होम Ignoramus


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यह पुस्तक आपको कितनी अच्छी लगी?
फ़ाइल की गुणवत्ता क्या है?
पुस्तक की गुणवत्ता का मूल्यांकन करने के लिए यह पुस्तक डाउनलोड करें
डाउनलोड की गई फ़ाइलों की गुणवत्ता क्या है?
Bailiwick Press
ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Aldo Zelnick 9
PDF, 76.51 MB
Conversion to is in progress
Conversion to is failed

सबसे उपयोगी शब्द


अपनी समीक्षा पोस्ट करने के लिए साइन इन करें या साइन अप करें
आप पुस्तक समीक्षा लिख सकते हैं और अपना अनुभव साझा कर सकते हैं. पढ़ूी हुई पुस्तकों के बारे में आपकी राय जानने में अन्य पाठकों को दिलचस्पी होगी. भले ही आपको किताब पसंद हो या न हो, अगर आप इसके बारे में ईमानदारी से और विस्तार से बताएँगे, तो लोग अपने लिए नई रुचिकर पुस्तकें खोज पाएँगे.

Igor der Schreckliche

EPUB, 631 KB
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Igniting the Wild Sparks

EPUB, 508 KB
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Accolades for the
aldo zelnick comic novel series
An alphabetical adventure for middle-grade readers 7 to 13

Book of the Year Award, juvenile fiction, ForeWord Reviews
Colorado Book Award, juvenile literature
Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers
Association Regional Book Award
Creative Child magazine Seal of Excellence
Kids’ Next Indiebound selection
Independent Publisher Silver “IPPY” Award
Creative Child magazine Preferred Choice Award
Quid Novi Award, first prize
Moonbeam Children’s Book Award,
silver medal for comic/graphic novel
Top 10 Educational Children’s Products - Dr. Toy
Book of the Year Award, kids’ fiction,
Creative Child magazine
Moonbeam Children’s Book Award,
silver medal for activity book

Ignoramus.indb 1

10/14/13 5:29 PM

W h a t r e a d e r s a r e s ay i n g :

(kid comments are in Aldo’s handwriting)

“It was the funniest book I have ever read.
The illustrations are hilarious. It is better than
Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
— Tavis

“The Aldo Zelnick books keep
getting better and better.”
— Mary Lee Hahn, teacher and readingyear.blogspot.com blogger

“You will laugh out loud—I guarantee it.
The books are THAT funny.”
— Becky Bilby, inthepages.blogspot.com

“I’ve been waiting for a series to come along that could knock Wimpy Kid off
its pedestal as the most popular series in my library. Well, this may be it: the
Aldo Zelnick Comic Novels. Save room on your shelves for 26 volumes!”
— Donna Dannenmiller, elementary librarian

“Aldo is pretty awesome in my book.”
— Dr. Sharon Pajka, English professor, Gallaudet University

“The other night I caught my 8-year-old twins giggling on the living room couch as they
took turns reading Artsy-Fartsy aloud to each other. Then one morning I found it on their
nightstand with a headlamp resting on the cover from the previous night’s under-cover
reading. That’s a true badge of honor in this house. You hit this one out of the park.”
— Becky Jensen

Ignoramus.indb 2

10/14/13 5:29 PM

“As a teacher of 20 years I have never come across a book that ; has
engaged readers so intensely so quickly. The boys in my reading group
devoured the series and were sad when they finished the most recent one.”
— Cheryl Weber, Director of Educational Support,
Indian Community School

“One of the most remarkable things about these books is the voice of Aldo,
which rings true from every page. The hilarious drawings enhance the text
with jokes and visual humor that make Aldo’s personality pop.”
— Rebecca McGregor, Picture Literacy

“The book was very hilarious. It made us laugh out
loud. You have the best characters ever!”
— Sebastian

“We recommend A is for Aldo! Hilarious stories, goofy drawings,
and even sneaky new vocabulary words. If you are an admirer
of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you’ll adore Aldo Zelnick.”
— Oak Park Public Library

“I LOVE the Aldo Zelnick books so much that
I want to read them for the rest of my life!”
— Gregory, age 9

“This terrific series will be enjoyed
by all readers and constantly in demand.
Highly recommended.”
— South Sound Book Review Council of Washington libraries

“This is a fun series that my students adore.”
— Katherine Sokolowski, 5th grade teacher

Ignoramus.indb 3

10/14/13 5:29 PM

“Every library that serves Wimpy Kid fans
(which, honestly, is every library, period) should have
the Aldo Zelnick series on its shelves.”
— Katie Ahearn, children’s librarian, Washington DC

“Aldo is an endearing narrator. His deadpan sense of
humor is enjoyable even for adults. Each book is a fast-paced,
light read, perfect for the kid looking for a transition
from comics to chapter books.”
— Sarah, children’s buyer, Left Bank Books

“When I am reading an Aldo Zelnick book in RTI,
I don’t want to go back to my classroom. Somehow
I want to keep reading...and I don’t like reading.”
— an elementary student

“I am completely charmed by this series. The drawings and text have the
quality of simultaneously being appealing to children and also amusing
for adults. A big strength here is in the development of the characters.
This is wonderful, since this is going to be an A to Z series and we’ll have
plenty of time to get to know them better. These are individuals with staying
power. With the sketchbook comes a wonderful, not-overstated message
of allowing Aldo to be himself and follow his creativity. Bravo!”
— Jean Hanson

“...a must for your elementary school reader.”
— Christy, Reader’s Cove bookstore

“In the wake of Wimpy Kid and Amelia’s Notebooks comes
Aldo Zelnick. Oceanak has created a funny and lively hero.
The illustrations add to the humor.”
— Library Media Connection

Ignoramus.indb 4

10/14/13 5:29 PM







Written by Karla Oceanak

Illustrated by Kendra Spanjer

Ignoramus.indb 5

10/14/13 5:29 PM

Also by Karla
and Kendra Sp anak
Artsy-Fartsy, B anjer —
Dumbstruck, E Cahoots,
Finicky, Glitch gghead,
, Hot
All Me, All th dogger,
e Time

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are
either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales
is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Karla Oceanak and Kendra Spanjer
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the publisher.
Published by:
Bailiwick Press
309 East Mulberry Street
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
(970) 672-4878
Fax: (970) 672-4731
Manufactured by:
Friesens Corporation, Altona, Canada
October 2013
Job # 89676
Book design by:
Launie Parry
Red Letter Creative
ISBN 978-1-934649-41-1
22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 		

Ignoramus.indb 6

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

10/14/13 5:29 PM

ine's g
Happyto my darlin
xx Goosy

A LD O ,

A Valenti n e in
im mo rtal* wo rd s sc rip tio n ,* in the
of W. S h a k e sp
ea re :
“ L ove loo k s n
o t wit
b ut with the m h the ey e s,
in d.
“A n d therefo re
is win g
C upid p ainted ed
bli n d.”
- M r. M o t

Ignoramus.indb 7

10/14/13 5:29 PM

Wh o

Jack, my bestie.


Me – Aldo Valentine
Zelnick. Gah!



Tommy Geller

Mr. Fodder, my cafeteria guy,
and his dog, Greta.


Ignoramus.indb 8

Bee and Iyla.


10/14/13 5:30 PM

and his (ew)

Mom, d
Dad, andog,
our Max.

My grandma,

Fritz, and
his girlfriend,


Jack’s mom, Mrs. Lopez, and
Jack’s grandpa, Abuelo.

Mrs. Dulcet, my band teacher.

Ignoramus.indb 9

M r. Mot, book nerd.


10/14/13 5:30 PM

Hi. My name’s Bee. My inventive*
friend Aldo Zelnick makes these
sketchbooks. And he let me help
make the one you’re holding!
When you see *, you’re in luck!
It means you can look in the back
of the book to see what
the word means!

Every kid wohooks
reads these eb with
falls in lov I shot
them, but case.
them just in


Ignoramus.indb 10

10/14/13 5:30 PM

T h e D ay T h at W ill
L ive i n I n famy *
How come everyone
loves you so much?

To tell you the
truth, I think it’s
the chocolates.
Plus I’m short.
People love short.

I’d like to start my sketchbook with a question
for the Guy in charge of the getting-born schedule:

Why, why, why did my birthday
have to be February 14th???

It causes infinite* humiliation! Such as: My
birthday presents get wrapped in frilly pink and red.
My parents picked Valentine for my middle name.
And my mom sends little packaged heart cakes to
school for my class birthday treat.
It’s not February’s fault, but the month is
basically a total loss because of dumb Valentine’s
Day. The second the calendar flips past January,

Ignoramus.indb 11

10/14/13 5:30 PM

bam—everything turns from
humdrum to lovey-dovey, and my
birthday gets infected* by mush.
Already this morning, even
though it’s only February 2nd,
the tragedy of my birth date
embarrassed me in band class.
ou re
I was just sitting there with Everyone thinlkesntyine,’
aint, Va
my trumpet, minding my own a sbut you’re not
you’re a
spit valve, when Jack loudfooling me—
whispered to me:
Hey, Aldo, what’s the plan for your

hday party this year?

Not sure. I was thinking pizza—pepperoni and onio


No! I mean, what are we gonna
Oh. Laser tag? Iron Man marat


Ignoramus.indb 12

10/14/13 5:30 PM

Our band teacher, Mrs. Dulcet, was busy
passing out new sheet music. When she finished,
she stepped back up onto her standing box at
the front of the room and said, “In honor of
Valentine’s Day, I’ve chosen an ‘80s pop tune
called ‘Dancing with Myself,’ written and made
famous by punk rocker Billy Idol.”
From the percussion section shot up Bee’s
hand. (Surprise, surprise.) She’s my neighbor and
friend-who-happens-to-be-a-girl. “‘Dancing with
Myself’ doesn’t sound very romantic,” she said.
“On the contrary,” replied Mrs. Dulcet.
“This is a song about the reality of romance,
which is that many people find themselves alone
on Valentine’s Day...” Her voice trailed off like she
started thinking about bacon or something.
“Aw geez, here we
go...,” I muttered—just
loud enough to be heard,
apparently. (Note to
self: work on muttering

Ignoramus.indb 13

Voice Volume


10/14/13 5:30 PM

Do you have a thought
to share with the
class, M r. Zelnick?
I shook my head no,
but Mrs. Dulcet did not let
it drop. “So do you look
forward to Valentine’s
Day?” she interrogated*
me. Me. Why do I get
all the weird teacher
“Ummm...,” I started
to say.
That’s when Jack jumped in.
He’s my best friend, and he
was just trying to save
me from the awkwardness,
but he only made things awkwarder.


“Aldo loves Valentine’s Day!” he hollered.
“Because it’s his birthday! His middle name is even

Ignoramus.indb 14

10/14/13 5:30 PM

The entire 5th grade band
launched into a symphony of
laughter. And my face got hotter
than the Easy-Bake Oven I got for my birthday when
I was 5. (What?! It made cake! And pizza bites!)
Mrs. Dulcet winked at me. “I guess Aldo is
one of the fortunate few who will never be lonely
on Valentine’s Day,” she said.
After band, I stopped at the water fountain
on the way to lunch to spray my oven-face with
cold water. Jack and Bee caught up to me.

Well hello,
Aldo Valentine


Surely this
day can’t get
any worse.


Ignoramus.indb 15

10/14/13 5:30 PM

“I didn’t know your birthday was in February,”
said Bee. “I’m excited to come to your party!”
“You’re a girl,” I reminded her.
“So? You can have a boy-girl party!” said
Bee. “A boy-girl Valentine’s party! It’s perfect!”
“That’s gonna be a no.”
Bee just smiled her Beeish smile.
Then at the end of the afternoon, my teacher,
Mr. Krug, stood at the front of the classroom
with a pink sheet of paper. “This is a list of all the
students in this class,” he said. “I’m sending it home
with you today, in your Monday folders. It’ll come
in handy when you start writing out Valentines for
the class party, which is a week from Friday.”
OK, maybe I can’t control the mushification
of February, but this year I will not let my birthday
get infiltrated* by Valentine’s Day! There will be no
pink. No hearts. No lace. No girls. And no dancing!
Sheesh. A boy’s gotta stand up for his boy rights,
even if his middle name is, unfortunately, Valentine.

