Jake didn't know what to think.
After 10 years in the same house, with the same neighbours, the same friends, the same teachers and the same school, his dad and mom were telling him it was time to move.
Away from the ideal little town of Nelson and to a new place called Kamloops.
"Kamloops," Jake muttered to himself as he stretched out on his bed, tossing his favourite baseball the one autographed by Jason Bay, the British Columbia star who plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"Even the name sounds funny!"
Just then Jake's dad rapped on the door and walked into the bedroom.
"How are ya doing, little buddy?" his dad asked as he sat next to Jake on his messy bed, with baseball cards and Archie comic books covering his Spider-Man bedspread.
Jake didn't say anything. He just kept tossing his prized baseball into the air, silently angry at his dad for taking a new job in that place called Kamloops.
"Look, son, I know you love it here in Nelson. And your mom loves it here, too.
"Heck, I love it in Nelson, too, sport, but this job in Kamloops is really good and we will much better off there."
Jake still didn't say anything. He only stared at the ball as it went up and came down. Up. Down. Up. Down.
"Well, buddy," Jake's dad said as he stood up, patting his son on the arm, "it's going to be OK. You'll see. We have a nice new house and there's a ski hill nearby."
Jake's dad left the bedroom and Jake stopped tossing his ball in the air.
Sighing loudly, Jake slowly left his bed and stood up, looking around his bedroom, the only room he had known in his entire life of 10 years.
Just then, Jake noticed something someone on the lawn below his bedroom window.
He walked to the window and looked down. It was his best friend, Wally, and he was waving wildly up at Jake's window.
Jake opened his window.
"What is it?" he asked Wally.
"Oh, man," Wally said. "Come on down! Hurry up! You're not gonna believe it!"
Jake was so excited that he almost forgot that he would be moving to that place called Kamloops in one week.
He dropped his baseball, grabbed his Pirates cap and raced down the stairs.
CHAPTER 1: SIERRA GLADU, Grade 6, OLPH
Jake was almost at the door when his dad appeared at the bottom of the stairs.
"Hey sport, where ya going?"
"Just going to play with Wally, dad. Don't worry, I'll be home before supper."
"OK, have fun."
Jake burst out the door and ran to meet his best friend.
What's the great news?" Jake asked.
"You are not going to believe it!" Wally said. "You know Jason Bay, the guy who signed your baseball?''
"Ya, what about him?" Jake asked.'
"Well," Wally replied, "him and the rest of the Pirates are at the mall signing autographs!"
"Awesome," Jake said.
Wally and Jake ran to the Nelson mall as fast as they could.
On the way there, Jake said to Wally: "I can't wait! Maybe they will sign my poster!"
Just then, they burst through the mall doors and got in the line to meet their major league heroes.
"Oh! I have to get my poster out," said Wally.
"Ya," added Jake, "I have to get mine out too
"Wait! Where is it? Where is my poster?"
Jake checked his pockets and looked around the ground. No Pirates poster anywhere.
"Oh man! I forgot it at home!" said Jake.
"Well," said Wally, "you can't go home and get because they are leaving in 10 minutes!"
"Oh man, what am I going to do?" Jake said.
CHAPTER 2: SYLVIE LLOYD, Grade 4, R.L. CLEMITSON ELEMENTARY
There's no use," said Jake, "the Pirates are leaving in ten minutes and there's no time to go home and get our posters. I guess we'll just have to go home."
Jake and Wally were just leaving the mall when a sign caught Jake by the corner of his eye. Jake stopped and turned slightly to his left. Jake read the sign carefully and his heart was beating faster and faster.
"What's the matter Jake? You seem a little weird." said Wally
"Wally, read this sign." said Jake, his heart still pumping as fast as a rocket.
"Pittsburgh Pirates coming to Kamloops in two weeks. Their appearance will be at Aberdeen Mall." Murmured Wally as he read the sign.
"Why are you getting so worked up about it, you don't even live in Kamloops."
"Oh Wally, I can't believe I didn't tell you, but, I'm moving to Kamloops in one week." Jake said sadly trying to hold back his pain.
"Oh," said Wally, "well, you can get your poster signed after all."
Wally couldn't believe that two boys that had known each other their whole lives, would soon be apart.
CHAPTER 3: AMY ROBINSON, GRADE 7, PACIFIC WAY ELEMENTARY
"Let's go home," Wally sighed.
