For Ages
6 to 9

Puppy Pirates #7: Lost at Sea is a part of the Puppy Pirates A Stepping Stone Book collections.

Ahoy, mateys! Set sail for fun and adventure on a pirate ship full of puppies.

SOS! Wally and the Puppy Pirates know the legends and mysteries about the Grr-muda Triangle, but could all those strange stories be true? There's only one way to find out: the Salty Bone is going to sail straight through the Grr-muda Triangle! Will the crew make it out alive? Or will they be lost at sea forever . . . ?

An Excerpt fromPuppy Pirates #7: Lost at Sea

“Gather round, pups, for I have a tale to tell.” Old Salt rapped his peg leg on the wooden deck of the Salty Bone.
A group of puppy pirates trotted over. The Bernese mountain dog was the oldest member of the puppy pirate crew, and he didn’t speak often. When he did, everyone listened.
Old Salt cleared his throat. A whoosh of sea air ruffled his fur. “Long, long ago in a not-so-distant sea, there was a ship filled with sailors much like you and me.”
“Is this a poem?” whined Captain Red Beard. “I don’t like poems.”
“It’s not a poem,” Old Salt said. “It’s not even a made-up tale. The story I’m about to tell is true.”
“Get on with it, then,” grumbled Red Beard. The wiry terrier captain was not very patient. He didn’t like to wait for much of anything.
“As I was saying—” Old Salt stopped to cough. He coughed and coughed, his whole body shaking. Finally, he opened his mouth wide and coughed out a soggy hair ball. He sighed happily, and then continued his tale. “Long, long ago there was a ship sailing through these very waters. It was a mighty ship, carrying strong, hardworking sailors. This ship was captained by a tough old bulldog, Dread Pirate Wrinkles.”
“Is this a story about when you were a pup?” asked Wally, a fluffy golden retriever pup. All the puppies on board the Salty Bone longed to know more about Old Salt’s past.
Old Salt almost never answered this kind of question. He didn’t this time, either. “Dread Pirate Wrinkles’s ship carried these sailors through strange, strange waters,” he told them. “Into the Grrr-muda Triangle. Some call it the Bermuda Triangle. Some call it the Triangle, for short. You young pups ever heard of that?”
Wally shook his head. Many of his mates shook their heads, too. Recess the Labrador retriever, Frosty the husky, the pug twins, and the human boy Henry (Wally’s best mate) all looked blankly at Old Salt. Only Millie and Stink, who had spent years living on an old ghost ship, howled “Yes!”
“The Triangle? That’s easy!” barked Red Beard. “A triangle is a thing with four sides . . . like a map!”
Wally knew a triangle had three sides—and most of their maps were shaped like a rectangle. But he didn’t want to correct their captain. No one did. Red Beard didn’t like to hear when he was wrong.
“Sir,” said Curly, the fluffy white mini poodle who served as Red Beard’s first mate, “I think Old Salt is talking about the other kind of triangle. The mysterious part of the sea where strange things happen. But those are just old legends.”
“Are they?” asked Old Salt, a far-off look on his face. “Well, Dread Pirate Wrinkles steered that ship into the Triangle . . . and disappeared. The sails were full. The sea was calm. Everything was going well—until a deep fog blew in from out of nowhere. And—poof! Just like that, the ship was gone.”
“This Triangle,” said Spike, a nervous bulldog. “Is it . . . near here?”
“Aye,” woofed Old Salt. “We are sailing toward that part of the sea now.”
“What else happens in the Grrr-muda Triangle?” asked Wally.
Millie woofed, “Pups tell tales of a spooky fog, ripped sails, broken compasses—”
“Weird weather, disappearing supplies . . . that kind of thing,” Stink added.
“Don’t worry, pups,” Curly told the crew. “We are sailing around the famous Triangle— not through it. That’s the captain’s idea.” She sniffed. “If you ask me, all these silly stories are nonsense.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” Old Salt said gruffly.
“Nonsense,” Curly said again.
Spike shivered. He squeezed in between Henry and Wally. “Best not to risk it,” he said quietly.
“But how does a ship know if it’s in or out of the Triangle? There is no land anywhere near here to use as map points,” Frosty said. Frosty was new to the Salty Bone crew. He grew up at the North Pole, where there were always plenty of snow-covered mountains and rivers to use as guides. “So isn’t it just a guess?”
“There is a bit of guesswork, yes,” answered Curly. “But we have good maps. And, of course, we use nautical map navigation to chart our course.”
“Not a who-sical navigation?” Captain Red Beard barked. “What kind of hoodly-toodly nonsense are you talking about?”
“I am talking about how we use a compass and maps to figure out our ship’s position in the sea,” Curly said.
“As I’m sure you already know, Captain,” said Einstein, “nautical is a fancy word for ‘the sea.’”
“Frosty, we use maps, compasses, and islands we have sailed past to track our position from the steering cabin,” Curly explained patiently. “We also use the location of the stars at night. All of those tools help us figure out where we are in relation to the Triangle.”
“Aye,” Old Salt said, tapping his peg leg on the deck. “But compasses don’t always work. They are known to go wonky in the Triangle. And as I always say: if you can’t figure out which direction you are pointed in, you can’t figure out how to get to where you need to be.”
Old Salt was usually the one who calmed all the other pups down. But today there was a look on Old Salt’s face that Wally had never seen before. It was a little bit sad, a little bit worried, and maybe even a little bit . . . scared?
No, Wally thought quickly. That couldn’t be right. Nothing scared Old Salt. Nothing.
Curly barked sharply. “Speaking of where you need to be . . .”
Wally knew what that meant. Their story break was over. It was time for afternoon chores! The crew scattered. Steak-Eye made his way down to the kitchen to prepare his famous stew. Henry began to scrub the decks. Wally had finished his chores that morning. And he wanted to know more about the Triangle! He could tell some of the other pups felt the same way.
“What happened to Dread Pirate Wrinkles’s ship?” Wally asked. “Did anyone ever find it?”
Old Salt stared out over the deck rail and said softly, “Maybe it’s still in the Triangle to this day. Lost. Sailing around in circles . . .”
“You don’t really think that’s true, do you?” Recess asked nervously.
“Have you ever been inside the Triangle, Old Salt?” asked Wally.
“Did you see the ship disappear?” Frosty wondered.
Old Salt turned and looked at each of the young pups in turn. “All I will say is this—” But before he could finish his thought, the ship lurched. The boat tilted to one side. The sails tipped down toward the waves. The crew skidded across the deck, yapping and howling.
“It’s the Sea Slug!” wailed Spike. “We’re all doomed!”

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