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Journey to La Salle’s Settlement

Journey to La Salle’s Settlement

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Journey to La Salle’s Settlement

188 pages
1 heure
Apr 14, 2020


“Now don’t change history while I’m gone,” Mr. B had said before leaving Hannah and Nick to lock the trunk in the classroom closet. Despite Hannah’s pledge to comply, a trickle of beach sand and a slosh of seawater turn to a flood tide after she lifts the lid.

The siblings, along with their friend Jackie, find themselves in a wooden canoe off the seventeenth-century Texas coast—with a gale approaching and nothing to get them home but a magic ring and a list of riddles. No sooner does their rescuer, Sébastien, haul the trio aboard ship than they are pressed into service on the doomed French bark La Belle.

Blamed for shipwreck, attacked on shore by arrow-firing Karankawa warriors, and chased by alligators, Hannah, Jackie, and Nick rush to complete the scavenger hunt with the aid of the settlement’s resourceful colonists. From the Talon family they learn survival skills in the dense, dangerous woods—as they teach a few lessons of their own. But when a feverish Hannah collapses on the night of La Salle’s long-awaited return, will a gold coin turn up in time to redeem her life?
Apr 14, 2020

À propos de l'auteur

Fourth-grade teacher Melodie A. Cuate draws from extensive research, travel, and classroom experience for each new episode in Mr. Barrington’s Mysterious Trunk. In addition to writing, she conducts teacher workshops with curriculum developed specifically for the series, as well as school visits. She lives with her husband, Tony, in McAllen, Texas.

Aperçu du livre

Journey to La Salle’s Settlement - Melodie A. Cuate

Splash! Crash!

Washed away!

A foamy spray

casts dreams astray.

What once was treasured

may be no more.

Secrets are buried

’neath the ocean's floor.

Salt and sand and crisp sea air

taunt and tease, but do beware.

An odd wind blows,

Nought's what it seems.

Hold tight to your fears,

the adventurer schemes!


Problems Aplenty

But it's not fair!" Hannah Taylor plopped down in one of the front desks. Her brown eyes narrowed as she glanced out her classroom window. Sounds from the rush of students streaming down the hallway just infuriated her even more. Everyone was ready for the weekend except her. She frowned as she scraped off the remains of dark polish from her fingernails. Shiny flecks fell to her jeans and the floor.

Mr. Barrington, her seventh-grade history teacher, tapped a pen on his desk covered with messy piles of papers. His long sideburns and hair seemed an odd combination with his dress shirt and tie. Hannah, are you sure you don't have another copy of your English assignment?

It's like I already told you, Hannah said. I only had one copy, and someone swiped it from my backpack yesterday. I tried to print out another one last night on my mom's laptop, but the screen went black, and then it died.

So someone else will get credit for your assignment.

And I'll have to write another report this weekend. Hannah pushed her brown hair behind her ears. It fell past her shoulders.

Mr. Barrington leaned back in his chair and loosened his tie. Hannah, you've never backed down from a challenge before.

If it's not turned in today, Mrs. Culpepper threatened to lower my grade by ten points. It's not fair, Mr. Barrington. Can you talk to her for me?

Jackie Montalvo burst into the room. She was Hannah's best friend. Purple ribbons were twisted through Jackie's two black braids. They matched her blouse perfectly. Jackie closed the door, dropped her backpack on the floor, and sighed dramatically. My life is over…forever!

Mr. Barrington tried not to smile. You too?

In a huff, Jackie stamped across the floor and sat in the desk next to Hannah. She rested her chin on her hand. I got a really important text message. My math teacher, whose name I refuse to mention ever again for the rest of my life, took my cell phone! I'm totally cut off from the civilized world!

Mr. Barrington chuckled. Others in the past have had it much worse than you two. Oceans have separated people from their homelands.

Get real, Mr. B, Jackie said. You know the rules. They're gonna call my mom, and she'll take my phone away. I can't live without my phone!

Mr. Barrington started organizing the papers on his desk. You're not supposed to use your phone at school.

Jackie stood up and walked toward Mr. Barrington. She gave him her most pathetic look. Mr. B, can you try to get my phone back? P-l-e-e-e-a-s-e?

And talk to my English teacher? Hannah added.

Girls, I don't have that much influence around here. Mr. Barrington slid some papers into a manila folder.

Sulking, Jackie slowly turned around and froze, staring at something in the back of the classroom. "What's that doing here?"

