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Authors: Lisa Graff

Double Dog Dare

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Double Dog Dare

PHILOMEL BOOKS

A division of Penguin Young Readers Group.
Published by The Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, NY 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East,
Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.). Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England. Penguin Ireland,
25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd).

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(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd). Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd,
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New Zealand Ltd). Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa. Penguin Books Ltd,
Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England.

Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Graff. All rights reserved.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. Philomel Books, Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.
The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content. Published simultaneously in Canada. Printed in the United States of America.

Edited by Jill Santopolo. Designed by Amy Wu.
Text set in 12.5-point Italian Old Style MT.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Graff, Lisa (Lisa Colleen), 1981– Double dog dare / Lisa Graff. p. cm.
Summary: When Kansas Bloom moves to California and joins the Media Club at school, he soon finds himself trying to outdo one of the other fourth-grade students in a “dare war” while vying for the job of on-air video homeroom announcer.
[1. Contests—Fiction. 2. Divorce—Fiction. 3. Moving, Household—Fiction.
4. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title. PZ7.G751577Do 2012 [Fic]—dc22 2011005721

ISBN: 978-1-101-59102-4
1    3    5    7    9    10    8    6    4    2

Double Dog Dare

LISA GRAFF

PHILOMEL BOOKS

AN IMPRINT OF PENGUIN GROUP (USA) INC.

To Mom and Dad
and
Paula and Karl,
who have taught me so much about happiness

Contents

PROLOGUE

Most wars begin with a bang, or a blast, or an enormous
KABOOM!

The war in room 43H began with a simple question.

“Students,” Miss Sparks said to the eight members of the Media Club gathered in her classroom that Tuesday morning, “it’s time to decide who should be the news anchor for the spring semester. Who would like to do it?”

The Media Club was not normally a place of battle. Normally, it was a place of great cooperation, of friendship and camaraderie. After all, the club members had a job to do—produce and film the morning announcements, each and every day—and they knew it was important. But
sometimes even the best of friends can have differences of opinion.

“Anyone?” Miss Sparks said. “Let’s see a raise of hands.”

Three hands went up—Brendan King’s, Francine Halata’s, and Luis Maldonado’s.

“Wonderful. Brendan, why don’t you tell the class why you’d like the job?”

With a grand “
Ahem,
” Brendan King rose to stand. He placed one foot on his chair, then another on his desk. And before the members of the Media Club knew what was happening, Brendan King was three feet in the air, pounding his chest with his fists and hollering, “I should be news anchor!” He shouted the words to the ceiling. “Because I’m the best in the world!”

Brendan’s best friend, Andre Jackson, rose to his feet, too. “Yeah!” he hollered, not quite as loudly, but almost. “The best in the world!”

Emma Finewitz giggled.

Miss Sparks nodded calmly. She was the rare breed of teacher who didn’t believe in much discipline in the
classroom. Miss Sparks always said that it was best to let children express themselves, that her students needed to learn to settle their own arguments in the way they saw fit. It was probably for this reason that, throughout Auden Elementary, Miss Sparks was known as the best teacher in the whole fourth grade. But she wasn’t an
easy
teacher. Quite the opposite. Miss Sparks could silence an entire classroom with a single frown.

“Thank you, Brendan,” she said as Brendan jumped down from his desk. “That was a very compelling argument. You may sit down now.”

Brendan sat. Andre did too.

“Francine?” Miss Sparks went on. “How about you?”

Francine Halata did not climb up on her desk. Francine Halata was not a climbing-on-her-desk sort of girl. Instead, she stood, slowly, and turned to face her fellow Media Club members, tucking a strand of straw-blond hair behind her ear. “I’d really like to be the news anchor next semester,” she told them. Francine had wanted to be news anchor from the very beginning of the year. As far as Francine was concerned, news anchor was the best job in the club. But
when the group had voted Alicia Halladay the first news anchor, Francine hadn’t complained. She’d just decided to work extra hard in her job as camerawoman to convince everyone that she should get their votes for the spring. “I need the practice, for when I’m a famous animal trainer, with my own TV show.” Francine looked to her best friend, Natalie Perez, who offered an encouraging nod. “And I think I’d be really good at it. Plus, I’ve never missed a single day of Media Club, I’m always on time, and sometimes I stay late after school to help Miss Sparks move equipment.”

Brendan mouthed something to Andre then that looked suspiciously to Francine like
teacher’s pet,
but Francine soldiered on.

“So,” she said, “please vote for me. Thank you.” And she sat down.

“Thank
you,
Francine,” Miss Sparks said. Brendan made a gagging noise, and Andre gagged, too. “Luis?” Miss Sparks continued. “Would you care to tell us why you would like to be news anchor?”

Luis shook his head. “I don’t want to be news anchor,” he said.


