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Double Dutch

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Overview

Delia loves Double Dutch. And she's good at it. Really good. So good that her team has a chance to win the World Double Dutch Championships this year -- Delia is sure of it. What she is less sure of is her chance of passing the school's state exam, because Delia has been using her success at Double Dutch to mask a secret that could jeopardize her place on the team, and also her future.

Delia's not the only one with a secret. Her potential boyfriend, Randy, has one too -- his dad...

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Double Dutch

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Overview

Delia loves Double Dutch. And she's good at it. Really good. So good that her team has a chance to win the World Double Dutch Championships this year -- Delia is sure of it. What she is less sure of is her chance of passing the school's state exam, because Delia has been using her success at Double Dutch to mask a secret that could jeopardize her place on the team, and also her future.

Delia's not the only one with a secret. Her potential boyfriend, Randy, has one too -- his dad has been missing for weeks, and Randy hasn't told anyone for fear he'll be put in a foster home. But he is running out of money and getting scared.

The one thing that isn't a secret is that their classmates, the Tolliver twins, are out to cause trouble. With their skull caps, angry demeanors, and hints of violence emanating from even the way they stalk down the school halls, they seem to enjoy intimidating the other kids. But will they cross the line from intimidation to violence?

With consummate skill and an uncanny ability to capture how real kids think, act, and feel, Tears of a Tiger author Sharon M. Draper weaves these three stories tighter and tighter, creating a novel that tingles with suspense and emotion.

Three eighth-grade friends, preparing for the International Double Dutch Championship jump rope competition in their home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, cope with Randy's missing father, Delia's inability to read, and Yo Yo's encounter with the class bullies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews Delia and her friends are delightful, and the reader is rooting for them all the way. A fast-paced, multilayered story.

School Library Journal The author [creates] vibrant, engaging characters with unique voices....Draper adeptly paints a convincing portrayal of how young people think, act, feel, and interact with one another.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books A well-paced and engagingly detailed exploration of a double-sided world of public and private truths that teens will find very familiar.

