Use code DAD23 for 20% off + Free shipping on $45+ Shop Now!
Smells Like Pirates
Formats and Prices
- Trade Paperback $7.00 $8.00 CAD
- ebook $6.99 $8.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 10, 2013. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Also available from:
Table of Contents
A Sneak Peek of The Sasquatch Escape
In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at email@example.com. Thank you for your support of the author's rights.
OFFICIAL CERTIFICATE OF MEMBERSHIP
It is hereby proclaimed that Mister Homer Winslow Pudding has been granted lifetime membership in the Society of Legends, Objects, Secrets, and Treasures and thusly reaps all of the society's questing benefits, which include access to the L.O.S.T. library, guidance and assistance from other members, and financial support.
If at any time or under any circumstances Mister Homer Winslow Pudding breaks his oath of secrecy, he shall be forever banned from the society.
Furthermore, if at any time or under any circumstances Mister Homer Winslow Pudding chooses to ignore L.O.S.T.'s purpose, which is to recover the world's treasures for the benefit and greater good of humankind, he shall be forever banned from the society.
The Honorable Lord Mockingbird XVIII
President of L.O.S.T.
It was a nearly perfect morning on the Pudding Goat Farm.
The sun rose with the rooster's crowing, then gently shone through Homer Pudding's bedroom window, tickling Homer's cheeks with its long, warm fingers. A songbird settled on the windowsill, the notes of its sweet melody dancing through the air. The scents of huckleberry pancakes and sizzling bacon wafted up the stairs, filling the bedroom with deliciousness. And a loving voice called—
"Get out of bed, you big dork!"
Okay, so it wasn't a loving voice. It was a moody, bossy voice, and it belonged to Homer's sister, Gwendolyn Maybel Pudding.
If she knew my secrets, Homer thought, she wouldn't call me a dork. He yawned and rubbed crust from his eyes, then stared up at his sister's scowling face. "What time is it?"
"Do I look like your personal alarm clock?" she snarled. "Mom told me to tell you to get out of bed. So get out of bed." She stomped out the door, her white lab coat billowing behind her.
Gwendolyn's foul personality was, according to Mrs. Pudding, a direct result of her age. Fifteen years, three hundred and fifty-nine days, to be exact, which made her a teenager. "Just because you've got pimples is no reason to be so rude," Homer mumbled as the lab coat disappeared around the corner.
"Urrrr," agreed the dog lying beside him.
Although he looked like an ordinary basset hound, the dog lying next to Homer was not one bit ordinary. An ordinary basset hound has a highly tuned sense of smell. Because the world tends to be a smelly place, an ordinary basset hound spends a great deal of time being led around by its nose. Homer's dog, however, had been born with a nose that didn't work quite right. Dog's nose didn't smell rotting garbage or frisky rabbits or grandma's pot roast. Dog's nose smelled only one thing—treasure. And that was Homer's most treasured secret.
Dog rolled onto his extra-long back and stuck his extra-short legs straight up in the air, presenting his white belly for a morning scratch. Homer obliged. Dog had arrived at the Pudding farm earlier that year, and since then, he'd spent almost every night sleeping next to Homer. Some of those nights had been filled with danger and excitement as Homer pursued his dream of becoming a famous treasure hunter. The month of August, however, had proven to be a bore—day after day of the same blue-sky weather, day after day of the same old farm chores, and day after day of wondering when adventure would come knocking.
"Urrrr?" Dog complained when Homer stopped scratching.
"We'd better get downstairs," Homer said, "or Gwendolyn might eat our pancakes."
While many kids got to sleep in during the summer months, dreaming of bike riding, swimming, and kite flying, the Pudding kids always got up early. This was the reality of life on a goat farm.
After dressing in his work clothes, a pair of jeans and a plaid shirt, Homer did what he did most mornings—he checked under his bed. Lying on his belly, he pushed aside a pair of dirty socks, then pried free a loose floorboard. He peered into the hole and counted. His secret items were all in attendance: his L.O.S.T. membership certificate, his professional treasure-hunting clothes, and a book called Rare Reptiles I Caught and Stuffed, which contained the most famous pirate treasure map in the world. Why was it the most famous pirate treasure map in the world? Because it had been drawn by Rumpold Smeller, a pirate who spent most of his life traveling the world, amassing a treasure said to be greater than anyone could imagine. And Homer secretly owned this map.
With a smile, he returned the floorboard to its place. All was well beneath his bed.
