Authors: Dan Gutman
“Miss Daisy, please come to the office,” Mr. Klutz said over the loudspeaker a few days later. “Oh, by the way, Picture Day and Author Day are both going to be two weeks from Friday. So we will be killing two birds with one stone, you might say. Thank you for your attention.”
“Killing birds is mean!” said Emily.
“It's just an expression, dumbhead,” I told her. “Killing two birds with one stone means doing two things at once.”
“I knew that,” Emily lied. She looked like she was going to cry, as usual.
Miss Daisy was still in the office. Andrea and Emily pulled those fake makeup kits out of their desks again. They were looking in these little round mirrors and fussing with their hair.
“You look fabulous, Emily,” said Andrea.
look fabulous, Andrea,” said Emily.
“What do you think I should wear for Picture Day?” asked Andrea. “My blue
skirt or the red one with the boat on it?”
“Oh, definitely the blue one,” Emily said. “It brings out your eyes.”
“I think I need more lipstick,” said Andrea.
“I need to moisturize,” said Emily.
“Ugh,” I said. “What is your problem?” I thought I was gonna throw up.
“We're making ourselves pretty,” Andrea told me.
“That's good,” I replied, “because you couldn't make yourselves any uglier.”
“You're mean!” said Emily.
“Why don't you just put paper bags over your heads so we don't have to look at you?” I suggested.
“Very funny, Arlo,” said Andrea. “When
I'm a teenager, I'm going to put on
makeup, and I'll be even more beautiful. Then you'll ask me out on a date, and I'll say I'm busy because I don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you that I don't like you.”
Why can't a truck full of makeup fall on Andrea's head? I hate her.
“Oooooh!” said Ryan. “A.J. is going to ask Andrea out on a date when they're teenagers. That means they're in
“When are you gonna get married?” asked Michael.
Just then, Miss Daisy
rushed back from the office.
“Guess what?” she said.
I was going to answer by shouting “Your butt!” Any time somebody says “Guess what,” you have to say “Your butt.” That's the first rule of being a kid. But Miss Daisy is a grown-up, and grown-ups get angry when you say “butt.” Nobody knows why.
“What?” we all shouted.
“We got a letter from Miss Suki!”
Miss Daisy read the letter we got from Miss Suki:
To my dear friends at
Ella Mentry School,
I can't wait to meet you!
I love children and look forward
to visiting your school. I will
have a big surprise to show
you. See you soon!
Miss Suki Kabuki
Miss Daisy tacked the letter up on the bulletin board. She was so excited that a real live, famous author actually took the time to write to us. She made us write letters back to Miss Suki, draw pictures for her, and think of questions to ask her when she arrived.
For the next two weeks, pretty much all we did at school was get ready for Miss Suki's visit. Mrs. Patty, the secretary, put
up a big chart in the office that said
COUNTDOWN TO PICTURE DAY AND AUTHOR DAY
. Every day, she crossed off a number so everybody would know how many days were left.
The reading specialist, Mr. Macky, came into our class and told us all about Miss Suki's books. Man, that lady sure likes animals! I think she likes animals better than people. That's why she lives in the rainforest instead of in a regular house with her family. People who live with animals are weird. I wondered if Miss Suki runs around the rainforest in a loincloth like Tarzan.
In science, Mr. Docker taught us all about peregrine falcons, because that's what Miss Suki wrote about in
The Fearless Falcon
. Peregrine falcons are called raptors, and they eat other birds, like pigeons and ducks. Yuck! Mr. Docker said they don't have teeth, so they use their beak and their razor-sharp toenails called talons to tear into flesh. Ouch! Their eyesight is so sharp that they can spot a rabbit from a mile away.
they're the fastest birds in the world. They can fly almost two hundred miles an hour. One time my dad drove eighty miles an hour, and a policeman pulled
him over and gave him a ticket. But I don't think peregrine falcons have to obey the speed limit.
