The Trackers and Mr. C know that time is ticking away, and they must move quickly. They have to get from the Cape May Bird Observatory to the Pine Barrens, and after that to Rutgers University in time for the Grand Ceremony.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Mr. C said to the kids as he stepped on the gas to maneuver the bookmobile past a slow moving sight-seeing bus. “Simon, you know the Pine Barrens better than the rest of us. We’ll follow your lead.”

Simon gulped. “Okay, but you do know that the Pine Barrens covers over a million acres, right?”

“Yup, I’ve read that,” Mr. C replied, “but we’ll just have to do our best to focus on finding the seeds. Stay positive, everybody. You’ve heard of finding a needle in a haystack, haven’t you? This is kind of the same.”

“But worse,” Cooper added.

Gabby leaned forward in her seat. “I read that in a Native American legend, the Pine Barrens was called the place of the dragon.”

Everyone was quiet … until Chelsea said, “And you chose to tell us that NOW?”

Cooper held his stomach dramatically and moaned. “Mr. C, before we get ourselves lost in the million acres of Pine Barrens, can we please stop for food? I’m honestly starving … for real.”

“Okay, but we’ve gotta make the stop quick,” Mr. C said, and five minutes later he pulled into a farm stand. “Stay here, Trackers. I’ll get something for you. It’ll be faster that way.”

While Cooper’s stomach growled, Jamal timed Mr. C. In exactly six minutes Mr. C was back, handing out fruit, muffins, and juices to everyone. Jamal said that Mr. C deserved a gold star for his speedy delivery.