I Know Who Likes You

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Newly appointed Little League team manager Ernie fears it's the end of the Central Comets when Swimming Pool's mom gives her an ultimatum: go to charm school, or no more Little League. Swimming Pool, the tomboy -- in charm school? That's a stretch. And no matter how hard she tries, she can't seem to get the hang of acting like a "girlie-girl." To make matters worse, Ernie's dad is dating Cat Lady, and Ernie's teammates think it's a big joke. But just when it seems like all is lost, Ernie comes up with a plan -- ...
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Newly appointed Little League team manager Ernie fears it's the end of the Central Comets when Swimming Pool's mom gives her an ultimatum: go to charm school, or no more Little League. Swimming Pool, the tomboy -- in charm school? That's a stretch. And no matter how hard she tries, she can't seem to get the hang of acting like a "girlie-girl." To make matters worse, Ernie's dad is dating Cat Lady, and Ernie's teammates think it's a big joke. But just when it seems like all is lost, Ernie comes up with a plan -- he'll enlist Dusty and open his own charm school. Now if he can only figure out who left him the note that says, "I know who likes you." Doug Cooney brings back the wonderfully original characters from The Beloved Dearly in this very funny look at kids in the process of growing up.

When Swimming Pool's mother insists she graduate from charm school or give up baseball, Ernie, who is the reluctant team manager, and Dusty, the catcher, pull together to help the team and their friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Doug Cooney's grade-school grifters are back in I Know Who Likes You, a follow-up to The Beloved Dearly. When Swimming Pool gets kicked out of Miss Ginger's School of Tap & Tumbling, Ernie and Dusty start their own finishing school so Swimming Pool's mother won't make her quit the baseball team ("I have to be a nice, sweet girlie-girl for my mom," says Swimming Pool). Readers will likely relate to the minor crises, shifting alliances and sneaky ploys that pepper the book. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
It is not looking good for the Comets when their star pitcher, Swimming Pool, is given an ultimatum by her mother: no more baseball until she graduates from charm school. Team manager Ernie and clumsy catcher Dusty go ahead with their plans to renovate the dilapidated ballpark, but nothing is the same without Swimming Pool, who is predictably a disruptive influence at charm school, where Miss Ginger fails to appreciate her burping contest and wrong gloves: an outfielder's glove on her left hand and a catcher's mitt on her right. Moreover, Ernie's widowed dad is dating Cat Lady, and someone has left Ernie a mysterious glitter note reporting "I know who likes you," and everyone thinks it's Swimming Pool. . . . The story is fairly desultory in pace, and sometimes Cooney tries too hard for outrageous eccentricity: could even Swimming Pool really think those gloves would be acceptable to prim and proper Miss Ginger? And why do so many authors take a shortcut to creating character by employing outlandish names? But once Ernie and Dusty decide to form their own charm school to ensure successful graduation for Swimming Pool, rollicking fun abounds, especially starring Fred, a big red plastic lobster who doubles as a hall pass and instructor of classroom (and charm school) etiquette, and who unexpectedly turns up in all the wrong (and right) places. Cooney has a fresh, funny voice and unerring ear for humorous dialogue. Young readers will be charmed by this charm school. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Ages 8 to 12.
—Claudia Mills
Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Ernie, Dusty, and Swimming Pool, the gang from The Beloved Dearly (S & S, 2002), are back. A hopeless baseball player, Ernie shows his true nature when he appoints himself manager of the Little League team. Although he is a little cloudy on exactly what his duties are, he knows he gets to run the show, which is what he does best. He assigns a reluctant Dusty to paint the sadly neglected wall of the ballpark. Swimming Pool is the team's star, but her mother has threatened to make her quit if she doesn't go to charm school. The girl tries hard at Miss Ginger's school, but flunks out. Ernie then decides to go into the charm school business to ensure Swimming Pool a diploma and a spot on the baseball team. In this world, adults remain on the periphery-much as children see them in real life-and are not fully developed. In contrast, readers get to know the three main characters very well. The book has a well-balanced mix of description and realistic dialogue. Although it would help to have read the earlier title, where more about the characters is revealed, including the origin of Swimming Pool's name, this enjoyable novel can certainly stand on its own.-Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this amiable, and considerably superior, sequel to The Beloved Dearly (2002), friends fall apart, then draw back together in school, on the baseball field-and in charm school. Socked with a series of whammies, from a fly ball in the face to an anonymous love note in his backpack, from the news that the Central Comets' star pitcher Swimming Pool is off the team unless she can pass a charm school course, to the sight of his widowed dad dancing in the living room with the Cat Lady from down the street, self-appointed team manager Ernie has a lot on his plate. Fortunately, he also has smarts, a generous measure of common sense, and a world-class gift of gab-all of which is stretched to the limit when Swimming Pool, despite good intentions, flunks out. Climaxed by a dazzlingly ingenious costume party and played out by a cast of teasing, but never mean-spirited preteens, plus a few grownups who actually have a clue, this mild but relentless farce will keep young readers solidly entertained from first page to last. (Fiction. 10-12)
From the Publisher
Bruce Coville I loved Doug Cooney's The Beloved Dearly, which was one of the freshest, funniest books I had read in years. I Know Who Likes You is just as delightful, a delicious romp that had me laughing out loud as I raced through its pages. Ernie, Swimming Pool, and Dusty are terrific characters, and it was great to see them back in action. Doug has a knack for portraying kids who are real but quirky, creating a kind of contemporary Our Gang that any red-blooded kid would be thrilled to hang out with.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781417743117
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 217