Some classes made shoe-box scenes from Miss Suki's books. Some classes made sculptures of Miss Suki's animal friends out of Popsicle sticks. Our class made a “Welcome” sign in art with Ms. Hannah. We also made a long red carpet out of construction paper
so Miss Suki could make a grand entrance into school. We also made acrostics out of Miss Suki's name, like this:
ame as the last S!
can't wait to meet her!
Finally, all that was left on the
COUNTDOWN TO PICTURE DAY AND AUTHOR DAY
was a big number 1. It was the day before Miss Suki would arrive. Everybody was excited, except for me. You would have thought the president or the pope or Tony Hawk was coming to our school.
In the vomitorium that day, the lunch lady, Ms. LaGrange, prepared a traditional Japanese dish called chicken teriyaki in honor of Miss Suki. It's chicken with teriyaki sauce poured over it, so it has the perfect name.
I sat with Ryan and Michael and Neil the nude kid. Ryan was opening peanut shells by cracking them on his head. Michael blew air into his lunch bag and popped it to freak out the girls. Neil the
nude kid put crackers in his eye sockets.
Andrea and Emily and their annoying girly friends were at the next table talking about girly things again.
“Should I put my hair in a ponytail for Picture Day?” asked Andrea. “Or should I wear a bow?”
“A ponytail, of course!” replied Emily.
Ugh! I thought I was gonna throw up.
“I bet Miss Suki is going to come in a
limousine,” said Michael.
“Maybe she'll come in a helicopter,” said Ryan.
“She lives in the rainforest,” I said. “Maybe she will swing in on a vine like Tarzan. That would be cool.”
“What do you think the big surprise is that she talked about in her letter?” asked Neil the nude kid.
“Beats me,” we all said.
Lunch was almost over, so we all had to scrape the food off our trays into the big garbage can.
“I hope Miss Suki will sign my autograph book tomorrow,” Emily told the girls. “I took it to Disney World and got it signed by Mickey and Goofy.”
“Those are just teenagers dressed up like Mickey and Goofy, dumbhead,” I told her.
“They are not!” Emily whined. “They're the
Mickey and Goofy!” Emily would have cried, but we had to go back to class, so I guess she didn't have time.
When we got to Miss Daisy's room, guess who walked into the door? Nobody! If you walked into a door, it
would hurt. But guess who walked into the door
It was Mr. Klutz and Mrs. Roopy!
“Are you excited about Picture Day tomorrow?” asked Mr. Klutz.
“Are you excited about Author Day tomorrow?” asked Mrs. Roopy.
“Yes!” yelled all the girls.
“No!” yelled all the boys.
to meet Miss Suki,” Mr. Klutz said, “because I love animals too. In my younger days, I used to work over the summer in a zoo.”
“Wow!” we all said, even though Mr. Klutz didn't say anything that interesting. When grown-ups tell you boring stuff
about their younger days, you should always pretend to be interested. That's the first rule of being a kid.
“Remember,” Mr. Klutz continued, “Miss Suki is our guest. I'm sure you'll be
on your best behavior and treat her with respect. We want to show Miss Suki what kind of wonderful students we have at Ella Mentry School. By the way, I invited Dr. Carbles, the president of the Board of Education, too. Isn't that exciting?”
“Yes!” we all said, even though it totally wasn't.
After Mr. Klutz was finished talking, Mrs. Roopy said she had a few words to say.
“Miss Suki will probably give you the chance to ask questions,” Mrs. Roopy told us. “Remember, a question is
a story about yourself. A question is when you
somebody something. And whatever you do, don't ask Miss Suki personal
questions like how old she is or how much money she makes.”
We all promised to be good listeners and not to ask any stupid questions.
Well, after three weeks of getting ready, it was almost time for the big day. To tell you the truth, I was getting sick of Miss Suki, and she hadn't even shown up yet.
When we got to school the next morning, there was a big sign on the front lawn:
ELLA MENTRY SCHOOL WELCOMES
MISS SUKI KABUKI
FOR AUTHOR DAY AND PICTURE DAY
All the girls were dressed up for Picture Day. All the boys were dressed like slobs, as usual.
