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Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks

Regarding the Fountain: A Tale, in Letters, of Liars and Leaks

4.8 24
by Kate Klise, M. Sarah Klise (Illustrator)

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The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

...We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.

Designer Flo Waters responds:

"I'd be delighted...but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made."

Soon the fountain project takes on a


The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

...We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.

Designer Flo Waters responds:

"I'd be delighted...but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made."

Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.'s fifth grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What Dry Creek Middle School needs is a plain, functional drinking fountain to replace its leaking old one. What it gets is Florence Waters, impresario fountain designer who has in mind something with exotic birds, an ice skating rink, geysers and chocolate milk dispensers. This rollicking story, told entirely through letters, memos, newspaper articles and transcripts, escalates into a hullabaloo involving a fifth-grade class, an evil school board member, a sinister water company executive and an increasingly bewildered principal who fruitlessly attempts to scale back Florence Waters's grandiose plans ("Do you all have scuba gear? What about ice skates?... Also, I'm sending a parcel containing cyperus papyrus. This is the famous Egyptian paper plant," Waters jots in one postcard). The artist's somewhat primitive illustrations add to the scrapbook effect of this novel, but in the final illustration not enough is made of the eccentric new fountain to satisfy the anticipation brewing for the previous 100-plus pages. Still, it's a good-natured story with an irrepressible main character who won't take no for an answer.
Children's Literature - Heidi Green
When Dry Creek Middle School needs a new drinking fountain; school officials contact Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc. to provide one. A seemingly simple business transaction becomes complicated by flawed communication, uptight bureaucracy and a long-unsolved mystery in this hilarious tale! The characters are appealing, both in character in name. Readers will adore the free-spirited artist Florence Waters and the insightful mystery-hounds of Sam N's fifth-grade class, and they will groan over the dastardly under-handed villains Dee Eel and Sally Mander. More experienced readers may find the plot thin, but the real joy of the story is in the Klises' clever blend of text and image. From page one, readers will be captivated by the letters, memos, phone messages, interview transcripts, newspaper clippings, court proceedings and (most of all) the illustrations "collected and organized by Sam N's fifth-grade class."
School Library Journal
A mystery with an unconventional, yet fun and effective approach. Through a series of graphically designed letters, newspaper articles, telephone and interview transcripts, postcards, faxes, memos, school assignments, and other types of communicative devices, a mystery is solved in a suspenseful, amusing conclusion. Dry Creek Middle School is in need of a new drinking fountain. The principal sends a letter of inquiry to the owner of Flowing Waters Fountains for an estimate on the installation of a new one. To his frustration and the enjoyment of the students, Florence Waters is no ordinary fountain contractor, but an artistic designer, ready to create a unique piece of sculpture that will also pump water. As the correspondence continues among the characters, various clues are left in the communications. In addition, a subplot involves a fifth-grade class's research for a town history project that ultimately reveals the villains and main deception in the plot. In addition to the planted clues, there are lots of puns and quirky sayings throughout. All works out in the end as the author cleverly establishes character traits and motive. Even if readers guess what's going on halfway through, it is still fun to continue reading the diverse pages, all in different fonts with eclectic drawings just to see how the mystery will be revealed and solved. Fresh, funny, and a delight to read. -- Rita Soltan, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Regarding Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.28(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Dry Creek Middle School
Dry Creek Missouri
"We Thirst for Knowledge"

Mr. Walter Russ

September 14

Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.
Watertown, CA

Ms. Waters:

Perhaps you misunderstood the letter written earlier this month by the secretary of our school.

As per my request, Ms. Fisch wrote to you in the hopes of receiving information regarding a fountain. I am afraid, however, that she may not have made clear the nature of the fountain we are seeking.

While I'm sure the fountains you create for palaces and hotels are indeed lovely, we have no need for such extravagance in our school. Instead, what we are looking for is this:

Product: drinking fountain
Style: plain

Would you please send the product description and price list of any fountains in your inventory that fit the above description?

Thank you for your time and cooperation.


Mr. Walter Russ


Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.

