When a February snowstorm imprisons them at home, Olive and Basil Jones could really use some excitement. Lucky for them, their Uncle Spaghetti, the head of the Fine Arts division of Crime Stoppers International shows up. And he needs help.
Someone has stolen Michelangelo’s 6-ton sculpture of David! Aboard Merlin, Uncle Spaghetti’s unusually versatile mode of transport, they find out all they need to know about David, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance. But it’s not until Uncle Spaghetti is arrested in Florence that their knowledge and skills are put to the test. With only some glass beads, a feather, and a scrap of lace as clues, they must figure out where David has been taken, and by whom—all on their own. Stowing away on a train, they make it to Bologna and then to Venice, where the exciting season of Carnival is just getting underway. Could David be hidden among the masked revelers? And more importantly, will Olive and Basil be able to find their uncle and rescue David before the City of Thieves claims him forever?
The Spaghetti and the Meatballs series is designed to grab readers as they outgrow Magic Treehouse and tide them over until they’re ready for Percy Jackson.
I’ve included the first 500 words below for your consideration, and would love to send the remainder of the manuscript at your request. I look forward to hearing from you!
First 500 words:
Olive Jones knelt backwards on the living room couch, staring out the window into the swirling snow. At the rate the snowflakes were coming down, school was sure to be cancelled again tomorrow.
Suddenly the beautiful winter scene outside started to bounce up and down.
“Hey! Stop that!” Olive shouted at her brother, younger by a year, who had jumped onto the couch beside her and was now bouncing enthusiastically.
Basil laughed and kept bouncing, hoping for a smile to break on his sister’s face, then looking deflated, slouched down beside her. “Wanna play a game?” he asked.
“No,” Olive answered. She wondered if her brother remembered the game of chess they had played earlier that morning—the one that had ended with Basil’s knight kicking Olive’s king and queen off the board “because they didn’t pet him before trying to ride him.”
“How about an adventure?”
“Nope.” He was talking so nicely that Olive found it hard to remember that less than an hour ago they had ended their last adventure in a fight because Basil insisted that it was the knight’s job to kill the princess by chopping her head off with his sword, rather than to save her from the deadly dragon.
Olive wedged herself into the corner of the couch, pulling her knees up against her chest. She couldn’t deny that Basil had plenty of creative ideas whenever they played together; it was just that sometimes his imagination sort of took over, and trouble usually followed. Looking down at the watch on her arm, Olive sighed. It was only four o’clock. Their dad would be out driving his snowplow all night, she was sure, and their mother had gone to work at the neighborhood grocery store she managed, after half her workers had called to say they couldn’t make it in through the snow. Nearby shoppers hadn’t had as much trouble, and had mobbed the store trying to get supplies to make it through the storm. When she had called an hour or so ago, she’d guessed she’d have to stay until closing time at least, maybe longer. Perhaps she would call someone to stay the night with them, she’d said, but she hadn’t said who or when.
Olive looked across the room at the books sticking out of her unzipped backpack and almost wished she had been able to put them to use during the day. Even though sitting in a classroom learning geography wasn’t exactly her favorite activity in the world, at least at school she had friends to talk to and access to a library where she hadn’t already read all the books.
“How long do you think it will be before it stops snowing?” she asked Basil.
Basil shrugged. “Maybe weeks,” he said. He thought for a few moments. “Maybe months. Maybe even years! Maybe this will be the very biggest snowstorm ever in the history of the world. Maybe it will snow and snow until our whole house is buried in snow and we will have to chop the window open with an axe and climb through the snow to get to the top and then we’ll be rescued by a rescue helicopter!”
Olive rolled her eyes. Yeah . . . probably not,” she said.
The couch started bouncing again.
“Basil! Stop it!” Olive shouted again, lunging at her brother.
Just then, the doorbell rang.