What if your teacher could read your mind just because she was born on a Thursday? Or the kid next to you in class could turn back the clock just because he was a Wednesday? In the quirky town of Nova, all of this is normal. Poppy Mayberry, an almost-11-year-old Monday, should be able to pass notes in class or brush her dog, Pickle, without lifting a finger. Poppy's Monday telekinesis ability has some kinks and that plate of spaghetti she's passing may just end up on someone's head. If that's not hard enough, practically-perfect Ellie Preston is out to get her and Principal Wible wants to send Poppy to remedial summer school to work on her powers! It's enough to make a girl want to disappear. If only she were a Friday.
About the Author
Jennie K. Brown is an award-winning high school English teacher, freelance magazine writer, and author of children’s books. Jennie currently serves as president of the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts (PCTELA) and is an active member of SCBWI, NCTE, and ALAN. When she’s not teaching or writing, Jennie can be found reading and hanging out with her awesome family! More information about Jennie can be found on her website at jenniekbrown.com.
Read an Excerpt
Poppy Mayberry, The Monday
Nova Kids Book 1
By Jennie K. Brown
Month9BooksCopyright © 2016 Jennie K. Brown
All rights reserved.
The first time I knew for sure I was a Monday, I was sitting in one of Mrs. Flannagan's boring English lessons last year in fourth grade. She wanted to know if anyone could tell her the difference between smiles and meteors (that's what it looked like when I glanced at the board).
Of course, there was no way I could have possibly known the answer because I hadn't been paying attention. Mark Masters had been picking at his nose for like the last ten minutes, and that always distracted me a little. Total gross fest. Mark's in my class again this year and I feel sorry for him. Not because he still picks his nose, which he does, but because he is a Saturday. And Saturdays don't have any special powers.
"Who can tell me?" Mrs. Flannagan asked for the third time now, pushing her bright purple glasses up her bulbous nose. Her face grew pinker by the second.
From the corner of my eye I watched Ellie Preston's perfect little manicured hand shoot up. She always has the right answers. That's because she's a Thursday. And Thursdays read minds. Once, I thought that I wanted to be one too, but decided it would get exhausting always being in other people's thoughts. Plus, I wouldn't want to share Thursday with Ellie. I'd rather be forced to spend my evenings at Power Academy, or eat fried cockroaches with anchovy sauce. Yuck. Heck, I'd rather be a Saturday.
"Miss Preston," Mrs. Flannagan called, beaming.
Ellie perked up while pushing away from her face a few strands of long straight chestnut hair that had escaped from her obnoxious headband. She answered confidently as usual. "Similes compare two objects using the words 'like' or 'as.' Metaphors don't."
Ellie had the brightest, whitest smile that was always plastered across her face when answering a question. She pursed her lips and shot me an of course you didn't know the answer, Poppy kind of look. She's never liked me.
Cheater. You're not supposed to use powers in school, but Ellie got away with it, and still gets away with it today.
"You took the answer right out of my head, Ellie." Mrs. Flannagan chuckled and her double chin jiggled right along like Jell-O. Cherry JellO. Her face always turned bright red when she taught about special literature terms. My best friend Veronica looked over at me and we rolled our eyes together.
Mrs. Flannagan kept babbling on and on about more English stuff. I zoned out again.
Ellie's desk sat right across from mine, so I could see her blue eyes darting around the room from person to person. I knew what she was doing — listening to thoughts. How could Mrs. Flannagan just ignore this? I couldn't wait for the day she would actually get punished. Ha. Ellie Preston sitting in Principal Wobble-Wible's office? That would be pretty much the most amazing thing ever.
I laughed to myself and imagined Ellie's fluorescent-pink-and-green headband flying off her perfect little head and breaking into teeny tiny pieces on the tiled floor below.
That's when it got weird. What I imagined actually happened.
In like a millisecond after my thought, the sparkly headband literally flew off her head, without a push, shake, or anything. It smashed on the SMART Board directly behind Mrs. Flannagan. The pieces scattered across the floor. A few of them even hit grossy Mark. His dirty finger immediately pulled out of his nose.
"Who did that?" Ellie's head whipped around and her hair smacked Veronica in the face. Ellie's eyes searched down the rows, one by one. She was using her powers on us yet again. But at that point, who was I to comment on using powers? I put her in this position in the first place by using mine. I thought so, at least.
Before she got into my head, I quickly changed to thoughts of my dog Pickle. If Ellie looked in, she would see dog poop and dirty fur. Nothing that could incriminate me for what just happened.
