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First pages

Chapter 1: This is Who We Are

 Ever since I graduated from college in the year of 2022, my life has changed forever, for better and for worse. The good part was that I got the chance to meet the Kratt Brothers when they visited for a science class, and we’ve become life-long friends ever since. The bad part, however, was that global warming had started taking its toll on planet Earth. I had noticed that Seattle has been getting more and more storms during the winter, and hotter and drier in the summers. But the Kratt Brothers helped my friends and me take that off of our minds by inviting us to camp out in Animal Junction. (Yes, it is a real place, located up in Bellingham, Washington.) It’s pretty nice to have some people to talk about global warming with! I just hope we’ll all survive and prosper in the years to come.

 It was November of 2024, and Dan and I were on our way to work on a cloudy, Monday morning. My name is Young-Young Ma and I was born in San Francisco in the year of 2000. But my family and I moved to Seattle when I was one and I lived most of my life here. Right now, my parents and my older brother, Charlie, are staying in their old house in San Ramon, a suburb east of San Francisco. Anyhow, I really enjoyed it here in the Pacific Northwest, and speaking of which, Dan and I got ourselves a cat just last month, named Buddy! She is a sweet and compliant kitty!

Anyway, Dan Rutherford is a burly British man with brown eyes and neat brown hair. He and I have been very close friends ever since Kindergarten. During our school years, we would always help each other with homework and studying. Right now, we both live in the same house in Issaquah, WA, and we even work at the same company. Dan and I are both programmers at this brand-new company called Cheat Engine, which basically designs a program of the same name that allows gamers to cheat in games. Anyways, it's a cool, highly-rewarding job, though we can be pretty busy at times, especially towards the end of the year. We launch a new version of Cheat Engine every year, usually around early January, but Dan and I still enjoy this career, and we definitely plan on doing this until the day we retire.

 "Good morning, guys," our wonderful boss, Mr. Earl, greeted us as we walked into the building. "Good morning," Dan and I replied. As soon as I sat down at my desk, the telephone rang. I answered it and you'll never believe who it was! It was Chris Kratt! "Hey, Young-Young!" Chris exclaimed. "Long time, no see!” “I know, right?! How's everything?" I asked. "It is going well, hope you're doing fine as well," replied Chris. "I have just been thinking that maybe you and your friends would want to come to Animal Junction. We can camp out for a week in celebration of Thanksgiving!" "Whoa, it is almost Thanksgiving? Wow, hard to believe we have been so busy that we forgot about Thanksgiving! Well, time sure flies when you're having fun!" I chuckled. "Haha, well, I'm guessing that means a yes, right?" Chris asked. "Correct," I replied. "Okay, so Martin and I will be at your house tomorrow morning at around 5:30, because I don't want to get caught in the morning rush. Sound good?" Chris suggested. "Sure," I replied. "See you tomorrow morning, then," Chris said.

 On my way to the coffee machine, I told Dan about Chris's invitation to Animal Junction. "Cool! I will email David because he told me that Derrick is doing research again and he needs to gather some information over the Thanksgiving holidays," Dan replied.

David Norfolk is another friend of ours who works as a web designer at Amazon. Like Dan, he is also British, but he is much taller and lankier than Dan. He lives by himself in his own house just down the street from ours, so we do hang out a lot. Derrick Springfield is a zoologist who lives in Bellingham and works regularly at Animal Junction. He is from the island country of Lizard-land, located on the Atlantic Ocean between the U.S and Europe. Unlike other people on Earth, the Lizillians (what we call people from Lizard-land) are quite a unique racial group. In general, most native Lizillians look like animals in human bodies, but talk and act like any other human being. (Just think of those characters from SpongeBob Square-Pants. You won’t find a Lizillian who looks like a hairy gorilla!) Anyhow, Derrick was a muscular male lizard of average height.

"Don’t forget to tell David that we are leaving around 5:30 tomorrow morning, so that he can prepare himself," I explained. "Okay, and we have to let our boss know as well," Dan said.

Dan and I walked over to the boss's office and told him about our trip. "Heading up to Animal Junction again huh? Cool! Well, have a good Thanksgiving and stay dry and warm! The weather forecast says that there might be a storm later this week," our boss explained. "Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!" Dan told him.