After we put our backpacks in our cubbies, Andrea and Emily took out their little mirrors and tried to make themselves look pretty. That would make a good movieâ
Miss Daisy told us that our pictures would be taken at the end of the day, after the author visit. Because there was so much going on at school, we would have to miss math. Yeah, baby! I
Everybody was whispering, “Where's Miss Suki?” “Is Miss Suki here yet?” We pressed our faces against the window so we could be the first to see Miss Suki when she arrived.
And then I saw her! I was looking
through the window between our classroom and the hallway when a lady walked by on the red construction paper carpet that was taped to the floor. I recognized her face from the author photo in her book. Miss Suki was pulling a rolling cart with a big box on it. She was a skinny little lady, not much bigger than a kid. It looked like a gust of wind could knock her over.
“It's her!” I shouted. “Miss Suki is here!”
Everybody made a mad dash into the hallway. That's when the most amazing thing in the history of the world happened. The wheel of Miss Suki's rolling cart got caught on the red carpet or something and it made her trip. She fell flat on her face.
We all ran over to help her.
“Why is that paper all over the floor?” Miss Suki asked.
“It's not paper,” Ryan told her. “It's a red carpet, so you could make a grand entrance.”
“Can you please get rid of it?” she said. “I've had a hard day already. My plane was delayed, and the taxi driver got lost on the way over here.”
“Oooooh, she has her own plane!” somebody said.
“Oooooh, she has her own taxi!” somebody else said.
the famous children's book author Miss Suki Kabuki?” I asked.
“Yes, I am!” she replied, and she shook my hand.
“Oooooh, I touched somebody famous!” I said. “I'm never going to wash this hand again!”
“Big deal, Arlo,” said Andrea. “You probably never wash your hands anyway.”
“Oh, snap!” said Ryan.
“So is your face,” I told Andrea.
“What's in the box, Miss Suki?” asked Emily.
“Oh, you'll find out later,” she said. “It's
box. But first, can you tell me where the office is? I need to introduce myself to your principal, Mr. Putz.”
!” everybody shouted, and we told Miss Suki how to get to the office.
We were so excited that we were the first class in school to meet Miss Suki. The bad part was, we had to wait a million hundred hours for her assembly to start. First, she had to visit the kindergarten trolls. After that she had to talk to the fifth and sixth graders. Then she had to have lunch with the teachers.
she had to sign all the books that kids ordered.
Finally it was time for our assembly. Andrea and Emily wanted to bring their
dumb mirrors along, but Miss Daisy said they couldn't. Nah-nah-nah boo-boo on them.
We walked a million hundred miles to the all-purpose room. But even
was a little excited by then, so it didn't seem that far.
When we finally arrived, we saw an easel on the stage, and Miss Suki's mystery box.
I wanted to sit with my friends, but Miss Daisy made me sit between Andrea and Emily.
“Boy, girl, boy, girl,” Miss Daisy said. “Crisscross applesauce.” (That's grown-up talk for “Sit down and cross your legs.”)
When everybody was seated, Mrs.
Roopy made a peace sign with her fingers, which means “Shut up.” She was wearing her bird suit again and held a big slab of wood under her wing. It looked like one of those boards my mom uses in the kitchen when she chops up food.
“Is everybody excited?” Mrs. Roopy asked.
“Yes!” the girls and even the boys shouted.
“Look what I've got!” Mrs. Roopy said, holding up the slab of wood so we could see. It had shiny metal on the front with the words
“This is what Miss Suki Kabuki won for
The Fearless Falcon
!” said Mrs. Roopy. “She just got it yesterday. I can't believe she said I could hold it! Isn't that cool?”
“Wow!” we all said, even though it wasn't that cool.
“Well, you kids haven't been waiting three weeks to listen to
talk,” Mrs. Roopy said. “So, I'm proud to finally introduce Ella Mentry School's favorite author, Miss Suki Kabuki!”