After wacky third grader Hazy Bloom starts seeing visions of things that will happen one day in the future, she hopes her "tomorrow power" will help her get the pet she's always dreamed of in Hazy Bloom and the Pet Project, a hilarious chapter book by Jennifer Hamburg with illustrations by Jenn Harney.
It's the annual Third Grade Leadership Challenge, where each third-grade class plans and hosts a fundraiser. Hazel "Hazy" Bloom, however, has other things on her mindlike proving to her parents she’s responsible enough to get a pet iguana. But when Hazy's "tomorrow power"her ability to see visual clues about things that will happen one day in the futuremistakenly causes her to have a brilliant idea for a Pet Day fundraiser, her classmates put her in charge. Hazy's annoyed, until she realizes that if she helps the class win, her parents will finally see that she's responsible enough to get the iguana she's dreaming of. Soon, Hazy’s determined to make sure her team ends up on topbut it’s not so easy when her tomorrow visions keep throwing her plans into disarray!
About the Author
Jennifer Hamburg is an Emmy-winning children’s television writer who has written for hit shows such as Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Super Why! She is the author of several picture books, including A Moose that Says Moo, and lives with her family in Houston, Texas.
Jenn Harney is an illustrator and toy designer whose work has been featured in Highlights for Children magazine. Jenn lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband, her daughter, a dog named Steve, and a fish with nine lives.
Read an Excerpt
My name is Hazy Bloom, and I can see tomorrow. Not next year, not two weeks from now, tomorrow. Here's how it works: I will be enjoying my day, doing something totally normal, like counting toilet-paper squares, or searching for alien life, or trying to make my own toothpaste, when all of a sudden a "tomorrow vision" will flash into my head of something that's going to happen the next day. Sometimes the vision is crystal clear, and other times it's, well, hazy (ha!). Either way, it's up to me to figure out what the vision means. The good news is, I always get it right.
Well, except for the time I turned around all the desks in my classroom as a prank because I was sure we were having a substitute (we weren't). And that other time I snuck out of science lab because I was positive a wagon full of raw eggs was about to plow into a ticket booth (it didn't). Then there was the whole Spring Spectacular catastrophe, where I ruined an acrobatic show in front of the entire school ...
Okay, fine. I'm not always right. See, my tomorrow power is pretty new. I'm still trying to figure out how it works, how I got it in the first place, and whether I'll be getting any other powers soon, such as dolphin translation or invisibility, which would come in very handy in gym class when we are forced to do push-ups. The point is, I'm getting a new iguana.
Let me back up a bit. It all started this morning, when Elizabeth and I arrived at the school office. Elizabeth Almeida is my BFSB (best friend since birth) and my official "tomorrow power sidekick," which is a job she gave herself but I completely agreed to. Whenever I get a tomorrow vision, Elizabeth is the first to know (besides me, of course). Then she helps me figure out if the vision is about something good (sometimes), bad (most of the time), or wonderful (pretty much never). The point is, if you ever end up with a superpower and need a sidekick, well, you can't call Elizabeth. Because she works with me. Also, I just like having her around because, as my best friend, she's funny, smart, and basically the nicest person in the whole world.
She's also a teensy bit bossy.
See, Elizabeth gets a little intense when we have something important to do. And this morning, the two of us had been picked to do the morning announcements at school. As far as Elizabeth was concerned, that was right up there with becoming president or discovering a new planet or holding the door open on the way to recess. In other words, very important.
"Girls, this is so exciting!" That was our teacher, Mrs. Agnes. She obviously thought this was important, too, the way she was darting back and forth like we were about to go on national television instead of our school video monitor. "Are you ready? Are you nervous? Do you have everything?"
Elizabeth waved two pieces of paper in her hand. "Everything's right here!" Mrs. Agnes didn't have to worry. Elizabeth was ready. She handed me my paper, which looked like a movie script. It had carefully highlighted lines, some with ELIZABETH in front and others with HAZEL (my real name) in front. I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot more ELIZABETHs than HAZELs. But that was fine with me. She's the performer. I'm the secret superhero.