Then why’d you raise your hand?” Alicia asked.

“Because,” Luis explained, “I want to nominate someone else.”

“Oh?” Miss Sparks said. She leaned back against her desk, where her dippy bird sat—its red head with its funny blue hat continually dunking its beak into a nearby glass of water for a drink.

“Yes,” Luis replied. “I’d like to nominate Kansas.”

Up until that point in the conversation, Kansas Bloom had been resting his head comfortably on his arms. Kansas could not care less about who got to be the news anchor. As far as Kansas was concerned, 7:05 in the morning was too early to care about anything, especially when school didn’t actually start until 8:05. Kansas was the newest member of Media Club—and the newest kid at Auden Elementary, having just moved to Barstow, California, with his family the week before. He was not particularly fond of it so far.

“But—” Kansas began, but Luis cut him off.

“He’s new,” Luis explained, counting his reasons off on his fingers, “so it would be a good way for him to get to know the school. Plus, he’s good at reading stuff, and super nice.”


And super cute!” Emma exclaimed, then immediately slapped a hand over her mouth and burst into giggles.

Kansas’s face turned eggplant purple.

“He
is
pretty cute,” Alicia whispered to Natalie, who nodded enthusiastically.

Francine scowled. There were more important things in life than cute boys.

“But …” Kansas tried again. He had only signed up for Media Club because his little sister had begged to be in Art Club, and their mother had made him pick something too, so they could take the early bus together. Kansas had begged to get out of it, but apparently he wasn’t as good a beggar as his six-year-old sister. “I don’t really want to be news anchor.”

Brendan sneered at him. “You think you’re too good for news anchor?” he said.

“Yeah,” Andre said. “You think you’re too good?”

“No,” Kansas said carefully. “It’s just—”

“What would you rather do instead?” Brendan asked.

“Yeah,” Andre repeated. “What’s better than news anchor?”

What Kansas
really
wanted to do was move back to Oregon, where he belonged. Where the two best friends in the world, Ricky and Will, were waiting for him. Where there was no such thing as Media Club.

Brendan and Andre were staring at him, waiting for him to answer. Everyone else seemed to be waiting, too.

“I …” Kansas opened his mouth, then closed it. How had he gotten in this argument? “I just … I don’t know. Me and my friends back home, we used to do dares and stuff.”

Emma’s ears perked up. “Dares?”

“Yeah,” Kansas told her, glad to be finally talking about something other than Media Club. “Dares.”

“What kind of dares?” Natalie asked. She twirled a lock of curly brown hair around and around her finger.

Francine huffed. “I thought we were supposed to be talking about news anchor,” she said. But no one seemed to hear her.

Kansas turned to Natalie. “Double dog dares,” he told her. “Me and my friends Ricky and Will used to do them all the time. Like popping a wheelie on your bike while
sitting backward. Or eating chili with mashed-up banana in it.”

“Ooooh,” Emma said. And she swooned a little bit as she said it, so that the end of the
ooooh
dipped into a sigh. “That’s
so
great.”

Alicia nodded in agreement, and Natalie’s hair-twirling grew faster and faster.

Francine huffed again.

“No way you did that,” Brendan told Kansas.

“Yeah,” Andre agreed. “No way.”

“Did too,” Kansas replied. “I did double dog dares practically every day. Ricky and Will used to call me the King of Dares, ’cause there wasn’t a single dare I wouldn’t do.”

When Miss Sparks clapped her hands together, the whole class snapped to attention. They had pretty much forgotten she was there.

“I think we’ve gotten off track,” she told the students. “We were deciding who was going to be our news anchor, remember?” The eight members of Media Club nodded. “Well, then. Are there any more nominations?” The eight members of Media Club shook their heads. “Okay. Then it’s
time to take a vote. Everyone, please put your heads down and raise your hands when I call the name of the person you’d like to vote for.”

They voted, in secrecy and silence.

When the voting was over and Miss Sparks told them they could open their eyes, there were three names written on the chalkboard, with the number of votes scrawled next to each one.

Brendan: 2

Francine: 3

Kansas: 3

“Well,” Miss Sparks said, as the students took in the results. “It seems we have a tie. Francine and Kansas, would you care to split the job? It might be nice to have co-anchors at the desk for a change.”

Francine did not want to split the job. She’d
earned
it. That news anchor spot should have been hers, all of it. She narrowed her eyes at Alicia, then Emma, then lastly at Natalie, three girls she’d always
thought
were her friends. One of them
must
have voted for Kansas Bloom. But which one was it?

Kansas did not want to split the job either. He hadn’t joined Media Club to make a fool of himself in front of the whole school every morning. “I’d rather lick a lizard,” he muttered under his breath.

BOOK: Double Dog Dare
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