Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet
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Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet

4.8 6
by Andrew Clements, Janet Pedersen

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Mrs. Snavin looked right past all those waving hands. She looked right at me and she smiled and said, "I think I'll have Jake take it." Then Mrs. Snavin said, "but be sure to hurry right back, Jake, because we're going to work on our number-line project, and you have to be my special computer helper, okay?" And I could feel every kid in the class looking at

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Mrs. Snavin looked right past all those waving hands. She looked right at me and she smiled and said, "I think I'll have Jake take it." Then Mrs. Snavin said, "but be sure to hurry right back, Jake, because we're going to work on our number-line project, and you have to be my special computer helper, okay?" And I could feel every kid in the class looking at me. They weren't saying anything. They weren't even whispering. But right then, I heard what they were thinking anyway. They were thinking, teacher's pet.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Jake Drake: Teacher's Pet by Andrew Clements, the third title in this series about an earnest and likable third-grader, Jake's attempts to turn his goody-two-shoes reputation around are aided by the least likely suspects. B&w illustrations by Dolores Avendano liven up the proceedings. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jake Drake is having four horrible days in the third grade. First he helped his teacher on the computer and she labeled him her "special" computer helper. Then his art teacher called him "sweet" in front of the whole class just because he washed some brushes. In P.E. he was first out in every game of dodge ball, but his coach still called him a real trooper. Finally, at lunch when he cleaned up for a friend, the principal made him cafeteria patrol because she thought he was cleaning up after everyone else. All the kids in school think he is a teacher's pet and begin to make fun of him. It's not fair that the teachers give him special treatment. In this book, Jake Drake struggles to prove that he is not a teacher's pet but just a regular kid. Andrew Clements picked a subject that all kids can relate to and treated it with both realism and humor. Jake shows readers that a kid can be good without being a teacher's pet. This is the third in the "Jake Drake" series. 2001, Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster, $3.99. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Heather Robertson
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Jake Drake looks back on the most terrible experience of his third-grade life-the week he was teacher's pet. Readers familiar with the fourth grader will recognize his unintentional progression into the jam. In this case, his helpful suggestion to his computer-illiterate teacher makes him her new star. Within a few hours, he is praised-and worse yet, patted on the head-by his coach, his art teacher, the principal, and even the bus driver. The boy feels the scorn of his schoolmates, and knows he can't survive much longer in the role. He implements a plan to be bad, but it doesn't work; to his credit, he finds it is more difficult than it looks. His second plan-to be direct-is more successful. Jake embodies the average boy who seldom draws attention to himself, but who is quietly observing and tries to do the right thing. He thinks through his dilemmas, and often finds support from his parents and teachers. Avenda-o's expressive pen-and-ink illustrations capture the flavor of the text. With the character building that adults approve of and Jake's realistic voice, this novel is made-to-order for the beginning chapter-book crowd.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the third episode of a series that might as well be dubbed "Jake Drake: Problem Solver," Clements's fourth-grade narrator again looks back at third grade, in particular an uncomfortable week when he became the subject of a little too much teacherly praise. All Jake does is help his math teacher open a computer program, rinse some brushes in Art, sit quietly on the bus and such-but suddenly he's golden, getting all-too-public head pats even from fearsome Principal Karp and Mr. Collins, the gym teacher. Worse yet, Jake's desperate attempts to regain his previous anonymity with rude behavior backfire, making him look even more like a brownnose to his classmates. Fans of Hurwitz's Aldo or Kline's Horrible Harry will feel right at home with this easy middle reader, and if the plotting is more labored than in Clements's stand-alone tales (Frindle, 1996; The Landry News, 1999; etc), his young protagonist shows a winning mix of pride and common sense-plus the courage to share his discomfiture at last with Mrs. Karp. She cleverly gets him off the hook after explaining that the fault lies not with him, but with her and the other grown-ups for not realizing the effects of their preferential treatment. Children aren't the only readers who might learn something from this. (Fiction. 8-10)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Jake Drake Series, #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.30(d)
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Four Bad Days

I'm Jake — Jake Drake. I'm right in the middle of fourth grade. One thing I like about fourth grade is that I'm not in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, or third grade anymore. And I'm not at Miss Lulu's Dainty Diaper Day Care anymore either.

I think fourth grade is my best grade so far. It's so good that I have to think hard to remember anything about it that's bad at all. Like right now? I can only think of one day that wasn't so great. That was the day I thought my teacher Mr. Thompson was being unfair.

It was because of the way he treated Shawn Underwood that day. First of all, Mr. Thompson picked Shawn to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Mr. Thompson let Shawn take the attendance sheets to the office. During math, Mr. Thompson asked Shawn to write the answers on the chalkboard. After morning recess, Mr. Thompson let Shawn pick out the new chapter book for class read-aloud time. And then Mr. Thompson picked Shawn to line up first for lunch.

