MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
Ms. Maybee said, “Okay, guys, let’s get out our history books!”
The whole class groaned.
Doc tilted his head back and started snoring.
“Very funny,” Ms. Maybee said. “This is going to be fun, trust me. Abby? How about if you get us started.”
Abby—she’s the one who broke history. It was Abby and her stepbrother, Doc.
You can thank them later.
Everyone took out their textbooks. Thick books. Heavy. Kids lifted them high and let them drop onto their desks. It sounded like thunder.
Ms. Maybee just shook her head.
“Page one twenty-five,” she said. “Today we’ll read about Abraham Lincoln.”
More groans. And Doc sang out, “Bor—ing!”
Ms. Maybee glared at the class. “Who said that?”
Everyone knew. But no one said.
“Well, whoever it was,” Ms. Maybee said, looking right at Doc, “you should be aware that you are not only rude, but also totally wrong.”
She pointed to a poster of Abraham Lincoln taped to the classroom wall.
“Abraham Lincoln is one of our most important presidents,” she said. “He basically saved the country and ended slavery. And he’s certainly not boring. Come on, you’ll see.” And she said, “Abby, when you’re ready.”
Abby opened the textbook to page 125. There was an old black-and-white picture of a house with a horse and wagon driving by. She read what it said at the top of the page: “Lincoln: from Lawyer to President.”
“A little louder, Abby,” Ms. Maybee said. “We’re going to show these people how exciting history can be!”
She read louder: “Abraham Lincoln sat at a large desk in his office in the city of Springfield, Illinois. He was reading a newspaper. After a little while, he put the newspaper down and stood up. He walked out of the room. He came back carrying a cup of coffee. He sat down again. He picked up the newspaper and began to read.”
Abby looked up from the book, pretty confused.
“See,” Doc said. “Nap time.”
For once, Ms. Maybee didn’t yell at him. “Okay,” she said, “that wasn’t the most thrilling part, I’ll admit. Doc, since you’re so interested, why don’t you see what comes next?”
He read aloud: “Abraham Lincoln turned to the next page of the newspaper. He took a sip of coffee. He put his feet up on his desk. He read some more. Every few minutes he sipped his drink.”
Doc stopped. “Do I have to keep going?” he asked.
“No, that’s fine,” Ms. Maybee said.
She looked at her own copy of the textbook. “According to what it says here, he just sat at his desk all day. He read the paper, drank coffee, and, um, that’s it. That’s all he did.”
“Why do we have to know this stuff?” Doc asked.
“It’s important,” Ms. Maybee said.
“It just is,” she said. “Hmmm…” She was still looking at her book. “This really doesn’t seem right. I remember Lincoln doing a lot more. But to be totally honest, history was never my favorite subject.”
“Because it’s boring!” Doc said.
“Well, this book is a little dry, I’ll admit,” Ms. Maybee said.
She closed the textbook and said, “Let’s do a math worksheet.”
And a few kids actually cheered.
When the school day ended, Abby walked through the library to the storage room in the back. It was a small room packed with books—books on shelves, in cardboard boxes, and stacked up on the floor. There were two chairs and a table and one small window.
Abby sat and started taking stuff out of her backpack.
This happened every day. Abby and Doc’s mother was a teacher at the school and ran an after-school program for younger kids. Their dad taught at the middle school and stayed late to coach track. So every day, after school, Abby and Doc had to stick around for about an hour, until their mom was ready to leave. They were supposed to sit in this room and do homework or read.
It was usually the longest hour of the day. Not this time.
Doc came in and tossed down his backpack. He stepped onto a chair, then onto the table, and from there he climbed onto one of the stacks of boxes. His head almost touched the ceiling.
He pointed to a tall box about six feet away.
“Probably,” Abby said. “But I’m not saying you’d live.”
“I’m the Amazing, um, no, I’m Doctor Frog-Leg!”
“Well, that’s my pro-wrestling name,” he said.
That was the big thing in school that week. There was going to be a pro-wrestling tournament in the gym Friday night, and kids were joking about what their wrestler names would be.
“Watch this!” Doc said.
Abby looked down at her notebook. Her mom had married Doc’s dad three years before, so she was used to him. They mostly got along. But sometimes she felt it was best to ignore him. For example, any time he said “Watch this!”
Copyright © 2018 by Steve Sheinkin
Illustrations copyright © 2018 by Neil Swaab