Children’s Fiction for Autumn Reading

Autumn is here.  Leaves are beginning to change color and fall.  It’s that kind  of weather again.  Time for baking cookies, for lighting the fireplace.  Time to curl up with a mug of apple cider or hot chocolate and a good book.  Do you read good books to your children?  Do your children like to read chapter books for themselves?  Now is the time to order The Pancake Cat for your cozy times. The Pancake Cat is available online, or by special order from your favorite local bookstore.  In honor of the changing of the season, here is my favorite chapter for free.  You can also read chapter one at Xlibris.

Chapter 18


Jim Deckert’s dog was loose. How he got out was a mystery. The Deckerts had installed a five foot chain link fence two years ago when they moved in. Chain link was a little unusual in a neighborhood where everyone seemed to prefer the appearance of six foot wood slats. The best thing about chain link was that Andrea could see right through the Deckert’s yard into Mrs. Garcia’s yard.  This morning there was no need to see into other yards. Frank, the dog, was free. Did some sixth sense whisper to him that cranky Mr. Hinkman was in Houston visiting his daughter? Never mind how he had won his independence; Frank was now trotting up the alley, making detours into   every yard with an open driveway gate.  Andrea and Philip were eating oatmeal, so it wasn’t Saturday. Gracie was on the patio happily consuming a pancake, leftover from a few days before.

“Frank’s playing in the alley,” chortled Philip.

“Maybe he doesn’t have school today,” said Daddy as he came into the room and grabbed the car keys.  A burst of laughter came from the table.

“Hurry Andrea or you’ll be late for school,” called Mom from the other room.

“Frank doesn’t have school today,” choked Andrea.

“Well, middle school isn’t always in session on the same days as your school. Maybe Frank’s school is having a teacher work day,” reasoned Dad.

Andrea and Philip laughed helplessly.

“Middle school is in session today, Daddy,” said Andrea, “Tex left 30 minutes ago.”

“Tex? Is that the name of the Furwakawa boy? Where did he get a name like Tex? Frank sounds like a nice name for a neighbor boy.”

“Frank is a dog,” said Philip. “Here he comes.”

Frank trotted in the gate and up the cement drive without breaking pace. He trotted straight toward Gracie. Gracie was so intent on the last half of pancake he did not notice Frank’s approach until it was too late.

Frank barked. Gracie startled and ran. Frank chased him across the yard and up the nearest tree. Losing interest, the dog returned to polish off the pancake. Apparently Gracie never forgot who it was that cost him the pancake. He stayed hidden the remainder of the day, biding his time. Next day, and the next, Frank was safely behind locked gates. On the third day Gracie made his move. He circled Frank’s yard. He came close to the fence. Staying about six inches from the chain link, he meowed. Frank bounded to the fence barking. Gracie ran the length of the yard with Frank in pursuit on the other side of the fence. He turned at the corner and ran back. Finding Frank could not get to him, he added a grand finale.

Leaping high up on the fence, he clung there, spread eagle, three inches out of Frank’s reach. Gracie hissed and meowed, taunting Frank. Frank barked and yelped and circled the yard in a frenzy. Finally Jim Deckert came out and called his dog inside. Gracie hung a few moments longer, then dropped gracefully to the ground and sauntered off, satisfied.