Night of the Living Ted is a part of the Living Ted collection.
This Halloween season discover a new action-comedy series about two kids battling an army of evil teddy bears! What a nightmare! Can they save the day before bedtime?
After Lisa-Marie and her big brother, Vernon, visit a Create-A-Ted store, the unexpected happens.
Their teddy bears come to life!
But it turns out they aren't the only ones. All kinds of teddy bears--zombies, ghosts, aliens and more--are suddenly alive and creating mayhem . . . and soon there is an army of evil teddy bears on the loose!
Can Lisa-Marie and her big brother Vernon save themselves--and the world?
The Living Ted series appeals to readers of all ages with quick chapters, laugh-out-loud action scenes, and lively illustrations throughout.
An Excerpt fromNight of the Living Ted
“I mean . . . seriously. Money. Actual money.”
Lisa Marie breathed out and watched her breath form clouds of condensation in the air. She’d been doing the same thing for the whole walk into town. It was either that or listen to her big brother’s incessant moaning.
She liked that word. Incessant. It meant “going on and on and on.” Big words were one of Lisa Marie’s favorite things, along with science, reading and chip-shop curry sauce (although not necessarily in that order).
Vernon had only been her big brother for a year, but Lisa Marie had already worked out that his favorite things were complaining, moaning and whining. Again, not necessarily in that order.
“I don’t see why I’ve got to buy him a birthday present,” Vernon grumbled. “He’s not my dad.”
Lisa Marie wheezed out another cloud of white vapor. It’s not fair, she silently mouthed.
“It’s not fair!”
“Well . . . ,” Lisa Marie began, but Vernon was still mid-rant.
“I mean, he’s all right, I like him and everything, but why do I have to use my own money to buy him a present?”
“You aren’t using your own money,” Lisa Marie pointed out. “Mom gave you twenty dollars.”
“Exactly. She gave it to me, so now it’s mine,” Vernon said. “I mean, that’s just science, or whatever.”
Lisa Marie decided not to bother pointing out that (A) no, that wasn’t science, actually, and (B) Mom had given him the money specifically so he could buy his stepdad a present. Arguing with Vernon was like trying to reason with a plank of wood.
Instead, she went back to breathing vapor clouds and looking in the windows of all the shops they walked past.
Tonight was Halloween, and almost every shop was decorated with black, orange and green displays. Some of them had fake cobwebs covering their shelves, or plastic bats dangling from elastic at the top of the windows.
“What about that?” Vernon asked, pointing at one of the windows. A flimsy plastic skeleton hung from a hook, its arms limp by its sides. “I bet he’d love that.”
Lisa Marie frowned. To the best of her knowledge, Dad had never displayed any interest in skeletons, plastic or otherwise. It was only when she saw the price tag that her stepbrother’s suggestion made sense.
“And you’re not just saying that because it’s ninety-nine cents?” she asked.
“Is it?” Vernon asked, trying to sound surprised. “I hadn’t even noticed. That’s a bonus, isn’t it?”
Vernon’s mom had offered Lisa Marie the same amount of money she’d given Vernon, but Lisa Marie had wanted to use her own. It felt like the gift would mean more that way.
“Wait! Be quiet!” Vernon hissed.
“I wasn’t saying anything,” Lisa Marie pointed out, but Vernon had spotted something up ahead and broken into a run, leaving her talking to herself.
She caught up with him outside her favorite shop. Create-a-Ted was a store that let you make your own teddy bears, dress them and take them home. Lisa Marie had built up quite a collection over the years, all in different costumes. The Arctic Explorer bear was her favorite, and took pride of place on the shelf above her bed.
She was surprised to see Vernon standing looking in the window, because he usually hurried past the place making heaving noises like he was throwing up.
There were two signs in the window. One of them was small and a bit upsetting.
It read: under new ownership.
Lisa Marie had always liked Mr. and Mrs. Chang, the shop’s owners. They were a friendly old couple who sometimes let her use the stuffing machine herself. She wished she’d known they were leaving. She’d have made them a Good Luck card.
The other sign was much larger, and was still in the process of being pasted onto the inside of the glass.
free halloween bear--today only!
“Look. Free!” Vernon said. “That’s even better than ninety-nine cents!”
“I know!” Lisa Marie said. She frowned. “Wait, what are you saying?”
“Your dad’s birthday. I can get him a free bear. Boom. Job done. Mom said I could keep the change.” He grinned. “So twenty bucks minus one free bear is . . .”
There was a moment of silence. Lisa Marie sighed.
“Right. Exactly!” Vernon said.
“You want to get a forty-two-year-old man a teddy bear for his birthday?” Lisa Marie asked.
“Yes! Who doesn’t love teddy bears?” Vernon said. “Except me, obviously. I think they’re stupid. Bleurgh! But your dad will love one.”