Ignoramus.indb 16

10/14/13 5:30 PM

If only every kainsd
of kiss was nd
innocuous * a
tasty as
these babies

T h e K iss

If you don’t count the fact that Marvin
Shoemaker has started to call me Val, I made
it through the whole school day today without
hearing about Valentine’s Day even once. It was a
February miracle!
When I got home from school, I plopped
down on the couch to watch me some History
Channel. I must have fallen asleep, because I woke
up to the sounds of my mom and dad chatting and
banging pots around in the kitchen. Dinnertime.
And, I realized as I slowly overcame the inertia*
of sleep and returned to reality, they were talking
about my birthday present!

Ignoramus.indb 17

10/14/13 5:30 PM

He really wanted an
electric scooter at
Christmas, remember?

Oh yes. And also .a
snow-cone cart

Oh be still,g
my beatin

And I’d like
a pet cat.
To chase.

Ignoramus.indb 18

10/14/13 5:30 PM

	Hope began to float up inside me like a helium
bubble. For my birthday, I was going to get the
incredible* presents I’d asked for at Christmas but
hadn’t gotten! What a great parenting strategy!
Mom and Dad had just been teaching me to be
patient and persistent and all that bologna!
But a second later my hope bubble burst...
because my parents started laughing. This went on
for some time.
“Really, though,” said Mom at last, sighing
as she finally recovered from the hysterics. “What
do you think he wants for his birthday?”
“I don’t know. But I do know what I want
right now,” said Dad, his voice growly with
innuendo.* “An appetizer kiss.”
Followed by a mom-giggle and wet mouth noises.
“Ewww!” I announced,
jumping up from my hiding spot.
“Gross! You’re making me lose my
appetite! And you’re gonna get
spit in my food!”

Ignoramus.indb 19

10/14/13 5:30 PM

Mom jumped and hollered too. “Aldo! You
scared me half to death!”
“Gathering a little birthday present
intelligence* there, were you, sport?” said Dad.
“No! I wasn’t spying! I fell asleep! And then
you woke me up with your slobbering! Ew!” I stopped
exclaiming for a second to shake off my heebiejeebies. “I’m not even 11 yet, remember? PG-13
behavior when I’m in the room is not appropriate!”
Mom rolled her eyes. “I’ll remember that the
next time you want to watch Iron Man. Now
let’s talk about your birthday. Do you have any
presents on your wish list?” She handed me a long
carrot rolled up in a leaf of iceberg lettuce* and
squirted some Italian dressing into a bowl.

Is this some
kind of a
spring roll...?

Ignoramus.indb 20


10/14/13 5:30 PM

I dipped and crunched. “Welp, I was thinking
my own laptop computer would be useful...”
Again the eye roll. “What about a party?”
she said.
“Oh yeah. I did want to talk to you about
that. This year can we please have no Valentine’s
stuff of any kind? No pink, no hearts, no nothing
like that?”
“Fair enough. What’s on the itinerary* then?”
“Something dude-ish, like laser tag or a
pellet-gun fight. Then pizza and video games. And
a sleepover, of course.”
“Sounds doable,” said Dad as he drained the
spaghetti noodles. “Now please set the table and
tell Timothy it’s time to eat.”
Spaghetti and garlic bread—yorm! But hey!
I just realized I was tricked into enjoying a salad!
That mother of mine... One minute she’s getting
germs all over your food, and the next she’s
hoodwinking you into eating vegetables disguised
as a burrito. She can’t be trusted, I tell ya.

Ignoramus.indb 21

10/14/13 5:31 PM

E yes o n t h e P rize

Bee thinks she’s so wonderful. In band today,
Mrs. Dulcet was all, “Nice work on that tricky
snare passage, Bee,” and Bee was all, “Thanks,
Mrs. Dulcet. I’ve been working on it.”
So at lunch I felt it was my obligation
to remind Bee that the snare drum is not a real
instrument. “You basically just bang on an icecream pail with a couple of sticks,” I said.
“The drums are not easy,” she said.
“I practice a lot! And I take private lessons.”
“Pffft. From a baby?”

You wish...

I taught
he knows.


Ignoramus.indb 22

10/14/13 5:31 PM

She scowled. “Sometimes you are so
irksome,* Aldo. The trumpet is easier than the
drums. Actually, I bet you I can play the trumpet
better than you can.”

Everyone knows
drums are the

Oh yeah? Well
how come nobody
sings along to
your part?

“Nuh-uh. Wait—have you been taking
trumpet lessons too?”
“Nope. I’ve never played the trumpet before,
not even once. But Friday in band class I’ll prove
to you how easy it is. Let’s make it a contest.
Winner gets to choose the prize.”
“OK. You’re on!”

Ignoramus.indb 23

10/14/13 5:31 PM

What prize should I
demand when I win? I could
have Bee carry my backpack
to and from school for a
month. Or if the snow in
my back yard ever melts, she
could do my poop-scooping
chore! Or whoa...maybe I
could get free pizza from
her family’s restaurant... So
many possibilities! I’ll have to
give it some thought.
I’m supposed to practice
my trumpet 15 minutes a
day, and tonight I might even
do it. But first I’m gonna go
sneak Timothy’s iPhone and
play some Inkvaders...


Ignoramus.indb 24

10/14/13 5:31 PM

M r . M ot ’ s L ibrary

Somehow the little man in Inkvaders reminded
me of my teacher, Mr. Krug, which reminded me
that Mr. Krug assigned us a book report, which
reminded me that the book report is due next week,
which reminded me that I hadn’t even picked a
book yet. So I did what I always do when I need
something new to read—I went to see my retired
English teacher neighbor, Mr. Mot. He’s like a
walking, talking book app. And his house, which
has a bajillion shelves chock-full of books, is like
my private library.
I knocked on his front door, right below this
weird little sign that says:

Whatever that means.

Ignoramus.indb 25


10/14/13 5:31 PM

I like bigd I
books anlie.

“February salutations,
my young friend!” he
said when he opened the
door. “Why, if I’m not
mistaken, you have a
birthday approaching!”
“Yup. I’m gonna be 11.”
“An auspicious age!
Come in, come in! Of
what service may I be on
this cold winter’s night?”
“I need a book.”

“Ahhh. You have
found me in the midst
of rereading Homer’s epic poem the
Iliad.* Perhaps you would care to join me?”
“Perhaps not. I’m allergic to poems, especially
long ones. I need a kid book.”
So we went to his shelves, and I climbed his
rolling ladder dealie. He gave me a ride over to the
kid book section.

Ignoramus.indb 26

10/14/13 5:31 PM

My corllow
is outmgmodations!
acco y have to
I ma vert to
con oks.

Don’tt! Odnly
thal books
rea ed real
ne dders!

“What sort of a tale strikes your fancy?
Scintillating science fiction? Intrepid* history? Epic
fantasy? Or, in honor of the approaching holiday,
a touch of romance?”
“No! No romance!” I said. “I’m ignoring*
Valentine’s Day. This year, February 14th is just
gonna be my birthday. How about something with
battles and blood?”

Ignoramus.indb 27


10/14/13 5:31 PM

Mr. Mot nodded gravely. “A masculine tale,
then. Yes, yes, here is something of that ilk*:
The Indian in the Cupboard.”
On the book’s
cover stood a
muscle-y, mad-looking
Indian with 2 big
feathers sticking out
of the top of his
head and holding a
bow and arrow.
Next to him was a
cowboy in yellow
pants shooting a

Don’t forget

“Guys. Weapons. Perfectamundo,” I said.
Just then came another knock at Mr. Mot’s
front door, and in walked...Mrs. Dulcet!
“Well hello, Aldo!” she said. “Fancy meeting
you here!” She raised her eyebrows and looked at
Mr. Mot, who ahemed.

Ignoramus.indb 28

10/14/13 5:31 PM

“I see no introductions are necessary,” he
said as he walked around behind me and placed his
hands on my shoulders. “And the hour grows late
for a young man on a school night,” he added as
he steered me toward the door, “so I bid you adieu,
Aldo. Please do let me know what you think of the
And with that, he practically pushed me
outside, into the cold, dark night.
I walked back home with a book in my hand
and a question in my brain. Why would Mrs.
Dulcet be at Mr. Mot’s house? She’s a Mrs., and
old people don’t do stuff after dark, anyway. But
he does play guitar, and she’s a music teacher...
Maybe he’s taking lessons?

I have a questtoo.
in my brain thday?
When’s my bir


Ignoramus.indb 29

10/14/13 5:31 PM

3 D umb t h i n gs

Even though it’s just February 6th,
3 Valentiney things happened at school today:


Blec l!
1. First thing this morning,
Not coo
my art teacher, Ms. Munroe,
showed us a famous painting
“in honor of Valentine’s
Day.” It’s called The Kiss,
and it’s by some dead artist
from Austria named
Gus Klimt.

art at 8:30
a.m.—it’s enough
Pretty coo
to make a person
lose his Lucky Charms. But if you squint your
eyes to blur out the mushiness, it’s a super-cool
painting. Klimt used awesome shapes, bright colors,
and even real gold tinfoil on top of the paint!

Ignoramus.indb 30

10/14/13 5:31 PM

“Klimt’s father was a gold engraver,”
explained Ms. Munroe, “which may be how he
thought to apply gold to his paintings during what
we now call his ‘Golden Period.’ He focused on
women and relationships in his art.”
Don’t idolize*
What a waste of talent.
me for my
And expensive metal.
looks, girls.

Then Ms. Munroe
us make our own
drawings of the
painting by looking at
it on her smartboard
and mimicking it as
good as we could.
She had Danny
stand up to show us
his copy. It was just
OK, but all the girls
in the class oohed
and aahed like he was
Klimt Junior.

e for
Idolize mmade
my artistic


Ignoramus.indb 31

10/14/13 5:31 PM

2. In Language Arts, like usual, Mr. Krug had us pair
up with someone to work on our Idioms* of the
Week worksheet. This gave Jack and me a chance
to talk more about my birthday party.
u ld
besides yo

I’m inv
Oh goioted?

“Danny. Tommy Geller. Maybe Grover?”
suggested Jack.
Grover’s our class rich kid. “Hm. I’ve never invited
him before, but I bet he gives insanely* good presents.”
Jack was filling in the worksheet section
about the saying “eat crow.” (Apparently when
you “eat crow,” you don’t actually eat a gross
black bird. It means you were wrong about
something and now you have to admit it and say
you’re sorry. Weird.)


	He slid me the worksheet. “Here. You’re the
artsy-fartsy one. You draw the crow.”

Ignoramus.indb 32

10/14/13 5:31 PM

Mr. Krug makes us write about and draw the
sayings on our Idioms of the Week worksheets. He
says it helps us remember them.

You’re right, Aldo. I was wrong. You’re a
much better trumpet player than I am!

Jack watched me draw. “Are you gonna
invite Bee to your party?” he asked. “I mean, she’s
our friend...”
“It’s a boy party! Plus, Bee would be the
only girl there. Don’t you think that’d be awkward
for her?”

Ignoramus.indb 33

10/14/13 5:31 PM

I finished the drawing and flipped the worksheet
to the last Idiom of the Week: birthday suit.
Right about then Mr. Krug called out, “Oh!
And you don’t need to draw a picture of the idiom
on the back of today’s worksheet! Just define what
it means and use it in a sentence!”
Pockets of giggles broke out here and there.
I shoved the worksheet back at Jack.
	He grinned. “Are you
gonna wear your birthday
suit at your birthday party?”
he said—a little too blurty.
The class’s giggles increased*
to guffaws.

My birthday slufitits.
At least it stil
3. When Jack and I walked home from school, we
stopped at his dad-house because Jack’s staying
there tonight. Timothy’s girlfriend, Sasha,
lives next door to Jack’s dad.

Ignoramus.indb 34

10/14/13 5:31 PM

And guess what we saw on Sasha’s front
porch, in broad daylight? Timothy and Sasha wrapped
around each other in a hug like a piece of Twizzler.
“Knock it off!” I yelled at Timothy.
	His reply came in the form of a snowball to
my cranium.
OK, that’s it. I’m so done with this whole
Valentine’s Day thing. I’ve made some cards to
hand to people when they infringe* on my rights to
experience a non-romantic February:

Public displays
of affection are
an invasion of
my privacy.

