Why pick on me, p.1
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       Why Pick on Me?, p.1

         Part #2 of Marvin Redpost series by Louis Sachar
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Why Pick on Me?

  It got worse.…

  Marvin felt terrible. In fifty years they’ll dig up the time capsule. And they’ll find out a boy named Marvin Redpost picked his nose. And everyone will laugh at him.

  Maybe in fifty years he’d be president! But then they’d dig up the time capsule and say, “You can’t be president anymore. You picked your nose.”

  It wasn’t fair.

  The Marvin Redpost series by Louis Sachar

  Marvin Redpost #1 Kidnapped at Birth?

  Marvin Redpost #2 Why Pick on Me?

  Marvin Redpost #3 Is He a Girl?

  Marvin Redpost #4 Alone in His Teacher’s House

  Marvin Redpost #5 Class President

  Marvin Redpost #6 A Flying Birthday Cake?

  Marvin Redpost #7 Super Fast, Out of Control!

  Marvin Redpost #8 A Magic Crystal?

  More books by Louis Sachar!

  The Boy Who Lost His Face

  Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes


  Stanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake

  There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom

  Text copyright © 1993 by Louis Sachar.

  Illustrations copyright © 1993 by Barbara Sullivan.

  All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions.

  Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of

  Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House

  of Canada Limited, Toronto.


  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Sachar, Louis. Marvin Redpost : why pick on me? / by Louis Sachar;

  illustrated by Barbara Sullivan.

  p. cm. A stepping stone book.

  SUMMARY: A small incident during recess threatens to turn nine-year-old Marvin

  into the outcast of his third-grade class.

  eISBN: 978-0-307-79715-5

  [1. Schools—Fiction. 2. Popularity—Fiction.]

  I. Sullivan, Barbara, ill. II. Title. III. Title: Why pick on me?

  PZ7.S1185Mar 1993 [Fic]—dc20 92-50666

  Random House, Inc. New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, Auckland

  RANDOM HOUSE and colophon are registered trademarks and A STEPPING STONE BOOK and colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc.


  Thanks to John Wagner

  Dedicated to Judy and Paul



  Other Books by This Author

  Title Page




  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  About the Author


  “What’s your favorite vegetable?” asked Casey.

  Marvin Redpost looked up. “Potatoes. No, carrots,” he said. It was very important he told the truth.

  Casey Happleton wrote it down. She sat at the desk next to Marvin. She had a ponytail that stuck out of the side of her head. Instead of the back.

  “Casey!” whispered Melanie. “What’s your favorite bug?”

  Melanie sat in front of Casey.

  “A stink bug,” said Casey.

  Casey Happleton was a weird girl.

  “What’s yours, Marvin?” asked Melanie.

  “Uh, black widow,” answered Marvin.

  “Ooooooh,” said Casey.

  “Who’s jabbering?” asked Mrs. North. “Marvin?”

  “I wasn’t jabbering,” said Marvin. “Melanie asked me her survey question.”

  “Oh. Well, you can do that later,” said Mrs. North. “This is silent reading time.”

  Marvin returned to his book. He was nine years old. He was in the third grade. Mrs. North was his teacher.

  He liked Mrs. North. He liked the third grade. He liked being nine.

  “Have you picked your survey question yet?” Stuart Albright asked him on the way out to recess.

  “No,” said Marvin. “I can’t think of a good one.”

  Everyone in his class had to choose a survey question.

  Marvin was supposed to ask everyone a question and write down the answers. Then he would have to do a report on it.

  The results would be buried in a time capsule. It would be dug up in fifty years.

  That’s why Marvin wanted to think of a real good question.

  “What was your favorite vegetable?” asked Stuart.


  Stuart nodded. “It’s weird when you think about it,” he said. “You have red hair.”

  “So?” said Marvin.

  “They call a person with red hair Carrot Top. But really, carrots are green on top. So they should call a person with green hair Carrot Top.”

  Stuart was Marvin’s best friend. Marvin was the only one who understood him.

  They got on line to play wall-ball.

  “Hi, Marvin,” said Nick, getting in line behind him.

  “Hi, Nick,” said Marvin.

  Nick Tuffle was Marvin’s other best friend.

  “What’s your favorite dinosaur?” asked Nick.

  Marvin thought a moment. He didn’t have a favorite dinosaur.

  Stuart made a noise with his nose. “That’s a stupid question,” he said.

  Marvin looked at his two best friends. He was afraid they’d get into another fight. Nick and Stuart were always fighting.

  “What’s stupid about it?” Nick demanded.

  “Because,” said Stuart, “the results are going to be buried in a time capsule. In fifty years people are going to dig up the time capsule. And then they’re going to think there were dinosaurs around when we went to school.”

  “That’s stupid,” said Nick.

  “Your turn, Stuart,” said Marvin.

  “What? Oh,” said Stuart.

  Marvin watched Stuart play wall-ball. He was up against Clarence, the toughest kid in the third grade.

  Stuart lost.

  Nick laughed when Stuart lost.