September 27

Dry Creek Middle School
Dry Creek, MO

Dear Mr. Wally Russ,

I received your letter last week and, my goodness, you sound just like the author of the little book of directions that came with my blender.

I'm still not quite sure what your letter means (just as I'm not entirely certain how the blender works), but I'mguessing you'd like to see a catalog of my fountains. Am I right? If so, I must repeat myself: I don't have a catalog of my fountains. I never build the same fountain twice.

But here's my idea: Why don't I come to your school sometime in the next week or two? I'll make a few drawings in my sketchbook. I'll return to my workshop, begin construction, and bingo! Before you know it, you'll have yourself a new fountain.

What do you say, Wally?

Florence Waters

P.S. By the by, in the future, try not to blame your confusion on other people. Goldie Fisch made the request for a catalog very clear the first time around.

Regarding the Fountain. Copyright © by Kate Klise. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

As a correspondent for People magazine, Kate Klise covered everything from celebrity scandals to serial killers. After writing several bestselling children's books, Kate decided to write In the Bag, her first novel for adults, when she found a note from a fellow passenger in her carry-on bag.

Kate Klise and illustrator M. Sarah Klise are sisters who have been writing each other letters for more than twenty years, culminating in 1998 with their fiction debut, Regarding the Fountain. When they're not writing letters, Kate who lives in Norwood, MO, is a correspondent for People; Sarah is an art teacher that lives in Berkeley, California.