Dan and I got up at 5 the next morning and as we were brushing our teeth, we heard a doorbell. I answered it and the Kratt Brothers walked in. "Hey guys!" I exclaimed. "Hey, Young-Young!" Martin said. “Hey, good morning! Make yourselves comfortable, please; Dan is still upstairs, but he’ll be down in a second,” I explained. Just then, Dan came downstairs, all dressed up and set to go. “Good morning, guys. All set?” Dan asked. “We're ready anytime you are!” Chris said. “You guys can go ahead; we already know the way there,” I explained. “Okay, see you guys there!” Martin said.

“Which car should we take this time?” Dan asked. “Well, we will need space for our backpacks, plus David’s, so how about you drive?” I told Dan. Dan owns a 2022 Ford Fusion Hybrid, which is a large sedan while I drive a Toyota Prius. “Okay, let’s go!” Dan said after he’d found his keys. “Oh, and don’t forget Buddy!” Luckily, she was already awake and ready for an adventure!

It was pretty dark outside, and it was beginning to rain. We drove to David’s house, which was down the street. His house has a long and flat driveway, which is nice because for one thing, you wouldn’t have to worry about your car running away. That happened to my Prius once, but luckily no one was hurt! Dan got out of the car to knock on the door. Pretty soon, David walked out and scrambled to the car. “Need a towel?” I could see that he was soaking wet from the rain. “Thank you, Young-Young!” said David as he grabbed my towel. “How is everything going?” David asked me. “It is going well! Excited for Thanksgiving?” I replied. “Yep! Something tells me we are going to have a lot of friends there!” said David. “I can imagine,” I replied.

As we approached Bellingham, it started pouring and the wind started to pick up. The heavy rain made it hard to see, so we lingered near the side of the road, looking for Animal Junction. “That must be it!” I said as I saw a red building on the opposite side of us. “It looks like it,” Dan replied as we began driving onto the muddy dirt path. “Good thing we have an all-wheel-drive that can do off-road driving!” I said.

The mud splashed everywhere as we jumped out of the car. It even got onto my shirt! What a mess! “Oh gosh, I didn’t bring my hiking boots!” I foolishly laughed. “Come on, guys! Let’s head in!” Martin exclaimed after we’d gotten our backpacks and Buddy.

We all hurried inside. “Ah, the heat feels nice,” David said as he stood in front of the fan heater. “David! You’re blocking the heat!” Dan chuckled. “Oh, sorry!” said David. “Hey, where’s Derrick?” Dan questioned. “He’s supposed to be coming soon,” Chris explained. “It’s probably because of the rain.” Just then, I saw someone walking in. It was Derrick the zoologist! “Good morning, everyone! Sorry I was late, it was the rain,” Derrick explained. “It’s okay. Make yourself comfortable, please!” David said. “Hey, where’s Zoboomafoo?” Derrick asked, looking around. Zoboomafoo is a rare talking lemur whom Derrick and his team of zoologists have been investigating for nearly twenty years now. We call him Zoboo for short. “Oh yeah, we need to call him! Zoboo!” Martin shouted. “Hey, guys!” Zoboo said as he leaped over. “Hey, buddy! Great to see you!” Martin said. “Great to see you guys too! Hey, brothers, why are the clouds dumping water?” Zoboomafoo asked. “The clouds are dumping water?” Martin was all confused. “Yeah, the clouds are dumping water everywhere outside,” Zoboomafoo pointed out the window. “Rain! Zoboo is talking about rain!” David suggested. “Yeah! Rain! It sure is rainy outside! I can’t believe my mind!” Zoboo said. “Mangatiska! Who is this?” Zoboo asked, looking at Buddy. Mangatiska is the Malagasy word for cool. “Oh, this is Buddy, our cat! Don’t worry, she can be shy, but she’ll be playful once she knows you,” I explained. “Meow,” said Buddy as she crawled towards Zoboo.

My stomach began grumbling and I was feeling hungry. “We need breakfast, I’m starving!” I said. “Oh, ok then I’ll get you guys a snack from the snack machine,” Zoboomafoo said. “Let’s see, what do you guys like to eat?” “Those breakfast sandwiches look good!” I said, peering into the machine. “One breakfast sandwich coming up! And you can always come back for more!” Zoboo said as he pushed the button. I caught the sandwich on my plate. “Hmmm, smells nice,” I said. “What would you like to eat?” Zoboo asked Dan. “Those waffles, please?” Dan requested. Dan caught a few waffles on his plate. Once everybody had something to eat, we all chowed down on our food. I don’t think I have ever been so hungry in my life before. I was the first one to finish. Everyone else was still munching down on their foods. I could tell by the way they were eating, they probably didn't have breakfast either.

