Meet the Teeny Weenies!
A boy and his sister visit a petting zoo that is out of this world. A community pool fills up with bullies. And the Fourth of July starts off with a BOOM! Young chapter book readers ages 7 to 10, reluctant readers, and fans of very short stories will be entertained and delighted by these twelve zany tales by award-winning author David Lubar. Wacky comic book style illustrations by Bill Mayer add to the fun.
David Lubar is the master of the short story for kids. He has written many short story collections for middle grade readers, including The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales. Now he’s back with short stories for the chapter book audience. Don’t be a weenie. Read these stories!
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
About the Author
DAVID LUBAR credits his passion for short stories to his limited attention span and bad typing skills, though he has been known to sit still and peck at the keyboard long enough to write a novel now and then, including Hidden Talents (an ALA Best Book for Young Adults) and My Rotten Life, which is currently under development for a cartoon series. He lives in Nazareth PA with his awesome wife, and not too far from his amazing daughter. In his spare time, he takes naps on the couch.
BILL MAYER is absolutely amazing. Bill’s crazy creatures, characters, and comic creations have been sought after for magazine covers, countless articles, and even stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. He has won almost every illustration award known to man and even some known to fish. Bill and his wife live in Decatur Georgia. They have a son and three grandsons.
David Lubar created a sensation with his debut novel, Hidden Talents, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Thousands of kids and educators across the country have voted Hidden Talents onto over twenty state lists. David is also the author of True Talents, the sequel to Hidden Talents; Flip, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror selection; many short story collections including In the Land of the Lawn Weenies, Invasion of the Road Weenies, The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies, Attack of the Vampire Weenies, Beware the Ninja Weenies, Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies, Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies, and Extremities; and the Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series. Lubar grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, and he has also lived in New Brunswick, Edison and Piscataway, NJ, and Sacramento, CA. Besides writing, he has also worked as a video game programmer and designer. He now lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Bill Mayer is absolutely amazing. Bill’s crazy creatures, characters, and comic creations have been sought after for magazine covers, countless articles, and even stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. He has won almost every illustration award known to man and even some known to fish. Bill and his wife live in Decatur Georgia. They have a son and three grandsons.
Bill's books include Teeny Weenies: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo and Teeny Weenies: Freestyle Frenzy.
Read an Excerpt
THE INTERGALACTIC PETTING ZOO
I would love to explore outer space, or the deepest parts of the ocean. But whenever my dad said, "Let's explore!" all that meant was we were going to drive somewhere we hadn't been before, looking for something to do. We would all bundle into the car — Mom, Dad, me, and my little brother and sister, Lenni and Azelia, and go off in search of fun.
Dad especially liked roadside attractions. Sometimes, that worked out okay. We've been to a cave about an hour and a half west of here, and to a big model-railroad display just five miles south. And there's a nice car museum in town.
But we've also been to a plumbing museum, which is just about as exciting as it sounds. Imagine ten rooms filled with faucets, pipes, sinks, drains, plungers, bathtubs, and toilets. And we spent the longest two hours of my life at a natural-fiber museum. Yeah, I got to see endless types of yarn, miles of thread, and a glass tank full of hardworking silkworms.
Today, something caught my eye as Dad took a random exit off Route 80 and headed north.
There was a billboard that had an ad for Zorg's Intergalactic Petting Zoo. I didn't say anything. I figured, with a name like that, it would be a big disappointment. I could picture some goats with fake pairs of extra eyes glued on their foreheads, or pigs painted with purple stripes.
Unfortunately, the ad caught Dad's eye, too.
"Look, kids!" he said. "I think we've found our next destination. This will be amazing!"
I wasn't surprised by his enthusiasm. A hand-lettered sign on a piece of cardboard, nailed to a telephone pole, can catch his interest. A poorly painted sheet of plywood leaning against a rock on the ground can get him excited. But an actual professionally printed billboard towering over the roadside turns him into a total family-trip Weenie. Mom calls them tourist traps, but she's just as big a fan of roadside attractions as Dad is.
We followed the directions on the billboard, and ended up bouncing along a small dirt road that led us to the entrance for Zorg's Intergalactic Petting Zoo.
The building was shaped like a giant flying saucer. It was actually better built than I'd expected. A lot of these places were slapped together with plywood, and looked like they'd fall apart when the wind picked up. This one was made of metal, and looked like it was designed by someone who actually understood spaceflight. But I still didn't get my hopes up.
We parked in the lot, then headed for the saucer, where an entrance sign with an arrow pointed to a section outlined in green lights.
