Category Archives: Book Reviews

Important News: Final Friday Stage Reading Event

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Important News: Final Friday Stage Reading Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am excited to share there will be a stage reading of Act one, scene one of Bumbling Bea, the Play at Lawrence’s Final Friday on June 30! The event will be held at Greenhouse Culture Church  in Lawrence, KS from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Copies of the book version of Bumbling Bea will be available to purchase as well. I’d love to have you attend. 😊

Here is the scene which will be performed this evening.

Announcing: Bumbling Bea The Play –Act one, Scene one

A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

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A Resource to Help Your Student Become a Better Reader

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Today’s post is about an amazing resource you probably haven’t heard of yet, but you will love me once you’ve read about it–Litpick.com.

When I was a kid we didn’t have many of the modern day conveniences. Of course, cell phones, tablets, microwaves or even auto control on our cars were created later.  I remember the day our color television arrived.  My brother and I watched cartoons for hours.

 We didn’t have electric pencil sharpeners–just the grey metal ones that were screwed to the classroom wall.  Then mechnical pencils came along  which made pencil sharpeners pretty much obsolete.  Not for me.

ticonderoga pencils

Call me crazy, but I think Ticonderoga pencils are the best made pencils to this day.  Yes, I need a pencil sharpener for a Ticonderoga and I prefer the old metal ones.

I’m sorry, I’m not going to change.

card catalog

We didn’t have the internet either–just the good old library with the card catalog system.  If you don’t even know what a card catalog system is, you have no idea how laborious a process it was to do research for a paper much less find a good book to read.

Thankfully, not anymore…..

I remember reading groups and book reports. Oh my. Sometimes the books were unbelievably boring, but I loved the activities I would do after reading the book.  One time I recall a friend scolding me because I drew a picture of one of the book’s scenes when I hadn’t even read the book yet.  Oops.

READING

From about fifth grade on, book reports were a tiresome activity.  Generally, we would have to stand in front of the class and explain our reasons for liking or disliking the book we read. Remember?

I bet there isn’t a person in this country who hasn’t experienced the perils of reporting on a book. Ugh.

boys reading

I always felt uncomfortable giving my opinion about a particular book.  My worries surrounded my self esteem–what if I was wrong about the book and everyone else knew so and disagreed with me? (I imagine this anxiety spawned from my less than stellar comprehension of a plot.)

I had no mentor to guide me in critiqueing a book. Our teachers left it all up to us. We were given a slew of questions from which to write our report, but none of those evaluators stuck with me.

I don’t have much patience for certain genre of books. That’s probably the reason I leapt over the reading of certain books and went straight to the enrichment activities.  To this day, I am known (on occasion) to throw a book (paper back) across the room if it’s not keeping my attention.

Specific experiences from one’s schooling stay with us all our lives.  One of mine is book reports. If today someone asks me to review her book, I still have a difficult time doing so.

However…

You young whipper snappers are saved from the perils of  book reporting.

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You have Litpick.com. You lucky ducks!

Litpick.com is an international website for preteens through college to read and review books. Becoming a member is free and that’s only the beginning.

There are several ways you, your child or student will benefit from Litpick.com:

  • read FREE books of his choice from a large selection

  • learn to critique and compose a review with an adult mentor

  • strengthen reading, critical thinking and comprehension skills

  • publish the review and use a scoring system

  • receive several perks by continuing to review for Litpick (how cool!)

  • given the opportunity to be paid for their reviews

Like the old Ronco t.v. commercials—That’s not all

An educator can create a book club for his students through Litpick, too. There is no limit to the number of readers in a book club.  Check out the website for more details.  http://Litpick.com

What a wonderful tool for your reader.

I discovered Litpick.com because I am an indie author. Since then, I have been featured on the Litpick Facebook page and written several blog posts for the monthly newsletter.   I’m always on the hunt seeking reviewers for my award winning middle grade book, Bumbling Bea. Litpick.com and I are a great fit!