Chapter 2 : What a Mess!

After we’d all finished our breakfast, we sat down together and talked to Zoboo about the rain. “So, who did you see in the forest today?” Martin asked. “I actually saw some wild boars! Yeah, there were a lot of them! They might be coming over to Animal Junction!” Zoboo explained. After he’d said that, the Kratt Brothers groaned. I could see why, because wild boars are known for being messy. I still remember the last time they visited Animal Junction! We commonly refer to them as “messy pigs”, since they are also part of the pig family. “Does that mean we’re going to have to clean up Animal Junction again?” Martin questioned. “Don’t worry, brothers! I’ll help you guys! It was pretty fun last time!” Zoboo said. “Well, you got to admit it, being messy can be pretty fun too!” Chris pointed out. “Good point,” Dan added.

A moment later, we heard some squealing in the distance. “That must be a wild boar,” Derrick exclaimed. After that, a giant boar marched into Animal Junction. “Hey, buddy!” Martin had said. “This must be the mother boar,” I indicated. “Her piglets might be coming soon.” “You’re right, Young-Young,” Derrick told me. “The piglets usually follow their mother everywhere.” Pretty soon, the piglets scrambled into the Junction! There must’ve been at least five of them! “Mangatiska! That’s a lot of piglets!” Zoboo said. “This is nothing; sometimes, the mother boar can have a litter of up to 10 piglets!” Martin explained. “True,” Derrick agreed. “And the mother boar has to be a great mom. When the piglets are born, the mother builds a nest to keep them warm and protect them from surrounding dangers. Once the piglets are grown up, they get introduced to the group. A group of wild boars is called a drift,” Derrick continued. “Those are some solid facts! Here, why don’t we give them a break?” Dan suggested.

Pretty soon, the wild boars began digging around in Animal Junction, probably looking for food. “You know, I think they might be looking for something to eat!” Chris indicated. “Oh, okay then I’ll get them a snack from the snack machine! But hey, there’s no wild boar food. Hey, there’s no food at all,” Zoboo looked around, and as he did so, a few towels landed on his head. “Where did it all go?” Zoboo questioned. “It’s Fling, the capuchin monkey!” Chris said as I looked up. “He loves flinging things around! Fling is the flingiest capuchin monkey Animal Junction has ever seen!” Zoboo exclaimed. “Oh, so that’s where all the food from the snack machine went! Whoa!” Zoboo ducked as a few pillows flew towards him.

“I forgot to tell you guys their names. So, that’s Mama Boar,” Zoboo explained as he pointed towards the mother boar. “And that’s Messier, Messed-Up, Messiest, and that little guy is Phil.” “Interesting names, Zoboo!” I replied. Just then, Phil began tugging at the closet door. “No, not the closet!” Martin said as he hurried towards Phil. But it was too late. Phil had managed to open the door, and all the closet stuff poured out onto the ground and splattered everywhere. Martin face palmed and chuckled, “Oh man, now we really have a mess to clean up!” “I think the wild boars are pretty happy about that!” David pointed out. “You’re right, David. Some creatures like to make a good, old mess!” Chris said.

Well, Chris was right, because Fling was still throwing things around! “I have a feeling that Animal Junction is going to get messier and messier and messier!” Martin said as a banana peel landed on his face. “Hey, Fling! What are you doing?” “He’s still flinging things around!” Zoboo answered. “You may think that Fling messed up Animal Junction before, but did you know that all monkeys do the same? When they search for things, they tear up the forest, and they won’t stop until they find what they are looking for!” Derrick explained as he typed something into his laptop. “Well, you know what they say, the more monkeys, the more mess!” Dan laughed.

“The new saying should be ‘the more wild boars, the more mess’!” I added. Pretty soon, the piglets began chewing and stomping on the closet equipment. “Brothers, they’re getting the closet stuff even messier!” said Zoboo. “Well, we’re probably not going to get that much clean-up help from the wild boars, so we may need a little extra help,” Martin explained.

