Being Teddy Roosevelt

Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills

Book: Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claudia Mills
1
    Riley gave up.
    He couldn’t find his language arts notebook in his desk or in his backpack. He must have forgotten it somewhere.
    “Does everybody have his or her notebook ready?” Mrs. Harrow asked. “Riley?”
    “I think I left it at home.”
    Mrs. Harrow sighed. “This is the third time this week that you’re missing a notebook, Riley.”
    Riley was impressed that she knew the exact number of times. She remembered more about him than he remembered about himself.
    Sophie sat on Riley’s right. Her notebook lay open in the exact middle of her desk. The cursive on each page was as neat and beautiful as Mrs. Harrow’s on the chalkboard.
    Erika sat on Riley’s left. She had her notebook out, but she hadn’t opened it. Erika did only what she felt like doing. Apparently, she didn’t feel like opening her notebook right now.
    Riley’s best friend, Grant, sat directly in front of Riley. His notebook was almost as perfect as Sophie’s. Grant’s parents bought him a video game for every A he got on his report card. Riley didn’t think he could get A’s even if his mother bought him ten video games for each one. He had a hard enough time getting B’s and C’s.
    Mrs. Harrow handed Riley a piece of paper. “You can write your assignment on this.”
    Of course, now Riley would have to make sure he didn’t lose the piece of paper.
    “Don’t lose it, dear,” Mrs. Harrow said.
    “All right, class,” she went on. “We are going to be starting our fall unit on biographies. Does anyone know what a biography is?”
    Sophie did. “It’s a book about someone’s life. A true book. About a famous person’s life.”
    Sophie would probably have a biography written about her someday—if a person could be famous for having a neat notebook and 100 percent on every spelling test.
Sophie Sartin: The Girl Who Never Made a Mistake
. That would be the title.
    Riley meant to listen to what Mrs. Harrow was saying next, but he couldn’t stop thinking up titles for other biographies.
    Erika Lee: The Girl Who Did What She Wanted
. He noticed that Erika still hadn’t opened her notebook. Mrs. Harrow hadn’t said anything to her about it, either.
    Grant Littleton: The Boy Who Owned Every Single Video Game System Ever Invented. Plus Every Single Game
. Not a very short or snappy title, but a lot of kids would want to read that one.
    What would the title of his biography be?
Riley O’Rourke: The Boy Who Couldn’t Find His Notebook
. That didn’t sound like a book kids would be lining up to read.
Riley O’Rourke: The Boy Who Would Forget His Head If It Weren’t Fastened On.
    That’s what grownups were always saying to him: “Riley, you’d forget your head if it weren’tfastened on.” The book would have cool illustrations, at least. There could be a picture of a seal balancing Riley’s head on its nose like a beach ball. Or someone dunking his head into the hoop at a basketball game.
    Riley grinned.
    “Riley? Are you listening to the assignment?”
    How could teachers always tell when he wasn’t listening?
    “Remember, class,” Mrs. Harrow said, “the biography you read has to be at least one hundred pages long. Your five-page report on the biography is due three weeks from today, on Wednesday, October fourth. And then on that Friday we’ll have our fourth-grade biography tea.”
    “What’s a biography tea?” Sophie asked.
    Mrs. Harrow gave the class a big smile. It was clear that she thought a biography tea was something extremely wonderful. Right away, Riley got a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
    “On the day of our biography tea,” Mrs. Harrow said, “you will arrive at school dressed up as the subject of your biography. All day long you will act like that person. Then in the afternoon we will have a fancy tea party, and you famous people from world history will sit at special decorated tables and have tea together!”
    To say that Riley would rather die than go to a biography tea would be an

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