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Atlantic Books for the Holidays

Groundwood Books Ltd

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Summer in the City
Excerpt

Was this supposed to be a change? No way. We lived here every day of the year. I knew every detail by heart. I knew the neighbor across the street would come out the next minute to water his lawn. And he did.

This wasn’t going to be a vacation at all. A vacation is when you go somewhere special and see new things and do stuff you’ve never done before. A vacation means going, not staying . . .

“A stay-cation,” I said to Max. “I wonder where Dad got that one.”

“I’d rather go on a go-cation.”

Then he laughed his head off.

* * *

“See that orange truck?” Max whispered. “The guy inside it is an ax murderer.” He ducked his head. “Here he comes. Stay down!”

An ax murderer? What was Max talking about?

The next minute, an ancient truck moved past our house, so slowly I could have beaten it in a foot race. The truck didn’t have any doors, and standing at the steering wheel was a man even more ancient than the truck. The lines on his face were so deep you could have drowned in them. He was steering with one hand and ringing a bell with the other.

The truck was covered with drawings of knives, scissors and axes.

“Look – knives!” Max whispered. “I told you so.”

The truck stopped right in front of our house. I could have explained to Max that it was Tony the Knife Sharpener and not Tony the Bloodthirsty Criminal, but why not have a little fun? After all, there wasn’t anything else to do.

“You’re right,” I said to Max. “We’d better go investigate.”

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Travels in Cuba
Excerpt

Here we were in the middle of nowhere, not knowing anyone, and we had no place to stay.

And the sun would be going down soon.

Even Max knew better than to say anything.

In the silence, I heard a clip-clop, and looked up. A big brown horse was coming slowly down the road in our direction. A barefoot boy a little older than me was riding him, without a saddle. I wondered how he managed not to fall off.

He stopped in front of us. He looked at us standing there with our bags in front of the closed garden gate.

“Hotel problem?” he said.

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