February is for

no, cram it

I have a
severe saliva
Be a fig over. no kissing
in my
not a l

don’t let
friends send


Ignoramus.indb 35

10/14/13 5:31 PM

Valentine’s DsaDy,ay.
We’ve got
important stuff
to worry about!
You sotluaptides
ch o c e s o
ar !!!

Leaf me e!

Ignoramus.indb 36

Yeah, like
saving the

on this,

Why couladnbr’tocI ha
been bo

Whoa, Lettuce
Lady, I never
knew you had
laser eyes...

are one

I do
I can.

10/14/13 5:31 PM

Oh c’mon.?
Seriously I


s m o o ch

s m o o ch

Ugh. Salad
is icky.

Happy V
Day, Bacon

Uh, I musta
your coatrtdenat
home. I’ve been
kinda busy…

There’s no card.

Ignoramus.indb 37

10/14/13 5:31 PM

I n tolerable * !
Mwah ha
h a h a!

I’m so horrified I can barely hold a pencil.
Today in band class Abigail Goode (that’s
Bee) tricked me into losing our instrument play-off.
Here’s what happened.
The second I walked into the band room,
she pounced on me. “Time for our contest!” she
“Uh...” See, the thing is, I’d forgotten all
about it.
She handed me her drumsticks, and she
snatched my trumpet case from my hand.
“Hey!” I protested. I hadn’t practiced my own
instrument, let alone hers.

Ignoramus.indb 38

10/14/13 5:31 PM

“Mrs. Dulcet agreed to judge,” said Bee.
“We’re just going to play the first few bars of
each of our parts in ‘Dancing with Myself.’ Do
you want to go first or should I?”
“I’m not ready! I’ve been kinda busy...”
“I’ll take that as a ‘Bee, you go first.’” And
she sat down, put her lips on my mouthpiece, and
perfectly played my trumpet.
“You cheated!”
“No I didn’t. I just borrowed a school trumpet
for a couple days and did this little thing called
practicing. You should try it sometime. Your turn,”
she added, motioning for me to sit down in the
chair and placing the drum sheet music on the stand.
Uh-oh, I realized right away. Drum music
looks a lot different than trumpet music.

Drum/weirdo mu

Trumpet/normal m

Xs and
rectangles?! The
only real notes
are on the same
line! How are you
supposed to play
with two hands?
What is this?


Ignoramus.indb 39

10/14/13 5:31 PM

I tapped the drum a couple times then realized
I had no idea what was going on. I shrugged and,
for the second time this week in band class, my
face got inferno* hot.
“Better luck next time, Aldo!” was all Mrs.
Dulcet said.
“For my prize, I want an invitation to your
birthday party,” Bee said right away.
I shook my head. Nosirree.

Oh c’mon, Aldoo! mise!
I won’t be girly..,.I rpigrht?
Danny’s going
Maybe we
could play

No way. Pick
something else.


Ignoramus.indb 40

10/14/13 5:31 PM

At my feet sat my backpack, and when Bee
looked down, she noticed a tan-colored book corner
peeking out of the top of it.
“OK then,” she said. “If I’m not getting
invited to your party, my second choice is being
co-creator of your sketchbook.”
“No can do.”
“Aldo,” said Bee sternly. “We agreed that the
winner got to choose the prize. I don’t even have
to give you 2 options, but I am, because I’m nice.
So which will it be?” And she crossed her arms
across her chest and raised an eyebrow.

Bee at my party?
not a

Ignoramus.indb 41

Bee in my sketcbook?
Oh shoot, I broke my pink pencil
drawing all these flowers!
me, all
are pink!

10/14/13 5:31 PM

By now Mrs. Dulcet was telling everyone to
sit down and start warming up. I had to decide,
and fast. Both options were inconceivable* ! But,
I remembered, Bee has drawn in my sketchbooks a
few times before, and she’s a decent artist. Also,
sharing the sketchbook with her for a whole month
would be appalling...but not as appalling as having
a boy-girl birthday party.
“All right already! I’ll give it to you tomorrow
morning. Sheesh.”
So tomorrow before Spanish
class I have to hand over this
sketchbook to Bee. So she can
touch it. And draw in it. And
generally girl it up.
Adios, mi amigo libro. (In
case your Spanish skills aren’t as
exceptional as mine, that means
“Goodbye, my friend book.” I think
it might also mean “Goodbye, my
free friend.” Weird. Anyways...)

Bee drew
in ArtsyFartsy,
too, and it
just about
drove me


Ignoramus.indb 42

10/14/13 5:31 PM

to A ll
A Note h book :
S ketc
nt* hearts
C o n tributors

th lowers o I ask.
Please ris book. No ny. That’s all
o f t h y t h i n g co r
o r an


Ignoramus.indb 43

10/14/13 5:32 PM


Ignoramus.indb 44

10/14/13 5:32 PM

Tonight I’ve been practicing

the drums and working on handmade

Valentines for the class party, but I
took a break so I could enjoy some
time as authoress!

I don’t understand why Aldo

is so against Valentine’s Day. He’s
lucky to have a wonderful family

that loves him so much, even though
he’s a complete curmudgeon. And he
has wonderful friends—like me!
Aldo was born into his

wonderful family, but my parents

picked me. An orphanage in Korea
was my home until the day my

mom and dad went to the adoption

agency here in Colorado. That’s when
they first saw me, in a picture.

Ignoramus.indb 45

10/14/13 5:32 PM


Ignoramus.indb 46

10/14/13 5:32 PM

So I think

Valentine’s Day

is the best holiday in the world—
because it’s all about celebrating

the love we share with the people
who care about us! And if my
birthday was February 14th,
I would feel like

angel kisses were
raining down
on me!


Ignoramus.indb 47

10/14/13 5:32 PM

And not being invited to your

best friend’s birthday party is

like...let’s see, how can I put this
so Aldo will understand...








It’s like





table in front of





because for some




eat it—but not












Ignoramus.indb 48

10/14/13 5:32 PM

When I give the sketchbook

back to Aldo tomorrow morning, I’m
going to tell him I want another

sketchbook turn on Sunday. Being

an author/illustrator* is invigorating*!


Ignoramus.indb 49

10/14/13 5:32 PM

Y ou Have
G ot
T o B e K iddi n g M e
I specifically told her “nothing corny” and what
does she draw?! Unicorns, hearts, and angel kisses!
And she’s making handmade Valentines?!! I feel like my
eyeballs need to be dunked in mud and scrubbed with
bacon grease to wash away all that girliness.
You know what’s weird, though? I didn’t even
know that Bee was adopted. I never thought about
it much, but if you’d asked me, I would’ve guessed
that she inherited* her blueish-black hair and tan skin
from some long-lost relative or something. Huh.


I also didn’t realize that Jack and the other
guys and I are her best friends. Come to think of
it, I never see her with any other kids... And we like
her and everything. I mean...we don’t like-like her.
Gah! See what kinds of problems she causes?

Ignoramus.indb 50

10/14/13 5:32 PM

But all that stuff about orphans and best
friends, that’s just to make me feel guilty so I’ll
invite her to my party. And the pizza she talked
about? She can’t fool me. Her
parents own a restaurant,
so she can have her
favorite pizza anytime
she wants it.
orite: broccol
Does she think I’m
idiotic* or something?

Bee’s fav beet shreds,
kale, mushrooms,
shriveled-ugop at cheese...
stinky bably raisins
and pro

Ope...Timothy just
yelled up the stairs that it’s dinnertime. And that is
one of my favorite times of the day. BRB.

At dinner my mom handed me a box of Iron
Man valentines and a bag of Mike & Ikes.
“I picked these up at the store today. For
your class Valentine’s Day party,” she said.
“I’ll take the candy, but I’m not giving out
Valentines this year.”

Ignoramus.indb 51

10/14/13 5:32 PM

“Oh Aldo. It’s your last classroom Valentine’s
party! You won’t have one next year when you’re
in middle school. And are you planning to accept
Valentines from the other kids—and the candy that
comes attached to them?”
“Well, yeah. I’m not the boss of them.”
“Then you’re giving out Valentines. You
cannot be a taker unless you’re also a giver.”
“That’s one of those basic rules of life,
sport,” said Dad.
“Yeah, Aldo Valentine,” said Timothy.
“Yeah, Timothy Karl,” I said.
It didn’t have the same effect. So I changed
the subject by bringing up my archery idea. See,
I’ve been reading that Indian in the Cupboard book,
and it’s got me thinking that bows and arrows
are pretty macho. So I asked if, for my party, we
could go somewhere to shoot arrows...you know,
before coming back to our house for pizza and the
rest of the inevitable* messing around.
“Sounds great!” said Dad.

Ignoramus.indb 52

10/14/13 5:32 PM

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea,” said the
official family worrier, A.K.A. Mom. “Your arm is
still healing, remember? I’ll call the doctor and ask.”
If the doctor says OK, I’m so gonna rock at
archery. After all, it’s a sport where one of the
main skills is standing perfectly still.
And now, since it’s Friday night, I’m off to
Mr. Mot says I’m indefatigable *

when it comes to video
games. That’s cuz I’ve built
up my thumb muscles.


Ignoramus.indb 53

10/14/13 5:32 PM

That’s righhte,
I’m doin’ T


G etti n ’
J iggy
W it h I t

This morning I walked on water. You always
knew this day was coming, didn’t you.
Gotcha! The water was frozen! Jack’s dad took
Jack and me and my mom and Goosy ice fishing.
In case you’ve never ice fished
before, I’ll tell you how it works:

Yup. It’s
what it
1. First you go to IHOP to tank sounds like.
up on chicken and waffles.

2. Then you drive to a lake
covered by at least 5 or
6 inches of ice. Don’t forget your
winter coat and snowpants and
warm boots. Put all that stuff on,
then walk out onto the ice.

It seems the evil
snowpants came in
handy after all...

Ignoramus.indb 54

10/14/13 5:32 PM

3. Fall down infinite times as you slip and
slide your way to the middle of the lake.
4. Watch Fritz (that’s Jack’s dad) cut
a circle hole in the ice with a
giant corkscrew.
5. 	Hold your ice fishing pole,
which is so small it looks
like it’s for dwarfs.
6. Wrinkle your nose
I hate
because Fritz is
gonna impale* a short, white worm
onto your hook.
7. Sit on an upside-down plastic bucket and
drop your wormy hook through the ice hole.
8. Jerk your fishing rod up and down
a little because, irrationally,* fish like
dancing food. This is called jigging.
9. Keep jigging until you feel the
tug on your fishing line that
means that a fish ate the
worm and the hook.

Ignoramus.indb 55

I hate


10/14/13 5:32 PM

Once Goosy and Jack and I were fishing,
Fritz cut a second hole a little ways away, for him
and Hazel to fish through. Oh yeah...Hazel came
too. She’s the ski rescue lady who helped me when
I crashed and broke my arm when I was skiing last
month. Ever since that fiasco, she and Fritz have
been hanging out, I’ve noticed.

You’re managing
just fine with
that cast. Your
mom told me
you can still do
your homework
and play the
video games.

Yeah. It’s not
that bad,
it was a lifethreatening
injury. Plus, I
only have to
wear it for
a few more

I’m pretty
sure I’d fit
down that
hole... What
happens if I
catch a big
fish and he
reels me in?


Ignoramus.indb 56

10/14/13 5:32 PM

After a while I got tired of staring down
the hole, so I looked around to see what else
was going on. Not much. But I did see that Fritz
was kneeling on the ice behind Hazel, who was
sitting on a bucket as she fished. He had his arms
wrapped around her, and his
hands were covering hers as
he showed her how to jig
her line. She was giggling.
I wanted to hand them one
of my “Public displays of
affection are an invasion of my privacy” cards,
but I forgot to bring them with me. Who’d have
thought I’d need them for ice fishing! Sheesh.
“So, Jack,” I asked. “Is Hazel your dad’s
girlfriend now? Is she gonna be your new mom?”
Jack’s surprised eyes flicked up at me.
I tilted my head at the Hazel-Fritz pretzel—
the Fritzel. “They’re stuck together like the
Yu-Gi-Oh cards I spilled soda on last week.”

