Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Monday, January 11, 2010

101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher

101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher
By Lee Wardlaw

About the book:
Steve “Sneeze” Wyatt is on a mission. He’s got to think of 101 ways to get under his teachers’ skin… and fast. No one can quite figure out why Sneeze is behaving so strangely, but he has some pretty good reasons. He’s dealing with:

A)    A crazy parental scheme guaranteed to take him away from all of his friends forever.
B.) A best friend with a serious hiccupping problem… that only he can fix.
C.) One intimidating history teacher (nicknamed “Fierce”) who’s ready to give him a    failing grade.

And on top of all that, Sneeze is worried about the future of his inventions (which are pretty amazing- who wouldn’t love an alarm clock that gently taps you awake?) and everyone’s counting on him to come up with a half-decent project idea for the upcoming History Faire! What’s an inventing genius/average seventh grader to do?

Luckily, Sneeze has a fun (and funny) group of friends to help him out along the way. Fans of 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents, as well as those new to this cast of characters will jump right into this hilarious tale.

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

Author Interview:
  1. How did you decide to write a companion book to 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents? Was it easier or harder than writing the first one?
  2. What’s your favorite part of being a children’s author?
  3. What advice do you have for young authors?
  4. How do you know an idea is good enough to turn into a book?
  5. What can your fans look forward to next?

Discussion Guide:

  1. What is Ms. Pierce’s nickname? Why did she earn it? Explain her classroom management techniques. Would you like to have her?
  2. Who is King Cluck? Why is he important? Is it a good project or not? Why is its success so important, especially to Sneeze?
  3. How have things changed for Sneeze since last year? Have his goals changed? Why?
  4. Who is Daisy? Why doesn’t Hayley want to meet her? How would you feel if you were Hayley?
  5. What is Sneeze’s own secret? What does it mean to be “blocked?” How do you overcome being stuck? What kind of jobs or hobbies can this happen in?
  6. What are Steve’s parents planning for his next school year? Why? Do you think they should’ve asked Steve first? Why doesn’t he want to go?
  7. Have you ever worked on a group project like the one in the book? Was it a good experience or not? Would you want to be assigned to Steve’s team? Why or why not? How does the project change over the course of the book?
  8. What is Steve’s plan to thwart the move to the high school? Were you able to figure it out before he even revealed it to Hayley? What clues did you use?
  9. Explain Steve’s process for choosing what items should go on the bugging list. How does he evaluate each item?
  10.  How is joining a club not what Sneeze expects? What opportunity occurs because of the club? What clubs do you belong to?
  11. What happens when Sneeze acts out in Fierce’s class? How does he turn the punishment around? Would you be able to do this?
  12.  How is the story Tony the nurse tells Sneeze about his riding days similar to what Sneeze is feeling about inventing? What does he learn from Tony? What does it mean to do something “for the joy of it?”
  13.  Why won’t Steve publish the list? Do you agree with his reasons? What does Goldie hope he’ll do? How would your teachers or parents react to Sneeze’s behavior?
  14. Explain what happens at the History Faire. Why does Fierce think that Steve orchestrated the mess? What caused the problem? What resulted from it?
  15. How will Steve’s life change in the next year? What has he learned over the course of this novel? Predict what you think he’ll be doing in five, ten and twenty years.
  16. List 10 ways your teachers bug you. List at least ten of the ways you bug your teachers. Do you think teachers try to torture their students? Do students try to torture their teachers? Why or why not?  How can teachers and students understand each other better?


Language Arts:
As you read the novel, write letters from Sneeze to Hiccup about what is going on at school and at Gadabout. Answer three of the letters in the voice of Hiccup.

Steve repairs many small and large appliances for both friends and neighbors. While he intends on being an inventor he could earn good money while he attends college. How much could he earn an hour? Find out. Research the average charge for service calls and repairs for the following common household items:  garage door, washer or dryer, stove, refrigerator, computer, etc.

Invent something. Design it on paper or try to build it yourself. Safety is the most important aspect of this assignment- so be careful!  Let your imagination be your only limitation.

Create your own project for the History Faire. It can be in a small group, on a topic assigned by your teacher, or an individual project, but it must impress!

What kind of club would you like to join? If your school doesn’t sponsor one, why not start one yourself (like the invention club in the novel)? Create membership information, by-laws or rules, a purpose, and goals.  Then, get permission to meet during lunch, recess or after school with a teacher who shares a similar interest. Promote your new club with posters, announcements and in the school newspaper and prepare to make new friends!