Karens doll, p.1

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Karen's Doll

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Karen's Doll

  The author gratefully acknowledges

  Stephanie Calmenson

  for her help

  with this book.


  Title Page


  1 A Surprise Phone Call

  2 Karen Brewer, Karen Two-Two

  3 Hyacynthia

  4 Sharing Time

  5 Appendicitis

  6 Get Well Soon

  7 The Hospital

  8 Karen’s Special Gift

  9 Hyacynthia’s Trip

  10 The First Lie

  11 The Big Mix-Up

  12 Karen’s Problem

  13 The Secret

  14 The Second Lie

  15 The Hate Letter

  16 Help From Ms. Colman

  17 Stupid Kristy

  18 Telling the Truth

  19 Friends Again

  20 Sharing Hyacynthia

  About the Author

  Also Available


  A Surprise Phone Call

  Ring! Ring!

  Hi! I am Karen Brewer. I am seven years old. I was about to eat my breakfast when the phone rang. The phone hardly ever rings on school mornings at Mommy’s house. This could be exciting, I thought.

  “I’ll get it!” I cried, jumping up from my chair. I hoped it was not a wrong number.

  It wasn’t! It was Grandma Packett. She is Mommy’s mother. She and Grandpa Packett were calling all the way from London, England. They were on vacation and it was their last stop before coming home.

  There was a lot of noise on the line. I could hardly hear what Grandma was saying. She kept asking me to speak louder. Finally I had to shout. (Mommy always asks me to use my indoor voice at home, but this was special.)

  “I’m glad you are having a good time, Grandma!” I shouted. Then Grandma said something I could not hear, so I asked her to say it again. This time I heard her.

  “Wow! I’m going to put Mommy on now!” I said.

  This was gigundoly exciting! Grandma wanted to know if there was anything special she and Grandpa could bring home from England for me and Andrew. (Andrew is my little brother. He is almost five.)

  I gave Andrew the message. Then I sat down and started to think. What did I want from England? Let’s see.

  At school, my teacher, Ms. Colman, told us about the guards who walk back and forth in front of Buckingham Palace. I wondered if Grandma could bring one of them home. I could take my guard to school for Show and Share! No. He might get in trouble for leaving his post.

  Winnie-the-Pooh came from England. Maybe I should ask for a Winnie-the-Pooh bear. No. I could find one of those at any toy store.

  Suddenly I had a great idea. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a real English baby doll. That would be so neat. I did not know anyone who had one. Not even Pamela Harding, and she has everything. (Pamela is in my second grade class at Stoneybrook Academy. We don’t like each other one bit.)

  Mommy was still talking to Grandma. I did not want to interrupt, so I wrote on a napkin in big letters:

  Then I asked Andrew what he wanted and I wrote that too. He wanted a doubledecker bus. (It was hard to spell. But I did it. I am very good at spelling.) I hoped the bus would be big enough for my baby doll to ride in.

  I waved the napkin in front of Mommy. Mommy told Grandma what Andrew and I wanted. Then she turned to us and nodded. That meant Grandma had said yes.

  Wowee! I was going to get a new baby doll. An English baby doll. I would take very, very good care of her. I would dress her in beautiful clothes. I would comb her hair. And I would introduce her to Nancy and Hannie. Nancy Dawes and Hannie Papadakis are my two best friends. Nancy lives next door to Mommy’s house. Hannie lives across the street and one house over from Daddy’s house. We are in the same class at school, and we call ourselves the Three Musketeers. Maybe someday I would make Nancy and Hannie the godmothers of my doll. They would like that.

  There was just one problem. Where would my doll live? At the big house or at the little house?

  Karen Brewer, Karen Two-Two

  Big house, little house. Little house, big house. Some kids have just one house. But not me. I have two houses. That is why I, Karen Brewer, also call myself Karen Two-Two. And I call my brother Andrew Two-Two. (I thought of the names after my teacher read us a book called Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang.)

  When Andrew and I were really little, we lived in the big house with Mommy and Daddy. But then Mommy and Daddy got divorced. They still loved Andrew and me a lot. They just did not want to live with each other anymore.

