Sunday, November 30, 2014

Book Spotlight: Come Along With Me (A Gracie Book) (Volume 1) by Linda Schell

Come Along With Me 
(A Gracie Book) (Volume 1)
by Linda Schell

Series: A Gracie Book
Paperback: 82 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; One edition (December 10, 2013)
Amazon Paperback Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 468 KB
Print Length: 83 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1494451204
Publisher: A Kinder World Publishers (October 18, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Kindle Link

About the book:

Come Along With Me will transport eight-to twelve-year old children, their parents, and their grandparents to another world when they read Come Along With Me, an adventure about friendship and caring, the unfortunate consequences of jealousy, and the power of hope. 

Meet Gracie, a ditzy dwarf kangaroo from the Thirty-sixth Universe--a creature who lives in a perfect realm. Because she is bored, Gracie longs for an adventure to St. Petersburg, Russia, a place she imagines is filled with beauty and enchantment. Much to the tiny ‘roo’s surprise, her ability to transport herself to the land of the czars has failed. She ends up at a dairy farm in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, where she saves the life of Gibson, an abandoned Maine coon cat. 

The unlikely pair become fast friends. While Gracie tries to find her way back home, Gibson carves a life for himself on a farm with his newly adopted mistress, the farmer’s young daughter. There’s one hitch: The overworked farmer demands that Gibson earn his keep. Gibson’s task is thwarted somewhat when he experiences strange visions. But are these visions the result of a thrashing he received from the farmer’s two dogs? Or, maybe Gibson sees parallel universes? 

As outsiders the little kangaroo and the cat from the city negotiate the perils of farm life. They meet two malicious rats who hate anyone who is happy. The two devoted friends must contend with stampeding cows and a barnyard of critters that have little use for newcomers. 

Will Gibson keep his sanity and become the little girl’s pet? Will Gracie ever see the splendor of the Russian Versailles? Will the farmer survive the evil machinations of the rats, Bratwold and Eastman? Drift back to the days of Barbie dolls, hula hoops, and Sputnik to find out. 

Book Excerpt:

Deep inside the thirty-sixth universe, just south of the Never-Ending Rainbow, millions of shimmering spheres drift serenely through a tranquil sky. Gracie, a gentle soul, lives on one of these spheres, located near the heart of not only one of the oldest, but quite possibly the grandest of all the universes.

When the rays of the Everlasting Never-Ending Rainbow find their way to Gracie’s sphere, rose petals in myriad shades of pink and red flutter playfully to the ground. The creatures in Gracie’s world amicably take turns removing the petals from their lawns and winding paths. Here, even the local version of “bad weather” (which is always conveniently forecast well in advance by the Weather, Whether or Not creature), rarely turns out to be anything more severe than a late afternoon breeze, producing much rose-petal clutter, but little else. Undoubtedly, Gracie’s world is perfect in every way-- except for one small problem: Gracie is bored.

So, what’s a tiny kangaroo-like creature with large, almond-shaped, brown eyes to do? Gracie patted her rotund tummy, wiggled her toes (that she hadn’t seen in years), and decided that what she yearned for more than anything else was an adventure, an adventure that would take her to a beautiful city full of history, drama, and most
importantly, new creatures. Yes! Something entirely different from what she had known up till now. Wasn’t that the whole point of adventure? Not only something different, but something to learn.

