Hobie Hanson, You're Weirdby Jamie Gilson, Elise Primavera (Illustrator)
What I did last summer. Nothing.
The end." Or is it?
Hobie just knows this will ge his most boring summer ever. His best friend's at camp, and pesky Molly Bosco keeps popping up. It's not so bad when Hobie and Molly win a pie-eating contest together. But when a picture of Molly kissing Hobie winds up on the front page of the paper, summer's turning weird, very
What I did last summer. Nothing.
The end." Or is it?
Hobie just knows this will ge his most boring summer ever. His best friend's at camp, and pesky Molly Bosco keeps popping up. It's not so bad when Hobie and Molly win a pie-eating contest together. But when a picture of Molly kissing Hobie winds up on the front page of the paper, summer's turning weird, very weird.
Read an Excerpt
Good-for-Nothing Kid"Jingle bells, Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg.
The Batmobile lost a wheel and . . .
Um, um, um-um-um," Toby hummed. "What comes next?" he asked us. Toby is Nick Roses four-year-old brother, and he asks a lot of questions, Nick and I didn't answer.
A lot of times we don't answer. This time we weren't about to becausewe'd just stomped out of Nick's house, mad. Toby had stomped after us, hugging his new green-and-white-striped beach ball with yellow stars on it.
"'Jingle bells, Batman smells . . . '" he started again, aiming the ball at Nick's head.
I won't go!" Nick yelled at the house. "You can't make me," he told his dad, who couldn't hear him. Catching the ball before it punched his nose, he drop-kicked it with a blast so hard it cleared the chimney. I was impressed. Being mad makes you strong, but I was impressed, anyway.
Toby watched the ball fly and ran to fetch it.
"If you don't want to go, get your dad to send me instead," I told Nick. I mean, I went to camp once for two nights and I didn't die, so I could just go and suffer in his place. What are friends for? Nick and I have lived next door to each other practically always, since all we did was drool and chew on the tails of rubber ducks. Almost ten, years. "Hey, it sounds like a barrel of monkeys to me."
"Barrel of monkeys! More like a sack of skunks. Did you see this stuff about Mighty Byte Camp?" He waved the folder at me. "Imean, computers, math, and weight lifting for six weeks! That's sick. It'salso practically the whole summer."
"Not just weight lifting. They've got canoes, too,". I said, trying to cheer him up.
,"Sure, and you know. what else?" Flapping the folder open, he read, "'Cindy says she, loved programming her P.C. and then paddling on, our lovely lagoon. Cindy says Mighty Byte was the most fun time she's ever had!" He tossed the folder into the bushes. "What else they've got is girls."
"Yuck," I agreed.
"Yuck," Toby said behind us. "The ball's stuck, Nick. You got to get it down."
Nick ignored him. "Besides, you and I were going to mow lawns and coin a bundle this summer. "His shoulders sagged. He shook his head like he was sunk, like he knew he'd be marooned in a canoe with Cindy every sweaty afternoon hours of inputting pre-algebra. "You know, my dad is practically bonkers, sending me prison like Mighty Byte. Maybe he should shrink.
Your dad should see a shrink? What about mine? He gets these crazy ideas, like I'm a science experiment."
Toby started to. yowl. He does that sometimes when we don't listen to him. His yowl isn't as bad as his bite, though, so we went with him to find out where the ball had landed.
The windows were open because it was June and sunny and warm, so we could still hear the argument going on inside Nicks house. His dad and my dad were having it out. They're good friends like Nick and me, but you'd never know it when they talk about summer and kids. We'd heard it all before, with different words, but we listened, anyway, thinking maybe this time the fight would end up happy.
"Roger, you are a dinosaur," Nick's dad told my dad. "You are mired in the past."
"Yeah," I said to Nick. "A dinosaur."
"Listen, I happen to know what's right for my son. You are making a robot out of your kid." My dad boomed so loud, the blue jays flapped off the big bird feeder that looks like Saturn. "We have to let kids have a childhood!" he yelled as the birds flew.