But someone knew it was me. Veronica smirked. I winked back.
"Poppy Mayberry!" Mrs. Flannagan's nostrils flared as she stomped toward me like a big, red bull charging. "How dare you use your powers in this classroom!" Her pudgy hand pointed about a foot above the door to a plaque stating the number-one rule of Nova Elementary: No power usage!
Although I should have been ashamed of the awful trick I had just played, I couldn't stop the giant smile from spreading across my face. Finally! My telekinesis was here. That's when I knew that I, Poppy Rose Mayberry, was officially a Monday.CHAPTER 2
Pickle's wet tongue licked my face — my wakeup call just about every morning. I thought about forcing her to jump off the bed using my mind, but decided not to. Her five-pound furry self was just too darn cute. Plus, it could have ended badly.
"I know what you want," I said, scratching her in her favorite place — right behind her ears.
Pickle rolled over onto her back and begged me to rub her belly. So I reached my hand under her turquoise-and-purple trimmed doggy pajamas and did just what she wanted. Her little beady eyes looked toward her brush in the puffy purple dog bed next to my dresser. A high-pitched whimper escaped from her lips. Such a princess.
I could have easily jumped off my bed, taken two steps, and grabbed the brush. What was the point of being a Monday if I didn't use my gift? I concentrated hard and imagined the brush lifting out of the plush bed and landing in my hand.
But it didn't. Instead, at what seemed like 200 miles-per-hour, it flew over my full-sized bed, bounced into the bright yellow wall, and crashed into the silver jewelry tree in the opposite corner of the room. Pickle yipped and her nails that desperately needed trimming ticked on the wood floor as she ran out of the room. Fail.
The plastic brush bristles were all tangled up in my dangling necklace tree. The beads clinked and clanged together, sounding like the wind chimes on the back porch. I never liked those wind chimes.
"Good morning, Poppy." Mom plopped down on my purple-striped down comforter and kissed the top of my head. Her red poufy hair bounced with the bed. Pickle hesitantly entered the room again.
"Were you just practicing?" She looked at me with ... concern? Sadness? I wasn't sure. Both she and Dad had been waiting for me to gain total control over my Monday power, but it just hadn't happened yet, which was a total bummer. I frowned, taking in the scene around me.
"So you were practicing?" Mom's own necklaces and silver bracelets clinked and clanged together as she attempted to untangle Pickle's brush from the web of cord and beads.
"Seriously, Mom." I rolled my eyes. "I think you know the answer to that," I said, grabbing an orange pendant necklace from her hand and securing it around my neck. Just like pretty girl Ellie Preston, my mom was born on a Thursday in Nova, so she can read minds too. Of course, it's not always super fun having a mom who reads your thoughts.
"Honey, you will master those powers soon enough," Mom said for like the millionth time this week, reading me yet again. Or maybe the frown on my freckled face was a dead giveaway. Gosh, I hoped she was right. It had been a year since that first Monday power experience, and although I had made a little bit of progress with it, I was far from totally Monday-ing it up.
When that whole thing (and awesome thing I might add) happened with prissy Ellie's headband, I had thought it would be much easier to adjust to being a Monday. I assumed that it would come as easily to me as it did for everyone else at Nova. As the rest of the year went on, I watched everyone in my class quickly move along with their powers — everyone except me.
Luke Bender, he's a Wednesday, used his electricity manipulation power to turn off the lights on the last day of school — only four days after first discovering it. Sarah Simmion, a disappearing Friday, got so mad with Mrs. Flannagan one day that she vanished from class and then invisibly walked back home — three weeks after her first disappearing episode. Right in the middle of class! She was promptly called to Principal Wobble-Wible's office the next morning. Even Mitchell Weiss, the teleporting Tuesday who had to repeat the fifth grade three times, mastered his power over the summer — only two months — I rest my case.
As for my Monday power, I soon learned that whole incident with Ellie's headband was just a fluke, and I was way behind everyone else. Bummer.
I thought back to the headband incident once again. "We are just so proud of our little Poppy Rose Mayberry, our precious Monday," my Dad had said that first day, ruffling my spirally orange hair that I had so carefully pulled back in a ponytail. Do you know how difficult it is to get every single crazy curly piece of out-of-control hair secured back in a band? Being a guy, my dad obviously didn't. I had told him and Mom about the headband incident over dinner that first night. Of course, Mom already knew about it.
"Well, how about a little demonstration then," she had said, pushing the serving bowl of spaghetti my way. "Now, just nice and slow, move the scoop, and dump some on my plate." Their expecting eyes had watched me closely, and they were beaming — obviously proud of their Monday of a daughter.