Publishers Weekly
Secrets, not all of them credible, abound among the eighth-grade protagonists of this disappointing novel. Delia has managed to hide her inability to read from her parents and teachers, but she doubts she can pass the proficiency test that will enable her to graduate to ninth grade and continue competing in Double Dutch jump rope. Randy, whose mother walked out several years ago, hasn't told anyone that his father, a long-distance truck driver, has been missing for weeks. And when twin tornadoes hit the school, it becomes apparent that the Tolliver twins, who dress entirely in black and terrorize their classmates, are actually sensitive fellows behind their intimidating fa ades. Overflowing with rambling conversations and extraneous details, Draper's (Forged by Fire) narrative is often awkward ("The huge gym was filled with crisply ironed T-shirts, frantic practice jumps in the halls and parking lot, and the electric excitement of competition and challenge"). Jump-by-jump descriptions of the Double Dutch championships may rescue this tale for diehard jump-rope fans. Others can skip it. Ages 11-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Double Dutch, for those who don't know, is a way of jumping rope that demands a high degree of skill and energy. The friends in this YA novel are 8th graders who are on a team competing in the world championship for Double Dutch, which (unfortunately for them, since they want to travel) happens to be in their own hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Delia, Yolanda and Randy are the three main characters in the novel (Randy helps out managing the team). Delia worries that she will have to pass a standardized test before being allowed to participate in sports, and she has the ghastly secret that she is unable to read. (Obviously, she is smart about covering up this deficiency, yet in the end she has to reveal the truth.) Randy lives alone with his father, a truck driver, and takes care of himself when his father is on the road. Unfortunately, the father hasn't called or come home in weeks and Randy is afraid he has deserted him. Randy, like Delia, is hiding the truth. Yolanda, on the other hand, is known for telling whoppers, so no one actually believes her stories. She is imaginative, a good loyal friend, and a survivor—as we see when a tornado hits their middle school. Also, she frequently provides comic relief. The tornado, the competition, the fate of Randy's father, Delia's revelation that she cannot read—these are the elements of the fast-moving plot. It's good to have a story about urban YAs of color that is realistic without being too depressing. These young people have adults in their lives who care about them and they are all part of a supportive community. They are smart and strong and younger YAs will enjoy reading about their lives. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high schoolstudents. 2002, Simon & Schuster, Atheneum, 183p.,
— Claire Rosser
VOYA
Although a jump-rope game serves as the plot catalyst for the experiences of the teens in this clever novel by an award-winning author, the secrets that unravel as those characters move toward a double Dutch world championship are sure to grab the reader. As eighth-grader Delia gets increasingly better at double Dutch, the fragile supports she has created around her inability to read start to crumble. When her team position appears threatened by her embarrassing secret, Delia recognizes she must act. The reader empathizes as this likeable girl decides what that action must be. Delia's secret is not the only one holding the novel's tensions in place. Randy, the jump rope team manager, also keeps things hidden. His truck-driving dad has been gone for weeks without contact. With no money left for living expenses, Randy must make a decision. Just when he thinks that it is safe to tell Delia, however, what she hides undermines his revelations, leaving Randy to decide if he can trust anyone. As Delia and Randy come to terms with their secrets, another menaces in the background. It is that of the seemingly violent Tolliver twins. Who are these boys, and why do they seem intent on scaring people? The answer surfaces only after a terrible twist of fate forces everyone to see something to which they have been blind. Like the triple strands of a rope, this story spirals to its tightly-woven end. Readers will find it suspenseful and accessible. 2002, Simon & Schuster, 192p, O'Quinn
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Delia loves Double Dutch jump roping; she's good enough at it to participate in the world championships being held in her home city of Cincinnati. But Delia has an embarrassing secret that may jeopardize her place on the team: she can't read. She copes in school by relying on her memory, renting videos, doing projects that don't require writing, and behaving well enough not to be noticed. Her friend Randy has a secret, too. His father has been gone for weeks. Has he deserted his son just like Randy's mother deserted them? When the fearsome Tolliver twins, Tabu and Titan, arrive in the eighth grade, the threat of violence puts everyone on edge. The three interwoven stories heat up like the weather, and culminate in a happy, upbeat ending that is a bit too neat: the Tollivers become heroes, Randy's father is found in a hospital, and Delia admits she needs help. Draper tackles tough problems and explores adolescent concerns. While bordering on melodramatic overload and at times preachy, the novel does suggest positive options. What the author does best is create vibrant, engaging characters with unique voices. While these eighth graders may be as tough as their problems, they also are much more complex: sensitive, funny, enthusiastic, and real. Draper adeptly paints a convincing portrayal of how young people think, act, feel, and interact with one another.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Delia is an intelligent, creative, eighth-grade student with a secret: she cannot read. No one has guessed because she memorizes material learned from discussion, watches videos instead of reading a book, and volunteers to do special projects like skits or posters instead of written reports. But she is faced with taking a major proficiency test that she knows she cannot pass. Her friend Randy also has a secret: he has not heard from his father for several weeks. A long-distance truck driver, who's often away from home, he has always kept in constant touch with Randy. But now Randy is running out of money and food, and he's afraid to tell anyone. Delia and Randy, along with several of their friends, are part of a Double Dutch team that will compete in a national tournament. The details and play-by-play of the Double Dutch practices and contests provide the core around which the rest of the story develops. Several other issues are addressed along the way, and are dealt with nicely by the cast of supporting characters. Delia's friend Yolanda tells fantastic, outlandish stories about herself and her life so earnestly that even her friends are sometimes unable to know when she is telling the truth. The Tolliver twins' threatening demeanor and attitude mask a fear of loss and separation that they manage to overcome heroically during a devastating tornado that hits their school. Even Delia and Randy's more serious problems have happy, though not perfect, conclusions. Perhaps there are too many subplots, too many characters with too many problems, even too many happy endings, but Draper makes it work. Delia and her friends are delightful, and the reader is rooting for them all the way. Afast-paced, multi-layered story. (Fiction. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689842313
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/30/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 158,617
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon M. Draper is a New York Times bestselling author who has received the Coretta Scott King Award for both Copper Sun and Forged by Fire. Her Out of My Mind has won multiple awards and has been a New York Times bestseller for more than a year. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she taught high school English for twenty-five years and was named National Teacher of the Year. Visit her at SharonDraper.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Look out, girl, here come the Tolliver twins! Have mercy! They look like they're ready to bite something." Delia pulled her books close to her body and tried to avoid what looked like was going to be a direct confrontation with the two most feared boys at the school — Tabu and Titan Tolliver.

"Or kill something," Charlene whispered, eyes wide with real concern. "I wouldn't want to be alone in a room with them. Every time they pass me, I get so scared, I feel like I'm gonna wet my pants!"

"That's disgusting!" Delia said, laughing, as she glanced at Charlene.

"I ain't lyin'! I'm scared for real! I heard they kill puppies and kittens for fun. Felicity Johnson lives next door to them, and she told me she found her kitten dead on her front steps. It had been stabbed with a knife," Charlene said dramatically, shuddering at the thought.

"I heard that, too. But that's no proof that the twins killed her kitten," Delia said, trying to sound reasonable. "Sometimes kids just make that stuff up 'cause it sounds gross."

"Greg Mason's dog was also killed. Stabbed. And he lives down the street from the Tollivers," Charlene added with authority. "His next-door neighbor's cousin told me."

"I heard Greg's dog got hit by a car," Delia replied. But she still watched nervously as the two unsmiling boys approached them. It was as if a double shadow was heading their way.

