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Chimpanzee Spree

Illustrated by Peter Francis


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About The Book

Nancy’s Earth Day project turns into chimpanzee chaos in the nineteenth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series.

Nancy, Bess, and George need to create an Earth Day project for school, and they’ve landed on the perfect idea: Chimpiñatas! These globe-shaped piñatas are enrichment toys made for the chimpanzees at the Hairy Hideaway animal sanctuary to enjoy. The girls have filled them with the chimps’ favorite healthy snacks, like seeds and fruit, but when the chimps crack open the piñatas, they find that one of them is filled with candy!

Who could have switched out the Chimpiñata, and why would they want to make the chimps go bananas? If anyone can find the schemer behind this sugar rush, it’s the Clue Crew!





  “What do you think of this idea?” George Fayne asked. “We’ll clean up River Heights Park for Earth Day!”

  “Before or after you clean your room?” Bess Marvin teased her cousin with a smile.

  Eight-year-old Nancy Drew smiled too as she and her two best friends walked down Main Street. It was Friday afternoon. Earth Day was next week, and their teacher Ms. Ramirez had already given them a special assignment—to come up with a project to help or celebrate planet Earth. Nancy wanted their project to be extra special!

  “Cleaning up the park is a good idea, George,” Nancy suggested, “but let’s keep thinking.”

  “Okay,” George said. “Maybe we can collect cans and bottles and recycle them.”

  Bess scrunched her nose. “And go through stinky garbage cans?” she asked. “No thank you.”

  Nancy sighed as they kept on walking. Coming up with an Earth Day project for school was much harder than she’d thought!

  “At least Ms. Ramirez is letting us work as a team,” Nancy pointed out.

  “That’s because we already are a team,” Bess said.

  “We’re Team Clue Crew!” George declared with a grin.

  Nancy, Bess, and George stopped walking to trade high fives. Clue Crew was the name of their detective club. The three friends worked to solve mysteries while keeping track of their cases in a special clue book. Nancy carried the clue book wherever she went.

  “We may be good at cracking cases,” Nancy said, “but today’s biggest mystery is our Earth Day project assignment.”

  Bess pointed to a store window in the near distance. “Omigosh—look what’s in the window of the party store!” she said.

  “Not more tutus, Bess,” George groaned. “You have enough to start your own ballet company.”

  Bess smirked as she glanced down at George’s comfiest jeans. “And you have enough holes in your jeans,” she said, “to be a Swiss cheese sandwich!”

  Nancy tried not to giggle. Blond-haired Bess and dark-haired George did not look like cousins, or act like them either!

  “Are you sure you’re cousins?” Nancy asked. “The two of you are as different as…”

  “Tutus and jeans?” Bess filled in. “Check out what’s in the window!”

  Nancy, Bess, and George walked to the store called Party Hearty. Dangling in the window were not tutus but round piñatas colored blue and green.


  “Those piñatas look like planet Earth,” George said.

  “Earth piñatas for Earth Day,” Bess declared. “Maybe we can do something with them for our project.”

  “You mean fill them with candy?” Nancy asked.

  “What does candy have to do with Earth Day?” George asked.

  “Not much,” Bess said. “Unless it’s the best candy on Earth!”

  Nancy gazed up at the Earth Day piñatas. “They’re really nice,” she said, “but candy-filled piñatas are more for birthday parties than school projects.”

  “Did someone say ‘birthday party’?” an excited voice piped in. “That’s what I’m talking about!”

  Nancy, Bess, and George turned to see the Klein sisters, Ava and Gracie. Ava Klein was in their third-grade class at school. Gracie was her little sister.

  “I’m going to be six years old,” Gracie said proudly. “Ava is helping me pick out stuff for my birthday party this Sunday!”

  “What kind of party?” Bess asked. “Carnival? Mermaid?”

  “Pajamas and pancakes?” George asked.

  Gracie shook her head at each suggestion.

  “Anything but another princess party,” Ava said, rolling her eyes. “If we have to play pin the horn on the unicorn one more time, I’ll flip.”

  Nancy thought about what Gracie was telling them. Earth Day… birthday? Suddenly she had an idea!

  “Earth Day is next week, Gracie,” Nancy said. “How about an Earth Day birthday?”

  “Oooh, yeah!” Bess exclaimed. She pointed up at the Earth Day piñatas in the window. “And that can be your piñata!”

  Gracie’s eyes lit up at the sight of the piñatas. She grabbed Ava’s arm and jumped up and down.

  “I want an Earth Day birthday party and that piñata,” Gracie insisted. “And I’ll stuff it with my favorite candy—Gooey Chewy bars!”

  “To go with your Gooey Chewy birthday cake,” Ava said with a grin. “Okay, let’s see what other Earth Day stuff they have. Thanks, Nancy!”

