Last week we announced that Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp by Shana Gorian is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category:
Here’s the set-up:
Rosco the Rascal, a spirited German shepherd, and his human pals, James and Mandy, are spending a week at summer camp. Although seven-year-old Mandy is excited to be away from home for the first time, she’s worried she might not make any friends and become homesick. Her brother, ten-year-old James, loves everything about camp, but a prank-playing bunkmate is causing trouble in his cabin this year. And when good-natured Rosco, who was allowed to accompany the kids to camp, must spend a week alongside the grouchy resident dog at Camp Hickory Ridge, suddenly the week becomes much more complicated than everyone had expected. Find out if Rosco and the kids can take a week filled with archery, swimming, and capture the flag, and turn things around, in this third adventure with Rosco the Rascal. *136 pages *17 black and white illustrations throughout *Recommended for ages 8-10
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And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
THE WAYWARD HAT
The leaves on the tall, green trees surrounding the lake at Camp Hickory Ridge blew gently in the wind. A dozen cabins stood peacefully in the woods next to the lake while their occupants were away, busy with Sunday’s afternoon activities.
“Remember last year, how I almost tipped us over?” said James, standing next to his dog, Rosco, and his friend, Caleb, on the wooden dock. The boys patiently waited their turn for a canoe as they watched several more drift by on the lake.
Caleb nodded and laughed. “You better promise you won’t stand up this year!”
James, a redheaded fifth grader with freckles, had been coming to camp every summer since he was eight years old.
“I promise! But I didn’t mean to last time!” said James. “Honest. I just forgot what I was doing!”
Rosco, James’s friendly German shepherd, sat listening and eagerly taking in
the action on the lake.
Besides the half-dozen canoes on the water, several older boys and girls sailed by on windsurfers. Windsurfing, a sport that combines surfing and sailing, was a popular activity at Camp Hickory Ridge.
The steady breeze was turning the campers’ afternoon lesson into an exciting ride. A few sailing rigs had capsized and were floating in place, while the young sailors bobbed about in lifejackets, enjoying a dip in the cool lake.
Other campers seemed to be holding on for dear life as they sailed across the water at top speed.
One windsurfing instructor stood in the shallows giving a lesson to a cautious first-timer. Another paddled out in a canoe to the middle of the lake to help a desperate student pull his windsurfer upright again. But most of the campers were enjoying the day.
James and Caleb watched in excitement. Each boy wore an orange life vest and held a wooden oar. Several boys from their cabin were already out on the water, paddling away in their canoes.
“Okay, Rosco. You wait for us on the dock when it’s our turn for a canoe,” said James. Rosco looked intently at James and panted, his tongue hanging out.
The boys’ counselor, Matt, gave orders to another pair of boys climbing out of a canoe. He tied the boat’s rope to the wooden dock and turned to Caleb and James. “This one’s for you guys!” He motioned to them.
“Let’s go!” Caleb said, heading toward the canoe. Rosco followed the two of them across the dock.
The boys stopped to listen as they heard some arguing out on the lake. It seemed to be coming from their cabinmates, Josh and Jeffrey, who were sharing a canoe.
It looked as though Jeffrey had tossed Josh’s hat in the water, for no apparent reason, and was laughing as the hat floated away.
“Ha ha!” Jeffrey teased. “There it goes! See you later, hat!” James and the others nearby heard him say.
The wind quickly lifted the hat and carried it several yards farther.
Out in the boat, Josh stared at his hat, floating away on the lake.
“What did you do that for? That was the only hat I brought for the whole week!” he demanded.
“No reason! Just because it’s funny!” Jeffrey smirked. “And look, it floats, just like our canoe! Ha ha ha!”
Why would he do that? James thought, annoyed. That wasn’t funny at all.
James glanced at his dog still next to him on the dock. Rosco’s gaze was fixed firmly on the moving hat. Before James could stop him, Rosco flung himself into the water.
“Rosco, where are you going?” James called in alarm. “Come back!”
But Rosco wanted to help. He was always ready to help someone in need. As a dog of action, Rosco wasn’t going to let a perfectly good hat just float away from its owner.
