I Am the Queen
Andy Shane parked his bike and shifted the weight in his backpack. "Let’s meet by the tree when the clock says three," he said.
"I will ride my bike, or we will have to hike," said Granny Webb.
Granny and Andy had been talking in rhymes all morning. It was hard to stop once you got started.
"Oh, wait!" said Granny.
"Don’t be late," said Andy, waving good-bye.
"No, really," called Granny Webb. "I have something for you."
Andy turned back to see what Granny was pulling from her pocket. Whatever it was appeared to be on
the end of a long gold chain.
"Oooh," said Andy, moving closer. It was a dark green bug frozen in clear plastic. "A beetle!"
"A scarab beetle!" said Granny.
"Is this Egyptian?" asked Andy.
Andy knew that the scarab beetle was important to the people of ancient Egypt.
"I think so," said Granny Webb, handing it to Andy. "I knew you were thinking about African countries last night, and a memory of it popped into my head while I
was heading off to bed!"
Andy laughed at Granny’s rhyme.
"Thanks," he said, and he headed into school.
"What do you think of my new sandals, Andy Shane?" asked Dolores Starbuckle as they sat down at their
"Cool," said Andy.
"I made them myself with milk cartons and glitter," said Dolores. Andy noticed that Dolores Starbuckle was particularly fancy this morning.
"I hope each of you has chosen an African country," said Ms. Janice. "We need to get ready for the school Culture Fair."
Dolores Starbuckle sat up as tall as she could.
"Polly," said Ms. Janice with her pen in the air, ready to write, "what country would you like to learn about?"
"Kenya," said Polly. "My uncle went to Kenya."
Kenya was a large country with deserts and rain forests. Andy had almost chosen Kenya.
"Ahmed?" asked Ms. Janice.
Ms. Janice told the class that The Gambia was a small farming country. Andy thought he might like to be a
farmer one day.
Andy touched his pocket. "Egypt," he said softly.
"I’m sorry, Andy," said Ms. Janice. "I didn’t hear you."
"I think he said Ethiopia," said Dolores. She was always trying to be helpful.
"Is that right, Andy?" asked Ms. Janice.
Andy shook his head.
"Do you mean Nigeria, Andy Shane?" said Dolores. "I think you mean Ni-geeeeee-ria."
"Egypt," Andy said more loudly.
"But you can’t choose Egypt," said Dolores, springing out of her seat. "I’m wearing my white Egyptian clothes and my gold jewelry. I even made sandals. I am the QUEEN
The class laughed.
Andy slumped down on his desk. Why did Dolores Starbuckle always insist on getting what she wanted?
But he couldn’t argue with her- not in front of the whole class!
Andy knew everyone was waiting for his answer. He wished he could disappear altogether.
"We’ll work this out later," said Ms. Janice. She finished calling on the children. Then she told the class to line up for a visit to the library, where they could begin their research.
"Andy Shane," she said, "you’re line leader."
Dolores stood in front of Andy.
"Andy Shane, you know I loooove Egypt!" she said. "I even have a model of a sphinx!"
"What’s a sphinx?" asked Polly.
"A statue. Mine has a lion’s body with a bird’s head," said Dolores.
"Weird," said Polly.
"But I have this," said Andy. He pulled out the beetle.
"Oooh," said Dolores, admiring the necklace. She sighed a long, deep sigh. Then her face brightened. "Can we work together, Andy Shane?"
Andy didn’t know what to say. He liked to take his time with ideas, see how they felt. And right now, he did not feel like giving Dolores her way.
"I’ll think about it," he said.
From the Hardcover edition.