  When Mommy moved out of the big house, she moved into a little house. That’s where Andrew and I live most of the time. Mommy got married again to a man named Seth. Now he is my stepfather. There is plenty of room in the little house for the four of us. There is also room for our pets: Rocky and Midgie (Seth’s cat and dog), and Emily Junior (my rat).

  Daddy stayed in the big house. (He grew up there.) Andrew and I live there every other weekend and on some holidays, plus two weeks in the summer. Daddy got married again, too. He married Elizabeth. Now she is my stepmother.

  It is a good thing Daddy has such a great, big house. There would not be room for my big-house family in a little house. Here are all the people who live at Daddy’s: Daddy, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s four kids (my stepbrothers and stepsister). They are Charlie and Sam, who are so old they’re in high school, and David Michael, who is seven, like me. (But he likes to remind me that he turned seven first.) Kristy is thirteen and the best stepsister in the whole world.

  There is also my adopted stepsister from Vietnam, Emily Michelle. She is two and a half. (I named my rat after her.) And there is Nannie, Elizabeth’s mother. Nannie is … well, I don’t know exactly how old she is. But she’s old enough to be my step-grandmother. Nannie came to live at the big house to help out after Emily arrived.

  Those are the people at the big house. Here are the pets. (I do not know how old they are, either.) Boo-boo is Daddy’s fat, mean, old cat. Shannon is David Michael’s big Bernese mountain dog puppy. Goldfishie is Andrew’s goldfish. Crystal Light the Second is my goldfish. (Crystal Light the First died.)

  Sometimes it is hard living in two houses, but mostly I am really good at it. It helps to have two of lots of different things. I have two stuffed cats that look exactly alike: Moosie, who stays at the big house, and Goosie, who stays at the little house. I have two unicorn shirts and two pairs of pink sneakers (my big-house sneakers are dirtier than my little-house sneakers). I have two bicycles. I even have two pieces of Tickly, my special blue blanket. I used to have only one Tickly. But I kept forgetting to bring my blanket back and forth. So I had to rip Tickly in half, to keep a piece at each house.

  That’s okay for a blanket. But I cannot rip everything in half. Emily Junior stays at the little house and Mommy takes care of her when I am gone. And Crystal Light the Second stays at the big house and David Michael takes care of her. He takes care of Goldfishie, too.

  I could never, ever rip my new baby doll in half. And no one would be able to take care of her the way I would. But I was not too worried about where to keep my doll. I would figure something out. I always do!


  “Well, Goosie, it has been almost one whole week since Grandma Packett called. Mommy says she and Grandpa will be home any day. Then I will have a new doll and you will have a new friend. I want you to be very nice to her,” I said.

  “Karen, would you please come set the table?” called Mommy. “Dinner is almost ready.”

  “I’ll be there in a minute,” I answered. Then guess what. The doorbell rang.

  “I’ll get it! I’ll get it!” I called. I was downstairs in two seconds. But Seth had already opened the door. It was G
randma and Grandpa Packett. Hurray!

  Grandma scooped me up in her arms for a big hug. Then it was Grandpa’s turn.

  “We got back to Stoneybrook yesterday. But we had jet lag,” said Grandma. “Now we are all rested and we have surprises for everyone.”

  Grandpa carried a big shopping bag full of presents into the living room. He handed Mommy a fluffy pink shawl. He handed Seth a book called David Copperfield. And he handed Andrew his double-decker bus.

  Then Grandma took out a box for me. I carefully untied the ribbon. My new baby doll might want to wear it later. I opened the box and looked inside. When I saw my doll, I could not move. I could not talk. I just stared and stared.

  Grandma put her gently in my arms. She was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen. She had big round eyes and rosy cheeks. She was wearing a light blue dress with a white lace collar.

  “Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa,” I said the minute I got my voice back. “I love my baby doll so, so much.”

  “That is a very special, very expensive doll, Karen,” said Mommy. “Having a doll like that is a big responsibility. You must be careful with her.”

