Elizabeth, Alexis, Bailey, Sydney, Kate, and McKenzie come from different parts of the country and different backgrounds. But when they meet at Camp Discovery, they learn they all share one thing: an aptitude for intrigue! Soon they’re embroiled in a search for lost jewels…and that’s only the beginning! Whether it’s foiling terrorist plots or finding missing millionaires or rescuing sea lions, you’ll love joining the adventure with these precocious preteens, as they pitch in their personal skills to solve the mysteries and save the day! The perfect blend of mystery and mayhem—just for you!
About the Author
Jean Fischer has been writing for children for nearly three decades, and has served as an editor with Golden Books. She has written with Thomas Kinkade, John MacArthur, and “Adventures in Odyssey,” and is one of the authors for Barbour’s upcoming “Camp Club Girls” series. A nature lover, Jean lives in Racine, Wisconsin.
Read an Excerpt
Sydney's Outer Banks Blast
By Jean Fischer, Jeanette Littleton
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Sydney's Ghost Story
"It wasn't a UFO," said Sydney Lincoln as she and Bailey walked along the beach. "There's a logical explanation for it."
Bailey Chang disagreed. "I looked out at the ocean at two o'clock this morning, and there it was. It had red flashing lights, and it was hovering over the water. It spun around and around, and then poof, it was gone. It was a UFO!"
Sydney bent and picked up some small stones from the sand. "What were you doing up at two o'clock?" she asked as she walked to the water's edge.
"I couldn't sleep in a strange bed," Bailey told her.
Sydney waited a few seconds before skipping a stone across the waves. "I think what you saw was just a coastguard training exercise, or something."
"It was a UFO," Bailey insisted. "I'm sure of it."
"I don't believe in UFOs," said Sydney skipping another stone. "Anyway, I'm glad your parents let you come. Ever since camp, I've wanted to show you the ocean."
Sydney had invited her friend Bailey to spend a week at her grandparents' beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sydney loved to escape the activity of her home in Washington DC for the peace and quiet of the long, narrow string of barrier islands that separated the Atlantic Ocean from several sounds off the edge of North Carolina.
Bailey was always willing to accept an invitation to anywhere. She couldn't wait to leave her hometown of Peoria, Illinois, and see the world. Now, in the early morning sunshine, Bailey was getting her first taste of the salty ocean air as she and Sydney walked together through the sand.
"It's not exactly what I expected," Bailey said.
She had imagined that the Atlantic Ocean would look vastly different from the huge Great Lake that bordered her home state. In fact, the ocean was very different—much larger and far grander—but just not as different as Bailey had hoped for. She was often disappointed when real life didn't match up to her imagination.
"The ocean sort of looks like Lake Michigan," she said. "Lake Michigan also has waves, and it's so big that you can't see to the other side."
She picked up a handful of sand and let it sift through her fingers. "This beach looks like it's not taken care of. In Chicago, a tractor pulls a machine that combs the sand and keeps it nice and clean. There aren't weeds and stuff sticking up, like here. And they test the water to make sure it's not polluted."
Sydney kicked at the sugar-fine sand with her bare feet.
"Nobody tests the water here," she said. "It's clean. I swim in it all the time." She waded into the ocean a few yards offshore.
"Come on!" she told Bailey. "Check it out."
Bailey hesitated. "What about jellyfish and sharks?" she asked.
"If I see some, I'll introduce you," Sydney said, joking.
Bailey rolled the legs of her khaki pants over her knees. Then she tiptoed into the breakers. All at once, she felt the world between her toes as she imagined thousands of miles between herself and the nearest shore.
Sydney and Bailey had met at Discovery Lake Camp where they bunked in Cabin 12 with four other girls: Alexis Howell from Sacramento, California; Elizabeth Anderson, from Amarillo, Texas; McKenzie Phillips, from White Sulphur Springs, Montana; and Kate Oliver, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Camp Club Girls, as they called themselves, were the best of friends. They loved to explore, and they'd become quite good at solving mysteries together. When they weren't at summer camp, the girls kept in touch by chatting on their Camp Club Girls Web site, sending instant messages and e- mails, and even by phone and cell phones.
