In the unremarkable town of Menominee Springs, Wisconsin, lives a twelve-year-old explorer named Martin, who one day stumbles across something remarkable.
It’s an egg. But not just any egg—a dinosaur egg. And a week later, Martin becomes the proud parent of . . . a Tyrannosaurus rex!
As the summer unfolds, Martin finds it harder and harder to keep Rufus hidden from rest of the world.
And then it gets ugly.
Can Martin save Rufus from his parents, his neighbors, and most importantly, the owner of the town carnival? With the help of his best friend, Audrey, and his science teacher, Mr. Ekhart, Martin must uncover his inner hero and find Rufus a home, even if it means losing the one thing he’s come to really care about.
Praise for Raising Rufus:
"The premise of Fulk’s first children’s book has immediate appeal, and Martin’s difficulties with his father (who wishes his son was more into sports than science) and school bullies are handled well."--Publishers Weekly
"Fulk's debut novel is a poignant story of a boy's coming into his own. . . . Readers will cheer for Martin and Rufus in this funny twist on a boy-and-his-dog story."--Kirkus Reviews
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||3 MB|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The hunter would not be denied.
His spear drawn and ready, he crashed his way over, under, around, and through the bushes and brambles in his path. His arms and legs were getting mightily scratched up, but that wouldn’t slow him down, not today. He focused on his fleeing prey with a big cat’s intensity, determined that it would not escape. He was, after all, the king of the forest, the Master Huntsman.
Of course, Martin wasn’t really a Masai tribesman with a spear; he was an eleven-year-old kid with a bug net. And his prey was no swift and nimble antelope; it was a black swallowtail butterfly. But somehow the chase was more fun if he let his imagination fly a bit.
Besides, he really needed that swallowtail for his collection. So he summoned his inner warrior and charged after the fluttering bug as it led him deeper and deeper into the woods, a good quarter mile beyond his usual hiking range.
“Come on, land,” he commanded through clenched teeth. “You know you have to!”
He wasn’t supposed to stray that far from the path, but the longer the chase went on, the more determined he was to make his catch. So, when the crafty butterfly found its way to the Kinnewoc limestone quarry and headed down the ramp, Martin didn’t slow down to read the sign on the traffic gate:
He slid underneath the gate and sprinted down the steep dirt roadway, following the darting, dodging insect all the way to the bottom of the quarry. The work crews were gone, and they had taken all their trucks and digging machines with them. So there was nothing blocking the way as Martin chased his six-legged prey across the quarry floor. He was huffing and wheezing, exhausted by the long chase, and now, for the first time, he couldn’t escape the thought that the Master Huntsman might just have to go home, get a sandwich, and try again some other time.
Then, silently, almost right in front of him, the butterfly circled in and made a slow, graceful landing on a clump of rock sticking out from the wall. His focus revived, Martin raised his net and tiptoed forward. The swallowtail slowly opened and closed its wings, the black-and-yellow scales glistening in the sunlight.
Closer . . . closer . . . that’s it, hold steady . . .
The instant Martin got within striking range, whoosh-whap! He smacked the net against the wall.
But this day would belong to the hunted, not the hunter. The butterfly slipped away just in the nick of time, and all Martin could do was watch as it spiraled straight up, up, up, and over the quarry wall, free to flit among the trees and torment other young bug hunters for the rest of its days.
“Aaaaaaaaach,” Martin groaned. “How could you be that quick?”
But his disappointment quickly vanished; now an oddly bright glimmer in the wall caught his attention. What was all that ice doing mixed in with the rocks? It seemed to be melting quickly in the sun--water was dripping down across the whole length of the rock face. And what kind of rocks were those? Limestone, right, but other kinds were mixed in with the ice, strange ones he couldn’t remember ever seeing before--and he considered himself something of a rock expert.
Martin touched the cold, wet surface of the wall, and a small chunk fell off. He picked it up and brought it close to his face, rubbing his thumb across the flat surface. No, this was definitely not an ordinary piece of limestone. Right there on the smooth face of the stone was the clear outline of . . . what? A bird’s foot? Maybe, or maybe not, but it was definitely something that was alive once--and a long, long time ago.