Authors have several options for receiving book reviews–free, medium pace or the fast track.  This is a terrific service which gives the author choices in how quickly they require a review.

For a low cost,  one’s book is displayed on the landing page, in the monthly newsletter, through Facebook and other social media. The review is posted to all major book stores–Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. If an author wants more than one review this is possible, too.

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I’m about to ask for another review of Bumbling Bea.  Since it’s first printing in 2014, I’d made several edits to the story.  I’d like an honest review from a student reader. Litpick.com is the best place to receive one.

I had no idea how valuable Litpick.com was when I first submitted Bumbling Bea three years ago.  Boy, I do now.

Litpick has been recognized by the American Association of Librarians, Moms Choice Award Honoring Excellence and the Best Website for Independent Authors. Not too shabby, do you think?

Whether you are an indie author, a parent, a student or a teacher you owe it to yourself to check out Litpick.com

You won’t be disappointed.

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Surprising Bumbling Bea Reviews

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Surprising Bumbling Bea Reviews

Wishing Shelf

When Bumbling Bea was first published, I was very surprised by the reviews. I hoped middle school students would enjoy the story, but I never considered readers of all ages (some as young as seven and one a sixty-five year old grandma) would appreciate it, too.  I’m  flattered.

So, if you are seeking reviews of Bumbling Bea check out Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/lk5db54

There are nearly 50.

If you are wanting to read a few snippets, here are some:

  • Quirky, fun and intensely close capturing of middle school angst.”

******Emily Bassinger

  •  “In Bumbling Bea, author Deborah Baldwin creates an enjoyable look into growing up. Hilarity, missteps, and bungling follow as Bea and Michiko come to terms. The plot line is written skillfully.”

****Verabookreviews

 

  • “Deborah ensures that her story constantly generates mental images and tugs at heartstrings. The choice of words used reflect the effort that she must have put in to make this story both child-friendly and adult-friendly.”

*****Rajalakshmi Prithviraj\

  • “This book is utterly charming, with many fun and surprising twists that equally offer loads of entertainment as well as a variety of opportunities to feel validated!! Thank you, ‘Bumbling Bea’ for teaching me that these awkward moments we experience during our most awkward years are forgivable and not defining, and more importantly, that they are ALWAYS opportunities to LEARN ******Becca Ayers
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  • “Baldwin reached out to an audience that is often overlooked in writing (the middle school theater crowd) but does it in a fun and humorous way.”****Amy Dawn Kostecki
  • “Bumbling Bea is a wonderful example of what is like to be a middle school student trying to figure just who you really are and how the world really works. Baldwin does an excellent job sharing Bears inner turmoil, thoughts, emotions……. As a theater lover and teacher myself I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who works with children, has children, is a child at heart, or who enjoys the stage!
           *****Blair McCotter 
Wishing Shelf
Bumbling Bea is a finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Award Contest

 

 

Bumbling Bea is in a Holding Pattern

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Bumbling Bea is in a Holding Pattern

Folks, if you are checking here to see if she is republished yet, the answer is no. I’m waiting on the proof which should be here by Friday or the weekend. After that, we’ll get the presses running and announce her publishing. 

BUT, if you want to make this easy on yourself, how about following the blog? 

Or joining my email list?  Join here at: http://dramamommaspeaks.us14.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=0ca48ac000f6f155527c9e1eb&id=2e92e66408

I am Featured on TypewriterStories

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I am Featured on TypewriterStories

Check it out here:http://www.typewritersociety.com/single-post/2017/01/05/Author-Interview-Deborah-Baldwin-Bumbling-Bea

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview, Deborah Baldwin, Bumbling Bea

January 5, 2017

With over 40 years of teaching and 250 plays and musicals under her belt, Deborah Baldwin was more than qualified to write a children’s book about putting on a middle school play. Not that putting pen to paper is an easy process. But as Deborah says, writing is a fluid process. If you stick with it, things happen, and pieces develop as they need to. “Characters have a way of showing up just when you need them,” she said, “or they come forward on their own expecting to be heard.”

