Table of Contents
DUTTON CHILDREN'S BOOKS â¢ A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 2011 by Myracle Factory, LLC
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Published in the United States by Dutton Children's Books,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014www.penguin.com/youngreaders
eISBN : 978-1-101-51520-4
To Frances Adams and Chloe Chatfield: Forever Full of Fabulosity!
Big fuzzy thanks to all the usual crew, who will never be “usual” at all, thank goodness. My darlings, I love you.
Special thanks to: Barry “Care Bear” Goldblatt, the snuggliest, just-gotta-squeeze-him agent ever; Sarah Mlynowski, for her willingness to drop everything in order to read an early draft, and thenâwith her characteristic warmth and generosityâtelling me not to worry, it was adorable, all was good; Lisa Yoskowitz, for educating me about Hanukkah and gelt; Liza Kaplan, for stepping in so smoothly and facilitating details large and small; Rosanne Lauer, for her fearless copyediting flair; Scottie Bowditch, for her passion and her proficiency, though more for her passion; Allison Verost, for loving Winnie and telling me so; and EVERYONE at Penguin/Dutton/ Julie's Private Boutique for being simply and plainly fabulous, especiallyâbut not limited toâRasShahn Johnson-Baker, Irene Vandervoort, Steve Meltzer, Danielle Delaney, Eileen Kreit, Jennifer Bonnell, Linda McCarthy, and Casey McIntyre.
A ginormous dollop of icing-on-the-cake thanks to Ji Eun Kwak, for her
idea of sneaking Lars (as an adorable ten year old!) into the book; to ALL the sweetie-potato Winnie fans who emailed and wrote and said, “Please please please write another Winnie book!”; to the inimitable Beegee Tolpa, for bringing Winnie & Co. to life in beautiful color; and to Bob, for making me laugh, making me think, and making me shower and occasionally even take a day or two off. Well, an hour or two off. Well, for making me take at least twenty minutes to myself every so often, even when those twenty minutes seemed awfully hard to find.
And. Oh my goodness gravy. Above Winnie's house flies a fabulous pink biplane, skywriting the following in an endlessly repeating loop: Julie Strauss-Gabel, you are a goddess, an angel, an editor of astonishing brilliance.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
HE THING ABOUT BIRTHDAYS is that they are shiny and sparkly and make the birthday girl feel special, no matter what. And guess what? Today
was the birthday girl! As of today, I was ten years old. As of todayâoh my goodness gravyâI, Winnie Perry, was living in the Land of Double Digits.
It was a sparkly land, the Land of D-Squared. The air shimmered, making the faces of my sister and brother glow. The smell of breakfast filled my nostrils. Somewhere, unicorns frolicked. Maybe they were invisible, fine. But they frolicked anyway.
And even though today was a Wednesday, and my party wasn't until the weekend, I still felt special. Special
, even, because this way I'd get to have
days that were all about meâtoday
the day of my party! I didn't have to feel guilty, either, because Ty and Sandra would get special attention on their own birthdays. Everybody in the whole wide world had a birthday, so it was totally fair.
“Happy birthday, Winnie,” Mom said, cruising to the table and sliding a plate in front of me. On the plate was a microwaved sausage biscuit with a lit candle stuck in it.
“Aw w w!” I said.
“Wish! Wish!” Ty said. Ty was three-going-on-four and loved wishes. He loved everything, pretty much, except lice and occasionally dust balls, if the dust balls were small and dark and tumble-skittered across the floor in a might-be-a-spider sort of way.
“She can't wish on a sausage biscuit,” Sandra told Ty. She turned to me, and her shiny hair did its Sandra-style swish. She had very pretty hair, my sister. “You can't wish on a sausage biscuit, Winnie.”
I gave her a look. Just because she had pretty hair didn't mean she knew everything. Just because she was
didn't mean she knew everything. Sometimes she did.
of times she did. But other times she just plain didn't.