“Wow. A fossil!”
Martin had seen pictures of fossils before, but he never imagined he would find one just a twenty-minute hike from his own backyard. The quarrymen must have dug straight into an ancient dying ground for creatures that lived millions of years ago.
As he reached over his shoulder and dropped the fossil into his backpack, all thoughts of hunters and antelopes and butterflies disappeared from Martin’s head. If there was one fossil here, there could be hundreds. Imagine being the only kid in this corner of Wisconsin with his own, personally gathered fossil collection!
Fascinated, he reached for the wall again. But the instant his hand touched it, another rock came loose--a bigger one, higher up. Martin flinched as it hit the ground behind him with a loud thud. Then came a sharp crackle, and he had to duck and cover his head as more rocks rained down around him.
That’s it--I’m out of here!
He spun on his heel to make a dash away from the rock face. But before he could take a second step, there was a tremendous RUMBLE and a giant slab of rock came crashing down from the wall, blocking his way. He gave a loud grunt and took a big hop backward, trying to keep his balance. Then, before he could even think about where to go next, there was an even bigger rumble and crash, and the very ground under his feet gave way!
“Holy Mama!” he yowled, and he squeezed his eyes shut as he suddenly felt himself dropping straight down as though a trapdoor had opened up right underneath him, and rocks and boulders and chunks of ice came thundering down, completely burying the spot where he had been standing only a few brief seconds ago..
Then . . . silence.
Anybody watching what had just happened would definitely think that was the end of Martin Tinker. But as it turned out, that swallowtail was not the only one having a lucky day. Underneath all those rocks and ice chunks, below ground level, there was one really, really small open space--and Martin somehow had managed to end up inside it.
“Wow,” he whispered. “Am I still alive?”
It was just about pitch-black in there, but he was able to move around a little--one of the few times, he realized, when it was actually a good thing to be skinny.
As he took a few long, deep breaths to help settle his nerves, he suddenly remembered something. The other day they’d said on the TV news that the Kinnewoc crew had accidentally drilled into a vein of dark ice, so now the quarry wall was unstable. It wasn’t safe to work on, and the quarry would be shut down.
Martin felt like kicking himself for not thinking of that before he went charging down there--but he could barely move, so any kicking was out of the question.
Okay, don’t panic, he thought. You can get out of this . . .
He awkwardly reached around behind his back and unzipped his backpack. It took a good half minute or so of groping, but he finally got his hand around his cell phone. And when he pressed the switch with his thumb and the screen lit up, he felt a surge of relief.
First he reached over with the phone light to check out a nasty scrape on his elbow--by some crazy stroke of luck, his only real injury from the fall. Then, hands shaking, he shined the light around his rocky cubbyhole. He could see a crack of daylight through a narrow chute above; with determination and a little luck, a short crawl should get him up and out.
“All right . . . okay. I’ve got this . . .”
As he clamped his lips tight and got set to start crawling, he could see in the dim light that there were even more of those mysterious fossils all around him. Even though he knew it was probably not the smartest thing to do just now, he couldn’t resist the urge to pick up a few of the smaller ones and slip them into his backpack--no easy maneuver when you’re stuck in a rocky, icy space not much bigger than the trunk of a Buick.
When he had gathered a few handfuls of the fossils, Martin decided he’d better not mess around any longer, and began his uncomfortable crawl toward the opening above. He slithered his way along, holding his breath as he carefully navigated the jagged rock edges. Then, when he was halfway there . . . his knee banged on something cold.
He reached down with the glowing phone and saw that he had bumped something very odd--a smooth, oval object, a bit smaller than a football, grayish-brown and covered with . . . were those speckles, or just chunks of dirt? Hard to tell, because half of the thing was covered with ice, and the other half had chunks of grit and hard clay stuck to it. Martin edged backward a few inches to get a closer look. If this was a fossil, it was nothing at all like the others.
Another rumble in the rocks above sent a new shot of jitter juice surging through his stomach. With no time to maneuver the heavy object into his backpack, he quickly scooped it up with his left hand, tucked it tight against his rib cage, and scrambled the rest of the way up to the narrow opening--and, with one last big push, popped out into the open air. Freedom!