Homer led Dog down the hallway, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. The swirling scents of breakfast pulled Homer like a leash. The Pudding kitchen was a charming place. Checkered curtains framed a window that overlooked a vegetable garden. Farm-animal magnets covered the refrigerator, and a blue pitcher of field flowers sat on the counter.
Mrs. Pudding bustled around the stove, her brown curls bouncing. Mr. Pudding sat at the end of the kitchen table reading the Sunday City Paper, his overall straps hanging at his waist. Gwendolyn sat slumped in her chair, slurping her orange juice. Across from her on a bench sat Squeak, Homer's little brother. He stopped pushing his toy truck around the table and smiled. "Hi, Homer."
Dog waddled to his dish, his tail wagging. Because Dog couldn't smell anything but treasure, he wasn't a picky eater. In fact, he'd been known to eat shoes, wood, worms, and toenail clippings. Mrs. Pudding often filled his bowl with leftovers, but sometimes Squeak tried to sneak in weird things—which is why Homer always stopped at the dog bowl first. "Squeak," he scolded as he picked out a snail, "please don't feed gastropods to Dog."
As Dog inhaled his meal, Homer sat in his usual chair at the table's end, opposite Mr. Pudding. He sighed and stared at his empty plate. He sighed and stared out the window. He tapped his fingers on the tablecloth. Another long, hot, boring, totally routine August day.
To an outsider, this scene in the Pudding kitchen would appear normal—an ordinary family sitting down to an ordinary breakfast. But this was no ordinary family. Although Homer looked like a regular kind of kid, at twelve years of age, he was the youngest member of the Society of Legends, Objects, Secrets, and Treasures—a secret organization dedicated to treasure hunting. Although Homer's family knew Homer wanted, more than anything in the world, to be a treasure hunter, they did not know that he actually was a treasure hunter, for Homer had sworn an oath of secrecy. It made him kind of sad that he couldn't tell his family about how he and Dog had jumped out of an airplane, or how they'd found a cave of harmonic crystals, or how they'd defeated the evil Madame la Directeur. But Homer knew that an oath of secrecy was nothing to mess around with.
"I've been thinking about a theme," Mrs. Pudding said as she slid pancakes and bacon onto her family's plates.
"A what?" Mr. Pudding said, turning a page of his newspaper.
"A theme for Gwendolyn's sweet-sixteen party."
Sweet sixteen? Homer thought as he poured syrup onto his pancakes. More like sour sixteen.
"I was thinking a butterfly theme, or a pony theme." Mrs. Pudding smiled lovingly, the gold flecks in her brown eyes sparkling. She sat next to Gwendolyn. "How about a teddy bear theme?"
"Mom," Gwendolyn groaned, sinking lower in her chair. "I'm not a baby. Those themes are creepy."
"I like teddy bears," Squeak said, syrup dripping down his chin. Dog moseyed across the room and stood right under Squeak's feet. Since nearly half of Squeak's food ended up on the floor, this was a rewarding place to stand.
Mrs. Pudding stirred her coffee. "If you don't like my suggestions, then what theme would you like, Gwendolyn dear?"
"Roadkill," Gwendolyn replied.
Mrs. Pudding gasped. Squeak giggled. Mr. Pudding closed the newspaper and scowled. But Homer didn't flinch. It made perfect sense that his sister suggested a roadkill theme. She wanted, with all her heart, to become a Royal Taxidermist for the Museum of Natural History. She had her own laboratory out in the shed, where she practiced the art of stuffing dead animals.
"And it's got to be fresh roadkill," Gwendolyn said. "No maggots."
"Now, sweetie," Mrs. Pudding said, "you can't expect me to decorate with roadkill."
"Why not? It's my birthday."
"Forget it," Mr. Pudding said, slapping his hand on the table. "No daughter of mine is going to have a roadkill party. You'll choose one of those nice themes your mother suggested."
Gwendolyn darted to her feet and uttered the same statement she'd uttered yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. "You are totally! Ruining! My life!"
"No one is ruining your life," Mrs. Pudding said. "We want you to have a special sweet-sixteen party. In fact, your father and I bought you a very nice present. And Homer went to town last week to shop for you, didn't you, Homer?"
This time, Homer flinched. He'd gone to town to buy Gwendolyn's birthday present—that much was true. But he'd taken his shovel and metal detector with him and, well, because the detector kept beeping and because Homer kept digging, he forgot all about Gwendolyn. The search for a birthday present wasn't as interesting as the search for treasure, even though that day's treasure had turned out to be nothing but a bunch of rusty tin cans.
