NEW NEW *** Philip and the Loser *** NEW NEW

15 Aug

Congratulations to John Paulits on his new release from GSP, Philip and the Loser.Image

Philip and Emery dread their school assignment: perform an activity demonstrating brotherhood. Philip gets an inspiration, though, when a neighbor tells him about her women’s club fair which will raise money for charity. He and Emery decide to create a game for the fair and donate the money they collect. Creating a game proves more difficult than they thought, especially when Leon, Emery’s unlucky cousin, shows up to help out. Can Philip and Emery deliver their game on time, or will Leon’s monumental bad luck prove their undoing?


Chapter One

Philip slumped at his desk. The teacher eyed him coldly, so he quickly sat up. When the teacher looked elsewhere, Philip slumped again. Will this class never be over? he wondered. Will lunch time never get here? Fourth grade had to be the most boring thing in the world, and September hadn’t even ended yet! The teacher looked his way a second time, so Philip took the trouble to wriggle upright again. Mr. Sagsman wasn’t their real teacher. He only came into the class twice a week to teach about feelings, conflict resolution, brotherhood, and stuff like that.

“And so, kids, what I want you to do is find an example of brotherhood somewhere in your own lives,” Mr. Sagsman went on.

Philip quietly moaned and glanced at his best friend Emery, who sat next to him. Brotherhood; oh, brother, Philip moaned inwardly. He had one baby sister, and Emery two baby sisters. Why didn’t Mr. Sagsman teach about sisterhood and how to put up with it? That would have been something worth learning, instead of his making the class write a whole page about some kind of brotherhood in their lives. Philip didn’t even know what Mr. Sagsman was talking about. He hoped Emery would be able to clue him in.

Suddenly, a jolting crash came from outside the classroom. Philip sat up again. At last! Something interesting to break the monotony. Mr. Sagsman walked over and opened the classroom door, and from where he sat, Philip saw a boy lying on top of an upside-down, single desk, trying to get untangled from the four upright legs of the desk.

“What in the world happened?” Mr. Sagsman asked, stepping outside to help the boy to his feet.

Philip noticed Emery put his head down on one arm and cover the top of his head with his other arm. Philip looked back at the doorway. Mr. Sagsman led the boy into the room.

“Are you all right?” Mr. Sagsman asked. “What happened?”

The boy smiled, and Philip could see one of his big front teeth had a chip out of it. The boy’s hair looked like his mother forgot to make him comb it. The boy gave a loud sniff, scratched above his right ear, and said, “I fell down.”

The class laughed. Mr. Sagsman shushed them. “What do you mean you fell down?”

“Well,” the boy said slowly, scratching the other side of his head above his left ear. “I was pushing this desk to Ms. Bethal’s class. She’s my new fourth grade teacher, and this is my first day here, and that’s gonna be my desk.”

New in school, Philip thought. No wonder he hadn’t seen him before.

“I was pushing it and . . . and . . .” The boy wobbled his hands around in front of him for a few seconds. “. . . it fell over.”

The class laughed again.

“You were pushing the desk, and it fell over?”

“Yep,” the boy nodded. “It went . . .” He flipped one hand over the other. “. . . over. Boom!” The boy smiled at the laughing children, pleased to be entertaining them.

Mr. Sagsman looked at the class and shook his head. “Stop.” He turned back to the boy. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I didn’t go . . . boom! The table went . . . boom!” He said ‘boom’ real loud and gave a loud “yuk yuk” after the second boom, and the class laughed ever harder.

“All right. All right, enough,” said Mr. Sagsman. Philip wondered why teachers didn’t have the same sense of humor as their students. Mr. Sagsman, especially. “Come on. Let me help you.” Mr. Sagsman took the boy into the hall and righted the desk for him. “Be careful now.”

The boy stared back into the classroom and said, “No more booms?”

“No more booms,” Mr. Sagsman responded over the laughter of the class. He turned away from the boy and reentered the classroom. The boy followed Mr. Sagsman to the door. “Boom!” he cried again and joined in with the wildly laughing children in front of him.

“Young man,” Mr. Sagsman began. Philip saw this boy knew what ‘young man’ meant. The boy turned away and got behind the desk and pushed it out of sight. “All right, class. We still have ten minutes. Let me finish explaining your assignment.”

Philip saw Emery raise his head. The class hadn’t quieted yet, so Philip quickly said, “You missed everything. Why’d you have your head down? It was pretty funny.”

Emery shook his head. “It wasn’t.”

“It was.”

“It wasn’t. That boy?”

“Yeah?” said Philip.

“He’s my cousin Leon, the one I told you was moving a block away from me.”

“That goof’s your cousin?”

“Quiet, there,” said Mr. Sagsman.

Emery nodded at Philip and faced the teacher. Philip faced front, too. That was Emery’s cousin? The cousin Emery never wanted to talk about? The one Emery’s mother said they’d have to play with every day? Philip glanced at Emery, who sat with his head cradled in one hand. Philip knew if Emery had to play with him, he would have to play with him, too. Philip cradled his head in one hand while Mr. Sagsman droned on about the wonders of brotherhood.


About the author

 John Paulits is a former teacher in New York City. He has published five other children’s novels, four about Philip and Emery, as well as two adult science fiction novels, HOBSON’S PLANET and BECKONING ETERNITY. His previous Gyspy Shadow book, PHILIP AND THE SUPERSTITION KID, was voted best children’s novel of 2010 in the Preditors and Editors readers poll.





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