From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Arthur Howard comes the third book in the beloved Gooseberry Park middle grade series.
Kona the Labrador and Gwendolyn the hermit crab love how much it’s been raining in Gooseberry Park. But the weather brings trouble to their home when a lost bobcat kitten is swept down from the mountain and away from his family. Murray the bat rescues the cub, but to bring him home, Kona and Murray will have to venture beyond the comfort and safety of their beloved park…and prepare themselves to say goodbye to their young new friend.
Chapter 1: Deluge 1 Deluge Remember when we wished for rain?” Kona asked his best friend, Gwendolyn. The Labrador turned his large brown head away from the picture window and looked toward the clear bowl on Professor Albert’s coffee table.
“Indeed we did,” answered the hermit crab, her antennae bending toward the wet deluge outside.
It had been over a year since they’d lived through the drought, those many months of no rain at all that had brought hard times to Kona’s and Gwendolyn’s friends who lived nearby in Gooseberry Park. Over a year since the two had done their part to deliver water to the babies and elders of the park when the dry situation became desperate.
The drought had been long. It had been fearful. But it had broken, finally, with the long-awaited arrival of rain, and everyone in Gooseberry Park had survived. Nature had settled back into its ordinary ways: a bit of sun here, some rain there, now and then snow. There was the occasional surprise storm that kept everyone inside. But nature, for more than a year now, had been ordinary.
Until lately. Lately, nature had not been ordinary. The rain did not seem to know when to stop. Outside Professor Albert’s picture window pounded a heavy, loud drumming-drumming of water. Rain had been falling for days.
Both Kona and Gwendolyn loved rain. They loved being wet. When Professor Albert reached for his raincoat and umbrella, Kona always did a little dance at the door, for he knew they were going to the park. Rain never stopped Professor Albert. And because he was a very careful pet owner, he put a bright red doggy raincoat on Kona as well. The slick coat wrapped around the Labrador and closed snugly under the dog’s middle. Labradors love water—they are famous for plunging with all fours into lakes all over the world. Kona did not really need a coat. But it did keep him mostly dry and tidy, which made things easier on the return home. Neither Professor Albert nor Kona wished to have a wet and sloppy house.
And Gwendolyn: Well, she loved water very much because near water is the natural home of hermit crabs. Professor Albert had remembered this and had furnished her bowl with a small pool of water and a plastic palm tree. He wanted both of his pets to be happy. And they were.
Of course, Professor Albert would have been greatly surprised if someone had told him that he also had a third pet. Of sorts. A sort-of pet who pilfered his cheese puffs and borrowed his television to watch Jeopardy! This sort-of pet had his own home in a tree in Gooseberry Park, but because he was a sociable bat—yes, a bat—he spent a lot of his free time with his friends Kona and Gwendolyn on Miller Street. He had met Kona by way of Stumpy Squirrel, and now he visited frequently, telling Kona and Gwendolyn all the park news between snacks from the kitchen. Professor Albert had no idea, though he did sometimes wonder where the pretzels went.
Kona and Gwendolyn gazed together at the heavy streams of water rushing down the street, at the birdbaths overflowing, at the rain gutters gushing small waterfalls onto Professor Albert’s boxwoods below. They did not know that the professor’s sort-of pet—a bat named Murray—would soon make a bold and drippy flight to see them. And to tell them what he had found.
Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Brownie & Pearl, Motor Mouse, and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newbery Medal. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Arthur Howard is the illustrator of the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, Gooseberry Park series, and Motor Mouse series by Cynthia Rylant; Goatilocks and the Three Bears by Erica S. Perl; Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon; and his own picture books including My Creepy Valentine, My Dream Dog,and When I Was Five. He lives in New York City.
Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 22, 2022)
Length: 112 pages
Grades: 3 - 7
Ages: 8 - 12
Lexile ® 750L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
Fountas & Pinnell™ P These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System