Authors: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
The Sisters 8 Book 1
Table of Contents
With Greg Logsted & Jackie Logsted
Illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
Copyright © 2008 by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Illustrations copyright © 2008 by Lisa K. Weber
All rights reserved. For information about permission
to reproduce selections from this book, write to
Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Company,
215 Park Avenue South,
New York, New York 10003.
Sandpiper and the Sandpiper logo are trademarks of the
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
The text of this book is set in Youbee.
Text design by Carol Chu.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Annie's adventures / by Lauren Baratz-Logsted ;
with Greg Logsted and Jackie Logsted.
p. cm.—(The sisters eight ; bk. 1)
Summary: On New Year's Eve, the octuplets Huit—Annie, Durinda,
Georgia, Jackie, Marcia, Petal, Rebecca, and Zinnia—discover that
their parents are missing, and then uncover a mysterious note
instructing them that each must find her power and her gift if they
want to know what happened to their parents.
ISBN 978-0-547-13349-2 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-547-05338-7 (paperback)
[1. Sisters—Fiction. 2. Abandoned children—Fiction.]
I. Logsted, Greg. II. Logsted, Jackie. III. Title.
Printed in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For Julia Richardson,
obviously and with love
Annie Durinda Georgia Jackie
Marcia Petal Rebecca Zinnia
The story always begins the same.
Once upon a time, there were eight sisters who would all one day be eight years old.
At the same time.
They were octuplets, you see.
Their names were Annie, Durinda, Georgia, Jackie, Marcia, Petal, Rebecca, and Zinnia. They were each born a minute apart on August 8, 2000. All eight had brown hair and brown eyes. And although they were all the same exact age, give or take a few minutes, each was one inch taller than the next, with Zinnia being the shortest and Annie the tallest.
And their story always begins the same, so:
Please stop reading if you have read about the Sisters Eight before, and go directly to chapter one.
Please keep reading if you have not read about the Sisters Eight before.
Please keep reading if you have read about the Sisters Eight before but your memory is lousy.
Please keep reading if you have read about the Sisters Eight before but you simply like the writing here and want to read this part over and over again.
Eight girls in one story, or one series of stories. This is bad news for boys, who may suspect that there are no snails or puppy dogs' tails in this book. However, there
be snails and puppy dogs' tails, but the only way you will ever know this is to read further. Remember: girls can be just as grubby as boys—you just have to give them half a chance.
The family name of the Sisters Eight was Huit, which is French for
and pronounced like "wheat," as in cream of, which I hope you never have to eat. On New Year's Eve 2007, as you shall soon see, their parents disappeared, or died, one of the two—this was a fine holiday present for the sisters, let me tell you.
Parents disappeared, presumed dead, actually dead—parents don't fare very well in children's stories these days, I'm afraid. Best to be a child and not a parent, then.
The Sisters Eight lived in a magnificent stone house, which you will see more of very soon. It could practically have been a castle. It was therefore not the kind of house you would want to leave under any circumstances, certainly not after your parents had disappeared. Or died. You would not want to be taken away from your sisters, separated. And so they had to endeavor—as you would no doubt do too—to hang on to their home and to one another, keeping the truth away from the prying eyes of adults, who would surely have split them all up like so many stalks of wheat cast upon the wind.
Not an easy task—sticking together with loved ones—when you are seven, soon to be eight.
And where was this magnificent stone house? Why, it might have been anywhere in the world—even right next door to you—so why quibble? However, if there were octuplets in your class at school, you would probably have noticed by now, so perhaps that's not the case.
One thing was for sure: there were undoubtedly many cats in this almost castle, cats who would also have been taken away if word got out that the parents of the Sisters Eight had disappeared. Or died.
As we approach the beginning of our first adventure, it is that fateful New Year's Eve 2007 and the girls are about to discover the disappearance of their parents-odd, the idea of discovering that which has disappeared—as well as a note hidden behind a loose stone in the wall of the drawing room of their magnificent home. The note reads:
Dear Annie, Durinda, Georgia, Jackie, Marcia, Petal, Rebecca, and Zinnia,
This may come as rather a shock to you, but it appears you each possess a power and a gift. The powers you already have—you merely don't know you have them yet. The gifts are from yours parents, and these you must also discover for yourselves. In fact, you must each discover both your power and your gict in order to reveal what happened to yiour parents. Have you got all that?
