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4/5 (14 peringkat)
139 pages
1 hour
Mar 13, 2012


Andrew Clements’s latest novel, about mentors, role models, and choosing friends, examines the fine line between good-humored mischief and dangerous behavior—and how everyday choices can close or open doors.

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.
Mar 13, 2012

Tentang penulis

Andrew Clements is the author of picture books and novels for young readers, including Because Your Daddy Loves You and the perennial bestseller Frindle. He lives in Baldwin, Maine, and can also be found at www.andrewclements.com.

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Troublemaker - Andrew Clements




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.


Ears were hard to draw. The nose, too. And eyes? Forget about it. Not like drawing a tree. Or a piece of fruit.

Mr. Dash was at the back of the art room now, talking softly, moving from table to table.

You see there, where the mountains meet the sky? Your lines need to be thinner and lighter there—it’ll make everything seem farther away. Good detail work on that tree in the foreground.

Mr. Dash had to be talking to Marcia. She was the only kid in sixth grade good enough at drawing to get advice like that. Except for him.

Clay kept working on his drawing, but his hand was so tense he was squeezing the pencil. He picked up his eraser and made a correction . . . then he had an idea. He took his big brother’s cell phone from the pocket of his jeans, carefully, so no one would notice—Mitch would not be happy if some teacher took it away from him. One-handed, he clicked to the camera function and took a photo of his drawing, then another. He slipped the phone back into his pocket and picked up his pencil again.

Mr. Dash was working his way along the tables in Clay’s row now.

Good improvement there, James.

The teacher shuffled a few steps closer.

Those shadows? Don’t push on your pencil—makes ’em look muddy.

But I want them really dark.

That was BriAnne talking, two tables away.

Then just use a pencil with softer lead—4B, or even 6B.

Clay pretended to be busy with his work, but he knew Mr. Dash was right behind him now, looking over his shoulder. He heard the teacher suck in a quick breath, and then hold it.

Clay began counting. One thousand one, one thousand two . . . The art teacher let his breath out slowly.

Then he spoke, his voice low and strained.

Clay . . .

Clay kept working.

Clay, stop it. Stop drawing.

He turned around and looked up at Mr. Dash. Why?

You know why, Clay. That’s . . . not appropriate. Your drawing’s not appropriate.

Clay put a confused look on his face. "You said we could draw anything today. And I wanted to draw a jackass."

Several kids laughed. The whole class tuned in, and the kids sitting close tried to get a look at his drawing.

Clay had a hard time not smiling. He was already imagining how fun it was going to be to tell his brother, Mitch, about this.

Mr. Dash raised his voice a little. Please don’t say ‘jackass.’ 

Clay rolled his eyes. "Fine. I wanted to draw a donkey. A stupid-looking donkey, that’s all. And I think it’s good. Don’t you think this is a really dumb-looking donkey?"

More kids started laughing.

Mr. Dash swiveled his head and glared around the room. Class, he growled, be quiet.

The room went dead silent. The art teacher was over six feet tall, with broad shoulders, huge hands, and a bright red beard that covered most of his face. No student ever disobeyed an order from Mr. Dash.

With one exception. Because Clay kept talking.

I mean, c’mon, Mr. Dash. If you’d said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t draw a donkey wearing glasses today,’ then I wouldn’t have. But you didn’t say that. So I drew a donkey wearing glasses. Who has a mustache.

Then Clay held up his drawing so everyone else in the class could see he was telling the truth.

It was all true. He had made a picture of a donkey with a mustache who was wearing a sport coat and a striped necktie and dark-rimmed glasses—a donkey that looked remarkably stupid. And funny.

But not a single kid laughed.

Because that long-faced donkey looked like someone, a real person—a man every kid in the room was scared of. Except for one.

Clay had drawn a donkey that looked like Mr. Kelling, the principal of Truman Elementary School.



Clay knew what he was doing. He’d made the drawing on purpose, he’d let Mr. Dash see it on purpose, and then he’d held it up on purpose so everyone else in the classroom could see it too—and that last action was important.

Because now Mr. Dash couldn’t just give him a scolding and move on—no way.

