Quit Buggin' Me! #4

Illustrated by Ben Balistreri
Ebook
On sale Sep 18, 2018 | 144 Pages | 978-0-515-15842-7
Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won't let that stop her from saving the day!

Princess Pulverizer and her friends, Lucas and Dribble the dragon, are on the hunt for another good deed to complete on her Quest of Kindness. So when they hear about a mysterious evil beast who's been capturing townspeople, the trio sets out to find it and rescue the prisoners. But when Lucas and Dribble get caught themselves, it's up to Princess Pulverizer to free her friends!
Chapter 1

“I wanna play! I wanna play!”
Dribble shouted excitedly.
 
The ground shook beneath the big green dragon as he jumped up and down. He pointed toward the group of kids who had gathered in the middle of the town square. “I bet I can break that piñata with one swing!” he boasted.
 
“I don’t think those kids need any help,” Dribble’s best friend, a knight-in-training named Lucas, said. “That last kid got really close to hitting it.”
 
But Dribble didn’t hear Lucas. He was already halfway down the road, bouncing toward the square, shouting, “I wanna play! I wanna play!”
 
“I wish he would stop jumping.” Princess Pulverizer groaned, tossing her long braid over her shoulder. “All this shaking is giving me a bellyache.”
 
“That could also be from the four grilled cheddar cheese on rye sandwiches you had for breakfast,” Lucas pointed out.
 
Princess Pulverizer shrugged. “Dribble makes delicious grilled cheese. I couldn’t help myself.” The earth shook beneath her feet. “Whoa!” she exclaimed.
 
“That was a big one,” Lucas agreed.
 
“Come on,” Princess Pulverizer urged him. “We better catch up to Dribble before he breaks something. And I don’t mean the piñata.”
 
 
***
 
 
“AAAAAHHHHHHH!”
 
Princess Pulverizer and Lucas reached the town square in time to see all the children running off to hide—leaving Dribble alone by the piñata.
 
“I just wanted to play with them,” Dribble said sadly, looking around the empty square.
 
“It’s probably time for their lunch,” Lucas said, trying to spare his feelings.
 
Dribble shook his head. “That’s not it. They’re scared of me because I’m a dragon. Which is ridiculous. I wouldn’t hurt anyone. Do I look scary to you?”
 
Dribble smiled broadly and bared his big teeth. Then he fluttered his eyelashes over his big, bulging eyes.
 
Princess Pulverizer gulped. Dribble didn’t just look scary. He looked a little crazy, too.
 
“I wonder where we are,” she said, trying to change the subject. “I’ve never been to this kingdom before.”
 
The princess began to walk around the square, searching for a sign that might give her a clue as to her whereabouts. As she passed by a big bale of hay, she heard whispering.
 
“Do you think that big green thing is the Yabko-kokomo Beast?” one voice said.
 
“I don’t know,” someone else whispered back. “But we better stay here till he leaves, just in case. We don’t want to be the next kids from Yabko-kokomo to be captured and dragged off into the forest.”
 
Princess Pulverizer hurried back to where Lucas and Dribble were standing. “We’re in a place called Yabko-kokomo,” she told them.
 
“How did you find that out?” Lucas asked her. He looked around. “I don’t see any signs or anything.”
 
“I have my ways,” Princess Pulverizer replied mysteriously. “I also learned why the kids all ran away, Dribble. And it’s not because you’re a dragon.”
 
“It’s not?” Dribble sounded surprised. “Well, that’s good.”
 
“They ran away because they think you’re the Yabko-kokomo Beast,” said Princess Pulverizer. “They think you capture people and drag them away.”
 
“What?” Dribble’s voice scaled up angrily. A burst of fire escaped through his mouth. “Why would they think that?” 
 
“I have no idea,” Princess Pulverizer said with a grin.
 
“That’s horrible,” Dribble said. “Why are you smiling?”
 
“I’m smiling because there are people who have been kidnapped and need help,” Princess Pulverizer said. “And we’re just the ones to help them.”
 
“Wh-why us?” Lucas asked nervously. “I don’t want to fight a beast. Beasts are scary.”
 
“How do you know?” Princess Pulverizer asked. “Have you ever met one?”
 
“I’m not sure,” Lucas admitted. “What does a beast look like?”
 
Dribble shook his head at Princess Pulverizer. “You just want to help those people so you can check off another good deed on your Quest of Kindness,” he said.
 