"The dog is still dead," Charlene said, refusing to accept any other explanation. "And Greg's house is awfully close to the Tollivers'. Yo Yo told me the twins carry knives and sawed-off shotguns and hand grenades in their book bag." Charlene spoke as if she believed it. "You believe that?" Charlene asked, hoping Delia would say no.

"Most times I don't believe Yolanda, but those two are some scary dudes. I wouldn't be surprised at anything. Before you know it, we'll be needing metal detectors on the front doors around here."

"I'm surprised they haven't got around to that — makin' this place feel like a prison. Most of the big-city schools have all kinds of security these days," Charlene stated with authority.

"Yeah, I know. Small-town schools, too. It's a shame. Why do you think the Tollivers dress in the same black clothes every day?" Delia asked in a whisper. "You think that's all the clothes they have?"

"Maybe they want to show people how bad they are!" Charlene said softly.

"They made me a believer!"

"You got that right! Quit whispering! They know we're talkin' about them!" Delia and Charlene tried to move out of the way of the twins, but the halls were crowded, and everybody seemed to be trying to do the same thing.

Titan and Tabu — tall and impressive-looking, dressed exactly alike in black jeans, black sweaters, and black skullcaps — strode through the hall not as two people but as one unified force. Their faces wore the same menacing frown, their fists were clenched into the same tight threat, and their thick black boots stomped in unison on the scuffed hallway floor. They carried no books, even though it was almost third bell. They glared at Charlene and Delia as they pushed through the crowded hallway. With his shoulder, Titan pushed Delia against the lockers, and Tabu knocked Charlene out of the way in the other direction as they passed. She lost her balance and fell to the floor in a heap of books and papers. Tabu and Titan glanced back at them as though to make sure their authority had terrified the two girls. It had. Delia said nothing and looked the other way rather than risk a confrontation. A sea of people in the hall separated as the two forged a path through the crowd.

"Kids treat Tabu and Titan like they're Moses in the wilderness," Charlene said with disgust as she picked up her books and papers. "Looks like the parting of the waters of the Red Sea as they go through there."

"No, not Moses," Delia said, rubbing her shoulder. "Moses was a holy man. Those two are...bad. I can feel it."

"They give me chills. They don't talk to people, they don't speak up in class — I think some of the teachers are scared of them too," Charlene declared as they headed on to their classes.

Delia sighed. "Miss Benson, my English teacher, is real scared of them, I know. She's just a first-year teacher — she doesn't know how to handle the rough kids yet. It's all she can do to figure out how to handle the thirty-one other kids in the class, let alone the Terrible Tollivers. There's the bell. That's where I'm headed now. Wish me luck."

"Peace out, Delia. Stay clear of those two."

"You don't have to warn me. Besides, I got enough problems of my own to take time to worry about them. Later."

Delia hurried down the hall and into her classroom just before Miss Benson closed the door. She was glad her seat was in the front of the room, far away from Tabu and Titan, who sat in the very last row in the back. Miss Benson had not tried to change their seats when they transferred into the class during the second week of school. Delia figured the teacher wanted to keep as much space as possible between her and those two openly hostile boys.

Miss Benson was very young — just out of college. She still had hints of teenage acne on her face and she dressed more like a teenager than a teacher. Delia had thought she looked really uncomfortable in the business suit that she had worn for Open House — she was probably a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of person. She liked to play with her hair, and she giggled sometimes when she should have put on a stony face. But Delia liked her because Miss Benson was energetic and excited about teaching, not like many of her other teachers, who seemed so tired every day. Delia also liked her because she could fool Miss Benson so easily. Miss Benson still had much to learn.

Delia forgot about Tabu and Titan for the moment as class began.

Miss Benson tried to be pleasant and conversational as she took attendance. "Quentin Bates? Glad to see you back. That flu bug is a doozy! Make sure you see me after class for makeup work."

Quentin coughed and nodded.

"Delia Douglas?"

Delia answered with a smile. "Here."

"Smiling and prepared, as usual, I see." Miss Benson liked her, Delia could tell. Delia knew most of her teachers liked her because she was always pleasant and cooperative, willing to run errands or pass out materials. "Are you jumping on the Double Dutch team again this year?"

"Oh, yeah — it's the bomb!" Yolanda blurted out before Delia had a chance to answer. "Me and Delia and Charlene Byrd are the best jumpers on the face of the earth! You oughta come see us jump tomorrow! It's just the city qualifying competition, but I'll still be dynamite! Or you can come to the state finals in a few weeks if you feel like driving to Columbus."

Delia turned around and grinned at Yolanda, who always enjoyed being the center of attention. She also noticed that the Tolliver brothers had glanced at each other as Yolanda spoke. Delia's smile faded into a frown.

Miss Benson replied, "I'm very proud of all of you, but I can't come tomorrow. However, I promise I will come to see you jump one of these days."

