Authors: Sally Warner
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Published by the Penguin Group
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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.
Summary: A mischievous eight-year-old boy helps his sister with a bully problem, while facing a bully of his own at school.
[1. Behavior—Fiction. 2. Bullies—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction. 4. Family life—Fiction. 5. African Americans—Fiction.] I. Biggs, Brian, illustrator. II. Title.
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
“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?”
, 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.”
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.”
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.