Authors: Annie Barrows
Ms. Aruba-Tate smiled. “There’s a man in here who walked on his hands for eight hundred and seventy miles.”
“You mean on his hands and knees? Like a baby?”
“No. Just on his hands. With his feet in the air,” said Ms. Aruba-Tate.
“Read the book. You’ll see.” Ms. Aruba-Tate returned to her chair.
Bean opened the shiny cover. On the very first
page, there was a picture of a woman whose black hair trailed behind her like a fancy cape. Bean read that the hair was 19 feet long and that the woman had been growing it since she was 12. Wow, thought Bean. Doesn’t it get dirt and bugs in it? Bean turned the page.
. A man was eating a scorpion.
He ate 30 scorpions a day! On the next page was a picture of a boy with 256 straws in his mouth! What did his mouth look like when there were no straws in it? Big and slobbery, Bean guessed.
“Ivy!” she whispered. “Ivy!”
Ivy’s eyes stopped binging back and forth. “What?”
“Check this out!”
CARPET VIPERS, HULA HOOPS, AND TWO MILLION TEETH
“He stuck one hundred and fifty-nine clothespins on his face!” shouted Eric. “Look at him!”
It was recess, but instead of soccer or jump rope or monkey bars, the second-graders were huddled under the play structure. At the center of the circle were Bean and her book. Kids pulled the book back and forth, all trying to look at the pages at the same time.
“Look at her! Ninety-nine hula hoops at once!” Vanessa squeaked. “Around her neck, too!”
“Look at this turnip! It weighs thirty-nine pounds!” said Dusit.
“Gross! I hate turnips,” Eric said. “My mom made me eat one once, and I spit it into the heater.”
“I hate lima beans,” said Dusit.
Bean pulled the book back in her direction. After all, Ms. Aruba-Tate had brought it especially for her. “This guy has had more broken bones than any living human,” read Bean. In the picture, he was smiling happily. “He’s broken his leg fourteen times.”
“On purpose?” asked Emma.
“I guess so,” said Bean. “He jumps off of buildings.”
Drew slid the book his way. “Hey! This guy collects teeth! He has two million teeth!”
“This is the world’s most poisonous snake,” read Leo, pointing to another picture. “It’s called the carpet viper.”
“Does it live in carpets?” asked Zuzu. She looked worried.
“In India and Africa,” said Leo. “Not here.”
Bean slid the book back her way. “Look, Zuzu! This girl did a hundred and nine cartwheels in a row.”
“Let me see that!” Zuzu grabbed the book and looked closely at the picture of a teenage girl in tights. “I bet I could do a hundred and ten.”
“Bet you couldn’t,” said Eric. He grabbed the book from Zuzu and flipped through the pages. “This dude, he ate four hundred M&M’s in one minute, it says. That’s nothing. I bet I could eat a thousand in one minute if I didn’t chew.”
“You’d choke,” warned Leo.
“No. I’ve had lots of practice,” said Eric.
“Look,” said Bean, reaching over Eric’s shoulder and flipping pages. “Look at this kid. He’s only a kid, and he made a world record for hanging spoons on his face. Fifteen. No glue, either.”
“How do they stick?” asked Ivy, looking up from her book.
“I can’t tell,” Bean said. “Sweat, maybe.”
“Why would anyone hang spoons on their face?”
“I don’t know, but he made a world record.” Bean looked at the picture. The kid was covered with spoons, but he still looked proud and happy because he had set a world record.
“I’m going to do sixteen spoons,” said Emma, staring at the picture.
“Hey! I was going to do sixteen!” said Bean. She wanted to set a record and have
The Amazing Book of World Records
. Spoons seemed pretty easy. And, unlike some of the records, spoons didn’t hurt.
But now Emma had dibs. Dang.
“I’m going to eat five hundred M&M’s in a minute,” Eric said.
“Where are you going to get five hundred M&M’s?” asked Dusit.
Eric thought for a moment. “My uncle gave me ten dollars for my birthday. My dad said I could spend it on anything I want.”
“I’m going to do a hundred and eleven cartwheels,” said Zuzu, tucking her pink shirt into her pink pants and reclipping her hair.
“I’m going to see if Ms. Aruba-Tate has any spoons,” said Emma.
Emma and Zuzu walked off, looking important.
Bean felt left out. What could she do? She flipped through the pages until she came to a picture of a woman holding a broken glass. What? Was there a record for breaking the most glasses? No—the woman had broken it by singing in a really high voice. “
,” sang Bean, but softly.
Ivy was still reading.
“What’s that book about, anyway?” asked Bean.
When Ivy looked up, her eyes were shining. “This girl. Mary Anning was her name. She found the first whole ichthyosaur fossil in the world. She was only twelve when she did it, too. She lived near the beach and, one day, she saw a skeleton face in the cliffs. So she dug it out—it took her a long time, and everybody made fun of her, but she didn’t care—and it was an ichthyosaur! Only nobody knew about dinosaurs then. She also found a plesiosaur and a pterodactyl. See? This is her.” Ivy showed Bean a picture of a girl in a tall hat. She wasn’t very pretty, but she was famous and important.