"Okay, then plan to come to the national finals — well, we call it the World Championships because kids from places like Taiwan and Canada and Germany come here to compete. They're gonna be held here in Cincinnati in a couple of months. And I WILL be the star!" she boasted with a grin. "I'll let you know the dates and stuff."

Miss Benson promised again to try to make it. The rest of the class started to talk about the Double Dutch team, the baseball team, the choir — the conversation expanding as each person added something about their own particular after-school activity.

"Let's settle down now," Miss Benson said mildly. She continued through the rest of the names on the list, even though she could see at a glance who was absent. It was her way of making the class feel comfortable. Delia liked the fact that Miss Benson took the time to talk to the kids, even if it was just stupid small talk before each class.

"Leeza Moxley? Nice hairstyle this morning."

Leeza smiled and stood for everyone to notice her curls and waves. Most of the kids ignored her, but Leeza didn't care. She had been given a chance to show off.

"Miss Yolanda Pepper," Miss Benson said with a little bow, as if Yo Yo were some kind of princess. Yolanda loved it, of course. "What a lovely necklace," Miss Benson began.

"I got it in Mexico when me and my parents went this weekend," Yolanda said immediately. "It's real silver."

"My parents and I," Miss Benson said automatically. Then she asked, "You went to Mexico just for the weekend?" Delia laughed to herself. She couldn't believe that Miss Benson could keep falling for Yolanda's tall tales. Yolanda, who liked to be called Yo Yo, specialized in not telling the truth.

"Hey, Miss Benson, you ought to know you can't believe Yo Yo. She lies like a rug! She ain't never been to Mexico. And she got that necklace at the dollar store!" Randy shouted loudly across the room.

"Now you just telling everybody where you buy your clothes!" Yolanda retorted.

Randy grinned and yelled back, "No, but I saw your mama there. She's so backwards, she was askin' for a price check at the dollar store!"

"Don't you be talkin' about my mama, Randy! I was in Mexico and I can prove it," Yolanda insisted. "I'll show you my plane ticket stub!" Yolanda furiously dug in her purse, searching for the paper that would prove her story. "I can't find it, but I'll bring it tomorrow. You can call my mother and ask her!"

"Your mama probably don't even know where Mexico is!" Randy teased. "Your mama is so dumb, she couldn't pass a blood test!" Everyone in the class laughed, except for the Tollivers.

Yo Yo put her hands on her hips and fired a look of challenge at Randy. "I told you don't be talkin' about my mother! Your mama's so backwards she sits on the TV and watches the couch!"

Randy quipped back quickly, "Well, your mama's so clumsy she got tangled up in the cordless phone!"

"Well, I heard your mama took a spoon to the Super Bowl!"

"That's enough from both of you!" Miss Benson said sternly. "I will NOT have this kind of disrespect in my classroom!" She was quickly losing control of the class. Delia watched with mild amusement.

As she sat down, Yolanda muttered loud enough for Randy to hear, "At least I got a mama!" Randy's smile faded. He tried to hide it, but Delia could see the hurt look on his face.

Miss Benson went back to taking attendance. "Tabu Tolliver?" The room was silent. "I see you're here. Good," Miss Benson said.

"Titan Tolliver? Also present," Miss Benson said, almost to herself. She looked a little nervous, Delia thought. "Randy Youngblood? As if I need to ask!"

"Yo!" Randy shouted loudly. "The Youngblood is here! And I'm sorry for all that stuff I said, Miss Benson. Yolanda's mama is cool with me." He was trying to regain a little power, Delia realized. Yolanda had been way out of line. Randy's mother had left her husband and her son a couple of years ago. Randy had not heard from her since, and even though he tried to cover it up with jokes, Delia knew it still was a painful subject for him.

"Sit down, Randy. Nobody could miss you. And your apology should go to Yolanda." Randy glanced at Yolanda, but she had taken a brush from her book bag and was noticeably fixing her hair while ignoring Randy completely.

"That's everyone. Let's get started." Miss Benson began by passing out several typed pages that had come from the school office. "Put the brush away, Yolanda. Your hair looks fine." Without pausing to make sure Yolanda did as she was told, Miss Benson continued: "As you know, class, the state proficiency test is coming up soon. It's extremely important for you as eighth graders because it will determine if you go on to ninth grade. We've been practicing and preparing all year for this, and I know you're ready — I'm confident you'll all do fine. Take these information forms home to your parents and bring them back signed on Monday. The test is next month. Are there any questions? Yes, Randy?"

"What if I fail?"

"You're not going to fail. You're the biggest, smartest thing in here!" Miss Benson said, laughing.

"I think so too. And the best-looking, too! I just wanted to hear you say it!"

"Sit down, Randy."

Delia loved the way Randy always made class fun. He joked around and teased all the teachers. But he always made good grades — straight A's.

"Miss Benson?"