"Okay, this is it! Places, please!" Mrs. Agnes squealed.
Elizabeth smoothed her shirt and checked that we were standing behind the white line marked on the floor (she was; I was not). Then she nodded professionally to Mrs. Agnes, who pushed a button on the side of the camera. It started blinking.
"It's on!" Mrs. Agnes cried for the whole school to hear as an image of Elizabeth and me flashed onto the video monitors in every classroom. Elizabeth was smiling pleasantly into the camera. She looked happy, comfortable, and confident.
I looked like I was trying to remember when I had last gone to the bathroom.
Mrs. Agnes pointed at us and mouthed, "Action!"
"Good morning and happy Friday, Lipkin Lions!" Elizabeth announced.
In case you're wondering what in the world that means: our school is called Ida Lipkin Elementary School, and our school mascot is the lion. I don't know why it's a lion, because if you ask me, it should be something much more exotic, like the Lipkin Llamas or the Lipkin Lemurs or the Lipkin Squids (who says it has to begin with an L?). The point is, I was busy thinking up different animal mascots and totally missed my turn to speak.
"Hazy Bloom, go!" Elizabeth hissed. She jabbed her finger at my paper.
"Oh!" I said, fumbling for my line. I began. "My name is Hazy Bloom. And —"
"And here are today's announcements!" Elizabeth interrupted.
I guess she wanted to say that part.
Elizabeth went on to announce the science-fair finalists. Then she talked about the school clothing drive, which was still accepting donations. Then she reminded everyone to order their yearbooks before the deadline next Friday. Then she performed the song "You're a Grand Old Flag," which I don't think was planned, but it did seem like an effective way for Elizabeth to broadcast her talents to the whole school.
After Elizabeth finished the song, she gestured that it was my turn to speak again. I looked down at my paper.
"And now, the thought of the day." All I had to do was read the quote written on my paper and I'd be finished. Simple. Easy. Done and done.
Except at that very moment, just as I was about to speak ... a tomorrow vision flashed into my head.
That's how it happens. I'll be doing something perfectly normal, like reading the thought of the day in front of the whole school, when suddenly, I start to feel prickles and goose bumps and my body gets hot and cold at the same time, and then — a picture flashes in my head.
And this picture was of ... a bright yellow blob. So instead of saying, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step," which was the thought of the day (and an inspiring one, I must say), I said this:
Because that's when I knew I was getting an iguana.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. First, you're thinking, Did you really need to say, "WooHoo! Yippee! HooYa!" in front of the entire school? To which the answer is yes, because I was that excited. And second, you're thinking, A blob isn't an iguana, which obviously I know because I'm not a total birdbrain. But here's what else I know: the yellow blob was almost definitely in the shape of a large animal, and I was 99.9 percent sure that animal was a hippo. And a yellow hippo just happens to be the logo for Critter City, a pet shop down the street. And because I'd been begging my parents for an iguana ever since my neighbor Jarrod had a reptile-themed birthday party and I saw an iguana up close and it was love at first sight, I could only conclude they were finally getting me one of my own — tomorrow. I couldn't believe it!
I flashed Elizabeth an ecstatic grin. I couldn't wait to tell her the news. She'd be so happy and excited for me. Or maybe, because she was my best friend and could practically read my mind, she could already tell I was getting an iguana and already was happy and excited for me.
Then I noticed her expression, which did not convey happy and excited as much as furious and about to kill me. Through gritted teeth, Elizabeth said, "READ. THE. THOUGHT. OF. THE. DAY. NOW."
Perhaps I'd share my iguana news after school.
As I had suspected, now that we were in a more relaxed setting — walking home from the bus stop — Elizabeth was delighted to hear my iguana news. As we zigzagged our way down the hill that led to both of our streets, she asked a million questions, like what I would name it, and where it would live, and if she could iguana-sit if I ever had to go somewhere urgent like the doctor's office or Spain. I told her I wasn't planning a trip overseas anytime soon, but if I did, she'd be the first one I'd call. In the meantime, she could play with my iguana whenever she wanted.
