Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Terrible Terrel


By Whoopi Goldberg

By Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Ashley Evans

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 23, 2011. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

The fourth book of the award-winning and bestselling Sugar Plum Ballerinas series by Whoopi Goldberg—now featuring brand-new illustrations!

At the Nutcracker School of Ballet in Harlem, young dancers learn to chassé, plié, and jeté with their Sugar Plum Sisters—but things don't always go to plan! As the girls encounter challenges both on and off stage, they'll need the support of their classmates to carry them through with aplomb.

Terrel is always in charge, whether she's making lists for grocery shopping (her favorite hobby, AFTER ballet), keeping her brothers in line, or organizing father-daughter time in with her dad. Lately, though, her dad's been acting a little strange–wearing new clothes and way too much aftershave. Things get even weirder when he surprises Terrel with his new girlfriend during a night out at the ballet – a night that was supposed to be father-daughter time. What's more, his "date" brought her niece along. A niece who turns out to be Terrel's ballerina nemesis, Tiara Girl! With some Sugar Plum help, Terrel takes charge of breaking up her father's new relationship.


For Ma, who always dances…

Text copyright © 2010 by Whoopi Goldberg

Illustrations © 2010 by Maryn Roos

All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Jump at the Sun Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Disney • Jump at the Sun Books, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10011-5690.

ISBN 978-1-4231-4646-9

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Chapter 1

I stand in our kitchen, surveying a mass of grocery bags with satisfaction. Shopping mission accomplished in record time, thanks to me, Commander Terrel.

Dad puts the last bag on the counter. “You sure you got this, sweetheart?” he asks me.

I nod. “Edward can help,” I say.

My brother Edward, who is leaning against the counter messing with his phone, looks up but doesn’t object. Danny, Cheng, and Tai fled to their rooms the second we got back from the store. Danny, who’s twenty-two, said that after all that shopping, he couldn’t stand to look at food ever again, but I notice he took an entire package of cookies into his room with him.

“Okay,” Dad says. “I’m going to get a haircut.”

“Now?” I ask. Who gets a haircut at seven o’clock at night?

“Last appointment of the day,” Dad says. “Take care of your sister, Edward.”

I roll my eyes. Like I need Edward to take care of me. I am the taking-care-of-things person in this house, and everyone knows it. Besides, Edward is only twelve. That’s just three-and-a-quarter-years older than me.

Dad kisses me on the top of the head and leaves.

Time to get to work.

“Atten-tion,” I say.

Edward shakes his head at me. “Do you have to do that ‘attention’ thing?”

“Apparently, I do,” I say, staring at his thumbs, which are still jumping around the keyboard of his phone.

He sighs, puts the phone away, and salutes. “Yes, ma’am. Where do we start?”

I smile. That’s more like it.

You might wonder why this older brother actually listens to me. Actually, all of my older brothers listen to me. Why? Because they know what’s good for them.

Our mom died when I was only six. So, I am in charge of keeping the house running smoothly. Nobody makes me; I do it because I like it and I’m good at it. Some people are good at spelling, or at running. I, personally, am an organizing genius (if I do say so myself). My friends come to me when they need help, because I can think through problems and find answers. Even when I was little, I could see what needed to be done, and then get it done.

I assign each of my brothers (except the oldest one, Waylon—he has his own apartment now) a cleaning job every week. When we go shopping, I call the shots, sending them each out on cereal or banana missions while my dad and I pack things neatly into the shopping cart. I keep a big yellow binder full of vital information, such as when Edward needs to get his field-trip permission slip back to school, when my dad needs to write the rent check, when Tai needs to have his science project done, and how much toilet paper we have left.

At first, my brothers and my dad were not happy about having a little kid boss them around. Since they didn’t understand why they should let me run everything, I went on strike. I hid the binder under my bed, sat back, and watched everything fall apart.

Which it did.

“We’re out of soy milk,” Tai hollered at breakfast one day.

“Yep,” I said.

“Is it the thirty-first already?” Dad said, pushing his glasses up on his nose as he stared at the calendar. “Our rent is almost late!”

“Yep,” I said.

“I can’t find my homework!” Edward yelled from the living room. “There are stupid papers all over the floor!”

“Yep,” I said.

“No toilet paper!” Danny howled from the bathroom.

“Interesting,” I said, flipping the pages of my puzzle magazine.

Needless to say, in three days they had surrendered and promised to listen to me in the future.

So, now everything runs smoothly. No problems. No surprises. I love it. Dad is always saying that they’d never survive without me. This makes me feel good. It’s also true.

Edward leans over and starts taking things out of a shopping bag. He holds up a jar of peanut butter. “Third cupboard, right?”

Second cupboard, lower shelf,” I say correcting him. The lower-shelf part is important. Although my organizing ability is enormous, I am quite small. Any food that I might need to get by myself has to go on a lower shelf, and peanut butter is definitely something I need. “But do the frozen food first.”