Her decision made, Gracie scampered to the nearest Citadel of Contentment. She checked in with the proper authorities, and then passed directly to the Hall of Knowledge and Wonderment. The workers at the Hall gave Gracie directions to her adventure destination. As far as the workers were concerned, Gracie’s request was routine. Nothing out of the ordinary; nor was there anything in the workers’ directions to warn her to be mindful of any happenstances along the way. What was there to worry about? Nothing bad had ever happened in Gracie’s space. She knew herself to be a privileged creature, therefore did not feel any need to plan ahead for unseen possibilities. She had no reason to suspect that even in the most perfect of worlds there might be exceptions to the rules…

Before departing on her trip, Gracie stopped at the Establishment of Abundant Supplies to purchase some Get Well, Stay Well Stuff in case she became weary on her
journey. Gracie tucked her newly acquired supply of Get Well, Stay Well Stuff in a finely crafted drawstring purse and placed it in her handy kangaroo pouch. When needed and used, the stuff would sparkle like stardust. Now, packed and eager to begin her adventure, Gracie, the tiniest of all the kangaroos in all the universes, set out with a hop and a trot down the Path of Desired Destination, singing her own made-up song:

“The sky is oh so blue
The grass is oh so green
It’s a perfect day
In every way
With many new sites to see.
And along the way
I’ll stop to make
Some brand new friends
Who are just as nice
As ME!”

Arriving at the Portal of Specific Destinations, Gracie held up her direction card to the appropriate energy field. A reassuring voice counseled,“All is well." Please push the destination button for Earth…St. Petersburg…Russia.” Trembling with excitement, her fingers shaking, Gracie did so. “Thank you,” said the voice. “Have a pleasant journey.”

Gracie hopped with delight. The prospect of experiencing firsthand the wisdom and art housed in the , the largest on the distant planet Earth, plus the beauty of the czars’ palaces, the enchanting architecture of the city, the music-- oh yes, the music!--all called to her, flooding her heart with a wondrous sense of anticipation.

As she stepped into the Time Warp Tube, Gracie had a disconcerting thought. She knew from all too many past experiences that whenever she became excited about something, she tended to make mistakes; mistakes that occasionally required much time and effort to correct before she could achieve her desired goal. This absentmindedness had caused Gracie no small amount of inconvenience, even mayhem, over the years, but ultimately everything seemed to turn out for the best. That’s why now she tried to recall if perhaps in her eagerness she may have pushed the wrong button. Unsure of her actions, Gracie decided not to worry. If indeed she had erred and hit the wrong key, well, surely the machine would correct her mistake. That’s what machines did Her excitement mounting, Gracie prepared for her arrival to the planet Earth.

Around her, dashes of energy pushed the Time Warp Tube forward in the warp zone, while simultaneously, pulses of energy pulled the tube toward Gracie’s chosen destination.

A jarring clap of thunder, a distant peal of bells; then, with unexpected abruptness, it was over. Journey’s end. The door to the Time Warp Tube slid open with a soft pneumatic hiss, and Gracie, unable to contain her joy, rushed headlong down a short metal ramp and found herself smack in the middle of …


Eyes wide open, Gracie took a slow 360-degree survey of her surroundings. Something was amiss here. Where were the cobbled streets, the bustling people? Gracie’s travel log boasted that St. Petersburg was the greenest of Russia’s major cities. She had prepared herself to revel in the splendor of two hundred parks and gardens, not to mention the one thousand tree-lined streets; but not one travel brochure mentioned corn fields.

Or big trees without branches, one after the other, all connected by black looping wires. Gracie gawked at the bewildering display of earth flora, and wondered why she
had never spotted these odd specimens in any botanical catalogue. As she pondered this mystery, a gray barn owl swooped down out of the still opaque sky, circled Gracie like a playful feather, and inquired mockingly, “Hey, hick. Yes…you! Haven’t you ever seen a telephone pole?”

Embarrassed, Gracie cringed--a first for the tiny ’roo. Not only that, she was astonished her thoughts had been so easy to read, even by a common owl. Ignoring the impertinent bird, Gracie thought, I came to this realm seeking culture and excellence. Instead, I have discovered the land of the uncouth. This will never do. 

She turned to hold her direction card up to the Specific Destination machine’s energy field. Her plan was to return home and start over. To her chagrin, she discovered it was too late. The machine, its assigned task completed, had already shut the portal door and set off on another journey. Operating on a strict timetable, it waited for no one.