"Yes, Yolanda?" Miss Benson sighed. Delia could tell this was not what the teacher had planned for today's class. But Delia didn't care; anything that stalled real academic work was fine with her.

"I can't take the test," Yolanda began as she stuffed the brush into her book bag and took out a small mirror to check the results.

"Why not?"

"I read an article that said excessive testing causes blood clots in the brain. I can't afford to risk my health for a stupid test. I am a champion Double Dutch jumper, you know."

"I'll pay for your hospitalization," Miss Benson zapped back at her.

She's learning, Delia thought. Delia asked no questions. She looked at the forms, found the line marked with an X for the parental signature, and expertly signed her mother's name on the information sheet. She had memorized both of her parents' signatures long ago. Then she stuffed the forms into her book bag.

The rest of the class asked lots of questions, mostly to delay the start of the lesson. Miss Benson tried to answer every one, seemingly unaware of their delaying tactics. Finally she said, "Okay, that's enough on that. Class, get out your notebooks. Let's get started."

Tabu and Titan glared at her in a stony silence from the back of the room. They did not move, and Miss Benson said nothing to them. She looked as if she was trying to pretend that they weren't there. But they never took their eyes off the teacher. It seemed to Delia that they weren't watching Miss Benson to learn but were checking her out for something more sinister. She seemed to be uncomfortable with their hard, unflinching stares, and she made a big deal of passing out books and checking book cards. Delia noticed that she looked everywhere except at the twins in the back of the room. But they never stopped watching her.

Delia turned her attention from Tabu and Titan to the new book that the teacher was introducing. The old familiar feeling of dread filled her stomach as Miss Benson began the lesson. Delia took out her notebook and pretended to take notes, but what she wrote was in handwriting so tiny that no one could see what she was writing. But even with a magnifying glass no one could have read what Delia had written. It was all tiny scribble.

They were starting a book called Lord of the Flies — something about kids in a jungle, she figured from the picture on the front. I've got to see if there's a videotape of this, Delia thought. She flipped through the pages and sighed as line after incomprehensible line of gray text stared back at her. She recognized many of the words — the shorter ones, and the words that were easy to identify or memorize. But sometimes even those danced around the page like unruly children. Sometimes an easy word like "boy" looked like "yob." And sometimes it looked like the whole page was written in Martian. She sighed, frowned, and listened carefully to every word Miss Benson was saying. She had an excellent memory and could sometimes tell the teacher word for word what had been said in class the day before. But Delia couldn't read.

Copyright © 2002 by Sharon Draper

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First Chapter

Chapter One

"Look out, girl, here come the Tolliver twins! Have mercy! They look like they're ready to bite something." Delia pulled her books close to her body and tried to avoid what looked like was going to be a direct confrontation with the two most feared boys at the school -- Tabu and Titan Tolliver.

"Or kill something," Charlene whispered, eyes wide with real concern. "I wouldn't want to be alone in a room with them. Every time they pass me, I get so scared, I feel like I'm gonna wet my pants!"

"That's disgusting!" Delia said, laughing, as she glanced at Charlene.

"I ain't lyin'! I'm scared for real! I heard they kill puppies and kittens for fun. Felicity Johnson lives next door to them, and she told me she found her kitten dead on her front steps. It had been stabbed with a knife," Charlene said dramatically, shuddering at the thought.

"I heard that, too. But that's no proof that the twins killed her kitten," Delia said, trying to sound reasonable. "Sometimes kids just make that stuff up 'cause it sounds gross."

"Greg Mason's dog was also killed. Stabbed. And he lives down the street from the Tollivers," Charlene added with authority. "His next-door neighbor's cousin told me."

"I heard Greg's dog got hit by a car," Delia replied. But she still watched nervously as the two unsmiling boys approached them. It was as if a double shadow was heading their way.

"The dog is still dead," Charlene said, refusing to accept any other explanation. "And Greg's house is awfully close to the Tollivers'. Yo Yo told me the twins carry knives and sawed-off shotguns and hand grenades in their book bag." Charlene spoke as if she believed it. "You believe that?" Charlene asked, hoping Delia would say no.

"Most times I don't believe Yolanda, but those two are some scary dudes. I wouldn't be surprised at anything. Before you know it, we'll be needing metal detectors on the front doors around here."

"I'm surprised they haven't got around to that -- makin' this place feel like a prison. Most of the big-city schools have all kinds of security these days," Charlene stated with authority.

"Yeah, I know. Small-town schools, too. It's a shame. Why do you think the Tollivers dress in the same black clothes every day?" Delia asked in a whisper. "You think that's all the clothes they have?"

"Maybe they want to show people how bad they are!" Charlene said softly.

"They made me a believer!"

"You got that right! Quit whispering! They know we're talkin' about them!" Delia and Charlene tried to move out of the way of the twins, but the halls were crowded, and everybody seemed to be trying to do the same thing.