The note is unsigned.
happened to their parents? Well, we don't know that yet, do we? If we did, then this would be the end of our story, not the beginning...
It was New Year's Eve 2007, approximately ten o'clock, and we were just getting ready to celebrate Christmas.
This may seem an odd time to celebrate Christmas, but on December 25, we had been stranded by snowstorms in Utah. Our parents had decreed that we celebrate our belated holiday on the eve of another holiday, and so we were about to enjoy a twofer. Or so we thought.
"But where are the presents?" asked Zinnia.
We were in the drawing room, which sounds like a room you draw pictures in but that we actually just sit in. On this night, we were sitting around a dying fire, waiting for something exciting to happen.
Betty came in with her dust cloth, which wasn't exciting at all. Betty was our mother's invention, a black and gold robot designed to make our life easier by doing the cleaning. But something had gone wrong with Betty's programming.
"Why don't you dust the floor under the tree?" Zinnia suggested to Betty. "That way, it will be cleaner there when our presents arrive."
Betty took the dust cloth, which she had draped over one of her accordion arms, and with one pin-cered hook placed it upon her own head.
Do you see what we mean about Betty?
"Good job, Betty," Zinnia said. Really, what else could one say?
"Bye, Betty!" we all shouted after her as she exited the room. Betty would probably now head outdoors to dust under the wrong tree.
The drawing room was our favorite room of the house. There was a grandfather clock and even a suit of armor propped in one corner. Daddy always said every home should have one—the suit of armor, not the clock. Daddy hated clocks. The walls of the room were made out of big slats of gray stone, which was cool in summer, but not so hot in winter.
"Perhaps Mommy and Daddy are waiting until we go to sleep, as usual," Annie said to Zinnia, "and why do you always have to worry so much about presents anyway?"
"I don't know why you have to be so bossy," Durinda said to Annie.
"Because she's the oldest," Georgia said. There was something sneering about the way she said it, like she was thinking of staging a coup.
"Do you always have to sneer so much, Georgia?" said Petal in a rare stab at speaking out of turn. Petal was our shy girl.
"The mouse roars," observed Rebecca snidely.
"I don't think you should pick on Petal," said Jackie, our peacemaker.
"And I don't know why you have to stick up for everyone all the time," observed Georgia. Then she sighed. "I'm bored."
"How can you be bored?" Annie asked. "You got caught in an avalanche in Utah. Wasn't that enough excitement for you?"
Georgia yawned. "It was just a tiny avalanche. I could have swam out myself if you'd only left me there another hour."
"Excuse me," said Marcia, staring into the rapidly diminishing fire in the fireplace, "but hasn't anyone noticed something is missing?"
"Such as?" prompted Rebecca.
"Perhaps I shouldn't have said
," Marcia self-corrected.
"Well," said Georgia, "if you're not going to say
, then why did you say
"No, not that," Marcia said, growing impatient. "What I should have said was, 'Hasn't anyone noticed
is missing?' Or some
"I'm afraid you've lost me," said Petal.
"Mommy and Daddy," Marcia prompted. Marcia was the observant one among us. "You know, those adults we live with?"
We looked around and realized she was right.
When had we last seen Mommy and Daddy?
Turn the clock back about twenty minutes:
"I'm going to the woodshed for logs for the fire," Daddy had said.
"I'm going to go fix a tray of eggnog for us all," Mommy had said.
"How long do you suppose," Petal asked now, "it takes a person to gather wood for a fire? Or pour ten glasses of eggnog?"
"Dunno," Zinnia said. "I suspect five minutes for the first, perhaps another three for the second if you put the carton back in the fridge. So, five and three—eight. It should have taken them eight minutes."
"But they were doing it
," Georgia said, "not one after another, so they both should have been back within five minutes, tops, even if Mommy took a really long time putting the carton back. Even if she decided to bring us cookies too."