Authors: Patricia Reilly Giff
eter Petway leaned forward.
Mitchell leaned back.
“Why did you call my brother a loser?” Angel put her hands on her hips. “I saw you from the window that day.”
Mitchell grabbed her arm. Who knew what Peter Petway would do?
Peter blinked. “Not me.” He shook his head.
“That’s what I call my brother, Trevor. He calls me that, too.”
Mitchell let out his breath.
Up close, Peter didn’t look so tough.
But Angel had her worst look: a pushed-up nose and squinty eyes. “Why are you looking for my brother?” she asked.
Wow. Angel was tough.
Peter ducked into a classroom. “Wait,” he called. “I’ll be right back.”
He came out with Trevor’s mask. “Someone said you were looking for a mask.”
What a mess it was. Mitchell rubbed it on his shirt. “Thanks,” he said. “It belongs to Trevor.”
Mitchell turned the mask over. Hadn’t Peter seen Trevor’s
“Look,” Angel said. “He wrote his initials backwards.
. instead of
They all grinned at each other.
Peter gave them each a high five. Then he disappeared into the gym.
“I have to look for Trevor,” Mitchell told Angel.
Trevor found them first. He jumped out of the boys’ room. “Eeeee-
” he yelled.
He stopped. “Did I scare you?”
“Yes!” Angel said.
Trevor looked happy. “I might win a prize for karate.”
Mitchell held out the mask.
Trevor gave the clown nose a pat. “I knew you’d find it.”
It was time to go home for lunch. Mitchell and Angel started down the path.
Mr. Oakley was outside. He took a bag out of his pocket. Inside was a squashed sandwich.
Mitchell sniffed. It smelled like peanut butter. It made his stomach rumble.
“It’s for the squirrels.” Mr. Oakley left it on the front lawn.
Jake the Sweeper would have a fit.
“It makes the squirrels happy,” Mr. Oakley said. “It makes me happy, too.”
“You’re very good at nature,” Mitchell said.
Mr. Oakley laughed. “Everyone is good at something.”
He went down Plum Street. “Don’t forget,” he said. “Monday is prize day.”
Terrible Thomas, the cat, flew out of the bushes. He scarfed down half the sandwich.
Mitchell and Angel headed for home.
“I’m not going to win a prize,” Angel said. “I’m not good at anything.”
Mitchell was surprised. He thought she was good at everything.
“You’re a good swimmer.” He crossed his fingers.
“I sink right to the bottom,” she said.
She leaned closer. “Listen, Mitchell. I saw specks in the pool. Maybe seeds.”
She scratched her arm. “They might grow into sharks.”
But then Mitchell shook his head. “I don’t think sharks grow in pools.”
“How about lizards?”
“Maybe not.” He took a breath. “I’m not good at anything, either.”
“But Mr. Oakley said everyone is good at something.”
Mitchell saw a worm on the sidewalk.
He picked it up. He put it in a puddle.
Monday he’d ask Mr. Oakley about sharks and lizards. He’d find out where they grew.
Mitchell opened their side door. “Wait. I just thought of something.”
“I know what the seeds were,” he said. “Sand from my bathing suit.”
“Really?” Angel smiled. “You’re shaping up, Mitchell. You’re beginning to think. And something else,” she said.
He wouldn’t win a prize for thinking. But still it was a good thing to do.
“Yolanda says you’re an okay kid.”
He couldn’t believe it. An okay kid. Wow!
He thought of poor Angel. Good at nothing.
He thought a little more.
“You’re good at being a sister,” he said.
Angel grinned. “Too bad I can’t get a prize for that.”
“Yes,” Mitchell said. “But a being a good sister isn’t bad at all.”
itchell wore his
It wasn’t Number One anymore. It had cheese-popper stains and mud stains. It had pizza stains, too.
Mom had put it in the washing machine. Mitchell had pulled it out before it got wet.
After school, he followed everyone to the lunchroom.
The lunch lady’s face was red. “I’ve been working on a special snack. It’s prize day, you know.”
Mitchell wondered what the snack was. It might be horrible.
Something like chicken livers.
It wasn’t, though.
The lunch lady brought out blueberry muffins.
All of them had a
“It’s because of your shirt,” the lunch lady told Mitchell.
Habib grinned at him. So did Sumiko and Destiny.
Destiny gave Mitchell two muffins. “It’s only fair,” she said.
“Thanks.” He ate the blueberries out of the tops. Then he and Habib went down to Homework Help.
Next to him, Habib counted aloud. “One hundred forty-eight plus eighty-one …”
“You’re getting good at this,” Mitchell said.
“… equals almost five hundred,” Habib said.
Mitchell found his pencil. He began to write.
The Zelda A. Zigzag School is Number One
I’m glad to be here
Even without a prize
They went to the auditorium. Ms. Katz was sitting on the stage.
She looked different.
Mitchell wondered why.
Then Gina sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Ms. Katz stood up. “That’s our first prize,” she said. “It’s to Gina for good strong singing.”
Gina twirled her pearl necklace. She went up to the stage for a looks-like-gold medal.
Ms. Katz looked around. She frowned.
Mitchell saw why she looked different. She had sat on her glasses.
Yolanda pointed. Then Ms. Katz saw the glasses on her chair. She looked at Mitchell and smiled.
“We have a medal for Yolanda for artwork,” she said. “And one for Destiny. She helps out with snacks.”
“I have yellow zigzags in my hair today,” Destiny said. “It’s in honor of Zelda A. Zigzag.”
Ms. Katz gave out a million more prizes.
That kid named Charlie got one for helping Jake the Sweeper.
Mitchell kept his head down. He wouldn’t get anything.
Neither would Habib and Angel.
Then Ms. Katz called Habib’s name.
“This medal is for juggling with one apple,” Ms. Katz said. “Good work, Habib.”
Habib came back to his seat. “Next week I’ll try to juggle with two apples.”
Next was Sumiko. It was because she knew Japanese words!
She had taught Mitchell one of them.
Mitchell had to think.
Ms. Katz said, “We have one more medal. It’s for Angel McCabe.”
Mitchell tried to think. Angel couldn’t swim. She was afraid of everything. Her castle looked like—
“Everyone makes castles with towers,” Ms. Katz said. “Angel made one that’s different. So this is for imagination.”
Mitchell clapped hard. His hands stung.
Angel came back to her seat. “I’m glad you smashed the castle,” she told Mitchell. “Maybe you’re Number One after all.”
Then Ellie climbed up to the stage. “I want to give out a prize, too.” She smiled at Mitchell.
Mitchell sat up straight.
Was he good at something besides thinking?
“Mitchell gets a prize for writing.”
Mitchell ran up onto the stage.
“Excellent work, Mitchell.” Ellie pinned a medal to his shirt.
Everyone clapped. Mitchell felt great. Better than that. He felt excellent.
“What about me?” a voice called.
“Me too,” said another.
Everyone looked around.
“Trevor and Clifton!” Ms. Katz said.
They went up to the stage.
“Medals? Of course!” Ms. Katz said. “You win for making masks.”
said Trevor. He grinned at Clifton.
Mitchell sat back. He looked at his medal. It had been the best day.