From Newbery Honor author Ann M. Martin, who wrote the Baby-sitters Club series, comes a New York Times-bestselling middle grade novel about a girl, her dog, and the trials of growing up in a complicated and often scary world.
Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her differentnot her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father.
When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose's father shouldn't have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.
“A story about honorable living in the autistic narrator genre that sets the bar high. . . . Martin has penned a riveting, seamless narrative in which each word sings and each scene counts.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
This title has Common Core connections.
About the Author
Ann M. Martin is the author of Ten Rules for Living with My Sister, Ten Good and Bad Things About My Life, and Everything for a Dog, and Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure. She won a Newbery Honor Award for A Corner of the Universe, and is the author of the beloved Baby-sitters Club series. She lives in upstate New York.
Read an Excerpt
By Ann M. Martin
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2014 Ann M. Martin
All rights reserved.
Who I Am—A Girl Named Rose (Rows)
I am Rose Howard and my first name has a homonym. To be accurate, it has a homophone, which is a word that's pronounced the same as another word but spelled differently. My homophone name is Rows.
Most people say homonym when they mean homophone. My teacher, Mrs. Kushel, says this is a common mistake.
"What's the difference between making a mistake and breaking a rule?" I want to know.
"Making a mistake is accidental. Breaking a rule is deliberate."
"But if—" I start to say.
Mrs. Kushel rushes on. "It's all right to say 'homonym' when we mean 'homophone.' That's called a colloquialism."
"'Breaking' has a homonym," I tell her. "'Braking.'"
I like homonyms a lot. And I like words. Rules and numbers too. Here is the order in which I like these things:
1. Words (especially homonyms)
3. Numbers (especially prime numbers)
I'm going to tell you a story. It's a true story, which makes it a piece of nonfiction.
This is how you tell a story: First you introduce the main character. I'm writing this story about me, so I am the main character.
My first name has a homonym, and I gave my dog a homonym name too. Her name is Rain, which is special because it has two homonyms—rein and reign. I will write more about Rain in Chapter Two. Chapter Two will be called "My Dog, Rain (Reign, Rein)."
Something important about the word write is that it has three homonyms—right, rite, and wright. That's the only group of four homonyms I've thought of. If I ever think of another four-homonym group, it will be a red-letter day.
I live with my father, Wesley Howard, and neither of his names has a homonym.
From our porch you can see our front yard and our driveway and our road, which is called Hud Road. Road has two homonyms—rowed and rode. On the other side (sighed) of the road is a little forest, and through the trees you can see the New York Thruway. The word see has a homonym—sea. But even better, sees has two homonyms—seas and seize.
I'm in fifth grade at Hatford Elementary. There's only one elementary school in Hatford, New York, and only one fifth-grade classroom in the school, and I'm in it. Most of my classmates are ten years old or about to turn eleven. I'm almost twelve because no one is sure what to do with me in school. I've stayed back for two semesters, which is a total of one year. (1/2 + 1/2 = 1.)
Some of the things I get teased about are following the rules and always talking about homonyms. Mrs. Leibler is my aide and she sits with me in Mrs. Kushel's room. She sits in an adult-size chair next to my fifth-grade-size chair and rests her hand on my arm when I blurt something out in the middle of math. Or, if I whap myself in the head and start to cry, she'll say, "Rose, do you need to step into the hall for a moment?"
Mrs. Leibler tells me that there are things worth talking about besides homonyms and rules and prime numbers. She encourages me to think up conversation starters. Some conversation starters about me that do not have anything to do with homonyms or rules or prime numbers are:
I live in a house that faces northeast. (After I say that, I ask the person I'm trying to have a conversation with, "And which direction does your house face?")
Down the road, 0.7 miles from my house is the J & R Garage, where my father sometimes works as a mechanic, and 0.1 miles farther along is a bar called The Luck of the Irish, where my father goes after work. There is nothing between my house and the J & R Garage except trees and the road. (Tell me some things about your neighborhood.)
I have an uncle named Weldon, who is my father's younger brother. (And who else is in your family?)
