Authors: Wendelin van Draanen
Tags: #Ages 7 & Up
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OTHER YEARLING BOOKS YOU WILL ENJOY
SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY,
Wendelin Van Draanen
SHREDDERMAN: ATTACK OF THE TAGGER,
Wendelin Van Draanen
SHREDDERMAN: MEET THE GECKO,
Wendelin Van Draanen
SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF,
Wendelin Van Draanen
I WAS A RAT!,
THE CRICKET IN TIMES SQUARE,
BABE: THE GALLANT PIG,
THE FLUNKING OF JOSHUA T. BATES,
Wendelin Van Dianen
For my shreddin nieces, Hilary, Lauren, Molly, and Shelby.
And special thanks to TV news anchor Wendy Thies for her help
with research. (So glad you're not like Chatty!)
For Laurie, David, and Erin
I knew I was in trouble when they showed my Web site on the evening news. It wasn't just the local news, either. It was
All of a sudden, Shredderman—uh, that would be
as a mighty-muscled superhero—flew across the TV screen in a mask and a purple cape.
banner fluttered onto the screen and my sidekick, the Bouncer— who is really,
Mr. Green, my
— flexed his muscles and rocked out to the Shredderman theme song.
Brrong… b-brong… br-hr-br-br-br-br-br-hrong.
Mr. Green can really shred on guitar!
The newscaster cut into the song, saying, “You
may have heard of him…. He goes by the name of Shredderman, and seems to be taking the nation by storm. With Shredderman we have a new breed of superhero. He is, if you will, a
superhero—a cutting-edge combination of computer wizardry and vigilantism. With more on this self-proclaimed Champion of Truth and Justice, we turn to correspondent Chatty Adams.”
“That's her!”I cried. “That's the pushy lady who was at school today!”
Mom looked at Dad.
Dad looked at Mom.
I shrugged and kept watching the TV. What did I care if she had a stupid name? What did she know about Shredderman—that's what I was worried about.
“Thanks, Brian,”Chatty said into the camera. “I'm at an elementary school in the quaint town
of Cedar Valley, California, where it all began. It seems that Shredderman's quest for truth and jus-tice started when he rescued students here from the classic bad guy—a bully. Apparently he did this by posting the bully's deeds on the World Wide Web, challenging the school's administrators to finally do something about him. Earlier today I asked some students what they thought of Shredderman, and who they suspect this super-hero might really be. Here's what they had to say.”
They switched to a taped segment, and all of a sudden two of my classmates—Ian McCoy and Randy Ricardo—were on TV. “Yeah,”Ian said. “Some kids don't like Shredderman, but those are mostly the ones who got in trouble because of him. The rest of us think Shredderman's totally cool.”
“Do you have any idea who he is?”Chatty asked.
“We used to think he was our teacher, Mr. Green—”
“—but it's not,”Randy said. “Mr. Green's a hippie.”
we thought it was our computer lab teacher, Miss Surkit—”
“—but it's not,”Randy said. “Miss Surkit's way too short to be a superhero!”
Marvin Speltz's head popped up in between Randy and Ian. “You thought it was Miss
Can you see Miss Surkit posting Bubba's Big Butt on the World Wide Web? She'd get fired! I think it's Mr. Hoover.”
?”Randy and Ian said together.
“Dude. He is
into computers,”Marvin said.
Chatty Adams was now back live, saying, “As you can see, Brian, there's wide speculation about who is operating behind the Shredderman mask.”
“What do the adults think?”the newscaster asked.
“I spoke to a few teachers, but they seem to know about as much as the kids. And the principal”— Chatty looked at her notes—“Dr. Ivana Voss”— she looked back at the camera—“refused to be interviewed.”Chatty smiled with only one side of her mouth and said, “I've since found out that Dr. Voss's own
went head to head with Shred-derman. I don't have to tell you who won.”
The newscaster laughed. “No wonder she didn't want to talk to you!”
“Exactly, Brian. And although there are a few people who disagree with Shredderman's tactics, by and large this community seems to think he is one cool dude.”
“It sounds like the students have considered that Shredderman might be a woman.
What about the possibility that Shredder
is really a
“I asked kids that exact question, and here's what they had to say.”
My heart started pounding.
My knees felt like jelly.
They ran more of the school tape and Ronnie Stalwess appeared on TV, saying, “No way! Have you seen the site? It's awesome. What kid knows how to do that?”Then Trinity Althoffer said, “A kid? Like a sixth grader or something?”She sniggered. “I don't think so.”
They cut from Trinity to a boy I didn't recognize right away.
His hair was sticking out in a couple different directions.
One side of his collar was stuck
The other was flipped up.
He had a streak of peanut butter across one cheek and was stooped a little forward from the weight of his backpack.
Mom grabbed Dad's arm.
Dad held his breath.
My brain felt like it had been dunked in cement.
Did I really look like that?
Chatty Adams held the microphone under her chin and said, “People tell me you're the smartest kid at school. Would
know how to put up a site like
?”Then she stuck the mic right in my face.
“Me?”I said, pointing to myself. “Uh
My eyes were shifting around like crazy.
My cheeks were red and twitching.
I'm a terrible liar!
Then I started talking into the microphone really fast, saying, “How could a kid do a site like that? It's got links all over the place. Awesome graphics! It's gotta be done by a professional. Or,”I added, “a policeman.”
Mom looked at me.
Dad did, too.
And I could tell they were both thinking exactly what Chatty Adams said: “A
On TV, my eyes were big and bulging, staring right into the camera.
I looked idiotic!
Really, really stupid!
“Uh-huh,”I said, then I spun around and power-walked away from Chatty Adams as fast as I could.
After Dad clicked off the TV, I frowned and asked him, “Why do they even care who Shredderman is? Why can't they just leave it alone?”
“Because people are curious. And they're celebrity hounds.”
? Kids said I was the number one nerd at Cedar Valley Elementary. How could
be a celebrity?
Mom said to Dad, “I know Nolan registered the site with all the privacy precautions, but don't reporters have ways of getting around that?”
Dad laughed. “Don't worry.
reporter tried to get information on who owns
but got nowhere.”
“Uh-huh. I figured that since Mr. Zilch assigned me to find out who Shredderman is for the
I should at least try it. But what I found out was that unless something illegal is going on or our national security is at risk, they won't tell me who owns the site.”