue Bigfoot.”

Elliot closed his eyes again, sighed, and said, “Of course.”

 

CHAPTER THREE

Professor Fauna pushed open the doors of the school and marched toward the parking lot.

“Bigfoot?!” Elliot said, trying to keep up. “Se­riously? Bigfoot doesn’t even exist! That myth has been debunked hundreds of times!”

Uchenna was singing softly to herself:

What is a Bigfoot?

Do we even know?

In the deepest winter,

Is it white as fallen snow?

Living in the jungle,

Is it orange like an ape?

Hiding in your lunch box,

Is it purple like a grape?

Elliot looked at her. “I have to admit,” he said, “that was one of your better songs.”

Uchenna grinned.

“If Bigfoot is a myth, Elliot,” Professor Fauna was saying, “why did I just get a call from Mack geqideb?”

“Mack guh-kay-dub?” said Uchenna, trying to pronounce the unfamiliar word. “That’s an unusual name.”

The professor raised an eyebrow. “You think so? I have known a number of people named Mack! There is even a tasty sandwich named that. Have you never heard of the Large Mack Donald?”

“I don’t think that’s what it’s called.”

“Anyway, Mack is a member of the Muckleshoot Indian Nation. His name, geqideb, in Muckleshoot means ‘bright minded.’ His peo­ple live in the state of Washington. Now that is an unusual name, is it not? Washington? Why would someone name anything after two thou­sand pounds of laundry?” Professor Fauna shook his head. “Anyway, Mack and his family, like many of the Muckleshoot, are concerned about protecting the natural world . . . including crea­tures unrecognized by science!”

They had come to Professor Fauna’s blue-and-white airplane, the Phoenix. It was in its usual three parking spots, between Principal Kowalski’s seafoam-green hatchback and Miss Vole’s Harley motorcycle.

A shiver skittered down Elliot’s back. It was not just that the Phoenix was scarred with rust and dents, or that its front window was spider-webbed with cracks. It wasn’t even that on their last flight, the plane had crashed. It was that, as Professor Fauna happily admitted, the Phoenix crashed on every flight. But somehow the pro­fessor and his friends always got it flying again. Elliot wished they would stop doing that.

Professor Fauna flung open the passenger door of the small plane and helped Uchenna in. Elliot hung back. Inside the plane, Uchenna picked up a camouflage backpack with holes poked all over the main compartment. She un­zipped it. A small blue creature popped out. Its head looked like the head of a tiny deer. A tiny blue deer.

“Hey, Jersey,” said Uchenna.

Jersey, the Jersey Devil, stood up in the bag and spread his bright red wings. Then he licked Uchenna’s face.

Uchenna looked through the open airplane door at Elliot. “Aren’t you coming?”

Elliot was staring at the Phoenix like it was trying to kill him. Which, as far as he was con­cerned, it was.

Suddenly, Jersey leaped from Uchenna’s arms and glided on outstretched wings over to Elliot. The little blue creature dug his claws into Elliot’s shirt. Then he licked Elliot on the nose.

Elliot sighed.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s do this thing.”

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