OUR MERRY ADVENTURERS TRAVEL in the front car of an elevated subway train, their noses pressed to the glass, straining to see the great granite stanchion of the Brooklyn Bridge as they pass underneath. And now, the city of Manhattan, in the summer of 1947, stretches out before them. In splendid color, in real 3-D. “It’s gorgeous!” Walt exclaims.
“Why isn’t the city in black and white?” PB asks.
Whitty chuckles. He explains to PB that no one lived in black and white. It was the cameras.
They hop off the train at the first stop in Manhattan and circle back down toward the river, to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. They stop in front of a vaulted tunnel, their path blocked by a chain-link fence. “Here!” Walt yells. He’s found a spot where the fence has been cut and bent back at the bottom. The three brave travelers climb underneath and make their way down the darkening tunnel.
“PB, do you smell that?” Whitty asks.
The tunnel opens into a cool, dusty, cavernous cellar. The walls leap up over their heads, vaulting fifty feet up in the air . . . And throughout the room, piled from floor to ceiling, are old wooden crates. Filled with peanuts. Thousands, millions, gazillions of peanuts.
“They’re roasted jumbo salted peanuts. Yummy!” PB stuffs a handful in his mouth.
“Look, pistachios, too. And walnuts! And pecans!” Whitty shouts.
“But mostly peanuts,” PB says proudly.
As Whitty and PB explore the crates of nuts, Walt wanders off on his own. Something has taken hold of him, pulling him deeper and deeper into the cellar. There’s a wooden table and lots of books. Someone is living here.
“Whitty, over here!” PB has found another room. As large as the first, and filled with even more peanuts. A chilly, peanut-y breeze blows through an open door.
“Oh my gosh!” Walt spots something purple glistening in the soft light. There, on the floor, covered in peanut shells, keeping the door open, letting the peanut-y breeze in from the next room, is the purple goblet!
“I found it!” Walt grabs the goblet, and his eyes go wide with excitement. “I found it!”
WHAM! The stone door slams shut. That’s strange, Walt thinks. The magic goblet was a door stopper? Whitty and PB race over. Walt cleans out the goblet, and PB scoops his melting Knickerbocker Glory Sundae into it. “Wait,” Walt says. “Who goes first?”
“Let’s let PB. It’s his sundae, after all,” Whitty says.
Walt grabs the goblet, holding it tight. “But I don’t know. I mean, I found it, right? So . . . ”
“The ladybug gave me the mushrooms!” PB yells.
“OK, OK. So maybe we should draw straws,” says Walt.
And that’s what they do. Whitty draws a short straw. No good. Then PB and Walt draw straws at the same time.
“I win, I win!” Walt says, dancing around gleefully. PB shouts as he tries to grab the goblet. But Walt runs away!
He stumbles into a tower of peanut crates. The crates teeter for a second . . . then come toppling to the ground. CRASH! Whitty and PB try to chase Walt as peanuts spill across the cellar floor. Walt ducks behind another tower of crates. He cradles the goblet in his hands. Whitty and PB grab peanuts and chuck them over the crates at Walt. Peanut fight!
Walt spots an open door in the distance, leading deeper into the cellar. He runs for it! He bobs, weaves, skips, and jumps to avoid the falling peanuts. He slides through the entrance and slams the door shut!
© 2014 All rights reserved. Published by Abrams Books.