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The 411: Youth

Robyn Reports: The Nutty Neighborhood Block Party

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August 21, 2013 | 1,622 views | Post a comment

Teacher guides available upon request.

Story By Stacy Tornio
Illustrations By Roel Wielinga

Chapter 9: Loud and Proud

The story so far: A practical joker is trying to ruin the baseball game by calling out the plays and confusing the players and the umpire. No one can tell who the joker is. The umpire has threatened to cancel the game if the guilty party doesn’t come forward.

I run to the concession stand and find Roxanne eating popcorn.

“I need you,” I say.

“Me?” Roxanne says. “Are you sure?”

I grab her hand and pull her toward the bleachers.

“It sure is noisy over here,” Roxanne says.

“Exactly,” I say. “I need you to get this crowd quiet.”

Roxanne puts down her popcorn and wipes off her hands.

“I can definitely do that,” she says.

She climbs to the top of the bleachers, takes a deep breath and cups her hands around her mouth. I hardly think she needs help to make herself heard.

“QUIET!” she yells.

When Roxanne yells, everyone listens. I guess it can be good to be rowdy. Everyone in the crowd becomes still. Then, I hear it again.


This time, I know exactly where it’s coming from. I climb to the top of the bleachers and look into the nearby oak tree. Someone is hiding in that tree.

“Strike,” I hear again.

I see where the noise is coming from. I can’t believe my eyes. It’s a bird.

Wait a minute, I think. A bird?

“I think it’s a bird,” I say, confused.

“It can’t be a bird,” Roxanne says. “Can it?”

Only one person in the neighborhood would know.

“Where’s Mr. Harrison?” I ask.

“I think I saw him over by the pond in the park,” Roxanne says.

I take off running. Luckily, the pond is close. I’ve done way too much running today.

Mr. Harrison is known in the neighborhood as “The Bird Guy.” He’s an expert on birds.
I get to the pond and see him right away. He’s listening to the band play.

“Mr. Harrison, we really need you at the baseball field,” I say. “It’s about a bird.”

He follows me back to the baseball field.

“I think there’s a bird up in the big oak tree,” I say.

“Yes, I suppose there might be,” he says. “It’s probably nesting.”

“That’s not all,” I say. “I think the bird is talking.”

I explain to Mr. Harrison what I mean. When I’m done, he laughs.

“Birds don’t talk, right?” I ask.

“Well, not exactly,” he says.

By this time, we’ve reached the baseball field. Roxanne is still standing on the bleachers. J.P. and Corinna are there, too. Everyone is peering into the oak tree.

“Strike,” we hear again.

“I think there’s a northern mockingbird up there,” Mr. Harrison says.

“A what bird?” I ask.

“A northern mockingbird,” he says. “It mocks the sounds of other things. People ... animals ... even an umpire.”

“How?” I ask.

“It’s one of the wonders of science,” he says. “Isn’t it amazing?”

The whole neighborhood agrees. It is amazing.

“How do we make it be quiet?” the umpire asks Mr. Harrison.

“Good luck with that,” he says. “Those birds have a mind of their own.”

“We can handle it,” the umpire says. “Now let’s play some ball.”

The game starts to get under way. Finally, I have a moment to rest.

“Let’s go check out the talent show,” Corinna says to us. “It’s supposed to be a good one this year.”

J.P. pulls out his notebook. “Back to work for me,” he says. “I still have a game to cover.”

“I think I’ll stick around here,” Roxanne says. “J.P., can I sit by you?”

It looks like Rowdy Roxanne is blushing.

So that’s why she wanted to help with The Robyn Report. She likes J.P.! My reporter’s instincts were right. I knew she was up to something.

“Are you coming, Robyn?” Corinna asks.

It’s been a long day, but I’m not finished yet. I just have one thing left to do. I go back to Logan’s house. Sarah is still sharing her prize-winning watermelon with the neighborhood.

“I’m back for the interview you promised,” I say.

Sarah smiles. “I thought you might come back,” she says.

I pull out my notebook. Sarah hands me an enormous piece of watermelon. I take a huge bite of it. It’s so sweet and juicy. It was definitely worth the wait. During my interview with Sarah, I eat three more pieces of watermelon.

Once I’m done, I start to leave when I think of one more question for Sarah.

“How did Roxanne convince you to do this interview, anyway?” I ask.

Sarah takes my notebook and writes something down. Then she hands it back to me.
I read what it says.

“Put that in your report,” she says.

“I think I will,” I say with a smile.

A Hot Topics Hot Serials Story
Copyright © 2006 Stacy Tornio

Watch for the final chapter, “The Robyn Report” next week.

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