Titan and Tabu -- tall and impressive-looking, dressed exactly alike in black jeans, black sweaters, and black skullcaps -- strode through the hall not as two people but as one unified force. Their faces wore the same menacing frown, their fists were clenched into the same tight threat, and their thick black boots stomped in unison on the scuffed hallway floor. They carried no books, even though it was almost third bell. They glared at Charlene and Delia as they pushed through the crowded hallway. With his shoulder, Titan pushed Delia against the lockers, and Tabu knocked Charlene out of the way in the other direction as they passed. She lost her balance and fell to the floor in a heap of books and papers. Tabu and Titan glanced back at them as though to make sure their authority had terrified the two girls. It had. Delia said nothing and looked the other way rather than risk a confrontation. A sea of people in the hall separated as the two forged a path through the crowd.

"Kids treat Tabu and Titan like they're Moses in the wilderness," Charlene said with disgust as she picked up her books and papers. "Looks like the parting of the waters of the Red Sea as they go through there."

"No, not Moses," Delia said, rubbing her shoulder. "Moses was a holy man. Those two are...bad. I can feel it."

"They give me chills. They don't talk to people, they don't speak up in class -- I think some of the teachers are scared of them too," Charlene declared as they headed on to their classes.

Delia sighed. "Miss Benson, my English teacher, is real scared of them, I know. She's just a first-year teacher -- she doesn't know how to handle the rough kids yet. It's all she can do to figure out how to handle the thirty-one other kids in the class, let alone the Terrible Tollivers. There's the bell. That's where I'm headed now. Wish me luck."

"Peace out, Delia. Stay clear of those two."

"You don't have to warn me. Besides, I got enough problems of my own to take time to worry about them. Later."

Delia hurried down the hall and into her classroom just before Miss Benson closed the door. She was glad her seat was in the front of the room, far away from Tabu and Titan, who sat in the very last row in the back. Miss Benson had not tried to change their seats when they transferred into the class during the second week of school. Delia figured the teacher wanted to keep as much space as possible between her and those two openly hostile boys.

Miss Benson was very young -- just out of college. She still had hints of teenage acne on her face and she dressed more like a teenager than a teacher. Delia had thought she looked really uncomfortable in the business suit that she had worn for Open House -- she was probably a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of person. She liked to play with her hair, and she giggled sometimes when she should have put on a stony face. But Delia liked her because Miss Benson was energetic and excited about teaching, not like many of her other teachers, who seemed so tired every day. Delia also liked her because she could fool Miss Benson so easily. Miss Benson still had much to learn.

Delia forgot about Tabu and Titan for the moment as class began.

Miss Benson tried to be pleasant and conversational as she took attendance. "Quentin Bates? Glad to see you back. That flu bug is a doozy! Make sure you see me after class for makeup work."

Quentin coughed and nodded.

"Delia Douglas?"

Delia answered with a smile. "Here."

"Smiling and prepared, as usual, I see." Miss Benson liked her, Delia could tell. Delia knew most of her teachers liked her because she was always pleasant and cooperative, willing to run errands or pass out materials. "Are you jumping on the Double Dutch team again this year?"

"Oh, yeah -- it's the bomb!" Yolanda blurted out before Delia had a chance to answer. "Me and Delia and Charlene Byrd are the best jumpers on the face of the earth! You oughta come see us jump tomorrow! It's just the city qualifying competition, but I'll still be dynamite! Or you can come to the state finals in a few weeks if you feel like driving to Columbus."

Delia turned around and grinned at Yolanda, who always enjoyed being the center of attention. She also noticed that the Tolliver brothers had glanced at each other as Yolanda spoke. Delia's smile faded into a frown.

Miss Benson replied, "I'm very proud of all of you, but I can't come tomorrow. However, I promise I will come to see you jump one of these days."

"Okay, then plan to come to the national finals -- well, we call it the World Championships because kids from places like Taiwan and Canada and Germany come here to compete. They're gonna be held here in Cincinnati in a couple of months. And I WILL be the star!" she boasted with a grin. "I'll let you know the dates and stuff."

Miss Benson promised again to try to make it. The rest of the class started to talk about the Double Dutch team, the baseball team, the choir -- the conversation expanding as each person added something about their own particular after-school activity.

"Let's settle down now," Miss Benson said mildly. She continued through the rest of the names on the list, even though she could see at a glance who was absent. It was her way of making the class feel comfortable. Delia liked the fact that Miss Benson took the time to talk to the kids, even if it was just stupid small talk before each class.

"Leeza Moxley? Nice hairstyle this morning."

Leeza smiled and stood for everyone to notice her curls and waves. Most of the kids ignored her, but Leeza didn't care. She had been given a chance to show off.

"Miss Yolanda Pepper," Miss Benson said with a little bow, as if Yo Yo were some kind of princess. Yolanda loved it, of course. "What a lovely necklace," Miss Benson began.