A ramp came down.
We walked up.
There was a guy dressed in silver coveralls standing behind a ticket counter. He was shaped like a human, but with an enormous head. A single ear wrapped from one side of his head to the other. His nose had a pair of slits shaped like the holes in a violin. Instead of hair, he had purple scales. I hated to think what it felt like to wear that mask all day.
"Welcome. I am Zorg," he said, in a fake alien voice.
"Five tickets, please," Mom said. "Two adult, three children."
We got our tickets and headed down a corridor, into the first room.
"Lambs!" Azelia squealed. She ran over to a pen that held three costumed wooly creatures behind a low fence. They were dyed blue, and had a second set of ears. The sign on the wall behind them read: Wooly Niknaks from Aldebus VII.
I figured that would be the seventh planet orbiting a star named Aldebus. I also figured there was no point being a grump, so I went along with things and petted the alien lambs. The wool felt weird, like spaghetti. Obviously, "Zorg" had sprayed something on the sheep.
"They're so cute!" Lenni said.
Azelia wrapped her arms around a lamb. "I want to take you home!" "They certainly are adorable," Mom said.
"But they're staying right here," Dad added, before my sister could get her hopes up. He bought some "Niknak feed" from a vending machine. It looked like dried corn.
After Lenni and Azelia fed the wooly critters, we moved around the room, petting the Rigelian Squealer, which looked like a tattooed pig, the Rare Voldar IX Moo Beast, which was a calf wearing antlers, and other faked-up barnyard animals. They all felt just a bit strange.
Then, we headed down a corridor that led to a room with sea creatures. Some of them, in shallow tanks on the floor, could be petted. I expected them to be slimy, but most of them felt like flannel, or the rug in our living room.
There was a door at the other side of that room. A sign on it promised, Sol III hominids.
I'm still kicking myself for reading it without really noticing what it meant.
Anyhow, we opened the door and stepped into a room that looked pretty much like a typical kitchen.
"Sol III," I said as the door clicked shut behind us.
Everyone looked at me. "That's Earth," I said. "And hominids — I think that means us."
The floor lurched, like the whole building had jumped.
Dad grabbed the door and yanked at it.
"Locked," he said.
"I want to take one home!"
I followed the voices toward the ceiling. There was a large opening near the top of the wall. A creature that looked like an elephant with trunks for arms towered over me. I couldn't tell for sure from below, but it was probably about ten or twelve feet tall. Two smaller versions, at seven or eight feet, stood in front of it. I guess those were the kids.
One of the kids reached down and rubbed my back with a rubbery trunk.
I was about to scream, but it actually felt kind of nice. The tip of the trunk reminded me of the scrub brush my folks keep in the shower.
Another of the kids reached into a sack and pulled out a cheeseburger. It waved it in the air, over my head. I leaped, but couldn't quite reach it.
The parent creature tapped the kid on the shoulder, then pointed to me, as if telling the kid to stop teasing me. The kid dropped the burger into my hands.
It was pretty good.
So here we are, the Sol III hominids in Zorg's Intergalactic Petting Zoo. It looked like Zorg wasn't wearing a mask, after all. And the Wooly Niknak really wasn't a sheep. I guess it was just our luck that, out of all the fake roadside attractions and tourist traps, we had to stumble into the real thing. And to become a part of it.
Come see us sometime, if you get the chance. And don't forget I like having my back scratched.CHAPTER 2
ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM
Bentley was perfectly happy sitting on the living room floor in his pajamas, watching cartoons. But he knew his morning was about to get ruined.
"Come on, Bentley, get dressed," his dad said. "Your sister has a game."
"I don't care," Bentley said. "I want to stay here."
"You'll turn into a couch potato," his dad said.
"I'm on the floor," Bentley said.
"Then you'll be a floor potato," his dad said.
"That's fine with me," Bentley said. "I like potatoes."
He begged and pleaded, but it was a losing battle, just like it always was. His parents insisted on dragging him out to his sister's softball games every weekend. That wasn't fair. Bentley had to sit in the stands and watch softball, when he could have stayed home and watched something interesting.
Well, if he couldn't stay home, he could at least sit where he wanted.
When Bentley and his family got to the field, his sister went to join her team on the home-team bench. His parents went to the bleachers.
"What a bunch of bleacher Weenies," Bentley muttered as he walked away from them and plunked down on the ground behind the fence that ran along the first-base line.
"Bentley," his mom called. "Come sit with us. You'll miss the game."