Ignoramus.indb 57

10/14/13 5:32 PM

Jack glanced at his dad. “He’s just teaching
her how to ice fish. I learned the same way. Duh.”
“Jack, Jack, Jack. You’re sooo innocent.*”
Just then Goosy let out a whoop. “I’ve got
one! I’ve got one!” Her fishing rod was bent over,
and something under the ice was pulling her line
tight. She turned the crank to reel in whatever
was playing tug of war with her, and a few
seconds later, bam—a big gray fish with a rainbow
stripe was flopping around on the ice at her feet.
Guess what’s for dinner
tonight?! Fresh fish cakes
with lemon-dill sauce! That’s
my dad’s fishy specialty.
In case you were
wondering what my mom was
doing this whole time, she didn’t
ice fish. She’s not a sit-stiller.
Instead of winter boots, she
slipped on her ice skates and made
girly swirls all around the lake.

Ignoramus.indb 58

10/14/13 5:33 PM

Just a sec… I’m sitting in the fort (my
bedroom closet), getting the ice-fishing day down in
my sketchbook, but I just heard voices coming into
my room. BRB.
Bee’s here! She came to my house for the
sketchbook! My mom brought her up to my room,
and the two of them are sitting on my bed talking.
I told them I had to finish a couple things in the
sketchbook before Bee could have it, so I came back
into the closet. I kept the closet door open an iota,*
though, so I could hear what they’re saying…
“So Aldo is sharing his sketchbook with
you?” said Mom. “How nice!”
“Yes. We’re switching back and forth. He
wants this sketchbook to have more of a feminine
point of view.”
Gah! My mom loves Bee! It’s because Bee
speaks parentese to ingratiate* herself.
“You are really a good influence* on Aldo,
Bee. It sounds like you’re helping him become more
considerate of what other people think and feel.”

Ignoramus.indb 59

10/14/13 5:33 PM

“Thanks, Mrs. Zelnick. I try.”
Barf. Barf. Barf.
“Aldo’s birthday party is next Saturday,”
continued Mom.
“I know!” said Bee. “He’s so lucky to have his
birthday on Valentine’s Day!” Her voice sounded all
high and excited, like a happy chipmunk. But then it
dropped real low and got all sad and
Puppy eyes
slow. “But...I’m not invited.”

“Oh don’t be silly. Of course
you’re invited!”

on Aldo’s mom.

“Aldo said it’s not a boy-girl
“Well, I’ll have a talk with him
about that. Aldo, come out of that
closet right this instant and give Bee
the sketchbook! It’s her turn!”
Gah. If my mom’s on Bee’s side, that’s not
good. Moms are practically impervious* to mindchanging. I’ll have to come up with an ironclad*
reason to keep Abigail Goode away from my party…

Ignoramus.indb 60

10/14/13 5:33 PM

Hey. The buck
stops here. And so
do all the hearts
and flowers.

A Note to A ll
S ketc h book Co ntributors:
Reading what other people write in
their own sketchbooks is impolite.*

Ignoramus.indb 61

10/14/13 5:33 PM


On Sunday afternoons my mom

and I sometimes go to the flower
shop called Iris. It’s closed on

Sundays, but a friend of ours, Mr.
Ishii, owns it. He meets us there
to teach us ikebana.

Ignoramus.indb 62

10/14/13 5:33 PM

Flowers are always pretty, but

with ikebana, you try to put

just a few of them together
in a way that makes you

see their simple beauty.
The whole idea is that

You’re also supposed to be

silent while you arrange the

flowers, because ikebana is like
meditation. It helps you feel

peaceful and one with the universe.


Ignoramus.indb 63

10/14/13 5:33 PM


Ignoramus.indb 64

10/14/13 5:33 PM

How could he not know
I’m adopted?

I mean, being adopted isn’t

who I am—there are so many
more essential things about

me that make me, me!—but
you have to be completely

inattentive* to miss the fact

that I don’t look anything like

my red-headed mother,
my freckly father,
or my

blonde sister.

Ignoramus.indb 65

10/14/13 5:34 PM

And poor Jack!

Aldo told him that Hazel

might be his new mom?! That

is so insensitive*! Jack already
has a fantastic mom, for one
thing. And Jack is the most

important person in the world
to his dad! Fritz would never
get remarried unless 1) Jack

thought it was a good idea,
and 2) Fritz knew for sure

that his new wife would be

a wonderful stepmom to Jack.
These things take time! And
paying attention to other
people’s feelings!

Ignoramus.indb 66

10/14/13 5:36 PM

All right… I’m now going to calm
down by focusing on my ikebana
and my breathing.

In, 2, 3, 4, 5. Out, 2, 3, 4, 5.


Ignoramus.indb 67

10/14/13 5:36 PM

i n vitatio n s

My mom made me sit down with her to make
birthday party invitations after school today.
“Can’t we just use Evite?” I pleaded.
“That’s too impersonal,*” she said. “Besides,
this will be fun.”
“You and me…we’ve got inverse* ideas of fun.”

She’d already
cut brown
paper bows,
like this:

Not this kind
of bows:

And little black paper arrows, like th

Next we bows
pastedthe front f
to ed piece o
of a r, like this:

Ignoramus.indb 68

Then we cut
sl  its in the red
paper to thread
the arrow
like this:

10/14/13 5:36 PM

We added some
string, some words,
and another piece
of paper on the
back to hide
the sl  its.
The finisioh n
like this:

They were kinda embarrassing,
kinda cool. Which could be the title of my
autobiography one day.

The cover might
look like this.

Mom handed
me scissors and said,
“The good news is the
doctor said you could
do a little archery for
your party, as long
as you take it easy.”
“Nice,” I said. “And I was thinking
we could have beef jerky while we shoot, ya know,
for a warrior snack.”

Ignoramus.indb 69

10/14/13 5:36 PM

“All right… But the bad news is…you’re not
inviting Bee?”
“No! Everyone knows you can’t have one girl
at a boy party! It’s like…intermingling* one gummy
bear into the bag of beef jerky. It’s…incongruous.*”
“Oh pffft. When you were little, all your
little girl friends came to your parties.”


Aldo’s always
been immature*
for his age.

“Mom, I’m not a 1-ounce baby anymore.”
“And pretty soon, when you’re 13 or 14, you’ll
want as many girls as possible at your party!”

Ignoramus.indb 70

10/14/13 5:36 PM

“Not gonna happen. But also, I’m not 13.
I’ll only be 11! Sheesh. My own mother can’t even
remember how old I am…”
“But Bee is your friend!”
I closed my mouth and quietly cut arrows for
a couple minutes. I knew I had to come up with a
final blow that would defeat Mom-power. Mompower is infinity times stronger than Hercules.
Finally I thought of something. “You know
how there are certain things that you do with just
your mom friends?” I said. “Like shopping? Or book
club? That’s how my birthday party is. It doesn’t
mean I’m not friends with Bee, it just means it’s a
guy thing. OK??!!”
My mom scrunched her mouth all
the way to one side and looked with her
eyes to the other side. It’s a face that
means, “Hm. You’ve got a point there.”
“Hm. You’ve got a point there,” she said.
“OK. Then how about we invite Bee to your
family birthday dinner on Sunday?”
“Great! An extra present it is!”

Ignoramus.indb 71

10/14/13 5:36 PM

About then Dad asked me to go borrow
some Italian spices from Mr. Mot for the lasagna
he’s making. So I trudged all the way over to Mr.
Mot’s house and knocked on his door…and Goosy
“What are you doing here?” I said.
“Well if isn’t my impudent* imp* of a
grandson,” said Goosy.
“Oh. Sorry. Good evening, grandmother
dearest. What are you doing here?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” And she
winked at me!
Just then Mr. Mot joined her in the doorway.
He handed me a spice jar. “Here’s the seasoning
your father requested,” he said. “How is The Indian
in the Cupboard coming along?”
“Good. I liked the part where the kid puts the
Indian in his pocket and takes him to school and
then the Indian keeps stabbing the kid’s leg because
he wants to get out...”

Ignoramus.indb 72

10/14/13 5:36 PM

“Indeed!” Mr. Mot interrupted.* “Goodnight!”
And he shut the door. What is it with grown-ups,
p.s. Here’s what the back of the invitations
looked like:

Tomorrow I’m giving these babies to Jack, Danny,
Grover, Marvin, Emilio, and Tommy Geller.
p.p.s. Ikebana?! More like ick-ebana!
p.p.p.s. I’m gonna make a sign to tape on
our front door during my birthday party. You
know, so no interlopers* try to get in.

Ignoramus.indb 73

10/14/13 5:36 PM

Ignoramus.indb 74

10/14/13 5:36 PM

T h e B ac h elor

Today at recess I passed out the invitations.
Furtively. You know, since I’m not inviting everyone.

That’s right,one
Danny. You’en
of the chos few.

I’m invited!

Then after school I stopped at the art room
to take back some ink I’d borrowed, and guess
what I was lucky enough to witness? Ms. Munroe
and that hirsute boyfriend of hers, sitting side by

Ignoramus.indb 75

10/14/13 5:36 PM

side behind her desk, sharing one Icee with two
straws. I chucked the ink into its bin and hustled
out of there as fast as I could.

hir n
m ea ?

Hairy. As in
lots of hair.
Which I
love, by
the way.

(New rule: The only time people are allowed to share
a beverage in my presence is when they bike to the
convenience store with their best friend for Slushies
and they’re all hot and sweaty and one of them
realizes he forgot his money so they have to share
because otherwise the impoverished* person would die
of thirst. Yes, I know this from experience.)
Then I hurried outside to get home to some
History Channel. In the parking lot I spotted Mr.
Fodder, the school lunch lady who’s a guy.

Ignoramus.indb 76

10/14/13 5:36 PM

Hey, M r.
Cool car!

Yeah, it’s a 1 .*6
Chevy Impaladeck.
Four-door. Tass
A real cla ic.

“Wow. So anyways, you’re a bachelor,
right?” I said.
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
“That’s the way to go, right? You’re
invincible* ! You can do anything you want! I mean,
all the superheroes are bachelors, pretty much…
Girls just mess things up, like in Iron Man…”
“Oh, being single isn’t so bad,” he said. “But
now and again I wish I had someone besides Greta
to take for a ride in the Impala…”

Ignoramus.indb 77

10/14/13 5:36 PM

“Are you doin’ anything for Valentine’s Day?”
“Well, it is the day I usually iron my spring
“You should come to my birthday party!
We’re gonna do archery and buffalo wings and
video games.”
“Sounds manlike.”
“Oh good. That’s what I was going for. I’ll
have my mom call your mom. Or, I guess my mom
will call you.”
Good deed for the day, check. Just call me
The Most Thoughtful Kid Ever.

A Note
to A ll
S ketc h book
Co ntributors:
Effective immediately, lovey-dovey
drawings will result in the loss
of sketchbook privileges.

Ignoramus.indb 78

10/14/13 5:36 PM

Ignoramus.indb 79

10/14/13 5:37 PM


Ignoramus.indb 80

10/14/13 5:37 PM

As I sampled the salad, I sat

in a booth and did my algebra




me math. He’s an engineer. I’m
homeschooled, but I go to Dana

Elementary for band, Spanish, art,
P.E., and, sometimes, lunch and





friends there, even though one of

them, whose initials are A.V.Z.,
is incorrigible.*


Ignoramus.indb 81

10/14/13 5:37 PM

Ignoramus.indb 82

10/14/13 5:37 PM


Ignoramus.indb 83

10/14/13 5:37 PM


Ignoramus.indb 84

10/14/13 5:37 PM


Ignoramus.indb 85

10/14/13 5:37 PM

My mom came out from the

kitchen and introduced* herself to

Iyla’s parents. Iyla and I traded

phone numbers. Our parents said
we could have a play date this

ke i
to a
d I
o ev
er is
t for


Ignoramus.indb 86

10/14/13 5:37 PM

I spy
Tonight after I finished writing my book report,
I went with Jack and his mom to visit Abuelo—
that’s Jack’s grandpa—in the old people home where
he lives. I like to keep in touch with Abuelo, since
I was the one who saved his life on Halloween
night—not like it was a big deal or anything.
Do noitzenfe!ar,
I’ll save you!

My hero!

We brought a box of Valentine chocolates
to his room, then the 4 of us mosied down to the
fountain room. That’s the giant area where everyone
who lives there eats and watches TV. It has a real
spraying water fountain in the middle. All over the
fountain room’s ceiling hung a flock of iridescent* pink
paper hearts—decorations for the Valentine’s Day
dance they’re going to have there this Saturday night.