“Actually, you are wrong about that,” I said, and I screwed shut my eyes and made my wish:
Please, oh please, let this be my bestest birthday yet
I opened my eyes, pursed my lips, and blew a
of breath at that bitsy dancing flame. It went out, and a wisp of smoke curled upward from the wick.
“See?” I said.
“I see that you blew out a candle,” Sandra stated.
my birthday, so that means a birthday wish. So plop on your head, you poopy girl.”
Chocolate milk splurted from Ty's mouth. “Poopy,” he repeated.
“Winnie, I hardly think that's how a ten year old should be talking,” Mom said.
“Yeah, Winnie,” Sandra taunted.
“Sandra, hush,” Mom said.
, poopy mouth.”
“Poopy mouth!” Ty said.
“Both of you, hush,” Mom said, gesturing at Ty to remind us of his little ears.
Ty raised his hand but didn't wait to be called on. “Whales poop, and so do gorillas,” he said, only,
came out as
because he hadn't mastered his
's yet. “And so do spiders. I think.” He pooched out his lips and twisted them to one side. “Do they?”
took a moment
, which she frequently did, and which involved pressing her fingers to her forehead and being very quiet in a way that suggested very loudly that we better be quiet, too.
She took a cleansing breath, signaling that she was done. “Winnie, you're growing up, which is great. But growing up does mean
I thought, scrunching my nose.
“Being ten is a big deal. It means new responsibilities, new expectationsâ”
“New opportunities to be even weirder than you already are,” Sandra said, copycatting Mom's loving-but-earnest tone. She leaned across the table and took my hand. “New chances for people to mock you and call you Weirdy Pants.”
“Sandra, don't call your sister Weirdy Pants,” Mom said.
Ty giggled. “Weedy pants. Poopy pants. Plop on your pants, poopy head.”
I fought not to let a grin sneak out. Sandra wasn't being mean. She was just trying to be funny. And she
funny. But if I laughed, she'd be
too pleased with herself, and her head would puff up like the marshmallows Ty liked to microwave. And those marshmallows were jumbo-sized to begin with.
Ty's marshmallows grew and grew and GREW as they spun around in the microwave. They grew until they were trembling white blobs, and then they exploded, splattering the walls of the microwave with sugary glue. Every so often one didn't explode, and on those occasions, the marshmallow said
in a sad marshmallow way and deflated.
, until all that was left was a sad, flat marshmallow puddle.
I didn't want Sandra to explode
deflate. Usually. So I kicked her.
“Girls,” Mom scolded.
think Sandra needs to remember that she's three years older than me and should be more mature,” I said. “Don't you, Mother?”
“Indeed I do,” Mom said.
I turned to Sandra and lifted my eyebrows.
, my eyebrows said, because one of my many talents was my ability to hold entire conversations using nothing but the finely tuned squiggles of hair above my eyes.
Unfortunately, Sandra possessed the same gift. She lifted her eyebrows right back to say,
Oh, really? Like I care
Mom regarded me thoughtfully. “It might be worth addressing Sandra's point, however. Since the subject was brought up.”
“I made a point?” Sandra said.
“No,” I said. I had zero memory of any points Sandra might have made. “Sandra didn't make a point, did she, Ty?”
“I don't like spiders,” Ty said. “They are nature, and nature stays outside.”
“What point did Sandra make?” I asked Mom.
“Well, about . . .”
“About . . . well, about being . . .”
“Oh! I know!” Sandra exclaimed. “About people mocking you for being weird.” She made a fist and drew it in to her side. “Score!”
“Hush your piehole,” I told her crossly, because now my feelings
a little hurt. “Mom? You think people are going to mock me?”
“No, honey,” Mom said. “No one is going to
“Other than me,” said Sandra.
“But Winnie, it
true that you're . . .”
I waited for more words. More words didn't come, so I filled them in myself. “Adorable? Spunky? The genius of the family?”