Hannah's eyes widened as she followed Jackie's gaze to Mr. Barrington's mysterious trunk. Immediately, Hannah rose, walked to the back of the room, and touched the dusty trunk with her fingertip. Silvery cobwebs clung to its latch. Faded and torn labels that were stuck to the sides of the trunk named cities in Texas and Mexico where it had traveled: Monclova, San Antonio, Guadalajara, Veracruz, San Jacinto, Jalapa, and Zacatecas. Spirals, zigzags, arrows, and diamond shapes carved on the sides and top raced around the trunk in faded shades of yellow, orange, blue, teal, and red.

Every time Hannah had opened up the trunk, something magical happened. Jackie, her brother Nick, and she had journeyed to an exciting and sometimes dangerous past.

Mr. Barrington followed Jackie to the back of the room. He pulled out some keys from his pocket and jingled them as he approached the trunk. I was just getting ready to lock it in my closet, he said.

Lock it up and throw away the key, Jackie muttered.

Hannah stared at the trunk, almost willing it to send her a hidden message. Mr. Barrington, Hannah murmured, has anything, you know, unusual happened with the trunk lately?

Why, what do you mean? Mr. Barrington slid the key in the lock and opened the closet door. He avoided looking at the girls as he rolled up his sleeves and started to push the trunk toward the closet.

The classroom door swung open with a bang. Looking guilty, Hannah's thirteen-year-old brother, Nick, entered. The color of his dark brown hair matched Hannah's, and he was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Nick silently closed the door and leaned stiffly against it. Sorry, Mr. Barrington, he said, almost in a whisper.

Mr. Barrington stopped pushing the trunk and watched Nick. Another life or death situation, I presume?

You don't know the half of it. Nick's blue eyes darted about. He crept along the wall and peered through the corner of a window into the hallway.

Who are you hiding from? Hannah asked suspiciously.

At the sounds of girls' voices in the hallway, Nick rushed toward the back of the classroom. On his way, he pulled two books from a bookshelf and thrust them into Hannah's and Jackie's hands. Pretend you're reading these. You haven't seen me.

Jackie grinned. Oh, this is gonna be good. It's exactly what my text message was about. Nick has Zoe problems.

Seriously, Mr. Barrington, I'm not here. Nick dodged the trunk and slipped into the closet, leaving the door open just a crack.

Three girls wearing red and blue cheerleader outfits entered the room. Zoe, the one in the middle, had her blond hair pulled back into a ponytail of bouncy curls. Hi, Hannah, Mr. Barrington…Jackie, Zoe said in a serious tone. I thought I saw Nick come in here.

Jackie rolled her eyes. She glanced down at the book she was holding. He's not here, and we're really busy with our research on…La Sally.

Mr. Barrington cleared his throat. It's La Salle, not La Sally.

"My mom is picking us up. He should be outside waiting for her," Hannah said, trying not to lie.

Let's go, Zoe, one of the girls said.

Zoe's face softened. Thanks, Hannah.

Sure. Hannah watched the girls leave. What had Nick done this time?

Clones, Jackie muttered.

Hannah opened the book Nick had given her, turning the pages and scanning the pictures. She paused at a picture of a man with an outrageously large-brimmed hat and long, curly hair that fell below his shoulders. Things must have been a lot less complicated in those days.

Mr. Barrington shook his head. La Salle brought French settlers across the Pacific Ocean to live in a new world. Imagine hundreds of Karankawa warriors lining the beach, waiting for you to come ashore.

Jackie handed her open book to Mr. Barrington. She tapped her finger on a picture. Life back then was a piece of cake. Look at his shoes, and this hat with a plume…fashion came first for this guy. I'd fit right in.

I think La Salle would disagree with you, young lady. Mr. Barrington turned the page. "Ah, here's a picture of one of his ships, La Belle. That means the beautiful in French."

Hannah leaned toward the book in Mr. Barrington's hands. "It says La Belle sank off the Texas coastline," Hannah murmured.

The closet door creaked open. Nick stepped out with a sheepish look on his face. As he sat down on the trunk, Nick focused on Mr. Barrington's arm. Cool tattoo, Mr. Barrington. Where'd you get it?

Hannah and Jackie stared at the tattoo on the inside of Mr. Barrington's right arm, just above his wrist. It had angled designs that seemed to form strange letters. Mr. Barrington smiled slyly. In the jungle, the deepest, darkest part of India.

Oh, please! Now who's being dramatic? Jackie quipped.

Mr. Barrington chuckled. I'll make a deal with you. I'll check on your paper, Hannah, and Jackie's phone, while the three of you get the trunk locked in my closet. He glanced at Jackie. "And stay away from my

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