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Authors: Blanche Sims,Blanche Sims

The Case of the Cool-Itch Kid

BOOK: The Case of the Cool-Itch Kid
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The Case of the Cool-Itch Kid
Patricia Reilly Giff
Illustrated by Blanche Sims

To Rosalinde, Logan, Joey, Ryan and Carrie Lynn Flammer, with love











A Biography of Patricia Reilly Giff


around her room. “What a mess.”

Boxes were all over the place.

So were clothes.

Orange and white T-shirts.

A shiny red bathing suit.

Blue plaid socks.

“Hurry,” said Noni, her grandmother. “Get dressed. Everything has to go into the suitcase.”

Dawn sat on her bed. “I think I changed my mind.”

Her mother popped her head in the door. “Camp day. Camp Wild-in-the-Woods.”

“I guess I’m not going after all,” said Dawn.

“Just think,” said Noni. “Swimming in Lake Wild-in-the-Woods.

Dawn shivered. “Snakes.”

“Walks in the woods,” said her mother.

“Bears,” said Dawn.

Noni looked up at the ceiling. “Horseback riding.”

“I forgot about that,” Dawn said.

“Cookouts with marshmallows,” said her mother.

“You’re right,” said Dawn.

She pulled on her Polk Street School T-shirt.

She yanked on her sneakers.

She stood up and hopped over her suitcase.

She landed on her Polka Dot Detective Box.

The box sailed across the room.

Dawn sailed with it.

She banged her head on the floor.


“Rub it hard.” Noni clicked her teeth. “Why are you taking that detective box anyway?”

“I never went to western camp before.”

Noni smiled. “You never went to any camp.”

“I know.” Dawn swallowed. “That’s why I have to take everything.”

Dawn’s father came down the hall. “Hurry. You’ll miss the bus.”

“Ready?” asked Noni.

Dawn looked around. “Not ready.”

Noni sighed. “Now what?”

“My hat. The one that says

“The bus is across the street,” her brother, Chris, yelled. “It’s in front of the Polk Street School.”

“Hurry,” yelled Noni.

Dawn crawled under her bed.

Not there.

She dived into her closet.

Last winter’s boots were there. An old coloring book. Her tulip costume.

She held up the costume. “Maybe I’ll bring—”

“There isn’t even room for a toothpick,” Noni said.

Dawn reached deeper into her closet. “Here!”

She shoved the hat into her detective box.

She took a breath. “Now I’m ready.”

Her father picked up her suitcase.

“I think the bus is leaving,” said her mother. “Run.”

Noni reached out. “Quick. Take this. It’s a Remember Me Bag.”

“Thanks.” Dawn grabbed the paper bag. She raced down the hall.

“Don’t open it until there’s nothing to do,” Noni called after her.

Dawn sped down the stairs.

“Don’t miss that bus,” Chris said. “My summer will be ruined.”

Dawn wrinkled her nose at him.

She whooshed up her mouth.

It was her anteater face.

Then she dashed out the door.

She could see the bus. It was red. The license plate was the same as her house: 195.

Jill Simon stuck her head out the bus window. “Hurry,” she screamed.

Dawn raced across the street. She climbed up the steps of the bus.

Her father handed her the suitcase.

“Wait,” she said. “I think I forgot something.”

Too late.

The doors closed. The bus started up.


the aisle.

She pushed her suitcase ahead of her.

She passed Miss Perry, the counselor.

Miss Perry was as skinny as a pretzel. She winked at Dawn and waved her whistle.

The bus was filled with girls.

Not one boy.

That was because Camp Wild-in-the-Woods was a girls’ camp.

Almost all the girls were wearing blue T-shirts.

They said

Dawn sounded it out.


The Cool-Itch Kids didn’t look friendly.

No, not friendly at all.

Dawn bumped down the aisle.

“I saved you a seat,” Jill Simon yelled.

“Coming.” Dawn sighed. Jill Simon was the only girl she knew.