On the other side of the glass, a youngish-looking man with thick-rimmed glasses leaned out from behind the sign. He jumped in fright when he spotted the two children staring at him, then smiled and beckoned them in.
Vernon raced inside, sending the bell above the door into a frenzy of ding-a-ling-lings. Lisa Marie followed and immediately let out a gasp of shock. The shop had completely changed inside, and not for the better.
All the colorful displays of fully stuffed bears had been shoved into one corner. A tarpaulin had been draped in front of the Costumes & Accessories section, hiding all the adorable little bear outfits.
A large cardboard box had been dumped in the middle of the floor. Someone had written FREE HALLOWEEN STUFF in marker on the side of the box, and Lisa Marie could see vampire capes, devil tridents and other spooky accessories piled up inside.
“Hello!” cried the man. He was dressed in black and hopped from foot to foot as if he desperately needed to find the bathroom. “You’re my first customers. How exciting is that?!”
“Amazing,” Vernon said, but he didn’t sound like he meant it. “We want a free bear.
Lisa Marie rolled her eyes. “Sorry about him,” she said. She held out a hand for the shopkeeper to shake. “What happened to the Changs?”
“The what?” the shopkeeper asked.
“The previous owners,” Lisa Marie answered. “Mr. and Mrs. Chang.”
“Oh, them! Yes. They, uh, they retired,” said the man.
“They didn’t mention anything,” Lisa Marie said.
The shopkeeper shrugged. “I think it was quite sudden.”
“Oh, I see. Well, I’m Lisa Marie. Maybe they told you about me?”
“Warned you about her, more like,” Vernon muttered.
“Uh, hi. I’m Josh,” the man replied, shaking Lisa Marie’s hand. “And no. No, I can’t say they did.”
Lisa Marie felt a twinge of disappointment at this. “Oh. Okay, then,” she said. “Well, I’m a regular here. And I used to re-solder the wiring on the tumble turner whenever it came loose.”
Josh blinked. “Do what to the what?”
“The tumble turner,” Lisa Marie said, pointing to the machine in the corner. “The stuffing machine. I used to fix it.”
“Right! Yes. The tumble thing. Good. Well, then I’m very pleased to meet you, Lisa Marie,” Josh said. He bowed deeply and smiled at her. “And since you’re practically staff, it seems fitting that you should be the first to create your free Halloween bear.”
Vernon stepped between them. “Hang on--it’s not for her, it’s for our dad. I mean stepdad. I mean her dad, my stepdad. That’s why we’re here.”
“It’s his birthday tomorrow,” Lisa Marie explained. “And Vernon wants to get him a free bear so he can keep the money Mom gave him to buy a present.”
“How generous,” Josh said as he winked at Lisa Marie. “Still, it’s the thought that counts, I suppose.”
He clapped his hands together, then did a sort of sideways shuffle over to the rack of teddy-bear skins.
Lisa Marie grinned. Although she was going to miss the Changs, she was already starting to like Josh. He seemed like fun, and his glasses were quite similar to her own. Nerd goggles, Vernon called them, although she noticed he wasn’t saying it now.
“Have no fear--there are free bears for everyone!” Josh cried. “You can make one for your dad, and your sister can make one for herself. Problem solved.”
“Stepsister,” Vernon corrected him. He thrust a hand into the cardboard box and yanked out a werewolf costume. “We’ll take this one,” he said, without even looking.
“That’s not how it works,” Lisa Marie said. “You pick your bear skin first, get it stuffed, put a heart in and then choose the outfit. Right?”
She looked up at Josh. He blinked in surprise. “Uh . . . yes. Yes! That’s it. Just as she said.”
Vernon threw the costume back into the box and sighed grumpily. “Fine!” He joined Lisa Marie next to the rack of bear skins. Their lifeless eyes seemed to gaze back at the children, and Vernon felt the fine hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
“This is so stupid,” he muttered, but he was careful to avoid their glassy gazes.
Lisa Marie was considering her options carefully, checking every one of the skins for loose threads or other imperfections. As she did, something half hidden by the tarp caught her eye. It was shining and sparkling, and Lisa Marie recognized the outfit at once.
“Wait! Can we make a bear wearing that costume?” she asked, pulling the tarp aside to reveal a white jumpsuit covered in hundreds of shiny sequins.
Josh smiled, but pulled the tarpaulin back into place. “Sorry, those aren’t for sale today. Halloween bears only. Did I mention they’re free?”
“You did,” Lisa Marie said. She tugged the plastic sheeting aside again. “But that’s an Elvis costume, and my dad loves Elvis.”
That was an understatement. Elvis Presley was her dad’s all-time favorite singer. Dad’s half of the bedroom he shared with Vernon’s mom was covered in pictures, clocks and even mirrors, all bearing the face of the man Dad called the King of Rock and Roll.