I know it sounds like I'm making too big a deal out of these things. But it was like Shawn was Mr. Thompson's favorite. It was like Shawn was the teacher's pet. And that's not fair.

Turns out I was wrong about Shawn, though. After lunch that day, Mr. Thompson said, "I have some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that at the end of the day we're going to have a party with cake and ice cream. But the bad news is that it's a going-away party for Shawn. Tomorrow Shawn is moving to another state, and we're all going to miss him a lot."

Mr. Thompson was being extra nice to Shawn because it was his last day. So Shawn wasn't really the teacher's pet. And I was glad because I liked Shawn, and being the teacher's pet is one of the worst things that can happen to a kid at school.

You know what stinks about being a teacher's pet? Everything, that's what.

I know this for sure because of what happened last May, right near the end of third grade. It all happened in four days — less than a week. But to me, those four days felt like four years. Because for those four days, I was in great danger.

I was in danger of losing my friends. I was in danger of losing my reputation. I was in danger of losing...my mind.

Because that was the time I became Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet.

When I was in third grade, we got five new computers in our classroom. Mrs. Snavin was my third-grade teacher, and she acted like computers were scary, especially the new ones. She always needed to look at a how-to book and the computer at the same time. Even then, she got mixed up a lot. Then she had to call Mrs. Reed, the librarian, to come and show her what to do.

So it was a Monday morning in May, and Mrs. Snavin was sitting in front of a new computer at the back of the room. She was confused about a program we were supposed to use for a math project. My desk was near the computers, and I was watching her.

Mrs. Snavin looked at the screen, and then she looked at this book, and then back at the screen again. Then she shook her head and let out this big sigh. I could tell she was almost ready to call Mrs. Reed.

I've always liked computers, and I know how to do some stuff with them. Like turn them on and open programs, play games and type, make drawings, and build Web pages — things like that. So I got up from my desk, pointed at the screen, and said, "Mrs. Snavin, if you double-click on that little thing right there, then the program will start running. And then you click on this, and that opens up the part about number lines."

So Mrs. Snavin did what I told her to and the program started running. Because that's the way it works and anybody knows that. Except Mrs. Snavin.

When the program started playing this stupid music, Mrs. Snavin smiled this huge smile at me and said, "Jake, you're wonderful!" And she said it too loud. Way too loud.

She said it so loud that every kid in the classroom stopped and turned to look at us, just in time to see Mrs. Snavin pat me on the top of my head like I was a nice little poodle or something. An embarrassed poodle with a bright red face.

So I mumbled something like, "Oh, it was nothing." Which was a mistake.

Because right away she said, "But you're wrong, Jake. I get so mixed up when I work with these new computers. And to think that all along I've had such a wonderful expert right here in my classroom, and I didn't even know it! From now on you're going to be my special computer helper!"

I sat down fast before she could pat me on the head again. But the worst part hadn't happened yet. Because Mrs. Snavin walked to the front of the room and said, "Class, if any of you has trouble with the computers during math time this afternoon, just ask Jake what to do. He's my special computer helper!"

By this time, my face was so red that I felt my ears start to get hot. I kept my eyes on my desk but even so, I knew everyone in the room was looking at me. And I was just waiting for someone to start making fun of me, especially the kids who know tons more about computers than I do. Like Ben. Or Shelley Orcut. She's the biggest computer brain in our whole school.

But just then the first period bell rang and it was time to go to art class. So I was saved by the bell.

Miss Cott's room was a big mess that morning. That's probably why I've always liked the art room so much. It's the one place at school where you don't have to worry about neatness. Or spilling stuff. Or getting everything done in a hurry.

The first thing we did in art class was put on our giant shirts. They're supposed to keep paint and glue and junk off our clothes. I put on an old blue shirt of my dad's. The other kids put on their giant shirts too, so we all looked like our legs had shrunk. Which is another fun thing about art class.

So on that Monday I went to work at an easel near the windows. We were supposed to be making pictures for Mother's Day.

I was about half done with my painting when I decided I needed a smaller brush. So I went to the big sink to get one. About fifteen or twenty brushes were sticking out of a bucket full of brownish greenish yellowish water. I grabbed a handful of brushes and looked for one that was the right size. Then I felt someone come up behind me. So I hurried up and rinsed off all the brushes under the faucet, took the one I wanted, and stuck the rest on the rack above the sink.

I looked behind me, and Miss Cott was standing there. She had this goofy look on her face, and her head was tilted to one side, and she was smiling. At me.