  Marvin stepped up. Even though Clarence was bigger and stronger, Marvin felt he could beat him at wall-ball.

  Clarence served. He bounced the red ball once on the ground, then hit it hard, with both hands together.

  The ball hit the ground, then the wall, then bounced back to Marvin.

  Marvin hit it with both hands. The ball hit the ground, the wall, then back toward Clarence.

  Clarence smashed it. But too hard. The ball bounced off the wall and over the line.

  Marvin caught it.

  “I won!” Clarence declared.

  “You did not,” said Marvin. “The ball was over the line.”

  “You’re crazy,” said Clarence.

  “I saw it,” said Marvin.

  “You did not,” said Clarence. “You weren’t even watching. You were picking your nose!”

  Several of the kids on line laughed.

  “It was over the line,” said Marvin.

  “Go pick your nose,” said Clarence.

  The kids on line laughed again, even Nick.

  “C’mon, Marvin. Get off the court,” said Ryan. “You’re wasting time.”

  Marvin didn’t move. “The ball was over the line,” he said. “I saw it.”

  “You were picking your nose!” Clarence said.

  “I was not!” said Marvin.

  “You were snot?” asked Clarence. “He just said he was snot.”

  Everyone, except Stuart, laughed.

  “That’s not what I said,”
said Marvin.

  “That’s snot what I said,” said Clarence.

  “Just go to the end of the line, Marvin,” said Travis.

  Marvin didn’t move.

  Clarence grabbed the ball from him. “Oh, gross!” he exclaimed. “His boogers are on the ball!”

  Even Stuart laughed.

  “I’m not playing with this ball!” said Clarence. He threw it to Marvin.

  Marvin held up the ball. “Look, there’s nothing on it,” he said.

  “Now they’re on his hands!” said Clarence.

  Everyone backed away from Marvin.

  The bell rang.

  The other kids hurried back to class, leaving Marvin holding the ball.


  It got worse.…

  After school Marvin walked home with Nick and Stuart. He was still upset.

  “The ball was over the line,” he said.

  “Just forget about it,” said Nick.

  “It was over the line,” said Marvin.

  “We know,” said Stuart.

  “Then why didn’t you say anything?”

  “I don’t know,” said Stuart. “It was funny.”

  “Boogers on the ball!” said Nick, then he and Stuart cracked up.

  Marvin didn’t think it was funny. It was unfair! Clarence was just being a bad sport.

  “I didn’t pick my nose,” he said for the millionth time.

  “Just quit talking about it!” said Nick. “Forget about it.”

  “You can’t keep telling people you don’t pick your nose,” said Stuart. “That sounds weird.”

  “But I don’t!” said Marvin.

  His face burned as he thought about it.

  Everybody had laughed at him. Even Nick and Stuart. If they were true friends, they would have stuck up for him.

  He couldn’t stop thinking about it, all day and into the night.

  It was unfair. He didn’t pick his nose. The ball was over the line.

  When he got to school the next morning, the first person he saw was Casey Happleton.

  “Hi, Marvin,” said Casey. Her ponytail stuck out of the side of her head.

  “I didn’t pick my nose,” said Marvin.


  “I didn’t pick my nose,” he repeated.

  Casey looked at him a moment. Then she remembered. “You’re gross,” she said.

  Warren sat in front of him. He had been absent yesterday.

  “Hey, Warren,” Marvin whispered as he tapped Warren’s shoulder.

  Warren turned around.

  “Did you hear I pick my nose?” Marvin asked him. “Well, I don’t.”

  Melanie sat next to Warren. “What’d he say? What’d he say?” she asked. Melanie always wanted to know everything.

  “He asked me if I knew he picked his nose,” said Warren.

  “Oh, yeah,” said Melanie. “Marvin’s the biggest nose picker in the whole school.”

  “I am not!” whispered Marvin.

  All morning Marvin kept telling everyone he didn’t pick his nose. But the more he talked about it, the more the other kids teased him about it.

  And the more they teased him, the more he kept talking about it.

  “Don’t get too close to Marvin,” said Clarence. “Or else he’ll try to pick your nose too.”


  It got worse.…

  “What’s your favorite color, Marvin?” asked Judy.

  Marvin thought about red, because he had red hair and his name was Marvin Redpost. But really, he liked green better—the color of grass and trees. The color of springtime.

  “Green,” he said.

  “The color of boogers!” said Melanie.

  “You’re disgusting, Marvin!” said Judy as she wrote down his answer on her sheet of paper.

  Marvin felt terrible. In fifty years they’ll dig up the time capsule. And they’ll find out a boy named Marvin Redpost picked his nose. And everyone will laugh at him.

  Maybe in fifty years he’d be president! But then they’d dig up the time capsule and say, “You can’t be president anymore. You picked your nose.”

  It wasn’t fair. The ball was over the line.

  They didn’t let him play wall-ball at recess. “You’ll get boogers on the ball,” said Justin.

  Everyone laughed. But it was more than just a joke. They believed it too.

  As he walked away, he almost bumped into Heather. Heather was playing hopscotch with Gina. “Yuck, don’t let him touch you,” said Gina.

