Authors: Patricia Reilly Giff
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2011 by Patricia Reilly Giff
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. Wendy Lamb Books and the colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Giff, Patricia Reilly.
Star time / Patricia Reilly Giff
Illustrated by Alasdair Bright. — 1st ed.
p. cm. — (Zigzag Kids; #4)
[1. Schools—Fiction. 2. Theater—Fiction. 3. Generosity—Fiction.]
I. Bright, Alasdair, ill. II. Title.
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
Love to Alice,
my Number One Girl
Big thanks to Carolyn LaFontaine,
whose book started me illustrating!
reat days at the Zigzag Afternoon Center!
They were going to do a play.
Gina would be the star. She was sure of it. She’d told everyone she knew.
She ducked into the girls’ room. She held Destiny Washington’s bottle of Curls Galore gel.
Destiny had lent it to her yesterday. “I’m trying to be the nicest person,” she had said.
“Even to kids who don’t deserve it. Stars do that.”
Today Gina was wearing her star shirt. Best of all, she had on Grandma Maroni’s loopy pearls. They hung down almost to her knees.
It was all because a used-to-be-famous actress was coming to the Center. Maybe in a limousine. Her name was Madam Ballantine.
She was going to tell them about acting.
Gina knew that part already.
She was going to talk about stars, too. That was what Gina wanted to hear.
“Mi-mi-mi,” Gina sang to herself. She’d never been a star. Not once in her whole life. But maybe this time …
She opened Destiny’s bottle of gel. It was a little sticky. It was blue.
How much should she use?
She held it up. The gel was thick and bubbly.
She shook it over the top of her head. Nothing poured out.
Then came a little bloop.
The rest of it came in a big galump.
It slithered over her hair and down her front. A long bubbly blue drip on her star shirt!
She scrubbed at it with a paper towel.
It wasn’t a drip anymore. It looked like a bird with wings.
Gina swallowed. Maybe Destiny had her sparkly purse today. If only she’d lend her that, too.
Gina could hold it exactly over the bird spot.
She scrunched up her hair the way Destiny had told her. Sticky but cool.
She headed for the lunchroom.
A million kids were there, screeching and screaming. It was snack time: fried mozzarella sticks today.
Gina slid into the seat across from Sumiko.
Sumiko was looking at her hair. Or maybe it was the bird-with-wings drip. Then Sumiko looked away.
Sumiko was a polite girl. Even Mrs. Farelli, the tough art teacher, said so.
“Don’t you love Afternoon Center?” Sumiko asked. “The snacks are great.”
Gina touched the top of her head. She took a bite of the mozzarella stick. It felt like her hair.
Beebe leaned closer. Sometimes it was hard for her to hear. “The play will be exciting, too,” she said.
“Beebe’s right!” Gina said. Her heart thumped.
to be the star.
She’d told Grandma Maroni. And Aunt Suki. And Uncle Tony. She closed her eyes. Who else? Everyone on her block. Even the meat man at Stop & Shop. They were all coming to see her.
She had to look like a star.
“Have you seen Destiny?” she asked Sumiko.
“She’s around somewhere,” Sumiko said. “Her hair is gorgeous. It’s swooped up with a purple bow.”
“Nice.” Gina crossed her fingers.
“The bow has a diamond in the middle,” Sumiko said.
“Very nice.” Gina tried to cross her toes.
“And …” Beebe leaned forward. “She’s wearing a fat purple ring.”
Gina didn’t say anything. She had nothing left to cross.
That Destiny was so lucky. Her mom was a hairdresser. Gina’s own mom just hung around and drew Happy-Birthday-to-You cards.
Destiny looked like a star with her swooped-up-purple-diamond-bow hair.
Gina was ready to cry. Too bad she was such a loud crier. Loud as a hyena, Destiny had said once.
Gina had to get out of there before her crying began. “See you,” she told Sumiko and Beebe.
She went up the stairs.
No one was supposed to be in the classrooms during Afternoon Center. But just this once.
Somebody else was up there, too. Charlie was running along the hall. He was taking little hops. His yellow raincoat flapped behind him.
about crying. Charlie was fun. He was an inventor. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“It’s my Yellow Wing-O invention,” he said. “I’m learning to fly.”
“Wow. Good luck,” Gina said.