The No-Dogs-Allowed Ruleby Kashmira Sheth
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Ishan Mehra wants a dog, but his mother has a rule about dogs. (Guess what it is?) Ishan figures if he’s helpful enough and does enough things right around the house, he can change her mind. Somehow, though, the right things seem to come out all wrong, whether it’s making paratha for breakfast or repainting the hallway!
- Whitman, Albert & Company
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- 1 MB
- Age Range:
- 6 - 8 Years
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The No Dogs Allowed Rule
By Kashmira Sheth
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2012 Kashmira Sheth
All rights reserved.
"Eeeee ... shaaaan," my brother yells.
When Sunil is annoyed, he stretches my name. "I'm riiiiiiight heeeeere," I say.
Sunil frowns. His eyebrows look like two fuzzy caterpillars stuck on his round face.
He points to the Please Knock sign on his door. "Follow the rule."
Sunil's a fourth grader. Maybe in fourth grade they teach you how to turn into a rule-loving super-bore. Yikes! I'm in trouble, because that's where I'll be going next year.
Today I need Sunil's help, so I walk out and close the door. I knock. "Ishan Mehra."
"Arragh!" Sunil says.
I high-five the door open. "Listen," I say.
"Don't want to," Sunil grumbles.
"Fine, don't. But then you can't play with the dog."
He turns over. "We don't have one."
"We'll have a dog soon."
I want a dog as badly as a dog wants a treat. So does Sunil — not the dog treat, just the dog. I think. You never know with Sunil though.
I pull his blanket off. "Don't be a lazy caterpillar in a cocoon. We need to ask for a dog. Now."
Sunil's face scrunches. I can't tell if he's mad or if he can't see me clearly. I hand him his glasses from the nightstand. He puts them on. "Why?"
"Because summer break will start in four weeks, and we've got to get a puppy! Plus this is a long weekend, and Mom isn't on call." Our mom is a doctor and sometimes works on weekends. She takes care of babies: crying babies, pooping babies, sick babies, and us, even though we're not babies.
Sunil sits up on his bed. "What's your plan?"
"To beg and bug Mom and Dad until we get a dog."
"It won't work." He lies back down, pulls up his blanket, and picks up a book.
"Be lazy and stay in your cocoon," I say.
"Hey, you haven't hidden a cocoon in my room, have you? Like you hid that grasshopper?"
"If I hide, I don't tell."
Before he jumps up and grabs me, I dash to my room.
On my door hangs a sign. It's wild and colorful with bugs drawn on it. I tried gluing a real dead Chinese beetle, but it wouldn't stick.
Anyway, on my painting it also says, "Home of Creepy Crawly Slimy Creatures and Ishan."
My name is spelled Ishan and is pronounced E-shan. It's not a weird name and I'm not a weirdo. Even though I was born and live in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I have an Indian name. It's because my parents came from India a long time ago. That's why they gave my brother and me nice Indian names, even though he is a weirdo.
While I change my clothes, I decide to go solo and ask for a dog all by my lonely self. I slide down the banister because that way the steps don't squeak and wake up Mom and Dad. Luckily, I'm the only one who uses the banister, so it's not worn out. Not yet.
I tiptoe past Mom and Dad's room and wander into the kitchen. The stainless-steel container with round laddus is on the island. The sweet laddu is full of almonds and almonds are good for your brain. That's what Mom says. Maybe eating laddu will help me come up with a great dog-getting idea, so I help myself to one.CHAPTER 2
I take a bite of laddu and think.
We have a no-dogs-allowed rule.
It's a no-fair and no-fun rule.
The only way I can get a puppy is if Mom changes the rule. She's the alpha dog of our pack.
It means she's the boss of our family. She bosses Sunil and me. "Pick up your toys," she'll say. "Clean up the table. Take a shower." She even bosses Dad. "Don't forget to get the groceries," and, "You better fix that wobbly chair."
So I decide to cook Mom breakfast to make her happy. Maybe then she'll change her mind.
Mom likes potato-stuffed bread. So I log on to the computer and type paratha.
Many sites pop up. I click on an aloo paratha recipe because aloo means potatoes in Hindi.
First it says:
Boil five medium potatoes
Make dough with whole-wheat flour.
