The Lost Ball

Pirates, Monsters, Soldiers, Dark Caves, Robbing Robins, and Bubble Fog!
King Porthos has lost his favorite ball. Can Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Georgie, Trinity, and Anika brave the dangers and solve the mystery? Is it in the Deck Caves? Or in the Shrubbery Forest? Or could it be locked away in Fort Fortress? Follow the Shubins as they scour the land to find The Lost Ball.
Published: 2004
Artwork: Steve Shubin
Characters: Nichol, Skyler, Olivia, Georgie, Trinity, Anika, Kyra (mention)
Character Order on Cover: (left to right) Olivia, Anika, Trinity, Skyler, Georgie
Story Location: Real; George & Rachel's backyard of their Church Street house in Woodburn, Oregon.


Porthos was the name of George & Rachel's dog. Georgie named him.


The Lost Ball on Amazon (or Illustrated Kindle, text-only Kindle)
The Lost Ball on Barnes and Noble (or Nook ePub)

First Chapter

The Imagination Capes

It was a sunny summer day at the Shubin’s house. Suddenly the front door bell rang.

Ding Dong! Ding Dong!

“They’re here! They’re here!” Trinity screamed and ran to answer the door.

“Hooray! They’re here!” yelled Georgie and ran after Trinity.

“Yea!” cried Anika, and she too ran to the door.

Trinity reached the door first and opened it. Standing just outside were their cousins Nichol, Skyler, and Olivia.

“Hi! Mommy said we can come to play,” said Nichol as they all came into the house.

“Hi, Erica,” said Mommy Rachel coming around the corner holding baby Kyra. “You children can go play in the backyard. Porthos has lost his ball, maybe you can try to find it.”

They did not have to be asked twice. Eagerly the six cousins ran through the dining room and out the sliding glass door.

It was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was warm and shining, and there were robins chirping happily in the bushes and trees that lined the back fence. The yard looked full of fun and adventure. The raised, wooden deck was warm underfoot, the small swimming pool was full of clear water, and even the jungle gym at the far corner of the yard seemed to call the children to play on it.

“So, what shall we do?” asked Skyler patting the head of the small, blue alien doll that blew bubbles.

Suddenly around the corner of the house Porthos, the Shubins’ big, black dog, came running up to the children. He was happy to see everybody because he loved to play with them.

“Hi, Porthos,” said Trinity. “Look… Nichol, Skyler, and Olivia have come over to play.”

Porthos gave a loud woof in greeting. His tail was wagging very hard.

“Where’s Porthos’ ball?” asked Nichol. Porthos loved to play catch with his ball. It was his favorite toy.

“It’s lost,” answered Georgie.

“That’s right,” said Skyler. “Your mom said we should go look for it.”

“I’ve got an idea,” said Nichol with a smile. “Let’s put on our imagination capes and have an adventure to find Porthos’ ball.”

Everyone jumped up and agreed. Every time they put on their imagination capes to play their imagination seemed to be more real and more fun. With the imagination capes they could be anyone and do anything!

Trinity, Anika, and Olivia all ran into the house to get them. The girls came back quickly and handed out the capes.

“What shall we imagine?” asked Georgie.

“Let’s imagine the backyard is a magical kingdom and Porthos is king,” said Nichol.

“Cool!” said Georgie. “Then I’m going to be a knight, brave and strong.”

Whoosh! Georgie put on the cape and his play clothes disappeared. Instead he was wearing a knight’s outfit complete with a sword and shield.

“Me, too!” said Skyler. “I’ll be a knight too, fast and smart.”

Whoosh! With a twist of the cape, Skyler was also wearing a knight’s outfit.

“And we’ll be princesses,” declared Nichol.

“Yea!” said Trinity, Anika, and Olivia at the same time.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Suddenly all four girls became princesses with beautiful dresses.

“Welcome to my kingdom,” said a deep voice behind the children.

They turned to see who spoke to them. It was Porthos, but now he was King Porthos with a crown on his head and a cape around his shoulders.

“We hear you have lost your royal ball, King Porthos,” said Olivia.

“That is right. I have looked everywhere, but I cannot find it,” said King Porthos. He sounded very sad.

“We’ll find it for you,” said Skyler stepping forward.

“You bet we will!” declared Georgie.

“You can count on us,” said Nichol.

“I’m so thankful to have friends like you,” said King Porthos. “Here is a map of my kingdom. I hope it will help you.”

He handed Nichol the map of the kingdom. It showed the Deck Plateau they were standing on, the dangerous Bubble Fog Valley, the Deck Caves underneath the Deck Plateau, the vast Pool Pond, the Shrubbery Forest, the Fort Fortress, and the wide Grassy Plains.

“Let’s go!” said Trinity.


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