1. How many books have you published and when (month/year)?

I published Bumbling Bea in October 2014.

2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from?

I began writing Bumbling Bea in 2012, however the springboard for the story came from a trip to Japan when I was sixteen years old.  Forty years later, I finally wrote the story in its entirety.  Many of the original ideas for the plot originated in the first chapter I penned nearly thirty-two years ago when I took my first writing class.  I’d say about ninety percent of the story was developed while I was writing the book.  I developed an outline, writing a chapter at a time.  Characters have a way of showing up just when you need them or they come forward on their own expecting to be heard.  Bumbling Bea is much better story now than all those years ago.  I’m glad I waited to write it.

3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?

My fear was the greatest challenge.  I have a mindset that thinks I must be very well versed in something before I can act upon it.  Consequently, I needed a few classes in writing for children to ease my worries.  Once I took them, my fears slowly vanished.

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4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?

I knew that if I took eighteen months to write the story (and how many hours?) I needed to continue the process all the way through to publishing.

5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?

I am very familiar with the process of creating and it didn’t bother me to edit.  The toughest part was making sure everything was clear to a reader.  Even now I find certain parts of my story that need a tweak here and there.  But since I’m an indie author, it is very easy (though a bit costly) to edit and republish.

6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?

Re-writing is a lot like directing a play, so when I shared I am comfortable with the process of creating it is because of directing.  I don’t take it too personally if something needs to be changed or edited.  I know that it takes many eyes to see everything in a story just as it does in theatre.  But as I am the gatekeeper of a play and I make the final decision, so too am I the gatekeeper on my book.

7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?

Yes, a few friends and family read Bumbling Bea.  Each had their own strengths and perspective on it.  My youngest daughter, a writer too though not actively pursuing writing, is a terrific editor.  Her suggestions really helped me and continue to do so.

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8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?

A graphic artist, H. Russ Brown was my illustrator.  He illustrated the cover and each chapter’s first page art.  You can tell we are in 2016, because we communicated nearly all of our ideas through instant messaging. Currently, he is working on a new cover for our second printing.

9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?

I chose Createspace because of its high approval rates. The book has won high marks for the quality of writing and publishing, so it paid off to use Createspace.

10. How have you marketed your first book?

Yes and I continue to market.

11. How was the initial feedback from readers?

I received terrific feedback and it was quite surprising. Bumbling Bea isn’t for everyone.  People who are acquainted with performing in a play or making friends with someone from another country will relate to the book the most.  However, children as young as seven and octogenarians have read Bumbling Bea have enjoyed its message, too.

12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?

I didn’t set my sites on huge sales because I have never authored a book before, but I am well known for my teaching of drama and directing in youth and community theatre.  Those are the circles that have supported me the best.  It’s still all a crap shoot, frankly.  Out of nowhere someone will review the book on Amazon and Goodreads.  Such a gift!  I am a member of several Facebook groups and use my blog and a new Twitter presence to get the word out. I am not a member of any creative writing groups because a very trusted friend of mine thought I would be happier on my own.  I think he’s right! It takes every kind of marketing and publicizing I have money and time to use.

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13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?

I’ve had more sales with my print version unless we count free downloads days and then lots of people download it.  Many don’t write reviews, however.

14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?

My prices aren’t set in stone.  I offer discounts on both and free ebook downloads occasionally.  I research other books of the same length and genre and priced mine according to theirs.

15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?

I am readying to begin a new book in January.  I plan to do pre-launch publicizing for it once it’s finished.

16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?

I may try a different company than Createspace and an editor if I can afford one.

17. When did you consider yourself a “writer”?

Oh am I?  I think once I penned 50 blog posts about drama education, youth theatre and directing I finally felt like an author. Then I see the reviews about Bumbling Bea and I’m overwhelmed with a sense of pride in what I have given people through the written word.  I guess that makes me a writer, yes?

18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?