I put the spaghetti in the middle drawer, where it belongs. Although I like putting groceries away, it’s not as much fun as usual. Something’s bugging me. It takes a minute for me to figure out what it is.

“Hey, Edward. Why do you think Dad’s getting his hair cut so late?”

Edward takes out a handful of crackers and starts eating them as he puts the box away. “I dunno, T.,” he says. “Who cares when he gets his hair cut?”

I care, because I know for a fact that Dad usually gets his hair cut every six weeks on a Saturday afternoon while I’m at ballet.

“Maybe the barber is going on vacation,” Edward says.

Oh. I hadn’t thought of that. “Yeah, probably,” I say.

With both of us putting things away, unloading the groceries goes fast. When we’re done, I make myself a bowl of Applesauce Surprise—my own special concoction that’s made with applesauce, raisins, cinnamon, and gummy worms all mixed up together. I sit at the kitchen table, chomp down on a gummy worm—and start doing my homework.

Dad comes home with pizza for dinner. But he also has a shopping bag stuffed under his coat as if he’s trying to hide it.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“Nothing,” he says. “I just picked up a few new shirts on the way home.”

Okay. Now that’s really weird. Dad hates shopping for clothes. I don’t remember him ever buying new clothes, except when Uncle Charlie got married and Dad had to buy black socks to wear with his rented tuxedo.

After I’m supposed to be in bed, I walk by Dad’s room. He’s standing in front of his mirror. He smiles, then stops, then smiles again. It looks like he’s practicing his smile. I stand in the shadows and watch him do this for about five whole minutes.

I hope he’s not losing his mind, I think as I walk back to bed. Organizing four boys and a dad is hard enough without the dad being crazy.

Chapter 2

Epatha and I sit outside on the steps of the Nutcracker School of Ballet even though it’s late November and it’s freezing. A gust of wind makes the dried brown leaves scuttle across the ground. Epatha’s hair flies out in all directions. I pull my coat tighter around me. I almost mention Dad smiling in the mirror the other night to Epatha. But he didn’t do anything weird today. Maybe he just had something stuck in his teeth.

Epatha interrupts my thoughts. “Have you seen those posters for Sleeping Beauty?” she asks. “It looks fabulous. Fantastico. Fabuloso.”

As usual, Epatha is speaking in English, Italian, and Spanish all at once (she lives with not only her mom, dad, and older sisters, but also her Puerto Rican grandma and her Italian grandma).

“Yeah, I’ve seen them. Everyone’s seen them,” I say. The posters are plastered all over the place.

Epatha pulls out a roll of strawberry-flavored hard candy and offers me a piece. As I pop it into my mouth, she squints thoughtfully. “I would totally love to go. But I’ll bet it costs a billion trillion bucks a ticket.”

I nod. I kind of wish she hadn’t brought it up. It would be amazing to go, but I’m sure we can’t afford it. I know exactly how much we spend on groceries each week. And if we spend that much on groceries, I’m sure we don’t have a spare billion trillion bucks.

JoAnn thumps up the street toward us. Her leg has been in a lime green cast since she tripped on her skateboard last week, but she moves even faster with crutches than she did without them. The other two triplets, Jessica and Jerzey Mae, struggle to keep up with her.

“What are you crazy girls doing out here in the cold?” JoAnn asks. The crutches must be making her arms even stronger, because somehow she hauls me up into a standing position. I allow myself to be dragged up the remaining stairs and into the school. The others follow.

Even though JoAnn won’t be able to dance for a while, she comes to class to see us. When we’re dancing, she sits on the side of the room and reads. Usually.

Please tell me she brought a book today,” I mutter to Jessica.

Last ballet class, JoAnn forgot her book, so she spent the whole class watching us like a hawk, then whispering hints to each of us about what we were doing wrong. “Your arm’s supposed to be higher, T.,” she told me. “Hey, Brenda—watch your back leg on those jumps,” she hissed. By the end of class, we all wanted to clobber her, broken leg or not.

“She has at least two,” Jessica says. “Jerzey and I each brought one in case she forgot.” JoAnn even got on Jessica’s nerves last time, and that’s not easy to do.


On Sale
Aug 23, 2011
Page Count
160 pages

Whoopi Goldberg

About the Author

Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy, and a Tony. Currently, she is the moderator of ABC Television Network's The View. Whoopi is equally well-known for her humanitarian efforts on behalf of children, the homeless, human rights, education, substance abuse and the battle against AIDS. Among her many charitable activities, Whoopi is a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.

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Deborah Underwood

About the Author

Deborah Underwood has written numerous picture books including the New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter Cat, The Quiet Book, and The Loud Book! She has also written Part-time Mermaid, Part-time Princess, and Interstellar Cinderella.
Jorge Lacera was born in Colombia and grew up in Miami, Florida. He graduated from the Ringling College of Art and Design. He illustrated the picture book Zombies Don't Eat Veggies, with his wife Megan Lacera. He lives in Canada.

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