TITLE: THE SOMEWHAT MANLY SCRAPBOOK OF LUMBERSTAN'S BIG WOODS ADVENTURE
GENRE: Middle Grade
WORD COUNT: 28,000
THE SOMEWHAT MANLY SCRAPBOOK OF LUMBERSTAN’S BIG WOODS ADVENTURE is a humorous middle-grade novel set in Michigan in 1896. Complete at 28,000 words, it includes actual 19th century illustrations and photographs reminiscent of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (without the creepiness). It will appeal to anyone who ever dreamed of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Greg Heffley having a love child, as well as those of us who find that idea a bit weird.
Like most eleven-year-old boys, Stanley Slater has his faults: a slight problem with cussing, an inability to keep his thoughts to himself, and a taste for library paste. But that doesn’t stop him from trying to be a good Man of the House for his sweet Mama, even when a mysterious letter shows up, money gets tighter, and her smile suddenly disappears.
The hullabaloo brought on by that letter multiplies when Stan’s grouchy granny demands they all move to a remote lumber camp for work. Smelly men of questionable reputations and a know-it-all cousin who diagnoses Stan with everything from Quinsy to Spontaneous Combustion should make for a miserable winter, but the only disease Stan catches is River Drive Fever.
Unfortunately Granny has other ideas. Rather than allowing Stan to go on the river drive, she prefers pinching him to death and fixing his mama up with Stinky Pete, a known killer. Stan realizes his place as Man of the House may be in jeopardy, and he sets off to come up with a plan to win back his mama and earn the chance to go on the biggest, manliest adventure ever. Problem is, it might take something more than dotting whiskers on his face with ink to prove his manhood--something Stan’s not quite ready for, like wielding an ax, or facing facts: being the man of the family might not be as important as getting his sweet Mama back.
I am a former middle school English teacher whose family history traces back to Upper Peninsula logging camps. I hope to feature Stan (and Granny) in a sequel set during the river drive (The Very Wet Scrapbook of LumberStan’s Big River Adventure).
FIRST 200 WORDS:
The envelope sits on the kitchen counter. It’s as hard to ignore as my empty stomach at three o’clock in the afternoon. And it reminds me.
It’s three o’clock in the afternoon.
And I’m hungry.
I stuff a hunk of bread in my mouth and examine the envelope closely this time, now I know it’s tied to so much hullabaloo, and remember the first time I saw it.
To tell the God’s honest truth (which, of course, is the only kind of truth I ever tell), the first time I saw the envelope, I didn’t think much of it. Heck, it was just an envelope; it didn’t look like it would turn my life all topsy turvy. I picked it up, saw the sharp slit across the top and the empty space inside, and set it back on the table to continue on with my very important day. That was the day I spent cutting out pictures of trick banks to glue in my Scrapbook. I remember because Mama asked me what I was doing, and I told her “cutting out pictures of trick banks,” and she said, “Hmmm. Let me take a look, Stan.” The next thing I knew, she had snuggled up to me like butter on warm toast.