I like to write in the morning and late afternoon with a break in the middle of the day.  Generally, I write something for someone each day—whether it’s a blog post, an article for another website or a host of other writing sources.  I am motivated by the goal to help someone else.  If I can help someone else, then I am fulfilled.

19. What do aspiring authors ask you?

How long did it take to write your book?  Answer:  18 months and four months of revisions.  How did I know how to write the way kids speak? Answer: I have taught students of all ages for nearly forty years.  You teach any length of time and you can quote them by heart! Where did the plot come from? Answer:  Parts of the plot come from my personal experiences as a director and teacher glitzed-and-glamoured with my imagination and off beat style of humor.

20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?

My advice is pretty simple—ignore the negative comments people may say and don’t give your own fears much credence.  You are on a long, interesting journey and treat it as such. Believe in yourself and figure out the reason you like to write and keep it in your mind at all times.  Learn to distance yourself from your work and accept criticism of people who you trust.  Remember, it’s YOUR thoughts and feelings and you have the right to share them.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

Help move Bumbling Bea up in ranking

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Help move Bumbling Bea up in ranking

If you think 12-13 year old girls would enjoy Bumbling Bea and you are a Goodreads member, click here to vote for Us-https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/46948.Best_Books_For_12_13_Year_Old_Girls#22914434

Author Interview and Free Books on Facebook

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Come see ME on Facebook this afternoon at 4:00 CST at:https://www.facebook.com/events/1650685205224159/

A New Website: DeborahBaldwin.net

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It’s here! Today, we unveil my new website — DeborahBaldwin.net

Do check us out, will you?

A Super Review of Bumbling Bea

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

STORY LINE BUMBLING BEA:In Bumbling Bea, author Deborah Baldwin creates an enjoyable look into growing up. Beatrice has one more chance to play the lead in the school play before she leaves middle school. After all, playing the lead will ensure she will be in with popular girls. She has planned all year towards this goal, she and her alter ego Bumbling Bea. However, things do not go as planned. A new girl has enrolled from Japan. Michiko talented, opinionated, and pretty, gets the lead roll. Beatrice and alter ego Bea refuse to be denied and devise plans to get rid of Michiko. Let the games begin.

Hilarity, missteps, and bungling follow as Bea and Michiko come to terms. My children’s contemporary novel review follows.

CHARACTERS, PLOTTING, AND DEVELOPMENT:

To begin with, I must tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Although classified as a children/preteen book, I found as a mature senior I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Filled with laughter, missteps, and trials of the young trying to grow up, I laughed out loud at Bea’s antics. As I read, I found myself remembering my preteen years and the emotions that ran riot. Author Deborah Baldwin captured the pain and confusion of transitioning from a child to preteen and the situations the immature mind can create.

Baldwin’s pacing of the story was inline with the length of the story. The pace did not lag or bog down, but was steady and smooth. Furthermore, I found the plotting skillful as Ms. Baldwin brought all the threads together to create a solid book.

Lastly, in concluding my contemporary children’s novel review, I found the book well written with well-developed main characters and secondary characters which added to the tension and story-line.

BUMBLING BEA RECOMMENDATION: STARS 4

In addition, I gave Bumbling Bea 4 well-deserved stars. Subsequently, I found Bumbling Bea suitable for children and preteens as well as adults. As a senior I enjoyed this funny look back at the preteen years.

To purchase a copy of Bumbling  Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/product-reviews/1500390356/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R1O9MYUNK49KNA

Bumbling Bea: The First Chapter

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BB chapter 16

There has been a lot of traffic on the blog lately and I can’t help but wonder if folks are wondering about my book, Bumbling Bea. So, here is chapter one:

Chapter One

It was Peter’s fault.

“P!” I yelled to get his attention, “do I look like old Macdonald on the farm to you?”

I was splattered all over with the gross stuff. I swear it was already curdling and the entire cafeteria of students could see it. I smelled putrid–like yucky old, blackened, moldy cheese long forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. It made me wretch a little but I still managed to get in his face.