“Hey brothers, what does this thingy do?” Zoboo asked as he leaped next to a vacuum cleaner. “It’s a vacuum cleaner, Zob! Remember? It’s used for cleaning up, and to turn it on, you just flick the switch!” Martin answered. “Mangatiska, then I’ll use it to clean up Animal Junction with, hoo-ha!” Zoboo leaped onto the vacuum cleaner and once he flicked the switch, the vacuum cleaner zoomed away! “Whoa! Look out, piggies! I’m cleaning up!” Zoboo exclaimed as he zipped around the junction. “Whoa-aa-aaa! This cleaning-up thingy is fun-nn-nnn! Woo! A little cleaning up here, and watch out!” Zoboo continued, only making a bigger mess. “I don’t think a vacuum cleaner is what we need here!” David shouted as he was being chased by Zoboo and the vacuum cleaner. “MEOW!” exclaimed Buddy, nearly getting trampled by Zoboo. “Hey, is the junction getting any cleaner? Whoa, cleaning here, cleaning there! Hoo-ha-ha! This thing is fun!” Zoboo exclaimed as he was zooming in circles.

Suddenly, the vacuum cleaner stopped. We all chuckled at Zoboo. “Had some fun there, Zob?” I asked. “Yeah!” Zoboo then looked at the vacuum cleaner. “Uh oh, where did the broom go?” “Maybe we need to tighten the vacuum gasket,” Chris said. “And I’ll adjust the suction,” Martin said as he got out a wrench. After that, I’m not sure what happened, but the vacuum cleaner’s engine started revving. “Uh oh, is that a good sound?” Zoboo began screaming as the vacuum cleaner shook him. “I don’t think so!” Chris replied as the vacuum bag began inflating. “Turn it off! Turn it off!” shouted Dan. But it was too late; the bag exploded, spraying dust everywhere. “We’ll never get the closet cleaned up at this rate!” Martin said. “And now everyone’s messier than ever!” Chris added. “It doesn’t look like the wild boars’ mind at all!” Zoboo indicated. “You’re right, Zoboo! Wild boars are great messers!” Martin said as he brushed the dirt off his shirt. “Why don’t we clean ourselves up in the shower?” Derrick suggested. “And we got a new washing machine,” Chris explained.

One-by-one, we each took a quick shower and briefly washed our clothes. Just then, Mama Boar and her piglets scrambled out of the Junction. “Look, there’s the drift of wild boars!” Derrick pointed out the window. “I think it’s time she has to help with all her babies. Bye, wild boars!” said Zoboo. After all of the pigs have left, we all looked around Animal Junction. “Now we really have some cleaning up ahead of us!” Chris said. “Well, as we always say, Chris, a creature adventurer has got to do what a creature adventurer has got to do!” Martin explained. “Let’s clean up!”

Pretty soon, we took all the closet stuff and threw it back into the closet. “Throw it in, guys, and I’ll help organize it,” said Zoboo. Ten minutes later, we finally cleaned up the Junction! “Yeah! Great job, Zoboo! Zoboo?” Martin looked around. There was a knock on the closet door and Martin opened it. “That was fun! Let’s mess up Animal Junction again, so we can clean up again!” Zoboo exclaimed. “Uh, maybe another time, Zoboo,” Chris suggested.

: A Stormy Start

“You know, all that mess has got me thinking; maybe we should go on a trip to check out messy creatures and see how they clean themselves up!” Derrick suggested. “Good idea! And maybe Zoboo can come along too,” I added. “Well, let’s see if it’s still raining,” Chris explained as he looked out the window. It was starting to thunder and lightning started flashing as well. “It’s okay, we’re driving down to the forest anyways, and you guys should have raincoats, right?” Dan asked. “We actually do have raincoats in the closet,” said Martin as he dug out of the closet. “Here, raincoats for everybody!”

After we had all gotten everything we needed, we headed out into the cold, heavy rain, but with our rain jackets, it didn’t matter. But Zoboo sure looked funny in his raincoat! “Mangatiska, what is this weird looking animal?” Zoboo questioned as he stared at Dan’s car. “That’s not an animal, Zoboo, it’s a car!” Martin laughed. “A car? What’s a car?” Zoboo questioned. “Well, someone drives it and it takes you to certain places!” Chris explained. “You’ll see.”