"I can see it fine from here," he shouted back.
Bentley expected her to argue, but she didn't say anything more. He settled into his spot and waited for the game to begin. He was eager for it to start because the sooner it started, the sooner it would end. And then, at least, they could go for ice cream.
"Don't forget to root," his dad called.
"I won't," Bentley said.
When his sister hit a double, Bentley could hear his parents shouting, "Yay!" and "Way to go, Shana!"
Bentley waved his hands in the air and, in a voice dripping with boredom said, "Root, root, root." That almost made him happy, because it really looked like he was rooting. He figured that would stop his parents from bothering him.
"I wish I'd thought of this sooner," Bentley said to himself.
Every time his sister's team scored, he waved his arms wildly and shouted "Root, root, root."
It was the most fun he'd ever had at a softball game.
Finally, the game ended. It was time for ice cream. And then, after a double scoop of chocolate-brownie chunk or peanut-butter fudge ripple, he could go back home and watch more cartoons.
"Let's get moving, Bentley," his dad said, walking up to him from behind.
Bentley got up from his new favorite spot.
Or, at least he tried to.
"Come on, hurry up," Shana said. "Everyone is waiting."
"I'm trying." Bentley pushed against the ground with his hands and feet. But he couldn't get up. He felt as if his rear end had been glued to the earth.
His dad squatted next to him. "Oh, no ..." he said.
"What?" Bentley asked.
"It looks like you grew roots," his dad said.
"What!" Bentley felt under his butt on either side, with both hands.
Or he tried to. Something blocked his fingers.
"Those are definitely roots," his mom said as she knelt on the other side of Bentley.
"Looks like you really rooted for me," Shana said.
Bentley pushed harder. It was no use. He was firmly rooted to the ground.
"I guess we could try to dig him up," his dad said.
"Can we get ice cream first?" Shana asked.
"Of course," Bentley's mom said. "He's not going anywhere."
"Or we could leave him here until the season is over," Shana said. "That way, he won't miss any games."
"That's not a bad idea," Bentley's dad said.
"It might be safer," his mom said. "The roots are there for a reason. Come on. Let's go before the line gets too long."
"Hey, no, wait!" Bentley shouted as everyone walked off.
They kept going.
Bentley hoped they'd come back soon. And he hoped they'd bring him ice cream. And a shovel. As much as he liked being a couch potato, or a floor potato, being a field potato was no fun at all.CHAPTER 3
THE BULLY POOL
Gramps was visiting us for the summer. He'd grown up here in Flatsbern Hills, New Jersey, but he moved to Denver three years ago to teach art at the University of Colorado. I'd been begging him all week to take a walk to the town park. Today, we finally did.
"Is that where it happened?" I asked when we reached the fence that ran around the community pool. Kids were swimming and splashing and having a ball.
"That's the place," he said. "But it looks a lot different. They had to rebuild the pool. It was pretty much destroyed."
"And you were there?" I asked.
He smiled. "I sure was. It's a day I'll never forget."
I'd heard stories in school about the big disaster at the town pool, but none of my friends knew for sure what had happened. Everyone had a different version.
Gramps walked over to one of the picnic tables next to the pool. "Have a seat, Tristan. I'll tell you all about it."
I plopped down on the bench and sprawled out. I didn't need to save room for Gramps. He paced when he talked. He has a lot of energy. He almost never sits.
"It was a hot July day, a lot like this one," he said. "I was seven. We were all at the pool, because it was Founder's Day. It was a great celebration for the whole town. The school band played. We had footraces and a pie-eating contest. There were huge platters of food spread out for everyone to enjoy. A lot of us brought sparklers to light when it got dark."
"I've never heard of Founder's Day," I said.
"They don't do it anymore," Gramps said. "Not after what happened."
I waited for him to continue.
"We ate heaping plates full of food," Gramps said. "Back then, a lot of parents believed you'd get bad cramps if you went swimming right after eating. So we had to wait awhile. But later, we went into the pool to cool off. There was this one boy — let's call him Howard — who wasn't a good swimmer."
"I'm a good swimmer," I said. I looked at the lanes in the deep end. I could swim laps for hours without getting tired.
"I know. I made sure your folks taught you when you were real young. Howard wasn't so lucky. When he tried to swim, he looked like a creature that had never seen a pool, or even a puddle. So the lifeguard sent him there." Gramps pointed to the kiddie section, which had been walled off at the shallow end of the pool.
"That must have made him feel bad." I'd hate to have to leave all my friends and wade around by myself.
