Authors: Lauren Myracle
ALSO BY LAUREN MYRACLE
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DUTTON CHILDREN'S BOOKS
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Text copyright Â© 2013 by Lauren Myracle
Art copyright Â© 2013 by Jed Henry
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Myracle, Lauren, date.
The life of Ty : penguin problems / Lauren Myracle ; [illustrated by Jed Henry].âFirst edition.
Summary: “Seven-year-old Ty gets into mischief and big-hearted schemes while navigating second grade and becoming a big brother”âProvided by publisher.
[1. Brothers and sistersâFiction. 2. SchoolsâFiction.] I. Henry, Jed, illustrator. II. Title. III. Title: Penguin problems.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
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.
To Jamie and Jacob, two cool dudes.
oday, my big sister Sandra is taking me to school. She pulls into the drop-off lane and tells me to walk in by myself. She says, “Ty, you're seven years old. You can do this.”
“I know,” I say, because of course I can. I can do tons of things. When a spider needs rescuing in our house, I'm the one who does it. At school, on the playground, I'm famous for jumping from one wobbly mushroom thing to the next without falling. Also, I'm excellent at growing head-hair, which is good because it means I'm not bald.
I'm just not ready to go in
this very second
. It's more fun to sit in the car and watch for a while. Linnea's mom follows Linnea with a bakery box, which means it's probably Linnea's birthday and she's going to give out cupcakes. My book partner, Price, runs ahead of his mom and tugs on the heavy glass door. Only he's a preschooler, so his mom has to sneakily reach up high and help him.
My other sister, Winnie, twists around in the front seat. She's younger than Sandra, but older than me. “You like school,” she reminds me. “You'll get to see Lexie. You'll get to be Bad Scary Dry Cleaners together.”
“No, because Bad Scary Dry Cleaners ended a long time ago,” I say.
Now Lexie and I are Boingees, which means we put our arms in our shirts and squat and hop all over the playgroundâ
boingee boingee boingee!
Lexie's friend Breezie is
a Boingee, only hardly ever.
Breezie doesn't like me. Winnie says Breezie wants Lexie all to herself.
Sandra honks. I jump.
“Ty. Out,” she says. “
.” She reaches back and opens my door. She shoves it so it swings open wider. Next, she shoves
. ON MY BOTTOM.
“Sandra!” I cry. I scurry out, but stick my head back in to say, “Sandra, you are so mean!”
“Bye,” she says, pulling away from the curb.
My heart races. She's not supposed to pull away,
without any warning.
“Fine! Bye!” I say. “And you're not mean. Not all the time. And, Winnie?” I blow a sneaky kiss, which boys
allowed to do.
“Catch it!” I call. “Did you catch it?”
Winnie leans out her window and grabs it out of the air. She pops it into her mouth. “
She kisses her fingers and blows her kiss to me.
I catch, swallow, and say, “Ew! Dried mouse droppings!”
Winnie laughs. Her hair whips into her face as Sandra pulls away, and thenÂ .Â .Â . they're gone.
to go inside. My stomach tightens. Not because I'm nervous, because being nervous is babyish. Being nervous is for first graders or kindergartners.
But it used to be that Mom took me to school. She walked me all the way to my classroom, and we did our good-byes there.
Then Teensy Baby Maggie came along.
Then Sandra started driving me to school. For three whole weeks, she's driven me to school instead of Mom. At first, she did walk me in. Either she would or Winnie would.
Then today came along, and
. Instead of walking me in, Sandra shoved me on my bottom, and Winnie let her.
Price's mother comes out of the building, this time without Price. I don't think she knows I'm Price's book partner, but she smiles at me anyway. I give her a small smile back. She heads to her car, and I bet she's thinking,
Why is that boy just standing there?
Probably lots of people are thinking that. All the kids going in, all the parents coming out. I could stand here forever, but I'd get all wrinkly, and everyone would say, “Who's that old creepy dude who's always standing there?”
I start toward the door. Then I stop, because I hear a noise coming from the playground. A kid noise. Only kids aren't supposed to be on the playground yet. I go to check it out. It's Price. He's saying “Help!” in a squinchy voice, and the reason why is because his head is stuck between two metal bars.
I go through the gate outside the playground, and it clangs when I pull it shut. Price tries to look over, but he can't, really.
“Hold on, Price!” I call. “I'm coming!”
“My head got stuck!” he cries.
There are steps leading from the slides to the monkey bars, and by the stairs, there are rails that have metal bars. That's where Price is stuck. It's not the first time.
I walk over, bend at the waist, and put my upside-down face where he can see me.
“Ty!” he says happily. He tries to stand, but it doesn't work. “
Boy, I'm glad I'm not a preschooler anymore.
“Have you drawn any more pictures of Cyber Grape?” Price asks.
Cyber Grape is like Plankton from SpongeBob, only bigger and purple, and I invented him. I drew a picture of him for Price, and now Price wants more and more.
I also invented Robo-Thing, who is Cyber Grape's best friend, but without as many superpowers.
Price doesn't know about Robo-Thing.
“I haven't drawn any Cyber Grape pictures this morning, because this morning I'm rescuing you,” I say.
“Will you draw some more soon?”
“Maybe. Now, stay.”
I tromp up the stairs. I tromp to the railing and kneel beside him. I reach through the bars, grab his head, and twist twist twist, until
He topples backward and lands on the seat of his jeans, which are the kind with elastic. He presses on his skull like he's pushing his brain into place. He looks at me with admiration. Like how Robo-Thing looks at Cyber Grape, probably. Huh. I haven't drawn that picture yet, but I should.
“Don't stick your head in there again,” I tell Price. “And even so, you're not supposed to be out here. You're supposed to be inside.”
I hold out my hand. His hand is sweaty, but I pull him up anyway. “C'mon. I'll walk you to your class.”