Well, Zoboo sure had a great time exploring a car for his first time! “I can’t believe my mind! This is a funny looking wheel! And what are these stick thingies?” Zoboo said as he looked around the inside. “Those are gears, Zoboo. They tell the car which way to go,” I explained. Just then, Dan stuck his head into the car. “Uh, Zoboo, I would get out of the driver’s seat if I were you,” Dan said. “Okay, but what are these shiny things?” Zoboo asked. “Those are car keys, Zoboo! They’re used to start the car. Here, you can start the car for me!” Dan told him. “Just stick the keys into a cupholder, and push the power button,” Dan explained. Zoboo managed to start the car on his first try. “Congratulations, Zoboo! You started a car for the first time! How do you feel, buddy?” Chris asked. “I can’t believe my mind! Hey, can I drive this car?” Zoboo asked. “No, definitely not!” Dan replied. But it was too late. Zoboo shifted the gear and the car rolled down the grass. “Push the brakes, push the brakes!” Chris chanted. “Where are the brakes?!” I could tell Zoboo was panicking. “Let’s not panic! I will take care of this,” I got down on all-fours and crawled towards the pedals, and I used my hand to push the brakes. Once the car stopped, I called to Chris, “Hey, Chris, can you lock the car for me? Shift it to Park.” “That was fun! Can I do it again?” Zoboo asked. “Certainly not! You could have got seriously hurt, or even killed! You sure were lucky!” Dan answered once he caught up with us. “Let’s go.”

“Mangatiska, is this how fast Zipper runs?” Zoboo asked as we were driving down the road. Zipper is a cheetah who occasionally visits Animal Junction. “Not really, Zoboo. You have to drive on the highway to be as fast as him!” Chris explained. “What’s a highway?” Zoboo questioned. “It’s right there, Zoboo!” Martin answered as he pointed at the highway next to us. “I can’t believe my mind; they move so fast!” Zoboo said. “Well, we’re about to drive on the highway soon, so you can see how fast we usually go!” Dan explained.

Unfortunately, because of the heavy rain, the traffic was starting to slow down on the highway. “We’re not moving that fast yet,” Zoboo mentioned. “It’s probably because of the rain,” said Derrick from the back. Just then, there was a flash of lightning, followed by a rumble of thunder. “What is that purple flash in the sky? And what’s that sound?” Zoboo asked. “That flash is lightning, Zoboo. And that sound you hear is thunder. It happens sometimes when it rains hard,” Martin explained. “Lightning, wow. It sure is stormy, today!” said Zoboo. “I know, that’s why we’re wearing raincoats!” Martin explained. “Good thing we have this car to keep us dry; it’s starting to get warm for me!” Zoboo said. “Oh, well if you’re hot, then you can take off your raincoat for now!” Chris said. “Oh, don’t worry! Lemurs like me enjoy this heat! Hoo-ha!” said Zoboo.

By then, the traffic stopped moving. We were just sitting there, listening to the sound of the heavy raindrops beating on the roof. “Let’s see what the traffic report has in store for us,” I said as I turned on the radio. But all I heard was static. “The power must be out at the radio station or something,” Dan suggested. “Man, is the storm that bad?” I asked. “I’ll check on my phone. Here, let’s pull over,” Dan said.

Sure enough, the storm was supposed to last quite a while! But as creature adventures, nothing can stop us! So, we just slowly inched forward in the heavy traffic, with the heavy raindrops banging on the roof. “Uh oh, bad news. Exit 270 is closed because of flooding, and it says that it’s snowing near the Canadian border,” said Dan. “Well, which exit are we going to?” I asked. “I suppose we could take the following exit and turn back around,” Dan suggested. “After all, we are creature adventurers, so rain or shine, nothing can stop us.” “I’m not worried. We’re lucky to have an all-wheel-drive!” I said.

Luckily, the forest itself wasn’t flooded, but it was muddy enough for us to see just how messy some creatures can get! “Oh man, I don’t think I can go anywhere without my hiking boots!” I said. “Oh, that reminds me. I brought along an extra pair just in case. It’s in the trunk,” Dan explained. “Oh, I’ll go get it!” I said. “No, it’s okay. I’m going to get my umbrella anyway; I don't know why my raincoat got penetrated from the water,” said Dan.

