Say What?

Say What?

4.2 10
by Margaret Peterson Haddix, James Bernardin
     
 

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Sukie is worried -- her parents are acting strange. When she runs in the house, her dad asks, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" When she eats peas with her fingers, Mom yells, "You'll put an eye out with that thing!"

What is going on? Have her parents been replaced by aliens? Are they robots with broken circuits? She

Overview

Sukie is worried -- her parents are acting strange. When she runs in the house, her dad asks, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" When she eats peas with her fingers, Mom yells, "You'll put an eye out with that thing!"

What is going on? Have her parents been replaced by aliens? Are they robots with broken circuits? She and her older brothers decide to investigate. And what they discover leads to a kids-against-parents WAR!

This very funny book casts a new light on family rules.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Haddix's (the Shadow Children series) middling story introduces a trio of siblings whose parents suddenly begin to respond to their misbehavior with irrelevant platitudes and other non sequiturs instead of reprimands. To get to the bottom of this baffling behavior, the offspring hatch a plan to be naughty on purpose so as to "gather evidence." Their parents' reactions continue to confound them: when Reed leaves grimy handprints on the wall (normally "a big no-no in the Robinson household"), for instance, his father calmly instructs him to eat his vegetables. Readers may find the explanation for the goings-on rather anticlimactic: the parents are following the advice of a magazine article proposing that "children secretly crave rules and order" and will begin paying attention to their parents when the grown-ups utter the wrong thing at the wrong time rather than the oft-repeated rebukes that children expect to hear. When the kids discover the truth, they declare war, turning the parents' own weapon against them. The turnabout generates some mildly amusing dialogue as the children bombard the parents with typical kid patter (e.g., "But Connor's parents let him"; "Sukie started it"), also out of context, but extraneous conversation and description bog down the pace of what is essentially a one-joke tale. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Eat your vegetables!" How many times have you heard (or said) that? But think again, for a moment, how many times you have heard or said that after grubby handprints were placed all over the wall? Something bizarre is definitely going on at the Robinson household, where Sukie, Reed, and Brian live with their parents. The children, who are all under ten years old, have noticed their parents responding to their misbehavior in odd ways, such as telling one child to not talk while his mouth was full after observing him with muddy feet all over the couch! The children stealthily plan to uncover the mystery and do so, in an issue of "New Ways of Parenting." They discover an article stating that children crave rules and order, but to get them to listen, standard parental responses may need to be mixed up for awhile (how funny is this in our day and age of voluminous parenting books).The trio of siblings decides to give the parents a taste of their own medicine, with amusing results. A funny read for children and parents alike; nice for young readers because of the large font and black and white illustrations. Recommended. 2004, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 6 to 10.
—Cindy L. Carolan
Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Siblings Sukie, Reed, and Brian (ages six, seven, and nine) are horrified and a little frightened when their parents respond inappropriately to their misbehavior. Mom and Dad's robotic admonitions are completely unrelated to the misdeeds: Dad tells Sukie not to pick her nose when she drops glitter on the carpet, Mom tells Brian to shut the door when he spills orange juice in the kitchen. Discovering the reason for this weirdness (the adults are following the advice in a magazine article about how to encourage kids to listen to their parents), the siblings get mad and declare war. This breezy sitcom of a story is an easy read with lightly developed characters, funny situations, and brisk pacing. The large font and energetic black-and-white illustrations will be inviting to readers transitioning to chapter books.-Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Something's not right at the Robinson house. Sukie and her big brothers, Brian and Reed, are behaving and misbehaving as any little kids do, but absent are the normal parental admonitions. When Sukie runs with glitter in the house, instead of the expected angry response, her father asks, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" Huh? The kids are confused and wonder if their parents are losing their minds. Even after a hastily convened all-kid meeting, they cannot figure it out. Only after overhearing their parents talking do they understand: their parents are trying out a parenting strategy-and that sets the kids in motion with a counter strategy of their own. Bernardin's detailed pencil drawings catch the mischievous tone perfectly. Humorous situations, familiar parent-speak applied at the funniest times, and a hilarious war of words add up to a pleasant family story for readers who are just ready for chapter books. (Fiction. 6-8)
Booklist
"Lighthearted and humorous, this easy chapter book is made all the more appealing by Bernardin's comical black-and-white illustrations."
BCCB
"The silliness of the surface faffes is undergirded by richer comedy: the grownups trying to parent by the book who are being undone by their savvy kids who have read the same book. While suitible for an early radalone chapter book, this is equally work sharing as a family."
From the Publisher
"This breezy sitcom of a story is an easy read with lightly developed characters, funny situations, and brisk pacing. The large font and energetic black-and-white illustrations will be inviting to readers transitioning to chapter books."