Dawn wished some other girls from her class had come, too.

Everyone else had something to do.

Emily was at her grandmother’s house.

Sherri was at the beach.

Linda had a sprained wrist.

Dawn gave her suitcase a push.

It smashed into a girl’s leg.

“Watch out, Polk Street.” The girl had a fresh face with a pointy nose.

Dawn gritted her teeth. “I’m trying, Cool-Itch.”

She slid into the seat next to Jill.

Jill smiled at her. “I’m the one who always bumps into things.”

Dawn smiled back. Jill was a good friend.

She had four braids, a round face, and a huge western hat,

Dawn clicked her teeth.

She wished she had thought of a western hat.

What else had she forgotten?


She couldn’t think of it, though.

Dawn wished she had a window seat.

She leaned across Jill.

It was hard to see.

The window was cracked . . . cracked like a spider web.

Someone yelled, “Time to sing.”

Dawn turned around.

It was a girl with a thousand freckles.

“I always go to this camp,” said the girl. “I know all about it.” She opened her mouth.

“ ‘Home. Home on the range . . .’ ”

Dawn sang, too.

She was glad she had a nice loud voice.

She banged the top of the seat in front of her.

Where the deer


And the an-te-lope play.


The fresh face kid turned around. “In a minute I’m going to punch you in the nose.”

Fresh Face looked big. She looked strong.

Dawn stopped banging.

She sat back and closed her eyes.

She was sick of this ride.

It was bumpy.

It was taking forever.

It was time to look at Noni’s Remember Me Bag.

There was nothing else to do.

She pulled out the fat paper bag. It was tied with green wool. “Good stuff in here,” she told Jill.

Jill leaned over. “Something to eat, I hope.”

Dawn untied the wool. She dug into the bag.

A package of butterscotch candy with a note: “Brush your teeth after this.”

Homemade chocolate chip cookies.

A pink and purple

And best of all, a mirror . . . a mirror with beautiful beach shells around the edge.

“Gorgeous,” said Dawn.

“Lucky,” said Jill.

“Double lucky,” someone said. It was a girl with gold fingernails. She was leaning across the aisle.

Dawn reached deeper into the bag. “There’s more, I think.”

“Rest stop,” called Miss Perry.

Bump! The bus stopped to let them out.

Dawn handed a butterscotch candy to Jill.

She shoved one in her own mouth.

She put the bag on her seat. They’d look at the rest later.

Outside, everyone began to run around.

Some kids played hide-and-seek.

Some kids went into the girls’ room.

The rest lined up at the Triple Dipple Gum Machine.

“That’s for me,” said Jill.

Dawn shook her head. “I need a drink.”

She stood in line in back of Fresh Face.

She made an anteater face when Fresh Face wasn’t looking.

Then Miss Perry blew her whistle.

It was time to get back on the bus.

The bus drove around the circle to meet them.

It bumped over the curb.

It screeched to a stop.

Dawn climbed up. She stopped at her seat. “You first,” she told Jill.

“Look,” Jill said.

Dawn looked down.

Her Remember Me Bag was a mess.

Things were all over the floor.

“Oh, no,” she said.

“Oh, no,” Jill said, too.

They scrambled to pick things up.

A pink swirly pencil.

A box of Cool Cat writing paper.

The pink and purple
pin was gone.

So was her mirror . . . her beautiful beach shell mirror.

A chocolate chip cookie had a bite in it.

Dawn swallowed. She felt like crying.

Jill looked as if she were going to cry, too.

“Horrible,” Dawn said. She held up the cookie with two fingers. “How could anyone eat my food?”

“Maybe someone was hungry?” Jill said.

“Gross,” said Dawn.

“Very hungry?” Jill asked.

“No,” said Dawn. “They should have asked.” She frowned. “There’s a thief on this bus. A grandmother pin thief. A beach shell mirror thief.”

BOOK: The Case of the Cool-Itch Kid
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