Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

Ten-year-old James and his seven-year-old sister, Mandy are off to summer camp with their loyal German shepherd, Rosco. While Mandy struggles with homesickness, James's week is threatened by a prank-playing bunk mate's antics. But during an unexpected thunderstorm in a game of capture-the-flag, the prankster finds himself lost and alone deep inside the forest. Rosco must play the hero and save the boy but not before he teaches him a hard-earned lesson about friendship. Wholesome, adventurous, outdoor fun, this Rosco the Rascal tale brings the magic of summer camp to life.
*136 pages
*Recommended for ages 6-10

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1. The Wayward Hat

Copyright Shana Gorian. All rights reserved.

The leaves on the tall, green trees surrounding the lake at Camp Hickory Ridge blew gently in the wind. A dozen cabins stood peacefully in the woods next to the lake while their occupants were away, busy with Sunday’s afternoon activities.

“Remember last year, how I almost tipped us over?” said James, standing next to his dog, Rosco, and his friend Caleb on the wooden dock. The boys patiently waited their turn for a canoe as they watched several more drift by on the lake.

Caleb nodded and laughed. “You better promise you won’t stand up this year!”

James, a redheaded fifth grader with freckles, had been coming to camp every summer since he was eight years old.

“I promise! But I didn’t mean to last time!” said James. “Honest. I just forgot what I was doing!”

Rosco, James’s friendly German shepherd, sat listening and eagerly taking in the action on the lake.

Besides the half-dozen canoes on the water, several older boys and girls sailed by on windsurfers. Windsurfing, a sport that combines surfing and sailing, was a popular activity at Camp Hickory Ridge.

The steady breeze was turning the campers’ afternoon lesson into an exciting ride. A few sailing rigs had capsized and were floating in place, while the young sailors bobbed about in life jackets, enjoying a dip in the cool lake.

Other campers seemed to be holding on for dear life as they sailed across the water at top speed.

One windsurfing instructor stood in the shallows giving a lesson to a cautious first-timer. Another paddled out in a canoe to the middle of the lake to help a desperate student pull his windsurfer upright again. But most of the campers were enjoying the day.

James and Caleb watched in excitement. Each boy wore an orange life vest and held a wooden oar. Several boys from their cabin were already out on the water, paddling away in their canoes.

“Okay, Rosco. You wait for us on the dock when it’s our turn for a canoe,” said James. Rosco looked intently at James and panted, his tongue hanging out.

The boys’ counselor, Matt, gave orders to another pair of boys climbing out of a canoe. He tied the boat’s rope to the wooden dock and turned to Caleb and James. “This one’s for you guys!” He motioned to them.

“Let’s go!” Caleb said, heading toward the canoe. Rosco followed the two of them across the dock.

The boys stopped to listen as they heard some arguing out on the lake. It seemed to be coming from their cabin mates Josh and Jeffrey, who were sharing a canoe.

It looked as though Jeffrey had tossed Josh’s hat in the water, for no apparent reason, and was laughing as the hat floated away.

“Ha ha!” Jeffrey teased. “There it goes! See you later, hat!” James and the others nearby heard him say.

The wind quickly lifted the hat and carried it several yards farther.

Out in the boat, Josh stared at his hat, floating away on the lake.

“What did you do that for? That was the only hat I brought for the whole week!” he demanded.

“No reason! Just because it’s funny!” Jeffrey smirked. “And look, it floats, just like our canoe! Ha ha ha!”

Why would he do that? James thought, annoyed. That wasn’t funny at all.

James glanced at his dog still next to him on the dock. Rosco’s gaze was fixed firmly on the moving hat. Before James could stop him, Rosco flung himself into the water.

“Rosco, where are you going?” James called in alarm. “Come back!”

But Rosco wanted to help. He was always ready to help someone in need. As a dog of action, Rosco wasn’t going to let a perfectly good hat just float away from its owner.

Rosco doggy paddled quickly toward the wayward hat. When he reached it, he seized the hat with his teeth and headed toward the canoe. Many of the kids in nearby canoes stopped their boats to watch.

“What do you think you’re doing, mutt?” Jeffrey called to Rosco. “Get out of here.” But Rosco kept swimming toward them.

When he reached their canoe, Rosco swam up to Josh, who gratefully scooped it out of Rosco’s mouth.

“Wow! Thanks, Rosco! Good dog!”

Rosco flashed his doggy smile, treading water, but wasted no time. He turned back around and began to swim toward the shore.

“Hmmph.” Jeffrey pouted.

James’s heart swelled with pride over his dog. That’s my boy, he thought.

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