At last, some real luck - 4B gets a substitute teacher. And double luck - she's never even taught a class before. A sinkable sub!
The war is on: it's the boys against the girls. The first ones who shake her up to the point of tears have officially sunk the sub. And the losers have to walk through the "Spit Pit" for the rest of the year. Too gross!
But the sub isn't fazed by the crawl-on-the-floor trick. Or the paper towels stuck to the ceiling. And the snowball avalanche doesn't make a dent. It's going to be a war that makes sub history!
About the Author
Jamie Gilson has written sixteen books, all of them about children, most of them about children in school. And the elementary school where she gets many of her ideas is Central, which all three Gilson children attended. While Tom and Anne are now lawyers and Matthew a photographer, their mother still goes to Central School classes, notebook in hand, looking for stories.
She describes Central's cafeteria in Do Bananas Chew Gum?, its Spit Pit in Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub, and the contents of some of its fourth grade desks in Hobie Hanson, You're Weird. Central students have taught her how to sing "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," how to chew a mint so it sparks in the dark, and how to play soccer on a field of mud.
She spent two weeks with the whole fifth grade class while, in a kind of total immersion, they studied the Western Movement. On the first day the boys and girls found out who they'd be married to for those two weeks. Then they took pioneer identities, joined a wagon train, chose supplies, decided whether to cross a rushing river at midnight, made pumpkin butter, dipped candles, and built mock fires with fake buffalo chips. They had a wonderful time - mostly. Jamie wrote a book about it: Wagon Train 911.
"It's true, though," she says, "that while Central is very special to me, every school is brimming with rich stories. I talk with children all over the country about my writing, and the one question they always ask is, 'Witt you put us in a book?' If I were there tong enough, I expect I could."
Jamie Gilson's professional life has always involved writing and communications. Formerly a teacher of junior high school speech and English, she was a staff writer and producer for Chicago Board of Education radio station WBEZ, a writer of Encyclopaedia Brittanica films, and continuity director for fine arts radio station WFMT. She was, for ten years, a monthly columnist for Chicago magazine.
Born in Beardstown, Illinois, Jamie Gilson spent her early years in small towns in Illinois and Missouri where her father worked as a flour miller. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Speech, she married Jerome Gilson, then a law student and now a trademark lawyer. They live within sight and sound of Lake Michigan in a suburb of Chicago.
Read an Excerpt
I slammed the front door, jumped the steps, and tossed my old red kickball across the yard to Nick Rossi, who lives next door. We had twenty-two minutes to get to school.
"I've got the moustache," I told him, clutching its long spidery hairs in my coat pocket. "Did you bring the bow tie?"
"Yeah," he said, dribbling the kickball down the sidewalk, "it's in my backpack. My notes, too. Don't panic. We'll be spectacular."
I'd made the moustache out of fake hair off an old Wolf Man Halloween wig. It was part of my costume for our Social Studies report, which would be a long way from spectacular. But if it wasn't at least good, our teacher, Mr. Star, would torpedo us. He grades hard.
We got to the corner just as the school bus stopped for the sign. From inside it R.X. Shea yelled at us, waving his arms and pressing his nose pig-flat against the steamy window. Marshall Ezry aimed a paper airplane through his window, which was open just a slit. In Stockton, Illinois, where we live, kids whose houses are more than a mile from school get to ride free. Nick and I live eight blocks from Central School and, instead of paying big bucks to ride, we walk, even on February days that make our ears turn blue.
Nick poked at a pile of frozen snow near the curb, trying to break enough loose so he could whip a snowball at the bus. I picked up my kickball and let it fly at Marshall's window. But we were both too slow. The bug roared off in a cloud of blue-gray fumes, leaving Nick with a handful of ice crumbs, and mewith my kickball somewhere across the street.
As we ran to rescue it, the Oldsmobile waiting in line behind the bus honked at us. Oongk! Oongk!
We ignored it.Oongk! Oongk! Oongk!
Nick leaped up like a rocket into space. Actually, he jumped about four feet across a square. A concrete square on the sidewalk. I stepped on it. "Stinkfish!" he yelled. "I caught you! Stinkfish! "The square he'd jumped over was one of those with the concrete maker's name stamped in it. "Laid by Jas. Wiggleton, Stockton, Illinois 1929 ," it read. There are lots of squares like that on the way to school and if you step on one, you're automatically a stinkfish.
"I got you. I finally got you," Nick yelped. He picked the ball out of the bush it was stuck in and dashed down the sidewalk, yelling, "Stinkfish, stinkfish!"
I know every one of those squares from my door to the door of Central School because I've walked there from kindergarten through the middle of fourth grade and I'm very, very good at not stepping on them. I wouldn't have got that one, either, if it hadn't been for the stupid horn.
Oongk! Oongk! Oongk! it blasted again, and I turned to snarl.
"Hobie Hanson," a voice shrieked from the car, you want a ride?" Nick galloped back, yelling, "Hobie is a stinkfish!"
"Nick!" the voice yelled again. "You've got to help us with this humungous box."
Nick and I looked at each other, decided we hadn't heard a thing, and started off full speed toward school, still a good seven blocks away. We had run all of ten squares, though, when the car screeched up beside us.
"Hobie and Nick, you stop now! the voice demanded. We knew who it was, of course. It was MollyBosco. We were giving our report with her and Lisa Soloman that afternoon. Not because we wanted to. We were assigned to be on the same team by Mr. Star, who keeps saying boys and girls should learn to work together. Aaargh! Anyway, in fourth grade Social Studies you spend a whole month on Cultures of the World. Our team's culture was China.
"Ho-bie, you left the rest of your rice candy at my house," Molly yelled. She is the world's bossiest kid, with a high squeaky voice that is soprano and then some. It was sticky candy from China and I'd left it there because it tasted like perfume.
"I'm not supposed to get in cars with people who offer me candy," Nick told her, tossing the ball in the air and bouncing it off his head.
Molly's grandmother, Mrs. Bosco, was driving. Mrs. Bosco is very tall and very fat and deaf enough so she shouts a lot. She had given. us the candy to eat while we sat through fifteen boxes of slides she'd taken on her three-week trip to China. Most of them were pretty fuzzy. A lot of them were temples.
Next to her on, the front seat was a cardboard box heaped with stuff she wanted us to show for our report, stuff like brass bowls with these flower designs on them, blue-and-white dishes, a cricket cage with no cricket in it, some grasshoppers and praying mantises made out of straw, and a shiny basket that looked like a rooster.
We hadn't moved toward the car, so she leaned toward us and honked the horn again. In the back seat with Molly, Lisa Soloman sat, giggling.
"We always walk," I called, edging off I toward school.
"You've got to help us carry this box in. It's your report, too, you know," Molly said, pinching her mouth flat.
"Listen," Nick told her, "we'd really like to, no kidding, but Officer Friendly told us in second grade that we should never accept rides from Mr. or Ms. Stranger Danger."
Molly flung her door open and leaped out. "My grandmother," she said, "is not Ms. Stranger Danger."
Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub. Copyright © by Jamie Gilson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just finished this book and I really enjoyed it!! It was soo hilarious! I hope there is a second sequel to this book!! :D
I wish i cod get this book but my mom says i cant! :~(