"Uh, yeah, I got a present," Homer lied. He'd go shopping that afternoon, as soon as he'd finished his chores.
Gwendolyn peered at Homer through her long brown bangs. "You got me a present?"
"Yep." He stuffed a whole pancake into his mouth, just in case she asked any more questions.
Gwendolyn smiled wickedly. "If you bought my present, then it's hidden somewhere in the house, isn't it? I bet I can find it."
"Gwendolyn Maybel Pudding," Mrs. Pudding said. "You'll have to wait for your party to open your presents. Now sit down and eat your breakfast."
Huckleberries burst in Homer's mouth as he chewed. His mind raced. What kind of present do you get a moody sister who spends her summer days stuffing dead squirrels and gophers? A gift certificate to Ice Cream World didn't seem quite right.
Just then, barking arose in the yard. Max, Gus, and Lulu, the farm dogs, were upset about something. Dog, who'd been licking syrup from Squeak's fingers, scurried to the kitchen door and joined in the barking. "What's all the ruckus?" Mr. Pudding asked.
A knock sounded on the kitchen door. Mr. Pudding pulled his overall straps over his shoulders and went to answer it. "Well, hello there," he said. "What are you doing here?"
The rest of the Pudding family turned and looked toward the open doorway, but Mr. Pudding was blocking their view. It wouldn't be the mail lady, Homer thought, not on a Sunday. Maybe it's one of the neighbors.
"Good morning," a voice said. "I say, is Homer up and about? I have rather important news."
Homer's heart skipped a beat. He knew that voice.
A man stepped into the kitchen. He tucked his long black hair behind his ears and looked around. His gaze landed on Homer.
Homer scrambled out of his chair. "Hi, Ajitabh."
Ajitabh (pronounced AAAH-jih-tahb) did not return Homer's smile. He narrowed his dark eyes and ran his hand over his thin mustache and pointy beard. A doctor of inventology, Ajitabh was a fellow member of L.O.S.T. He'd been a trusted friend of Homer's treasure-hunting uncle, who'd died earlier that year, and he was now Homer's trusted mentor. The rest of the Pudding family knew Ajitabh from the Milkydale County Fair, where Dog had led a wild chase that resulted in the destruction of the beloved gunnysack slide. Ajitabh, inventor extraordinaire, built a new and improved slide, to everyone's approval.
"Hello, Homer." His tone was serious. He leaned over to pet Dog. "Hello, Dog." Dog thwapped his tail against Ajitabh's leg.
Mrs. Pudding hurried over to the cupboard and grabbed a plate. "You'll join us for breakfast?" She set it on the table, but Ajitabh shook his head.
"That would be delightful, but time is of the essence," he said.
"What's your important news?" Mr. Pudding asked.
"Quite right." Ajitabh rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, then reached into the back pocket of his khaki pants and handed an envelope to Homer. "It's an invitation."
Homer half expected the envelope to be secured with a L.O.S.T. seal, but that wasn't the case. The envelope was as plain as could be—no seal, no return address, nothing. He opened it and pulled out a piece of paper.
"What is it?" Mrs. Pudding asked.
Homer read the letter aloud.
To: Homer W. Pudding
Pudding Goat Farm
Grinning Goat Road
From: Lewis Dimknob, Royal Cartographer
Map of the Month Club Headquarters
Boulevard of Destinations
Congratulations, Mr. Pudding.
Your name has been drawn at random from our list of subscribers. I am pleased to inform you that you have been awarded a VIP tour of our headquarters. This tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will not be offered again.
We eagerly await your arrival on Monday, August 20, at noon precisely.
Lewis Dimknob, Royal Cartographer
"Wow," Homer said. "This is really cool. I love the Map of the Month Club."
"VIP?" Gwendolyn grumbled. "How come Homer keeps getting these VIP invitations, huh? What's up with that?"
This was, in fact, Homer's second VIP invitation. VIP stands for "very important person." The first invitation had come from the Museum of Natural History and had led Homer to the discovery of Madame la Directeur's lair and a near-death escape from a man-eating tortoise. This invitation sounded a bit safer. "Can I go?" Homer asked. "I'd really like to go."
"August twentieth is tomorrow," Mrs. Pudding said worriedly. "That's not much notice."