I remembered concentrating really, really hard on getting the spaghetti on the plate. How hard could it have been? Out of nowhere, the scoop had just catapulted marinara spaghetti across the dining room. Some gooey noodles stuck to the china cabinet behind my mom. Others hung from my Dad's bald head.
It was chaos. I could tell that they were trying to hold back frowns, and they gave one another a weird this-can't-really-be-our-daughter look. They knew what I knew — the whole power thing would not come easy to me.
I had looked across the table at my older brother Willie. He had a giant smirk on his face. He always found opportunities to rub in the fact that his teleporting Tuesday powers came in on the day he turned thirteen like clockwork. For some reason, Tuesdays get their powers later than other weekdays, but nevertheless, Willie's powers were right on time for a Tuesday. Unlike mine. Ugh.
"I guess we can't expect her to get them right away," Willie had said, throwing his napkin in my dad's face.
"Willie!" My mom looked toward my brother disapprovingly. But she was talking to an empty chair. He had disappeared on the spot, and was probably upstairs in his bedroom already.
"It takes time, Poppy." She had warmly smiled at me. But I could tell she was lying. Her power and Dad's Wednesday power came easy. They had told me years ago that when you get your power — you just get it. It clicks on like a light switch. No Wednesday pun intended. I hated being a disappointment to them. I mean, it was almost a year since the headband and spaghetti incidents, and I couldn't even keep Pickle's brush from flying across my bedroom.
"Just practice a little more after school today. It will come soon enough, Poppy," Mom reassured me, bringing me back to the sad reality that was my powerless life. By the look on her face, I could tell that she was reassuring herself as well. I hoped she was right. It was embarrassing how far behind I was compared to other people in my class. And at this rate, there was a huge possibility that I might get sent to Power Academy — the last place I want to spend my weeks this summer — away from my friends, away from my family and away from Pickle. Hello! I do have plans. My best friend Veronica White (she's a Monday, too ... but a much better Monday than me) and I wouldn't be able to hang out if I was forced to go to Power Academy for the totally power-challenged rejects.
I heard whining and saw Pickle's cute little face looking up at me. Even after the disastrous attempt a few minutes ago, she still wanted to be brushed. What a trooper. I sighed, and decided to do it the old-fashioned way — by hand. There was no way I would try to use my Monday power with the possibility of taking out one of her eyes.CHAPTER 3
I got to school and let out a sigh of relief after noticing that Ellie's desk had been moved up toward the front of the room and far away from me. Ever since the headband incident last year, which was a total accident, she had been meaner to me than usual. For instance, two weeks ago, I tripped in the cafeteria and my whole tray of ravioli flew all over the floor and onto my brand new flats. Geesh, what's with me and spilling Italian food?
Ellie looked at me with those crazed-meanie eyes. "Aww ... not only is Poppy lagging behind in the power department, she can't even walk without being a total loser." Then she let out this horrible wicked-witch-like cackle. Seriously, I think she may have even had a green hue to her face. If Mrs. Flannagan hadn't been on cafeteria duty watching me with those equally evil eyes of hers, I would have grabbed a handful of ravioli messiness and thrown it on Ellie's white capris and pink purse.
Ellie's Bff Celia Green was staring in my direction, too. She had that same annoying smirk on her face that Ellie did. Celia's also a Monday, and I just knew Ellie told her to make me trip somehow. Those girls are unbelievable!
Another time of utter meanness was just last week during gym class. Ellie asked if I would be her partner in tennis. Not to brag, but I am pretty good at that game. Both my parents played in college. The whole hand-eye coordination just comes kind of naturally to me. Too bad my powers weren't coming in the same way.
I knew Ellie would act even worse if I didn't say yes, so I decided to be the bigger person and agreed to partner up with her. Well, that was a huge mistake.
"Now take it easy, Poppy. You know I'm no good at this game," Ellie had warned just as I was about to serve. I threw the tennis ball up and gently lobbed it over the net. Seriously, I could not have hit it any softer.
In one swift movement Ellie tennis-shuffled to her left and whacked the ball so hard I could practically feel the air coming from the racket. The strings made direct contact with the ball, and it flew toward me so fast that I couldn't get my racket up in time to stop it from bouncing off my head. I immediately fell to the ground. I felt the goose-egg bump forming right away. It took two days for the swelling to go down. Once again, I heard Ellie's obnoxious laugh coming from the other side of the net as Veronica ran to my rescue.