"I still think it was a UFO," said Bailey splashing in the water. "I'm sure that it wasn't an airplane, so what else could it be?"
"Oh, I don't know," Sydney answered. She added with a fond grin, "Maybe your imagination?"
As the girls waded and splashed in the water, only one other person was in sight, and he kept a very safe distance away from them.
"Who's that?" Bailey asked, pointing a shell she'd picked up towards the boy.
"I think his name is Drake or something," Sydney said. "He's kind of different. I see him alone on the beach sometimes. But it seems whenever people show up, he just kind of disappears."
"He's about your age, it looks like," Bailey said, squinting to see him better. "Looks like he's kind of cute, too."
"I don't know how anyone can tell if he's cute or not," Sydney said. "He always keeps his head down, digging around in the sand."
"What's he looking for? Shells?" Bailey asked.
"I dunno," Sydney said, shrugging. "It seems whenever he picks up something, it's bigger than shells, though. Some friends of mine who live here all the time, the Kessler twins, say he's a relative of the Wright brothers. Remember where we drove across the causeway? The Wright brothers did their famous flying around there."
"Well, that's neat! To be related to the Wright brothers!" Bailey exclaimed.
Sydney waded out of the ocean and stood on the shore. She watched Bailey scoop water into her hands, smell it, and then carefully stick her tongue in the water.
"It tastes sort of like potatoes boiled in salt water," Bailey observed.
"Whatever you say," Sydney answered. Her wet legs were caked up to her knees with sand, and against her chocolate-colored skin, the sand looked like knee socks. She bent over and brushed it off. "Let's take a walk up the shore," she said.
Bailey hurried out of the water and fell into step alongside her friend. The boy saw them coming, and he walked quickly on ahead of them. After they had gone around a hundred feet along the beach, Bailey's right foot landed on something hard. "Ouch!" she said.
Sydney, who was a few steps ahead, stopped and turned around to see what was the matter. "What's wrong?" she asked, "Crab got your toe?"
Bailey jumped. "Where?"
"Where's a crab?"
"I didn't see a crab," Sydney answered. "I just wondered if you got pinched by one."
"No," Bailey told her. "I stepped on something."
Sydney explored the sand where Bailey stood. "Do you have crabs in Lake Michigan?"
"We have crayfish," Bailey answered. "I don't know if they live on the beach, or if they're just bait that fishermen leave behind, but I've seen them there a couple of times. They're brown and ugly, and they have big claws. They kind of look like lobsters."
Sydney saw a white bump protruding from the sand. She reached down and pulled it up. It was a long, slender bone, a rib bone, maybe, from a wild animal, or possibly left from a beachfront barbeque. Tiny bits of dried flesh clung to its underside. Sydney held it up and showed it to Bailey. "This is what you stepped on," she said. "It's a bone."
"Eeeewwww!" said Bailey. "Where do you think it came from?"
"Oh, I don't know," Sydney teased. "Maybe from the body of an old sailor who died at sea. They call part of the Outer Banks the Graveyard of the Atlantic, you know."
"Eeeewwww!" Bailey said again. "Are there really dead sailors floating around out there?"
"Oh sure," Sydney said matter-of-factly. "Not to mention the ones from the ghost ship."
Bailey shuddered. "Ghost ship! What ghost ship?"
"The Carroll A. Deering," Sydney replied. She tossed the bone into the water and walked on with Bailey at her side.
"The story of the Carroll A. Deering is really spooky," Sydney went on. "I don't know if I should tell it to you. You might be too afraid." She looked at Bailey and grinned.
"I will not!" Bailey protested. "I'm not scared of anything."
"Well, okay then," Sydney answered. "But if you can't sleep tonight, don't blame me."