Meet the Author

Doug Cooney is the author of the middle-grade novels The
Beloved Dearly
and I Know Who Likes You. His musical
adaptation of George Saunders's The Very Persistent Gappers of
recently premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles,
produced by the Mark Taper Forum P.L.A.Y. Cooney also teaches songwriting
and collaboration for Voices Within, an educational outreach program of
the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He divides his time between Los Angeles
and South Florida. You can visit him at www.dougcooney.com.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE: The Old Ball Game

Ernie had been totally bamboozled.

In his wildest dreams, Ernie never saw himself standing under the sweltering sun in the far right outfield of the old ballpark during the bottom of the eighth inning in a standoff between the Central Comets and the Bayside Bulldogs. Ernie was absolutely miserable.

"I don't even like baseball!" Ernie hollered to no one in particular. "I got no business in baseball!"

Normally kids in the outfield are happy to make the most of their isolated post by peppering the air with lame jokes like "Betty Crocker makes a better batter!" Some kids bleat "Naaaaah!" like sheep in a pasture. Other kids wag their hips to a chant of "hey-batter, batter-batter-batter, swwiiiing!"

Ernie didn't do any of that. Ernie just yelled whatever was on his mind and stomped in the grass to the beat of his own sulk. "Baseball is boring," he wailed. "Boring, boring — OW!" A salty drop of sweat caught Ernie in the eye and he winced in pain. "Great!" Ernie bellowed, sending a growl across the outfield. "Now I'm sweating! And I now got an itch!" He used his glove to scratch his rump.

It is hard to believe but Ernie had recently become the new and self-appointed team manager for the Central Comets. His father, Red, came up with the idea while they were hogging a booth in a pizza joint on the way home from a movie.

"Come on, Ernie, admit it," Red said. "It's the perfect position to take advantage of your natural-born tendency to want to run the whole show!"

"Team manager?" asked Ernie, somewhat skeptical.

"Gotta a nice ring, don't it?" Red urged, reaching for another slice of pizza.

"Yeah, but," Ernie hedged, "I don't exactly like baseball very much. And I'm not very good at it either."

"Who cares!" said Red. He jabbed his pizza slice at Ernie to deliver the payoff punch. "You won't get near the baseball! You'll be team manager!"

"Team manager," Ernie repeated once more, imitating his father's enthusiasm. Ernie had to agree. It had a nice ring.

Not everyone was so enthusiastic about the idea. Kip, team captain for the Comets, wasn't exactly thrilled when Ernie suddenly showed up at practice to announce, "I'm team manager because my father says I get to be team manager and if I can't be team manager, I'm going home."

"Team manager?" Kip groused at the time. "Never had a 'team manager.'" He glanced at the other Comets on the field and scratched his head. "What's a team manager anyway?" he asked.

No one seemed to know the answer to that question. Nothing in the league rulebook addressed the subject of team managers. In fact, none of the grown-ups that comprised the Comets' rotating roster of coaches, chauffeurs, chaperones, and umpires had any experience with team managers at all.

"Now wait a minute," said Mrs. Morgenstern, who happened to be team coach that week, "I do seem to recall something about team managers but I remember it said team managers also have to play on the field." She placed a hand on Ernie's back and pushed him onto the baseball diamond.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Ernie protested but Mrs. Morgenstern had already chucked him a glove from the equipment duffel. "Do you want to be team manager or not?" she queried, with a look that expected to be obeyed. Ernie was backed into a corner. Just like that, Ernie's baseball career had begun.

As Ernie walked onto the field, all the Comets groaned. "Hey," Mrs. Morgenstern barked, "don't give me that! Are we going to play ball or not?"

The Comets deferred to Kip, the team captain, for an answer to that question. Kip kicked at the dirt. "Let's play ball!" he yelled, but it wasn't a happy moment. For quite some time, Kip and several other Comets had suspected that Mrs. Morgenstern made up the rules as she went along but so far no one had mustered the nerve to confront her or complain.

Later that afternoon, when Kip and several key Comets reconvened in the dugout to rehash the blow-by-blow of Ernie's unexpected arrival on their team, they agreed on two points: (1) Mrs. Morgenstern knew nothing about baseball; and (2) Ernie knew even less.