"Sincerest apologies," Ajitabh said in his lilting accent. "As a board member of the Map Club, I was asked to deliver the invitation last week but was waylaid by circumstances beyond my control." He shot a serious glance at Homer. "We need to leave immediately, old chap."
Homer looked yearningly at his father. Was the boredom of August about to end?
"How long will he be gone?" Mr. Pudding asked.
"A bit of uncertainty there," Ajitabh said. "The Map of the Month Club's library alone covers three floors. I have reserved a room for us at a very nice City hotel. I'll act as Homer's guardian. You needn't worry about a thing."
"It sounds like a wonderful opportunity," Mrs. Pudding said to Ajitabh. "Homer loves maps. He's always loved maps. But he'll need to be back for his sister's sweet-sixteen party. It's next Saturday."
"Righteo. That shouldn't be a problem."
"I can go?" Homer beamed, the corners of his smile nearly reaching his ears. But Ajitabh didn't smile. His eyebrows knotted as if twisted by troubling thoughts. Why wasn't he happy? Homer stepped closer to Ajitabh. And why didn't he smell like cloud cover? Homer glanced out the kitchen window. Instead of a cloudcopter, Ajitabh's usual method of transportation, a black limousine waited in the driveway.
"You can go," Mr. Pudding said. "But Gwendolyn will have to cover your chores."
"No way!" Gwendolyn blurted, her cheeks turning red. "Homer gets to go on another vacation and I'm stuck here doing his chores? I'm too busy to do Homer's chores."
"I'll do Homer's chores," Squeak offered.
"I'll make it up to you when I get back," Homer told his sister. "I'll do your chores for a whole extra week."
Gwendolyn chewed on her lower lip, her eyes narrowed in thought. "You really want to go?"
"Then tell me where you hid my present."
"Gwendolyn Maybel Pudding," Mrs. Pudding said. "You will wait until your birthday to open your presents, and that is final."
"Fine!" Gwendolyn pointed at Homer. "But he's doing my chores for an entire month."
"Agreed," Homer said. He held back a sigh of relief. He'd expected to do his sister's chores for an entire year.
"I'll help you pack," Mrs. Pudding said.
If Homer had packed on his own, he would have reached into one of his drawers, grabbed some random clothes, then stuffed them into a backpack as fast as he could. But Mrs. Pudding didn't want her son going anywhere without clean underwear and socks. "Wait," she said as he grabbed the backpack. "You almost forgot your toothbrush." She slid it into one of the pockets. "You'll get cavities if you don't brush."
Homer didn't care if moss grew on his teeth. He just wanted to jump into that limo with Ajitabh and get off the farm.
"I had dreams of becoming a cartographer," Mr. Pudding was telling Ajitabh when Homer hurried back into the kitchen. "Homer gets his love of maps from me."
"Let's go," Homer said, grabbing Dog's blue leash.
After hugging everyone good-bye, except for Gwendolyn, who'd disappeared, Homer flew down the front porch steps. With a grunt and a heave, he pushed Dog into the limousine. Then he climbed in and settled on the soft leather seat. Ajitabh climbed in next to him. "Drive on," Ajitabh said. The driver's outline was blurry through the dark glass panel that separated the front and back seats. The engine started.
"Did you bring your coin?" Ajitabh asked.
Homer reached under his shirt, where a coin hung from a chain. It was his official membership coin with the letters L.O.S.T. engraved on one side and a treasure chest engraved on the other side. "Yeah, I've got it."
The goats watched as the limousine headed down the Pudding driveway and onto Grinning Goat Road. Homer looked back at the house. Mrs. Pudding and Squeak waved from the front porch. Mr. Pudding headed toward the barn. But why was Gwendolyn standing in Homer's bedroom, staring out the window? She didn't wave or smile. Was it because he got to go on a little vacation and she didn't? He'd be sure to bring her back a nice birthday present.
"Hey, Ajitabh," Homer said as Dog settled at his feet. "Why do I need my membership coin if we're going to the Map of the Month Club?"
"We aren't going to the Map of the Month Club, old chap. The invitation is fake. I lied to your parents."
"You lied?" An eerie tickle crept up Homer's spine. "Then where are we going?"
Ajitabh frowned. "Homer, I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news."
The prisoner sat behind a security window made of extra-thick glass. She wore no makeup or jewelry, and her short black hair was slicked back behind her ears. The blue stripes of her prison pajamas matched her serious eyes. When she spoke, her voice slithered through a speaker.
"The map is hidden in a book called Rare Reptiles I Caught and Stuffed," she said.
