Nate the Great Goes Down in the Dumps, p.1
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NATE THE GREAT DETECTIVE STORIES!
NATE THE GREAT
NATE THE GREAT GOES UNDERCOVER
NATE THE GREAT AND THE LOST LIST
NATE THE GREAT AND THE PHONY CLUE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE STICKY CASE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE MISSING KEY
NATE THE GREAT AND THE SNOWY TRAIL
NATE THE GREAT AND THE FISHY PRIZE
NATE THE GREAT STALKS STUPIDWEED
NATE THE GREAT AND THE BORING BEACH BAG
NATE THE GREAT GOES DOWN IN THE DUMPS
NATE THE GREAT AND THE HALLOWEEN HUNT
NATE THE GREAT AND THE MUSICAL NOTE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE STOLEN BASE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE PILLOWCASE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE MUSHY VALENTINE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE TARDY TORTOISE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE CRUNCHY CHRISTMAS
NATE THE GREAT SAVES THE KING OF SWEDEN
NATE THE GREAT AND ME: THE CASE OF THE FLEEING FANG
NATE THE GREAT AND THE MONSTER MESS
NATE THE GREAT, SAN FRANCISCO DETECTIVE
NATE THE GREAT AND THE BIG SNIFF
NATE THE GREAT ON THE OWL EXPRESS
NATE THE GREAT TALKS TURKEY
NATE THE GREAT AND THE HUNGRY BOOK CLUB
AND CONTINUE THE DETECTIVE FUN WITH
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat illustrated by Denise Brunkus
OLIVIA SHARP: THE PIZZA MONSTER
OLIVIA SHARP: THE PRINCESS OF THE FILLMORE STREET SCHOOL
OLIVIA SHARP: THE SLY SPY
OLIVIA SHARP: THE GREEN TOENAILS GANG
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 1989 by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Cover art and interior illustrations copyright © 1989 by Marc Simont
Extra Fun Activities copyright © 2006 by Emily Costello
Extra Fun Activities illustrations copyright © 2006 by Jody Wheeler
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Reprinted by arrangement with The Putnam Publishing Group Inc.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request.
Paperback ISBN 978-0-440-40438-5 — eBook ISBN 978-0-385-37691-4
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
For my dog, Fritz Melvin,
who came into my life
when Sludge came into Nate’s
Other Books by This Author
Extra Fun Activities
About the Authors
I, Nate the Great,
and my dog, Sludge,
were taking a walk.
We walked too far.
We walked to Rosamond’s house.
Rosamond and her four cats were
sitting on a crate
behind a table
in front of her house.
There was a crystal ball
on the table.
There was a sign
next to the crystal ball.
“I will read your future,”
Rosamond said. “For two cents.”
“My future is worth more
than two cents,” I said.
“Three cents, then,” Rosamond said.
She gazed into her crystal ball.
“You will have a new case to solve
very soon. Three cents.”
“I, Nate the Great, always have cases
to solve,” I said.
Rosamond gazed into
her crystal ball again.
“I can tell you more,” she said.
“Someone has lost a box, a money box.
You have to look for it.”
“A money box?” I said.
“How much money is in it?”
“No money,” Rosamond said.
“Yes. It’s my box.
I was going to use it
to hold the money I got
for reading the future.”
Sludge was tugging at me to leave.
He did not see any money
in Rosamond’s future.
“Don’t go,” Rosamond said.
“Listen to what happened.
Claude helped me set up my business.
We brought out the table,
this sign, the box,
and four cans of tuna fish
for my cats.
Cats want to know
what’s in their future, too.
Like tuna fish.”
“Of course,” I said.
“I put the sign on the table,”
“I put the box on the grass
near the table.
I put the tuna-fish cans
in a neat pile near the box.”
“What happened next?” I asked.
“My cats and I went into my house
to get my crystal ball,” Rosamond said.
“Claude went into my garage
to get this crate
for my cats and me to sit on.
When I came back with my crystal ball
the crate was here.
The table and the sign
and the tuna-fish cans were still here.
But the cans were tipped over.
The box and Claude were gone.”
“When did this happen?” I asked.
“Just before you came along,”
“You are my first customer
for reading the future.
Now you have a new case and
you owe me three cents.”
“I don’t have three cents,” I said,
“and you don’t have a box
to put it in.”
“I will if you solve the case,”
“This is a very famous box.
It’s the first box that my cat
Super Hex ever slept in.”
Rosamond gave me a strange look.
It was the only kind of look she had.
“Very well,” I said. “I will take your case.
Does your famous box have a cover?
Does it have a color? What size is it?”
“It’s a white box with ROSAMOND
printed on one side of it,” Rosamond said.
“It doesn’t have a cover.
It’s big enough to hold
one hundred dollars in pennies.”
“How big is that?” I asked.
Rosamond pointed to her house.
“The box is smaller than my house,
smaller than my garage,
smaller than this crate,
“Never mind,” I sai
Rosamond shrugged. “I read the future.
I don’t measure boxes.”
I took out my notebook
and tore off a piece of paper.
I wrote a note to my mother.
Rosamond grabbed my note.
“I will deliver this
while you solve my case.”
Rosamond walked off
with her four cats.
Sludge and I sat down on the crate.
The crate had a label on it: BANANAS.
“Maybe the box is still here
somewhere,” I said.
Sludge and I peered under the table.
The box wasn’t there.
Suddenly we saw legs. Six legs.
Two belonged to Annie,
and four belonged to her dog, Fang.
“Can you read my future?” Annie
“No, but I can read Fang’s future.
I, Nate the Great, predict that
someday Fang is going to bite
Sludge and me. Today could be the day.”
Sludge and I rushed off.
I called back to Annie.
