"Twenty Degrees and a Hockey Game's On:" A Winter's Tail (Martha Speaks) by Susan Meddaugh
IN THE HEAT OF JULY
IT'S HARD TO SEE WHY
WE'D READ A STORY OF ICY TRAVAIL.
BUT MONTHS WILL FLY BY,
AND SNOWFLAKES WILL FLY.
SO HERE'S, STARRING MARTHA, A WINTER'S TAIL.
Martha and her friends were watching the hockey playoffs.
"Go, team," yelled Carolina. Then she noticed Skits cowering nearby. "I think my cheering scared your dog," she said.
"Skits isn't afraid of cheering. He's afraid of hockey pucks," Martha told her.
Why, you may ask, would a big shaggy dog have a phobia of--hockey pucks?
Well, as Helen tells the story, it all goes back to when Skits was just a puppy. Even then he has small fondness for snow and ice, and when the gang decides to head out to the (mostly) frozen Dog Head Lake for a pick-up hockey game, Skits refuses to come along. Finally, Helen tosses his favorite chewy toy out into the snowy yard, and Skits finally takes the snowy plunge to get Mr. Chewy and follows the kids to the pond.
Ronald carefully marks off the limits of the safe ice, and the game is soon underway, with Martha and Skitsy as spectators, when suddenly things take a dangerous turn. As the puck slides by enticingly, Skitsy hits the ice and gives chase--right onto the thin ice in the deepest end of Dog Head Lake. The ice begins to crack all around him, and little Skits is frozen with fear. Can Martha come up with a way to get him to safety?
Forthcoming October 4, Meddaugh's seasonal story, Martha Speaks: A Winter's Tail (Houghton Mifflin, 2011), explains another Skits mystery to new friend Carolina:
""And ever since then," Helen concludes, "Skits has been afraid of hockey pucks."
"That doesn't make sense," Carolina said, scratching her head. "He should be afraid of thin ice."
"Well, it comes in handy," Helen smiled, (motioning toward a hockey puck strategically placed on top the trash bin lid.) "Now we have a great way to keep him out of the garbage."