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Regarding the Fountain 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Splish, splash!" That is what it sounds like at the drinking fountain in Geyser Creek Middle School. But it was called Dry Creek Middle School, because it was been the driest school in the whole state. The school principal, Mr.Walter, keeps slipping on the dripping water from the school's drinking fountain. So, the secretary of the school writes to Florence, a person who designs drinking fountains. The 5th grade gets to help design the drinking fountain because their classroom is next to the drinking fountain. The 5th grade class is really small class. The students are Lily, Shelly, Paddy, Tad, Gil, and Minnie. Lily plays the guitar in the 5th grade class band, Shelly is on trombone, Paddy on drums and cymbal, Gil on the french horn, and Minnie is on harp. I once went to a water fountain in my school. Our water fountain was a plain and boring one, not like the one at Geyser Creek Middle School. Did you know the person who drew this book, M. Sarah Klise, is the sister of the person who wrote this book? Kate Klise wrote a lot of humorous books. Kate has written the Regarding series and plenty more. I would recommend this book to everyone: kids and adults. This book she made is really hilarious!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura51 More than 1 year ago
This book is so insperational it talks about fight, rules, and community. I read this book to my students, they absolutly loved it. It teaches to stand when it is nessesary and fight when it is the time and do what is needed and not what is wanted for life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book! I read this book and fell in LOVE with it. I never wanted it to end. It was a pretty quick read. It was also good because they were letters and they are a different form than a book with just text. It is always fun to read letters. So you have GOT to read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was ok, and could be better. I dont suggest reading this if u are over 10 years old. I thiunk the book had no point at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not a book lover, but when I saw the cover of the book, I new there was somthing in store! I loved this book! It's about a school getting a new fountain. They ask the students what thye would like the fountian to look like. Some of the ideas are pretty carazy, and funny! Yet, they find a wa y to make everyone happy, by putting all of their ideas together! You need to read this book! ps. There is a twist ending you'll nver expcet!
Guest More than 1 year ago
captureed my attention by just looking at it and the tittle. i highly recomned it. it a lot more stars. any one who is any one will like this book. it may be short of pages but high of quality!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Regarding the Fountain is a most unusual and entertaining book filled with mysteries, unusual characters, and ample educational benefits. The story unfolds when Sam N¿s 5th grade class is assigned the task of presenting the history of Dry Creek at the annual Dry Creek Days Celebration. The class is surprised to discover that Dry Creek had changed its name thirty years ago. The town was once known as Spring Creek, but the town decided to change it when the spring dried up along with a lot of the town¿s businesses. As the class is researching their project, the principal of the school is distressed with the leaky water fountain at the school and wants it replaced. He writes Flo Waters, a well-known fountain designer, asking her to send designs on a new water fountain for the school. Ms. Waters corresponds back and forth with the students to get their ideas on how fountain should be designed. She is so delighted with the class that she sends them letters and artifacts from all of the places she visits. The fifth grade class uses her artifacts and their research facts for their presentation. The class unveils some interesting facts on why the water dried up and helps restore the missing water supply back to the town. Regarding the Fountain gives teachers opportunities to integrate history, geography, math, and language arts into their reading activities. This is a very entertaining and funny book that can be read by students above 3rd grade. This adventure is highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was so good. i liked it how the people in the story have names that go with water, like Mr. Sam N. I also like how it is written in letters. If you like to read other people's letters, this is for you!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had a very good plot. The charachters were interesting, they are really what draws you into the story. I was surprised and excited in the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is basically about a bunch of 5th graders and a principal and a teacher(who each are tired of the leaking fountain) and the owner of a custom-made fountain company. Each of these characters write letters to present ideas about the new fountain, or something regarding the fountain. There are also 2 evil characters who dont want the fountain 2be replaced becoz of their money making reasons....and a secret. To read this tale of letters.and to find out the end read Regarding the Fountain....This may seem like a boring book, but really, its a really fun book. The author shows a gift of writing a story in a different way. Its like Dear Mr.Henshaw..except its not boring at all!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fabouluse book! coouldn't put it down! loved the way it was put together, and the caracters ways.it was by far one of the bes books i've ever read. i recomend this book to any one who wants a good laff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This boook was awesome and one of my favorites. The format and plot are fun and exciting and will keep you turning pages! A mystery that will have you saying, 'Oh, it all makes sense now,' at the end! I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Regarding the fountain, is an outstanding book, full of letters of how a 5th grade classes water drinking fountain brakes, who to call to get another one, and what design it should it be. But, someone is up to NO GOOD! Will dee 'eel', and someone from the board stop this from ever happening? Dont want to spoil the ending!! Read the book to find out for yourself!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love all of Kate Klise's books! She has such a fun way of writing! I definitely give all of her books a 5-star rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was soooooooooooo good. The storyline was incredibly creative and the illustrations were amazing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I own this book and it is a masterpeice.All the letters were fun to read and the illustrasions are beautiful. This book shows kids my age that it is all right to write your best friend instead of just picking up the phone. I personaly have no problem with the using the phone but my parents might have one.It also shows little kids that their opinion can make a gigantic impact.If I had to decide if this book got an award , I would say yes without hesatation.The ending was one of the funniest endings i have ever read. I'm not going to tell you the ending just so you can read this spectacular book.I also think this book should have a sequeal. To the parents or adults who never listen to kids (close to teenagers) should start right now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A tribute to imagination and fun . The author and illustrator are related !! I think that is wonderful they work together . They made a masterpiece!!!!!!!!!! I sugjest this book to all ages from 7-777.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was hilarious and it brings out a deep in the heart laugh in everyone. There is no way to describe this book- you just are going to half to read it!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hesitate to recommend this as a children's title simply because adults may shy away from this hilarous and quick-reading book told through letters and other 'evidence.' It's nearly impossible to describe--just read it!
ihatereading More than 1 year ago
This is a WONDERFUL book!!! I absolutly LOVED it. I read it in 2nd grade, but one of my (very smart) friends read it in 5th grade. It is a great book for all ages, and is very fun to read. I highly recomend it to all readers, even ones that don't like to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's the best book ever. A truly funny book. You are bound to love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best book!! Given it's written in letters it's easy to read and keep up with. What i loved about the book was that i never wanted to put it down I just kept reading. It has it's own way of keeping your attention. Kate Klise is a great author and has a great imagination. She knows how to grab kids attentions and can help them explore!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Katie and Sarah Klise outdid themselves...I love them!! They are awesome authors!!It was a great book!!! All of them written by Kate and Sarah Klise...I have read all of them...