She stopped and picked up a stick at the ocean's edge. Frothy, white fingers of water washed across the beach, scrabbling at the firm wet sand. Sydney used the stick to write Beware of UFOs on the gritty, light tan canvas. Then she tossed the stick back to the ocean. The girls walked on leaving two sets of footprints behind them.
"The Carroll A. Deering was a tall ship, a schooner," Sydney began. "Pirates used several types of sailing ships. The ships they used had to be fast and strong. The Carroll A. Deering was bigger than most schooners. It had five tall masts with billowy sails—"
"I know exactly what you're talking about," Bailey interrupted. "Those kind of tall ships came to Navy Pier in Chicago last summer. Of course, they weren't old ones. They were only made to look like the old ones. Mom, Dad, my sister, Trina, and I went to check them out. They looked really old, and we even got to sail on one of them out on the lake."
"Cool," said Sydney. "So, since you've been on a tall ship, you can imagine what it was like to be a sailor on the Carroll A. Deering back in 1921. Imagine that it's the middle of winter. Some coastguardsmen are looking out at the ocean, sort of like we are now. They're about a hundred miles south of here near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, down by Diamond Shoals."
"What's that?" asked Bailey. She carefully stepped through the sand watching for bones and other hidden objects.
"It's a bunch of sandbars just off the coast of the Outer Banks, down at the southern end," Sydney replied. "Anyhow, that's where they saw it."
"The ghost ship?" Bailey asked. Just saying the words sent a little shiver up her spine.
"The ghost ship—the Carroll A. Deering," Sydney answered. "There she was, half washed up on one of the shoals, with her sails still opened wide and flapping in the wind. The ocean was pushing at her from behind. Her prow, that's the front end of the ship, was scraping against some rocks in the sand. Scrape ... scrape ..." As Sydney said the words, she brushed the tips of her fingers along the side of Bailey's arm.
"Stop it!" Bailey said. "You're spooking me out."
"I thought nothing scared you," Sydney answered. "Maybe I shouldn't tell you the rest."
A seagull swept over Bailey's head. It dove and snatched a small fish out of the ocean. "Go on," she said tentatively. "I want to hear."
"It was a foggy, cold, misty morning," Sydney continued, "and the sea was rough. The men of the Coast Guard knew it would be really hard getting to the wreck, but they had to, because they knew that the crew was in danger. So they got into their heavy wooden rowboat, and they rowed through the boiling waves toward the shoals."
"But it was the middle of winter," said Bailey.
"So?" Sydney asked.
"You said that the waves were boiling, and if that's true, it was summertime. You're making this up, aren't you?"
"Bailey!" Sydney protested. "It was a figure of speech. The sea was rough. The waves were rolling like boiling water. That's all. The ocean never gets hot enough to boil, and this is a true story. You can ask anyone on the Outer Banks, and they'll tell you—it's true."
Bailey stopped in the sand and let the edge of the ocean tickle her toes. "Okay," she conceded.
"So anyway," said Sydney. "They got into their big rowboat, and they rowed out to the Carroll A. Deering. When they reached her, they climbed up onto her deck."
"How'd they climb onto it?" Bailey wondered. "Did they have a ladder? Weren't the waves too rough?"
"I don't know. They were the coastguardsmen, and they know how to climb up on decks and stuff." Sydney swatted at a deerfly that landed on her elbow. "And when they got up on the deck, it was eerily quiet except for the waves lapping at the sides of the ship and that awful scrape ... scrape...."
Bailey pulled away as Sydney's long fingers reached for her arm.
"Ahoy!" Sydney yelled.
"Did I scare you?"
"I just didn't expect you to yell, that's all," said Bailey. "And why did you?"
"That's what the Coast Guard yelled," Sydney said. "They stood on the deck, and they yelled, 'Ahoy there! Is anyone here?' But nobody answered. So they searched the deserted deck, and the only sounds they heard were the echo of their own footsteps."