Although disappointed, Gracie knew this unexpected development was merely a minor inconvenience. She had no cause for worry. Her portal access was located in front of the strange tree--no, make that the telephone pole--closest to the lane leading back to a big, white farm house. Gracie leaned back against the pole with her arms folded, and braced her right foot against the pole. She knew all she needed was a little patience.

She’d wait for tomorrow’s moon, then catch the next ride home. With plenty of time to kill, Gracie studied her surroundings with newfound interest. The owl had vanished, but other animals and insects quickly made their presence known, from the worms crawling through the dewy grass to the annoying swarm of mosquitoes trying to feast on Gracie’s ears; crickets chirped, frogs croaked. There was increasing activity everywhere as a new day--Gracie’s first away from home--prepared to dawn.

In the distance, a faint whine slowly rose in pitch as a pair of headlights emerged over a gentle rise in the road. A rolling contraption of glinting metal slowed as it neared the spot where Gracie stood. Gracie recognized the mass of metal as a car, thanks to her pre-trip studies. The back door of the vehicle swung open, and a pair of muscular arms tossed out a large burlap sack which landed with a thud in a swampy roadside ditch. The car, a l958 Chevrolet coupe, spun its tires and sped away. Within seconds, the black ribbon of road was as deserted and silent as it had been just a minute earlier.

Gracie ran over to inspect the bag. Something very much alive--and angry was thrashing about inside. In short order, the bag tore apart and a dark form slowly emerged.
Terrified, Gracie fled down the lane toward the farmhouse, taking refuge in some Lilac bushes close to a small bridge leading to the nearby house. From this vantage point, she could see in all directions and still remain hidden.

The creature made its way silently down the lane toward the bridge. Cornstalks bordering both sides of the driveway rustled softly as the shaggy, black-haired animal with a dagger of white on its powerful chest strode warily down the lane. Before reaching the bridge, it stopped; its huge head panned right, then left as it carefully scouted this unfamiliar territory.

What the creature saw in the dim light of dawn confirmed its worst fears. His unblinking eyes took in the fact that he was now on a farm--a place he most emphatically did not want to be. He was a cat, born and bred in the city, with absolutely no experience of life in the boondocks. To his advantage, he wasn’t some common calico, but a fully grown twenty-five pound Maine Coon cat, a dude, if you will. Back home, he had possessed status and a well-earned reputation for terrifying all the prissy little frou-frou dogs in his neighborhood. On a farm, however, he knew that life was played by different rules, and here he was clearly out of his element. If he wasn’t careful, he would find himself at the bottom of the pecking order. His previous cushy existence in the city would mean zilch to these roughneck hayseeds.

As the great cat lingered in place, pondering its fate, its magnificent white whiskers bestowed a look of regal dignity to its already imposing countenance. Gracie was duly impressed, but wished the great cat would hurry and cross the bridge so she could return to the telephone pole and make herself comfortable while she awaited the next moon. The truth was that Gracie had no desire to remain in this place.

Her heart yearned for St. Petersburg. Lingering here would be a waste of time, perhaps even dangerous. What if the big cat took her for an overgrown mouse, or worse, an undersized rat? Gracie fortified her courage by clutching her Get Well, Stay Well pouch and keeping her gaze riveted on the long-haired feline with huge paws It took the sound of a rooster’s cry to get the cat moving again. With a deliberate gait, he inched his way across the bridge, then paused again as a light flashed on in the barn. Seconds later, after a harsh burst of static, the lilting melody of the “Tennessee Waltz” drifted out into the yard for all to hear. Roused from his slumber, and none too happy about it, Bergeroff the bull butted his head forcefully against the barn door in a gesture of displeasure. The other farm creatures paid him no heed; they all knew that Bergeroff was always grumpy no matter the occasion.

