Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy!

Book 3 in the Cheesie Mack Series

It’s Cheesie Mack‘s third adventure! This time, Cheesie and his best friend, Georgie, are starting sixth grade. That means they’re headed to middle school, where there will be new teachers, new classes, and lots of new kids..

Cheesie has a great idea—what better way to meet all those new kids than to run for class president? Plus, it’s sure to bother his evil older sister, Goon, the vice president of the eighth grade. But Cheesie gets bad news: one of his fifth-grade classmates, Lana Shen, will also be running for office. Cheesie has a tough decision to make, one that could affect his entire middle-school career. Should he bow out and support his friend, or go for the glory?

Old and new readers alike will love Cheesie’s wacky lists, drawings, and made-up words as—with a little help from Steve Cotler—he tells the story of the greatest election in the history of the sixth grade!

Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy!

Book 3 in the Cheesie Mack Series

Inside Running Like Crazy!

Interacting with Cheesie Mack

Readers will find more than just words in Cheesie's books because he's a fictional character with a real website. Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy! contains almost 20 links that lift the narrative off the page and into the online world. Like this one on page 131:

After a couple physics lessons using stilts, with me as his helper, Mr. Amato led us outside, where he balanced one of my stilts straight up and down on the palm of his hand. It looked really hard to do, but when I got home, I tried...and did it. Except with a broomstick. A stilt was too heavy.
The balancing thing is actually pretty easy. I put a description on my website if you want to try it. Just make sure you do it somewhere far from windows and other breakables, because you are sure to crash a few times.

Will middle-grade readers successfully balance sticks on the plams of their hands? (Click here, and you can try.)

Cheesie offers online, hip, fun extensions to the reading experience. It's new. It's 21st century. It's Cheesie Mack!

Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy!


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Excerpted from Chapter 1: Doofus, Dweeb, and Dork-Boy

Today was my first day at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. Everyone calls it RLS. But before I tell you about my new school (I’m in sixth grade), here are a few things you should know about me and my life:

  1. Georgie Sinkoff is my best friend. Our houses are next to each other but not on the same street. (If you read either of my previous books, you know why.) He lives with his father.
  2. I live with my mother, father, grandfather, and sister. My sister’s name is June, but I call her Goon. She is an eighth grader at RLS. She is despicable, a word that describes someone who is evil, nasty, mean, selfish, and _________. (There are lots of other words that describe sisters like Goon. Pick one. You can write it in the blank . . . unless this is a library book!)
  3. Goon and I have been fighting and arguing for as long as I have been alive. But since the beginning of fourth grade, I have been keeping a private tally of who’s winning. I call it the Point Battle. No one else knows about it. (The rules I use for the Point Battle are in my first two books and on my website. Believe me, they’re complicated, but fair.) At the end of Cool in a Duel, my second adventure, I was leading by just one point: 669—668. That was when camp ended. Unfortunately, for the rest of the summer Goon tortured and teased me and mostly got away with it. She’s ahead again. The Point Battle score as of the beginning of school was 682—673.
  4. Georgie is big. At Rocky Neck Elementary School, he was the way biggest fifth grader. At RLS, he will be the second-tallest sixth grader. Ms. Dinnington, the school nurse (who is his father’s girlfriend, more on that later), told Georgie a girl from Iceland moved here over the summer and she is almost an inch taller. Georgie is strong, athletic, and not afraid of anyone. He has greenish-brown eyes, reddish-brown hair, glasses with bright red frames, and braces.
  5. I am not so big. I was the shortest in fourth grade, second shortest in fifth, and in sixth grade, I’m guessing I’ll be about 20 percent from the bottom. I do not have braces, but Mom says I may get them later this year. I have brown hair, brown eyes, and both my second toes are longer than my big toes.
  6. I have lived all my life in Gloucester, a small town on the Atlantic Ocean in eastern Massachusetts. (Do not say GLOUW-sess-ter, even though that’s what it looks like. It’s GLAH-stir, but most people in this part of Massachusetts pronounce it GLAH-stah because there’s a real shortage of r’s around here. Maybe it should be spelled Glosta.) I once looked at Gloucester in a satellite image on my computer and zoomed in until I could actually see one of my father’s limousines parked in front of our house. (He owns a company that drives people around.) If I’d known the satellite was going to take that picture, I would’ve spray-painted “Cheesie Lives Here” on my roof. My dad has a great sense of humor. He would’ve let me do it. How cool would that be?!

That’s enough background stuff. My sixth-grade adventure starts now.

* * *

I bounced out of bed with a grin on my face. It was the first day of school, and I had been dreaming about being the only kid with an anti-gravity bicycle.

I yawned hugely and walked down the hall to the bathroom. As usual, Goon was locked inside, hogging it.

“Hurry up!” I shouted, pounding on the door.

“Get lost!” she yelled back.

