Super Surprise


This week the kids at the Zigzag Afternoon Center are being creative, and trying new things. But that's not so easy for Destiny. All of her ideas turn into disasters—until she finds out what a good poet she is. 

The sixth book in award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff's Zigzag Kids series captures all the excitement of new friends and after-school fun.

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Super Surprise

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This week the kids at the Zigzag Afternoon Center are being creative, and trying new things. But that's not so easy for Destiny. All of her ideas turn into disasters—until she finds out what a good poet she is. 

The sixth book in award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff's Zigzag Kids series captures all the excitement of new friends and after-school fun.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kristen Kelley
Destiny Washington is a great helper. She helps the lunch lady, and she helps Ms. Katz, her favorite teacher. Destiny struggles with reading though and doesn't think she is a very good thinker. Sometimes she makes mistakes and she gets embarrassed. One day, when she overhears Jake the Sweeper saying "it's time for...Katz to go," she springs into action. She and her best friend, Yolanda, hatch a plan to save Ms. Katz. Through a series of mishaps, Destiny realizes that she is good at writing poems, and that she is, in fact, an excellent thinker. She also learns that her friends still love her even when she makes mistakes, and that all that matters is that she tries her best. A good book for young children who struggle with reading and who feel embarrassed when they make mistakes. The book includes some black and white sketches of the various characters and scenes in the book. Another great book in the "Zigzag Kids" series. Reviewer: Kristen Kelley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385907576
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Series: Afterschool Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 270L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

PATRICIA REILLY GIFF is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Kids of the Polk Street School books. Her novels for older readers include the Newbery Honor books Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods, and Willow Run, a companion to Lily's Crossing. Her most recent books are the novels Storyteller and Wild Girl, and the Zigzag Kids titles, Number One Kid, Big Whopper, Flying Feet, and Star Time.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Destiny Washington raced along the hall. She was on her way to the school library. It was movie time at the Zigzag Afternoon Center. And after that, Ms. Katz, her favorite teacher, had promised a surprise.

But wait.

A sign was tacked up on the wall.

Destiny squinted at the sign. Too bad she wasn’t such a great reader.


“Rrrrrrr . . . ,” she whispered.


No good.

That animal wouldn’t even fit in the school.

She stood on one foot. “That R word is one tough baby,” she said.

Gina came up behind her. “Are you talking to yourself?”

Destiny crossed her fingers. “Just humming.”

Gina pointed to the sign. “I’m going to join right in.”

“Me too,” Destiny said.

Hmmm. Join in what? she wondered.

Gina kept going down the hall.

“Rrrrr . . .” Destiny spelled it out: “R-H-Y-M-E.”

And then she had it. She really did!


She couldn’t believe it. She’d sounded out one of the hardest words in the world.

That was it. They’d all be rainbows next week!

She’d wear her best butterfly bow. It was red and green and orange, her favorite color.

But she had to hurry. The movie would begin any minute.

She rushed down the hall.

She circled Jake the Sweeper. He was peering into the mop closet.

His face was red. “What a mess in here,” he said.

Poor Jake.

Destiny was the last one in the library.

A thousand books covered the shelves. All the seats were taken. There was almost no room.

Her friend Beebe was squashed up in front. Beebe wore round aids in her ears to help her hear.

Sometimes she could even read lips!

In back, Yolanda was sitting on a bench. She moved over to make room for Destiny.

“Thanks!” Destiny slung her backpack underneath the bench.

Ms. Katz smiled at them.

“You’re so lucky, Destiny,” Yolanda said. “Ms. Katz is your classroom teacher. And she’s the librarian for the Afternoon Center, too.”

Destiny nodded. Ms. Katz was the best teacher in the school. Maybe in the whole United States of America.

The movie began. It was about a princess and a witch who locked her in a castle.

“That’s what witches always do,” Yolanda said.

Destiny tried to see.

The other kids’ heads bobbed up and down in front of her.

Along came a godmother. She said:

I’ll get you out. Don’t you worry. I’ll think of something In a hurry.

And that was what happened.

The godmother said:

Hop in bed. Say good night. Hold on tight!

The princess and the bed flew out the window. They landed in a river. They sailed away.


The movie was over. Everyone clapped.

Mitchell whistled. Almost whistled. It was more of a shu-shu sound. He was still working on it.

Ms. Katz snapped up the shades. “Here comes the surprise. Think about the movie. What does it have to do with the sign?”

Rainbows, Destiny thought. Colors!

The princess wore a pink and purple gown.

Yes, that was it.

Outside the library, Destiny saw Jake go by. He was shaking his head.

Mrs. Terrible Thomas, Jake’s cat, went by, too. She wasn’t supposed to come to school. But she liked to sneak in.

Now Destiny was ready for the surprise.

What could it be?

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