Once I changed into my hiking boots, we ventured down the muddy pathway into the heart of the forest, with Zoboo leaping behind us. “I don’t see anything yet,” Zoboo said. “Shh! We have to be very quiet, otherwise, we might scare some animals away,” Martin whispered. Finally, we spotted some squirrels hanging on the trees’ logs. “Notice how they clean themselves by licking their hands and then wiping it on their face. That is their way of cleaning themselves; they don’t like to get messy like we do!” Derrick chuckled. “Aren’t they supposed to be gathering acorns for the winter?” I asked. “That is exactly what they are doing, Young-Young. See this little hole they dug up; be careful not to trip over it,” explained David. “Mangatiska, I wonder how those acorns taste,” whispered Zoboo. “Uh, I would not eat those if I were you, Zoboo. They're for squirrels, not for lemurs!” I suggested. Just then, the squirrels scrambled into their holes. “Uh oh, did I scare them? I’m sorry, guys!” said Zoboo. “No, no; it was time for them to go back. They know when a storm is coming!” said Derrick.

As we ventured deeper into the thick forest, we spotted a rabbit grooming herself. “Well, it’s not every day that you see a rabbit grooming itself in the middle of the November rain!” said David. Just then, the rabbit hopped away. “Bye rabbit!” said Zoboo. Unfortunately, there was nothing else to see, plus the wind started picking up, rustling the thick evergreen trees and blowing the rain into our faces. “Alright, I think it's time for us to head back to Animal Junction!” said Chris as he tried to cover his face with his coat.

Even though it was still early in the morning, the sky got darker and darker every minute. “Oh, my goodness, the storm must be coming! It looks like it’s going to be a pretty bad one!” Dan exclaimed as we were driving back. “Yeah, the wind is blowing like crazy! I hope the Junction doesn't fall over!” I said, “We’ll be fine, hopefully,” replied Dan.

To our surprise, we spotted Zipper the Cheetah lying on top of the snack machine. “Hey, look! It’s Zipper!” exclaimed Zoboo. “Hey, buddy! What you doing here?” Martin asked. “Probably trying to hide from the rain,” suggested Derrick. “I think he’s hungry! Let’s see what we have in the snack machine,” said Zoboo. “Let’s see. Ah, there it is! Nothing better than a giant piece of meat for Zipper! Hoo-ha!” Zipper chowed down his food almost as quickly as he could run! “Wow, it must be hard for him to hunt in this weather,” remarked David. “You’re right, David. Cheetahs prey primarily on deer, and they can be very hard to find when the weather’s anything but sunny,” explained Derrick. “Especially in November.”

However, because of the storm and the little space we have in the Junction, Zipper wasn’t really interested in playing with us. Not even when Zoboo threw a soccer ball at him. “You know, this Junction is big for a little lemur like me, but for Zipper, it’s too crowded!” Zoboo explained for us. “I know, Zoboo. He’s probably tired from walking here in the rain anyway,” said Derrick. “Here, let’s give him a break.”

Chapter 3: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… no, it’s a Tornado!

The wind outside rattled almost every window in the junction, making Zipper jump. “It sure is windy!” Zoboo remarked. “Uh oh, I think we should cover the ceiling. The rain is dripping on us,” said Derrick. The Animal Junction’s “ceiling” really is thin pieces of wood caked with leaves and attached to each other such that animals can easily climb in and out through the gaps. “Yeah, we’ll get the cover,” said Martin as he walked to the closet.

But even the wind kept lifting the cover. “Don’t worry, I think the rain’s getting lighter,” explained Martin. “Let's just sit and chill.” I just sat down and was about to turn on my laptop when something rapped me on the head. “Whoa, what was that?” I asked. “Oh, it must have been this tree branch,” said Martin as he picked up the branch. “See that tree leaning over us?” How could I just notice that giant pine tree dangerously leaning over the Junction? “Oh, my goodness! I hope it doesn’t snap on us!” I exclaimed. “Don’t worry about it,” said Derrick.

