Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure
Word Count: 51,000
Maddie has a woolly spider monkey that no one else can see. After losing all her friends and getting assigned a therapist, she’s stopped trying to convince people it’s real.
In the summer before sixth grade, Maddie meets worrywart Liam and his smart-aleck friend Hayden, who have recently discovered ‘invisible’ animals of their own. The three kids are recruited into a top-secret wildlife rescue organization, where Maddie is relieved to learn that her monkey is not a hallucination at all. It’s actually a Spirit Animal, the essence of its endangered species. Unfortunately, Maddie’s relief is soon soured by the awful realization that her Spirit Animal is sick. Its sudden illness can mean only one thing: wild woolly spider monkeys are in serious trouble.
Banding together with Liam and Hayden, Maddie must get from California to Brazil to discover what is threatening the monkeys and put a stop to it. Faced with slash and burn deforestation, a corrupt police detective, and desperate poachers, it seems impossible that three kids and one sickly Spirit Animal could have any chance of succeeding in their mission. When it comes to saving her beloved monkeys, though, Maddie knows failure isn't an option.
I work as an education associate for the Museum of Science in Boston and have studied primatology at the graduate level. In 2011, I wrote a picture book (A BRIDGE FOR THE IN-BETWEEN STREAM) for the Museum of Science, which is used in their educational outreach programs. I am also an active member of SCBWI.
“Just stay still for me, won't you?” Maddie asked, lowering the baby monkey into her backpack. “I know you’re excited. I’m excited to be back at the zoo again, too. But if you get out – ”
“Who’s she talking to, Grandma?” a little voice asked.
Maddie immediately stopped what she was doing. People can see you. Got to act normal, she told herself, though it was impossible to keep her hands from bobbing weirdly as Brazilly scampered out of the bag and over them. Brazilly, no! Get back here! She bit down on her lower lip to stop herself from actually shouting after him.
Farther down the spider monkey viewing area, an old lady gave her a sideways glance. A tiny girl in a blue rain jacket blinked curiously at Maddie from the lady’s side.
Maddie grimaced. Brazilly, taking advantage of the situation, had managed to climb halfway up her arm already. Please stop, she silently willed the monkey. Don’t make me grab you in front of them. He just looked at her, cocking his fuzzy head to one side.
“Why’s she holding her arm like that?” the girl in the blue jacket asked next.
Brazilly kept climbing. The monkeys in the enclosure hooted, almost like they were egging him on. Fine, have it your way! Maddie thought as Brazilly made the leap towards the top of her head. I’ll just make an idiot of myself, then! She reached up, snatched the baby monkey out of the misty air, and wrestled him into her bag where he’d be safe.