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The Fang Gang

The Fang Gang, 2008, Dickeylake Press.

Other books written and published by Gayle Shirley:

Amazing Animals of Montana, 2005, Globe Pequot. (formerly Four-Legged Legends of Montana)

Amazing Animals of Oregon, 2005, Globe Pequot. (formerly Four-Legged Legends of Oregon)

Amazing Animals of Colorado, 2005, Globe Pequot. (formerly Four-Legged Legends of Colorado)

More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Colorado Women, 2002, TwoDot/Falcon Press.

More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Oregon Women, 1998, TwoDot/Falcon Press.

Charlie's Trail: The Life and Art of C.M. Russell, 1996, C.M. Russell Museum/Falcon Press.

More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Montana Women, 1995, TwoDot/Falcon Press.

Four-Legged Legends of Oregon, 1995, TwoDot/Falcon Press.

Four-Legged Legends of Colorado, 1994, Falcon Press.

Four-Legged Legends of Montana, 1993, Falcon Press.

Where Dinosaurs Still Rule (co-author with Debbie Tewell), 1993, Falcon Press.

Montana Wildlife: A Beginner's Field Guide, 1993, Falcon Press.

A is for Animals, 1991, Falcon Press. (Out-of-print, but the author has a few for sale.)

C is for Colorado, 1989, ABC Press. (Out-of-print)

M is for Montana, 1988, ABC Press.

To order a copy of The FANG GANG, or other Gayle Shirley books, send a note to
4150 Bobcat Dr.
Helena, MT 59602
or call: 406.457.1918

or email:

You can also order Gayle's books from Globe Pequot, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other book stores or online web sites.
The Fang Gang is a 104-page chapter book for children age 7 to 11. It was inspired by a trick-or-treat experience of her older son, Colin, and two of his friends almost 20 years ago in Helena, Montana, where she now works as the public information officer for the Montana Legislature. 

The book tells the story of three Montana boys who venture out for a fun night of trick-or-treating. The good friends have agreed to dress up as blood-sucking vampires this Halloween. They call themselves the Fang Gang.

Their plan is to stuff their bags with candy and spook young neighbor kids. What they don't expect is the fright they themselves will get at the dilapidated, once-deserted Carfax mansion. They discover the mansion has new occupants and, against their better judgment, they enter and meet a strange, young new girl and her notorious uncle. Soon they wonder if they'll ever get out alive.

Below is the first chapter:

     Matt Philips dug into his jean-jacket pocket, pulled out his teeth, and wiped them on his pants. When he was sure they were spit-free, he dropped them into his friend's outstretched hand.
      "They're okay, I guess," Logan Mitchell grudgingly admitted as he looked them over. "It's cool they glow in the dark, anyway."
     The two boys scuffed along the sidewalk, headed home for the day from Hawthorne Elementary School. Stuart Blass tagged along a few steps behind them. He was kicking a trail through the lemon-colored elm leaves that had shrouded the sidewalk during the night. Friends since kindergarten, the trio had traveled this route together almost every school day for the past several years. They walked it as automatically as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
     Logan snapped the set of plastic fangs open and shut, pretending to make it talk.
     "I vaunt to suck your blood," he said, in what was meant to be a Transylvanian accent. With a ghoulish laugh, he turned and tried to sink the fangs into Stuart's neck.
     "Stop that, Logan! I don't like that!" Stuart swatted at him as if he was a pesky mosquito.
     "Come on, Logan, give them back." Matt ripped the fake fangs out of Logan's hand and tucked them back into his pocket. He shifted his duffel bag from one shoulder to the other and resumed the short walk home. Logan and Stuart fell in on either side of him.
     "But I thought we agreed to be the Three Musketeers for Halloween this year – with swords and everything," Logan said. "It was your idea in the first place."
      Matt shrugged. "So I changed my mind. What do you care?"
     "Yeah, right," Logan muttered. "So much for that 'All for one and one for all' stuff."
     "Well, why don't you guys just be vampires, too?" Matt said. "Instead of being the Three Musketeers, we could be the...." He chewed the inside of his cheek while he thought. Then he grinned. "We could be the Fang Gang!"
     "The Fang Gang?" Logan screwed up his freckled nose. "Yeah, well, I guess that's not so bad. Only thing is, my Mom's a witch if I change my mind about my costume this close to Halloween."
      "Actually, I don't understand why you're so fascinated with vampires anyway," Stuart put in. "They're disgusting, going around biting people in the neck and gorging on their blood. Think of all the germs." He had a quiet, somber voice that was easy to ignore, and that's just what Matt and Logan did.
     "All you have to do is get your Mom to make you a cape and buy some fangs," Matt said to Logan. "Then you'll have to paint your face white – you can borrow my face paints if you want – and slick your hair back."
     "How do you know that's what vampires look like?" Stuart asked.
     That was enough to stop Matt and Logan in their tracks.
     "Jeez, oatmeal brain," Logan sneered. "Haven't you ever seen a Dracula movie? Were you born yesterday or what?"
     "Well, what I mean is...." Stuart tugged at the collar of his T-shirt, a nervous habit of his. "I mean, maybe real vampires don't look like the movie ones. My father says the real Count Dracula...."
     "Stuart, read my lips," Matt said, with exaggerated patience. "There is... no... such... thing... as real vampires. Sometimes I wonder if you're really as smart as everybody thinks you are."
     "Yeah, right," Logan put in. "Can you believe it? Stuart believes in vampires!"
     "That is not what I said," Stuart protested. But Logan and Matt were too busy howling with laughter to listen. Stuart dropped the subject. He didn't like to argue because he knew he'd never win.
     "So," Matt said, wiping laugh-tears from his eyes, "what time do you think we should go trick-or-treating?" His brisk tone of voice made it clear the matter was settled. They would all be vampires for Halloween. In the end, they usually went along with whatever Matt wanted. It wasn't that he was especially bossy. He just seemed to have all the best ideas.
     "Should we start from my house?" he asked. "I could probably get my Mom to make us some pizza before we go."
     The trio trudged along, deep in discussion of their Halloween plans. That's why they didn't notice the two teenagers lying in wait for them behind a parked car.
     "Beware the mummy's curse!" the attackers chanted as they swooped toward the three boys. They began running circles around their victims, wrapping them in white toilet paper. "You're doomed to die an early death!"
     "Cut it out!" Matt yelped as he and the others ripped their way out of their two-ply binding. "I'm telling on you when I get home, Brad!"
     "Oh no, Dave!" One of the teens reeled in mock horror. "He's going to tell... my Mummy!"
     The two older boys whooped with laughter as they fled. Matt and Logan took off after them, trailing toilet-paper streamers. They gave up the chase about a block later, when Brad and his accomplice took off down an alley and knocked over a couple of garbage cans to block their pursuit.
     "Zit-faces!" Logan shouted after them.
     Breathing hard, he and Matt rejoined Stuart, who still stood ankle-deep in drifts of toilet paper.
       "I hate my brother!" Matt snarled between gritted teeth. "He's the biggest jerk in the whole world! And his doofus friend Dave is a close second."
     "That was an extremely juvenile thing to do," Stuart solemnly agreed. He leaned down and began picking up the toilet paper and stuffing it into his backpack. "Don't they realize they could be arrested for littering?"
     "You know," Logan said. He folded his arms and watched as Matt joined in the cleanup. "I think someone made a mistake on your brother's birth certificate when he was born. Your parents really meant to name him Brat, but somebody thought they said Brad instead."
     Matt was so angry he didn't even crack a smile at Logan's joke. His face was as red as it got during hard-played soccer game.
     "He thinks he can get away with anything because he's four years older than me," he grumbled, ramming another wad of toilet paper into his duffel bag. "But I'll get even with him one of these days, you guys. You just wait and see." 
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