SUMMARY: In the story, Wilhemena Brooks’ cousin, Bud Dunphry come to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it? Bud doesn’t like girls! In fact, Bud doesn’t like anybody. Wil tries to ignore him but he pulls her friends hair, taken over games, and when Bud is in trouble he making his “you’re going to got it” face at her.
After a snowstorm closes school, Wil and her friends go sled riding. Bud shows up and starts a snowball fight which lands Wil in her room for the rest of the day for fighting.
When her pencil sharpener is found, right where she left it, Wil decides she has to try harder to understand her cousin and stay out of trouble. Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. If Wil treats Bud nicely does that change anything for her?
Bud stopped and scooped up some snow. "I don't want to play with you. Who wants to play with a someone named Wilhemena. It‘s a funny name," he yelled.
Then Bud threw the snowball at Wil. It hit her in the arm, but it did not hurt.
Bud ran into the schoolyard.
Wil shouted after him, "I don't want anybody to see me with you anyway. Who wants to be seen with a bully. And what's wrong with Wilhemena? Wait till I tell Grandma you don't like her name."
'Wil' was what her father and mother called her. She liked to be called Wil. Bud knew that and was just being mean.
Wil wiped the snow from her arm. Too bad there was not more
snow on the ground, she thought. Sledding on Slide Hill after school would be just the thing to help her forget about her cousin. She could try out the blue sled she got for Christmas.
Wil walked slowly to the schoolyard. She was not in a hurry to see what trouble Bud would get into.
This was the first day back to the Ten Street School after Christmas vacation. Bud was now in her second grade class.
Over the holiday, he and his mother came to live with Wil's family.
Aunt Karen lost her job and was looking for a new one. Wil's parents did not know how long Aunt Karen and Bud would be staying with them.
Bud was a pain. Wil hoped they would not stay with them long. She wondered why Bud could not live with his father and why was this happening to her? She did not like changes.
Wil closed her hand. She could feel her new pink eraser inside her mitten. Her initials were on it. W.B. She did not want to lose it, or the pink pencil case that came with it. They were part of a set but the pink pencil sharpener that came with them was missing. Wil thought Bud took it, though he said he did not have it.
Wil had not seen her sharpener since the day after Christmas when Bud was drawing space monster pictures for his bedroom walls. Rather, her brother, Jason's, bedroom walls.
Jason was twelve. He went to a military school and liked being a cadet. He liked wearing a uniform like their father.
If Jason did not have to go back to school there would be no bedroom for Bud to stay in and Wil would not have to put up with him.
Wil sighed. She knew she should be nice to Bud. Her parents say you should be nice to everybody. She liked her Aunt Karen. They were good friends. Bud did not want to be her friend. She wished Jason did not like to march so much. She wished Bud were the one going to a military school.
Wil hurried through the schoolyard gate. It was too early for the bell to ring. All the kids were in the playground. No one was in line yet. Then she saw Bud running toward the boys throwing a ball against the school building.
Wil wished her friend Joey Van Stand was not there. Joey was smaller than Bud. Bud said Joey was a baby. There was going to be trouble.
Suzie Kemp and Robert Anders hurried over to Wil. Suzie had on the rose perfume she liked. She pointed to Bud and rubbed her head. "That boy pulled my hair," she wailed. "Who is he?"
"It's not that many," Suzie told Robert. "It's about five rubber bands. He shoots rubber bands at everybody. Have you seen he’s big dog? It has huge teeth."
Wil was not listening. She was trying to forget about her cousin across the playground.
Robert shook his head. "I think I've seen him before,” he said.
Then somebody began to shout. Wil knew that voice. It was Bud's. Looking around she saw him.
Bud grabbed the ball and stopped the game. The other boys gathered around him.
Robert and Suzie were watching Bud, too. Robert said, "I heard about reform schools in the old days. He's the type of kid that would go there."
"Yeah. I heard that in reform schools kids eat bread and water and break rocks for exercise," Suzie said.
Bud was shouting at Joey. Wil looked at the ground. She wished the bell would ring soon.
Then Bud pushed Joey.
Suzie cried out, "Oh, no!"
Wil looked up. Now everybody was staring at Bud and Joey. Joey's face was red. He looked scared.
