The League Of Beastly Dreadfuls Book 2: The Dastardly Deed by Holly GrantThe League Of Beastly Dreadfuls Book 2: The Dastardly Deed by Holly Grant

The League Of Beastly Dreadfuls Book 2: The Dastardly Deed

byHolly Grant

Paperback | April 18, 2017

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“WONDERFULLY WITTY.” —Chris Grabenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and coauthor with James Patterson of House of Robots and Treasure Hunters
Take one part Roald Dahl, a pinch of Mysterious Benedict Society, and a dash of Lemony Snicket, then add a league of adventurous children, a little magic, and a centuries-old feud with witches, and you get this quirky and hilarious middle-grade series!
After their narrow escape from a NEFARIOUS kidnapping ring, Anastasia, Ollie, and Quentin (aka the League of Beastly Dreadfuls!) are looking forward to a relaxing vacation from DANGER! INTRIGUE! CATASTROPHE! Sadly, they’re not going to get one.
Because Anastasia makes the SHOCKING discovery that her family is at the heart of a centuries-old WAR with WITCHES, a war that began with the dastardly disappearance of Anastasia’s very own grandfather. Can the league track down Anastasia’s grandfather and find out who Anastasia really is? Gentle Reader, BEWARE! The trail of clues leads to spine-tingling surprises. Read on . . . if you DARE!

From the Hardcover edition.
HOLLY GRANT’s lifelong hope is to discover a secret door that opens upon a mysterious and wonderful place. In the meantime, she lives and writes in Colorado. Visit Holly and the Beastly Dreadfuls at the Hardcover edition.
Title:The League Of Beastly Dreadfuls Book 2: The Dastardly DeedFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 7.63 × 5.19 × 0.87 inPublished:April 18, 2017Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385370288

