For Ages
6 to 9

Puppy Pirates Super Special #3: Race to the North Pole is a part of the Puppy Pirates A Stepping Stone Book collections.

Frozen paws and Santa Claus! The Puppy Pirates are back with this exciting holiday special.

Dashing through the snow, in a puppy pirate sleigh . . . Captain Red Beard has always wanted to compete in the Great Ice Race at the North Pole. After all, the prize is rumored to be the biggest treasure ever! But can a bunch of warm-weather pirate pups really win a snowy sled race? This magical holiday special edition contains extra pirate adventure and a holiday treasure of an ending that will warm young readers' hearts!

An Excerpt fromPuppy Pirates Super Special #3: Race to the North Pole

 “Splashing through the snow, off our pirate ship—let’s go!” Captain Red Beard sang joyfully as he leaped across the deck of the Salty Bone. The gruff puppy pirate captain was in a very good mood. He and his crew had been sailing north for days and days. But they were finally here: the North Pole! It was time for a treasure hunt at the top of the world. Nothing made the captain happier than hunting for treasure.
As a team of pups dropped the anchor, Captain Red Beard howled out another verse. “We’re on an icy quest, for a special treasure—” The shaggy terrier stopped. He scratched one of his reddish ears. “Hmmm,” he said. “What rhymes with quest?”
A soft golden retriever puppy named Wally barked, “Chest, sir? We’re on an icy quest, for a special treasure chest?”
Quest and chest don’t rhyme, little Walty!” Captain Red Beard chuckled. “Silly pup.”
Wally was pretty sure chest and quest did rhyme. But he didn’t like to argue with Captain Red Beard. On the Salty Bone, the captain was always right—even when he wasn’t.
The crew lowered the gangplank onto a snowy dock. As soon as it was safe, all the puppy pirates raced ashore. Though life at sea was jolly, it always felt good to leap and bound and run free on land.
Wally’s best friend, a human boy called Henry, scooped up a handful of snow. He packed it into a tight ball. Then he tossed it into the air for Wally to chase after. Soon everyone was playing fetch with the snow! But after a few minutes, the pups slowed down to sniff and snuff. It was exciting to have the chance to explore a strange, new world.
Far off in the distance, Wally could see the edge of a small village. Near the docks there was nothing but snow, snow, and more snow! Usually, the puppy pirates’ adventures took them through tropical waters. But this trip was already full of wonderful new sights. They had sailed past icebergs and white-capped mountains. Now soft snowflakes swirled in the air around them. The air was so crisp that every time he took a deep breath, Wally felt like he might sneeze.
“Here, pups!” Red Beard called out. “Gather around.” The puppy pirates bounded over to hear what their captain had to say.
As soon as he stopped running, Wally noticed just how chilly it was. Many of his short-haired mates had to huddle together to stay warm. The pug twins squeezed into the warm space under Wayne the Great Dane’s belly. Spike the bulldog was busy playing blanket tug-of-war with his best mate, a tiny Boston terrier named Humphrey. Einstein, a clumsy wiener dog, was trying to squirm into a plaid sweater.
Wally lay down in the snow and chewed at his paws. It was fun to bite at the tiny balls of ice stuck between his paw pads. Even though his feet felt a little cold, Wally’s body was warm and cozy. At times like this he was glad he had so much warm fur!
“Welcome to the North Pole!” Captain Red Beard barked to his crew. “As you all know, we have sailed through icy waters to run in the Great Ice Race. Teams of pups have come from all over the world to compete, because the winner of the Great Ice Race wins the greatest treasure of all!”
“Treasure! Treasure! Treasure!” chanted the puppy pirates.
Curly, the first mate, barked for order. The poufy mini poodle called out, “But there is a catch: the rules say we can only enter one team of six pups in the race.”
“What is this hoodly-toodly nonsense? Only six pups?” howled the captain. He started to count his crew. “But we have one, two, three, forty-six, nineteen, eleventy . . . fifty-two on our crew! Fifty-two is more than six. That is a problem.”
“Every problem has a solution. Right, Captain?” Curly said, nodding. “And you, Captain, have come up with the perfect solution. A plan.”
“Yes, of course!” Captain Red Beard said uncertainly. “I have a great plan. Remind me, what is my plan again?”
Curly faced the crew and said, “We have decided to hold tryouts to find the fastest runners on our crew. The five quickest pups will get to run with Captain Red Beard in the Great Ice Race.”
“Tryouts!” Captain Red Beard said. “Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking. The first five pups to reach the finish line will be on my team. The rest of you will cheer us on.”
Wally loved to run. He was very fast. He glanced around at his crewmates. There were many speedy and strong pups. Could Wally finish in the top five and earn the chance to run with his captain in the Great Ice Race?
Curly howled, “The starting line is here.” Then she lifted a paw and pointed away from the village. Across a huge snowy field, Wally could just barely see a box. “On the other side of this field is a crate filled with steak. The crate marks the finish line. This isn’t just a race for a spot on Captain Red Beard’s team . . . it’s also a race to your dinner! Ready, set—”
“Avast!” Captain Red Beard cried out. “Before you race, I want to remind everyone where we are.” The captain spoke very seriously. “This is the home of the Great Ice Race. It’s also the Christmas capital of the world. And Christmas is only days away!”
The pups yipped and woofed. Wally wagged his tail. Christmas was always fun. But Christmas at the North Pole? That might be the most fun of all!
Captain Red Beard said, “At the North Pole, it’s very important to do Christmas right. Who knows what that means?”
Many pups started to bark an answer. But the captain barked louder than all of them. “I know. Doing Christmas right means giving. . . your dear ol’ captain the right gifts. This season is all about me getting exactly what I want. And what I want is to win that shiny, sparkly treasure!” He stomped his paw on the ground. “But also . . .”
The captain pulled out a very long piece of parchment. He cleared his throat and read the list of all the things he wanted for Christmas:
* a new bed
* an old, stinky shoe to munch on after dinner
* a squeaky hamburger that smells like meat
* a stuffed duck that can keep my OTHER stuffed duck company
* a year’s supply of chew toys
While the captain rambled on, the rest of the crew chattered about some of the presents they wanted. Wally didn’t really have anything on his own wish list. He had Henry and his puppy pirate family. He had a home on the Salty Bone and a life of adventure on the high seas. What more could a puppy need?
But Wally did want to find a great gift for Henry. Henry was the best friend ever, so Wally wanted to get him the best gift ever. Something big! Something shiny! Something perfect.
He just didn’t know what.
As Captain Red Beard flipped over his list to read the other side, Curly stepped forward. She let out one sharp bark to get his attention. When that didn’t work, she whispered in his ear. But the captain was so focused on his gift list that he didn’t notice her—or the setting sun.
Finally, Curly barked, “Arrrrf! Shiver me timbers, let’s get on with the tryouts, Captain. It’s getting late.”
“What?” Captain Red Beard looked up from his parchment. “Oh, right, the race!” He lifted a paw and pointed across the snowy landscape. “Are you ready, puppy pirates? Get set . . . GO!”

Under the Cover