My official diagnosis is high-functioning autism, which some people call Asperger's syndrome. (Do you have a diagnosis?)
I will finish up this part of my introduction by telling you that my mother does not live with my father and me. She ran away from our family when I was two. Therefore, the people living in my house are my father and me. The dog living in our house is Rain. Uncle Weldon lives 3.4 miles away on the other side of Hatford.
The next part of my introduction is the setting of my story. I've already told you my geographic location—Hud Road in Hatford, New York. The historical moment in time in which this story begins is October of my year in fifth grade.
Now I will tell you something troubling about fifth grade. It isn't as troubling as what happens later in the story when my father lets Rain outside during a hurricane, but it is still troubling. For the first time in my life I'm being sent home with weekly progress reports that I have to give to my father. The reports are written by Mrs. Leibler and read and signed by Mrs. Kushel, which is my teachers' way of saying that they're in agreement about my behavior. The reports list all of my notable behaviors for Monday through Friday. Some of the comments are nice, such as the ones about when I participate appropriately in a classroom discussion. But most of the comments make my father slam the reports onto the table and say, "Rose, for god's sake, keep your mouth closed when you think of a homonym," or, "Do you see any of the other kids clapping their hands over their ears and screaming when they hear the fire alarm?"
In the last report Mrs. Leibler and Mrs. Kushel asked my father to schedule monthly meetings with them. Now he's supposed to go to Hatford Elementary on the third Friday of every month at 3:45 p.m. to discuss me. This is what he said when he read that: "I don't have time for meetings. This is way too much trouble, Rose. Why do you do these things?" He said that at 3:48 p.m. on a Friday when there was no work for him at the J & R Garage.
Uncle Weldon heard about the monthly meetings on October 3rd at 8:10 in the evening when he was visiting my father and Rain and me.
My father was standing at the front door, holding the letter in his hand and gazing out at the trees and the darkness. "These meetings are crap," he said.
Uncle Weldon, who was sitting at the Formica kitchen table with me, looked at my father from under his eyelashes and said, "I could go, if you want." Uncle Weldon has a very soft voice.
My father whipped around and pointed his finger at Weldon. "No! Rose is my responsibility. I can take care of things."
Weldon lowered his head and didn't answer. But when my father turned around so that he was facing outside again, my uncle held up two crossed fingers, which was his signal to me that everything would be all right (write, rite, wright). I held up my fingers too (two, to), and we each touched our hearts with them.
After that, Rain came into the kitchen and sat on my feet for a while.
Then my uncle left.
Then my father crumpled the letter from Mrs. Leibler and Mrs. Kushel and tossed it into the yard.
That is the end of the introduction to me.CHAPTER 2
My Dog, Rain (Reign, Rein)
The next character in my true story is Rain. A character doesn't have to be a human being; a character can be an animal, such as a dog named Rain.
Rain weighs 23 pounds. This is how you weigh a dog: You stand on the scales and weigh yourself. Then you pick up the dog and weigh yourself and the dog together. Then you subtract your weight from the weight of you and the dog together, and that's how much the dog weighs.
(Weigh and way are homonyms.)
Rain's back is 18 inches long. From the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail she's 34 inches long.
Rain's fur is mostly yellow. Seven of her toes are white—two on her right front paw, one on her left front paw, three on her right back paw, and one on her left back paw. Her right ear has brown speckles on it. Her fur is short. Uncle Weldon says she looks sort of like a yellow Labrador retriever. Since a female purebred yellow Lab should weigh 55–70 pounds, Rain is probably not a purebred yellow Lab.
When Rain and I are at home alone together, we sit inside or on the front porch and Rain puts one (won) of her front feet (feat) in (inn) my lap. I rub her toes (tows), and she gazes into my blue (blew) eyes with her eyes, which are the color of a chocolate bar. After a while, she starts to fall asleep. Her brown eyes squint shut until they're completely closed. At bedtime she crawls under the covers with me. If I wake up during the night, I find that Rain has smashed her body against mine and rested her head across my neck.