"I'm sure it did," Gramps said. "And he was there all alone. That's how the trouble started. A kid who's alone and unhappy is a magnet for bullies."
Gramps stopped pacing and stared toward the kiddie pool. A cluster of little kids splashed around in water up to their chests. He seemed to be looking into the past.
After a minute, he went back to the story. "I think Dempsey Starkmonger got the idea first. He was a mean brute. Big and mean on the outside, but like most bullies, he was nothing more than a little Weenie on the inside. Still, we all stayed out of his way. When he spotted Howard, he climbed out of the pool, ran over to the kiddie section, leaped as high as he could, and yelled, 'Cannonball!'
"He splashed down right next to Howard. The wave nearly knocked the kid off his feet."
"And then other bullies did it?" I asked. That's what I'd heard.
"They sure did," Gramps said. "One after another. And not just the bullies in the pool. It was like they were being drawn from all over town. Sort of like when sharks smell blood."
"Poor Howard," I said.
Gramps nodded. "Before he knew it, he was surrounded by bullies. And more kept coming. Each one did a cannonball dive. The water got more and more crowded. Soon, there was almost no room for anyone else to fit. But they still kept coming. They filled the whole kiddie pool solid. Imagine that."
I looked at the pool, and tried to picture a solid mass of bullies.
"The last bully barely managed to cram himself into the last tiny bit of space. There was no splash now. There wasn't any room for it."
Gramps paced between me and the fence. "The kiddie pool was plugged tight with bully flesh, wall to wall."
"And then what?" I asked. We were finally at the part everyone talked about. I couldn't wait to find out the truth.
"They were stuck," Gramps said. "Crammed so tight, none of them could get free. Like olives in an overstuffed jar. The lifeguards tried to pull them out. They couldn't do it. They called the fire department. They couldn't do it, either.
"Finally, the police chief, who wasn't fond of bullies, had an idea. 'Let them starve for a while,' he said. 'Then, there'll be room to move.'"
"How long did that take?" I asked. I couldn't imagine spending a whole day, or more, wedged against a bunch of other kids.
"Nobody knows. As soon as the bullies heard they were going to be starved free, they started wailing and moaning. It had already been three or four hours since they'd eaten. Even if they weren't really hungry yet, the threat of starvation was enough to get their stomachs rumbling. Some of the parents felt sorry for them, even though they'd gotten themselves into this mess. One father ran to the picnic area and grabbed some food for his starving darling. Then a mother snatched up some food for her little brute. Next thing you know, all these parents were racing to the picnic tables and grabbing heaping plates of the only food that was left."
"Baked beans?" I guessed. Whenever I went to a picnic or cookout, the burgers and hot dogs were the first to go. And then, the macaroni salad got scooped up. But there were always lots of beans left. "So they turned into beanie Weenies."
"That's right," Gramps said. "All the parents were feeding their kids baked beans, to stop them from crying."
"Wouldn't that make them get even tighter?" I asked. "So they'd be stuck for longer."
"Yup. It would make things worse. And it would make them gassy," Gramps said. "You know what they say about beans, right?" "I sure do," I said. "They're good for your heart."
"And a musical fruit," Gramps added. "After a while, you could hear it." He put the back of his hand against his mouth and made a fart sound.
I couldn't help laughing. It's not the sort of thing you expect a grandfather to do. "That must have stunk," I said.
"Well, it would have, if the gas had anywhere to go." Gramps slowly shook his head, as if even he couldn't believe what he was about to tell me. "But they were wedged so tightly, the gas was trapped. The farts kept coming. It started out as little toots. But after a while, it sounded like the testing room of a tuba factory."
Gramps paused to demonstrate the rising fart volume on the back of his hand. Then he picked up the story where he'd left off.
"The pressure kept building beneath them. Eventually, something had to give. I think it was Dempsey who made that final monster fart, just when it was starting to get dark. They all shot out of the pool like corks out of a bottle."
"Wow ..." I said. "That must have been an amazing thing to see."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Teeny Weenies Tales: The Intergalactic Petting Zoo And Other Stories"
Copyright © 2019 David Lubar.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
The Intergalactic Petting Zoo,
Root, Root, Root for the Home Team,
The Bully Pool,
Collect Them All!,
The Left Hand of Dorkiness,
Ride 'Em, Tenderfoot!,
Summer Reading (and Some Aren't),
Wheel of Zombies,
A Few Words from a Grateful Author,
Starscape Books By David Lubar,
About the Author and Illustrator,