Teaser: Gobbledy

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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


Middle-Grade / Holiday

Date Published: 10-20-2023

Publisher: Mapleton Press


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Ever since Dexter and Dougal’s mom passed away, life has been
different—but things take a whole new turn when a shooting star turns
out to be a creature from outer space! Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday
story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut
butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.





“What do you think these things are?” she asks.

          A loud wail comes from
the new jar full of dirt.

          Slowly, I lift the jar
off the work table and unscrew the lid.

          Fi and I look down at the
strange bug. The little thing wails. It’s not much bigger than the two
crickets standing on the sidelines, staring.

          Fi looks at me with a
wild look in her eyes. “Does your dad know?”

          I shake my head.
“Absolutely not. No. Dad will just make me take him back to the

          I pull the lid off. The
strange little bug opens his mouth really big.

          “Okay, okay,”
I whisper. “I’ll feed you, but you have to be

          He closes his mouth and
blinks. For a second, I think he might actually understand what I’m

          There’s a bag of potato
chips on the counter in the kitchen. I drop chips into the jar one by one,
avoiding the crickets.

          Chomp. Chomp.

          “Where’s the
rock?” Fi asks.

          Chomp. Chomp.

          The back door opens.
Startled, Fi jerks upright abruptly, smacking her head on the slanted
ceiling. I try to grab her hand as it flies past my face.  Her arms
flap wildly as she falls in a woozy, slow motion out into the hall.

          “Fi?” I say


          “Fi?”  I
drop to the floor next to her and check her pulse, like I’ve seen people do
in movies.  “Can you hear me?”

          She undoubtedly
cannot.  She does not move or answer.

          The jar wobbles on the
wooden table.

          “Excuse me,”
I quickly step over her limp body and grab the jar.  I tighten my grip
as it jerks around in my arms.  Hurky-jerky, it shifts against my
shirt.  I hold tight and screw the lid back on.


          Huh? “What are you
doing home, Dougal?” I yell.

          “I live

          “I know that, but
you’re early.”

          “Not really. School
is out. Dad asked Fran to pick me up because you got in trouble again, and
he couldn’t leave work twice.”


          Fran walks into the hall
and says, “Oh my gosh, what happened?”

          I look left, then
right.  Up, then down.  Over, then under.  My eyes settle on
my backpack next to my work table. I shove the jar inside quick, listening
to the hurky-jerky sound of glass tapping against my notebooks.  I
cover the jar with my jacket and step quickly into the hall.

          Fran pulls her hand to
her mouth.  “What happened to Fi?”

          Fi is on the floor where
I left her.

          “She was, ummm, we
were doing our science projects and then she fainted.”

          “I thought you had
to turn those in today?”

          “We did, but mine
got loose and she was …”

          I stare at her limp,
oddly twisted body.

          “Do you want me to
perform CPR until the emergency workers arrive?” Dougal asks.

          Fran rolls Fiona over on
her back.  “They’ll be no emergency workers. I got this,”
she says quietly, tapping Fi’s cheeks. “Fiona?”

          Fi’s eyes pop open.

          “You passed out,
girl.  Are you okay?”


          Fran helps Fi to her
feet.  She sways, woozy, reaching for the wall.

          Their cat, Sir
Shreds-A-Lot, scratches and howls at the back door.

          “Don’t let that cat
in,” Dougal says.  “He’s been sneaking up to the attic and
eating the villagers in Mom’s village.”

          “What’s the last
thing you remember?” I ask Fi.

          She rubs her
forehead.  “Let me get an ice pack. I’ll answer that in a


About the Author

Hailed as “an author with a genuine flair for originality” by
Midwest Book Review and “a loveable, engaging, original
voice…” by Publishers Weekly, Lis Anna-Langston was raised
along the winding current of the Mississippi River on a steady diet of
dog-eared books.

You can find her any day of the week in the wilds of South Carolina
plucking stories out of thin air.


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