Jake and Wally started walking home.
"I can't believe I didn't tell you," Jake said, "considering that you're my best friend!"
"Will we ever see each other again?" Wally asked.
"Maybe someday," Jake replied.
Suddenly, it hit him he would never see Wally again.
"Here we are," Wally said, disrupting Jake's thought.
Jake looked up to see his house.
"Oh! Bye. I guess that I'll see you tomorrow."
Ya," Wally replied. Bye."
Jake stepped inside and turned around to watch his friend leave. He couldn't help but notice a slight smile growing on his friend's face.
"Oh, great!" Jake whispered to himself, "now my best friend is glad that I'm moving to Kamloops."
Jake went inside his house. "What's for supper, mom?"
"Chicken!" she replied. "Supper, Bob!"
"Coming, Deb," said Jake's dad as he arrived at the door.
"How was it?" Jake's mom asked once supper was finished.
"Great," Jake and his dad answered at the same time.
"You should go to bed," Jake's mom told him. "It's past eight o'clock."
"OK," Jake said. "Good night."
Jake had just gotten comfortable when he heard knocking on his bedroom window. He opened it and saw Wally outside.
"Come out," Wally hissed. Jake crept down to the door and went outside.
"Come on, get some clothes. Time to go."
"Where are we going?" Jake asked.
CHAPTER 4: HANAE PHAM, GRADE 8, KAMLOOPS CHRISTIAN
"Just get dressed and follow me," said Wally. "C'mon, hurry!"
Soon after, Jake was hurrying behind Wally around the side of the house.
Wally's dad was waiting in his car on the street, beckoning for them to hurry.
Jake grabbed Wally's arm and hissed, "OK, just what are you up to? My parents don't know I'm gone. It's past my bedtime, and "
"Just listen!" Wally said. "My dad is going to Kamloops overnight for some business stuff. He's letting me come with him and I told him you were allowed to come, too. Now we can get those Pirates' autographs we wanted!"
Wally pulled on Jake's arm: "C'mon, my dad's waiting!"
"You don't think my parents will realize I'm gone?" Jake asked.
"You can call them when we get there. It's the weekend. What harm could it do?
"Besides," Wally's face became sad. "It might be the last thing we do together before you move. Let's make it fun, OK?"
"Well, OK, but you're taking the blame if I get in trouble for this!"
The boys ran to the car and leapt in.
CHAPTER 5: TRISTAIN SEMENIUK, GRADE 4, MCGOWAN ELEMENTARY
Jake, Wally and Wally's dad were driving to Kamloops all night and Jake's parents didn't know he was gone.
When they got there, they went to Aberdeen Mall. They went inside and noticed that the Pirates would not be there for another two weeks.
They were disappointed and Jake decided to call his parents.
When Jake's parents noticed that he was gone, it was morning. They looked outside to see if he was playing in the yard.
He wasn't there. They were worried, so they called the police.
When Jake called, his parents were talking to the police, who were asking a lot of questions.
"I'm in Kamloops," said Jake.
"What are you doing in Kamloops?" asked his mom.
"Wally said his dad was waiting in the vehicle and he said he was going to Kamloops for some business stuff. He said I could come and get my Pirates poster signed at Aberdeen Mall." replied Jake.
"Well, you shouldn't have gone without permission," said mom. "I got worried about you and had to call the police."
"I'm sorry mom."
"When will you be back?" asked Jake's mom.
"I'll be back tomorrow."
"OK," said mom, "Be good. I love you."
Jake, Wally and Wally's dad went out for supper at East Side Mario's.
Then they stayed in a hotel called the Comfort Inn.
In the morning, they had breakfast at the ABC Country restaurant.
They had pancakes. Then Jake, Wally and Wally's dad went back to Nelson.
They dropped Jake off at his house.
CHAPTER 6: JULIE MORAY, GRADE 4, RALPH BELL ELEMENTARY
Jake didn't have his house keys, so he knocked on the door.
He thought no one was home because he waited for a long time.
Finally, his dad opened the door.
"I'm so glad you're home!" said his dad as he threw his arms around Jake. The first thing Jake noticed on his dad's head was an autographed Pirates cap.
"Where the heck did you get that Pirates cap from, Dad?" asked Jake.