“We’ll pay for it,” Lisa Marie said.
Vernon’s ears pricked up. “Wait, what? No we won’t. Why would we pay for a bear when we can get a free one?”
“Because we love Dad,” Lisa Marie huffed. “And Dad loves Elvis.”
She kept her gaze fixed firmly on the shopkeeper. He wrung his hands, jiggling anxiously, as if his bladder were about to blow up.
“Well, that wasn’t really the plan . . . but fine,” said Josh. He took the outfit down from the rack and checked the label. “I’ll sell you a . . . Bearvis.”
Lisa Marie raised an eyebrow. “Bearvis?”
“Probably can’t use Elvis for legal reasons,” Josh said, although he didn’t seem all that sure.
“Why Bearvis, though?” Lisa Marie wondered. “That doesn’t sound anything like Elvis. It sounds like Mavis, if anything.”
Josh shrugged. “Well, can you think of a better bear-related pun on the name Elvis Presley?”
Lisa Marie thought for two seconds. “Elvis Grizzly,” she announced.
Josh blinked. “Uh, yeah. Yeah, that is better,” he admitted. He handed her the outfit. “That’ll be forty dollars.”
“How much?!” Vernon spluttered.
Lisa Marie reached into her purse and took out her own neatly folded twenty-dollar bill. She elbowed her brother in the ribs and nodded in Josh’s direction.
Vernon groaned. “Ugh. I really hate you sometimes.”
Lisa Marie smiled sweetly. “I know,” she said.
Josh took the money, then held up his index finger. “You can make your Bearvis, but I have one stipulation.”
“One what?” Vernon asked.
“Stipulation. It means like ‘one condition,’ ” Lisa Marie explained.
“Well, why didn’t he just say that, then?” Vernon grunted.
“Okay,” Lisa Marie said, ignoring her brother. “Name it.”
“You both make Halloween bears for yourselves, too,” Josh said. His lips drew back into a wide smile, and the light seemed to dance across his glasses. “And you make them both extra scary!”
Lisa Marie studied the rack of skins again. What to choose? What to choose?
The empty teddy-bear skins somehow managed to look cute, despite being . . . well, empty teddy-bear skins. It was tricky picking one to use for a scary Halloween bear.
The orange one was nice, but a bit too bright. It reminded Lisa Marie of the woman down the street who spent all her spare time at the spray-tan salon.
The white one looked okay, but it would get dirty very easily. Lisa Marie thought practically about things like that. For the same reason, she also ruled out the light brown, the cream and the one the label called purple but was clearly rose quartz.
That left the black, the dark brown, the green or the red. The red was even brighter than the orange--so bright that it hurt her eyes just to look at it. The black was so dark you couldn’t make out where the teddy’s eyes were, or even if it had eyes at all. She ruled both of those out and took a look at the two remaining colors.
The dark brown had no blatant faults. It wasn’t painfully bright. It wouldn’t show dirt easily. The bear’s eyes were easily visible from several yards away. There was nothing obviously wrong with it.
Except it was boring. She already had a dozen or more brown teddy bears. She didn’t need another one.
Her mind at last made up, Lisa Marie reached for the green bear and pulled it down from the rack.
“Good choice,” said Josh, hopping up behind her. He jabbed a thumb in the direction of the stuffing machine. “Did you say you know how to work this?”
“Yes,” Lisa Marie told him. “Why, don’t you?”
“What? Me? Yeah, of course!” Josh said quickly. “I just thought you might want to do it.”
Lisa Marie grinned. “Okay, if you insist!”
She ran over to the stuffing machine. Huge wads of white fluffy cotton tumbled around inside, spinning and twirling like the world’s biggest cotton candy machine. Josh watched her closely as she hooked her bear skin over a metal tube and pulled the lever that would fill her teddy with stuffing.
“Have you picked one yet?” Josh called across to Vernon.
“I told you, I’m not making a stupid teddy bear.” Vernon scowled. “They’re for little kids.”
“Ah-ah-ah!” Josh said, wagging a finger. “Remember the deal--no Halloween bear, no Bearvis.”
“I didn’t even want him in the first place,” Vernon muttered. He sighed and snatched a red bear skin from the rack. “Fine. I’ll take that one.”
He headed over to join Lisa Marie by the stuffing machine, where she had just finished plumping up her bear skin with cotton. She gave it a hug to test it, then turned her attention to a small cardboard box at the side of the machine. It had no lid, and inside were hundreds upon hundreds of satin hearts. They were about as long as her thumb, and no thicker than a coin.
She picked one up, just like she’d done every other time she’d made a teddy in the shop, then thought for a moment. Giving a nod, she gave the heart a gentle kiss. “Henrietta,” she whispered, which made her brother erupt into loud laughter.