Alice in Aprilby Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
In Alice in April, Aunt Sally reminds Alice that she will be turning thirteen soon (like anyone could forget such a momentous occasion) and that she will be the “woman of the house.” Alice dives into her new role by planning her father’s fiftieth birthday party—and telling everyone in the family to get a physical. But that means Alice/i>… See more details below
In Alice in April, Aunt Sally reminds Alice that she will be turning thirteen soon (like anyone could forget such a momentous occasion) and that she will be the “woman of the house.” Alice dives into her new role by planning her father’s fiftieth birthday party—and telling everyone in the family to get a physical. But that means Alice herself will have to disrobe at the doctor's! Then there's the latest crisis at school, where the boys have begun to match each girl with the name of a state, according to its geography—mountains or no mountains!
As Alice stumbles her way through the minefield of early adolescence in these six new repackages for Summer, there are plenty of bumps, giggles, and surprises along the way.
Read an Excerpt
Every April Fools' Day, for the past five years, Lester has pulled some trick on me, and I always fall for it.
He told me one April that he'd accidently dropped my toothbrush in the toilet the week before and forgotten to tell me. Another time he said that the FDA had just banned chocolate and no one would be able to buy it anymore. And last year, on April 1, he said he thought I had head lice. Each time I gasped and thought my life was over, and then he said, "April Fool!"
So this year I had it all planned. On the first day of April, I went down to breakfast as usual. Dad and I were eating corn flakes when Lester staggered into the kitchen the way he does in the mornings, his eyes half-closed. Most men shave and shower first, then come to breakfast, I'll bet. Lester does it backward. And on this particular morning, Lester groped his way to the table in the Mickey Mouse shorts I'd given him for Christmas, opened the refrigerator, and waited for something to leap out at him.
"Les," Dad said, "will you please choose something and sit down?"
Lester found some cold beans and some bread, and sat down at the table with his head resting on one hand. I think you could say that my brother is definitely not a morning person.
I got up, went to the sink with my dishes, then glanced out the window. I dropped my silverware.
"Lester!" I shrieked. 'Your car is rolling backward down the driveway!"
Lester, the Living Dead, leaped to his feet, knocking over his chair. He crashed through the hallway, stubbed his toe on the telephone stand, flung open the door, and hopped out onto the porch on one leg, holding his other foot in his hands.
He came to a dead stop. His car was right where it was supposed to be. A woman across the street, who had come out to get her paper, turned to look at Lester in his Mickey Mouse shorts.
"Al?" said Dad, coming up behind me in the doorway.
I collapsed in laughter. "April Fool!" I shrieked. Lester wheeled about and hobbled back into the house. "I'll kill her!" he yelled, but I was already halfway up the stairs.
"Al, you're dead meat!" Lester roared.
"April Fool!" I yelped again, barricading myself in my room.
"Road kill!" Lester bellowed, pounding on my door.
I waited in my room until both Dad and Lester had left the house, and then ran down to the bus stop, smirking from ear to ear, and made everyone laugh with my story.
The thing was, though, nobody paid much attention to April Fools' Day at school. Not even Denise Whitlock, the eighth-grade girl who's repeating seventh, did anything awful to me. She's the girl who bullied me last semester, but she just sat staring out the window in language arts, the way she usually does, only half listening.
Back in fifth and sixth, someone was always trying to put something gross in someone else's sandwich, or a boy would try to stick a sign on someone's back that said KICK ME HARD. But April 1 in junior high was pretty much like any other day, and by the time I went home, I was thinking how it wasn't very grown-up of me to go around playing tricks. If I hadn't played one that morning, in fact, Lester might have forgotten about April Fools' Day this year. Now he'd have some horrible trick waiting for me when I came in.
His car was in the driveway again. I cautiously went up the steps and opened the door. Everything was quiet.
I looked all around and tiptoed out to the kitchen. Lester was at the table eating cheese crackers and reading a magazine. I didn't know whether to step inside or not.
"How ya doin'?" he said. He didn't even look up.
"Okay," I told him, and waited for him to spring to stick my head under the faucet or something. Nothing happened.
I came slowly into the kitchen and reached for the crackers. Lester didn't even seem to know I was there. I poured some orange juice and sat down across from him. Finally there I was, jabbering away about school, and Lester grunted now and then. I realized what had happened.
Lester must have been half-asleep when he ran out on the porch that morning. That was it. They say that if you wake up after a horrible dream but go right back to sleep again, you won't remember the dream in the morning. Since Lester had never been really awake in the first place, he'd forgotten my trick already. Safe!
I decided to show Dad how grown up I was by making a salad for dinner have it waiting in the refrigerator when he came home. I got out the lettuce, carrots, celery, and green pepper, and had just stooped over again to see if we had any onions when Lester said, "Is that the latest style?"
"What?" I said.
"That hole in your pants. Is that how they're wearing them now?"
I bolted straight up. "Where?"
"Right on the seat."
"You're joking!" I said, my fingers searching. "I know you, Lester."
And then my fingers stopped. There was a hole! Right on my bottom! A two-inch rip in the seam. I felt my face turn hot. I remembered how I'd had to go up to the blackboard in math, and dropped the chalk while I was up there. Everybody must have seen when I bent over. And in the cafeteria, when I'd put my books under the table, hadn't I heard someone laugh when I stooped over?
"My gosh!" I screamed, and ran upstairs.
I took off my brown pants and threw them across the room. Everybody must have noticed and nobody told me. Pamela and Elizabeth were supposed to be my best friends, and they hadn't said one word. Everybody had let me walk around school with my underwear showing through the hole.
I started to bawl. This was the worst thing that ever happened to me. This was worse than opening the door at the Gap and finding Patrick, who used to be my boyfriend, standing there in his Jockey shorts. This was worse than accidently kicking one of the sixth-grade teachers during a Halloween parade.
This would follow me all through eighth grade, ninth, and senior high school the girl in the Fruit of the Loom pants. I sobbed.
Lester came to the door of my bedroom. "For Pete's sake, Al, April Fool!" he said.
I grabbed the bedspread and wrapped it around me. "You're just saying that! There really was a hole in my pants!"
"Relax! If there was, I didn't see it," he said.
I gulped. 'You didn't? Lester, tell me honest and truly: Did you see a hole in my pants or not?"
"Of course not."
"Well, I think it's really strange that you just happened to pick that as an April Fool joke when the hole was really there."
"You're just trying to make me feel better."
"Why should I want you to feel better after what you did to me this morning?"
He remembered! "Are you sure you didn't see the hole in my pants first and then think of the joke?"
"Arrrggghhh!" cried Lester. "Okay! Okay! Let's say I did see it. Have it your way. If that's the most embarrassing thing that ever happens to you, you're one lucky kid." And he went back downstairs.
I sat woodenly on my bed. Did he mean that far worse things were ahead? Did he mean I'd go to school someday with a hole in the seat of my pants and not have underwear on at all?
I pulled on a pair of jeans and went downstairs.
"Lester," I said, "if you wake up some morning and I'm not here, you'll know I've hitchhiked to Alaska."
"Have a nice life," he said.
Copyright © 1993 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Meet the Author
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh, the Alice series, and Roxie and the Hooligans. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit AliceMcKinley.com.
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