Rain's breath smells like dog food.
Rain has lived with us for 11 months, which is almost one year. I will tell you more about the night my father brought her home in another chapter, Chapter Five, which will be called "When We Got Rain."
Rain and I have routines. We like routines. Rain stays at home alone on weekdays while I'm at Hatford Elementary and my father is at his job at the J & R Garage. When there isn't any work for my father at the J & R Garage, he usually goes to The Luck of the Irish where he drinks beer and watches television. One way or the other, he isn't at home. Rain stays in the house by herself. At 2:42 when school ends, Uncle Weldon picks me up. Then he drives me home. He drops me off between 2:58 and 3:01. Rain and I sit on the porch for a while and I rub her toes. Then we take a walk. Then I do my homework. Then I start dinner for my father and me. Then I feed Rain.
What Rain eats is My Pet dog food from a can—half a can in the morning and half a can in the evening—mixed with My Pet dry food. When my father first brought Rain home he said she didn't need wet food, which is more expensive than dry food, but I said that dogs in the wild eat meat, and my father said, "You're right, Rose."
After Rain's dinner we wait for my father to come home. If he's been at The Luck of the Irish all day, he might not be in a good mood. Or he might be in a very good mood. If he's been working at the J & R Garage, he might not be in a good mood. Or he might be in no particular mood.
Rain is smart. She never goes near my father right away. She stands in the doorway to my bedroom while we wait to see whether my father will say, "What's for supper?" If he says, "What's for supper?" then it's safe for me to serve him and for Rain to sit by the table while we eat. She can stare at us and put her paws in our laps wanting food until I see my father's eyes get black and hard and that's the signal that Rain should go back to my bedroom.
If my father comes home and doesn't say anything, but walks into his own room, then Rain and I should not go near him at all. And I have to make Rain stay very quiet so she doesn't annoy him or give him a headache.
Rain knows (nose) to (two, too) stay away from my father's feet (feat) and his shoes (shoos).CHAPTER 3
The Rules of Homonyms
I am the only student in my classroom who's interested in homonyms. This suggests to me that most kids are not interested in homonyms. So if you want to skip this chapter, it's all right.
But if you read it, you might get interested in homonyms.
Homonyms can be surprising and fun, and that's why I started a list of them. The list is very long. Right now it takes up four sheets of paper. The words are in alphabetical order. I try to leave space between the pairs and trios of homonyms so that I can add new ones to the list easily. But if the spaces have gotten used up and I've thought of another set of homonyms, then I have to rewrite the list from that point on. Sometimes this makes me cry because I have to write the words perfectly, without making any mistakes. If I make a mistake I have to start over. Josh Bartel, who is a 4'10" boy in my classroom, said to me last week, "Rose, just keep the list in your computer. Then you can add in new words wherever you want. The computer will make spaces for you. You won't have to keep rewriting the list."
But my father and I do not have a computer. Or a cell phone or a digital camera or an iPod or a DVD player. My father says those things are expensive and unnecessary. He says we can't afford them, and who needs them anyway?
So my homonyms list is on paper.
In this chapter I'm going to tell you about my rules for homonyms. But since I've realized that most kids aren't any more interested in rules than they are in homonyms, I'll tell you something fun about homonyms first. Then I'll get to the rules, and if you're still interested you can keep reading.
What's fun about homonyms is hearing a word in a sentence and suddenly realizing that it has a homonym, or maybe two (or three, but that's so rare that I don't often think about homonym quartets), and that you haven't thought of that homonym pair or trio before. For instance, yesterday, Uncle Weldon said to me, "Look how carefully Rain chews her food." And just like that I had a new pair of homonyms to add to my list.
Uncle Weldon and I were sitting at my kitchen table when he said that, and I jumped out of my chair and cried, "Oh! 'Chews' and 'choose'! That's a new homonym pair!"
Uncle Weldon gets excited about homonyms too, so he said, "Wonderful, Rose. Go find your list. Let's see if there's room for two more words."
