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- Author: Rick Walton
- Illustrator: Lauren Scheuer
- First published: 2006
- Marie Cantu
- Noelle Dee
- Brooke Pinnock
- Hope Harrison
- Faith Peterson
- Rose James
- Sage Matthews
Marie and Noelle are on their way to Faith's birthday party and Marie asks what Noelle got for Faith. Noelle just hold ups her rectangular gift and says that Marie will find out along with everyone else. They are the first one to arrive at Faith's house, but Hope comes soon after them. Hope gives Faith a tiny wrapped gift from her pocket and Faith puts it on the table with the other gifts. Sage and Hailey arrive together. Sage tells Faith she hopes Faith hasn't seen this yet as she hands Faith her gift. The party starts and soon it is time to open the presents. Faith takes a look into Marie's gift bag, but it turns out to be empty. Marie apologizes, saying she was so focused on the tissue paper looking nice she forgot to put in the gift, and tells Faith to open the other gifts while she'll grab hers. She runs back home to grab it and by the time she comes back, the other gifts are open. Faith had gotten a DVD, a teddy bear, a bracelet, and a puzzle book. As Faith open's Marie's gift of gel pens, Marie figures out who gave which present.
- Question: Can you?
- Answer: "Hope brought the bracelet, the only gift small enough to fit in a pocket. Sage's gift was something she hoped Faith hadn't seen, so it was a DVD. Noelle's was rectangular, and since Sage had brought the rectangular DVD, that left the book. So the remaining gift, the teddy bear, had come with Hailey."
A Stormy Shortcut
Noelle's mom has hired her daughter and her friends to help out with a friend's art exhibit. It was a fancy event, so the girls were dressed in their best outfits. It is raining heavily when Hope arrives to Noelle's house and now they only need to wait for Brooke. But Brooke is very late and the girls become worried they won't make it to the exhibit on time. Brooke then finally arrives and as she takes off her coat, the girls gasp at her dress. Brooke's dress is a red dress complete with red, shiny shoes. Brooke says that her Grandma gave it to her as an early birthday gift. She says she was late because she decided to walk to Noelle's and take a shortcut. It turns out it was a bad idea, as she had to go through a small hole in Noelle's back fence and walk across her lawnless backyard. Noelle tells Brooke that her dad promised to put out new grass soon, as her mom started to complain about the mud, but Marie says, "Your stories are better, Brooke, but you still need to work on them. This one had a glaring error."
- Question: What was the error?
- Answer: "If Brooke had crossed Noelle's yard, where there was no lawn and plenty of dirt, her shiny shoes would have been covered in mud created by the storm. Brooke thought the shortcut story was more dramatic than the fact that she'd taken too long to get dressed."
The Long, Dark Hall
Hailey's piano recital has just finished and Marie and Noelle are talking to Hailey about her performance. Soon, both their parents say that it's time to go, but Noelle says that she has to grab her homework she left in her classroom. She takes Marie with her and they find the hallway to be completely deserted and dark. Noelle is nervous and keeps on asking Marie "What's that?" at each shadow. When Marie actually doesn't know what one thing is, Noelle starts to panic and runs, hearing footsteps. Noelle says that someone's following them, making the girls run even faster and the footsteps run faster. Marie grabs Noelle's arm and pulls her into a side hallway, hoping to loose their follower, but the footsteps had stopped. Marie looks out, but doesn't see anybody. When the girls start to walk again and then run, they hear the footprints again. Marie says to stop and the footsteps stop. Noelle is still panicky, but Marie says she knows whose footsteps were following them.
- Question: What had Marie figured out?
- Answer: "The footsteps came from Marie and Noelle! They heard the sound of their shoes echoing off the hall walls."
Poor Little Puppy
Marie, Noelle, and Hope are all talking about Sage's new puppy Fluffball. Since it has been a month since Sage found the dog in the streets, Animal Control said that she could have Fluffball. The girls ask when they can see Fluffball again and Sage says that they could see her at a sleepover tonight. Later, a storm is brewing when the girls come to Sage's house. Thunder cracks and Fluffball starts to bark. Sage says that Fluffball always barks loudly at thunder. Hope tries to pick up the puppy, but Fluffball hides behind Sage's legs. Sage explains that she's a clingy puppy and follows her everywhere. The girls go into the kitchen to make a dinner for themselves while Fluffball sniffs around the kitchen. Marie notes that at least Fluffball isn't crowding around Sage's feet. Sage replies that although Fluffball explores a bit more, Fluffball still stays in the same room as her. Soon their meal is almost ready and Sage says that all they need is some root beer from her garage. As Sage comes back with the drinks and the girls start to eat, more thunder cracks, but they don't hear Fluffball. The girls look around everywhere for the puppy, but they can't find her. Sage begins to worry, and Noelle asks when was the last time they saw Fluffball. Marie has an idea of where Fluffball could be and leads the girls straight to her.
