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Authors: Sharon M. Draper

Shadows of Caesar's Creek

BOOK: Shadows of Caesar's Creek
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SHADOWS OF CAESAR'S CREEK

Be sure to read all the

Clubhouse Mysteries !

The Buried Bones Mystery

Lost in the Tunnel of Time

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales

are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of

the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons,

living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

First Aladdin hardcover edition September 2011

Text copyright © 1997, 2006 by Sharon M. Draper

Illustrations copyright © 2006 by Jesse Joshua Watson
Originally published as the series title
Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs
.

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

ALADDIN is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc., and related logo is

a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Also available in an Aladdin paperback edition.

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Designed by Karina Granda

The text of this book was set in Minion.

Manufactured in the United States of America 0811 FFG

2  4  6  8  1  0  9  7  5  3  1

Library of Congress Control Number 2005930999

ISBN 978-1-4424-2712-9

ISBN 978-1-4424-3137-9 (eBook)

This book is dedicated to
Jasmine and Landon

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

ZIGGY'S THOUGHTS BOUNCED LIKE HOT POPCORN
as he ran through his backyard to the clubhouse of the Black Dinosaurs.
An overnight camping trip
he thought eagerly.
Fishing Hiking Cooking over a campfire
He couldn't wait to talk to Rico, Rashawn, and Jerome, the other members of the Black Dinosaurs, about the letter from Camp Caesar.

Ziggy's huge backyard was wonderful. It was a place where flowers, weeds, rabbits, and ten-year-old boys could grow wild. It was a place to dream and create—a perfect location for secrets and adventures. Ziggy followed a path, probably used by raccoons, which ran back through the thick underbrush to the clubhouse.

Using the remains of an old fence that the boys had found in Ziggy's backyard, they had built the clubhouse themselves the previous summer. They had cut holes that looked a lot like windows in the two side walls, and for the door, they'd used a smaller section of the fence wall. It closed with a bent piece of wire coat hanger.

Inside, the clubhouse was about ten feet by twelve feet—not really big, but large enough for four boys to sit and talk. In it was one lawn chair with most of the webbing missing, one folding chair left over from a church picnic, one three-legged kitchen chair (they used a large rock to balance it), and a bicycle with two flat tires. This was their seating arrangement, or they could push everything aside and sit on the blanket that Ziggy's mom had given them.

Just as Ziggy got to the front of the clubhouse, he tripped over his shoelace, lost his balance, landed on his backside, and rolled with a laugh to the door, where Jerome was waiting for him. Ziggy
never walked anywhere—he bounced or jogged or galloped wherever he went. He was always in a good mood, always excited about whatever was happening around him. So Jerome was not surprised when Ziggy landed at his feet, bubbling with excitement.

He helped Ziggy up and asked with a laugh, “What's up, Ziggy?”

“Did your letter come, mon? Are you packed? Where are Rico and Rashawn?” Ziggy's eyes were bright. Behind him, the boys could hear the rustling of something in the bushes.

Rashawn's Siberian husky, Afrika, with one blue eye and one brown eye, trotted out of the bushes, found his favorite spot under a tree, and went to sleep. Rashawn, tall, brown, and skinny, and wearing his favorite army boots, stomped through the backyard and sat down on a large rock in front of the clubhouse.

“What's goin' on, fellas?” he asked. “Where's Rico?”

Ziggy was still hopping around enthusiastically. He wore a green vest, a blue shirt, and bright red
jeans. Today a large knitted cap covered his braids, which usually bounced as much as he did. Ziggy's family had come from Jamaica to Ohio several years before and had moved onto the street in Cincinnati where Rico, Rashawn, and Jerome lived.

The four boys had been friends since first grade.

Rico was coming down the path to the clubhouse. He had a huge wad of bubble gum in his mouth and was attempting to blow the world's biggest bubble. He walked slowly, concentrating on blowing and balancing the bubble, which was almost the size of his face. He didn't see Ziggy, who leaped into the air, bursting to tell his good news.

“It's almost time” cried Ziggy. As Ziggy began to speak, he waved his arms around wildly. At that moment Rico and his bubble walked right into Ziggy's hand.
Splat
went the bubble gum, and Rico's surprised face and thick brown hair were instantly covered with sticky pink bubble gum.

Rashawn and Jerome hooted with laughter; Ziggy rolled on the ground with delight. Rico didn't laugh much. But it was clear he wasn't angry as he sat on the grass, picking gum out of his hair.

“That bubble would have gone in the
Guinness Book of World Records
,” he said, faking disappointment. “I bet it was the biggest one in the world so far”

“Aw, mon, I blow bubbles bigger than that every day” boasted Ziggy. “But you gotta mix the bubble gum with mashed potatoes first That's the secret ingredient”

“Yuck” exclaimed the others. They were used to Ziggy's unusual tastes in food. He stirred his chocolate milk with pickles and put mustard on his cornflakes.

“So tell us, Ziggy,” Jerome said finally. “What's up?”

“The mailman just left,” Ziggy told them, “and my letter from Camp Caesar came today We've been waiting forever, but the trip is finally here We're going camping at Caesar's Creek State Park next week”

“We got our letters today too,” Rico said. “It's gonna be a cool trip.” He had almost finished pulling the bubble gum out of his hair.

Rashawn cheered. “Let's hear it for my dad” Rashawn's father was a member of the Black Heritage Club. They had decided several months ago to sponsor field trips for the young people of the community, and this camping trip was one of the first activities.

“I've never slept outside in the woods before,” admitted Jerome. “I wonder what we ought to take.”

Ziggy pulled a folded piece of paper from the back pocket of his red jeans. “Not to worry, mon” he announced. “Here's the list of things to bring. Let's see here … flashlight, sleeping bag, backpack, extra socks, bug spray …”

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