Every student in the class had seen the principal looking like a stupid jackass, and once those kids got out of the art room, they would tell all their friends about the hilarious drawing Clay Hensley had made. And sooner or later, the principal would hear about it—he would. And, when Mr. Kelling did hear about it, he would come stomping down the hall to the art room, his eyes blazing and his mustache twitching, and he would demand to know why Mr. Dash hadn’t done something about that terrible boy and his terrible behavior.

So Mr. Dash had to do something. Clay was sure about that.

Would the art teacher keep him after school? Clay didn’t care—as long as he got home in time for dinner. Mitch was going to be there tonight, and in a way, the more stuff that happened now, the better. He’d have that much more of a story to tell his big brother. Detention in the art room? No problem.

But Clay didn’t think that was going to happen. It was Friday, a warm, sunny October day, and he had seen Mr. Dash ride his big motorcycle into the school parking lot this morning. It was perfect weather for cruising, and the back roads of Belden County were going to be beautiful this afternoon. The art teacher would not be staying late for a detention, not today.

Clay was pretty sure about that, too.

Give me the drawing.

Clay handed it over, and Mr. Dash walked to his desk and took a large tan envelope out of a drawer. He slipped the drawing inside and sealed the envelope with tape. Then he picked up a marker and wrote on the front.

He handed the envelope to Clay and said, Take this to the office and give it to the secretary. And then wait there until Mr. Kelling talks to you himself. Understand?

Clay nodded, his face blank and serious. He didn’t want to be disrespectful toward Mr. Dash. He was a pretty good guy. He was just doing what he had to, that’s all.

As Clay picked up his backpack and headed for the door, every other kid was watching, studying his face, trying to imagine why he had made that drawing—and trying to imagine what Mr. Kelling was going to do when he saw it.

BriAnne whispered to James, and in the quiet room everyone heard her.

Clay’s really gonna get it this time.



Getting from the art room to the

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  • (4/5)
    Clayton Hensley is in 6th grade. He has more referrals and visits to Principal Kelling's office than anyone else in the history of the school aside from his older brother, Mitchell. Clay finds pride in his behavior and is excited to share with his brother his latest disruptive deeds- drawing a portrait of his principal, as a jackass, in art class. But, when Mitchell returns home from jail changed, it makes Clay reconsider his actions. This story, Troublemaker, tells in third person Clay's struggles of making good choices and the consequences of having a reputation of being a troublemaker. Author Andrew Clements writing style flows easily and honestly portrays the realities of life in middle school for some children. This story will peak and keep the interest of many readers and cause one to reflect on their own actions. Readers need to be aware that the word "jackass" is used derogatorily.Age Appropriate: 5th to 8th grade
  • (3/5)
    I don't read a lot of books at this level, but I thought this one was pretty good. Easy to follow story, easy to understand moral of the story, and some good illustrations. It says it's for ages 8-12, but it uses the word jackass throughout the story, both to describe a donkey and a person, which I find odd. I'm not one for censorship at all, but I think it's weird for an 8 year old to be reading a book where the principal of the middle school is referred to as a jackass.
  • (2/5)
    I have very mixed feelings about this book. At the beginning of the book, it seems like Clay is only acting out to impress his older brother. Initially, Clay turns himself around for his brother also, but he soon realizes that the change is a positive one for him as well. On one hand, I love that this is a story of living for you and not to impress others. On the other hand, this also seems like a story intended to scare kids into behaving, which I do not really like. This books shows that some school rules are silly, but that kids must suck it up and endure them or end up a delinquent. I like books that advocate creativity, not blind obedience.
  • (4/5)
    Great school story told about a wise-crack who is compelled by his older brother to change his ways, before it's too late. Boys in the 5th and 6th grades who think that there aren't any books to appeal to them will devour this newest offering from the author of Frindle.