Rosco doggy paddled quickly toward the wayward hat. When he reached it, he seized the hat with his teeth and headed toward the canoe. Many of the kids in nearby canoes stopped their boats to watch.
“What do you think you’re doing, mutt?” Jeffrey called to Rosco. “Get out of here.” But Rosco kept swimming toward them.
When he reached their canoe, Rosco swam up to Josh, who gratefully scooped it out of Rosco’s mouth.
“Wow! Thanks, Rosco! Good dog!”
Rosco flashed his doggy smile, treading water, but wasted no time. He turned back around and began to swim toward the shore.
“Hmmph.” Jeffrey pouted.
James’s heart swelled with pride over his dog. That’s my boy, he thought.
As James watched Rosco steadily doggy paddling back to shore, a skinny, dark-haired, thirteen-year-old boy appeared on his windsurfer. The boy was trying hard to keep his balance, holding on tightly to the boom as he stood on the board. The instructor had explained to everyone that the boom on a windsurfer was like the handlebars on a bicycle.
But it was much harder than riding a bike, James thought. The boy was struggling to keep his boat afloat and not run into anything.
All at once, a fierce breeze hit the sail, speeding up the boy’s rig. The boy tried to
avoid any obstacles in the water, but the wind was too strong. He couldn’t control the sails. He was now heading straight toward Rosco.
Swimming calmly across the lake, Rosco didn’t see or hear the windsurfer at all.
The boy began to panic. “I can’t stop!” he hollered. “Watch out!” But the wind carried his voice away.
James began to panic, too. He raced to the edge of the dock, desperate to warn his dog. “Watch out, Rosco! Get out of the way!”
Rosco heard James’s call without a second to spare. He turned and saw the disaster heading toward him. Quickly, Rosco took a deep breath and ducked underwater.
Then, using every ounce of his strength, he paddled down deeper. If Rosco were lucky, he might not get hit by the large board gliding overhead.
“Oh, no,” Caleb whispered.
As fellow campers held their breath, the boy sailed onward, unable to stop. Swallowing hard, James watched as the boy passed straight through the spot in the lake where Rosco had been swimming only a moment ago.
But no terrible sound was heard—no awful bumping noise, no screeching howl of pain from Rosco—just the board cutting cleanly through the water.
The next moment, Rosco bobbed back to the surface, unhurt.
“He did it!” Caleb cried. “Rosco did it!” He raised a triumphant fist into the air.
“Whew!” James sighed heavily with relief.
Rosco began to swim steadily back to shore again. In a few moments, he crawled safely onto the sandy beach. All of the kids nearby cheered, except for Jeffrey. Jeffrey was pouting.
James hurried across the dock and jumped down onto the sand to greet his sopping wet dog.
“Wow! That was close. You sure gave us a scare, boy!” James said. Are you okay?” Rosco stood up and shook himself, spattering drops from his wet fur all over the place. James held out a hand to cover his face. He turned his head away. But it was no use. Rosco soaked him. “Aw, man!” He cringed, smiling.
Rosco followed James back onto the dock. Tired and wet, the dog lay down in the warm sun.
“Take a rest, boy,” James said. You deserve it.” James turned back to Caleb, who had climbed into their canoe and was waiting for him. “Okay, I’m ready now,” said James.
He stepped carefully into the canoe and sat down. Caleb untied the rope from the post on the dock.
“I don’t know why Jeffrey would play a joke that like,” Caleb said. “It wasn’t funny at all. It was just mean, if you ask me.”
“I know. It was like he just wanted attention. He sure is lucky that Rosco didn’t get hurt, though. Because he’d be in serious trouble right now if Rosco had been hit by that windsurfer.”
“By the way, isn’t Jeffrey new this year?” said Caleb. “I don’t remember him from last year.”
“Yeah. It’s his first time at camp,” James said. “I asked him today when he was setting up his bunk.”
Matt, their counselor, motioned to Jeffrey and Josh to bring their canoe in, frowning hard at Jeffrey.
“Well, we’d better keep an eye on Jeffrey,” James said, “especially since he’s in our cabin.”
They lifted their oars and pushed them against the dock to move the boat out into the water. “We don’t know what kinds of things he might do. This probably won’t be the last little joke he plays on one of us. And I don’t want him ruining our week.”
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