Read Don't Swap Your Sweater for a Dog Online

Authors: Katherine Applegate

Don't Swap Your Sweater for a Dog

Roscoe Riley Rules #3
Don't Swap Your Sweater for a Dog
Katherine Applegate

Illustrated by Brian Biggs

For Julia and Jake,
with love

Contents

1.
    Welcome to Time-Out

2.
    Something You Should Know Before We Get Started

3.
    Something Else You Should Know Before We Get Started

4.
    The World's Best Roscoe Riley

5.
    The World's Ugliest Sweater

6.
    Jump, Frog, Jump!

7.
    Pandas

8.
    Roscoe Riley, Superteacher

9.
    The Swap

10.
    The Toe-Tapping Trick

11.
    Truly Terrific Tricks

12.
    MY Dog

13.
    The World's Best Backward Somersault Team

14.
    Good-Bye from Time-Out

 

1
Welcome to Time-Out

Hey! Want to play?

Oops. I mean, want to play when I'm done with time-out?

I sort of kind of got in some trouble again.

'Cause I sort of kind of borrowed
somebody's dog.

I only borrowed him so I could win a trophy.

A shiny, sparkly, silver trophy.

You've probably borrowed a dog before, right?

A cat? A gerbil? A tarantula?

Oh. Well, I had my reasons.

It's a long story, actually.

Usually when I end up in time-out, there's a long story to tell.

And since you're here anyway, I'll bet you'd like to hear it….

2
Something You Should Know Before We Get Started

Just because your dog cannot read a book does not mean he isn't a winner.

Maybe he just hasn't figured out his real talent yet.

3
Something Else You Should Know Before We Get Started

If your grandma knits you a sweater with pandas and smiley faces and hearts and baby ducks on it, do not give it to Martin.

Or anybody else.

It has sentimental value, you know.

4
The World's Best Roscoe Riley

This all started because my little sister won another trophy.

Hazel is still in preschool. And she already has a golden trophy from Little Minnows swim team. And one for being the Fastest Skipper in Ms. MacNamara's pre-K class.

So you can see why I was the teensiest bit annoyed when she came home with
another
trophy.

I'd had a long, hard day at school.

On account of an incident involving chocolate milk.

Did you know that if you blow through a straw into chocolate milk, the bubbles will volcano right out of your cup?

The bubbling part is way cool.

Cleaning up the mess afterward is not so cool.

Anyway, after all that, I didn't need to hear Hazel's big news as soon as I opened the door.

“Roscoe!” she screamed. “I wonned another one! For bestest sitting-stiller for the month at circle time!”

“I never got a trophy, and I sit still,” I
said. “Well, sometimes I do.”

Life is so not fair.

I dropped my backpack in the hall. I kicked off my tennis shoes. Then I flopped on the couch.

“You will not be getting any trophies for neatest boy on planet Earth,” Mom said.
“Backpack in the closet. Shoes in your room.” She kissed the top of my head.

“I want a trophy,” I said in that whining voice you use when you feel really sorry for yourself.

“You got that little plastic statue in kindergarten last year,” Mom said. “For most improved hand raising.”

“I mean a
real
trophy,” I said. “A big, heavy one. Made of gold.”

“Shoes,” Mom said. “Backpack.”

I got off the couch and picked up my shoes and my backpack.

“You are the best burper in first grade,” my big brother Max said.

He burped an extra loud one.

It was beautiful. Like music.

“But I'm still the best in the world,” Max added.

Which is true. My brother has a gift.

“Everybody's got something cool like a trophy or a statue or something to take to show-and-tell,” I said.


Every
body?” Mom asked.

“Last week Gus brought his yellow belt from karate,” I said. “He got a little gold trophy cup with it. And today Emma brought her piano statue. She got it for practicing lots. It's of that grouchy guy.”

“Ludwig van Beethoven,” said Mom. “He was a famous music writer.”

“Even you have a trophy, Mom,” I said. “For selling Girl Scout cookies.”

“That was a very long time ago,” Mom said. “I was a great little salesperson, though. I could sell snow to a polar bear. I could sell water to an otter. I could sell—”

“Gee, Mom,” I interrupted. “You are
big-time not helping me feel better. Which is sort of your job, after all.”

Mom gave me a hug. “Sorry, sweetheart. You just be the very best Roscoe you can be. That's all that matters.”

Easy for you to say,
I thought.
You have a cookie trophy.

Nobody gives a trophy for being The World's Best Roscoe Riley.

5
The World's Ugliest Sweater

“Don't forget Emma and Gus are coming over for a playdate,” Mom said after I put my stuff away.

“Mom,” I said with a groan, “we are not having a playdate. Hazel has playdates. We are hanging out.”

“Well, when they get to the house for the
hang-out, please wear your new sweater if you go outside,” Mom said.

“I will never wear that sweater,” I said.

I crossed my arms over my chest. To show I meant business.

“Your grandmother knitted that sweater with her own two hands,” Mom said.

“It has hearts on it! And flowers! And smiley faces! And baby ducks!” I cried.

“No sweater,” Mom said, “no hang-out with Gus and Emma.”

She tossed me the sweater. I put it on.

One side dangled down to my knees.

There was a pink bunny on the right sleeve. I hadn't noticed him before.

“NO!” Max cried. He covered his eyes. “Not the sweater of doom!”

Hazel wrinkled up her nose. “Why is there a monkey on the elbow?”

“That's a puppy,” Mom said. She frowned. “At least, I think it is.”

“Goofy and I are going to wait for Gus and Emma on the front porch,” I said. “Cross your fingers nobody sees me.”

“It was knit with love,” Mom said. “It has sentimental value.”

“What's mentisental value?” I asked.


Sentimental value
means you have to pretend to love your sweater when Grandma's here,” Max said.


Sentimental value
,” said Mom, “means that a gift is special to you because it came from someone you love.”

I went outside. Goofy came with me.

He is a big, whitish guy dog with floppy ears.

His tail is usually in high gear.

And he almost always has something
in his mouth.

Right now he had Mom's cell phone.

“Not a good idea, Goofy,” I said.

I went back inside and gave Mom the wet cell phone.

When I returned to the porch, Emma's dad dropped off Gus and Emma.

Gus and Emma live on the same street. It's a few blocks away from my house.

I wish I lived near them. Then we could be neighbors and best friends. Which is
very nice for hang-outs.

They ran over to the porch. Goofy licked their hands and wagged his tail extra speedy.

Then he licked one of Gus's sneakers for a while.

“You look kind of down in the dumps, Roscoe,” Emma said.

“My sweater's ugly,” I said. “And also I don't have any trophies and stuff like you guys.”

Emma thought. “I would call your sweater interesting.”

“I would call it very interesting,” Gus said. “Why is there an armadillo on your shoulder?”

“That's a cow,” I said.

“No,” said Emma. “I'm pretty sure that's a kangaroo.”

“COULD WE STOP TALKING ABOUT MY SWEATER?” I demanded.

Gus grinned. “Maybe you could get a blue ribbon for World's Weirdest Sweater.”

I gave him my extra scary look.

“Okay, okay. No more sweater talk,” he said.

“You know,” said Emma, “it's never too late to get a trophy or a medal for something. You could learn to be a rodeo rider. Or an Olympic high diver.”

Goofy started chasing his tail. He spun in crazy circles. He looked like a big white doughnut.

“Maybe Goofy could win a trophy for Best Tail Chaser,” Gus said.

Goofy slammed into a bush.

“Or not,” Emma added.

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