Beware! Shadows in the Night #3
Lin Oliver; Illustrated by Samantha Kallis
Fast-paced adventure and full-color art in the style of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks make this third book a thrilling addition to the Fantastic Frame series!
When Tiger and Luna get sucked into the fantastic frame this time, their destination is the diner depicted in Edward Hopper's famous painting Nighthawks. They explore the streets of New York in 1942 and ride the subway through the dark underground tunnels. It's another art adventure for Tiger and Luna, and as always, they must find their way back to the real world before it's too late—or remain stuck in the painting forever.
Excerpt from Beware! Shadows in the Night #3
Hello there. It’s Tiger Brooks. That’s right, I’m the guy who travels into the fantastic frame. I bet you remember me. I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging. It’s not like I think I’m all that great or anything. I just know that it’s hard to forget a person who gets sucked into a painting and only has an hour to get out.
You don’t meet someone like that every day.
This little habit I have of time traveling into paintings began when my friend Luna Lopez and I discovered the fantastic frame. It hangs on the living room wall in the old run-down house, of our neighbor Viola Dots. At first, Luna and I thought it was nothing but a golden frame with carved animals and a clock on the front. We didn’t know about the hour of power. That’s when the clock on the frame strikes four and the painting inside opens up and sucks you in.
But we sure found out about that hour of power in a hurry!
If you ask me, I think Chives should have warned us. He’s Viola’s butler who happens to be an orange pig. But being a pig is no excuse, because he can talk.
Chives knew that Viola’s son, David, disappeared into the frame fifty years ago and never returned. The only thing she got back was pudgy Chives, who came flying straight out of some old pig painting wearing a top hat and a bowtie and has been living with her ever since.
Mrs. Dots is a real grump, but Luna and I feel sorry for her, anyway. She misses her son, David, a lot, which is why we decided to help her. Every time Viola finishes a new painting for the frame, she asks us to go inside and look for David. She’s never been able to go inside a painting herself. She always gets spit out. Maybe adults aren’t allowed in. Or maybe it’s just the grumpy adults who aren’t allowed in.
Once we’re inside the painting, Luna and I have to watch the time carefully, because if we’re not back at exactly the same spot in the painting at five o’clock, then we could be stuck there forever.
Now David, he really doesn’t seem to mind being stuck inside paintings. I have to admit, sometimes it doesn’t seem so bad to me, either. I wouldn’t have to watch my annoying little sister, Maggie, chew with her mouth open. I wouldn’t have to roll my socks into pairs and put them away in my sock drawer. And I wouldn’t have to learn how to do subtraction word problems.
On the other hand, I’d miss my comfy bed and my dad’s spaghetti sauce. Although those hot dogs and giant pretzels off the street cart in New York sure were delicious. But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. You don’t even know about New York yet and the weird thing that happened there. I’m talking weird with a capital W.
If you’re interested, keep reading. You’ll find out all about it.
Luna and I stood on our driveway after school, staring at my new invention.
“What do you think I should call it?” I asked her.
Luna walked around in a circle. She still had on the cool superhero cape she had worn to school that day. She looked at the contraption in front of her and scratched her head.
“You could call it a thingamajig,” she suggested. “That’s got a nice ring to it.”
“But thingamajig doesn’t tell you what it does,” I said.
“Good point, Tiger. By the way, what does it do?”
It was Transportation Week at school. Everyone in our class had to do an oral report about a means of transportation. Luna chose to do hers on flying through the sky like Moon Girl. That’s the superhero name she’s given herself. She picked it because “Luna” means moon in Spanish. Too bad her parents didn’t name her something cool like Shark or Crusher. Personally, I’d take Shark Girl or the Crusher over Moon Girl any day.
Even though Luna had gone to all the trouble of making herself a Moon Girl cape, our teacher, Ms. Warner, wasn’t impressed. She said flying around on air currents was only a means of transportation for comic book characters. And everyone knows they don’t actually exist.
The report Ms. Warner loved was Andrew Hogan’s on electric cars. She said it was outstanding, the best in the class. But then, she hadn’t seen mine yet. Mine was going to knock her shoes and socks off. That’s because I decided that instead of doing a report, I’d invent my own means of transportation. And I did.
“I got the idea for my invention yesterday,” I explained to Luna, “when I was riding my bike. I got really hungry and I thought—wouldn’t it be great to have a snack any time you want one? Even on a bike. So I invented this . . . uh . . . thingamajig!”