Princess Pulverizer shrugged. “So what? If we rescue the people who have been kidnapped, it’s good for them and for me. It’s really lucky we came by when we did.”
 
Neither Lucas nor Dribble seemed particularly surprised to hear the princess declare she wanted to track down the Yabko-kokomo Beast. That’s because Princess Pulverizer wasn’t exactly a sweet, gentle, run-of-the-mill princess. She was different.
 
While other princesses were busy dancing the saltarello at royal balls, Princess Pulverizer was busy battling angry ogres.
 
While other princesses spent their days sipping tea with their pinkies in the air, Princess Pulverizer spent her days outwitting wicked wizards.
 
And while other princesses were welcoming princes into their palaces, Princess Pulverizer was vanquishing vicious villains and terrifying tremendous trolls.
 
Princess Pulverizer didn’t even want to be a princess. She wanted to be a knight. A full-fledged, horseback-riding, armor-wearing, damsel-in-distress-saving kind of knight. But to do that, she would have to go to Knight School.
 
Her father, King Alexander, had actually said she could go to Knight School— on one condition. She had to complete eight good deeds on a Quest of Kindness and collect tokens of gratitude for each one as proof.
 
Once she had done that, she could get her first set of armor!
 
King Alexander had explained that knights were selfless people who spent their lives helping others. A Quest of Kindness would teach Princess Pulverizer to care about other people, the way all good knights should.
 
So now Princess Pulverizer was traveling the countryside trying to find folks who needed her help.
 
But doing good deeds was hard work. Luckily, during her travels, Princess Pulverizer had stumbled upon Dribble and Lucas. They were a great help to her, which might surprise a lot of people. After all, Lucas was such a fraidy-cat, the other boys had nicknamed him Lucas the Lily-Livered and laughed him out of Knight School. But he was loyal and good-hearted, as knights needed to be.
 
Dribble had been banished from his lair because, unlike other dragons, he used his fire for making grilled cheese sandwiches rather than burning down villages. But if there was anything a princess on a quest needed, it was a good chef—especially one who was also pretty fierce when it came to fighting bad guys.
 
The princess and her pals had already used their combined talents to defeat three tough enemies. But that still left five good deeds for the princess to accomplish.
 
Unfortunately, not everyone was anxious to go off in search of an evil beast.
 
“I don’t think it would be a win for me,” Lucas said. “I don’t want to be captured by a beast. And let’s face it, if a beast is going to capture one of us, it’s bound to be me.”
 
Princess Pulverizer looked at Lucas’s rusty suit of armor. She stared at his boots—which appeared to be on the wrong feet. And she watched as he nervously bit at his upper lip. It was true. If anyone were going to be captured, it would probably be Lucas. 
 
“We’re just going to have to be sure the beast doesn’t capture any of us,” Princess Pulverizer said. “We have to stick together. One little beast can’t be a match for the power of three!” She                      looked down at Lucas’s feet. “It might help if you put your shoes on the right feet,” she added. “You probably won’t trip as often.”
 
“Why do I get the feeling we’re going after this beast no matter what I say?” Lucas asked as he sat down on the ground and removed his boots.
 
Princess Pulverizer didn’t answer. Instead, she started heading down the road.
 
“Come on, Lucas,” Dribble called to his friend. “The sooner we go, the sooner we rescue the captured Yabko-kokomoians . . . or is it Yabko-kokomites?”
 
“I have no idea,” Princess Pulverizer admitted. “I just know we have to find them. Come on, Lucas. Let’s go.”
 
“Okay.” Lucas surrendered. He turned around quickly and . . .
 
CLANK! His visor fell down over his eyes.
 
“Hey! Who turned out the lights?” Lucas shouted. He stumbled in the darkness, struggling with the visor. “I think it’s stuck.” He groaned. “I can’t—”
 
SMASH! Lucas rammed right into the piñata. The clay cracked, and the candy and toys began spilling all over the place. 
 
Kids came running from every corner of the square.
 
“Whoa!” Lucas shouted as he lost his balance and fell down onto the cobblestones below.
 
The force of the fall knocked Lucas’s visor loose. “Ouch,” he moaned as he lifted it, stood, and walked over to his friends.
 
“Those kids don’t seem so frightened anymore,” Dribble huffed. “Some people will do anything for a sweet treat.”
 