ISBN - 13:9780385370288


Read from the Book

1 S’mores   ALL GREAT ESCAPES require pluck, brains, and courage. If you’re lucky, you may also enjoy the convenience of a reliable getaway vehicle.   In this respect, Anastasia McCrumpet was very lucky. You might even say that she had won the jackpot of escape rides: an all-expenses-paid cruise in a hot-air balloon. And not just any hot-air balloon, mind you! The HMB Flying Fox was a chameleonic craft! This means, dear Reader, that— like a clever chameleon—this balloon transformed to blend in with its surroundings. At the moment in which we join Anastasia, the Flying Fox was a superbly stealthy, almost black blue, scintillating with hundreds of starry twinkles and practically invisible against the night sky.   Two other passengers crouched in the wicker balloon basket with Anastasia: MISS PENELOPE APPLE, librarian extraordinaire and (she had revealed not five minutes earlier) Anastasia’s secret aunt; And the dashing, mustachioed BALDWIN, an ally in Anastasia’s escape from a fate most terrible. This wonderfully bewhiskered gent was, Anastasia had just discovered, Miss Apple’s brother. And that made him Anastasia’s secret uncle.   It was a night for learning secrets.   Anastasia itched to learn the biggest secret of all: why had Primrose and Prudence Snodgrass, two celebrated kidnappers of children deemed potentially dangerous, nabbed an absolutely average almost-eleven-year-old from the humble town of Mooselick? Why had two nefarious agents of CRUD (Committee for Rubbing-out Unnatural Dreadfuls) snatched Anastasia from her humdrum life and locked her up in a soggy former lunatic asylum? “Why,” she asked, “did Prim and Prude bother with me?”   Miss Apple and Baldwin exchanged a Serious Look. “It’s a long story,” Baldwin finally said. “And chock-full of scandal and shockers. Real jaw-droppers. Are you sure you want to find out?”   “Tell me,” Anastasia urged. “I want to know.” “Brave girl.” Baldwin nodded his approval. “First of all, we’re going to need s’mores.” Miss Apple rummaged in the picnic basket she had packed for their balloon voyage. “Secrets of this caliber,” Baldwin explained, “are best revealed under the stars, around a fire, whilst eating s’mores.”   “Really?” Anastasia raised her eyebrows.   “I’m utterly serious,” her uncle said, and he was. “Why do you think so many children whisper stories around a campfire? There’s a proper way to do everything, and you should be particularly methodical whilst revealing whopping great secrets.”   “Baldwin’s right, dear.” Miss Apple tore open a plas- tic packet of jumbo marshmallows and handed one to Anastasia.   “Too bad Ollie and Quentin aren’t here,” Anastasia said. “Ollie loves sweets.”   Besides, Oliver and Quentin Drybread had plenty of s’mores-worthy secrets of their own. First and foremost, they were Shadowboys; that is to say, they possessed a peculiar talent for shifting into shadows. And second, they belonged to a completely confidential, wholly hugger-mugger, so- hush-hush-and-mum’s-the-word-only-three-people-in-the- world-knew-about-it, pinky-sworn-to-secrecy league. But we’ll get to that later.   Anastasia consoled herself with the hope that they would all gobble plenty of future s’mores around future campfires. Following their daring skedaddle from St. Agony’s Asylum, Quentin had promised they would see each other again soon, somewhere at the end of the balloon journey.   “You’ve seen a great many new things this past month, child,” Miss Apple said, passing out sticks. “Boys who turn into shadows! An auntie who transforms into a mischief of mice!”   “An uncle who transmogrifies into a majestic wolf,” Baldwin added, spearing his marshmallow.   “Oh, Baldy,” Miss Apple said. “You are so vain.”   “I’m not vain at all.” Baldwin poked his marshmallow into the flame of the balloon burner. “I’m simply stating a fact. And by the way, I think you make rather a majestic mischief of mice, Penny.”   “Me too,” Anastasia agreed, remembering the swarm of acrobatic squeakers (all Miss Apple, it had turned out) dancing and leaping and somersaulting through St. Agony’s Asylum not one day earlier.   “So you already know,” Miss Apple went on, “that there are people who can transform into other creatures.”   “Metamorphose,” Baldwin said. He pulled his marsh- mallow from the flame and examined it.   “People who morph,” Miss Apple said. “And those people are called . . . Morfolk.”   “I’m a Morfo,” Baldwin said. “Penny’s a Morfo.” “And so,” Miss Apple added, “is your father.”   Anastasia’s mouth popped open. Drab little Mr. McCrumpet—a vacuum cleaner salesman who wore ortho- pedic shoes—was a Morfo? Preposterous! However, she reflected, her father had vanished on the day of her kidnap- ping. No one knew where he was, but Baldwin and Miss Apple seemed to suspect that CRUD—the villainous ring with whom Prim and Prude worked—had something to do with his disappearance. Clearly there was more to Fred McCrumpet than met the eye.   “Fred morphs into a guinea pig,” Miss Apple said.   “A guinea pig?” Anastasia gasped.   “A magnificent guinea pig,” Baldwin assured her.   Anastasia mulled this over. It explained her dad’s special relationship with Muffy, the McCrumpets’ pet guinea pig. She recalled how Muffy would squeak to Fred McCrumpet and he would solemnly nod, as though he understood every peep. Speaking of Muffy—   “Where’s Muffy?” Anastasia asked.   “She’s with Miss Jenkins, dear,” Miss Apple said. Miss Jenkins was Anastasia’s former fifth-grade teacher. “That woman adores rodents. She’ll take excellent care of her.”   “But Muffy’s one of my best friends,” Anastasia protested. “Even if she’s cranky. Even if she revenge-poops in my shoes.”   “I know,” Miss Apple said softly. “But we had to leave Muffy in Mooselick. We couldn’t involve her in your great escape from St. Agony’s.”   “And we can’t go back to get her now,” Baldwin mumbled through a gob of marshmallow and chocolate. “The minions of CRUD will be hunting everywhere for you, and that means they’ll be watching all your known associates in Mooselick, including Muffy.” Anastasia blinked to keep tears from spilling onto her cheeks. She couldn’t return to Mooselick to hunt for the missing Mr. McCrumpet. She couldn’t return to fetch Muffy. She was, dear Reader, at a dizzying Point of No Return, some three thousand feet above the Earth. Anastasia wondered if she would ever see home, or Muffy, or Mr. McCrumpet, again.   “I’m sorry, child.” Miss Apple squeezed Anastasia’s shoulder. “This is part of the hardship we Morfolk face— Baldwin and your father and I . . . and you, too.”   “Me?” Anastasia whispered.   “You’ve got Morfolk blood, missy,” Baldwin said. “You’re a Morfo, too.”   Anastasia stared at him.   “That’s why Prim and Prude kidnapped you. They suspected you were a very dangerous, very beastly Morfo.”   “CRUD is a group of people devoted to scouring the world for Morfolk,” Miss Apple explained. They take adults—children—”   “There’s a special group of lady kidnappers who work to snatch the Morflings,” Baldwin said. “Morflings like you.”   “But I can’t change into a wolf, or a pack of mice, or even a guinea pig!” Anastasia insisted. “I can’t even do a cartwheel, for crumb’s sake!”   “Most Morfolk children start to shift when they’re about eleven years old,” Miss Apple said. “So it makes sense that you haven’t yet transformed.”   “I was a late bloomer,” Baldwin admitted. “Didn’t start morphing until I was nearly fifteen, and then I was constantly shifting into a wolf at the most embarrassing times! Ripping through my clothes at the dinner table, and the school dance, and in the middle of math exams! And when you morph back . . . you’re in your birthday suit.”   Miss Apple nodded. “It’s hard to control your morphs when you’re just growing into them,” she said. “I once morphed during a piano recital.”   “But you pulled it off,” Baldwin said. “You pulled it off beautifully! After a moment of stunned silence, Anastasia, your aunt here started hopping up and down on the piano keys and finished ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ to a standing ovation!”   Miss Apple shrugged modestly, but a pleased blush crept into her cheeks. “The trills were difficult, but I managed.”   “Thank goodness you didn’t morph in front of Prim and Prude,” Baldwin said to Anastasia. “They would have snuffed you on the spot.”   “But why did they wait?” Anastasia asked. “I was stuck in the asylum for over a month. They had plenty of opportunities to—to—”   “It isn’t that simple,” Miss Apple said. “CRUD kidnappers can’t kill anyone until they make a positive Dreadful identification.”   “Tons of paperwork,” Baldwin said. “They have to document all sorts of things.”   “Especially with children,” Miss Apple said. “They have to be certain. And as we told you, most Morflings don’t start to manifest their Morfolkiness until they’re about eleven years old.”   “So the kidnappers grab them, and then they wait and watch,” Baldwin added gloomily.   “Morfolkiness?” Anastasia asked.   “Shifting, for one,” Miss Apple said. “And developing a silver allergy. Once you have the sensitivity, just touching silver can make you break out in welts. And if silver enters your bloodstream, you can get a terrible infection. You can die from it.”   “Silver is poisonous.” Baldwin shuddered. “It’s toxic. It’s venom. That’s how they’ll get you: with silver knives—”   “Or silver buckshot.” Miss Apple frowned at Baldwin’s bullet-grazed ear, bloodied during the daring asylum breakout.   “Or silver teeth.” Anastasia thought of the Snodgrass sisters’ weird dentures.   “The first rule of being a Morfo: avoid silver like the plague,” Baldwin told Anastasia. “Silver is worse than plague! Do you understand?”   “Sure,” Anastasia said. “But I’m not a Morfo.”   “Just give the idea some time, Anastasia,” Miss Apple said quietly. “I know it will take a while for you to believe it. And if you don’t believe it right away, that’s fine. But do stay away from silver.”   “I guess I should get rid of this silver necklace, then.” Anastasia crooked her thumb under her collar and yanked out the chain. “I don’t even like it. Prim and Prude gave it to me.” “To check you for silver allergies, no doubt!” Baldwin growled. “Throw that poisonous trinket overboard!”   Anastasia undid the clasp, and then she stood and leaned over the edge of the balloon basket, dangling the necklace out into the starry night. The heart charm swung at the end of its silver strand, its tiny ruby glaring. Anastasia opened her fingers, and the necklace streaked like a tiny shooting star down into the carpet of clouds below them.   “Well,” Baldwin said with satisfaction, “that’s that!”   Anastasia’s mouth stretched into a jaw-crackling yawn. “Are we going to land soon? Where are we going, anyway?”   “To Switzerland!” Baldwin declared. “To jolly, lovely, fantabulous Switzerland! Oh, how I adore Switzerland. I love the rolling green hills. I love the chocolate. I love,” he rhapsodized, “the cuckoo clocks. I collect them, you know. I own over two hundred cuckoos.”   “You’re cuckoo,” Miss Apple said fondly. “We’re going to Switzerland, Anastasia, so you can meet the rest of our family.” “Our family lives in Switzerland?”   “Near a town named Dinkledorf,” Miss Apple said. “Dinkledorf is the quaintest village under sun or stars,”   Baldwin enthused. “It’s lousy with charm. There’s a master glassblower there who makes the prettiest snow globes you can imagine. . . .”   But Anastasia’s exhausted brain box was past imagining pretty snow globes. She had already slipped into moon-colored dreams, and she dreamt them as the HMB Flying Fox drifted ever onward into the night, ever closer to her secret family waiting across the sea.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for the League of Beastly Dreadfuls “Nasty good fun from beginning to end!” —Bruce Coville, bestselling author of My Teacher Is an Alien   “Lit up with laughs and tears and the occasional fart joke.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review   “This adventure is filled with enough mystery and humor to keep readers wondering what will happen next. A solid debut reminiscent of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” —School Library Journal   “Just the right mix of humor, magic, maliciousness, and suspense.” —BooklistFrom the Hardcover edition.