    This book also marks #30 out of #30 for me on Vermont's DCF list 2012-13. Goal to read all 30 ... completed!
  • (4/5)
    Meet Clay, who absolutely idolizes his older brother, Mitch. Everything Clay does, from drawing a funny-mean picture of the principal to ducking his office disciplinary meetings, he has only one thought in his head, "Man, I can't wait to laugh about this with Mitch." But he'll have to wait a little longer, because Mitch is in jail. And when Mitch gets home, he has some ideas about how Clay should live his life from now on. But no matter what Clay does, he can't seem to escape his bad reputation (cue electric guitars).I'm not familiar with Andrew Clements, but apparently he wrote a bestseller called Frindle. Based on this book, I'm willing to check that one out. The age group of the kids in this story is sixth grade, making it perfect for 7th graders who might miss sixth grade life, or fifth graders looking ahead. While the book packs a pretty powerful message about the joys of staying out of trouble, kids with real disciplinary issues might find it a little hokey. But if you've got a sweet goofball, this might be the book for them. For middle schoolers, the print is pretty large, and some of your kids might dismiss it as childish as a result, and I hate to say it, but the cover is really unattractive. Still, that's why we don't judge books by their covers, right? (I totally do...)Anyways, good book for struggling readers, kids who are silly, or kids looking for a fast-paced read who don't really dig the fantasy thing. Decent writing, relatable characters, and a believable plot add up to a nice little read for middle schoolers. The only part I had trouble with is when the characters, as 5th graders, snuck out of the house at 1:00 am to smash pumpkins on Halloween. But then, I am, and always have been, a serious goody-goody.For 5th - 8th graders
  • (3/5)
    Clay is a troublemaker. He doesn't pull pranks to be mean or because he's angry, but because his older brother was a prankster and Clay's following in his footsteps. In fact, when Clay uses his time in art class to create a hilarious picture of the school's principal as a jackass, he can't wait to show Mitch and tell him the story of what happened. But Mitch is, for the first time, unimpressed by Clay's prank. Just home from a 30-day jail sentence, Mitch knows it's time for him and Clay to turn their acts around. Mitch makes Clay promise not to pull any more pranks and to start working harder in school. But when someone vandalizes the principal's house on Halloween, all fingers point to Clay. Can he prove his innocence? While I like the subject of this book, it's not one of my favorites of Clements'. The whole story is slight and quick and wraps up way too easily. Clay barely has any trouble switching gears and I found the pat ending a bit hard to buy. This might make an excellent choice for certain spirited children who might be heading down a bad path (or driving you crazy). Its slim page count will up the appeal for reluctant or high-low readers, but otherwise I'd skip it and pick up Frindle, No Talking, The School Story, or The Last Holiday Concert (my favorites).
  • (4/5)
    From the inside flap:“Once a troublemaker, always a troublemaker?There’s a folder in Principal Kelling’s office that’s as thick as a phone book, and it’s growing daily. It’s filled with the incident reports for every time Clayton Hensley broke the rules. There’s the minor stuff, like running in the hallways and not being where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there. But then there are also reports, like the most recent addition, that show Clay’s own brand of troublemaking: The art teacher had said tha the class should spend the period drawing anything they wanted, and Clay decided to be extra “creative” by drawing a spot-on portrait of Principal Kelling . . . as a donkey.It’s a pretty funny joke, but Clay is coming to realize that the biggest joke 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.”Clay is one of those students “who is not living up to his potential.” He idolizes his older brother and wants to follow in his mischievous footsteps. At first I worried that this book might be a “bad influence” by giving kids ideas for making trouble (and it does, but nothing a mischievous child hasn’t already thought of). But it also sets a good, if someone simplistic example. Clay’s admiration for his older brother Mitch may get him into to trouble in the beginning, but it also puts him on the right path to making better choices.What I liked about the book: It provides a good message in simple and humorous terms. The writing is typical Clements and will appeal to students and educators alike. Mark Elliott’s illustrations have a feel as though they were done by a talented student, which will have great appeal for readers.What I don’t like about the story: The message is a little oversimplified. Though I think the simplicity of the story makes it perfect for its targeted audience it might also give the impression that changing one’s behavior can happen virtually overnight. It has the feel of an “after school special” where everything is solved in a couple of hours.Overall this is a good read and I recommend it for Clements fans and anyone who wants to impart a message about how your choices tend to follow you.Recommended for 3rd grade and up.Mrs. Archer’s rating: 4 of 5
  • (4/5)
    This book is inspiring because it tells you about why and when the girl got in trouble and how after she was called the troublemaker. She stop being a troublemaker because every was calling her that and so she decided to become a better person and own up to her mistakes and also she wanted to live her life right instead of everybody thinking that her mom and dad are not doing so ell raising her like they are raising her to be bad so she stopped being the troublemaker and stop being the one who drew bad pictures about every single one of her teachers and so she decided to start treating her teachers right well that is most of it so there you go hoped you liked the summary of the story. Goodbye.