It was true. Ernie was hopeless at the game. He couldn't throw and he couldn't catch. Nobody actually said that Ernie "threw like a girl" — the Comets knew better than to say that — but Ernie certainly didn't throw the ball like he wanted it to go anywhere. When it came time to catch, Ernie would raise his glove into the air to offer a target and let the balls go whizzing past. He didn't even make an effort.

"He can't throw! Can't catch! He doesn't know the first thing about baseball!" Kip cried in desperation. Nobody argued the point. It took very little discussion for Kip and the Comets to decide to place Ernie in Outer Mongolia. That was their nickname for the far right outfield.

"Outer Mongolia, perfect!" said Kip. "The ball never goes there!" The Comets nodded conspiratorially in agreement. A kid could grow old in the outfield and never see the ball. They didn't feel particularly good about sending any kid to Outer Mongolia but they comforted themselves that it was for the good of the team.

"It's settled then," said Kip. "Bye-bye Ernie! Hello Outer Mongolia! We'll never hear from that kid again!"

Unfortunately, the Comets had overlooked one thing. Ernie was loud.

"What am I doing here?" Ernie bellowed from the outfield. His voice was getting a little hoarse because he'd been hollering the whole game. "I can't throw! I can't catch! I don't know the first thing about baseball!"

"That's what you're doing in Outer Mongolia!" cracked Ronjon, the kid at shortstop, and he said it loud enough for Ernie to hear. A lot of Comets snickered and laughed. Ronjon was always making wisecracks like that.

"Ugh!" Ernie barked indignantly from the distance. He tugged off his glove to wipe his forehead on his sleeve but ended up whacking himself with the glove. In the process, his baseball cap flew off his head and landed a few feet away. Ernie groaned in exasperation and began sputtering under his breath about his seemingly endless deficiencies as a ball player. "I don't even look like a ball player!"

That was true. Ernie's uniform was too big and his glove was too small. He had to cinch the pants at the waist and the sleeves hung halfway down his arms. It looked as if Ernie were wearing his pajamas. To make matters worse, there was the issue of Ernie's cleats.

Ernie couldn't run in cleats. Whenever he tried, his cleats stuck in the dirt and Ernie fell flat on his face in the grass. It was like throwing beanbags at sitting ducks during the school carnival — one moment there, next moment gone. The sight was pathetic of course, whenever Ernie tripped over his own feet and fell smack to the ground, but it had happened so often that it was also getting to be really hysterical. To the Comets, it was comic relief.

And sure enough, the trick with the cleats is precisely what happened when Ernie trotted to retrieve his baseball cap. Still grumbling under his breath, Ernie took three steps, stumbled over his own feet, and dropped like a ton of bricks.

"There he goes!" hooted Ronjon, pointing at the outfield. "Now you see him, now you don't!" The Comets all laughed.

It was bad enough being stuck in the sweltering sun with no place to go and nothing to do. Ernie had suffered enough. He pushed himself to his feet, snatched his cap from the grass and whacked it against his leg.

"I can't take it anymore!" he hollered. "I'm supposed to be treated with respect! I'm supposed to be team manager! I'm supposed to be in an office with air-conditioning or something! I'm not supposed to be stuck in the field, itching and sweating and losing my mind!"

Ernie paused to see if his tantrum was having any effect. To the contrary, no one was listening. Kip caught a pop fly to first base. Another batter struck out and headed for the dugout, and the outfield and infield came in, anticipating a bunt. The game was going on entirely without Ernie. No one was listening to Ernie at all.

Ernie grunted with dissatisfaction. "We'll see about that," he muttered. He lifted his glove like a megaphone, took a deep breath and began to bellow as loud as he could.

"Swimming Pool!" he cried over and over until it became a chant. "Swim-ming Pool, Swim-ming Pool!"

Copyright © 2004 by Doug Cooney

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Table of Contents

1. The Old Ball Game 1
2. Something of a Star 7
3. One Beautiful Shiner 16
4. Some Big Weird Thing 26
5. Another Ding-Dang Dress 40
6. Tuna Surprise 46
7. Life of the Party 57
8. Excuse Me 66
9. Last One Left 74
10. The Moose Lodge 81
11. Five O'Clock Shadow 90
12. The Wrong Gloves 100
13. My Favorite Book 109
14. Good Morning 120
15. Meow 131
16. Victory Lap 142
17. Like, But Not Like 160
18. The Rules of Fred 169
19. Ten Easy Lessons 180
20. The Brainiac Ball 191
21. Home and Away 202
Rules of Fred 215
Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe 216
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is a good book for those of you who like fun neighborhood kids books. The book is based a lot around Swimming Pool and Ernie and I thought it was a quite an amusing book. You also learn a bit more about Cat Lady. I'd read The Beloved Dearly before this book, because it'll give you more background on the characters that you'll get to know and adore.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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