Stooped over from the weight in his hand, he sprinted away from the wall as fast as his spindly legs would carry him. And his escape came not a moment too soon, because now there was an enormous CRASH, and suddenly the whole quarry wall gave way, cascading down in an avalanche of rocks and ice--and totally obliterating the small crevasse he had been trapped inside only seconds before.
Having made it a safe distance away, he straightened up and turned to watch the spectacular scene, slack-jawed and wide-eyed. He stood there, his heart thumping, hacking and coughing from the tons of dust, until all the rocks had finally settled. So that’s what it’s like to almost die, he thought. Then he thought of what his mom and dad might do if they ever found out how close he had come to an early grave. So of course, they would never hear a thing about it.
Realizing his fingers and left side were starting to feel numb, Martin looked down at the frozen stone he had forgotten he was holding. He brushed away some frost and dust, held it to his ear, knocked on it lightly, took a sniff--but it was not a thing that would give up its secrets easily.
He knew what he would do: take it home, set it up in his backyard barn lab, and get going on some serious research.
What he didn’t know was that this strange, cold stone was going to change his life forever.
Reep reep deedy bip!
The ring tone wasn’t that loud, but Martin was so deep in concentration that it made him jump a little. He reached across his workbench and grabbed the phone.
“Martin, do you have my cheese grater?”
“Um . . . yeah.” He had the grater, all right. He’d been using it to scrape at the grit and grime that was stuck to that egg-shaped stone he’d found in the quarry.
“What are you using it for?”
“You know. Stuff.”
“Honey, I need it back. I’m doing one of those cheesy-noodle things you like.”
Actually, Martin didn’t much care for the cheesy-noodle thing. But he didn’t feel like arguing the point. “Okay.”
“Listen, your dad called from work and he can’t find his truck keys. Would you be a star and bike over there with the spare set?”
“You’re the best, monkey-bean. And bring my grater before you go.”
Martin was trying to think of an excuse not to go, but he wasn’t quick enough; she was gone. So he took a deep breath, rubbed his eyes, and geared up to venture out of the lab and face the world.
It wasn’t an actual lab, of course, with test tubes and weird equipment and that sort of thing. But it definitely worked for Martin’s purposes. The land that his family’s house was on had once been part of a small dairy farm, and though the house itself was fairly ordinary by Menominee Springs standards, the backyard was huge, and there was a big stone barn at the far end. The good thing for Martin was that his parents never used the barn for anything more than a giant storage space, so he had talked them into letting him use a corner of it for his own private science lab.
And he spent a lot of time in that lab. Not having any real friends to speak of, he hung out in there pretty much every day after school, and on weekends, too. The lab was where he got to hang with some real friends--friends who always listened to him, who never snubbed him or made fun of him, who were there to support him when things got him down. True, these friends tended to be not exactly living--collections of stones, dried leaves, and dead bugs, all neatly arranged on shelves and in display boxes. But Martin looked forward to hanging out with them every day and, naturally, adding to their numbers on a regular basis. He even had names for his favorite pals, like the perfectly preserved cecropia moth he called Gigundo because it was so--well, gigundo, and a brilliant purple piece of quartz he called Charlie, though he wasn’t sure exactly why.
The other great thing about the barn was that the door was only a few steps from the edge of the woods, which conveniently started right where the Tinkers’ yard ended. So, on a typical spring day like today, Martin could come straight home from school, make a quick stop in the house to grab a snack, hustle on out to the barn to pick up his bug net and assorted gear, and head right out into the pine groves for a new day of discovery and adventure. Out there he might catch a few interesting bugs, dig up one or two new rock specimens, maybe skip stones across a pond for a while, sit on a rock and leaf through a good bug book--and never have to cross paths with another human being.
His mom worked in the public library in the afternoons and didn’t like the idea of Martin wandering out there alone among the bugs and badgers and bears and Lord-knows-what. But his dad had convinced her that it was healthy for Martin to exercise a little independence, so they decided to let him go--as long as he knew the full rules of the road, which she quizzed him on regularly.
“How many leaves on a poison ivy twig?”