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Authors: Judy Delton

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BOOK: Bookworm Buddies
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“Snow,” said Patty Baker.

“Wiener roasts,” said Sonny.

“School starts,” said Jody. Jody was the smartest Pee Wee of all. Molly loved both Jody and Kevin, and planned on marrying one of them when she grew up. She had not decided which one yet.

“Exactly!” said Mrs. Peters eagerly. “Jody is right! School starts!”

The Pee Wees all frowned. Even though some of them liked school, they did not think it was the most important thing about fall.

“What does school have to do with a new badge?” Tracy asked Molly. “I hope it’s not a school thing we have to do.”

The Pee Wees all liked to keep school and scouts separate. They did not want their Pee Wee meetings to turn into lessons. They always watched to see that this did not happen. Not long ago they had had to write to pen pals, and at first that had felt too schoolish. But in the end it had turned out to be fun.

“School starts again in the fall,” said Mrs. Peters. “And of course in school, the most important thing we do, is—”

“Have recess!” shouted Roger.

“Eat lunch!” said Sonny.

“Take tests,” said Lisa.

“Go on field trips,” said Kevin.

“No!” said their leader. She looked as if she was tired of this wordplay. “The important thing we do in school is
read
!”

A hush came over the Pee Wees. They could already read. Why did they need a badge in reading?

“It’s library cards!” said Mrs. Peters triumphantly. “All the Pee Wees are going to get library cards in order to earn this badge! We’ll all be bookworm buddies!”

Molly thought their leader sounded as if she was trying a little too hard to be excited. No one seemed to care about library cards. And bookworms sounded disgusting.

“Won’t that be fun?” said Mrs. Peters. “All grown-ups have library cards! And it will help you in school, and introduce you to a whole new world of information.”

Finally Ashley said, “I already have a library card, Mrs. Peters.”

“My mom says we have a whole new world of information on our computer,” said Tracy.

All the Pee Wees nodded.

“We have a whole encyclopedia on ours,” said Kevin. “There’s nothing in the whole world that isn’t on CD-ROM.”

“Computers are fine,” said Mrs. Peters in a voice that sounded as if she didn’t think they were fine at all. “But with books you can curl up in bed and read. Books stretch your imagination, and they don’t need batteries.”

The Pee Wees did not look convinced.

“I can take my laptop computer to bed,” said Kenny.

Mrs. Peters acted as if she didn’t hear him.

“After we all get our very own library
cards, we are going to have a reading contest,” Mrs. Peters said. “There will be a wonderful prize for the one of you who reads the most books and reports on them!”

There was a low murmur among the Pee Wees. Molly could not believe her ears. Mrs. Peters was sweetening the pot with a prize! To get the Pee Wees excited about her badge project, she had to offer a reward. They had to be paid to read!

“We write book reports in school,” grumbled Lisa.

“What’s the prize?” asked Patty suspiciously.

“It will be a surprise,” said their leader. “At our next meeting we’re going to talk about library rules and the responsibility of taking care of the books we check out.”

The Pee Wees groaned.
Rules
and
responsibility
were not fun Pee Wee words. They were boring school words.

Mrs. Peters tapped her pencil on her pile of books. Then she held them up and said what fun everyone would have checking out books just like this on their very own card.

The books she held up were books Molly had already read. One of them Molly wanted to read again. It was about how to camp in the woods.

As Mrs. Peters talked about books, the Pee Wees were restless. When Mrs. Stone came down the steps with a plate of chocolate cupcakes, they cheered and forgot about library cards altogether.

By the time the meeting was over and the Pee Wee song had been sung and the Pee Wee pledge recited, the only one who looked happy about the new badge was Mrs. Peters.

CHAPTER
3
No Books in
the Bathtub


I
t might be fun,” said Lisa on the way home. “Once I read a book about how to make jewelry boxes out of egg cartons. I gave my mom one for her birthday.”

“Winning a prize might be okay,” said Tim.

“I don’t need a prize to get me to read,” said Jody. “I like to read.”

“Well, so do I,” said Rachel. “But I already
have a library card. And I know the rules.”

Molly loved to read. And she loved to write about the books she read. Or even talk about them. Jody was right. It was fun to read. But if she wanted that prize she’d have to begin reading right away. She knew Jody and Rachel would read lots and lots of books.

“I wonder if we can count books we’ve already read,” said Mary Beth. “I mean, then I’d have a million!”

“So would I!” said Kenny. “I’d have trillions!”

“I’d have zillions!” said Roger, reaching up high to show the imaginary stack of books he had read.

“You would not,” said Sonny. “You didn’t read a zillion books!”

The boys scuffled in the leaves. The others walked around them and left them tumbling on the ground, kicking and shouting.

The next Tuesday at their meeting, Mary Beth asked Mrs. Peters if they could count books they had read earlier.

Mrs. Peters frowned. “Well, I suppose they would count if you wrote a report on them. But I think the fun will be to read
new
books, and not just write about old ones.”

