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SETTING: Joanie's house >> Joanie's School

CHARACTERS: Joanie, Dad, Grant, Joanie's classmates 

  • Joanie stays up late working on a school assignment, where she must dress like a U.S. President and prepare a presentation for her class on President's Day 

  • Once she finishes, she puts her costume in a paper bag by the door 

  • The next morning Joanie overhears her dad and her brother Grant talking about something by the door, it seems like Grant needs something, and her dad gives it to him

  • Joanie then leaves for school and grabs the paper bag for her presentation

  • At school in history class, students present their presidents and soon it's Joanie's turn 

  • Once she's in front of the class, Joanie reaches in the bag to get her costume...but instead of her costume, there's a wrestling suit

  • She realizes she and Grant switched bags and imagines he's just as surprised as she is 

Chapter 4: Presidents' Day

February 1st

Last night I stayed up late memorizing facts about Abraham Lincoln. (I also made a fake beard from cotton balls, but that’s beside the point.) 


Why did I do this? You may be wondering. Well, our history teacher assigned everyone in the class to pick a U.S. President and present a report on them in honor of President’s Day...and we got bonus points if we came in costume. 


So after everyone had gone to bed and the house was mostly dark, I remained at our kitchen table with my giant poster board, researching and writing facts about our 16th president. 


A loudly snoring Fudge kept me company. But when the yawning took over, and the poster looked complete, I decided it was time to call it a night.


So, I placed my top hat, black blazer, dad’s bowtie, and fake beard in a brown paper sack and set it by the front door, ready for tomorrow’s presentation. 


* * *


Walking downstairs the following day, I heard Grant and my dad discussing something somewhat hushed at the breakfast table. 


“–But Dad, team tryouts are today, and I don’t even have the right thing to wear,” Grant said through gritted teeth.


“No worries, son,” My dad said, walking Grant to the door and handing him something, “I’ve got you covered!” 


I heard the door close as the two of them went out. Not long after, I heard Amy’s car honking outside. I grabbed my backpack, poster, and the brown paper bag I had set out the night before and ran out the door–ready to spend the day as Abe! 


* * *


The bell rang, and history class began. Everyone chatted excitedly, holding props, costumes, and posters, and the teacher had us present individually.


Theodore Roosevelt (AKA my friend Simone) went first. She wore glasses and a fake mustache as she spoke about the National Park System. Then two more U.S. Presidents (who looked a lot like twelve-year-olds) presented. And I was asked to go next. 


I walked to the front of the classroom, holding my poster and bag. Thirty students looked at me expectantly, and the history teacher gave me a nod.


I unraveled the poster with Abraham Lincoln’s name and photos handsomely arranged and glued across the blue background. 


Standing at the front of the classroom, I opened the bag to put on my top hat, beard, and blazer–but wait! That wasn’t my costume.




With shock, I pulled a red wrestling suit out of the bag. I couldn’t believe it. My heart began racing! The whole class looked just as surprised as I was! I saw Amy look at me like I was dumb and then turn and whisper something to Patricia. They both giggled. 


My cheeks felt hot as I thought of something to say. Then I remembered something I had read last night while researching the president…


“Did you know,” I heard myself ask the class, “that Abraham Lincoln used to be a wrestler? I remember reading,” I continued, “he was even in the wrestling Hall of Fame!”


The class looked impressed to learn something new about a President who was so popular. I then continued the presentation with the facts I had planned to say!


Once I finished, my teacher complimented me on my creative introduction and use of props. (Amy rolled her eyes, and my friends Simone and Shelby gave me the thumbs up.) But I was still baffled. 


As I returned to my desk, it finally made sense to me. This was the bag my dad meant to give to Grant! Which means...Grant is currently trying out for the wrestling team while dressed like Abraham Lincoln?!?


Your Friend,

Chapter 4FriendsWorld
00:00 / 03:53

Joanie Piper

Chapter Four Discussion Questions:

What do you think Grant and Dad were talking about in hushed voices?

Have you ever had to do a big presentation?

How did Joanie recover from the mistake?

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