“Maybe they realized you’re not so scary after all,” Lucas said, trying to be kind.
 
Dribble walked a little closer to the fallen treats and toys. He picked up a whirligig and blew hard at its pretty colored blades.
 
Whoosh! A small flame shot out of his mouth. The toy went up in smoke.
 
“Yikes!” one of the kids shouted as he ran off.  
 
Dribble looked at the charred whirligig stick in his claw.
 
“I gotta watch the pepper jack cheese,” he said. “It gives me heartburn.”
 
“Come on, you guys,” Princess Pulverizer urged. “Let’s get out of here. We have Yabko-kokomians to save.”
 
“Are you sure it’s not Yabko-kokomites?” Dribble began. “Or even Yabko-kokomoers?”
 
Princess Pulverizer shook her head. “Don’t start that again. No matter what they’re called, we have to save them.”
 
Dribble nodded in agreement and walked alongside the princess in silence. Lucas hurried to keep up, his rusty armor clanging with each step.
 
Princess Pulverizer frowned as she led her friends down the path. She knew she was being bossy. She also knew knights weren’t supposed to be bossy.
 
There had to be a better way to get people to do what she wanted.
 
But there would be time enough to figure out how to do that—after they’d defeated the Yabko-kokomo Beast!
© Marcy Feld Photography
Nancy Krulik is the author of more than 200 books for children and young adults, including three New York Times bestsellers. She is best known, however, for being the author and creator of the Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, George Brown Class Clown, How I Survived Middle School and Magic Bone book series. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser. When she’s not writing, Nancy can be found reading, going to concerts, traveling or running around Central Park with her Llasa Apso rescue-pup, Scooby. View titles by Nancy Krulik
Ben Balistreri has been working for more than twenty years in the animation industry. He's won an Emmy Award for his character designs, and has been nominated for nine Annie Awards, winning once. His art can be seen in Tangled the Series, for which he serves as Supervising Producer, How to Train Your Dragon, Danny Phantom, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Wander Over Yonder, Wild Kratts, and many more. The Princess Pulverizer series is his first foray into book illustration. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Becca, and their two golden retrievers, Bombadil and Fatty Lumpkin. View titles by Ben Balistreri

About

Princess Pulverizer may not be a knight yet, but she won't let that stop her from saving the day!

Princess Pulverizer and her friends, Lucas and Dribble the dragon, are on the hunt for another good deed to complete on her Quest of Kindness. So when they hear about a mysterious evil beast who's been capturing townspeople, the trio sets out to find it and rescue the prisoners. But when Lucas and Dribble get caught themselves, it's up to Princess Pulverizer to free her friends!

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“I wanna play! I wanna play!”
Dribble shouted excitedly.
 
The ground shook beneath the big green dragon as he jumped up and down. He pointed toward the group of kids who had gathered in the middle of the town square. “I bet I can break that piñata with one swing!” he boasted.
 
“I don’t think those kids need any help,” Dribble’s best friend, a knight-in-training named Lucas, said. “That last kid got really close to hitting it.”
 
But Dribble didn’t hear Lucas. He was already halfway down the road, bouncing toward the square, shouting, “I wanna play! I wanna play!”
 
“I wish he would stop jumping.” Princess Pulverizer groaned, tossing her long braid over her shoulder. “All this shaking is giving me a bellyache.”
 
“That could also be from the four grilled cheddar cheese on rye sandwiches you had for breakfast,” Lucas pointed out.
 
Princess Pulverizer shrugged. “Dribble makes delicious grilled cheese. I couldn’t help myself.” The earth shook beneath her feet. “Whoa!” she exclaimed.
 
“That was a big one,” Lucas agreed.
 
“Come on,” Princess Pulverizer urged him. “We better catch up to Dribble before he breaks something. And I don’t mean the piñata.”
 
 
***
 
 
“AAAAAHHHHHHH!”
 
Princess Pulverizer and Lucas reached the town square in time to see all the children running off to hide—leaving Dribble alone by the piñata.
 
“I just wanted to play with them,” Dribble said sadly, looking around the empty square.
 
“It’s probably time for their lunch,” Lucas said, trying to spare his feelings.
 
Dribble shook his head. “That’s not it. They’re scared of me because I’m a dragon. Which is ridiculous. I wouldn’t hurt anyone. Do I look scary to you?”
 