“Have you seen an empty box
with Rosamond’s name on it,
and big enough to hold
one hundred dollars in pennies?”
“No,” Annie shouted.
“We have to look for Claude,”
I said to Sludge.
Looking for Claude
would be harder
than looking for the box.
Claude was always getting lost.
We went to Claude’s house.
I rang his doorbell.
I knocked on his door.
I peeked through his windows.
Somebody tapped me on the shoulder.
It was Claude.
“Are you looking for me?” he asked.
“I was lost but I found myself.”
“Good work,” I said.
“I am looking for Rosamond’s box.
I think you saw it last.”
“I saw it on the grass
just before I went into her garage
to get her crate,” Claude said.
“Carrying that crate was hard work!
It kept bumping into my stomach.
I put it down on the grass by the table,
just where Rosamond wanted it.
All the time I kept watching
I hoped she wouldn’t
come out before
I could get away.”
“Yes. I was tired of
being Rosamond’s moving man.
After I put the crate down,
I started to run.”
“I tripped over the pile
of tuna-fish cans,” Claude said.
“I fell down on the grass.
But the box wasn’t there.
I would have seen it.”
“That explains why the pile of cans
was tipped over,” I said. “But
it doesn’t explain where the box went.
I, Nate the Great, say that
somebody must have taken it
while you were in the garage
and Rosamond and her cats
were in her house.
But who would want an empty box
with Rosamond’s name on it?”
“Somebody extremely desperate
for a box,” I said.
Sludge and I rushed to Finley’s house.
Finley owns a rat. The rat sleeps
in a big box until he chews it up.
Then Finley gets a new box.
Maybe it was time for a new box
for Finley’s rat.
Maybe Finley took Rosamond’s box.
I saw Finley outside with his rat.
There was a big chewed-up box
beside the rat with RAT HOUSE
printed on it.
“I am looking for an empty box
big enough to hold
one hundred dollars in pennies,”
I said. “It belongs to Rosamond.”
“My box belongs to my rat,” Finley said.
“But there are plenty of boxes at the
supermarket. They have the best ones.
If you can’t find Rosamond’s box there,
go to the dump.
They have the worst ones.”
“I will look for the best,” I said.
“I, Nate the Great, do not like dumps.”
Sludge and I went to the supermarket.
Sludge had to wait outside.
I went inside. I looked for empty boxes.
I saw open boxes and sacks
full of oranges and potatoes.
I saw open crates
full of tomatoes and bananas and carrots.
I saw labels on the boxes and crates.
I remembered that Rosamond’s crate
had the label BANANAS on it.
She probably got her crate
at this supermarket.
But that was no help.
I, Nate the Great, did not need
a crate that said BANANAS
or a box that said ORANGES.
I needed a box that said ROSAMOND.
Suddenly I smelled something.
A lady was handing out pancake samples.
I took one.
Then I circled around and took another.
The third time around she said,
I left the supermarket.
I, Nate the Great, needed more pancakes.
Sludge needed a bone.
We went home.
We ate and thought.
I kept thinking about the empty box.
There was something else empty, too.
Was I missing a big clue?
I thought back.
An empty box. A table. A sign.
Four cans of tuna fish.
Rosamond saw all these things
before she and her cats went
into her house.
Claude saw them before he went
into Rosamond’s garage.
Then the empty box was gone.
Only the empty box.
Perhaps the table was too heavy
to take. And no one would take
a sign that said
ROSAMOND READS THE FUTURE. 2¢.
But why not take the cans of tuna fish?
Why take an empty box
that isn’t worth anything?
I, Nate the Great, suddenly
had the answer!
Because the box isn’t worth anything!
Someone must have seen the empty box
and picked it up and thrown it away.
But it had Rosamond’s name on it.
Just on one side.
Maybe her name wasn’t seen.
“Rosamond’s box has probably gone
to the dump by now,” I said to Sludge.
“Where the worst boxes go.”
Sludge and I hurried to the town dump.
There were mountains of stuff there.
Old, ripped, wrecked, broken,
Things that nobody wanted.
I did not want them, either.
“We are down in the dumps,”
I said to Sludge.
But then on top of one mountain
of junk I saw something!
A box was sticking out,
and I could see a big R
printed on one side of it!
At last! It must be Rosamond’s box.
“We have to climb up that mountain
of junk,” I said.
Sludge looked at me.
He did not want to do it.
I did not
But we did it.
Up, up we climbed.
Over lumpy mattresses
and broken furniture
and old shoes and ugly clothes.
At last we were at the top of the heap.
I grabbed the empty box.
Now I could read the whole name on it.
It was not Rosamond’s box.
It was a chewed-up box
that had once been a home
for Finley’s rat.
I was mad.
I was tired.
Sludge was tired.
We sat down.
I put my arm around Sludge
and we sat there
on top of the world.
On top of the world of junk.
I looked down.
Down was way down.
I was afraid to stay
and afraid to leave.
But we had to leave.
“Let’s go,” I said.
Sludge and I started to climb down.
Sludge was scared.
“Don’t look down,” I said.
Sludge kept his eyes up.
Then I stopped.
That was it!
The answer to my case.
I had given myself the clue I needed!
“I have just solved the case,” I said.
“We must go back to Rosamond’s house.”
I grabbed a lumpy mattress.
Sludge and I slid
the rest of the way down
on the mattress.
We brushed ourselves off.
Then we rushed to Rosamond’s house.
She was sitting on the crate
with her cats, waiting for business.
“I delivered your note,” she said.
“Did you find my box?”
“Yes,” I said.
“So where is it?” she asked.
“You are sitting on it,” I said.
“I’m sitting on a crate,
not a box,” she said.
Rosamond and her cats stood up.