Curious she was, always walking the neighborhood’s culdesac with a hurried pace to arrive at the wood’s edge. Ready to wander and investigate the day’s activities, she carried her supplies stuffed in pockets and pouches within her school backpack. They typically included her Lisa Frank diary with an assortment of writing utensils, one package of strawberry Pop-tarts, a ball of twine taken from her mother’s sewing supplies, scissors of course, and one of her trolls for good luck.

She knew that if she needed anything more specific, she could follow the creek along the edge of the wood, leading her through several neighbor’s yards, which in just a few miles, returning her back home.  That was never the goal of course. A true explorer sets out on a mission and either builds make-shift things as needed along the way or learns to adapt without (a lesson she learned from the Boxcar Children’s adventures).

In fact, it was through their courageous explorations that Detective StrawberriPants found her own sense of strength to set out into the wild unknowns of her Eastern North Carolina neighborhood–journeying through the depths of burly cotton field, exploring miles after mile of the wild wood meandering the border of several homes at the far edge, including the Jones’s and that blonde haired girl Sarah, a cranky older man who walked with one arm in a crook by his side, that interesting little boy that wore suspenders and always crouched by the creek staring in as if it were a crystal ball.

While she usually set out on her mission alone, some afternoons required the support of her lifelong husky/chow sidekick Reba or her little brother, who she could count on follow along in any of her wild hair ideas as she traveled. One thing was certain–she knew that there were strange things afoot in Millbrook, like the curious creatures she saw milling about (crawdads and groundhogs, vultures and others she couldn’t identify yet). There were interesting human activities as well–adults using strange devices, wandering about with mysterious bags and boxes, digging holes and building interesting contraptions, staring up and out for long periods with binoculars and jotting down something unknown. What were they up to? How did it all play together…or not? Detective StrawberriPants was determined to note all of this curious activity in her journal, unpack the mysteries of Millbrook one afternoon adventure at a time.

She received her detective moniker one night in a dream after dozing off with the latest volume of the Boxcar Children. In the dream-time adventure, she wore a denim set of overalls with a strawberry patch on the front (much like one of her heroes Strawberry Shortcake, although she wasn’t much of a frilly dress kind of girl). The legs were rolled up to her knees as she waded through the creek, her hands cupping a fallen bird with a clipped wing. She stumbled upon him while out on her journey that afternoon and instantly knew she was guided there to help in this very moment. She pushed her shins through the murky brown water until she reached a place on the creek bank where she could sit and fashion a make-shift bed. She gathered feathers and fallen leaves, slowly layering a small bird-sized bed for the finch. Afterward, she placed her soft wounded body on top and lay beside her, drawing her picture, taking notes in her journal on the speckled spots under her wing and the glint of silver in her eyes.

When her mother woke her for school the next morning, she sat up in bed, grabbed her journal, and wrote the whole thing down. And just like that, she knew that she was placed on this wild spinning ball to do. Detective StrawberriPants had a mission–to wander the world with curious eyes capturing the intricate mysteries along the way, recognizing when her assistance was needed…and of course when it is not.  She wanted to understand the forces at play in this land of Millbrook and what everyone’s roles and rituals within it were and why. And so begin the adventures of Detective StrawberriPants.

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