- Question: Where was the frightened little puppy?
- Answer: "The puppy was in the garage, where she'd followed Sage, who went there for the root beer. Sage hadn't noticed her, though, and had shut her in."
Give Me a Ring
Marie and Noelle are walking back home from school when Marie notes something gold in Noelle's tree. Noelle climbs up to investigate when she finds a gold ring with diamonds attached to a popped balloon. "So you found my ring!" a voice behind Marie says. Marie turns around to see a girl a couple of years older than her. When Noelle climbs back down with the ring, they ask the older girl how do they know it's hers, and how did it get in the tree. The older girl says that she blew up a balloon for her baby brother to play with and used her ring to keep it down. It wasn't heavy enough though, and the balloon flew away. She started following it to see where it would drop, but lost it's trail until now. She asks for the ring back, but Marie says no. "That ring might fly, but your story sure doesn't."
- Question: What was wrong with the girl's story?
- Answer: "A breath-filled balloon might float on water, but not on air. When Marie pointed this out, the girl ran off. The girls turned in the ring to the police, who said that Marie and Noelle got to keep the ring since it was a promotion from the Diamond Cafe. Unfortunately, the "diamonds" were cubic zirconia."
Noelle's new friends that she had met at camp, Hilary and Margaret, had invited Noelle and Marie over to their house. Margaret yells in the background that their address is 2186 Timpview Drive. Hilary also says that if they don't answer the door just come on in, she and her sister will probably be working on homework in their bedroom. Noelle's friends live on a street where all the houses look the same on the outside, so they have to pay attention to the numbers. As Mrs. Dee drives, Noelle reads off the numbers they pass by. "There's 2096, 2114, 2132." Then Noelle shouts that she found their house, right next to 2150. Noelle and Marie hop out the car, and Noelle opens the door right away, assuring Marie that Hilary said it was okay.But she finds that the house is a lot different and there's no one home. She calls for Marie, but when she finds that she isn't next to her, she runs out. She sees Marie waiting near the porch, and Noelle says that she though Marie had disappeared along with Hilary and Margaret. Marie smiles and says "I'm right here. And I suspect they're right where they said they'd be, too."
- Question: Where were Hilary and Margaret?
- Answer: "The friends lived next door. Noelle had passed 2114,2132, and 2150 and gone into the next house——2168 (the house numbers are 18 digits apart.) But Margaret had said their address was 2186. Next door. Noelle had walked into the wrong house——good thing no one was home!"
The Neighbor's Garden
Hailey's mom has asked Hailey and her friends if they could help Mrs. Duncan, an elderly women, fix up her garden. Mrs. Duncan still does some small gardening, but she couldn't clean it up due to her age. Marie, Noelle, Sage, and Hailey all arrive and they split up tasks. Marie will mow the lawn, Noelle will trim the bushes, and Hailey and Sage will work together on getting rid of the weeds. Sage is a bit frightened by the garden, unsure what she'll find underneath all the weeds. As the girls work for a bit, they hear a scream. Marie and Noelle run to the garden, where Sage, with a look of horror, points at three plaque names on sticks. One reads "Angelica" and another with "Rosemary", both on top on a mound of dirt. The one that caused the scream though, was the one that read "Sage" and had a partially filled hole. Hailey and Noelle start to question Mrs. Duncan, but Marie says that this isn't what they think it is.
- Question: What did Marie know?
- Answer: "Rosemary and angelica are herbs, which Mrs. Duncan loved to grow in her garden. She was about to plant her new herb, sage, but decided to wait until the girls had weeded and cleared her yard."
Taken for a Ride
Looking for Catspurr
Letters from an Admirer
Same Time, Same Place
The Skeleton's Hand
Goody, Goody, Guava Drops
It Walks at Midnight
- This book contains one mystery Marie doesn't solve by the end of the story.