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TJ and the Quiz Kids

136 pages
When master fact-gatherers TJ and Seymour are asked to join the school Quiz Kids team, TJ thinks Seymour should take the stage at the upcoming contest against the high-pressure Fairview School team. TJ is already more than occupied rescuing his cats and helping Gran get ready for her upcoming trip to Belize. When he goes with his dad to help with a renovation job on a huge house on Fairview Hill, he and T-Rex tangle with a rich girl and her giant dog, Frooie. Then Seymour develops stage fright, Alaska goes missing and the girl from the big house shows up on the Fairview quiz team. TJ knows he has to sort things out fast!
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TJ and thE Quiz Kids
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TJ and thE
HazEl Hutchins
Orca Book Publishers
Copyright © 2007 HazEl Hutchins
All rights rEsErvEd. No part of this publication may bE rEproducEd or transmittEd in any form or by any mEans, ElEctronic or mEchanical, including photocopying, rEcording or by any information storagE and rEtriEval systEm now known or to bE invEntEd, without pErmission in writing from thE publishEr.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Hutchins, H. J. (HazEl J.)
 TJ and thE quiz kids / writtEn by HazEl Hutchins.
(Orca young rEadErs) ISBN 978-1-55143-731-6 I. TitlE. II. SEriEs.
PS8565.U826T328 2007 jC813’.54 C2007-903647-3
First publishEd in thE UnitEd StatEs in 2007
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007929833
Summary: WhEn mastEr fact-gathErErs TJ and SEymour arE askEd to join
thE schoolQuiz KidstEam, TJ oncE again downplays his own abilitiEs.
FrEE tEachErs’ guidE availablE at www.orcabook.com
Orca Book PublishErs gratEfully acknowlEdgEs thE support for its publishing programs providEd by thE following agEnciEs: thE GovErnmEnt of Canada through thE Book Publishing Industry DEvElopmEnt Program (BPIDP), thE Canada Council for thE Arts, and thE British Columbia Arts Council.
CovEr dEsign by TErEsa BubEla
CovEr illustration by Blair Drawson
In Canada: Orca Book PublishErs www.orcabook.com Box 5626 Stn.B Victoria, BC Canada V8R 6S4
In the United States: Orca Book PublishErs www.orcabook.com PO Box 468 CustEr, WA USA 98240-0468
09 08 07 • 6 5 4 3 2 1
PrintEd and bound in Canada.
PrintEd on 100% rEcyclEd papEr.
ProcEssEd chlorinE-frEE using vEgEtablE-basEd inks.
C H A P T e R 1
My namE is TJ BarnEs, and I can’t namE thE capital of PEru. I don’t know what year the Wright brothers Lew the îrst airplanE. I can’t instantly tEll you how many dozEn hot dogs you’ll nEEd if forty-two football playErs Eat two Each. WhEn Mr. PhElps askEd mE to bE on thE school Quiz KidstEam, I knEw I had to straightEn him out right away.  “You don’t want mE,” I said. “You want Amanda BakEr.”  Amanda is so smart it’s scary. ShE’s also thE nicEst kid in our class, so you can’t EvEn hatE hEr for bEing smart.  “Amanda is thE tEam captain,” said Mr. PhElps. “PlEasE sit down, TJ.”
 I sat. I was trying to act cool, but my hEart was thumping away as if I wErE a small frightEnEd rodEnt. BEing callEd to the vice-principal’s ofîce makes me feel guilty EvEn if I havEn’t donE anything wrong.  “You still rEally don’t want mE,” I said. “You nEEd supEr -smart kids. Try thE othEr classEs.”  “Maria and Rashid arE on thE tEam alrEady,” said Mr. PhElps. “And although your brain powEr is pErfEctly solid, it’s not youriqI’m aftEr.” iq stands for intElligEncE quotiEnt— that’s somEthing I do know. I’vE donE thE pop-up tEsts on thE IntErnEt. ThE tEsts show myiqis—ta-da!—incrEdibly avEragE.  “But isn’t that whatQuiz Kids is all about?” I askEd. “ThE smartEst kids in our school go against thE smartEst kids in FairviEw school, and thE brainiEst tEam takEs thE prizE.”  “WE’vE donE that thrEE yEars in a row, and wE’vE lost thrEE yEars in a row,” said Mr. PhElps.
 It was truE. I’d sEEn it happEn in our gym with thE EntirE school, hundrEds of parEnts, and rEportErs from thE commu-nity nEwspapEr watching. This yEar thE localtvstation was coming to broadcast Quiz KidslivE on cablE. I was prEtty surE FairviEw had invitEd thEm. Why would our school want EvEryonE to watch us losE again?  Mr. PhElps straightEnEd somE papErs on his dEsk.  “In school subjEcts, wE’vE always donE as wEll as thE FairviEw tEam. It’s in thE Extra information arEa that wE fall down. It will hElp that Maria, Rashid and Amanda all havE diffErEnt intErEsts, but that still lEavEs us with thE oddball quEstions.”  ThE word “oddball” gavE mE a hint of whErE our talk was hEadEd.  “Our tEam nEEds somEonE who knows quirky, out-of-thE ordinary facts,” said Mr. PhElps. “SomEonE who’s donE projEcts with unusual information about cats, for instancE, or invEntions or rockEts or sports.”  HE still had thE wrong pErson.
 “You want SEymour,” I said as I stood up. “I’ll go gEt him for you.”  SEymour is my bEst friEnd. HE attracts strangE facts thE way thE glowing lurE on the head of an anglerîsh attracts lunch. I only knew about anglerîsh because SEymour told mE. HE EvEn dEmonstratEd by taping a Lashlight to his head and wiggling his pEanut buttEr sandwich closEr and closEr to thE light until,snap, thE sandwich was dEvourEd.  Mr. PhElps, howEvEr, was waving mE back to my chair.  “Wait, TJ. You workEd on thosE proj-Ects with SEymour. And as much as I likE SEymour, as much as I likE his Enthu-siasm, his EnErgy…”  Okay, it didn’t takE aniqof a zillion to îgure it out. Even I know that Seymour goEs ovErboard in thE ExcitEmEnt dEpart-mEnt. I could alrEady picturE thE Enthu-siasm hE’d bring toQuiz Kids, EspEcially sincE thEtvstation was going to providE ofîcial podiums and answer buzzers. The momEnt hE had an answEr—any answEr, including a wild guEss—hE’d bE pushing
thE buzzEr likE crazy. HE might EvEn push thE buzzErs for thE othEr tEam. MaybE hE wasn’t thE bEst pErson for that kind of situation, but it would surE makE things morE intErEsting.Quiz Kidscan gEt vEry, vEry boring whEn your tEam is losing.  “You’rE my choicE, TJ,” said Mr. PhElps. “AgrEEd?”  I didn’t know what to say. SEymour was thE onE who camE up with most of thE amazing facts for our projEcts. How was hE going to fEEl if I was on thE tEam and hE wasn’t?  “Of coursE, SEymour can still work on rEsEarch with you,” said Mr. PhElps. “HE could bE your ‘oddball fact’ trainEr. HE could bE trainEr for thE wholE tEam.”  It was whEn hE addEd thE last bit that I rEally undErstood. Mr. PhElps wantEd Seymour’s brain, but not his buzzer înger.  “You’rE only asking mE so you can gEt SEymour’s hElp without having to put up with him bEing on thE tEam!” I said.  “I’m bEing practical, TJ,” said Mr. PhElps. “This school can win. It dEsErvEs to win.”