Then Mrs. Peters talked about what the reports should include.

“You write your name at the top,” she said, holding up a piece of paper and pointing. “Then you write the name of the book, and the author, and then tell us what the book was about, who the main characters were, and what you liked best in the book. Keep it all on one page. One piece of paper.”

Hands waved.

“Mrs. Peters, I can’t get everything on one page,” said Ashley. “I need a lot more room to tell about the plot and stuff.”

“One page, Ashley. You have to learn to summarize the book in just a few sentences,” said their leader.

“Ashley is getting more like Rachel all the time,” whispered Mary Beth to Molly.

Ashley sighed and shook her head, as if she might not be able to do that.

“Write small,” whispered Tracy. “That’s what I do. Then you can get more on a page.”

“Mrs. Peters, I can’t fill a whole page,” said Tim. “I can’t write very good.”

“Very well, Tim,” said Mrs. Peters. “You can’t write very well.”

“I know it,” said Tim. “That’s why I can’t fill a whole page.”

“Just write big,” whispered Molly to Tim. “That takes more room.”

“Mrs. Peters,” said Lisa. “The book I just read didn’t have main characters.”

“All stories have characters,” said Mrs. Peters.

Lisa shook her head. “Mine didn’t,” she said. “It was about outer space. All the planets and stars and stuff.”

“Oh well, that is nonfiction,” said Mrs. Peters. She explained that fiction books told a made-up story and that nonfiction books told about real things.

The Pee Wees groaned. This was sounding more and more like a lot of work. It was one thing to read a book for fun, like a scary mystery, but it was another thing to write about it and to know if it was fiction or nonfiction.

While Mrs. Stone passed library books around, Mrs. Peters talked about how to find books in the library. She told them the
books were arranged on the shelves alphabetically by the author’s last name.

“What if we don’t know the author’s name?” asked Tim.

“Then you look on the library computer, or ask someone who works in the library to help you.”

“The custodian?” asked Tim.

The rest of the Pee Wees giggled. They knew the custodian was not in charge of knowing author’s names.

“No,” said Mrs. Peters. “You ask a librarian, or a media consultant.”

After that she talked about taking care of the books.

“You have to be sure and return the book by the due date,” she said. “Others might be waiting for the book.”

“What if I’m not through with it?” asked Tracy.

“Then you have to renew it,” said their leader. “That means return it and take it out again.”

“What if I lose it?” asked Sonny.

“You have to take very good care of the books, Sonny,” said Mrs. Peters. “Be sure they don’t get wet or dirty or misplaced. Readers must be responsible borrowers.”

“Once my library book fell into the bathtub,” said Lisa. “When it dried out it was all wrinkled.”

“You have to be very, very careful with the books,” their leader said, frowning. “And always carry them in a plastic book bag in case of rain.”

“Or in case of bathtubs!” roared Roger.

After Mrs. Peters told them all the library rules and how to take books out and how to handle them, she announced, “And now I think we are ready to go and get those library cards, so that we can get started reading
and reporting and earning our new badge!”

“And a prize,” said Tracy. “Don’t forget the prize.”

CHAPTER
4
Baby Books and
Dirty Looks


I
f I knew what the prize was,” said Tracy on the way to the library, “I’d know how hard to work at this.”

“She’s right,” said Mary Beth to Molly. “What if it’s a dumb prize like a ruler or a box of crayons? I don’t want to write all those reports for that.”

Molly didn’t tell Mary Beth she was looking forward to writing the reports. She loved to read and write. She didn’t need any
prize to make her do it. But just as at school, no one liked kids who did the most work.

“All we really have to do is get our library card and
bang
, we get our badge, just like that,” said Tracy.

At the library the Pee Wees filled out the forms Mrs. Nelson, the librarian, gave them. She beamed at them. “I’m so glad to have lots of new customers,” she said.

“I’m already your customer,” said Rachel, who didn’t have to fill out the form. “I love to read.”

“Me too,” said Lisa. “My mom takes out books for me on her card.”

All the Pee Wees nodded.

“But having your own card is different,” said Mrs. Nelson.

Molly wondered why it was different. The books were the same. The due date was the same. The rules were the same. Rat’s knees, it wouldn’t matter if she never got a card of
her own! But if Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Nelson thought it was important, it was easier to do it than to argue. And anyway, they would get a badge for it. That was reason enough.

Molly filled in her name, address, and grade. She signed her name where it said she would be responsible for the books she took out. She noticed that Tim was having trouble spelling the name of his street. He kept erasing it and starting over. Molly told him how to sound out the word. The paper was wrinkled and messy when he was through.

“Now, before you can get your actual card,” said Mrs. Nelson in a businesslike voice, “one of your parents must sign the form. They have to say that they will be responsible in case you lose a book or don’t return it on time.”

“My mom says she has enough responsibility,” said Tim. “I don’t think she’ll sign this.”

BOOK: Bookworm Buddies
4.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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