  The sisters walked into Party Hearty. George turned to Nancy and said, “Way to go! You just gave Gracie an awesome idea for her birthday party.”

  “An Earth Day birthday!” Bess declared. “How cool is that?”

  “Way cool,” Nancy said with a sigh. “If only we had an idea for our Earth Day project.”

  “Earth Day jokes, Hannah?” Nancy asked. “It’s a fun idea for a project, but I can’t think of any.”

  “Here’s one,” Hannah said with a grin. “What kind of plant grows on our hands?”

  “Grows… on… our hands?” Nancy repeated. She gave it a thought, then shook her head. “I give up, Hannah. What kind of plant grows on our hands?”

  “A palm tree!” Hannah replied. “Get it?”

  “I get it.” Nancy giggled. “But I’d better get another idea for our Earth Day project.”

  “Like what?” Hannah asked.

  “Ms. Ramirez told us that animals are a good way to celebrate Earth Day,” Nancy said. “Maybe I’ll take Chocolate Chip to school.”

  Nancy glanced across the kitchen at her chocolate Labrador puppy. Chip was swinging a dish towel back and forth between her teeth while growling softly.

  “Or maybe not,” Nancy sighed.

  Her eyes drifted toward the small TV that Hannah watched while preparing dinner. On the news was a story about something new that had just opened in River Heights.…


  “I’m standing here with Simon Seymour,” a reporter was saying. “Simon is the proud owner of the Hairy Hideaway, a sanctuary for chimpanzees.”

  “Proud is right, Carla,” Simon said with a twinkly smile. “Here at the Hairy Hideaway, chimpanzees live in an all-natural environment.”

  Simon led the reporter to a large glass-enclosed pen. Inside the pen, chimps scampered across leafy tree branches and wooden climbing structures.

  “Chimps at the Hairy Hideaway follow an all-natural diet, too,” Simon went on. “Fruit… seeds… nuts.”

  “What about play?” Carla the reporter asked. “What do chimps here do for fun?”

  “As you can see,” Simon said, nodding at the pen, “our chimps love to crack coconuts.”

  Nancy smiled. The hooting chimps were really cracking coconuts with their bare hands!

  “Where’s a piñata when you need one?” Hannah asked with a chuckle.


  Nancy remembered the piñatas in the Party Hearty store window. As she watched the chimps dig happily into the coconuts, an idea came to mind.…

  “Hannah!” Nancy exclaimed. “You just gave me the best idea for our Earth Day project.”

  Hannah wrinkled her nose. “Piñatas?” she asked.

  “Not piñatas,” Nancy said, pointing to the chimps on TV. “Chimpiñatas!”

  “Piñatas for chimpanzees?” Bess asked.

  “Seriously, Nancy?” George said.

  Nancy was very serious as she and her friends headed toward the Hairy Hideaway. She was also happy to explain her idea for the second time.…

  “We fill the Earth Day piñatas we saw at the party store yesterday,” Nancy said. “Then we give them to the chimpanzees at the Hairy Hideaway to crack open!”

  “Making them chimpiñatas,” George added. “Okay. I get it.”

  “And I like it!” Bess said cheerily.

  “I knew you would,” Nancy admitted, “so I went to the party store with my dad after dinner last night to buy three Earth Day piñatas.”

  “So we’re all set?” George asked.

  “Not yet,” Nancy said. “We have to get permission from Simon Seymour, the owner of the chimp sanctuary.”

  “In that case,” Bess said, “next stop: the Hairy Hideaway!”

  The girls all had to follow the same rules. They could walk up to five blocks from home as long as they walked together—which was almost always!

  Nancy, Bess, and George found the Hairy Hideaway near the River Heights Zoo. The chimp sanctuary was open to the public, so the girls walked through an open gate. A few signs pointed the way to the chimpanzees.

  “Check it out,” George said as they neared the pen. “Chimps, chimps, and more chimps!”

  Nancy saw chimps inside the pen and someone familiar outside. It was a woman who’d recently moved to her street.

  “There’s one of my neighbors,” Nancy told her friends. “I’ve seen her but never spoken to her.”

  The woman suddenly pressed both hands against the glass. Opening her mouth wide, she began to hoot: “Woooooo-wooooo-woooo-woooooo-wooop!”

  The girls stared wide-eyed at the hooting woman.

  “Uh… that’s why you never spoke to her, Nancy,” George said. “Because she speaks chimp!”


About The Author

Carolyn Keene is the author of the ever-popular Nancy Drew books.

About The Illustrator

Peter Francis lives in Brighton, UK, where he spent a number of years as an illustrator for children’s television before turning to books. When not painting in his studio, he enjoys long coastal walks, exploring local history, and growing vegetables.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (June 11, 2024)
  • Length: 96 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665903370
  • Ages: 6 - 9

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