A farmer clad in overalls and a blue-and-white striped farm hat came out of the barn and headed toward a cinderblock milk house. Two dogs, an Airedale and a Border Collie, danced at his heels as he wrestled with a heavy milk can. The dogs were eager to start the day, their senses heightened as they bounded across their domain, alert for any intruders that might have sneaked in during the night.

Unfortunately for the cat, who was still holding his position in the lane, the dogs’ hunting instincts were well-honed. As if on command, both canines simultaneously froze in place, noses twitching, deep growls rumbling in their throats. Even in the dim light of dawn, their eyes quickly locked onto the cat’s motionless silhouette. Unable to contain their delight at what the morning had brought them--a cat!--the dogs howled excitedly and took off down the 

Although slowed by too many years of easy living, the cat still liked his chances. He figured if he could reach the pasture he would stand a better chance of escape. He took a series of mighty leaps and had very nearly reached full speed when the Airedale-- well-practiced at this sport--caught him by the neck. To the dogs, trespassers deserved no mercy, and they weren’t about to show any now. They took turns pummeling the cat, smashing its body to the ground. They circled the wounded animal, snarling and barking in glee.

The cat, writhing in pain, knew he would be torn to pieces if the dogs continued their play. But they didn’t thanks to the fortuitous arrival of the farmer’s young daughter. She’d been about to set out on her morning chores when she heard the commotion and saw the dogs circling their prey. Running as fast as her eight-year-old legs could carry her, she reached the site of the melee and quickly figured out what had happened: another stray cat paying the price for wandering onto the family property. Always sympathetic to those in trouble, the little girl commanded the dogs to back off. They did immediately, pleased with their morning’s exercise; then, at the girl’s further insistence, they trotted happily back to the barn.

The little girl bent over to get a better look at the injured animal. The cat was too whipped to utter a sound, let alone move. Alarmed that it might be dying, the girl hurried away so she could tell her father When the little girl was out of sight, Gracie ran into the pasture. She approached the cat cautiously, peered at it for a few seconds, then said, “Excuse me? Can you hear me, big guy? With your permission, I’ll come a little closer.”

The cat didn’t stir, so Gracie continued, “Look, if you don’t want to talk, that’s fine. I’ll be on my way.”

After what seemed like an eternity, the mauled cat responded in a weak voice, “You have my permission, but as for talking, I don’t have much strength left to talk.”

Gracie inched closer. Tentatively, she touched his trembling body to see if any bones were broken. She checked his throat, then his stomach. “I think you’re going to make it,” she declared. “Your body has experienced a severe beating, but I don’t detect any broken bones. You can probably thank your shaggy mane for that.” She paused before adding, “I’m not a doctor, but I do have considerable knowledge about matters pertaining to health.”

“So, you’re saying I’ll live?”

“Yes. You’ll need to take care of yourself, of course. You need rest, you need to stay out of the hot sun--”

“How am I going to do all of that in this pasture? Look, I’m not from around here. I don’t know a soul.”

“I’ll help you,” Gracie said. She reached into her pouch and pulled out her drawstring purse containing her supply of Get Well, Stay Well Stuff. She sprinkled a few
flakes on top of the cat’s head and across the left side of his body. Although not wanting to appear stingy, she needed to save the sparkling flakes for her journey to St. Petersburg.

“Now roll over,” Gracie commanded. “I’m going to do your other side.” 

Although in pain, the cat dutifully followed her instructions. Whatever was to him at the moment was beyond his comprehension and control. He resigned himself to let whatever was going to , happen. Gracie gave one final flick of flakes, then put away her purse. To his amazement, the cat already felt strength returning to his body.

“Okay, I’m going to give you a rub down now,” Gracie announced. Her little fingers began to pound the cat’s chest and stomach. She rubbed and massaged both sides of his body, then scratched with her nails under his chin. His body began to squirm with delight. “I don’t know what you’re doing,” the cat declared, “but it sure does feel good.”

To read more, BUY the book HERE


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