Anna, Banana, and the Big-Mouth Bet
Chapter One That Spells Trouble
Trouble, I wrote, spelling it out in my head as I printed the word on the test. T-r-o-u-b-l-e.
O-plus-U and L-before-E were the hard parts in that one, but I was certain I’d gotten it right. Dad had quizzed me on all the spelling and vocabulary words this morning at breakfast, and even Banana was amazed by how quickly I’d breezed through them. And dogs are hardly ever impressed by good spelling.
I tapped my lucky blue pencil against my lip as I thought about how to use the word in a sentence. Banana once got in trouble for chewing
Chuck’s sneaker, I wrote, wrinkling my nose at the memory. Banana doesn’t chew on things she’s not supposed to anymore, but she still loves sniffing at things that stink, including my older brother’s yucky shoes.
“Pesky!” our teacher, Ms. Burland, exclaimed. She always sings out the words for our tests as though she’s performing them onstage. It makes the quizzes a lot more dramatic, and even kind of fun. “Pesky,” she repeated, this time in a low, booming voice. Beside me, my best friend Isabel giggled.
I wrote down the word, then used it in a sentence: Those pesky flies won’t leave us alone!
I glanced over at my other best friend, Sadie. I knew she’d been nervous about the test, so I was worried for her. But Sadie was bent over her
paper, scribbling the answer, with her curls spilling into her face. It looked like she was doing fine.
“No cheating, Anna!” Justin called out from the desk behind mine. My mouth fell open and my heart sped up at the attack. I wasn’t cheating!
Ms. Burland raised her eyebrows in our direction. “You should all have your eyes on your own papers, please,” she said.
I looked down quickly. I wasn’t really in trouble, but my cheeks still burned. Forget flies—I should have written my sentence about pesky Justin. He was the worst.
“Accuse,” Ms. Burland announced, sounding stern. “Accuse!” she repeated, calling it out like a cheerful greeting.
I narrowed my eyes. Justin likes to accuse innocent girls of cheating, I wrote on my test. There. That ought to clear my name. And I hoped Ms. Burland would notice that I’d also used one of last week’s spelling words, “innocent,” and spelled it correctly. I thought that was pretty clever of me.
But wait, was “cheating” spelled right? I pressed my lips together, thinking hard, and gasped. I’d felt a tooth move! I touched the tooth with my tongue and pushed it again. Sure enough, it wiggled.
I was so distracted by the slightly loose tooth, I almost missed the final spelling word. Luckily, Ms. Burland said it once more. “About.”
I spelled it out carefully and wrote, I can’t wait to tell Banana and Sadie and Isabel about my loose tooth!