"You cannot play, Shrimp," Bud told Joey. "Go join the babies on the monkey bars."
His arms at his side Joey kept opening and closing his hands. "I can so play," he wailed. His eyes were watery.
Wil rushed across the playground. She had to reach Joey. She did not know what Bud might do next. Suzie and Robert followed Wil.
Wil stood next to Joey. "Everybody can play," she said.
Bud made his mean face. "I'm not talking to you, Wilhemena," he said.
Joey edged closer to Wil. He whispered, "Yeah, everybody can play."
"Who said, little BABY," Bud said to Joey.
Joey's lips trembled. "The principal, Mrs. Johnson said. She makes the rules," he said.
"The principal isn't here, is she?" Bud shouted.
Wil stepped in front of Joey. I have to be nice, she kept telling herself. She grinned and said, "Those are the rules. Why don't we start up another game?"
Some of the kids started to play again.
"What do you know, Wilhemena?" Bud yelled.
Suzie said, "She doesn't like to be called Wilhemena."
"She likes 'Wil'," Joey said.
"What's going on?" a voice said.
It was Mrs. Campbell, the playground monitor. She was coming closer.
"Oh, nothing," Bud said. He kneeled and pretended to tie his boots.
No one else said a word.
"You're new here, aren't you?" Mrs. Campbell asked. "What's your name?"
Bud looked up. "Bud Dunphry," he said. His voice was squeaky.
Wil had an idea. "It's his first day. Bud has to see the principal before school starts," she told the playground monitor.
Then the bell rang. Mrs. Campbell blew her whistle.
Putting a hand on Bud's shoulder, she said, "You can come with me. Bud. I'm heading for the office. Everyone else line up! Line up!"
"Okay,” Bud mumbled. He fell into step beside Mrs. Campbell then turned
and make a face at Wil. It was his, you're-going-to-get-it face.
Robert stared at Bud. Then he looked at Wil. "Hey," he said. "Isn't he the kid who was with you and your mother at the store yesterday, Wil?"
Wil frowned. "He's my cousin."
Suzie cried, "Oh, no! You've got problems."
Everybody stood inside the classroom staring at their desks. The room was hot. It had this funny paper odor.
The long neat rows of desks were gone. All the desks were in a large circle. Wil could not tell which desk was hers.
The teacher's desk was at the front of the room near the black board.
Mrs. Ronald, their teacher, came into the room. She was smiling. "Everyone look for his or her seat. I thought we needed a change for this half of the year," she told the class.
The room became noisy. Looking around, Wil saw Joey. He used to sit in front of her. Now his desk was clear across the room.
Wil closed her eyes a minute. Why did things have to change?
Mrs. Ronald clapped her hands. "Quiet down, children."
Soon all the kids found their desks.
Wil finally found hers. She looked inside her desk. Nothing was missing.
Robert slipped into his seat beside her. "Sitting in a circle," he said. "This is cool."
Wil did not say anything. She wondered what happened to Bud.
No one was sitting at the desk on the other side of her. She looked inside the desk. It was empty. Maybe the principal would not let Bud come to school here.
"Reading groups will meet this morning," Mrs. Ronald said.
Wil put her reading on the corner of the. Maybe Bud would have to go to reform school.
Mrs. Ronald stood in the circle. "But first thing this morning I want to hear about your Christmas vacation. So think about what you will say.”
Wil wondered what there was to think about.
"I got a bike," someone said.
Jimmy Hopkins held up a hand held electronic game. "See what I got," he said to Mrs. Ronald. "I won a higher score than anybody else so far!"
"How nice," Mrs. Ronald said.
Wil moaned. What was she going to say? She knew she should say nothing if she could not say anything nice.
That Bud tied the hair of her new doll up in knots.
That he broke her favorite CD.
That he fed her goldfish pretzels.
That he put gum in her hair.
Wil slumped into her seat. These were not nice things. Bud was not nice unless being nice would keep him out of trouble.
Christmas vacation? For Wil, it was a Christmas nightmare.
It had been the worst vacation she ever had.
Robert probably has a good story. He always does. Joey went ice skating every day. Franny got three DVD movies. She has watched them fifteen times already.