See, my dad has this theory that kids don't have time to be kids anymore because they're programmed by their parents and teachers to do stuff all the time. So what he wanted me to do all summer was -- nothing!
"Orders. I personally am sick of taking orders," he'd tell me. "They yell, 'Roger, send the tow truck. Roger, fix the bashed fender. Roger, make this wreck look, likeit just drove out of the showroom. Roger, do it now!' Listen, I wish I could just fool around like Tom Sawyer. You and I could do some things together. Go backpacking over a long weekend. Your mother, too. What d'you think? I wish I was nine years old." Then he'd sigh, a long, deep sigh.
"I'm almost ten," I'd tell him, but he wouldn't listen.Anyway, I wasn't sure how to fool around like Tom Sawyer. So I checked the book out. I even made a list.
- Things Tom Sawyer did:
*Flung dead cats in graveyards
*Conned some kids into whitewashing a fence
*Kissed a girl on purpose
*Found a sack of gold worth $ 12, 000
*Lifted his teacher's wig with a cat's claws onthe last day of school.
Now, some of that sounded pretty good to me, but Mr. Star, our teacher, doesn't wear a wig. Also, I don't come across a lot of dead cats. I'd gone to a graveyard at midnight once, but it wasn't much fun. Catching flies is OK. So is fishing, but not every day. As for kissing a girl on purpose, the people on TV clearly like it, but it seems dumb to me.
Somehow the summer Dad and Mom had in mind for me didn't sound like dead cats and gold. And I wasn't exactly going to be doing nothing, either.Hobie Hanson, You're Weird. Copyright � by Jamie Gilson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Jamie Gilson has written sixteen books, all of them about children, most of them about children in school. And the elementary school where she gets many of her ideas is Central, which all three Gilson children attended. While Tom and Anne are now lawyers and Matthew a photographer, their mother still goes to Central School classes, notebook in hand, looking for stories.
She describes Central's cafeteria in Do Bananas Chew Gum?, its Spit Pit in Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub, and the contents of some of its fourth grade desks in Hobie Hanson, You're Weird. Central students have taught her how to sing "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," how to chew a mint so it sparks in the dark, and how to play soccer on a field of mud.
She spent two weeks with the whole fifth grade class while, in a kind of total immersion, they studied the Western Movement. On the first day the boys and girls found out who they'd be married to for those two weeks. Then they took pioneer identities, joined a wagon train, chose supplies, decided whether to cross a rushing river at midnight, made pumpkin butter, dipped candles, and built mock fires with fake buffalo chips. They had a wonderful timemostly. Jamie wrote a book about it: Wagon Train 911.
"It's true, though," she says, "that while Central is very special to me, every school is brimming with rich stories. I talk with children all over the country about my writing, and the one question they always ask is, 'Witt you put us in a book?' If I were there tong enough, I expect I could."
Jamie Gilson's professional life has always involved writing and communications. Formerly a teacher of junior high school speech and English, she was a staff writer and producer for Chicago Board of Education radio station WBEZ, a writer of Encyclopaedia Brittanica films, and continuity director for fine arts radio station WFMT. She was, for ten years, a monthly columnist for Chicago magazine.
Born in Beardstown, Illinois, Jamie Gilson spent her early years in small towns in Illinois and Missouri where her father worked as a flour miller. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Speech, she married Jerome Gilson, then a law student and now a trademark lawyer. They live within sight and sound of Lake Michigan in a suburb of Chicago.
Elise Primavera has, like Ivy, suffered her fair share of jinxes in life and has found it helpful, like Cat, to consult the I Ching before making any important decisions. She often feels, like Pru, that the safest place in this danger-filled world is under a quilt with a good book. As Franny dreams of doing, she has made her mark in the world—but as a writer and illustrator of children's books and not as an explorer in the mold of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Among her many books are the national bestselling Auntie Claus and its sequel. This is her first novel, but it won't be her last, because like Hieronymus Gumm, she always likes to have the last word and is hard at work on another book about the Gumm Street Girls.
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