Ellray Jakes the Dragon Slayer

BOOK: Ellray Jakes the Dragon Slayer
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ELLRAY JAKES

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VIKING

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 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)

Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins St., Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books, Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa

Penguin China, B7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in the United States of America by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2013

Text copyright © Sally Warner, 2013

Illustrations copyright © Brian Biggs, 2013

All rights reserved

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA

Warner, Sally, date–

EllRay Jakes is a dragon slayer / by Sally Warner ; illustrated by Brian Biggs.

pages cm

Summary: A mischievous eight-year-old boy helps his sister with a bully problem, while facing a bully of his own at school.

ISBN: 978-0-698-14269-5

[1. Behavior—Fiction. 2. Bullies—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction. 4. Family life—Fiction. 5. African Americans—Fiction.] I. Biggs, Brian, illustrator. II. Title.

PZ7.W24644Elm 2013

[Fic]—dc23    2012034406

Manufactured in China    Book design by Nancy Brennan

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

To Mrs. Yvette Miller,
my beloved teacher in fifth and sixth grades,
and the inspiration for the beautiful Ms. Sanchez — S.W
.

For Wilson and Elliot —B.B
.

CONTENTS

1
THAT HOPEFUL LOOK

2
TACO NIGHT

3
OVER THERE

4
BUSY BEES

5
MY PERSONAL NARRATIVE

6
MR. NOBODY

7
STILL INVISIBLE?

8
IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS

9
EXTREME DODGEBALL

10
A GOOD DEAL?

11
BEING PROUD

12
UPROAR

13
BABYISH

14
AN UNUSUALLY QUIET DINNER

15
MIRROR LAND

16
BULLY MATERIAL

17
AN APOLOGY

18
COTTON CANDY

1
THAT HOPEFUL LOOK

“Are you paying any attention to me at all, EllRay Jakes?” Mom asks from the driver’s seat of our car, a Toyota so old they don’t even make them anymore. It’s the middle of April, and we are waiting in a humming line of cars in front of my little sister’s day care.

“Wait. Yeah,” I say, pushing Pause on
Die, Creature, Die
, my favorite handheld video game. I am almost at Level Six. “What?”

“I was
saying
, go inside and sign Alfie out,” Mom says. “And tell her to hurry, please. I’m afraid to turn the engine off. Darn car battery,” she adds. I can see the scowl on her face in the rearview mirror. “I have to call the auto club when we get home,” she says. “If we can make it home without having to be towed.”

“Do I
have
to get Alfie?” I ask, matching Mom’s scowl with one of my own. “I had a sore throat yesterday. And last time you sent me in there, the little kids made me judge a contest out on the playground. Remember?”

Picture a combination of preschool versions of a TV singing contest and a wrestling match and you’ll be close. It was terrible. One kid bit his best friend.

I’m working that sore throat, by the way. It’s the reason I didn’t walk home from school. Now, of course, I wish I had.

“You have to,” Mom tells me, inching our car forward as the line moves. “She’s not standing by the front door, naturally. Not our Alfie. That would be too easy. She’ll be out back with her friends.”

And she
REVS
the engine a little, as if reminding it what it’s supposed to do.

Kreative Learning and Playtime Day Care is very strict about letting its little kids leave. They either have to be waiting right next to the front door, so the frazzled teacher with the clipboard can check off their names and then watch them go
straight out to their car, or you have to walk all the way in and find the right little kid yourself. And then you have to sign them out, but only if you’re on the approved list. That means parking the car, though, not waiting in line at the curb. And today, my mom’s afraid to turn off our car.

BOOK: Ellray Jakes the Dragon Slayer
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