Sub Flubs: Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook
It's Monday, and all Martin MacGregor wanted to do was go to school.
Mr. Elliott was the coolest teacher ever, and this was the day he was going to bring in his pet, Harriet the Tarantula.
Mr. Elliott is just too cool for school, and Martin MacGregor makes sure he arrives at his classroom door nice and early to please his wonderful teacher.
But that's not Mr. Elliott at his desk. It's a substitute, aptly named Mrs. Payne, whose style turns out to be definitely old school. School is suddenly not cool, and at the end of the day, she piles on the homework!
But Martin is a good student and he doesn't want to disappoint Mr. Elliott with bad marks when he returns, so he goes straight home and tackles his mountain of homework. Just as he is almost finished with his math problems, he has an attack of the munchies and returns to his desk with a thick peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Disaster strikes. The gloppy jam escapes its boundaries and a big blob lands right on Martin's math paper. And when Martin hurries back with a wet paper towel to try to salvage his work, he finds his dog Sadie has already, er, cleaned up the spill.
"Sadie! You didn't just eat the peanut butter--you ate the whole paper," yelled Martin.
"This gives a whole new meaning to 'the dog ate my homework!'"
Mrs. Payne is neither amused nor pleased with Martin's true tale, and he has to stay in at recess and do his math homework all over again.
Things go downhill from there. The next day, as soon as Martin gets home, his mom hustles him out of his jeans to fill out her laundry load, and his forgotten spelling paper comes out all faded and stiff. Mrs. Payne finds that unacceptable also, and Martin misses another recess while he does a redo. The next day Martin's little sister mistakenly takes his backpack, with his carefully completed and unlaundered homework to school with her, and Martin winds up with a backpack full of nothing but a doll named Miss Nettie belonging to his sibling. More recess redos.
Even Mother Nature is out to get him. When he carefully hand-carries his homework to school the next day, the wind blows two pages onto the school roof.
"I learned that homework on the roof didn't count with Mrs. Payne," Martin says ruefully, as he spends another recess on a two-page redo.
Homework seems hopeless. Martin complains and his dad suggests that he make up his own assignment and offers his computer for Martin to research any topic he wants to write about. Martin is delighted, and all weekend he works on a report on tarantulas. If he can't have Harriet in his classroom, at least he can know all about her and make his own model of her at home.
But substitutes don't stay forever, and when the next Monday rolls around, Mr. Elliott, broken arm in a sling, is back, along with the promised Harriet, and a new assignment--to find out everything the class can about tarantulas. The student with the best report is going to get to take Harriet home for the weekend! This time Martin is ahead of the game!
"I wonder how my mom and sister will feel about a weekend guest?" Martin grinned.
In Lisa Brodie Cook's newest Martin MacGregor story, Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2011), perseverance pays off, even when luck seems to abandon our poor scholar. Jack Davis's comic illustrations add a lot to the fun of this bad-luck back-to-school story.