“Why don’t you drink juice or water? Now I smell like I’ve been working in a cheese factory. You’re such a dweeb, P.”

When I was mad at Peter, I called him “P.” He’d been P. ever since we were in kindergarten when he stuck a couple of peas up his nose and had to go to the hospital to get them out. And like those peas, the name stuck. And he was clumsy, BUT only with me. He defended himself like he always did which irritated me.

“Jeez, sorry Beatrice. I didn’t mean to nearly flip over your backpack and spill two miniscule drops of lactose on your precious jacket. It was blocking the aisle between the tables like always. You are so mean these days.” Peter huffed, stomping away from the lunch room.

It wasn’t me speaking to Peter. It was Bumbling Bea. I’ve discovered I have an alter ego who I call Bumbling Bea. Strange and mean thoughts come flying out of my mouth. They didn’t even sound like something I’d think or say! Bumbling Bea hadn’t been around for long, but when she did rear her scary head, it was at the worst times.

One of the most memorable of times Bumbling Bea showed up was when we gave our choir director a tennis racket as a going away present. He was getting married and leaving our school. He was obsessed with tennis and was a pretty decent player. I thought it was neat, even though he had knobby knees and skinny, hairy, Minnie Mouse legs which looked kinda’ weird in his way too short tennis shorts.

I thought of the present when I saw him hitting tennis balls on the tennis court after school one day. He was mumbling something and from seeing his temper in class, I figured it was about his students.

            It was the first time Bumbling Bea arrived. I was class secretary for him (which made me feel super important even though he had a class secretary for every other class, too.) I thought I had power and the other kids listened to me. Bumbling Bea liked that a lot! At lunch one day I was sitting by myself, as usual. I turned to the table with the popular kids sitting behind me. “I think we should buy our music teacher a going away present since he’s getting married and leaving us. How about we give him a tennis racket since he loves the game so much?”

Everyone agreed with me (which was a first) and those who didn’t, gave me a dollar per student donation anyway. If giving money for a teacher’s going away present kept you in or near the popular kids, you gave it. And they did!

I was so excited. I checked out tennis racket prices on the internet, Dave’s Discount and the hardware supply store. Dave’s had the best price. Most everything was less expensive at Dave’s Discount. My Dad told me it was because Dave bought up all the things other businesses couldn’t sell. Dad thought Dave’s had good deals even though sometimes their stuff fell apart after one use. Their price for the tennis racket was awesome and one my class could afford.

Since I found the tennis racket right away, I had a little bit of time left over before Dad picked me up so I looked around at the girls’ clothes. Normally, I didn’t look at your typical girls’ clothes because they were always way too pink and way too fluffy. Not at Dave’s, though! I found a black and white polka dotted bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and a package of panties—things were so cheap.

“You want me to put them in a Dave’s Discount box, honey?” wondered the clerk lady who smelled like cigarettes and chewing gum.

I heard about the Dave’s Discount boxes before. People used them to store about anything in them after they got them home: extra cat litter, broken toys, a bed for a puppy and so forth. They were sturdy, kind of a brownish tan color with black stripes printed on one side of them and the words “Dave’s Discount” plastered over the stripes.

Being so proud of myself for a. finding the tennis racket and b. buying the bikini, flip flops and panties all by myself, I accepted two boxes instead of one. I mean, they were free, you know? Dad said not to turn away free stuff if anyone at a store ever offered you anything free. I thought Dave’s Discount box was one of those free things he was talking about.

“Mom, we got a deal. The racket only cost thirty-six dollars.” I announced as I arrived home.

“Don’t forget to take off the price tag before you wrap it, Beatrice,” my mom reminded me as she whisked off to teach her art classes.

Mom! Sheesh. Sometimes she thinks I’m a baby…

My brother, Edmund, helped me wrap the box rolling it two or three times in wrapping paper and tying it with gobs of ribbons and a bunch of bows on it. We put the box in another box which went in another box. We thought it was so fun to unwrap when you received one of those sort of presents. Edmund laughed and laughed each time we played the trick on him.