"I got it in Mexico when me and my parents went this weekend," Yolanda said immediately. "It's real silver."

"My parents and I," Miss Benson said automatically. Then she asked, "You went to Mexico just for the weekend?" Delia laughed to herself. She couldn't believe that Miss Benson could keep falling for Yolanda's tall tales. Yolanda, who liked to be called Yo Yo, specialized in not telling the truth.

"Hey, Miss Benson, you ought to know you can't believe Yo Yo. She lies like a rug! She ain't never been to Mexico. And she got that necklace at the dollar store!" Randy shouted loudly across the room.

"Now you just telling everybody where you buy your clothes!" Yolanda retorted.

Randy grinned and yelled back, "No, but I saw your mama there. She's so backwards, she was askin' for a price check at the dollar store!"

"Don't you be talkin' about my mama, Randy! I was in Mexico and I can prove it," Yolanda insisted. "I'll show you my plane ticket stub!" Yolanda furiously dug in her purse, searching for the paper that would prove her story. "I can't find it, but I'll bring it tomorrow. You can call my mother and ask her!"

"Your mama probably don't even know where Mexico is!" Randy teased. "Your mama is so dumb, she couldn't pass a blood test!" Everyone in the class laughed, except for the Tollivers.

Yo Yo put her hands on her hips and fired a look of challenge at Randy. "I told you don't be talkin' about my mother! Your mama's so backwards she sits on the TV and watches the couch!"

Randy quipped back quickly, "Well, your mama's so clumsy she got tangled up in the cordless phone!"

"Well, I heard your mama took a spoon to the Super Bowl!"

"That's enough from both of you!" Miss Benson said sternly. "I will NOT have this kind of disrespect in my classroom!" She was quickly losing control of the class. Delia watched with mild amusement.

As she sat down, Yolanda muttered loud enough for Randy to hear, "At least I got a mama!" Randy's smile faded. He tried to hide it, but Delia could see the hurt look on his face.

Miss Benson went back to taking attendance. "Tabu Tolliver?" The room was silent. "I see you're here. Good," Miss Benson said.

"Titan Tolliver? Also present," Miss Benson said, almost to herself. She looked a little nervous, Delia thought. "Randy Youngblood? As if I need to ask!"

"Yo!" Randy shouted loudly. "The Youngblood is here! And I'm sorry for all that stuff I said, Miss Benson. Yolanda's mama is cool with me." He was trying to regain a little power, Delia realized. Yolanda had been way out of line. Randy's mother had left her husband and her son a couple of years ago. Randy had not heard from her since, and even though he tried to cover it up with jokes, Delia knew it still was a painful subject for him.

"Sit down, Randy. Nobody could miss you. And your apology should go to Yolanda." Randy glanced at Yolanda, but she had taken a brush from her book bag and was noticeably fixing her hair while ignoring Randy completely.

"That's everyone. Let's get started." Miss Benson began by passing out several typed pages that had come from the school office. "Put the brush away, Yolanda. Your hair looks fine." Without pausing to make sure Yolanda did as she was told, Miss Benson continued: "As you know, class, the state proficiency test is coming up soon. It's extremely important for you as eighth graders because it will determine if you go on to ninth grade. We've been practicing and preparing all year for this, and I know you're ready -- I'm confident you'll all do fine. Take these information forms home to your parents and bring them back signed on Monday. The test is next month. Are there any questions? Yes, Randy?"

"What if I fail?"

"You're not going to fail. You're the biggest, smartest thing in here!" Miss Benson said, laughing.

"I think so too. And the best-looking, too! I just wanted to hear you say it!"

"Sit down, Randy."

Delia loved the way Randy always made class fun. He joked around and teased all the teachers. But he always made good grades -- straight A's.

"Miss Benson?"

"Yes, Yolanda?" Miss Benson sighed. Delia could tell this was not what the teacher had planned for today's class. But Delia didn't care; anything that stalled real academic work was fine with her.

"I can't take the test," Yolanda began as she stuffed the brush into her book bag and took out a small mirror to check the results.

"Why not?"

"I read an article that said excessive testing causes blood clots in the brain. I can't afford to risk my health for a stupid test. I am a champion Double Dutch jumper, you know."

"I'll pay for your hospitalization," Miss Benson zapped back at her.

She's learning, Delia thought. Delia asked no questions. She looked at the forms, found the line marked with an X for the parental signature, and expertly signed her mother's name on the information sheet. She had memorized both of her parents' signatures long ago. Then she stuffed the forms into her book bag.

The rest of the class asked lots of questions, mostly to delay the start of the lesson. Miss Benson tried to answer every one, seemingly unaware of their delaying tactics. Finally she said, "Okay, that's enough on that. Class, get out your notebooks. Let's get started."

