Chapter 1 1 LA, LA, LA, LA, LA.
Have you ever seen what little kids do when they don’t want to hear something? They stick their fingers into their ears and start singing really loudly. La, la, la, la, la.
I wish I could do that now, because I don’t want to listen to Emma and Aiden fighting anymore.
But I’m not
a little kid. I’m in fourth grade. And that’s waaaayyy too big to stick your fingers into your ears.
Besides, I haven’t cleaned my ears for a while. It could be kind of gross in there.
“Oliver! Are you listening to me?” Emma sticks her face in front of mine.
listening to you,” I assure her.
“My dance recital should be on the front page of the 4A Gazette
,” Emma tells me. “If you were a real newspaper editor, you’d know that.”
Emma’s been saying things like that for the past fifteen minutes.
“My flag football game belongs on the front page,” Aiden argues. “We’re in the playoffs!”
Aiden’s been saying things like that
for the past fifteen minutes.
See what I mean about wanting to stick my fingers into my ears?
“Come on, you guys,” I urge them. “Don’t you want the 4A Gazette
to win the student newspaper contest?”
I already know the answer. Of course Aiden and Emma want to win that newspaper contest. We all do. The winning class gets a visit from Scoop Schaeffer. He’s a real reporter who has won all sorts of awards. It would be exciting to have him visit Class 4A. Especially for me, because as the editor of our class newspaper, I would be Scoop’s personal host. I’d even get to have lunch with him.
But if we’re going to win that visit from Scoop, we’re going to have to come up with an amazing front-page story. One that no other class has thought of. A story that will grab readers and make them want to read.
A real scoop.
Hey, I wonder if that’s how Scoop Schaeffer got his name.
“Of course I want to win,” Aiden insists. “That’s why I think we need to have the flag football story on the front page. Think about it—we’ll get the inside story on what it takes to make a championship team. I could interview myself.”
“Interview yourself?” I shake my head. “No way.”
“Sports stories go on the back
page,” Emma argues. “But a dance recital could be front-page news.”
“Stop fighting,” I plead with them. “Everyone will get an article in the paper.”
“But not on the front page
,” Emma points out. “And that’s the page everyone sees, even if they don’t read the whole paper.”
“Speaking of dancing,” Olivia interrupts. “Do you know how you make a tissue dance?”
“How?” Emma wonders.
“Put a little boogie in it!” Olivia starts laughing at her own joke.
I shoot my twin a grateful look. I’m glad she was able to stop Aiden and Emma from arguing—if only for a second. “That’s a funny one,” I tell her.
“Do newspapers have joke pages?” Olivia asks.
I shake my head. “Not usually. But they do have comic strips.”
“I could write a comic strip,” Olivia says. “I just can’t draw
My sister and I both stare at Tony.
“What?” he asks, even though he knows what we’re thinking.
Tony draws all the time. You should see his math notebook. It’s filled with drawings. Not much math. But lots
“Are you serious?” he asks me. “You want me to work with Olivia
“What’s wrong with that?” Olivia demands.
“You’re never nice to me,” Tony reminds her.
“I am sometimes,” Olivia insists.
“Name twice,” Tony says.
“Please, Tony,” I urge. “You’re the best artist in our class. Maybe in the whole fourth grade.”
Emma scowls at that. Probably because she’s always bragging about how she might be an artist when she grows up. Or an actress. Or a singer. Or a dancer.
“You could be the best artist in the whole school,” Olivia tells Tony.
Okay, now my sister’s going a little overboard.
Tony stares at Olivia. I think he’s trying to figure out if she’s teasing him or not.
I don’t blame him. My sister is a champion teaser.
Tony looks from Olivia to me, and back again. “Fine,” he tells Olivia. “I’ll work with you. Just be nice, okay?”
“I promise,” Olivia agrees.
“Great!” Emma exclaims. “You can put their comic strip on the page before Aiden’s football story.” Ugh.
I look at my teacher. She’s sitting at her desk, happily knitting something that looks like a giant sweater, except it has four armholes.
She could be knitting a sweater for a really big dog.
Or a horse.
Or some four-armed alien from outer space. You never know with Ms. Frogbottom.
“What do you think?” I ask, hoping she’ll make the decision for me.
“You’re the editor,” Ms. Frogbottom replies. “It’s up to you.”
That’s not what I wanted to hear. No matter what I say now, Aiden or Emma will be mad at me.
Actually, they’re both
going to be mad at me. “I don’t think either of your stories should go on the front page,” I tell them.
“I wish Ms. Frogbottom had made me editor,” Emma complains.
“You mean made me
editor,” Aiden argues. Oh brother.
If we don’t win this student newspaper contest, I just know that Aiden and Emma are going to blame me.
I’ll probably blame me too.
I look over at Sofia. She’s been sitting at her desk, quietly doing a crossword puzzle. Sofia is the class brain. Maybe she can use her smarts to come up with a great story idea. “Do you have an article you want to write?” I ask her.
“Actually, I have a strong story idea,” she says. Awesome.
“I want to cover the science fair,” she continues. “The fifth grade has been building dinosaur models with Popsicle sticks.” Awesome. Not.
“That’s your great story idea? Model dinosaurs?”
“What do you want her to do, Liver
?” Olivia asks me. “Find a real dinosaur?”
“Don’t call me ‘Liver,’?” I tell her.
Olivia laughs. “Can’t you take a joke?”
See what I mean about my sister being a champion teaser?
“Scientists believe that birds are in the same family as dinosaurs,” Sofia tells us. “I could write about ornithology.…”
“Orange what?” I ask her. “Ornithology,”
Sofia repeats. “An eleven-letter word that means ‘the study of birds.’ It was the answer to a clue in last week’s crossword puzzle.”
- Many scientists believe that birds are part of the same animal group as the two-legged dinosaurs called theropods.
- Tyrannosaurus rex was a theropod.
It’s one thing to learn new words when Ms. Frogbottom puts them on the board as our Word of the Day. But Sofia memorizes vocabulary words just for fun. Of course, it’s easy for her. She has a photographic memory. Everything she reads, she remembers.
Unfortunately, Sofia’s ability to memorize big words doesn’t help me right now. “I wasn’t talking about birds,” I tell her. “I meant a huge dinosaur. Like in a museum. How cool would it be if we found one that was still alive?”
“It would be terrible,” Tony argues. “A dinosaur could eat us.”
“Only if it was a carnivore,” Sofia corrects him. “Herbivores don’t eat meat.”
“Don’t worry,” I assure Tony. “It’s not like there’s a dinosaur out there terrorizing our town.”
town,” Ms. Frogbottom chimes in. “But there is a place that might have what you’re looking for.…” She reaches into her backpack and pulls out a giant map.
There’s no way the map should fit into her pack, but somehow it does.
Her taking the map out can mean only one thing. We’re going on one of Ms. Frogbottom’s field trips.
“Here we go again,” Olivia whispers.
?” Aiden wonders.
“I hope it’s someplace fancy.” Emma rubs lip balm across her lips.
Sofia grabs her tablet. She won’t go anywhere without it.
“Have I mentioned how afraid I am of Ms. Frogbottom’s field trips?” Tony asks nervously. “Something bad always happens. Remember when the Magic Map took us to Egypt? We met that mummy who wanted to trap us forever in his tomb of doom.”
Of course I remember. You don’t forget something like that.
“Don’t worry, Tony,” I tell him. “No matter where we go, we won’t be there forever. We’re always back from field trips by dismissal.”
Ms. Frogbottom points to a spot on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Suddenly a white light flashes all around us. My body feels weightless, and I think my feet have just left the ground.
It’s like I’m flying in space. And then…