How is it that Louis has been driving his mother's car around town if he's only eight years old?
Where did the cat go to have her kittens?
Who won the free wedding?
Whether it's costume parades, mysterious paint allergies, or bicycle disasters, there's never a dull moment when the Lawson family is around!
|File size:||622 KB|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Barbara Robinson has written several popular books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever, The Best Halloween Ever, and the enormously popular bestselling novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, first published in 1972, which was made into a classic TV movie and on which this book was based. The play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the world. Ms. Robinson has two daughters and three grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
My Brother Louis Measures WormsAnd Other Louis Stories
By Barbara Robinson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Barbara Robinson
All right reserved.
Louis at the Wheel
I was ten years old when my little brother Louis began driving my mother's car, and by the time I was eleven he had put over four hundred miles on it. He figured out that if he had done it all in one direction, he would have landed in Kansas City, although I'm not sure he allowed for rivers and mountains and other natural obstacles.
I also wasn't sure that my mother was really as astonished as she said she was when all this mileage came to light. And, in fact, she finally acknowledged that she probably knew what Louis was doing, but she just didn't believe it.
"It was like one of those dreams you have," she told my father, "that seem so real when you wake up. Let's say you dream that the President of the United States shows up for dinner. And you say, 'Oh, I'm sorry. All we have tonight is meat loaf.' And he says, 'That's just fine, Mrs. Lawson. Meat loaf is my favorite. Do you cook it with bacon across the top?'"
She hurried right on before my father could comment on the story so far. "Now, when you wake up, you know it was a dream. You know perfectly well that the President of the United States didn't come to dinner, and isn't going to come to dinner. But if he were to come, you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he would say, 'Meat loaf is my favorite. Do you cook it with bacon across the top?' . . .
"That's the way it was with Louis and the car -- as if I dreamed that he was driving the car, woke up and knew absolutely that he wasn't . . . but if it turned out later that he was, I wouldn't be surprised."
My father said that was the wildest kind of reasoning he had ever heard in his life; that dreaming the President came to dinner had absolutely nothing to do with why Louis, at his age, was driving up and down the street and all over the place. He also said that anyone who dreamed about meat loaf probably needed to get up and take some Alka-Seltzer.
"Well . . . you don't like meat loaf," my mother said.
This was a good example of how her mind worked, and to say my father found the process mysterious is an understatement. He never understood her brand of logic, but at least it never surprised him.
Nor did it surprise him to learn, when the whole thing was sorted out, that it was Mother who first told Louis to drive the car -- though of course she didn't say, "Louis, go on out and drive the car. Pull the seat up as far as it will go and sit on one or two telephone books."
Mother was not that casual about cars and people driving them, probably because she didn't learn to drive till she was almost thirty-five years old. As a consequence, she never enjoyed driving and would go out of her way to avoid it unless she absolutely had to go someplace and there was absolutely no other way to get there.
She was, therefore, dismayed when my father bought her a car for Christmas. It wiped out her number-one excuse.
"Now you won't have to depend on buses," he said, "or other people, or using my car. I hope you like the color. Do you like the color?"
Mother said she loved the color, that it matched the living room. This was very much on her mind because what she really wanted for Christmas was a new sofa, which would also match the living room.
My father led her in and out of the car, showing off its many features, while Mother oohed and ahhed, stuck her head in the trunk and under the hood and nodded knowingly at the mysterious innards coiled up there.
It was a difficult performance, since all she asked of a car was that it would start, keep going and stop when it was supposed to -- and that she would not have to drive it very much.
But there was worse to come. Having provided Mother with the means of mobility, my father wanted to hear all about how she was enjoying it.
"Well, where did you go today?" he asked every evening, and he was always disappointed if she hadn't been off and running. So she had to lie, which she didn't do very well; or tell the truth, which was not what he wanted to hear; or hedge, by saying she was sick, or worn out or cleaning the oven.
In view of all this stress, it was probably not surprising that she should absentmindedly tell Louis to pick me up from my flute lesson on a day of complicated comings and goings. My father was out of town; Mother was leaving at noon with her friend Ada Snedaker to go to a flower show forty miles away; I had missed my regular flute lesson and, hence, my regular ride.
As we ate breakfast that morning Mother tried to work all this out: "If I drive to the flower show I could leave early and get you at your lesson -- but I can't fit all the plants in my car. Your father won't be home till after nine o'clock. The car will be here but what good is that? I suppose Louis could pick you up, he gets home from school at three thirty. . . ."
"All right," Louis said, but nobody heard him -- and of course my mother didn't really intend that Louis, not yet eight years old, should drive her car all the way across town and get me at my flute lesson. She was simply thinking out loud, dissecting a problem: people who must be picked up; plants which must be transported; cars in which to do all this; and people to operate those cars.
Excerpted from My Brother Louis Measures Worms by Barbara Robinson Copyright © 2005 by Barbara Robinson.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
|Louis at the Wheel||1|
|The Mysterious Visit of Genevieve Fitch||19|
|Louisa May and the Facts of Life||42|
|Big Doings on the Fourth of July||69|
|The Wedding of Willard and What's-her-name||92|
|Trn Rt at Chkn Frm||111|
|The Adoption of Albert||136|
|Marcella and Me||155|
|Vergil, the Laid-back Dog||175|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I was little, I somehow got it fixed in my head that this book told the story of the childhood of Louis, the janitor from the [Wayside School]. Maybe it's because this book, like those, is a collection of loosely connected short stories; maybe it's just that Wayside School is *entirely* the sort of place where Louis would end up.I recently found a copy of the book again (hampered by the fact that I kept looking for it under the author of Wayside School, rather than under Barbara Robinson (she of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever) and I find I enjoy it just as much as ever. These are elegantly wacky little vignettes of family and childhood in a small town in Ohio, in that nebulous decade sometime in the mid-20th century when everyone had cars and telephones and bicycles but there were no such things as radios or televisions or rollerskates. And while they're excellent as children's stories, they've got an adult sensibility that made them fascinating when I was little (where did Louisa May's baby come from? Would Mary really have to go to Chillicothe and change her name?) and kept them entertaining when I came back to them twenty years later. That's not suprising, as Robinson also wrote stories for magazines like McCall's and Ladies Home Journal, and these stories would fit right in to one of those publications.Also, I think this is the book where I got my philosophy of driving, but don't tell my sister that.