“Tiger, can I just point out one thing?” Luna said. “The thingamajig isn’t a bike.”
“Yeah, I noticed that,” I answered. “But I wasn’t about to experiment with my brand-new bike. So I used my little sister’s pink princess scooter instead.”
“Uh-oh. Something tells me Maggie’s not going to like that.”
“She won’t care. She’s totally over the princess thing.”
“Right. That’s why she wore a diamond crown to preschool this morning. And carried a light-up wand.”
“I couldn’t help it,” I explained. “I had to borrow her scooter. Don’t tell, but I kind of borrowed my dad’s cooler, too. See, I attached it to the scooter. The cooler gives you a nice place to sit while you’re scooting and keeps your butt cool at the same time.”
“That’s important,” Luna said. “You don’t want to get your butt all overheated.”
We both cracked up at that. It’s nice to have a friend who makes you laugh.
“Here’s the great part about my invention,” I went on. “If you get hungry when you’re scooting around, all you have to do is flip open the cooler and get yourself a snack. Snack and scoot, it’s the perfect combo.”
“That’s it!” Luna said. “You just gave your invention a name. The Snack ’N’ Scoot.”
“Hmmmmm . . . The Snack ’N’ Scoot.” I rolled the words around in my mouth. They sounded pretty good.
“Let’s try it out,” I said.
“We promised Viola we’d be at her house before four o’clock,” Luna reminded me. “We can’t be late for the hour of power.”
“We have a few minutes until then,” I told her. “Let’s just take one quick spin.”
I got on first and took off down the sidewalk. When I got to Viola’s house, I slowed down and looked up the overgrown path to her crumbling blue house. It’s so old and run-down, people on our block think it’s haunted. Luna and I are the only people in the neighborhood who have ever been inside.
I noticed Chives peeking out from behind the ragged red velvet curtain. He always keeps himself hidden. Viola doesn’t want anyone to know that she has a talking orange pig for a butler. I waved to him. He took a gold watch out of his vest pocket and pointed to it with his hoof.
I gave him a thumbs-up, to let him know we’d be there on time, and rode back to Luna.
As she was getting on the Snack ’N’ Scoot to take her turn, my dad’s car pulled into the driveway. He was bringing my sister home from preschool. Maggie stuck her head out the car window.
“Hey, Tiger, that’s my princess scooter,” she yelled. “Who said you could take it?”
“Told you,” Luna whispered.
“Listen, Maggie.” I went to the car and lifted her out of her car seat. “Did I ever tell you what a great little sister you are?”
I plastered a giant smile on my face.
“Put me down, Tiger. I want my scooter back.”
“But it’s not a scooter anymore,” I told her. “Let me introduce you to the Snack ’N’ Scoot.”
Maggie marched up to the scooter and looked it right in the handlebars.
“I’m not happy to meet you,” she said.
“Well, now, Tiger, it seems that you also took my cooler,” my dad said. “That’s the one we take to the beach. I don’t remember you asking permission to use it.”
“Sorry, Dad,” I said, “but it’s for my school project.”
“I don’t care what it’s for,” he said. “You can’t just take things without asking. I want you to return the cooler to the garage and the scooter to Maggie.”
“But, Dad!” I cried. “I have to do my transportation oral report tomorrow. And the Snack ’N’ Scoot is my report.”
“Not anymore it isn’t,” he said. “Luna, I’m afraid Tiger can’t play now. He’s got to come inside and write his report. A real report this time.”
He took Maggie’s hand and they walked up the driveway to the house.
“And you better not forget to put my purple basket back on,” Maggie called over her shoulder. “It has magical princess powers.”
I was so mad, I wanted to scream.
“My dad doesn’t understand anything about my inventions,” I told Luna. “He wants me to do a plain old regular report. Now I’ll have to write a whole bunch of paragraphs and look up words and stuff.”
“The worst part is that we’re not going to be able to go to Viola’s,” Luna said. “We’re going to miss the hour of power.”
I was so angry, I had forgotten about the painting in the fantastic frame. It opened up at exactly four o’clock, which was only a few minutes away. There was no way I could finish my report before then.
“I don’t want to disappoint Viola,” I said to Luna. “Maybe we should just go, anyway.”
“That would make your dad really mad,” Luna said.
I stood there trying to decide what to do, but only for a second. My thoughts were interrupted by Luna’s mom, screaming out the top-floor window.
“Luna! Luna!” she called. “Come quickly! You’re not going to believe what’s happened!”