The rest of the recipe is long — like something Sunil would write. He didn't write it. He would never cook because he likes everything sparkly clean. I don't mind messy because I'm an artist.
I stop reading and get going. Usually, I'm not allowed to use the stove unless Mom and Dad are with me. But today is unusually, which means it is not usually. So I think it's okay to use the stove by myself. Plus, Mom and Dad are just around the corner in their room so they're kind of with me. Plus, plus, I'm going to be very careful so there shouldn't be any problem.
I put water in a pot and plop five potatoes in. I turn on the stove.
Then I take a mixing bowl, open the pantry, and dump some flour in the bowl. The whole-wheat flour is the color of my skin. There're three more containers with flour: white, yellow, and dark gray. Mom uses the white one to make naan and the yellow one to make fried pakoras. I don't know what she uses the gray one for, but she must use it for some Indian food.
I dump some of each of them in the mixing bowl, too. That way my parathas will be like the multigrain bread we buy at the store.
Sometimes Mom makes a well in the pile of flour, adds oil, and covers it up. Then she lets me find the oil well. I make a well by scooping some of the flour to the side. The well is deep because it takes a quarter of a bottle of oil to fill up. I don't have time to play today so I don't go looking for the oil well.
I'm responsible like that.
I mix the oil and flour. Some of the mixture spills out, so I dump all of it on the counter.
Still, I can't knead it. The mixture and I are having problems.
When Sunil and I fight, Mom tells us to leave each other alone. So I leave the mixture alone.
I set the table. Mom usually decorates the table with flowers or colorful leaves. She likes to bring nature in. So I head out with the garden scissors.
The driveway is wet and covered with earthworms. I've got to move them before they get crushed under our car. I pick them up, hang ten of them onto my wrists, and drop them in soil. While I'm taking care of the last few of the driveway earthworms, "Boo!" Someone tries to scare me.
She is seven and lives right across from us. Sunil thinks she likes me. Yikes! "When did you sneak up on me?" I ask.
She giggles. There's a big gap in her mouth because she's missing some teeth.
"What're you doing?" she asks.
I pick an earthworm from my wrist and hang it on her wrist. That way she knows what exactly I'm doing.
Her freckled face turns sickly. "Yuck. Take away your stupid, slimy worm!" she screams. She shakes her hand until it drops.
"Earthworms aren't stupid. They're good for the soil," I tell her.
"My uncle is an entomologist. That means he knows all about insects and bugs."
"But you don't."
"I do, too." She sticks out her tongue. Then she runs away.
I cut peonies and hurry back inside before Jenna returns.
I stand the peonies in a watering can and set it on the table. They're so fresh they aren't open yet, and ants are chasing one another up and down the watering can. Mom likes flowers and I like ants. Both are nature.
They make a very lively arrangement.
Click-clank-bang. Mom's up. Yikes!
I poke a fork in one of the potatoes. The potato doesn't bounce back. That means they are done. I turn off the stove.
To cool the potatoes, I drop tons of ice cubes in the pot. Then I mash them.
The fifth step of the recipe says, "Add red pepper, three cloves of crushed garlic, ginger salt, and —"
I open the spice cabinet. It's like a spice zoo! No time to read the labels.
One by one, I open each bottle, hold it upside down over the mashed potatoes, and shake it three times. I take three garlic cloves. I don't know what Mom uses to smash garlic. Sunil's pencil box is sitting on top of his backpack. It's a metal one so it works great. I throw the smooshed garlic into the potatoes.
Phew! Now Sunil's pencil box stinks.
Excerpted from The No Dogs Allowed Rule by Kashmira Sheth. Copyright © 2012 Kashmira Sheth. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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Meet the Author
Kashmira Sheth was born in Bhavanger, Gujart, India, and immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen. Her books for children and young adults include Blue Jasmine, Boys without Names, and The Keeping Corner. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.Carl Pearce lives in north Wales, and he enjoys watching films, reading books, and taking long walks along the beach with his camera. His books for children include The Silence Seeker and How to Save a Dragon.
Kashmira Sheth was born in Bhavanger, Gujart, India, and immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen. Her books for children and young adults include Blue Jasmine, Boys without Names, and The Keeping Corner. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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