  After school he caught up with Nick and Stuart.

  “So what do you want to do today?” he asked.

  Stuart and Nick looked at each other.

  “We can go to my house,” Marvin suggested.

  “Uh …” said Stuart.

  Gina and Heather came toward them. Heather made a face at Marvin.

  “Who’s your best friend?” asked Gina. “It’s for the survey.”

  “Nick,” said Stuart.

  “Stuart,” said Nick.

  Marvin couldn’t believe it. Stuart and Nick would be fighting all the time if it wasn’t for him. How could they be best friends?

  “Who’s your best friend, Marvin?” asked Gina.

  Marvin looked at Nick and Stuart. “I don’t have a best friend,” he said.

  He waited for Gina and Heather to leave.

  “I don’t pick my nose,” he said.

  “We know that,” said Stuart.

  “But if I said you were my best friend,” explained Nick, “everyone would think I picked my nose too.”

  “You were supposed to tell the truth for the survey,” said Marvin.

  “I did,” said Nick.

  “You’re still our friend,” said Stuart. “Just not our best friend.”

  “That’s right,” said Nick.

  “You can’t have more than one best friend,” said Stuart.

  Marvin walked home alone.

  He lived in a two-story gray house. There was a white fence around the house. Next to the gate was one red post.

  Marvin tapped the red post as he walked through the gate.

  He had an older brother, Jacob, who was eleven, and a younger sister, Linzy, who was four.

  They were both in the kitchen.

  “Marvin!” exclaimed Linzy. “Do you want to play Mommy-Daddy?”

  “No,” muttered Marvin.

  Linzy always wanted to play Mommy-Daddy. The worst part was that Linzy always insisted on being the Daddy. That meant Marvin had to be the Mommy.

  “Hiya, Mar,” said Jacob.

  Marvin grunted.

  “What’s wrong?” asked Jacob.

  Marvin shrugged. He couldn’t tell his big brother that the other kids said he picked his nose. It was so childish. Jacob was cool.

  “You want to do something?” Marvin asked him.

  “Can’t,” said Jacob. “Nate and I are going to ride our bikes down Suicide Hill.”

  “Cool,” said Marvin. He opened the refrigerator.

  “Do you want to play Doggie?” asked Linzy.


  Doggie was worse than Mommy-Daddy. Linzy would throw a ball, and Marvin would have to fetch it.

  He shut the refrigerator. There was nothing good to eat.

  “Where’s Nick and Stuart?” asked Jacob.

  Marvin shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “And I don’t care!”

  He had better things to do. Lots of things.

  “Okay, Linzy,” he said. “Let’s play Mommy-Daddy.”

  “Okay,” said Linzy. “But I get to be the Daddy.”


  It got worse and worse.…

  He did poorly in school. He always used to be one of the first persons done. Now there were times when he didn’t even finish.

  He didn’t care.

  Stuart and Nick had told him that he was still their friend—just not their best friend. But even that wasn’t true.

  “Why don’t I see Stuart around anymore?” his m
other asked.

  “I hate him!” said Marvin.

  “How about Nick?”

  “I hate him too!”

  Every day after school, he and Linzy played Mommy-Daddy or Doggie. Except when Linzy had friends over.

  He thought about challenging Clarence to a fight. If Marvin won, then he didn’t pick his nose. If Clarence won, then he did pick his nose.

  But Clarence was the toughest kid in his class. There was no way Marvin could win.

  “Look out! Here comes Marvin!” shouted Amanda as Marvin entered the lunchroom. “Don’t let him touch you!”

  He sat down at one of the tables.

  Travis and Clarence came toward him.

  “I have to ask you my survey question,” said Travis, “I’ve already asked everyone else.”

  “What?” asked Marvin.

  “What’s your favorite food?”

  “Booger sandwiches!” shouted Clarence before Marvin could answer. “Marvin said he likes to eat booger sandwiches!”

  Everyone laughed.

  Mrs. Grant marched toward them. She was furious.

  Mrs. Grant was the lunchroom supervisor.

  Good, thought Marvin. Clarence will finally get in trouble.

  But Mrs. Grant wasn’t angry at Clarence.

  “Marvin Redpost!” she scolded. “Stop that disgusting talk right now! You’re going to ruin everyone’s appetite.”

  “But I didn’t—”

  “Just stop it,” said Mrs. Grant.

  Marvin shook his head. He opened his paper sack and took out his sandwich.

  “He’s going to eat it!” Clarence announced. “He’s going to eat a booger sandwich!”

  Marvin put his sandwich down. He wasn’t hungry anymore.

  “It’s not a booger sandwich,” he said. “It’s turkey.”

  “Then why won’t you eat it?” asked Heather.

  Marvin sighed. He picked up his sandwich and bit into it. “There, see,” he said.

  “Ahhhhh!” screamed Heather. “He ate a booger sandwich!”

  “It’s not a booger sandwich!” Marvin shouted.

  Mrs. Grant grabbed him by the elbow and yanked him outside.


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