Tabu and Titan glared at her in a stony silence from the back of the room. They did not move, and Miss Benson said nothing to them. She looked as if she was trying to pretend that they weren't there. But they never took their eyes off the teacher. It seemed to Delia that they weren't watching Miss Benson to learn but were checking her out for something more sinister. She seemed to be uncomfortable with their hard, unflinching stares, and she made a big deal of passing out books and checking book cards. Delia noticed that she looked everywhere except at the twins in the back of the room. But they never stopped watching her.

Delia turned her attention from Tabu and Titan to the new book that the teacher was introducing. The old familiar feeling of dread filled her stomach as Miss Benson began the lesson. Delia took out her notebook and pretended to take notes, but what she wrote was in handwriting so tiny that no one could see what she was writing. But even with a magnifying glass no one could have read what Delia had written. It was all tiny scribble.

They were starting a book called Lord of the Flies -- something about kids in a jungle, she figured from the picture on the front. I've got to see if there's a videotape of this, Delia thought. She flipped through the pages and sighed as line after incomprehensible line of gray text stared back at her. She recognized many of the words -- the shorter ones, and the words that were easy to identify or memorize. But sometimes even those danced around the page like unruly children. Sometimes an easy word like "boy" looked like "yob." And sometimes it looked like the whole page was written in Martian. She sighed, frowned, and listened carefully to every word Miss Benson was saying. She had an excellent memory and could sometimes tell the teacher word for word what had been said in class the day before. But Delia couldn't read.

Copyright © 2002 by Sharon Draper

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Great book

    It's entertaning

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Book

    I love this book . Whrn i come up to anything that saya to search fpr a book i always put in Double Ducth. I did a report on this book i gotten a A. Thank you Sharon i love you. I hope to see you soon.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2011

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!- GREATEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!

    Book Review Outline
    Book title and author: Double Dutch by Sharon M. Draper
    Title of review: Double Dutch review
    Number of stars (1 to 5): 4 Stars

    Introduction:
    I loved Double Dutch by Sharon M. Draper is a perfect book for you. Double Dutch, for those who don't know, is a way of jumping rope that demands a high degree of skill and energy. This book catches your attention. This book has a lot of events and twists that will catch your attention. In the beginning of the book there are the Tolliver twins, who people think that are bullies but they are really not. Delia, Yolanda, Randy and Charlene are on a Double Dutch jump roping team. Delia has managed to hide her inability to read from her parents and teachers, but she doubts she can pass the proficiency test that will enable her to graduate to ninth grade and continue competing in Double Dutch jump rope.

    Description and summary of main points:
    This book is not that hard to read. Secrets, not all of them credible, abound among the eighth-grade protagonists of this disappointing novel. Delia has managed to hide her inability to read from her parents and teachers, but she doubts she can pass the proficiency test that will enable her to graduate to ninth grade and continue competing in Double Dutch jump rope.

    Evaluation:
    If I had to give this book a review I would give Double Dutch I would give this book 4 stars. This book is a really good book.

    Conclusion: At the end of the book all of the people solve there problems.

    Your final review:
    I love the book Double Dutch!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Great book

    This is a great book we read it in class at the end of the year.looking at the cover i thought it would be really dull and boring but but it turns out it was really good. I recomend this book to EVERYONE!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2013

    B. E. S. T. B. O. O. K. E. V. E. R. :D

    This book was one of the best books ever bc..............well i dont want to give the whole book away so to find out amazing this book was just pay $6 and read it. P.S. i could talk about this book forever and its just going to be how great it is

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Double Dutch

    Thisss Book Iis Amazinggg Wow Best Book Ever So Readd Ittt

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    double dutch

    i think this book was alright because they talked as they were in 5th grade because I'm an 8th grade student and i dont say anything like I was supised that Delia couldn't read and randy was mising a mother and a father and the tolliver started to scare me at first but a the end they ended up big really nice people i dont glad that i read this book but I ambecause this book has its ups and downs in it and so do I in life

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2014

    I love it!!!!

    This book is great...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Good book

    Good book to read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Totally awesome

    I had to read this for summer reading and i thought this was going to be a stupid book but i was wrong i guess the saying never judge a book by its cover is true i recomend this book for kids 11 and up :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Cryvtasll

    Best book ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    C

    Dfnftyg

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Love it

    Love it so much good book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    ?

    This book was boring

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Emos -.-

    Lots of emos in da book xD

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    Great

    Good book. To me, not the best by sharon m draper.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2012

    TERRIBLE!

    TERRIBLE!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Diuble dutc

    The story is great but ive read better books.:) Ithink the book in the beginning is good but you have to think about this and that.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    G ryxdxexrsrxsfgwdn

    Jteecfyvgzvgxesecyhiranjwrke good book xfrshdxhvynufsb five star bgxvctnhcrcg

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Do not get!!

    It doesnt even get good till the end of the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews

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