EllRay Jakes is a Rock Star!

BOOK: EllRay Jakes is a Rock Star!
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Table of Contents
Published by Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in 2011 by Viking, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Text copyright © Sally Warner, 2011
Illustrations copyright © Jamie Harper, 2011
All rights reserved
ISBN : 978-1-101-54775-5
Set in ITC Century
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.


For Ben Haworth—S.W.
For Henry—J.H.
“I grew an inch last weekend,” my friend Kevin McKinley announces at lunch on Friday, smiling like it's no big deal. But it is.
Kevin is brown like me, but already he is
than I am, so him growing another inch does not seem fair.
Why can't nature make things come out even? I don't get it.
It is Valentine's Day in exactly one week, which means this is almost the middle of February. Just about every kid in Ms. Sanchez's third grade class is outside, including me, because it is the first sunny day we have had in a long time. Even the birds are having fun. Crows are turning circles in the air.
“No, you did not grow an inch in one weekend,” Cynthia Harbison says, basically calling Kevin a liar. “
Everyone holds their breath when Cynthia says something like this. She's usually right, and she likes to boss people around. But mostly, she bosses the girls—especially Emma McGraw and Annie Pat Masterson.
Cynthia's dad has a really cool car, though. It's an Audi. And she's very neat, if you like that kind of thing, which I do not.
“It is not impossible to grow that fast,” Corey Robinson says, defending Kevin. He is usually pretty quiet, and he has freckles on his face. Corey smells like chlorine all the time.
Corey is a champion swimmer, but he's not that tall. He's a pretty cool guy. In fact, he's
cool. He doesn't threaten to beat me up the way Jared Matthews and his best friend and faithful robot Stanley Washington used to do.
Jared is widely known as the meanest kid in our class. He is absent today.
“Yeah,” I chime in, because Kevin's also my friend. “Maybe he hung upside-down all day long both days, and his legs stretched.”
As I say the words, I wonder why I didn't think of this first, because I am the shortest kid—including all the girls!—in our class at Oak Glen Primary School in Oak Glen, California, USA.
Hanging upside-down! It's worth a shot, because:
1. I have already tried drinking so much milk that it almost comes out of my nose when I laugh.
2. And I have tried sleeping straight, not curled up like the shrimp that I am.
3. And I have tried “thinking positive,” which is something my dad always recommends. He is a champion positive thinker, unlike my mom, who is a worrywart. She also wants to be a writer of fantasy books for grown-ups, which is why my little sister Alfleta—“Alfie”—and I have such weird names.
My real name is Lancelot Raymond Jakes, in case you didn't know.
But please,
, just call me EllRay.
My dad's name is Dr. Warren Jakes, and he teaches geology at a college in San Diego. He is very smart, and he is
than normal-sized, so maybe there is still hope for me.
“I believe you, Kevin,” Emma says, daring to argue with Cynthia. “But how do you know you grew an inch?”
“Because my mom marked it on the wall,” Kevin tells her—and everyone. “And the last time she did that, I was a whole inch shorter.”
“When was that?” Emma asks.
“Last summer,” Kevin says. “On the Fourth of July.”
Cynthia snickers behind her hand. “Kevin's mom writes on the wall! That's so messy,” she says to Fiona McNulty, who is the shyest girl in our class. Fiona has weak ankles, she tells us way too often.
Fiona really admires Cynthia, though. “Yeah. Writing on the wall is so messy,” she says, sounding like an echo.
Kevin scowls. “You better not be making fun of my mom,” he says in a low and scary voice.
And he's right to say that, because kids can say any bad thing they want about another kid, if they have the nerve, but parents are off-limits.
Also sisters and brothers, unless the kid officially hates them.
Already-tall Stanley Washington frowns and pushes up his glasses higher on his nose. “But that doesn't make any sense,” he says, as if he has been dividing numbers in his head.
“You grew an inch since
last summer
, Kevin,” Krysten—“Kry”—Rodriguez says, backing Stanley up. “Not over the weekend.”
Kry is very pretty, and she's also good at math and at figuring things out.
“Well, I know
,” Kevin says. He would be looking mad if anyone else had said what Kry did, but everybody in my class likes Kry.
She's another positive thinker.
“That's what I meant to say the whole time,” Kevin continues. “Only somebody interrupted me.”
We all turn to look at Cynthia, but Cynthia just shrugs. “Well, who even cares?” she says, straightening the plastic hoop she wears to hold her hair back from her face. “Anyway,” she adds like she is making perfect sense, “my dad's taller than Kevin's dad.”
That doesn't break the rule about not criticizing parents, but it comes pretty close. We think about it for a while.
“What does that have to do with anything?” Corey finally asks.
“I'm just saying,” Cynthia says, satisfied, and Fiona gives her an admiring smile.
“Well, who even cares who's taller?” Stanley says. “Because Jared's dad has a lot cooler stuff than
your dads. In fact, he got a brand-new ATV just last week. It's red, and it has flame decals all over it.”
“ATV” stands for “All-Terrain Vehicle,” and you can ride them
in the desert or at the beach. Lots of places. You don't even need roads.
My dad would probably never buy an ATV, though, because he likes to protect the environment, I guess mostly because the environment has a lot of rocks in it.
I like the environment, too, but I really want to ride in that ATV with the flames.
“Jared's dad might have cooler stuff,” Kevin says, defending his father, “but I'll bet my dad has a ton more
than him. Because he doesn't spend it all on ATVs, that's why. He saves it.”
The girls are looking uncomfortable by now, but none of them walks away.
“Jared's dad has a lot of money, too,” Stanley argues. “He wears solid gold jewelry and everything.”
And I am thinking two things. First, Stanley is making Mr. Matthews sound like an ATV-driving rap star, if there is such a thing, only he's not. Mr. Matthews is just a regular dad—if you can have someone extreme like Jared for your kid and still be regular.
Second, how did we end up talking about whose dad makes the most money? We were talking about tallness! Then we were talking about
. How did this lunch period turn into a bragging contest about whose family is the richest—when so many other kids' families are having money troubles?
BOOK: EllRay Jakes is a Rock Star!
2.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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