"Lighthearted and humorous, this easy chapter book is made all the more appealing by Bernardin's comical black-and-white illustrations."

"The silliness of the surface faffes is undergirded by richer comedy: the grownups trying to parent by the book who are being undone by their savvy kids who have read the same book. While suitible for an early radalone chapter book, this is equally work sharing as a family."

"Humorous situations, familiar parent-speak applied at the funniest times, and a hilarious war of words add up to a pleasant family story for readers who are just ready for chapter books."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439106754
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
05/11/2010
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
568,012
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Sukie Rose Robinson was running through the living room with a big plastic tub of glitter in each hand.

All right, Sukie knew she was doing something wrong. She was only six years old, but Mom and Dad had already told her at least ten billion times, "No running in the house. This isn't a playground." And they'd told her at least five billion times, "You have to ask before you use glitter. And only at the kitchen table."

But Sukie wasn't trying to be bad. She was just in a hurry. She'd been making tissue-paper flowers in her room, and she'd thought of a cool way to put glitter on all the petals. She didn't have time to hunt up Mom or Dad and ask permission, or to move all her flowers to the kitchen. She had to get the glitter before she forgot her great idea --

Oh, no! Dad saw her!

Busted!

Dad was walking from the kitchen to the family room, a coffee cup in his hand. His eyebrows went up when his eyes met Sukie's. Sukie tried to slow down, to make it look like she'd just been strolling along, no faster than a snail. She tried to hide the tubs of glitter behind her back, real fast. But her shoulders were bent forward, her legs were kicked straight out. It wasn't like she could just stop. She braced herself for the usual, "Sukie! How many times have we told you not to run in the house? And what's that in your hands?"

But instead, Dad frowned at her and said, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?"

Huh?

Confused, Sukie skidded to a halt. The two tubs of glitter crashed into each other behind her back. Sukie tried to hold her hands steady, but the tubs tilted and the lids slipped off. The tops on the individual shakers of glitter inside the tubs must have been loose. Sukie looked over her shoulder and saw a whole waterfall of green and gold and red and purple and orange glitter streaming down to the carpet.

Sukie hunched over. Now Dad was really going to yell. "What do you think you're doing, young lady?" he was going to say. "Why do you have glitter in the living room? Do you know how long it's going to take you to clean that up?"

But Dad didn't yell. Not right away.

Sukie looked up at him, waiting.

Dad was taking a deep breath. Then he looked her straight in the eye and said, "Don't pick your nose. That's a gross habit."

And then he walked on, into the family room, sipping his coffee.

Sukie hadn't been picking her nose. Who would pick their nose with their hands full of glitter?

Sukie stared after Dad. She dropped the tubs of glitter, and even more spilled out on the carpet. Sukie stepped over it and peeked in at Dad in the family room. He was reading the newspaper and drinking his coffee, just like nothing had happened.

Sukie tiptoed back to the living room. She tugged and pulled and shoved the rocking chair over the pile of glitter on the carpet. Then she hid the glitter tubs under the couch. She didn't feel like making glitter-flowers anymore.

This was too weird. What was wrong with Dad?

Copyright © 2004 by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Meet the Author

Margaret Peterson Haddix is the author of many critically and popularly acclaimed YA and middle grade novels, including The Missing series and the Shadow Children series. A graduate of Miami University (of Ohio), she worked for several years as a reporter for The Indianapolis News. She also taught at the Danville (Illinois) Area Community College. She lives with her family in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her at HaddixBooks.com.

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4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some books such as this says it is more liekly for kids form ages 6-10 i have read all of Margaret Peterson Haddix's books and i am 13 i really enjoy the things she writes so i say whatever age you are as long as it interests you, READ IT!!!i love all of her books!
Kelly Thompson More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book. Ive read it three times. very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a cute story. I found myself smiling as I read through. It's a quick read and a fun way to open up the subject parent versus child on behaviors!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*ATTENTION TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DEBATING IN THEIR MIND TO BUY THIS BOOK OR NOT* Look, I've never read this book before, but right now I have been reading the reviews and it seems like a pretty good book. Now, I'm sitting here, my mind sorting out the pros and cons of buying this book. DON'T GET ALL NERDY LIKE ME! JUST BUY THE BOOK AND START READING! DON'T SPEND TIME DEBATING!! If you chose to look at this book, it shows you're interested. Don't look at the reading level...JUST READ!!
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Katharyn Dolan More than 1 year ago
good book never read it but still an awesome book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pagess?