Ignoramus.indb 87

10/14/13 5:37 PM

“Abuelo loves to dance, don’t you, Papá,”
said Mrs. Lopez. She squeezed his hands in hers.
Abuelo didn’t answer. I guess when his
memory left, his words left with it.
I looked around at all the old people and
wondered how they could dance when it seemed like
they could barely walk. That’s when I realized that
Fountain House is chock-full of grandmas!

Abuelo is

I’m knittin
him a pinkg
scarf. ’

Yep. I’ve
got it.


Ignoramus.indb 88

10/14/13 5:37 PM

“Hey, what happened to all the grandpas?”
I asked.
Jack shrugged. “I think they die first.”
“What?” This was news to me! Horrific
news! “But Abuelo’s still alive!”
“Women don’t always live longer than men,”
said Mrs. Lopez. “But much of the time, that’s the
way it goes.”
“That is so not fair! I wish I was a girl.
Wait, what did I just say? What happened to
Abuelo’s grandma?”
“You mean his wife? My mother? They were
married almost 50 years. She passed away more
than 10 years ago. We all miss her very much.”
“Oh.” For the first time ever I had an inkling*
about what that “till death do us part” marriage
stuff means. So this is what it looks like. I hung
my head and pretended to be invisible.*
“Aldo and Jack, as long as you take good
care of your bodies, you will live very long, happy
lives,” added Mrs. Lopez. “Do not worry.”

Ignoramus.indb 89

10/14/13 5:37 PM

Immediately I began to worry.
“I spy a wig!” cried Jack.
Good ol’ Jack. I jumped up and looked around.
“There!” I said, pointing to the old lady with bright
red hair. It’s moments like these when
I’m glad my best friend is a subjectchanger. We took turns playing
I Spy until it was time to leave.
We walked Abuelo back to
his room and circled his tiny
raisin body in a group hug.
Then as we left his room,
I turned back to wave at him.
There he stood, clutching his
still-unopened box of heart
chocolates to his chest.
For some reason the Abuelo
visit gave me the impetus* to
pull out my trumpet and practice
“Dancing With Myself” when I
got home. It’s a weirdly bouncy
song for such a glum subject.

Ignoramus.indb 90

10/14/13 5:37 PM

p.s. Mr. Fodder does so like jerky. I know because I
asked him today. And also, he has an archery merit
badge from Boy Scouts. So there.
p.p.s. My mom just reminded me that tomorrow
is the class Valentine’s party. Gah! I don’t know
what to do! Should I write out Valentines for
everyone so I can get Valentines (and the candy
that comes with them)…or should I skip both?

Ignoramus.indb 91

10/14/13 5:37 PM

F riday t h e 1 3 t h . . .

…was a day that lived up to its reputation.

First thing this morning, in band class, Bee
demanded the sketchbook.
“It’s my turn!” she sang.
“Nope. I clearly stated that lovey-dovey
drawings would result in the loss of sketchbook
privileges. You drew flowers and hearts.”
“Don’t be silly. I was just being me!”
“You can fill your own sketchbooks with
all the insidious* romance you want. But not my
sketchbook. Not anymore.”


She crossed her arms across her chest and
stomped away. So that went well.

Ignoramus.indb 92

10/14/13 5:37 PM

Then this afternoon we had our class
Valentine’s party. I wore black and camo today, of
course, and on my desk I placed a sign that said:

Kids walked around and handed out their
Valentines while I sat at my desk. I have to admit,
my intestines* were sad to see all those little bags
of M&Ms and Fun-Dips, those precious boxes of
Nerds and Milk Duds, those adorable Kit Kats and
chocolate kisses, those heart-shaped suckers and
peppermint patties, stop for a second at my desk,
shrug, then move right on by.


Ignoramus.indb 93

10/14/13 5:37 PM

When Bee passed out her frilly handmade
Valentines, I pretended to be inspecting* the cuffs of
my cargo pants. Awkward!
Jack tried to hand me a Wimpy Kid Valentine
with a peanut butter cup attached. “At least take
this one,” he whispered. “These are your favorite.”
“I can’t, dude.”
“Really? Not even from me?”

You seem insistent,*
M r. Reeses. How ‘bout I ta
it over with management.

the power
of peanut

‘boeutyoI u
an offer
you can’t


Ignoramus.indb 94

10/14/13 5:37 PM

From across the room, I could feel Bee’s eyes
on me like insects on an open pop can. I shook my
head. “Later,” I whispered to Jack.
On the walk home from school, Jack showed
me his Valentine loot.
“Check out all this candy!” he said.
“Pretty good haul this year.”
“I know! And you turned it down! Are you insane?”
Right when Jack was handing me the peanut
butter cup, out popped an impediment* named Bee
from behind a bush.
“Aha!” she cried. “I thought you
weren’t observing Valentine’s Day,
Aldo Valentine!”
“I’m not! I was
just going to...throw it
away!” And I flung
the candy—my
favorite candy—into
the gutter. “Stop
following me!”

Ignoramus.indb 95

10/14/13 5:37 PM

“Why would I follow an ignoramus* like
you!” she hollered.
Just then, Danny rode by on his bike.
Bee instantaneously*
shape-shifted from crazy
person to girly-girl.
She waved and called,
“Hi, Danny! Have a nice
Valentine’s Day!”

	Normally I would have reminded her that
Danny couldn’t hear her. But instead I just shook
my head and kept on walking.
“All the girls think Danny is cute,” said Jack
as we got to his dad-house. “I wish I was cute.”
“Oh c’mon! Cute is a curse,” I said. “You
saw how Bee acted when she saw Danny. You
don’t want impressionable* girls going all Disney
Channel on you like that! You and me, we’re guys’
guys. Right?” And I punched him in the arm, cuz
that’s what guys’ guys do.

Ignoramus.indb 96

10/14/13 5:37 PM

Then when I finally got home, my mom
ambushed me.
“How’d the Valentine’s party go?”
“Dandy,” I said.



Did you accept any Valentines
from your classmates?
So where’s the bag of
Mike & Ikes I gave you?

Go get it. I want it back.


In my room.

I can’t—i.e.,* I ate th

All of them?!

y room.
I said
nything in it.
I never


Ignoramus.indb 97

10/14/13 5:38 PM

“Then you owe me 4 dollars for the candy.
However, you’re in luck! The snow in the back
yard melted enough for you to poop-scoop today,
which I will accept as payment. Get going, before
it gets dark! Oh, and since I forgot to send your
class birthday treat to school with you today, you
can bring it on Monday. Here, put these in your
backpack right now so you don’t forget.”

Yup, 4 boxes of Little Debbie heart cakes.
“You promised no Valentine’s stuff for my
birthday!” I said. “When I break the rules, I have to
shovel dog poop. But when you break a promise,
it’s OK?”
“You love Little Debbies!”
“Oh sure! Use my weakness for moist snack
cakes against me!”
The day before my birthday was not a great
day. Let’s hope my birthday is better.

Ignoramus.indb 98

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Fire. eRrnaw
ild odeyss
m rvival. B
su air. Plaid.

I’m a udpu.de.

T h e M or n i n g of

“There’s our birthday boy!” said Mom when I
shuffled into the kitchen this morning. She trapped
me in a hug and planted 11 kisses all over my face.
So as not to cause trouble, I stood still for
the assault. But when she was done, I handed her
a “I have a severe saliva allergy” card, which I’d
placed in my robe pocket just in case.
Meanwhile, Dad was pouring steaming coffee
into a mug. “So 11, huh?” he said. “You’re probably
ready to start drinking coffee now. Do you take
cream, or do you want to go with plain black?”
I decided to call his bluff. “Cream,” I said.
“And a little sugar.”

Ignoramus.indb 99

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Timothy picked up his head from where it was
sleeping on the kitchen island just long enough to
incoherently* mumble, “Happy birthday, bro.” Then
he dropped it back down onto his crossed arms and
Timothy’s 15. Is this what I
reclosed his eyes.

have to look forward to 4
years from now? Maybe he
doesn’t know about coffee...

While I sipped my delectable coffee (when Dad
wasn’t looking I poured some of the coffee into the
sink so there was room for me to add more cream
and more sugar), we had a team meeting about
getting ready for my party—which is tonight!

1. Pour a cup
about half-full
with coffee your
parents made.

Ignoramus.indb 100

2. Fill the cup the
rest of the way
with cream.

3. Add 3 to 10
spoonfuls of
sugar and stir.

10/14/13 5:38 PM

“I’ll be cleaning the house while your dad
makes your birthday cake,” said Mom.
“Oh yeah!” I remembered. “My cake!” My dad
loves making big, fancy cakes, and every year I get
to choose how my birthday cake will be decorated.
“I was thinking a big red mouth in a smoochy
position,” said Dad, making kissy fish lips to
A n d th

“That’s real funny.
Almost as funny as picking
Valentine for your son’s
middle name,” I said. I’d left
the Indian in the Cupboard
book on the counter and it
caught my eye. “I know!
How about cowboys and
Indians? Like with guns and
arrows and tomahawks and
red frosting like blood dribbled
all over?”

e cake batter
could have cho
bacon in it. An pped
sauce! Well, md hot
not hot saucea…ybe

“Charming,” said Mom.

Ignoramus.indb 101

10/14/13 5:38 PM

“Dude,” said Timothy, opening his eyes and
raising his head for the second time. “You guys should
totally have an Indian wrestling contest tonight.”
Mom left the kitchen muttering something
about too much testosterone in this house. (Note
to self: Tell Mom that her muttering volume needs
adjusting too.)
“What’s testosterone again?” I asked.
“When a boy becomes a man…,” Timothy
started to say.
Dad interrupted him. “It’s basically guy power.”
“Welp,” I said, “there’s no such thing as too
much guy power! Am I right or am I right?”
Dad and Timothy high-fived me their
agreement, while Max, the fourth boy in the room,
wagged and let out a long, slow toot.
As the owneritofive
the most sensnose,
Zelnick family that
I can confirm ells
this house nower sm
like guy pow too.

Ignoramus.indb 102

10/14/13 5:38 PM

I’m supposed to be making my room immaculate*
right now, but instead I’m chillaxing in my fortcloset, working on my sketchbook. It’s my birthday,
after all. Wait a sec. I hear Dad calling my name.
Dad snuck into my room with a big black
trash bag chock-full of toy bows and arrows!

Color-coded and everything!

“I bought these for you and your buddies
to play with at our house tonight,” he whispered.
“The arrows are tipped with foam, so nobody will
get hurt. But man, do they ever fly!”
	He fitted an arrow to the bow, pulled back
the string, and released the arrow. It whizzed
across my bedroom and bonked straight into
Bogus’s glass bowl. The water wobbled, but bowl
and fish remained intact.*

Ignoramus.indb 103

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Fish aren’t easily irritated,*
but most fish don’t have to
live with Aldo Zelnick.

“Sweet,” I said. “Thanks, Dad!”
“I don’t think we should tell Mom about this
quite yet, though,” he continued in murmur volume.
“But she’ll be fine with it once she gets into the
party spirit.”
So everything’s falling into place for the
Best. Birthday. Party. Ever. We’ve got weapons.
Manly cake. Dad’s also making hot wings and
homemade pepperoni pizza rolls. Plenty of Coke.
Boys-only. And not one Valentine in sight.

	Happy birthday to me!

Ignoramus.indb 104

10/14/13 5:38 PM

T h e M or n i n g after

	Have you ever been so tired that you can’t
sleep? That’s me right now. So I might as well get
everything down on sketchbook paper, while the
shocking details are still fresh.
My birthday party started nice and usual,
at 4 in the afternoon, when an influx* of birthday
party invitees* arrived at my house just like
clockwork: Jack, Danny, Grover, Marvin, Emilio,
Tommy Geller, and Mr. Fodder.

One by one they came to my front door,
where I’d posted the list of things that were
allowed to enter—the list that made all the moms
laugh when they dropped off their boys.