While I was getting the list out of my backpack, I thought about the word chew and how it rhymes with brew and as I ran back to Uncle Weldon I began to shout again. "And also there's 'brews' and 'bruise'! Oh, that's a really good pair! Two new pairs to add to my list! This is almost a red-letter day."
So, in conclusion, that is what's fun about homonyms.
Now, here are my rules of homonyms. It's important to have rules, because without them, you could get overwhelmed thinking of words that sound alike. Your list would be pages and pages and pages long. The purpose of most of my rules is to limit homonyms to words that are pure and also that are English.
ROSE HOWARD'S RULES OF HOMONYMS
1. A true pair or trio of homonyms includes no proper nouns. A proper noun names a particular person or place or thing, such as Josh Bartel or Hatford or Rice Krispies cereal. I thought about including coax and Cokes and herald and Harold on my list, but Cokes and Harold are proper nouns, not pure words. Including proper nouns would make my list too long. Luckily, Rose and Rain are proper nouns and regular nouns, so I was able to include them on my list.
2. A true pair or trio of homonyms includes no foreign words. I put the words peek and peak on my list, but I did not add pique for a trio, because pique is a word of French origin. Including foreign words on my list would become very difficult, because I don't know all the languages.
3. A true pair or trio of homonyms includes no contractions. Isle and aisle are on my list, but I didn't add I'll because it's actually a contraction of the words I will. Therefore it doesn't count as a pure word. (Besides, I is a proper noun.)
4. A true pair or trio of homonyms includes no abbreviated words. I did not add ink and inc. to my list because inc. is short for incorporated, which is clearly not a homonym for ink.
5. A true pair or trio of homonyms includes only words that sound exactly alike. Since whine and wine do not sound exactly alike they are not on my list. Neither are haul and hall.
I guess that's enough about homonyms for now. You probably want to get on with my story anyway, so now it's time for me to introduce the next main character to you. The next main character is my father, Wesley Howard.
Oh, one more fun thing about homonyms: The word pair implies two, but it is part of a homonym trio—pair, pear, and pare.
Excerpted from Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Copyright © 2014 Ann M. Martin. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
I. The First Part,
1. Who I Am—A Girl Named Rose (Rows),
2. My Dog, Rain (Reign, Rein),
3. The Rules of Homonyms,
4. Some Things About My Father, Whose Name, Wesley Howard, Does Not Have a Homonym,
5. When We Got Rain,
6. Who I Wait For,
7. Why I Don't Ride the Bus,
8. In My Classroom,
9. Mrs. Leibler, Who Sits Next to Me,
10. Anders Isn't Following the Rules,
11. When Rain Went to School,
12. Some More About Homonyms,
13. At the End of the Day,
II. The Part About the Hurricane,
14. The Storm on the Weather Channel,
15. Where We Live,
16. How to Get Ready for a Hurricane,
18. Storm Sounds,
19. Rain Doesn't Come When I Call,
20. Why I Get Mad at My Father,
21. Rain's Nose,
22. What Must Have Happened,
III. The Next Part,
23. Why My Father Gets Mad at Me,
24. I Telephone Uncle Weldon,
25. How to Look for a Lost Dog,
26. Someone Calls Me Ma'am,
27. My Story Is Such a Sad One,
28. Riding with Uncle Weldon,
29. What Not to Do When You Think of a New Homonym,
30. Empty Space,
31. The Good Phone Call,
32. The Happy Tails Animal Shelter in Elmara, New York,
33. What a Microchip Is,
34. What Mrs. Caporale Says,
IV. The Hard Part,
35. The Thing I Have to Do,
36. Mrs. Kushel's Helpful Suggestions,
37. Where Rain Used to Live,
38. The General Store in Gloverstown,
39. Found: Blond Female Dog,
40. Parvani Finds a Homonym,
41. My Father Makes a Mistake with Pronouns,
42. Protecting Rain,
43. What Mrs. Kushel Says,
V. The Last Part,
45. The Quiet House,
46. My Father Has an Argument with His Brother,
47. In the Middle of the Night,
48. What Happened to My Mother,
49. Hud Road,