SNATCH A STORY Excerpt from Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth:
One of Linnie’s favorite things to do was play dress up. At her house, we put on her old Halloween costumes and pretend we live in a magical kingdom.
I smiled a secret smile. I didn’t tell Linnie that Mom had a kimono for her to wear on Girl’s Day, a Japanese celebration for girls. It was my sister Sophie’s old kimono she’d outgrown. I couldn’t wait to surprise Linnie!
Until this year, we had only celebrated Girl’s Day as a family. But Linnie, who is not Japanese American like I am, is my very best friend, and I wanted to share this day with her. I was happy Mom let me invite her.
I sucked in a breath. I had another surprise for Linnie. “We can dress up in other clothes right now, if you want,” I said.
“Really?” she asked.
“Really! My neighbor Mrs. Reese has boxes and boxes of clothes. She told me I could play with them anytime I want,” I said.
Linnie clapped her hands. “Let’s go!” We raced from the living room to the kitchen. I just had to check in with Mom. “We’re going to Mrs. Reese’s to play in her garage,” I said quickly.
“The clothes are in her garage?” Linnie asked.
Mom lifted a finger while she finished writing on a page. She worked part of her time at an office and part of her time at home. When she was done, she looked at her watch. “I’ll call you back in an hour.”
When I played at Mrs. Reese’s, all Mom had to do was step outside and yell my name. The rule was that I had to come home right when she called for me. Sometimes I pretended not to hear her until she used my full name. When she called out Jasmine Toguchi, I knew she meant serious business.
“We don’t have to go,” Linnie said. “We can play in your room.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “An hour is plenty of time to play dress up!”
I took Linnie’s hand and we walked two houses over to Mrs. Reese’s.
Usually I climbed over the gate because it was fun, but Linnie didn’t like to climb. She was afraid of falling. So I opened the gate to the backyard instead.
I glanced at the apricot tree. This was my special thinking tree. Mrs. Reese lets me climb it whenever I need a place to think. It would be fun to share it with Linnie, but like I said, Linnie does not like to climb.
Mrs. Reese’s garage was special, too. I had the smallest room at our house, not that I minded a whole lot, but this garage was like a private room all my own. Mrs. Reese never opened the big door for cars. Around the side of the garage was a regular door.
“It’s dark in there,” Linnie said, twirling her finger around a strand of her brown hair.
The windows were dusty, but some light shone in. Towers of plastic boxes looked like trees in a forest. In the center of the garage, a giant dresser with four big drawers sat like a castle. I loved it in here! Spot illustration by Elizabet Vukovic
THE WICKED READ
Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth Series: Jasmine Toguchi #2
By Debbi Michiko Florence
Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Ages 6 – 9 Years
It’s a big weekend for Jasmine Toguchi! She’s excited to celebrate Girl’s Day―a Japanese holiday honoring women and girls―with her sister, mother, and best friend, Linnie. When Linnie comes over to plan for the Girl’s Day celebration, Jasmine’s neighbor lets them play dress up in her garage. But the garage is dark, which is kind of scary. And Linnie decides to go home early, which is kind of weird. And Jasmine’s big sister, Sophie, doesn’t seem to want to join in the Girl’s Day fun this year, which is kind of confusing. WHAT is going on?
As her big weekend plans start to unravel, Jasmine must use her sleuthing skills to spot the clues around her. Then maybe, just maybe, she can fix things and make sure the Girl’s Day celebration happens!
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FREE & FREAKY
THE CREEPY CREATOR
Debbi Michiko Florence plays virtual dress up by creating characters and making up stories in her office The Word Nest that is right next to her garage. Good thing she’s not afraid of the garage, but if she were she’d at least have the company of her favorite writing companions, her puppy Kiku and her bunny Aki. She also has two ducks, Darcy and Lizzy. Debbi is the author of the chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi, about a spunky 8-year-old Japanese American girl. The first two books are Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen (a Junior Library Guild fall 2017 selection) and Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth (FSG/2017). Book 3, Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl will publish on April 3, 2018 and book 4, Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper will publish on July 3, 2018. Debbi is a third generation Japanese-American and a native Californian, and now lives in Connecticut with her husband. She loves to travel to non-spooky places with her husband and daughter.