  “She is not like dolls we get in toy stores here,” said Seth. “If anything were to happen to her, she would be very difficult to replace. You must not take her anyplace where she could be lost or hurt.”

  “You don’t have to worry about me,” I said. “I will take very good care of my baby doll.” I rocked her in my arms. She had traveled a long way to get to me.

  In no time, I had answered the problem of where my baby doll would live. I whispered in her ear, “Wherever I go, you go. When I am at the little house, you will be at the little house. When I am at the big house, you will be at the big house, too.”

  I knew I would never forget her the way I forgot Tickly. I was much more grown-up than I used to be.

  Mommy invited Grandma and Grandpa to stay for dinner. But they had to leave. I ate fast. Then I called Nancy and told her to come right over.

  I took my doll up to her new room. I wanted to introduce her to Emily Junior and Goosie. But I had to give her a name first. I made a list of my favorites: Amy, Jessie, Cynthia, Melanie, Samantha …

  I was still writing when Nancy came over.

  “Oh, Karen! She is the most beautiful doll ever! May I hold her? Please? Please?” asked Nancy.

  “All right,” I said. “But you have to be very careful. She is expensive and would be very difficult to replace.”

  I carefully put the doll in Nancy’s arms. She held her and rocked her just the way I did. I could tell Nancy liked her a lot.

  “What are you going to name her?” asked Nancy.

  I showed her my list. “I think I like Cynthia best,” I said.

  Nancy held up the doll. “Hiya, Cynthia!” she said. Then she stopped and said it again, “Hiya, Cynthia. That’s a good name. It is better than plain Cynthia.”

  “You’re right! It is much better,” I agreed.

  I wrote it down and looked at it: Hyacynthia. It was a gigundoly beautiful name.

  “Goosie and Emily Junior, meet Hyacynthia, your new friend,” I said.

  Sharing Time

  What a great morning! The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was my new doll, Hyacynthia. “Good morning, Hyacynthia,” I said. “I hope you slept well.”

  The second thing I saw was my calendar. It was Wednesday and that is a Show and Share day at school. Perfect. I could bring Hyacynthia and show her to my whole class.

  “Do you want to come to school with me?” I asked Hyacynthia. “Nancy will be there. And you can meet Hannie. And Ms. Colman. And my husband, Ricky.” (I married Ricky Torres one time at recess. I guess that makes him Hyacynthia’s daddy.) “And Pamela Harding.” (She will be so jealous.)

  I hurried downstairs to ask Mommy.

  “Can you be careful with Hyacynthia at school?” she asked.

  “Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!” I answered. (I wanted Mommy to know I meant it.)

  “I do not think you should pass her around,” said Mommy.

  “I won’t,” I said.

  “I think you should give her to your teacher to hold,” said Mommy.

  “I will,” I said.

  “And I do not think you should take her outside at recess,” said Mommy.

  “I won’t,” I said. “I will be so, so careful.”

  “All right, then, you may take Hyacynthia to school,” said Mommy.

  Hurray! I got a basket from the laundry room and lined it with blankets. I put Hyacynthia into it. Then I tucked a blanket on top of her.

  When I got to school I ran straight to my room. “Hi, Ms. Colman!” I said. “I brought my new English baby doll for Show and Share.” I lifted the blanket to show Ms. Colman.

  “She is lovely,” said Ms. Colman.

  “Will you please keep her under your desk? I have to be very careful with her,” I explained.

  “Of course,” said Ms. Colman. (Ms. Colman is nice. I like her a lot.) The bell rang and kids started coming into class.

  I sit in the front row with Ricky and Natalie Springer. That is because the three of us wear glasses and can see better up front. Hannie and Nancy sit in the back. I always turn around and wave to them. I saw Hannie. But I did not see Nancy. I wondered where she was. At least she got to meet Hyacynthia last night, I thought.

  The morning went really fast. In no time, I heard Ms. Colman announcing Show and Share. It was time to introduce Hyacynthia.

  When I picked her up from her basket, everyone was gigundoly impressed. I heard some of the girls say, “Wow!” You should have seen Pamela Harding’s face. And Ricky whistled. (The boys may have thought he was joking. But I knew he liked Hyacynthia.)

