Have you ever picked your nose? Have you ever picked your nose and EATEN IT? Have you ever picked your nose, eaten it, and, by doing so, opened a portal to a world run by PIRATES?
Mabel Jones has.
Kidnapped, Mabel is forced to serve aboard The Feroshus Maggot with the strangest crew you’ll ever meet. And the captain—an odious wolf named Idryss Ebenezer Split—won’t let her go until she helps the pirates uncover the treasure they seek.
Mabel’s voyage takes her across the Greasy Pole of Certain Death, into the belly of a whale, and underground to a decrepit crypt. And she does it all…in pajamas!
Read on if you dare. You are promised a most unlikely adventure.
|Publisher:||Penguin Young Readers Group|
|Series:||Mabel Jones Series , #1|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|Lexile:||750L (what's this?)|
|File size:||37 MB|
|Note:||This product may take a few minutes to download.|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Yesterday morning Mabel Jones had eaten two bowls of cornflakes for breakfast. Then she’d had another one. Then she’d had a slice of toast with strawberry jam for dessert. She’d spread the jam all the way to the edge to make it easier to eat the crusts. Then she’d gone to school.
This morning Mabel Jones had a feeling that she probably wouldn’t be going to school.
This morning she was sitting on a barrel in the cabin of a pirate ship, surrounded by a crew of excited animal pirates. It was actually surprisingly similar to being at school, except instead of a nice principal called Mr. Dobson, there was an evil wolf called Captain Idryss Ebenezer Split.
The captain unfolded a piece of paper, and the excited chatter of the crew died down into an expectant silence as he placed it on the table in front of him.
Split turned to Mabel. His muzzle was so close to her face she could see strings of wet drool between his half-open jaws.
“On this page are written the names of the creatures who stand between me and my destiny. The treacherous bunch of scumbags who stole my rightful inheritance when they mutinied against their captain, my father.”
The crew tutted and shook their heads disapprovingly.
Split pulled at the necklace that hung from his neck. Suspended from the rusting chain was a lump of dull black metal.
“Aye! Each one of them has a piece like this, stolen from my poor, dearly departed father.”
Pelf leaned in close to Mabel. “It’s part of an X!” he whispered.
“A what?” she whispered back.
“The letter X! And we all know what the letter X marks, don’t we?”
“Do we?” she asked, forgetting to whisper this time.
The captain’s lip curled back to reveal purple gums.
“Somewhere, snuglet, somewhere far away, in the Haunted Seventh Sea, there is a spot. A spot that’s missing its X. I alone knows that spot, and soon I will have all five pieces of the X!”
“But why do you need the X if you already know the spot?” asked Mabel, wrinkling her nose.
Split growled and his boggled eye boggled more than usual.
“Because this particular X don’t just mark the spot. It’s also a key!”
“Aye, a key. A key forged in a time long since sunken into the greasy soup of history.”
Split pointed to a porthole. “See there! In the sky. The burning comet!”
Mabel and the pirates followed his gaze. Sure enough, a little way above the horizon, a light glowed white in the sky. Split traced a path through the air with his cutlass.
“The comet passes just once every hundred years. And while it shines in the sky, if the X is completed and placed correctly, it will unlock a treasure. The most amazing treasure known to beast or hooman.”
“Chests of precious jewels!” cried Pelf.
“Piles of golden coins!” croaked Old Sawbones.
“Priceless works of fine art!” squealed Milton Melton Mowbray.
Captain Split smiled wickedly.
“Aye, lads. Something like that . . .”
Pelf removed a star chart from his fleece and unfolded it proudly.
“According to my expert calculations, the comet should—”
“I think you’re holding the chart upside down,” said Mabel Jones.
Pelf turned the chart the other way around.
“Aye. According to my calculations, the comet should cross the sky over the next fourteen days.”
Captain Split turned to his crew.
“And so we have to gather every piece of the X from the names on this list and reach the spot before the fortnight is out!”
He lovingly smoothed the tattered list with a paw.
“It’s been carried across six of the seven seas by bird and by boat—” Split smiled wickedly—“but it’s never once been read.”
The captain’s paw shot out and, grabbing Mabel Jones by the collar of her pajamas, lifted her clean off the ground. His single eye fixed on her as she dangled in the air. She could feel his claws digging into her skin.
“And now we have a reader!”
Split let go of Mabel and she fell to the floor.
“You,” he snapped. “So read it!”
Mabel picked up the list and studied it closely. It was going to be difficult to read with the whole crew watching, especially as the words were faded and all joined up.
Taking a deep breath, Mabel Jones began to read:
The captain looked at the crew.
“Does anyone know this varmint that goes by the name MacGroany?”
The crew shook their heads.
The captain banged his fist against the table.
“When I find that treacherous creature MacGroany, I’ll rip his head off and throw it to the seagulls!”
The crew cheered!
“Who’s next on the list, Mabel?” asked Pelf the goat.
Mabel continued to read:
The crew looked at each other again, shaking their heads. He wasn’t a pirate they were familiar with either.