Ignoramus.indb 105

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Each kid carried a birthday present
(yesss), a sleeping bag, and a backpack
with overnight stuff their moms made
them bring, such as a toothbrush
(like that was ever gonna get used),
and stuff they wanted to bring, like their
iPods. They piled the presents on the dining
room table, then Mom had them stow their
gear in my bedroom and climb into our minivan so
we could drive to the archery place. (We couldn’t
all fit, so Mr. Fodder drove himself, Timothy, and
my dad in the Impala.)
The archery guy set us up with bows and
arrows and gave us the safety lesson. You know...
no pointing arrows at other people. No walking
toward the target to pick up shot arrows until he
blew the whistle. Etcetera.
	He taught us what all the bow and arrow
parts and pieces are called and how to stand
correctly. I thought there was more or less only
1 way to stand, but it turns out that there’s
standing, then there’s “getting into a stance.”

Ignoramus.indb 106

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Archery stance means
standing sideways,
making your back straight
like the spine of a book,
sucking in your belly, then
pulling back like Hercules on
the bowstring.

Standing this
way takes neck
muscles, back
muscles, stomach
muscles, and arm
muscles. Which is a
lot of muscles. Good
thing mine are getting
pretty developed these days.

Archery stance
Ignoramus.indb 107


10/14/13 5:38 PM

There were 3 paper targets taped onto big
foam pads, so 3 of us could shoot at the same
time. The archery guy said the birthday boy
always shoots the first arrow. So with everyone’s
eyes on me, I nocked an arrow, pulled back, and let
go. Not only did it miss my target, it shot straight
into the ceiling and stuck there. It wiggled for a
couple seconds, just to insult* me.
“He-he. Just wanted to make it OK for
everyone to mess up!” I called out. “Whose idea
was it to do archery again?” I whispered to Jack.
“Yours,” he reminded me.
We each got to shoot a quiver of 10
arrows, twice. (A quiver—that’s what us archers
call the arrow-holder tube.) One of my arrows even
This is what the archery
hit the target!

range looks like inside.


Ignoramus.indb 108

My 10

My 10 arrows after

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Of course, Timothy won the green Robin
Hood hat my mom brought as a prize for the
most bullseyes, but for some reason Mr. Fodder
thought she said his name and
rushed forward to claim it.
And thiatts’s
how ’ys.
He snatched it from her hands
done, bo
then gave such a deep bow and
impressive* wave of his new hat
before setting it on his big ol’
head that nobody pointed out
his mistake.
Post-archery, we all
came back to my house
to try to satisfy our
insatiable* hunger for pizza
rolls and hot wings.
Then we were thirsty from all the activity
and salt, so we drank a bunch of Coke.
Which created the ideal* conditions for...you
guessed it, a burping contest.


Ignoramus.indb 109

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Marvin burped the longest burp—7 seconds.
Danny burped the loudest, which was ironic,*
since he couldn’t even hear it. He sign-languaged
that he could feel its loudness though.
Mr. Fodder taught us to talk-burp. That’s
where you say words while you’re burping.
Everybody said-burped, “Happy Birthday, Aldo.”
It was exquisite.


After the belchfest we moved on to video
games. But one of the imperfections* of video games
(maybe the only imperfection, actually) is that
unless you’re Grover and have a giant video game
room wall-to-wall with consoles and controllers,
it’s hard to play them with a bunch of people.

Ignoramus.indb 110

10/14/13 5:38 PM

So we quit the video games and moved on
to Indian wrestling, just like Timothy suggested.
In case you don’t know how to Indian wrestle,
it’s easy. Two kids just lie down (facing up) next
to each other on the floor, with their heads at
opposite ends. Then each of you raises the leg
that’s closest to the other person, and you hook
your two legs together at the knee. Then you try
to pull your own knee back down to the ground,
which basically makes the other kid flip over.
Whoever flips loses.
Red rover,

red rover, I’ll
make Grover
roll over!

You’re going down
in ignominious*
J ust think
defeat, Geller!
legs. It’s on of it as arm wre
up at the es of the few sportsstling, only with
why it’s ckay while you do it. where you look
lled Indian w
restlingotn’htoask me
Ignoramus.indb 111

10/14/13 5:38 PM

	Now, you know me—I’m usually pretty iffy*
about activities that involve perspiration, but we
wrestled till we were sweaty like spaghetti—and it
was good. Tommy Geller’s face got so red and drippy
he looked like a cherry popsicle on the 4th of July.
Then we dripped our way to the kitchen,
because Mom called us to cake and ice cream.
Check out how the cake Dad made looked before
we devoured it:

o ld
The t at covered in
party hwn paper bag!
a bro
Most of
these are
little plastbicut
cowboys... my
a few ar in.
men snuck

Check out th
with Tootsie pfire—
and a fire pit Roll logs
of chocolatemade out
12-can dle


Ignoramus.indb 112

10/14/13 5:38 PM

Everybody sang “Happy Birthday, Dear
Aldo,” I blew out my 12 candles (11 plus 1 to grow
on, my mom says) and made a wish, and then I
got to open presents! To tell you the truth, I’d
been so intent* on planning a guy party for the
last couple of weeks that I’d barely thought about
presents! And that’s just not like me.

I got a boomerang and a catapult kit and a
plastic lightsaber with sound effects. Grover gave
me a wallet that he made himself out of baconpatterned duct tape. Inside the wallet was a gift
card to GameStop. Bonus!
Jack gave me a rock hammer. “You never
know when you might need a rock hammer,” he said.
“I was just thinking the same thing,” I said.
“Um, thanks.”
“Time for the bows and arrows?” whispered Dad.
“Indubitably* !” It was totally time for the
bows and arrows.

Ignoramus.indb 113


10/14/13 5:38 PM

Let’s pause to enjoy the perfection that
was, up until that moment, Aldo Valentine
Zelnick’s 11th birthday.
Because if right about now you’re thinking
that it was pretty much the greatest guy party
in the history of testosterone, you’d be right.
There were was so much guy power under our
roof, it could’ve intimidated* Marines. It would’ve
made Iron Man look infantile.* It should’ve won us
a Guinness World Record for birthday boyness.
Plus, no pink. No dancing. No girls
(except my mom, who is a mom). And not a
single Valentine! In fact, for the first time in
my birthday life, I’d completely forgotten that it
was Valentine’s Day.
Unpause. Sigh.


Ignoramus.indb 114

10/14/13 5:38 PM

I ran up to my fort-closet, where Dad had
left the trash bag full of toy bows and arrows.

This sketchbook was sitting, open, on the
floor next to the trash bag. That is not where I’d
left it. Weird. I grabbed the trash bag and carried
it out to the boy herd.
20 arms reached in and grabbed bows and
arrows. 10 arrows zoomed every which way. Then
10 more. Then there were legs in jeans running
all over the house and there was whooping and
grabbing up arrows off the floor and jumping off
chairs and falling with pretend injuries and generally
letting go of any civilized inhibitions* we might
have still had.

Ignoramus.indb 115


10/14/13 5:39 PM

“Holy smokes,” I heard Dad say.
I grabbed a sleeping bag, unrolled it, and,
still standing, zipped myself inside it. It would be
good protection, I thought. Like body armor, only
So there I was, standing inside the sleeping
bag. I was just inside the front door shooting an
arrow at Emilio, who was sliding down the stair
railing and shooting an arrow at me at the same
time, when I heard the doorbell ring.


Check ouunttinmg
bow-h ls!


Ignoramus.indb 116

10/14/13 5:39 PM

I opened the door. There stood Goosy and
Mr. Mot and Mrs. Dulcet.
Goosy swooped in to hug and smooch me.
“Happy birthday, my Valentine!” she said. “We’ve
come to see how your party is going.”
“Yeaaahhh…,” I said. “We’re kinda in the
middle of a war here.”
“Oh this’ll just take a minute.” And in they came.
Goosy loud-whistled, which got everyone’s
attention. “Happy Aldo’s birthday!” she called.
“We’ve just been to Fountain House, which is the
old folks’ home where Jack’s Abuelo lives. They had
a Valentine’s Day dance there tonight. So for the
past few weeks, the three of us—Mr. Mot, Mrs.
Dulcet, and I—have been teaching ourselves how
to do the Cupid Shuffle so we could show the
Fountain House residents. And now we’re here to
share the love with you fellas too.”
She popped her iPod into our speaker. It
started playing a rap song. And before I could
throw a fit, there was dancing and cupid-song
singing at my birthday party.

Ignoramus.indb 117


10/14/13 5:39 PM

Jack was dancing. Timothy was dancing.
Danny was dancing. Actually, all the kids were
dancing. And my mom and dad were dancing. Even
Mr. Fodder was dancing. But I was not dancing.
Even though it looked medium fun, it was not on
the list of allowed things!
At least there aren’t any girls, I thought.
Moms and grandmas, but not real girls.
And that’s when I saw Bee. She was dancing
too. And there was another girl dancing next to
her! A girl with long, black hair and eyes like giant
watermelon seeds, but in a nice way.

Ignoramus.indb 118

10/14/13 5:39 PM

“Hey!” I shouted, poking Bee in the
shoulder. “What are you doing here?”

We want
to be
“We crashed your party!“ she
just like
yelled over the music. “We’re rebels, just you guys!
like it says on the list on the front door!
This is my new friend, Iyla!”
“How’d you get in?”
“We knocked and your mom let
us in while you were opening presents!”
“You’re not invited! Nothing personal, Iyla.”
“Well we’re here!” she replied indifferently.*
I wasn’t just mad. I was irate.* But it
was so loud and wild in the room that I
couldn’t concentrate on what to do about
it. And I was still sausaged inside the sleeping
bag. But I did have a bow and arrow! So I nocked
a foam arrow and pointed it across the room,
at the iPod speaker. If I can just stop the music,
I was thinking, then I can regain guy control of
this party. Goosy and Mr. Mot and Mrs. Dulcet
will go home and Bee and her friend will leave too.

Ignoramus.indb 119

10/14/13 5:39 PM

But right then, Bee stuck her tongue out at
me. I swear! Before my brain realized what my arms
were doing, I shot the arrow at
her instead.
In my defense, I’d like to
remind you that all of us
boys had just been having an
epic bow-and-arrow battle.
We’d been shooting the
foam arrows at each
other with impunity,*
and it was fun. Fun, I
tell you!
But Bee...she did not think that taking an
arrow to the face was fun. It knocked her glasses
to the floor, where they were immediately Cupid
Shuffled on by Mr. Fodder. Who is not a small
That’s when the song ended. The dancing
stopped. The room got much quieter, as everyone
caught their breath. Danny picked up Bee’s cracked
glasses and handed them to her.

Ignoramus.indb 120

10/14/13 5:39 PM

Yeah, when I replay the scene in my brain, I
can see that this wasn’t the ideal time for me to
be indiscreet.* But right then, I was too infuriated*
to see it. So I shrieked. At Bee. Loud enough that
everyone in the whole neighborhood probably heard.
Everyone except for Danny, but he can lip read, so…

J ust because you’re i n love
with Dan ny Peterson, B ee,
does n ot make it O K for
you to i nvite yourself to
my birth day party!

And Bee started to cry.
I’d never seen her cry before. Ever. Not even
that one time when we were bike riding and I kinda
sorta accidentally cut in front of her and she fell
and practically impaled herself on a rose bush.

Ignoramus.indb 121

10/14/13 5:39 PM

Bee ran out the front door. I ran out after
her. I wanted to catch up to her, but Bee runs a lot
faster than I do. She disappeared into the darkness.
	Next Iyla came busting out the door. “I’ll
talk to Bee,” she blurted as she ran past me.
“She’s my friend.”
	Her voice surprised me. It didn’t sound pretty,
like her eyes. Actually, it sounded kinda goatish.
But that didn’t matter, because it was the meaning
of the words that really stuck me like an arrow to
the heart: She was Bee’s friend.
I went back inside, only to find everyone
standing there, dead quiet, with their arms crossed
over their chests. They all glared icily* at me.
“What?!” I said. “She’s the one who wrecked
my party! My perfect party!” I said it, but I knew
it wasn’t true.
And I stomped upstairs, burst into my fortcloset, slammed the door, and sprawled on the floor
in the dark. Which is where I’ve been, all by myself,
ever since.

Ignoramus.indb 122

10/14/13 5:39 PM

Mom came once and said through
the door, “I’m sorry I let Bee and
her friend in, because you and I had
agreed it was a guy party. But you
need to apologize to her.”
“Go away,” I said.
Jack came once and said through the
door, “We’re all watching the Iron
Mans in the living room until we fall
asleep. You should come.”
“Go away,” I said.
Mr. Fodder came once and said
through the door, “I’m leaving now,
Aldo. Thanks for inviting me.”
“You’re welcome. I’m really glad
you came,” I said. “Now go away.”
Dad came once and said through
the door, “Guess I caused some
problems with those bows and
arrows, huh, sport. I brought you
some popcorn.”