This is so awesome. I said to myself. And when I tell him I chose the present, he will think I’m one of his coolest students for doing this for him.

That was Bumbling Bea talking. You see? Why would it matter whether my teacher thought I was the coolest student he had ever taught during his teaching career? He had thousands of kids he’d taught already and I was a lousy singer.

It was finally time to give the present. On the last day of classes before summer vacation, we usually sang through the year’s music one more time. The whole choir was singing happily, but they kept turning and looking at me. I was singing loud the way I never do because I was so excited about our present. Well, Bumbling Bea was singing exceedingly loud because she thought I was a better singer since I thought up the present.

It was the second time Bumbling Bea appeared.

Finally, the end of the hour came and it was time for the present. I stood lifting my head proudly, “We are sad you are leaving Oak Grove Middle School. We wanted to give you something to remember us when you are off in your new life.” I gave him the big box saying, “So, here is a little something to use to take out your frustrations on your new wife.”

Huh? What was that I said?

I was kinda’ nervous which was unusual for me and it freaked me out. So I tried again. “I meant, here’s a little something to use to take out your frustrations in your new life.”

Oh man. That wasn’t right either.

I tried one more time, “Oh, you know when you have a bad day at your new school and want to strangle your students, you can use this instead.” I cringed.

My teacher stared at me. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Beatrice. I’m never frustrated with my students.” He smiled at the rest of the class and ignored me.

I felt different on the inside of myself. Kinda’ smart aleck-y, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I was way too excited or nervous or awkward? When I am, I do dumb things to cover. It was how I felt that day. I wanted to sound grown up and cool and in charge, but I said three super dumb things to my teacher.

But I did more than say three dumb things.

Way more.

When Edmund and I were wrapping the tennis racket, Edmund’s pet ferret, Bernie, got loose from Edmund’s clutches and darted around my room. We were so busy screaming at Bernie that while trying to catch him, I guess my big fat foot accidentally pushed the box with the tennis racket under my bed. I picked up the other identical box with my new swimming suit, matching flip flops and the package of new panties and wrapped it instead.

Yes, you read it right: it was the box containing my new bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and the new panties.

NEW PANTIES! NEW PANTIES!

But see, I didn’t know it was the wrong box because I wasn’t looking at my teacher when he finally opened the last box. I was busy picking up the left over wrapping paper.

Somebody whispered, “Beatrice, you left the price tag on the box.”

“Embarrassing,” another snickered.

THE PRICE TAG WAS SHOWING. THE STUPID PRICE TAG WAS STILL ON THE PRESENT.

I looked up and before I knew it, Bumbling Bea quipped, “There’s the price tag. It shows you how much we like you and I wanted you to know all us chipped in for it.”

Again with the dumb statements!

My teacher opened the box and there was no tennis racket.

BUT, there they were: the panties. Oh, the swimming suit and flip flops were there too, but all I saw were the PANTIES. It was as if they grew from a regular size to the size of a goal post on a football field. HUGE.

I stammered, “What? How did those get in there?”

My confused teacher said something to me, but the whole class was laughing so loudly I couldn’t hear him. I grabbed back the box and ran out of class and hid in the girls’ bathroom.

People called me “Panties” for days afterward until my mother heard them one too many times and threatened to call their parents.

Later I got the right present to my teacher but by then every kind of damage had already been done and I still forgot to take the price tag off the stupid present. I gave up.

Peter said later in the summer he saw my teacher hitting balls with our present tennis racket out on the court. He was back in town visiting his mother or something. I guess he hit one ball a little too hard, because the tennis racket’s webbing unraveled and when it fell to the ground, the handle fell apart, too.

Yup. Bumbling Bea steps into my skin right at the wrong time. Lately, there are more times she appears than I have until a crazy girl who wore cat ears visited from Japan. She made me see what I was doing by taking on my bumble-bea-ness herself. It’s all a little scary when you think about it.