After tossing around ideas for names (I liked Marvin, she liked Annabeth Grace), we got to the corner where I turn right and Elizabeth goes straight. I told her I'd call her tomorrow when the iguana arrived. Then I skipped down the street to my house.
When I walked through my front door and dumped my backpack on the floor instead of hanging it in the closet like I'm supposed to because dumping is easier than hanging, the first thing I noticed was that it was quiet. This was weird, because it is never quiet in my house. Between my older brother, Milo, my mom and dad, The Baby, and our dog, Mr. Cheese, there is always some kind of commotion.
"Hello?" I called.
"In here!" Mom's muffled voice yelled back. I walked through the hallway toward The Baby's room and opened the door. A foul smell hit my nose and loud banging attacked my ears. Mom was running around holding a stinky diaper, The Baby was wailing at the top of his lungs, Milo was drumming on the diaper pail, and Mr. Cheese was running in circles, chasing his tail.
I had found the commotion.
"Hazel, please hand me a clean diaper. Not that one; I spilled milk on it. That one over there. Oh, and the baby powder and lotion. Milo, stop drumming and be helpful! No, Hazel, THAT lotion. Not the big bottle, the small bottle. The blue one!"
How about a Hello and how was your day, and are you excited about your new iguana? Sheesh.
I picked up a fresh diaper, along with the powder and lotion, and handed them all to Mom. She changed The Baby, then set him down in his crib and walked over to me. She kissed me on the forehead. "Hi, Hazel Basil. How was your day?"
That was more like it.
"Hi! Fine! Bye!" I said, and ran out of there as fast as I could. The stinky-diaper smell was making me gag.
I went into the kitchen to get a snack (string cheese, six yogurt-covered raisins, and a peach), then beelined to my room. If my new pet was coming tomorrow, I needed to be ready. I couldn't ask my parents to take me to the pet store, because they obviously wanted the iguana to be a surprise or they'd have told me. So it was up to me. And first on the agenda was providing my iguana with a proper home.
I rummaged through my closet, hoping I might find a fully furnished iguana cage somewhere in there, but no such luck. I did, however, find an old shoebox. That would have to do. I cut holes in it so my iguana could breathe. I decorated it inside with some pictures I cut out of magazines so he could look at some art while he was in there. I filled a paper cup full of water in case he was thirsty, then I put some of Mr. Cheese's squeaky toys inside in case he wanted to play. Then I realized he'd need food. I went to the kitchen and found some salami, but then I remembered from my reptile research that iguanas are herbivores and prefer fruits and leafy greens to lunch meat. I put the salami back and took out a head of lettuce, green beans, and a cut-up plum. I put them in a bowl, stuck the bowl in the shoebox, then placed the entire habitat near my window so he'd get enough sun (important for iguanas!). I stepped back and surveyed my work.
Honestly? If I were an iguana, I'd totally want to live there.
Now I just had to wait until tomorrow.
At 9:45 the next morning, a giant truck rolled down the street to our house, and the first thing I noticed, even from far away, was that right there painted on the side of the truck was the big yellow hippo from my vision. Wow, I thought. Door-to-door service! This was even better than I'd imagined.
But as the truck got closer, I noticed that the yellow hippo wasn't a hippo at all — it was a porcupine. Then I noticed that above the porcupine, in fancy cursive writing, it did not say Critter City, like it was supposed to. Instead, it said, Tagallino Building Supplies. Well, that was weird. I mean, I'd heard of them before and knew they sold lumber and wood and other stuff I didn't care about, because between you and me, there is nothing more boring than lumber. I thought it was a little odd that they also sold iguanas, but hey, it's their company, they can do what they want.
Two men climbed out and started unloading stacks of wood from the back of the truck. Then together they unloaded long wooden beams and sheets of plywood and other materials and started carrying it into our house. I wasn't sure what any of this had to do with an iguana. Maybe we were going to build it a giant house, which was exciting to imagine.