Dribble smiled broadly and bared his big teeth. Then he fluttered his eyelashes over his big, bulging eyes.
 
Princess Pulverizer gulped. Dribble didn’t just look scary. He looked a little crazy, too.
 
“I wonder where we are,” she said, trying to change the subject. “I’ve never been to this kingdom before.”
 
The princess began to walk around the square, searching for a sign that might give her a clue as to her whereabouts. As she passed by a big bale of hay, she heard whispering.
 
“Do you think that big green thing is the Yabko-kokomo Beast?” one voice said.
 
“I don’t know,” someone else whispered back. “But we better stay here till he leaves, just in case. We don’t want to be the next kids from Yabko-kokomo to be captured and dragged off into the forest.”
 
Princess Pulverizer hurried back to where Lucas and Dribble were standing. “We’re in a place called Yabko-kokomo,” she told them.
 
“How did you find that out?” Lucas asked her. He looked around. “I don’t see any signs or anything.”
 
“I have my ways,” Princess Pulverizer replied mysteriously. “I also learned why the kids all ran away, Dribble. And it’s not because you’re a dragon.”
 
“It’s not?” Dribble sounded surprised. “Well, that’s good.”
 
“They ran away because they think you’re the Yabko-kokomo Beast,” said Princess Pulverizer. “They think you capture people and drag them away.”
 
“What?” Dribble’s voice scaled up angrily. A burst of fire escaped through his mouth. “Why would they think that?” 
 
“I have no idea,” Princess Pulverizer said with a grin.
 
“That’s horrible,” Dribble said. “Why are you smiling?”
 
“I’m smiling because there are people who have been kidnapped and need help,” Princess Pulverizer said. “And we’re just the ones to help them.”
 
“Wh-why us?” Lucas asked nervously. “I don’t want to fight a beast. Beasts are scary.”
 
“How do you know?” Princess Pulverizer asked. “Have you ever met one?”
 
“I’m not sure,” Lucas admitted. “What does a beast look like?”
 
Dribble shook his head at Princess Pulverizer. “You just want to help those people so you can check off another good deed on your Quest of Kindness,” he said.
 
Princess Pulverizer shrugged. “So what? If we rescue the people who have been kidnapped, it’s good for them and for me. It’s really lucky we came by when we did.”
 
Neither Lucas nor Dribble seemed particularly surprised to hear the princess declare she wanted to track down the Yabko-kokomo Beast. That’s because Princess Pulverizer wasn’t exactly a sweet, gentle, run-of-the-mill princess. She was different.
 
While other princesses were busy dancing the saltarello at royal balls, Princess Pulverizer was busy battling angry ogres.
 
While other princesses spent their days sipping tea with their pinkies in the air, Princess Pulverizer spent her days outwitting wicked wizards.
 
And while other princesses were welcoming princes into their palaces, Princess Pulverizer was vanquishing vicious villains and terrifying tremendous trolls.
 
Princess Pulverizer didn’t even want to be a princess. She wanted to be a knight. A full-fledged, horseback-riding, armor-wearing, damsel-in-distress-saving kind of knight. But to do that, she would have to go to Knight School.
 
Her father, King Alexander, had actually said she could go to Knight School— on one condition. She had to complete eight good deeds on a Quest of Kindness and collect tokens of gratitude for each one as proof.
 
Once she had done that, she could get her first set of armor!
 
King Alexander had explained that knights were selfless people who spent their lives helping others. A Quest of Kindness would teach Princess Pulverizer to care about other people, the way all good knights should.
 
So now Princess Pulverizer was traveling the countryside trying to find folks who needed her help.
 
But doing good deeds was hard work. Luckily, during her travels, Princess Pulverizer had stumbled upon Dribble and Lucas. They were a great help to her, which might surprise a lot of people. After all, Lucas was such a fraidy-cat, the other boys had nicknamed him Lucas the Lily-Livered and laughed him out of Knight School. But he was loyal and good-hearted, as knights needed to be.
 
Dribble had been banished from his lair because, unlike other dragons, he used his fire for making grilled cheese sandwiches rather than burning down villages. But if there was anything a princess on a quest needed, it was a good chef—especially one who was also pretty fierce when it came to fighting bad guys.
 
The princess and her pals had already used their combined talents to defeat three tough enemies. But that still left five good deeds for the princess to accomplish.
 