Ignoramus.indb 123

10/14/13 5:39 PM

“Go away,” I said. “But first, gimme that
popcorn. I’m famished.” And I cracked open the door
just enough for him to pass me the bag.
I haven’t been able to fall asleep, but that’s
given me time to think about things. And turn on
the closet light to write in my sketchbook. And
think some more.
	Now I know what I need to do. Which, the
first thing is, get a drink! Never eat popcorn while
locked up in a closet without a beverage! Then I’m
gonna get busy, before everyone else wakes up. It’s
super early in the morning on February 15th, a new
Sometimes aren’t you just so relieved there’s
such a thing as new days?


Ignoramus.indb 124

10/14/13 5:39 PM


“What happened?”

they said when they saw my

wet cheeks and broken glasses. They
rushed over to fold me in a hug.
Before I could answer,

Iyla came running into the kitchen

and explained everything that had
happened at the party.


Ignoramus.indb 125

10/14/13 5:39 PM

Iyla and I talked

and talked in the darkness.

I think we were loud, because
Iyla seems incapable* of using

an inside voice,* but my parents

didn’t come tell us to quiet down.

They let us giggle and tell

secrets until all the secrets
were free.

Ignoramus.indb 126

10/14/13 5:39 PM

With Ping and Pong (they’re

my cats) snuggled up against us,

we compared favorite singers and

books and sports and animals. Iyla
told me all about her family and
what it’s like to have 2

sisters instead of just 1. I told
her about being adopted and
what it’s like to have boys

for best friends, even though they
don’t always include me.

“Well... I’ll always include

you,” she said.

We looked out the window

at the stars and talked about

what we wanted to be when we

grow up. Iyla said she’s considering

either doctor or librarian. I told her
she’d make a wonderful doctor.

Ignoramus.indb 127

10/14/13 5:39 PM

“I hope the butterfly

flies away, though,” I said.

“It’s annoying. And also, I’m
not in love with him.


Ignoramus.indb 128

That’s dumb. I’m not old

enough to be in love.”

10/14/13 5:39 PM

We must have finally fallen

asleep because the next thing I knew,
my mom was kissing me awake.

“It’s early, but someone’s here

to see you.” She whispered, because
Iyla was still sleeping.


Ignoramus.indb 129

10/14/13 5:40 PM


Ignoramus.indb 130

10/14/13 5:40 PM

He reached into his jacket pocket

and pulled out a piece of pink construction
paper that was as crumpled as his face.

He handed it to me. (I decided to tear it
in half so I could tape it here and save
it forever!)

I ’m n ot g o o d at
flow ery fe el in gs …

Ignoramus.indb 131

10/14/13 5:40 PM

...but we’re friends,
give each other Vaand friends
for some reason.
So Happy Valentin
also, next year I ho e’s Day. And
to my birthday par pe you’ll come
idiosyncratic * frienyd. Bring your
Iyla too.
Your BFF (boy frien
d forever,
but not boyfriend),
A.K.A. Ignoramus
“This is nice,” I said. I noticed he

wasn’t drinking his coffee, so I poured him
a glass of orange juice. “And I’m sorry I

crashed your party. I just really wanted to
be there.”

Ignoramus.indb 132

10/14/13 5:40 PM


“You were reading




last night before I realized you were
in my house, weren’t you,” he said.
“I found it open on the floor.”

“Yes. I was. I wanted to see

how it’s coming along. Since I’m a
contributor and all.”

Then he reached into his other

jacket pocket and handed me the








do some more pages. It’s getting close
to the end.”

“Thanks,” I said. “But you are

still an ignoramus.”







thing. And you’re still a girl. Hey,
do you have any leftover pizza from
your restaurant?”


Ignoramus.indb 133

10/14/13 5:40 PM


Ignoramus.indb 134

10/14/13 5:40 PM

“Because you and Jack and the rest

of the lost boys are my best friends,

but I get kind of tired of being the only
Wendy,” I said.

“What?” he said.
“Oh never mind.”
As he was leaving, Aldo

reached into his pocket for a

Day, give
the gift
of bacon!

third time. “I almost forgot,” he said.
“I wanted to give you one more
thing.” And he handed me a

duct-tape wallet with bacon on it.
“Wow,” I said. “Thank

you.” And I meant it. Aldo

adores bacon. So if he gives
you something bacon-y, even

if it is regifted, you know he
must really care about you.


Ignoramus.indb 135

10/14/13 5:40 PM

B etter L ate
t h a n n ever

Tonight was my family birthday dinner. It’s a
Zelnick tradition. It’s where my dad cooks whatever
the birthday person wants, and afterward, the
birthday person opens presents from the family.
Besides Goosy and Timothy and my parents, Mr.
Mot and Bee came too.
While I snarfed down the best chicken
enchiladas known to man, Goosy and Mr. Mot told
stories about Fountain House and the Cupid Shuffle.
“We showed those most senior of citizens
how the younger generation busts a move!” said
Mr. Mot.
“You should have seen Mrs. Dulcet!” said
Goosy. “She’s an impeccable* dancer. So is Abuelo!
They waltzed beautifully together.”

Ignoramus.indb 136

10/14/13 5:40 PM

“Oh I’m so glad!” said Bee. “She had someone
to dance with besides herself after all!”
“Her husband passed away several years
ago,” explained Mr. Mot. “But this year she vowed
not to isolate* herself on Valentine’s Day. And thus
was born her idea for the Fountain House Frolic!”
Oh great, I thought. Mr. Dulcet—another
dead dude. At least I’m only 11...
“You’re awfully quiet,” said Goosy to me as
she second-helpinged my plate.
“I didn’t sleep so good last night,” I muttered.

your imhypr? Is
you up?

Whatever. It’s my party and
I can use adjectives instead of
adverbs if I want to.


Ignoramus.indb 137

10/14/13 5:40 PM

“He stayed up to make me a Valentine!”
interjected* Bee.
“You did?!” happy-whined Mom.
“Awww...that’s so sweet!”
“Awww...didja make me one
too?” imitated* Timothy.
“Actually,” I admitted, sitting up straight and
claiming my unique specialness as the February 14th
kid, “I stayed up and made all of you Valentines.”
And I jumped from my chair to get the sack
of Iron Man Valentines I’d written out to all the
importantest people in my life so far.
I walked around the table, and as I handed
each person a better-late-than-never Valentine, I
gave him or her a hug too. Except for Timothy.
Him I just shoved a little.
When I got to Bee, I gave her a Valentine
and leaned in to whisper, “That one’s for Iyla.”
Unfortunately, Bee does not seem to
understand the concept of insider information.*
“You made Iyla a Valentine?” she squealed.

Ignoramus.indb 138

10/14/13 5:40 PM

Keep eating, everyone!
Bee was just talking
with her mouth full
of food. Disgusting!
Don’t worry,
though. I’m on it!
“Uh…at my party I mighta seemed not as
cool as I really am,” I said. “I didn’t want her to
have the wrong impression* about me.”
“She’s a lovely girl,” said Dad, winking at
me. “She’s Indian, right?”
“Well, she lives here,” said Bee, “so she’s
Indian American.”
“Wait a sec. Indian?” I said. “She’s not the
same as the Indian in that book I borrowed from
Mr. Mot...”
“That young warrior was not an Indian
American but rather an American Indian, of the
Iroquois tribe,” said Mr. Mot. “They and other
Native Americans inhabited* North America for
centuries before your ancestors did, Aldo. Young
Iyla’s family, on the other hand, hails from the
country of India, on the continent of Asia, on the
other side of the globe.”

Ignoramus.indb 139

10/14/13 5:40 PM

Sheesh. I wish all the Indian people wouldn’t
pick such confusing names. “Can I open presents
now?” I said.
I didn’t get a laptop computer, but I did get
an archery set with real feathers and points on the
arrows! (After I opened it, Mom grabbed it. She’s
keeping it “somewhere safe” until we can go to
the archery place again.) Timothy forgot to get
me a present, so he gave me an .O.U.* Bee gave
me stick-on moustaches and a kit for cleaning my
trumpet. From Mr. Mot I got a booklight. And
from Goosy? A pair of footie pajamas
with hearts and cupids
all over them. Blerg.
I gotta put down this
sketchbook and go get some
sleep. Tomorrow’s a school day,
and I have
cakes to
pass out.

Ignoramus.indb 140

10/14/13 5:40 PM

I know! Let’s give
kids a day off
from school.

You’re just
mad cuz I
got more
than you did.

George and
Martha, sittin’
in a tree...

P reside n ts ’ D ay

Welp, a week’s gone by and everything’s
more or less back to usual. Valentine’s Day and
my 11th birthday already seem like forever ago.
But today is Monday, February 23rd, and
you know what that means...no school! Wootwoot! Do we live in a great country or what?
I think I’ll text Jack and see if he wants
to redo that Iron Man marathon I missed at my
birthday party. Oh yeah, and I promised Bee I’d
stop by her house for a drum lesson. Blerg. But
first I’ve gotta finish up this sketchbook and
scratch the comic strip itch* I’ve been feeling.

Ignoramus.indb 141


10/14/13 5:40 PM

This tree is
getting on
my nerves,

No one really even
likes broccoli except...
Ignoramus.indb 142

...your father. Oh dear.
10/14/13 5:40 PM

Ack! My cherished tree li
slain upon the ground! es
Bacon Boy?

I cannot tell
a lie, father…
C.W. was
hungry, and he
chewed right
through it.
What is wrong
with you???

The truth
is worth
a million
trees. By
the way,
to that
hatchet I
gave you
for your

Ignoramus.indb 143

Gah! Now
going to
feeding me
And who
gives a kid
a hatchet,

10/14/13 5:40 PM

“ I ” G allery

Mr. Mot used to be an English
teacher. He’s a word nerd, and he
likes to help me use awesome words
in my sketchbooks. I mark the best
words with one of these: * (it’s called
an asterisk). When you see an *
you’ll know you can look here, in
the Gallery, to see what the word
means. If you don’t know how to say some of the words,
just ask Mr. Mot. Or someone you know who’s like Mr. Mot.
Or go to aldozelnick.com, and we’ll say them for you.

ideal (pg. 109):
perfectly perfect

i.e. (pg. 97): in
other words...
I.O.U. (pg. 140):
I owe you. Get it?
iceberg lettuce (pg. 20): a
crunchy, pale green lettuce

icily (pg. 122):

Ignoramus.indb 144

idioms (pg. 32):
sayings that mean
something other than what
the words literally say
idiosyncratic (pg. 132):
weirdly unique

(pg. 51):

like a dumb

10/14/13 5:40 PM

idolize (pg. 31): when
you’re infatuated
with a person you
think is perfect

imagine (pg. 82):

dream up in
your brain

imbecile (pg. 64):


iffy (pg. 112): not sure about
imitated (pg. 138): mimicked
something—and maybe
leaning towards nah
immaculate (pg. 103):
100% clean and tidy
ignominious (pg. 111):
immature (pg. 70): not all
the way grown yet
ignoramus (pg. 96):
someone who’s being really immortal (pg. 7): never
dumb but doesn’t know it dying
ignoring (pg. 27): acting
like something doesn’t

imp (pg. 72): a smallish
creature full of playful

Iliad (pg. 26): a book-long
poem about war written
by an ancient Greek
guy named Homer (not

Impala (pg. 77): a kind of
car and also a kind of
African antelope


(pg. 28):

kind; type

I was
here first.

illustrator (pg. 49):

someone awesome who

draws awesome pictures
(like me!)

Ignoramus.indb 145

(an d me!)


