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Bite the Bagel

Part of Alley & Rex
Illustrated by Nicole Miles

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About The Book

Loveable prankster Alley and bunny-suited brainiac Rex team up again, this time to help each other survive PE and save breakfast, one mutant bagel at a time in this hilarious story that’s perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Wayside School!

Rex can rock a bunny suit like no one else. But his PE teacher insists that all students must wear gym clothes—or face a punishment worse than dodgeball. Alley vows to help his pal Rex. And to save the free breakfast cart that was closed due to budget cuts. Everyone knows that kids can’t learn on empty stomachs!

From a heist in the principal’s office to a bake sale featuring mutant bagels, Alley tries everything he can to bring back the food cart. And Rex tries everything he can to turn Alley’s bad choices into good solutions. They will stop at nothing in their quests for justice!

Excerpt

Chapter 1

1
I love mornings.

Specifically, I love missing them because I’m still in bed. I’ve got nothing against rosy dawns and chirping birds—I just enjoy them most while asleep.



Can you spot me in that picture?

Look closer.

Did you find me yet?

Here’s a clue: no, you didn’t, because I’m not there.

I’m already in the kitchen, staring into the fridge.

“What are you doing up so early?” my mother asks me.

“Monna mushon,” I tell her.

“You’re on a mission?” she says.

“Muh,” I agree.

She points her toast at me. “Are you trying to write ‘ALIEN PARKING’ in duct tape on the school roof again?”

“Guh,” I say.

My dad forks his cheese blintz. “He’s going to eat Frooty Noodles cereal at the free breakfast cart until his brain explodes.”

“Mah,” I say, then sleepwalk to my bike.

And roughly a thousand hours before the first bell rings, I arrive at Blueberry Hill School, as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as a chipmunk in a firecracker factory.



That’s me. My name is Alley Katz, and my mission is this: elite training for my friend Rex.

I’m in sixth grade and Rex is in fourth, but we have lots in common. For example, he’s skipped a few grades, and I’ve skipped a few classes. Also, he wears a bunny suit to school every day, and I have a friend who wears a bunny suit to school every day.

See? We’re like twins!

On the other hand, my favorite class is PE. Frankly, I think every period needs more squeaking sneakers and screaming chaos. But Rex isn’t a fan of the bouncing and the yelling. Not with dodgeball starting this week.

That’s why I’m here, to train him in the Art of the Dodge.

I have everything I need: one brick wall, two soccer balls, a soft football, a whiffle ball, seven pairs of tightly rolled socks, a bunch of water balloons (empty), and a shampoo bottle that I forgot to put in the recycling.

Also, a few rolls of duct tape, in case I accidentally find myself on the roof. (Thanks for reminding me, Mom!)

However, the grand total of Rexes is zero.

Of him, I have none.

So I wait patiently for six or seven seconds, then head for the breakfast cart to grab some Frooty Noodles. (Thanks for reminding me, Dad!)

Every morning before school, the lunch ladies wheel a cart into the courtyard outside the cafeteria for an extra bonus snack. There’s fruit, cereal, bagels, drinks, and granola bars for needy kids—and for kids whose parents buy cereal that tastes like unsweetened twigs. Everyone’s welcome!

During my first few years at Blueberry Hill, my mom dropped me off on her way to work every morning, and I’d raid the cart. My stomach still remembers and growls happily when I reach the courtyard.

Then the rest of me growls unhappily.

Because this is what I see:

1) a bunch of kids I recognize—mostly fifth, sixth, and seventh graders

2) a bunch of younger kids I don’t recognize—a knee-high forest of piping voices and two-ton backpacks

3) posters for a school fundraiser



(Here’s some BONUS EDUCATIONAL CONTENT! You see that word “fundraiser”? I just learned that’s fund-raiser, not fun-draiser. Why? Why do grown-ups always take the fun out of everything?)

4) locked cafeteria doors

5) the big TV screen in the cafeteria window scrolling School News of the Day

6–32) candy wrappers and trees and walkways and loads of other stuff

Yet there’s one thing I don’t see. I mean, I look directly at where it isn’t and still can’t find it.

The breakfast cart is gone.

About The Author

Photograph by Ben Naftali

Joel Ross is the author of The Fog Diver, Beast & Crown, and Alley & Rex series. He’s never worn a school uniform, but he did try a spoonful of calves’ foot jelly once. The taste lingers. Visit him at TheJoelJoel.com.

About The Illustrator

Photograph by Daniel Hamilton

Nicole Miles was born in the United States but grew up in the Bahamas where all schools have uniforms but nobody eats calves’ foot jelly (as far as she is aware). She feels this is a fair compromise. She now lives in the United Kingdom, and her tiny place on the internet is NicoleMillo.com.

Why We Love It

“Alley & Rex has all my favorite things in one book: it’s a wonderful blend of funny, smart, and charming. From the Jeeves and Wooster-inspired Odd Couple friendship to the fact that the book centers a Jewish kid without making the story about him being Jewish, this is a delight.”

—Reka S., Editorial Director, on Allie & Rex: Bite the Bagel

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 19, 2023)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534495487
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 590L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ U These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

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