Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Monday, January 11, 2010

101 Ways to Bug Your Parents

101 Ways to Bug Your Parents
By Lee Wardlaw

About the book:
Steve “Sneeze” Wyatt was born to invent things- and his latest gadget promises to make him rich and famous! All Sneeze needs to do is attend the Invention Convention, and he will be catapulted into stardom. So, when Sneeze’s parents enroll him in a creative writing class instead, he is appalled. For his first writing project, Sneeze starts a list of way to bug his parents. It keeps growing until he hits upon a brilliant plan- a plan that will enable him to attend the convention with or without his parents by his side.

A Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
Winner of five state readers’ choice awards
An American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”

About the author:
Lee Wardlaw is the author of more than twenty books for young readers, including the sequel to this book, 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher. Most of the 101 ways in this book were compiled by local students, with some added by Ms. Wardlaw- who successfully tested them on her own parents while growing up! (She was especially fond of numbers 32, 34, and 61.) Lee lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband, son, and two cats. To learn more about Lee and her books, visit her website at

Discussion Guide:

  1. What is Sneeze’s ultimate dream? How does he hope it will come true? What is yours? What do you do to try to make it come true too?
  2. Why does Sneeze need to make money? What’s the easiest way for him to earn it? How do you earn money?
  3. Why have the Wyatt’s summer plans changed? How does Sneeze feel about it? How would you? What disappoints him the most?
  4. Where do Sneeze and Hiccup land a summer job? Does it sound like a good match? Would you want to work there? Why or why not?
  5. What class did Sneeze’s mom sign him up for? Why? Is it a class you would be interested in or not? Why?
  6. What is Steve’s brilliant idea to earn enough money to still attend the convention? Are there any holes in his plan?
  7. What information is Goldie after? Why do you think she wants to know? Would you be willing to help her find it? How can the mystery be solved?
  8. Why do they decide to test out the 101 ways? How will they experiment? What would your parents do if you tried it on them?
  9. What is Hayley’s book about? Why do you think she’s writing something so sad? Would it be a story you would like to read or not? Why does Hayley feel so responsible for Gadabout?
  10. Describe the falling out between Sneeze and Hiccup. Who is to blame? Can it be fixed? Why are Ace and others suddenly being nice to Steve? Is it genuine?
  11. How is the first printing of the book received by Sneeze’s customers? Who intervenes for him? Why?
  12.  Why is the book causing such a ruckus at school? How does Sneeze learn about it? What does he do?
  13. Does Scribbler support the book? Why? At what cost? Would you, like Scribbler, be willing to stand up against everybody over a book? Why or why not? Which book?
  14. In the end, how do Sneeze and Hiccup bury the hatchet? Do you think their friendship will hit anymore bumpy roads? What makes you think this?
  15. List 10 ways your parents bug you. List ten of the ways you bug your parents (or just the numbers from the book). Why do family members get on each other’s nerves? Do parents bug their kids on purpose? Why or why not?  How can families get along better?


Sneeze learns in this book that bugging ones' parents is definitely NOT the best way to get his parents' attention or to solve his problem. With a partner, brainstorm a list of things Sneeze might have tried instead. Highlight the ones that you think would work best with your own family.

Conflict Resolution:
Learning to see another other person’s side is an important step in solving conflicts. Steve learned to look through Hiccup, Hayley, and his parent’s eyes to get a new perspective on events. Use this chart to help see things differently with a problem you might be having at school or home.

The Problem:
My Side:
The Other Side:

Possible Compromises:

Language Arts:
Create lists of other 101 things- best books to read, places to go in the summer, ways to earn money, etc. Work in small groups to discover how brainstorming with someone else can really inspire you! Decorate and post all the lists.

Sneeze wants to go to the Invention Convention in a bad way. He needs to raise $500. Make your own money plan to earn $500 in the shortest amount of time. Figure out how much you’ll earn an hour (or job) and how many hours you have to work to reach your goal. Are there other things you could make or sell? What would you do with the money? Are there things you can give up to save money too?

Research the steps needed to obtain a patent for an invention. Visit this great website to get ideas and learn more about inventing and inventors:

Sponsor a class-wide or even school-wide Invention Convention. Brainstorm a list of steps that would need to be done to make this possible. Set a date that gives inventors plenty of time to create and school resources found (the PTA would be ideal). The fair could focus on a theme (like helping the elderly, or flight) or could be completely open-ended.

Research and write in your own words a brief biography poster about the inventor who you most admire. Find out what inspired their creation and what led to their devotion in the field.

Rewrite one of the scenes of the novel into a screenplay format and act it out. Be sure to study the standard format of a play to create a readable script.