I wasn’t in a hurry, so I smacked the door four more times, then went back to my room to put the last few items into my SuperBinder. A SuperBinder is required for every kid who starts sixth grade at Stevenson Middle School. You’re allowed to decorate the outside of your SuperBinder any way you want, but I hadn’t decided yet, so mine was blank. Here’s what has to be in it:

  1. The RLS school rule book.
  2. Your class schedule.
  3. The homework website information sheet.
  4. Lots of three-hole lined paper.
  5. Subject dividers.
  6. A pencil pouch containing five sharpened pencils, an eraser, a ruler, and lots of other stuff.
  7. A chunk of dry ice.
  8. About ten other items.

I’m kidding about the dry ice. I just wanted to see if you’re the kind of reader who gets bored with lists and skips to the end.

Dry ice is weird. It’s not ice at all. It’s actually frozen carbon dioxide, and if you put a chunk in water, it creates bubbles of white water vapor and CO2. Lots of Halloween displays use dry ice because the bubbles look sort of spooky.

“You can have the bathroom, Runto!” Goon shouted from the hallway. I closed my SuperBinder and ran. Now I was in a hurry—I guess because I’d been thinking about bubbling water, if you get what I mean.

Bathroom, get dressed, breakfast . . . just like every kid does. I was so focused on getting ready, I didn’t keep track of the enemy. Big mistake! By the time I went back upstairs to grab my school stuff, Goon had “decorated” my SuperBinder in a hideous way, which I will describe in a moment.

I didn’t have time to hide what she’d done, so I stashed the binder in my backpack and ran downstairs. Granpa looked up from his coffee and newspaper.

“Good luck at school, kiddo,” he said. “Go, Panthers!”

I zoomed by him and yelled back, “Pirates, not Panthers!” (The RLS school mascot is a fighting pirate.)

Granpa gave me a squinty-evil-eye, which let me know he was just kidding (and made him look like a fighting pirate!). The squinty-evil-eye is what Granpa, Dad, and I do when we’re teasing each other. It’s a Mack Family Tradition.

Seconds later I was outside and pedaling my bike. Georgie was waiting on his bike at the end of my block. “First day race?” he challenged, and we took off!

I won. I almost always do. Bike riding is the one sport where I am totally better than Georgie.

By the time we got inside the school, I had completely forgotten what Goon had done to my SuperBinder. The corridors were hubbubbing with kids talking, laughing, and high-fiving.

New schools can be really confusing. It took me a few minutes of wandering to find my locker. Then I struggled to work the combination. It didn’t help that Georgie was leaning next to me repeating over and over in a singsong voice, “Middle school is totally cool. Middle school is totally cool.”

When I messed up my locker combination for the third time (Georgie’s fault!), I spun around and pushed him. That’s when I saw Goon and her new boyfriend, Drew Teague, staring at me from across the hall.

Goon used to like Kevin Welch (the older brother of Alex Welch, who is in my grade). But when Kevin and I became sort-of friends (if you read Cool in a Duel, you know how that happened), Goon called him a traitor and dumped him. About a minute later she texted Drew and told him he could be her new boyfriend.

I finally got my locker open and stashed my lunch, but just as I closed it, Drew swooped in, grabbed my backpack off the floor, and passed it to Goon. I snatched it back, but not before Goon had pulled my SuperBinder out.

“Look, everybody!” Goon shouted. “My twerpy brother has done an amazing job on his SuperBinder!”

I leaped at her, but she zigzagged down the hallway, holding the binder up for everyone to see what she’d scribbled: DOOFUS in red marker (big!) on one side, DWEEB (bigger!) on the other, and DORK-BOY (biggest!!!) down the spine.

Kids looked at me.

Kids pointed at me.

Goon was laughing so hard she had to stop and bend over.

I was totally humiliated.

I grabbed my SuperBinder and hurried back to my locker. I tried to cover up her graffiti insults, but I didn’t have enough arms.

Sixth grade was less than five minutes old, and Goon had already beaten me for eight points, increasing her lead in the Point Battle to seventeen (690—673).

Here’s how I calculated my loss. Goon had embarrassed me when other people were around four points which doubled to eight because my red face proved it was an excellent insult. Darn.

Okay. So she had won the first round at RLS, but the Point Battle was far from over. An eighth grader versus a sixth grader would not normally be a fair fight. But this was the Point Battle—Goon versus Cheesie Mack—and Cheesie Mack was determined to win.

end of excerpt

Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy!

is available in the following formats:

Random House

Jun 25, 2013

ISBN-10: 0307977137

ISBN-13: 9780307977137

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Reviews of Cheesie Mack Is Running Like Crazy!

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Middle school has Cheesie Mack on the run. List-loving, 11-year-old Ronald "Cheesie" Mack is back for his third outing, and this time, he's embarking on the grand adventure of sixth grade at a new school. Cheesie decides to run for class president. He also discovers track and field, kind of decides that girls are OK to hang out with and does a (sort of) good deed for Goon. Fans of Cotler's chatty, engaging Cheesie titles will be overjoyed with Cheesie's evolving character and continued good humor and imagination. Cheesie announces Volume 4 with a tantalizing list of what to expect, so the fun's not over yet.

Kirkus Reviews