Just then, Bud came into the classroom. He was not smiling.
Mrs. Johnson, the principal, was behind him. Maybe Mrs. Johnson would not let Bud stay, Wil thought. Mrs.Johnson might say, "You are too mean for our school, Bud Dunphry. The reform school will take you."
Instead, Mrs. Johnson said, "Mrs. Ronald. Boys and girls, I'd like you to meet your new classmate. Bud Dunphry. Let's show him he is welcome."
Everybody said, "Hello, Bud."
"Bud is Wilhemena's cousin," Mrs. Johnson added.
Mrs. Ronald smiled at Bud. "Then Wilhemena can help you settle into the class," she said. "There is an empty seat right next to Wilhemena you can have."
Wil looked at the desk next to her. Then she looked at Bud. He stuck his tongue out at her. Mrs. Ronald and Mrs. Johnson were talking. They did not notice. The kids laughed.
Mrs. Ronald looked around. Everyone became quiet.
"I don't know what's so funny, but I want you to show good manners to Mrs. Johnson," she said.
Then Mrs. Johnson said good-bye and left the room.
"Take your seat. Bud," Mrs. Ronald said.
Bud sat down beside Wil. Carol Lu sat on the other side of him. Bud stuck his arm inside his desk. Thumping sounds came from the desk as he fished around inside it. He was going to get into trouble.
Wil quickly looked at the teacher.
Mrs. Ronald was saying, "Let's hear about your vacation."
Mostly everybody raised their hands. Marsha Goldberg waved her hand around and around. "Oo-oo-oo," she said.
Mrs. Ronald called on Marsha.
Wil looked back at Bud. He pulled something from the desk. It flew out of his hand and landed by Carol Lu’s desk. It’s was a crayon. He mumbled something to Carol.
"No," Carol whined.
Bud said louder, "Get it for me."
Wil bit her lip.
Marsha was telling the class she gave a talking bird to her grandmother. Marsha laughed and said the bird only made peeping noises. Everyone started laughing, too.
Bud grabbed Carol's arm. He mumbled, "Get it."
But Carol pulled away. She hissed, "No. Get it yourself."
Mrs. Ronald looked their way. Bud sat still.
Suppose Bud could only make peeping noises. "Shhh," Wil hissed at him.
"Be quite," Bud told her.
Robert leaned toward Wil. He said, "Bud the spud."
Bud heard him. His eyes narrowed to slits as he looked at Robert. Robert swallowed and turned away.
Clark Stanley stood up next. He helped make the Christmas dinner. He showed the class a picture of a pumpkin pie. Mrs. Ronald was smiling at him.
It was Suzie Kemp's turn. Suzie held up her ice skates and told about going skating with her three older sisters.
A hand shot out in front of Wil. Bud tried to punch Robert. He missed. Wil's reading book crashed to the floor.
Mrs. Ronald jumped. She was frowning as she looked from Bud to Wil. "Is there a problem?" she asked.
Nobody answered. The whole class became quiet.
Wil's face felt hot. She looked at the teacher. Mrs. Ronald 's eyebrow went up. "Wilhemena, you and Bud should save your talk for after school."
"Yes. Sorry," Wil said.
"Yes, Mrs. Ronald," Bud said.
Wil groaned. Bud was pretending to be an angel! He was good at that. She got up and raced around the desk to scoop up her reading book.
Mrs. Ronald said, "While you're up, Wilhemena, tell the class about your vacation."
Wil stared at the teacher. She felt like crying. Bud had spoiled her vacation. Wil could not think of anything to say. Mrs. Ronald was waiting.
Wil gulped and her eyes began to water. She closed them and the tears ran down her cheeks.
Mrs. Ronald patted Wil's shoulder. "Did you do anything special?" she said softly.
Wil shrugged her shoulders. "Bud came to stay," she said.
"And we sang songs at the piano," Bud said. He was smiling.
"See," Mrs. Ronald said. "That's something special." She then called on Franny Larson. Franny told the story of the princess in one of the DVD movies she got.
Wil wiped her eyes with her hands. She did not care about the princess story. She slumped down into her seat.
Bud whispered, "Cry baby."