Tiny tree twigs blew into the Junction one by one as the wind lifted the cover and eventually tore it off. “Well, at least the rain has stopped,” said Chris. “Mangatiska, it’s now raining these little green thingies,” marveled Zoboo. “Those are tiny tree branches, Zoboo!” explained Chris. “Oh, yeah, tree branches! I like to hang on them in the wild!” said Zoboo. “Now the wind is of the main concern!” I mentioned after another gust of wind shook the windows. “I can’t believe my mind; Animal Junction’s all messy again! Hoo-ha!” Zoboo beamed as he looked at the tree twigs scattered around the junction. He seemed happy about it!

I looked up the weather forecast to see when the storm will end, and if it was actually going to snow here, since Dan had mentioned earlier that it was snowing at the border. Sure enough, the weather station in Bellingham had issued a “Severe Thunderstorm Watch” plus a “High Wind Warning”, but yep, it was supposed to snow tomorrow and Thursday, though the rain was supposed to return on Friday. Oh well, maybe next year, we’ll get more snow!

“A severe thunderstorm? Wow, that doesn’t happen every day here in the Pacific Northwest, does it?” Derrick said once I told him the news. “Ah, just another sign of climate change. You know what they say; global warming causes more and more severe storms.” “Really? How does that happen?” questioned David. “Well, think about it; warmer air can hold more moisture, right? And when all that moisture is released, it can come down as a storm. But I doubt the thunderstorm will actually happen here, it’s not even raining.” He was right, though the wind began shaking the whole Junction; I looked up and the ceiling was wobbling like a tower of cards about to fall, though that might be because of the leaves wrapped around the thin pieces of wood. “Don’t worry, Young-Young; I can guarantee you, nothing will happen when you’re with the Kratt Brothers and me!” said Derrick once he saw where I was looking. “I know, I’m just monitoring the weather!” I quickly replied.

Just then, I looked up and saw the Kratt Brothers trying to fix the covers. “Hey! Need help, Martin?” I called out. “No! We’re fine!” replied Martin. “Looks like we still better help them,” said Dan.

Dan, Derrick and I trudged out into the blowing winds while David and Zoboo stayed in the junction and cleaned up the tree branches. “Who wants to go up the ladder?” Dan questioned us. “Best if I go,” said Derrick, climbing up the ladder.

How they managed to pin the cover to the ceiling in the furious winds was anyone’s guess, but they did it nonetheless, so that the wind wouldn’t lift the covers again.

About an hour later, the promised thunderstorm arrived, now threatening to break every window of the Junction and pattering the cover with raindrops and hail. “Well, at least we’re safe from the rain now!” said Dan as he looked up. “Mangatiska, look at those trees outside!” Zoboo marveled. “Woah!” was all I could say. The wind made the trees look as thin as chopsticks, and it seemed for a moment that the whole forest was going to get destroyed. And so, it happened; from the distance, we saw the trees collapse one-by-one from the wind. “Oh, no! I hope my parents will be alright!” exclaimed Zoboo. “Don’t worry, Zoboo! The lemur center just emailed us saying that your parents are safe and sound in their cages!” Chris reassured. “Oh, that’s good! I was worried for a moment. Hoo-ha!” replied Zoboo.


About me

My name is Young-Young Ma and I was born in San Francisco, California, on July 23, 2000. When I was one year old, my family and I moved to the city of Seattle, where I spent the majority of my childhood. We temporarily relocated back to California when I was seven years old, but after two years, my family decided that it was better just to settle down here! Right now, I am a senior student at Skyline High School who has been very passionate about creative writing ever since I was little.

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
When I was in 6th grade, I learned about global warming for the first time and how it can affect everyone living on the planet. After hearing that, I felt that it was my job to preserve this planet for future generations,so I began doodling and eventually got the idea of writing an enjoyable novel.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Yes! Please, everyone; even if you don't think climate change is real, still be considerate and do your part to help out the environment! Even if it is simple as recycling or walking/biking instead of driving, or maybe thinking about an eco-friendly car. You could even save yourself or others money!
Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
At first glance, everything seems ordinary in this book. All the characters appear to be living peaceful and happy lives. However, as the climate gets progressively worse across the globe, they know that time is running out and they must plan a dangerous mission to save Earth from an apocalypse.

Next in:
Literature & Fiction
The Enemy at Home
Jack's Fight has Just Begun
Saints and Sinners
How would you feel if it happened to you?
Nina's Nebulosity
In full darkness, a ray of light brings hope.