"While you were in Kamloops, the radio station had a contest, and I won it," said Jake's dad proudly.
"Do you have one for me?" asked Jake.
"No," said his dad.
"That's nooooo fair, Dad!" whined Jake.
"Well they are having a contest for an autographed Pirates poster," said his dad. "The catch is you have to send a letter to the radio station, saying why the Pirates are your favourite team. Oh, and by the way, you only have until tomorrow to send your letter in."
Jake immediately ran upstairs.
He called Wally's dad's cellphone and said: "Wally! There's a way to get an autographed poster sooner! Call me when you get this message, please!"
CHAPTER 7: ELIJAH SEMENIUK, GRADE 3, MCGOWAN PARK ELEMENTARY
When Wally got the message, he came to Jakes house. When Wally and Jake were in his room, Jake told Wally how to get the autographed poster and they got down to business. When they were done, they read their paragraphs to each other. Wally's said, "I like the Pirates because they have a cool name and cool players and cool fans." Jakes sentence was almost the same, so he changed it and they brought them to the radio station. In a few days they got a phone call that said Wally won. Wally was so happy they celebrated by going out for a movie and supper. Jake thought it was good that Wally won because he can get his poster signed in Kamloops.
CHAPTER 8: LEXI STEPHANISHIN, GRADE 6, BEATTIE SCHOOL OF ARTS
Jake and Wally saw Ghost Riders and afterwards had a large hot fudge sundae.
Then they went back to Wally's house, where his Dad said that if it was OK with Jake's folks, the boys could have a sleepover at their house tonight.
Jake's Mom said that was fine, so the boys got into their PJs and settled in with popcorn and root beer to watch Pirates of the Caribbean.
Wally's Dad said they could sleep outside in the tent if they like.
"Wow," said Wally, "but can we take Rover with us?"
So Wally took all of his Pirates' baseball cards and Jake brought his treasured autographed ball from home and they headed out to the tent, with Rover following behind.
They had a great time until Wally's Mom called out: "Lights out, please, its late."
Jake woke up to hear rain tapping against the roof of the tent. He reached over to grab his baseball but it wasn't there!
He heard a soft rustling sound in the bushes.
Jake peeked outside and, in the early morning light, saw Rover with Jake's ball in his mouth!
CHAPTER 9: ADAM FUNK, GRADE 6, KAMLOOPS CHRISTIAN
Jake shook Wally awake.
"Wally! Wally! Rover took my autographed ball!"
The boys rushed out of the tent into the falling rain.
They tried to catch Rover, but he was too fast for them.
They chased Rover into the bushes, but they lost sight of the mischievous dog.
"Rover . . . Rover!" they called.
When they saw him again, Rover no longer had the ball in his mouth.
Jake cried: "Wally! Rover doesn't have the ball anymore! We've got to look for it."
The boys hunted and hunted and finally found the ball resting under a huge, tangled wild rose bush.
Jake quickly crawled in to get it.
Grasping the ball in his hand, he turned to stand and slipped on the wet grass.
Then he dropped the ball.
The ball rolled away from Jake as if in slow motion and disappeared down a dark hole.
That dark hole turned out to be an abandoned mine shaft that the rose bush had been hiding from view.
CHAPTER 10: LEXI KOZAK, GRADE 6, ABERDEEN ELEMENTARY
Jake looked at Wally in despair as the pelting rain streaked his face. Wally couldn't tell if he was crying or not. Jake's saddened face slowly transformed into a look crisp with determination.
"I need to find that ball," he said.
Wally's face turned into a smile.
"I'm with you." Wally placed his hand on Jake's drenched PJs.
Without another word, they walked over to the hole into which the ball had disappeared and peered into its deep abyss.
Just as Jake was about to take action, Rover, barking, came tromping over to where the boys were. He looked at the boys with his pink tongue lolling out then, like a flash, stuck his mahogany paws into the hole and started thrusting out wads of moist dirt.
The boys looked at each other obliviously then realized Rover was trying to fix what he did.
When he finished, he revealed the autographed baseball covered in wormy dirt.
Jake and Wally took a joyful leap at Rover, petting him praisingly.
Wally's dad came into the tent to wake them up. To his surprise, the boys, Rover and the tent were covered in mud.
The boys woke up to Wally's dad's expression. They both smiled.
Jake said quietly, "Rover's a hero."