The visitor rustled nervously in the chair on the other side of the window. The room's cold air had awakened goose pimples on the visitor's arms. "The map?"
"Yes, the map," the prisoner said. "The only map anyone cares about. Rumpold Smeller's map, of course. Are you stupid or something?"
"You're calling me stupid?" The visitor frowned. "I'm not the one in jail."
A frustrated growl vibrated through the speaker as the prisoner's face turned red. "I wouldn't be in here if that overfed Pudding kid and his mangy dog hadn't interfered with my plans."
"You wouldn't be in here, Madame, if you hadn't stolen all the gemstones from the Museum of Natural History."
"Well, you do have a point." The prisoner, whose full name was Madame la Directeur, patted a rebellious lock of hair back into place.
"Some people think you should be convicted of murder," the visitor said. "Some people think you turned your turtle into a man-eating monster on purpose."
"Tortoise," Madame corrected. "Edith is a tortoise, not a turtle." Her tone turned sad, as if she missed the carnivorous beast.
"Whatever. The fact is, that monster ate Homer's uncle, and some people think you planned it."
"Mean-spirited people can say what they like. There's no proof."
The visitor's eyes narrowed. "Let's stop wasting time. Why did you call me here?"
Madame looked over her shoulder. A guard sat, reading a magazine, in a chair in the far corner of the room. Two other prisoners had finished their conversations and were heading back to their cells. Madame leaned closer to the microphone, lowering her voice to a whisper. "I thought the book was gone. But I've had a lot of time in solitary confinement to think about it. Edith did not digest the book." The visitor leaned closer to the speaker, trying to catch every secret word. "Edith swallowed the book that contains Rumpold's map. I saw her swallow it, and I thought the map was gone forever. But I'd forgotten that Edith can't digest paper. She can digest radioactive nuclear waste and people, but paper always disagrees with her. It comes back up. So that means she ate the book, but she didn't digest it."
"Two minutes left," the guard announced.
"So where is it?" the visitor asked. "Hurry. There's not much time."
Madame scowled. "The fat kid has it."
"How do you know he has it?"
"Intuition. I can feel it in my bones." She clenched her trembling fingers into fists. "He's a Pudding. The map always finds its way back to a Pudding."
"Why are you telling me this?" the visitor asked. "What good does it do you? You're stuck in here. Even if you are correct and Homer has the map, you can't get it. You can't search for treasure from a jail cell."
"I'm telling you this because I don't want that meddling kid to find Rumpold's treasure."
"You'd rather I found it?"
Madame la Directeur pressed her palms against the window. She breathed rapidly, anger seeping from every inch of her being. "Of course I don't want you to find it," she snarled. "I'm the one who deserves that treasure. But those Puddings are the bane of my existence. I'll do whatever it takes to keep another Pudding from outmaneuvering me, even if it means hiring you."
The guard cleared his throat. "Visiting hours are over."
Madame removed her hands from the glass and stood. She took a long breath, then smoothed out her crumpled prison pajamas. Before turning to leave, she said one last thing to the visitor. "Do not double-cross me again."
The visitor shivered, for the look on Madame's face was as cold as the air-conditioned room.
What kind of bad news?" Homer asked as the limousine turned down Peashoot Lane and crossed the bridge over Milky Creek.
"Bloomin' bad news," Ajitabh said.
Homer gripped his membership coin. "Are they going to kick me out of L.O.S.T.?" he asked. "Did they decide I'm too young?"
What else could it be? Homer remembered the morning when he'd learned his uncle Drake had died. His chest tightened at the possibility that someone else he loved was gone. "Has someone died?" Ajitabh nodded. "Not Zelda," Homer whispered. He reached down until he felt Dog's warm back. "Please not Zelda."
Praise for the Smells Like Dog series:* "Selfors offers up an adventure tale that features a humorous, high-stakes mystery and a lovable hero....Peppered with funny dialogue, this joyous romp is a page-turning adventure that will appeal to enthusiastic and reluctant readers alike."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
- * "A funny, suspenseful adventure that stretches the borders of readers' imaginations. A heartwarming and quirky cast of characters adds to the fun...Homer and Dog are a strange, silly, and lovable duo."—School Library Journal, starred review
- "A fantastic tale in every good sense of the word....Homer W. Pudding: my kind of hero."—Rebecca Stead, author of Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me
- On Sale
- Sep 10, 2013
- Page Count
- 384 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers