Cover image for Say what?
Say what?
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2004]

Physical Description:
91 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
When their parents begin saying the wrong thing every time six-year-old Sukie and her older brothers misbehave, the children discover that it is a plot and fight back with their own wrong phrases.
Reading Level:
Ages 6-10.

740 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader/Renaissance Learning LG 4.1 1.0.

Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 1.0 74595.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4 4 Quiz: 36300 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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Sukie is worried -- her parents are acting strange. When she runs in the house, her dad asks, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" When she eats peas with her fingers, Mom yells, "You'll put an eye out with that thing!"
What is going on? Have her parents been replaced by aliens? Are they robots with broken circuits? She and her older brothers decide to investigate. And what they discover leads to a kids-against-parents WAR!
This very funny book casts a new light on family rules.

Author Notes

Margaret Peterson Haddix was born in Washington Court House, Ohio on April 9, 1964. She received bachelor's degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing, and history from Miami University in 1986. Before becoming an author, she was a copy editor for The Journal-Gazette, a newspaper reporter for The Indianapolis News, an instructor at Danville Area Community College, and a freelance writer. Her first book, Running Out of Time, was published in 1995. She has written more than 30 books including Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey, Just Ella, Turnabout, The Girl with 500 Middle Names, Because of Anya, and Into the Gauntlet. She also writes the Shadow Children series and the Missing series. She has won the International Reading Association Children's Book Award and several state Readers' Choice Awards.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4. Six-year-old Sukie is worried about her parents. They are saying typical parent things, but at the wrong times. When Sukie is caught scooping peas with her fingers at the dinner table, she expected to hear, Don't eat with your fingers! Instead her mom says, You'll put an eye out with that thing! Sukie's older brothers don't notice the weird comments; they stopped listening to their parents long ago. That's precisely what Sukie's folks are trying to change by implementing a behavior plan they read about in New Ways of Parenting. After the kids discover the plan, they decide to match their parents' nonsense talk with some of their own. It all makes for some very funny exchanges before everyone calls it quits and the kids draft a peace treaty. Lighthearted and humorous, this easy chapter book is made all the more appealing by Bernardin's comical black-and-white illustrations. --Lauren Peterson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Haddix's (the Shadow Children series) middling story introduces a trio of siblings whose parents suddenly begin to respond to their misbehavior with irrelevant platitudes and other non sequiturs instead of reprimands. To get to the bottom of this baffling behavior, the offspring hatch a plan to be naughty on purpose so as to "gather evidence." Their parents' reactions continue to confound them: when Reed leaves grimy handprints on the wall (normally "a big no-no in the Robinson household"), for instance, his father calmly instructs him to eat his vegetables. Readers may find the explanation for the goings-on rather anticlimactic: the parents are following the advice of a magazine article proposing that "children secretly crave rules and order" and will begin paying attention to their parents when the grown-ups utter the wrong thing at the wrong time rather than the oft-repeated rebukes that children expect to hear. When the kids discover the truth, they declare war, turning the parents' own weapon against them. The turnabout generates some mildly amusing dialogue as the children bombard the parents with typical kid patter (e.g., "But Connor's parents let him"; "Sukie started it"), also out of context, but extraneous conversation and description bog down the pace of what is essentially a one-joke tale. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Siblings Sukie, Reed, and Brian (ages six, seven, and nine) are horrified and a little frightened when their parents respond inappropriately to their misbehavior. Mom and Dad's robotic admonitions are completely unrelated to the misdeeds: Dad tells Sukie not to pick her nose when she drops glitter on the carpet, Mom tells Brian to shut the door when he spills orange juice in the kitchen. Discovering the reason for this weirdness (the adults are following the advice in a magazine article about how to encourage kids to listen to their parents), the siblings get mad and declare war. This breezy sitcom of a story is an easy read with lightly developed characters, funny situations, and brisk pacing. The large font and energetic black-and-white illustrations will be inviting to readers transitioning to chapter books.-Susan Patron, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter 1 Sukie Rose Robinson was running through the living room with a big plastic tub of glitter in each hand. All right, Sukie knew she was doing something wrong. She was only six years old, but Mom and Dad had already told her at least ten billion times, "No running in the house. This isn't a playground." And they'd told her at least five billion times, "You have to ask before you use glitter. And only at the kitchen table." But Sukie wasn't trying to be bad. She was just in a hurry. She'd been making tissue-paper flowers in her room, and she'd thought of a cool way to put glitter on all the petals. She didn't have time to hunt up Mom or Dad and ask permission, or to move all her flowers to the kitchen. She had to get the glitter before she forgot her great idea -- Oh, no! Dad saw her! Busted! Dad was walking from the kitchen to the family room, a coffee cup in his hand. His eyebrows went up when his eyes met Sukie's. Sukie tried to slow down, to make it look like she'd just been strolling along, no faster than a snail. She tried to hide the tubs of glitter behind her back, real fast. But her shoulders were bent forward, her legs were kicked straight out. It wasn't like she could just stop. She braced herself for the usual, "Sukie! How many times have we told you not to run in the house? And what's that in your hands?" But instead, Dad frowned at her and said, "If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge too?" Huh? Confused, Sukie skidded to a halt. The two tubs of glitter crashed into each other behind her back. Sukie tried to hold her hands steady, but the tubs tilted and the lids slipped off. The tops on the individual shakers of glitter inside the tubs must have been loose. Sukie looked over her shoulder and saw a whole waterfall of green and gold and red and purple and orange glitter streaming down to the carpet. Sukie hunched over. Now Dad was really going to yell. "What do you think you're doing, young lady?" he was going to say. "Why do you have glitter in the living room? Do you know how long it's going to take you to clean that up?" But Dad didn't yell. Not right away. Sukie looked up at him, waiting. Dad was taking a deep breath. Then he looked her straight in the eye and said, "Don't pick your nose. That's a gross habit." And then he walked on, into the family room, sipping his coffee. Sukie hadn't been picking her nose. Who would pick their nose with their hands full of glitter? Sukie stared after Dad. She dropped the tubs of glitter, and even more spilled out on the carpet. Sukie stepped over it and peeked in at Dad in the family room. He was reading the newspaper and drinking his coffee, just like nothing had happened. Sukie tiptoed back to the living room. She tugged and pulled and shoved the rocking chair over the pile of glitter on the carpet. Then she hid the glitter tubs under the couch. She didn't feel like making glitter-flowers anymore. This was too weird. What was wrong with Dad? Copyright © 2004 by Margaret Peterson Haddix Excerpted from Say What? by Margaret Peterson Haddix All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.