"Don't forget the waves and the scraping," Bailey interjected.
"And the waves and the scraping," said Sydney. "And after looking around the top deck, they went down into the center of the ship, and then they opened the door to the crew's quarters. And do you know what they found?" Sydney stopped. She looked at Bailey and grinned.
"Stop playing with me," Bailey said. "What did they find?"
"Nobody," said Sydney. "There was no one there. The beds had all been slept in, and everything was shipshape, except that eleven crewmen and their stuff were gone."
"Gone?" Bailey wondered.
"Just like that. Disappeared. Then the coastguardsmen went to check out the galley. There was food standing out like someone had been preparing a meal, only nobody had eaten anything. The table was all set with plates, cups, and silverware, but nothing had been touched. So the men checked out the officers' quarters next. The beds had been slept in, and the officers' boots were on the floor next to their beds, but nobody was there. Their personal stuff was gone and so was the ship's log, the navigating instruments, all of it—gone."
"So where did everybody go?" Bailey asked.
"Nobody knows," Sydney answered. "It's a big mystery around here. It was like they vanished into thin air. The sailors were never found. The shoals are near enough to shore that something should have washed up, if not their bodies, then some of their belongings, but nothing ever did—"
Sydney's story was interrupted by a powerful, rhythmic noise. All at once, a swirling cloud of sand covered Sydney and Bailey as something huge and brown rushed past them.
Bailey screamed. She gripped Sydney's arm. "A horse!" she cried.
In the swirling dust, she saw a muscular, brown stallion galloping on ahead of them. Its black mane stood on end as it raced against the wind.
Sydney caught her breath. The horse had frightened her as much as it had Bailey. She wondered if God was having a good laugh, getting even with her for trying to scare Bailey with the ghost story of the Carroll A. Deering.
"It's a wild horse," she said. "Probably one of the mustangs."
"What mustangs?" Bailey asked.
"Usually, they're not this far south," Sydney told her, "and they don't typically come near people. They're wild horses—they don't belong to anyone. They wander as free as any other wild animal around here. I'm pretty used to seeing them. They've lived on the Outer Banks for at least four hundred years, so people who live here don't pay much attention to them. They're another mystery of the Outer Banks. No one knows for sure how they got here."
"Oh great," said Bailey. "The sailors disappeared and nobody knows where they went. The wild horses showed up, but nobody knows how they got here. And this morning I saw a UFO.
"What kind of a place is this, Sydney? First you tell me a story about a ghost ship, and then a wild horse comes galloping by almost close enough to touch. You know, this sort of reminds me of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow where the headless horseman comes dashing out of nowhere."
"You never know," said Sydney. "We might have a headless horseman roaming around here, too. The Outer Banks is loaded with folklore about all kinds of stuff. It's even known for pirates like Captain Kidd, Calico Jack, and Blackbeard. They all walked along this beach once upon a time. Who knows, maybe they still do."
"Do you believe in ghosts?" Bailey asked.
Before Sydney could answer, a small ghost crab popped out of the sand and skittered toward the girls. It stopped briefly and looked at them through two black eyes set atop its head like periscopes sticking up from a submarine.
"Maybe," said Sydney, "and maybe not."CHAPTER 2
The Disappearing Captain
The girls left the beach and walked to Corolla Village and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. It was one of Sydney's favorite places, and she wanted to show it to Bailey. Something was wonderfully mysterious about the way the lighthouse rose from the trees and almost touched the sky. Its weathered red bricks sat tightly atop each other, forming rows around and around. They stopped at an iron-framed lookout. The lookout encircled the lantern house, the highest part of the tower. There, inside a giant, glass dome, was the powerful beacon of light that swept across ocean and sound.
Excerpted from Sydney's Outer Banks Blast by Jean Fischer, Jeanette Littleton. Copyright © 2010 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
These books r the most interesting books ever they r cool there is bailey mckensie sydney elizibith kate alexis and the dog biscuit