"This way, this way. Straight to the back," Dad was saying to the men, looking rather ecstatic. To the back where? I thought. Then Milo appeared in the doorway.
"Awesome! It's here!"
As the men carried the lumber through the front door, my entire family seemed to be beside themselves with excitement. I couldn't tell who was happier: Milo, Mom, Dad, The Baby, or Mr. Cheese, who must have thought it had something to do with him by the way he was wildly wagging his tail. You know who wasn't happy? Me. Because I was busy wondering what in the world was happening.
"Last door on the right," Dad said. Milo's room. The men turned right and headed down the hallway.
"Can someone please tell me what's going on?" I demanded.
"What's going on is ... I'm getting a new loft bed, Stink Face!" Milo shouted.
First of all, that was no language to use in front of the deliverymen, who were guests. Second of all, I was slowly, dreadfully beginning to understand what was happening: My vision hadn't been about a pet store delivering me an iguana. It had been about a lumberyard delivering lumber for Milo's loft bed. I had two immediate thoughts: 1. I hate Milo, and 2. Why would the logo for a lumber company be a porcupine, because that makes absolutely no sense, for real live?
After tipping the deliverymen, Dad walked them out, then he and Mom headed back to Milo's room.
Or they tried to, until I jumped in front of them, blocking their way.
"Hazel, what is it?" Mom said.
I decided to start by calmly asking some questions.
It's possible I didn't express myself the way I had planned.
Dad raised his eyebrows. "Hazel, is there something you'd like to discuss?"
"Why does Milo get a loft bed? Why don't I get one? How come you didn't tell me? Why does he get everything? Where's my iguana?"
My parents seemed baffled by my explosion of questions, especially the last one, but Mom calmly explained that she and Dad had made a deal with Milo: If he did all of his chores without fail for a month and showed that he was responsible, he would get a loft bed. Which led me to say, "Milo? Responsible? Ha!"
Except now that I thought about it, I realized that Milo had been hanging up his backpack after school. And I kind of remembered him clearing the dinner table a lot more. Also, now that I looked around his room, except for the enormous pile of wood on the floor that The Baby was currently drooling all over, it did seem bizarrely clean and not as stinky as usual.
Still, I wasn't going to stand for this. "Just so you know, I'm responsible, too. I'm the most responsiblest person on the planet!" It was true! I always cleared my plate (well, almost always). I kept my room spotless (except for the massive heap of clothes on the floor). I fed my fish every single solitary —
(Actually, when was the last time ...)
"Be right back," I said, and bolted to my room.
Phew, my fish were fine. They just looked hungry. I sprinkled a few extra flakes in the tank, but not too many, because that wouldn't be safe. See? Responsible!
Then I tripped on the heap of clothes on my floor and dropped the food container, causing fish-food flakes to scatter everywhere, which Mr. Cheese started lapping up like it was a doggie version of an ice cream sundae. By the time I dragged him away from the flakes and found the cap to the container (that he had tried to eat, too), then shook out my clothes because they smelled like an aquarium, for real live, I was exhausted.
Apparently, Dad had decided he was going to build Milo's loft bed all by himself, which was an interesting choice considering it once took him three days to figure out how to hang a shower curtain. I mean, don't get me wrong — Dad is great at a lot of things. He is a master crossword-puzzle solver. A marvelous scrambled-eggs maker. An impressive yodeler (a recent and delightful discovery). But building a loft bed from scratch? I had my doubts. Still, he seemed determined.
For the rest of the weekend, Dad and Milo made a racket getting everything ready for building, which included:
clearing space for the new bed
laying out the materials
redrawing the plans they'd already drawn
laying out more materials
testing every single power tool known to man
deciding they needed to go to the hardware store for more tools and materials
As for me, I chose to spend my weekend sulking, moping, and imagining ways to get back at Milo.
Excerpted from "Hazy Bloom and the Pet Project"
Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hamburg.
Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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