Unfortunately, not everyone was anxious to go off in search of an evil beast.
 
“I don’t think it would be a win for me,” Lucas said. “I don’t want to be captured by a beast. And let’s face it, if a beast is going to capture one of us, it’s bound to be me.”
 
Princess Pulverizer looked at Lucas’s rusty suit of armor. She stared at his boots—which appeared to be on the wrong feet. And she watched as he nervously bit at his upper lip. It was true. If anyone were going to be captured, it would probably be Lucas. 
 
“We’re just going to have to be sure the beast doesn’t capture any of us,” Princess Pulverizer said. “We have to stick together. One little beast can’t be a match for the power of three!” She                      looked down at Lucas’s feet. “It might help if you put your shoes on the right feet,” she added. “You probably won’t trip as often.”
 
“Why do I get the feeling we’re going after this beast no matter what I say?” Lucas asked as he sat down on the ground and removed his boots.
 
Princess Pulverizer didn’t answer. Instead, she started heading down the road.
 
“Come on, Lucas,” Dribble called to his friend. “The sooner we go, the sooner we rescue the captured Yabko-kokomoians . . . or is it Yabko-kokomites?”
 
“I have no idea,” Princess Pulverizer admitted. “I just know we have to find them. Come on, Lucas. Let’s go.”
 
“Okay.” Lucas surrendered. He turned around quickly and . . .
 
CLANK! His visor fell down over his eyes.
 
“Hey! Who turned out the lights?” Lucas shouted. He stumbled in the darkness, struggling with the visor. “I think it’s stuck.” He groaned. “I can’t—”
 
SMASH! Lucas rammed right into the piñata. The clay cracked, and the candy and toys began spilling all over the place. 
 
Kids came running from every corner of the square.
 
“Whoa!” Lucas shouted as he lost his balance and fell down onto the cobblestones below.
 
The force of the fall knocked Lucas’s visor loose. “Ouch,” he moaned as he lifted it, stood, and walked over to his friends.
 
“Those kids don’t seem so frightened anymore,” Dribble huffed. “Some people will do anything for a sweet treat.”
 
“Maybe they realized you’re not so scary after all,” Lucas said, trying to be kind.
 
Dribble walked a little closer to the fallen treats and toys. He picked up a whirligig and blew hard at its pretty colored blades.
 
Whoosh! A small flame shot out of his mouth. The toy went up in smoke.
 
“Yikes!” one of the kids shouted as he ran off.  
 
Dribble looked at the charred whirligig stick in his claw.
 
“I gotta watch the pepper jack cheese,” he said. “It gives me heartburn.”
 
“Come on, you guys,” Princess Pulverizer urged. “Let’s get out of here. We have Yabko-kokomians to save.”
 
“Are you sure it’s not Yabko-kokomites?” Dribble began. “Or even Yabko-kokomoers?”
 
Princess Pulverizer shook her head. “Don’t start that again. No matter what they’re called, we have to save them.”
 
Dribble nodded in agreement and walked alongside the princess in silence. Lucas hurried to keep up, his rusty armor clanging with each step.
 
Princess Pulverizer frowned as she led her friends down the path. She knew she was being bossy. She also knew knights weren’t supposed to be bossy.
 
There had to be a better way to get people to do what she wanted.
 
But there would be time enough to figure out how to do that—after they’d defeated the Yabko-kokomo Beast!

Author

© Marcy Feld Photography
Nancy Krulik is the author of more than 200 books for children and young adults, including three New York Times bestsellers. She is best known, however, for being the author and creator of the Katie Kazoo Switcheroo, George Brown Class Clown, How I Survived Middle School and Magic Bone book series. Nancy lives in Manhattan with her husband, composer Daniel Burwasser. When she’s not writing, Nancy can be found reading, going to concerts, traveling or running around Central Park with her Llasa Apso rescue-pup, Scooby. View titles by Nancy Krulik
Ben Balistreri has been working for more than twenty years in the animation industry. He's won an Emmy Award for his character designs, and has been nominated for nine Annie Awards, winning once. His art can be seen in Tangled the Series, for which he serves as Supervising Producer, How to Train Your Dragon, Danny Phantom, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Wander Over Yonder, Wild Kratts, and many more. The Princess Pulverizer series is his first foray into book illustration. He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Becca, and their two golden retrievers, Bombadil and Fatty Lumpkin. View titles by Ben Balistreri

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