10/14/13 5:40 PM

impale (pg. 55): poke
something through
with a sharp
(pg. 136):
(pg. 95):
something in
the way

impetus (pg. 90): something
that causes something
else to happen

(pg. 61):



(pg. 76):

(pg. 139):


Most footder quick judgment
tastes betn a
impaled o k impressionable (pg. 96):
easy to influence
(pg. 110):

little flaws that
make something that
is almost perfect, not

impersonal (pg. 68): basic
and not caring about the
specialness of people
impervious (pg. 60): so
strong it blocks stuff.
Like, Iron Man’s suit is
impervious to lasers, and
teachers are impervious
to kid excuses.

impressive (pg. 109): better
than usual

(pg. 72):


impunity (pg. 120):
without anything bad
in-thing (pg. 23): what the
cool people do
inattentive (pg. 65): not

paying attention


Ignoramus.indb 146

10/14/13 5:40 PM

incapable (pg. 126): can’t
do something


(pg. 73):


incognito (pg.
160): dressed
to look like
someone else

incorrigible (pg. 81): so

irksome that you know
the person will never

learn to be kind and

good all the time

increased (pg. 34):
got bigger and

incoherently (pg.
incredible (pg. 19):
100): not clearly
as Einstein? way awesome
or understandably
inconceivable (pg. 42): so
(pg. 53): never tiring out
weirdly not expected that
Indian Rummy (pg. 85):
your brain practically
Such a fun card
explodes when it happens game!

M eh.

incongruous (pg. 70):
two things that don’t
go together...like peanut
butter and ketchup

(pg. 119): like
you don’t
care one
or the

inconvenience (pg. 93):
making it kind of a pain
to do something

indiscreet (pg. 121): being
loud and showy about
something that is a secret

Or likine g
choos as
your fatopping
(B ee!)


Ignoramus.indb 147

10/14/13 5:41 PM


(pg. 113):


inertia (pg. 17): that lazy
feeling you get when
sitting around and not
moving just makes you
want to sit around and
not move even more


(pg. 40):


a big fire

(pg. 16):

snuck in

infinite (pg. 11): forever and
ever and ever...ad nauseum
influence (pg. 59): when
you change someone’s

inevitable (pg. 52):
influx (pg. 105): a bunch
something that’s going to coming at the same time
happen no matter what
infringe (pg. 35): crossing
infamy (pg. 11): famous
the line into territory
because it’s so horrible
you’re not supposed to go
infantile (pg. 114): babyish
infuriated (pg. 121): so mad
infatuation (pg. 129): a
you’re full of fury
sweet, innocent kind of
love. Love Light.

ingratiate (pg. 59): do
things in a way that
makes other people like you

infected (pg. 12): when
something bad gets into
something good

(pg. 139):

lived in

inherent (pg. 43): part of
something from the very


Ignoramus.indb 148

10/14/13 5:41 PM

(pg. 50): got
from your


(pg. 115):
In the case of
my good looks, I
feelings of
in-hair-ited them.
shyness that
keep you from doing dumb
or embarrassing things

inkling (pg. 89): an itty-bit
of understanding
inner monologue (pg. 64):
what you think to

yourself inside your brain

innocent (pg. 58): not yet
understanding the ways
of the world

insatiable (pg. 109):
can’t be satisfied
inscription (pg. 7): what
someone writes in the
first couple of pages of
a book they gave you
as a gift
insensitive (pg. 66): rude
inside voice (pg. 126): voice
volume anywhere from
sigh to talk

insider information (pg.
138): something secret-ish
you’re not supposed to go
blabbing to everyone else
insidious (pg. 92): when
something is really good
at sneaking its way in

innocuous (pg. 17): harmless insistent (pg. 94): trying
hard to make something
innuendo (pg. 19): a hint
that you mean something
inspecting (pg. 94):
examining something
insanely (pg. 32): way
outside what most people instantaneously (pg. 96):
consider normal
right this very second

Ignoramus.indb 149


10/14/13 5:41 PM

insult (pg. 108): say or do
something that’s not nice
to someone else
intact (pg. 103): whole and
intelligence (pg. 20): info
you get by spying
intense (pg. 84): extreme


(pg. 113):

focused on

interjected (pg. 138): said in
the middle of something
interlopers (pg. 73): people
who enter even though
they’re not supposed to
intermingling (pg. 70):
two things that aren’t
like each other getting all
mixed up together

(pg. 14):

interrupted (pg. 73): This
is when (bite, chew,
chew, swallow) you’re

stopped in the middle of
something. I was stopped
in the middle of this
definition by a
piece of beef jerky.
intestines (pg. 93):
the long, hose-y
squiggles that
connect your
stomach to
your outside
intimidated (pg. 114): made
kinda afraid by someone
who’s more powerful
be stood

(pg. 38):

(pg. 27):



introduced (pg. 86):

“Reader, meet Iyla. Iyla,
meet reader.” There. I
just introduced you to
Iyla. (It’s pronounced

EYE-la, by the way.)

inventive (pg. 10): good at
coming up with new ideas


Ignoramus.indb 150

10/14/13 5:41 PM


(pg. 68):


invigorating (pg. 49): giving
you energy and liveliness


(pg. 77):

can’t be

(pg. 89):

(Ha! I drew this definition
with invisible ink.)
invitees (pg. 105): the
people you invite with

ironclad (pg. 60):
unbreakably strong
ironic (pg. 110): Mr. Mot
says irony is a complex
rhetorical device...blah,
blah, blah. I think it just
means that something’s
funny because two
incongruous things are put
together or things turn
out exactly the opposite
of what you expect.
irrationally (pg. 55): in a
way that doesn’t make
logical sense
irritated (pg. 104):
annoyed; irked

iota (pg. 59): the smallest
tiny bit you can see with isolate (pg. 137): leave alone
the human eye
itch (pg. 141): something
irate (pg. 119): so, so mad!!! you want to do
iridescent (pg. 87): shiny
itinerary (pg. 21): schedule
and rainbowy

(pg. 23):


itty-bit (pg. 130): a little
tiny amount


Ignoramus.indb 151

10/14/13 5:41 PM

mily’s restaurant)
e (my fa
and Iris flower shop!


party HQ

M r. Mot’s


Ignoramus.indb 152

10/14/13 5:41 PM

To ice
fishing lake

Slushie Stop


Jack’s dad-house

girlfriend’s house
(and site of the
Twizzler incident)

To thelace

Ignoramus.indb 153

10/14/13 5:41 PM



About the Aldo Zelnick
Comic Novel Series
The Aldo Zelnick comic novels are an alphabetical series for middlegrade readers aged 7-13. Rabid and reluctant readers alike enjoy the
intelligent humor and drawings as well as the action-packed stories.
They’ve been called vitamin-fortified Wimpy Kids.
Part comic romps, part mysteries, and
part sesquipedalian-fests (ask Mr. Mot),
they’re beloved by parents, teachers, and
librarians as much as kids.

n o w ava i l ab l e !
160 pages | Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-934649-04-6

Artsy-Fartsy introduces ten-year-old
Aldo, the star and narrator of the entire
series, who lives with his family in
Colorado. He’s not athletic like his older
brother, he’s not a rock hound like his
best friend, but he does like bacon. And
when his artist grandmother, Goosy,
gives him a sketchbook to “record all
his artsy-fartsy ideas” during summer
vacation, it turns out Aldo is a pretty
good cartoonist.

In addition to an engaging cartoon story, each book in the series
includes an illustrated glossary of fun and challenging words used
throughout the book, such as absurd, abominable, and audacious in
Artsy-Fartsy and brazen, behemoth, and boisterous in Bogus.

www.bailiwickpress.com | www.aldozelnick.com

Ignoramus.indb 154

10/14/13 5:41 PM

A l s o i n t h e A l d o Z e l n i c k c o m i c n ov e l s e r i e s

Ignoramus.indb 155

10/14/13 5:41 PM


“To be ignorant of one’s ignorance
is the malady of the ignorant.”
— Amos Bronson Alcott

Aldo is indubitably ignorant of his own ignorance until it’s rather dramatically
revealed to him. Like many of us, he’s a slow and intransigent learner. But say
what you will about our now 11-year-old hero, he earns his insights.
One of the insights we’ve earned in working on this series is that children
respond to stories written for and about them—yet the world of children’s
literature is chockablock with books that were actually written to appeal to
grown-up sensibilities. The people who know, i.e., teachers, school librarians,
paying-attention parents, and literary neighbors, constantly remind us that the
kids in their lives won’t read period unless books speak genuinely and pointedly
to them (often irrespective of what we adults think children should value in
children’s literature).
This is not to say that grown-ups should be indiscriminate in nurturing young
readers. In Ignoramus, Mr. Mot gives Aldo The Indian in the Cupboard to read
because Aldo, focused as he is in this story on gender identification, thirsts for
battles and blood. This funny and award-winning novel series indeed provides
the masculine action Aldo craves, but as our friends at the Indian Community
School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, point out, the series also perpetuates some
incendiary American Indian stereotypes. We agree with them, and we agree with
Mr. Mot, because we know how imperative it is to match kids with books that
speak to them and keep them reading. Plus, we’re sure that Mr. Mot pulled Aldo
aside for an off-camera conversation about literary typecasting. After all, it’s the
role of navigator, encourager, and conscience that is an adult’s true calling within
the world of kid lit.
Thanks to everyone who cares enough about children’s literacy and literature to
indulge this invective. Thanks, too, to Renée, who is instrumental in so many
ways; to the Slow Sanders, who critique with impunity; to intrepid interns Guru
and Jeffrey; and to Launie, Aldo’s inimitable designer. And of course, to our
families and Aldo’s Angels we owe our inextinguishable, ineffable gratitude.

Ignoramus.indb 156

10/14/13 5:41 PM

A LDO ’ S i n i m i t ab l e A NGELS

Barbara Anderson

Annette & Tom Lynch

Carol & Wes Baker

Lisa & Kyle Miller

Butch & Sue Byram

Kristin & Henry

Michael & Pam
Leigh Waller Fitschen
Chris Goold
Roy Griffin
Bennett Zent and
Calvin, Beckett &
Camden Halvorson
Oliver Harrison
(Matthew & Erin)
Terry & Theresa
Halo There! If you’re an
Aldo Zelnick fan, e-mail
and ask for details about
becoming an Aldo’s
Angel. Angels receive
special opportunities
such as pre-publication
discounts, free shipping,
naming rights, and listing
in the acknowledgments
(especially fun for kids).

Ignoramus.indb 157

Richard & Peggy
Chris Hutchinson
Vicki & Bill Krug
Papa, Tutu, Cole,
Grant, Iris & Thomas

The Motz & Scripps
Families (McCale,
Alaina, Everett,
Caden, Ambria
& Noah)
Jackie O’Hara &
Erin Rogers
Betty Oceanak
Jackie Peterson and
Emma, Dorie & Elissa
John Schiller &
Suzanne Holm
Slow Sand Writers
Barb & Steve Spanjer
Dana Spanjer
Vince & Adrianne

10/14/13 5:41 PM

The Aldo Zelnick Fan Club
is for readers of any age who
love the book series and
want the inside scoop on
all things Zelnickian.

Go to www.aldozelnick.com
and click on this flag-thingy!

S i g n up t o r e c e i v e :
• sneak preview chapters from the next book.
• an early look at coming book titles, covers, and more.
• opportunities to vote on new character names and other stuff.
• discounts on the books and merchandise.
• a card from Aldo on your birthday (for kids)!

The Aldo Zelnick fan club is free and easy.
If you’re under 13, ask your mom or dad to sign you up!

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Photo by Amy Fesenmaier

ab o u t t h e au t h o r
Karla Oceanak has been a voracious reader
her whole life and a writer and editor for more
than twenty years. She has also ghostwritten
numerous self-help books. Karla loves doing
school visits and speaking to groups about
children’s literacy. She lives with her husband,
Scott, their three boys, and a cat named Puck
in a house strewn with Legos, ping-pong balls,
Pokémon cards, video games, books, and
dirty socks in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is her ninth novel.
ab o u t t h e i l l u s t r a t o r
Kendra Spanjer divides her time between
being “a writer who illustrates” and “an
illustrator who writes.” She decided to
cultivate her artistic side after discovering
that the best part of chemistry class was
entertaining her peers (and her professor)
with “The Daily Chem Book” comic. Since
then, her diverse body of work has appeared
in a number of group and solo art shows,
book covers, marketing materials, fundraising events, and public
places. When she invents spare time for herself to fill, Kendra enjoys
skiing, cycling, exploring, discovering new music, watching trains go
by, decorating cakes with her sister, making faces in the mirror, and
playing with her dog, Puck.

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With these sticBk-ee
on moustachesuld
gave me, I co ffle
take Cupid Shuito.*
lessons incogn

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