Clay Hensley frowned at the paper on the table. It wasn’t a very good drawing. He’d made tons of better ones . . . like that picture he’d made of the old man sitting on the bridge? Now, that was good—even won a prize. This drawing? It was okay, just a simple portrait. It wasn’t going to win any prizes—but then, it wasn’t supposed to. It was supposed to do something else. Soon.
Out of the corner of his eye Clay saw Mr. Dash get up from his desk. The class period was almost over, so the art teacher was beginning his inspections, same as always.
Clay squinted and kept working on the portrait, shading a little here, erasing a little there, trying to get the expression on the face just right—actually, trying to get the whole head to look right. It wasn’t easy.
There’s a folder in Principal Kelling’s office that’s as thick as a phonebook and it’s growing daily. It’s filled with the incident reports of every time Clayton Hensley broke the rules. There’s the minor stuff like running in the hallways and not being where he was suppose to be when he was supposed to be there. But then there are also reports that show Clay’s own brand of troublemaking, like the most recent addition: the art teacher has said that the class should spend the period drawing anything they want and Clay decides to be extra “creative” and draw a spot-on portrait of Principal Kellings…as a donkey.
It’s a pretty funny joke, but really, Clay is coming to realize that the biggest joke of all may be on him. When his big brother, Mitchell, gets in some serious trouble, Clay decides to change his own mischief making ways…but he can’t seem to shake his reputation as a troublemaker.
From the master of the school story comes a book about the fine line between good-humored mischief and dangerous behavior and how everyday choices can close or open doors.
- Atheneum Books for Young Readers |
- 160 pages |
- ISBN 9781416949305 |
- July 2011 |
- Grades 3 - 7 |
- Lexile ® 730L
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Reading Group Guide
Troublemaker by Andrew Clements
ABOUT THE BOOK
Clayton Hensley has been getting into trouble since he started elementary school. From running in the halls to drawing an unflattering cartoon of the principal, he’s always been pretty proud of his pranks. Then his big brother, Mitch, returns home from a stint in jail with a new attitude and wants Clay to change his ways too. But Clay’s rambunctious friends don’t understand. Resisting the urge to act up when somebody bugs him is not as easy as he thought it would be. And a few weeks of good behavior may not be enough for the people Clay tricked and ridiculed to stop thinking of him as a troublemaker. Clements tells a thought-provoking and important story about rules, reputations, and the possibility to change course for the better.
1. List at least three things you think you know about Clay after reading only the first page of Troublemaker. What is your opinion of Clay at the end of Chapter 1?
2. Who is Mrs. Ormin? How does she help readers understand Clay’s story? How does Clay feel about Mr. Dash, Mr. Kelling, and Mrs. Ormin? Is he angry at them? Why do you think Clay behaves the way he does in the early chapters of the book?
3. What do you think Clay expected would happen after Mr. Dash and his classmates see the donkey picture? What events resulting fro see more