"Jake! That is the sweetest thing anybody has done in this room all week!" Which didn't make sense since it was only Monday morning and there hadn't been much of a week yet. But I guess that didn't matter to Miss Cott.

I gave this lame little smile and said, "I...I need a smaller brush so I can finish..."

Miss Cott said, "And instead of working to finish your picture, you've stopped to help clean up the brushes! That is so sweet!" By then, the whole class was watching us, and I was wishing that Miss Cott would stop saying "sweet" like that.

But Miss Cott wasn't done. She turned to all the kids in my class and said, "If all of you would be as sweet as Jake is and help clean up a little, then maybe this room wouldn't be such a mess all the time. Thank you so much, Jake!"

And as she said that, Miss Cott patted me on the head.

I took my small brush and hurried back to my easel. I started working on my picture again, trying not to feel so embarrassed.

Then I heard Ben whisper something to Mark. In addition to being great with computers, Ben Grumson was probably the meanest kid in my third-grade class. So he whispered extra loud so I'd be sure to hear him. "Hey Mark, don't you think Jake is just about perfect? He's so sweet!" I pretended not to hear, but I know my face turned redder and redder.

After art, we went back to our classroom for reading and social studies and nothing much happened.

Then right before lunch, we had gym class. Mr. Collins was having one of his tough-guy days. You can tell when Mr. Collins is having a tough-guy day because on tough-guy days, he calls all the boys and girls "troops."

After the bell rang, Mr. Collins blew his whistle and shouted, "Okay, troops, listen up. Get in a straight line here at the middle of the court. Come on, troops, look alive! Today we're going to play...dodgeball!"

Half the class groaned, and the other half cheered. The kids who always get whomped by that fat, red ball groaned, and the kids who are great at throwing and catching cheered. I was one of the kids who groaned. For me, dodgeball means trying to stay alive.

Mr. Collins clapped his hands. "All right, troops! Everyone whose last name starts with A through L, over to the far side of the court. M through Z, over here behind me. Let's hustle! Go, go, go!"

Mr. Collins started the game by rolling the ball along the black line down the middle of the gym. Glen Purdy ran out and grabbed the ball for the other team.

There's something...weird about dodgeball. I don't know why it brings out the worst in some kids, but it does. Take Glen Purdy, for example. In real life, Glen is a pretty good kid. He's friendly, he's a good partner in math or reading, and he's good to have on your side in a basketball game because he's so tall.

But when a game of dodgeball starts up, all of a sudden this nice guy turns into a beast. And his arms are so long that when Glen throws that fat, red ball, it's like it was shot from a cannon.

So Glen had the ball, and right away, our whole team backed all the way against the wall. We knew that Glen was going to whomp someone. And he did.

Me. Right on the shoulder.

It took only about four minutes for the rest of my team to get knocked out, and then Mr. Collins clapped his hands and said, "Let's go, troops, another round, and this time it's a two-ball game."

And he rolled both balls along the black center line.

Which meant that now it was possible for some kid to get whomped with two fat, red balls at the same time. And that's what happened. To me. On the first throw. Again. I got one ball on the ankle and one ball in the stomach.

Here's what the next four games of dodgeball were like for me that day: WHOMP! WHOMP! WHOMP! WHOMP! Six games of dodgeball, and I was the first kid to get knocked out in every one of them.

But did I ask if I could go to the nurse when the third WHOMP knocked me down and I skinned my knee? No. And did I ask if I could lie down on the mats when the fifth WHOMP got me right on the head and made me see little rainbows all over the place? No. How come? Maybe because I was being stupid. But it's probably because I'm not that big so even if I get hurt sometimes, I don't want anybody to think I'm a quitter.

Anyway, I was so glad when that gym class was finally over that I was the first in line at the door to be dismissed for lunch.

Mr. Collins came over to the doorway. He gave a blast on his whistle to quiet everyone down. Then he said, "Listen up, troops. You all played great today. Good job. But the Player of the Day, maybe the Player of the Month Award goes to a special guy. Did everyone see who took the first hit in every game today? Did that person complain? No. Did he whine and groan? No. Why? Because he's a real trooper, that's why. Jake Drake here deserves my Gym Class Medal of Honor, and you can all take some lessons from him on how to be a good sport. All right, troops — Dismissed!"

And of course, as Mr. Collins was talking about me, what was he doing? He was patting me on the head. And as he was talking, I was looking at the other kids, and I could tell they didn't think I should be getting all this attention just because I stink at dodgeball.

Standing there at the door of the gym with Mr. Collins patting me on the head, I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Because Monday was only half over, and I was already well on my way to becoming the most unpopular kid in the history of Despres Elementary School.

Copyright © 2001 by Andrew Clements

Meet the Author

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.

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