Ellie was totally faking me out. With that perfect shuffle and a hit that fast, she absolutely knew how to play tennis. And then the words came from her pretty, pink lip-glossed mouth. "If you were a real Monday, you would've been able to stop it." Ugh! What a witch!
Anyway, those were just two specifics of the many examples of her utter cruelty. It was hard to believe that we grew up just doors away, and a few years ago we were playing with dolls in her enormous, perfectly pink, perfectly decorated toy room. A lot can change in a few short years, even though I wasn't sure why things changed in the first place. Out of nowhere, she started treating me like we were the world's biggest enemies. Last year's headband incident multiplied that by ten.
And now, I watched as Ellie twirled her perfectly sculpted hair around her perfectly manicured fingers. She wasn't even paying attention to Mr. Salmon's lesson on Roman numerals. Well, none of us really were. I mean Mark's finger was lost in his nose. Just like my powers, some things never change. I chuckled to myself.
"Psst," I heard behind me. I turned around to see Veronica shaking her head. She quickly scanned the room then tossed a piece of paper my way. It landed a few feet from my desk. I glanced up to make sure Mr. Salmon was still in his own Roman-numeral world, and carefully reached down and over to grab it.
Sort of intercepted this was written on the front flap in Veronica's handwriting.
I looked back again at my best friend. Her head was still shaking, and her blue eyes looked almost sad. Open it, she mouthed to me with urgency as her eyes darted back up toward Mr. Salmon.
I unfolded the paper in front of me. At first glance, I noticed it was a note that had been passed back and forth between two students. It was obvious to me because that's how Veronica and I communicate during class. She always writes in a blue pen and mine is always purple. But the two pen colors in this note were pink and orange. It totally didn't have our blue and purple hallmark.
Excerpted from Poppy Mayberry, The Monday by Jennie K. Brown. Copyright © 2016 Jennie K. Brown. Excerpted by permission of Month9Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Poppy Mayberry isn’t thrilled when she’s sent to summer school to master the telekinetic powers she’s supposed to have as a kid born in the town of Nova on a Monday. And she’s even less thrilled when prissy, stuck-up Ellie, who has Thursday mindreading powers, ends up as her roommate. But when scary Headmistress Larribee kidnaps Poppy’s precious dog, Pickle, as part of a challenge, Poppy and Ellie have to team up, along with dreamy Logan and smart Sam, to find the precious things that have been taken from them and win the chance to go home early. Full of funny moments and most of all full of heart, Poppy’s story perfectly captures that middle school moment when everything in life seems to be in flux.
In Poppy Mayberry's world the day you were born on signifies what type of power you should have. For example Fridays could just disappear into thin air. Poppy is almost 11 years old and yet she still has not come into her powers ... making her think something is very wrong with her. Add to that the constant teasing from not only her classmates Ellie and Celia but also her own brother who came into his Wednesday power of teleportation exactly when he should have at 13 years old. Poppy has had several attempts at her telekinesis and it has not gone well. She wants to keep trying but starts to feel like she just isn't going to get there. I love the names in the book - Poppy Rose Mayberry just rolls off your tongue so easily, and Wobble-Wibble the Principal :) Then the rivals Poppy and Ellie are sent to Power Academy to get more in touch with their powers and she meets Logan Ellis Prince, things start to get interesting! I love how the author writes in a juvenile style so it really seems as if you are listening to a young person. The reader sees everything from Poppy's perspective as it is written in the first-person narrative. This also means we can't really see what others are thinking - so we don't know whether the other characters' intentions are good or bad. The one person Poppy really trusts is her best friend Veronica who always seems to look out for Poppy especially when it comes to Ellie and Celia. So Ellie and Poppy head to the special school and begin to think the HeadMistress is hiding something, so they team up to figure it out. Will they find out what is going on? Will Ellie and Poppy become friends? Pick up the book to find out! I really enjoyed reading this book - everything from the great names of the characters to the awkward situations they get themselves into, they were all fun to read and I highly recommend this book for young adults and even adults like me! ***I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received and I was neither required nor promised to leave a positive review.***
Poppy Mayberry was born in the town of Nova. Many years ago a meteor hit the town, causing everyone to have a special power according to what day they were born. Mondays have telekinesis, Tuesdays can teleport, and Thursdays can read minds, Every year children having problems with their ability are sent to a special summer school. This year Poppy and her classroom tormenter are sent to the academy together, teamed up with 2 boys, and given a special challenge. This was a funny and cute story. Perfect for pre-teens. Even older readers can enjoy this book for a fun light-hearted read.