  “My grandma and grandpa brought Hyacynthia all the way from England,” I said. “She was just a baby doll without a name when they brought her. Then my good friend Nancy, who is absent today, named her.”

  I wrote my doll’s name in big letters on the blackboard, so no one would forget it.

  After school, I went straight to Nancy’s house. I had to find out why she was absent.

  I rang the bell. No answer.

  I looked in the garage. No cars.

  I ran home and called the Dawes house over and over. Still no answer.

  Where was Nancy?


  I was still trying to reach Nancy after dinner. I kept calling and calling. Finally Mrs. Dawes answered the phone.

  “Hi. This is Karen,” I said. “Is Nancy home?”

  “I’m sorry, Karen. Nancy is not home. I don’t want to upset you, but Nancy got appendicitis and had to go to the hospital for surgery. She’ll be fine, but she has to stay there a few days.”

  Oh no! Poor Nancy! I felt really upset. I could not help it. But I wanted to act grownup.

  “Will you please tell Nancy I miss her and I hope she feels better soon?” I said.

  “Of course I will, Karen,” said Mrs. Dawes.

  “And tell her that Hyacynthia misses her, too, okay?” I added.

  “I will, Karen. Thank you,” said Mrs. Dawes.

  I hung up the phone fast. “Mommy! Mommy! Seth!” I called.

  Mommy and Seth came running. I was already crying.

  Mommy took me in her arms. “What is it, Karen? What happened?”

  I told them about Nancy and her appendicitis.

  “Nancy will be all right. Really, she will,” said Seth. He explained that we all have an appendix in our bellies. It’s on the right side and it is not very big. He says it is about the size of a small pencil. If it starts to hurt, it has to be taken out.

  “But no one needs an appendix anyway, so Nancy will not miss hers,” continued Seth. “I’m sure Nancy is being well taken care of. So you do not have to worry.”

  “You can come talk to us any time you need to. But for now, you might feel better if you keep busy,” said Mommy.

  I knew just what to do. “May I make a phone call? I want to call Hannie.”<
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  “That’s a good idea,” said Mommy.

  I called Hannie and told her about Nancy. Hannie was upset. But she felt better when I told her no one needed an appendix anyway.

  “I am going to make a card for Nancy,” I said. “I will bring it to school tomorrow so everyone can sign it.”

  Hannie said she would make some paper flowers.

  I wanted to make one more call before I went upstairs. I dialed the number at the big house. I was happy when Kristy answered.

  “Hi, Kristy,” I said. I told her about Nancy, too. Kristy is really good to talk to. That is why she is such a great stepsister. She said I could call her any time. I knew she meant it.

  I was finally ready to make Nancy’s get well card. It had to be extra special. I found a big piece of oak tag. I got out five different colors of Magic Marker, glue, and sparkles. I even took the ribbon from the box Hyacynthia came in.

  “You don’t mind if I use this on Nancy’s get well card, do you?” I asked Hyacynthia. Hyacynthia said she did not mind one bit.

  It took me a whole hour, but by the time I was finished I had made the most beautiful card ever. I used the markers to draw stars and confetti. I glued Hyacynthia’s ribbon at the top. And I wrote GET WELL SOON in sparkles! If that did not make Nancy feel better, nothing would. I signed it from me and Hyacynthia. And tomorrow I was going to ask everyone in school to sign it.

  The card was lovely. I was still worried. But not as much as before. When I got into bed, I made a wish.

  “Please help my friend Nancy Dawes get better fast,” I whispered.

  There. That should do it, I thought. Then I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

  Get Well Soon

  “Ms. Colman! Ms. Colman!” I was the first one in my class on Thursday morning.

  “I have very important news to tell you. Nancy Dawes is in the hospital. She had to have an operation,” I said.

  “Thank you for letting me know, Karen,” said Ms. Colman. “As a matter of fact, I spoke with her mother last night. I am very sorry Nancy is in the hospital. But Mrs. Dawes says she is doing just fine.”

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