“I’ll tie him to a carnivorous squid!” cried the captain, snapping a chair in half.
Mabel continued reading the list:
“So ferocious he’s known by a single name!” gasped Old Sawbones.
“I’ll stuff him like a mackerel,” whispered the captain, curling his lip to reveal his razor-sharp teeth.
The crew winced.
Mabel looked at the captain politely. “Shall I finish?”
The last item was written in a different handwriting.
“Lemon juice,” read Mabel.
The crew looked at one another in confusion. Finally Pelf spoke.
“It’s just a shopping list, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I think so.” Mabel smiled apologetically at the crew.
The captain’s single eye boggled with rage. Throwing back his head, he howled the loudest howl ever heard by man or beast. He drew his cutlass and swung it angrily through the air, twisting it into the heart of an imaginary enemy. Then he turned to point it at Mabel.
“Then I guess that makes you pretty useless, snuglet!”
Omynus Hussh appeared from the shadows.
“Slice her open, Captain! She’s made you look a fool!”
But Mabel wasn’t even listening. She was thinking.
Something wasn’t quite right . . .
Somewhere deep inside her head a thought was waking up and scratching itself.
Why is the last item written by a different hand?
Then that thought rudely poked a new thought awake with a bony finger.
And why would you need lemon juice in what is obviously a recipe for macaroni and cheese?
Lemon juice . . .
Spinning away from the captain’s sword, Mabel Jones held the list above a candle.
“Go on, burns it!” scoffed Omynus Hussh. “It’s as worthless as a girl on a pirate ship.”
“I’m not burning it. Just look!” cried Mabel.
The crew gasped as they looked at the list. Below the recipe for bangers and mash with gravy, new words were forming—and this time they were names.
“Invisible ink!” declared Mabel proudly. “The heat from the flame turns the invisible words written in lemon juice brown!”
The crew burst into applause.
“The girl’s a marvel!”
“Who’d have thought it?!”
Mabel placed the list on the table and the crew gathered around as she began to read.
“The Mutineers of the Flying Slug: Bartok the Brute.”
Now wait a second while I find my Who’s Who of Pirates sticker album. Yes, it is complete, apart from a sticker of “Elusive” Jack Carrot, the Rabbit Assassin. No one has ever managed to collect that sticker. (If you find it, please send it to the address in the back of this book. I can swap Eric the Tuneless Canary and “Strangling” Hans Van Snood, the Murderous Gerbil of Ghent for it.)
Ah, here he is. Page 7.
Bartok the Brute
AKA the Beast of the Baltic
Achievements of note:
1) The sinking of a submarine by punching it in the hull.
2) The sinking of an ironclad by punching it in the hull.
3) The sinking of a tramp steamer by . . . Well, you get the picture.
“Ishmael H. Toucan.”
Found him! Under the subsection “Former Pirates,” for his fortune was made as a whaler of the Cold Gray Sea. He shares his entry with his brother, Abel, and holds records for both harpooning and whale butchery.
“The passenger, Count Anselmo Klack.”
No entry for the Count. I guess he is not a real pirate. He is a count, though, which is a mark of badness, if ever I saw one.
Ah, Old Hoss the sheep! I know him well. And so does Captain Split, for Old Hoss carved the captain’s bone leg. Here’s his sticker in the “Smuggling and Thievery” section! A dastardly sheep who would steal from his own mother if he hadn’t already pushed her off a cliff.
The captain flashed a wicked fanged grin and addressed the happy crew.
“All hands on deck, boys! Today we sail and tomorrow . . . Tomorrow we steal!”
Mabel looked up.
“So can I go home now, please?”
Split laughed a nasty laugh.
“There ain’t no way home for you, snuglet. When a hooman child commits the Deed, it opens a porthole between your world and ours, so we pirates can go through and bag “em. But once we’ve snatched the wriggling snuglet and come back through the porthole, then it closes behind us.”
Mabel gulped. “You mean I’m trapped here . . . forever?”
Split leaned in close to her, his hot wolf breath stinking up all her face holes at once.
“Well, now you mention it, there is one way back. Remember how I told you the X is a key?”
“Well, one of the things that key can open is a porthole back to the hooman world. So here’s the deal: if you help us find them missing bits of X, then maybe, when I’ve got my treasure, I’ll open a porthole that will take you back home.”
Split grinned an evil grin.
“Meantime fear not, snuglet . . . I’ll look after you . . .”
What People are Saying About This
ADVANCED PRAISE FOR THE UNLIKELY ADVENTURES OF MABEL JONES:
“From the first few sentences, I knew I was in for a uniquely wild and witty ride. If Lewis Carroll were writing for Monty Python, I imagine it might look something like this.” —Christopher Healy, author of the Hero’s Guide series
"The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones is a speedy, splashy, snort-out-loud lark. Hints of Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and The Hobbit bubble beneath its fast-paced plot, and wordplay—both visual and textual—sets a lively tone. Clever and fun.” —Jacqueline West, author of the New York Times bestselling series, The Books of Elsewhere