For Ages
6 to 9

Flying Feet is a part of the Zigzag Kids collection.

When Charlie hears that special buzz in his head, he knows it means one thing: an idea for a new invention. But Charlie's ideas tend to backfire—such as the flying feet that don't really fly. If only Charlie could make his inventions work, people might think he's as special as his older brother, Larry. Then the Zigzag afternoon center organizes a Come as a Character Day, and Charlie gets his chance to shine.

An Excerpt fromFlying Feet


Charlie counted in his head. Three. Two. One.


The three o'clock bell.

It was time for Afternoon Center.

Everyone was going outside today. Some kids were playing basketball. Some kids were doing a potato race.

Charlie had a new invention.

Wait until everyone saw it. They'd be yelling, "Char-lie, Char-lie!"

He was even wearing his brother Larry's good luck T-shirt.

Larry was in high school now. He'd gone to the Zigzag School, too. He'd read every book in the library. Even the boring ones.

The teachers still remembered him.

Larry's shirt said WISHBONE on the collar.

Charlie was wishing, all right.

Wishing his invention would work.

Charlie grabbed his bag. "Come on, guys," he yelled. "Invention time."

He raced downstairs and outside. A bunch of kids raced, too.

"Wait up, Charlie," Destiny called. Today she had braids and beads all over her head.

Beebe, a new girl, was with her. Her hair was the color of a carrot.

"I don't hear very well," she told Charlie.

She flipped up her curly hair.

He could see little tan circles in her ears.

"Hearing aids," she said. "They help me hear better."

Charlie leaned against the wall to wait. The school was long and yellow. The bricks were warm.

Beebe was still talking. "My name is Beebe. Like two 'B's."

Charlie nodded. He could see Ramon, the college helper. Ramon was bouncing balls at the handball court.

Sumiko burst out the door. "I'm here." She had a book in her hand. It had a bunch of Japanese words.

Habib came out next. He was juggling two Popsicle sticks. "Me too."

"I hope your invention is good," Mitchell told Charlie.

"Did you ever see anyone walk up a wall?" Charlie asked.

"You're going to do that?" Mitchell asked.

"You'll see." Charlie tapped his bag.

"Hey, Ramon," Mitchell called. "Charlie's going to be a human fly."

Charlie's heart began to pound.

If only this worked.

He'd be a hero.

His picture would be on the wall. Right next to Zelda A. Zigzag's. She had been the first principal of the school.

Charlie opened the bag. He took out his Flying Feet.

He'd been working on the feet for days.

It had started with a buzz in his head.

That was the way all his inventions began.

Buzz! An idea!

He'd taken Larry's thrown-away sneakers. They were huge.

He'd found suction cups on his father's workbench.

He'd glued. . . .

Painted the sneakers bright red. . . .


Now he took off his socks. His toes had to hold on.

He edged his feet into them. Perfect. Flying Feet!

Ramon frowned. "Are you sure you can do this?"

Charlie wasn't so sure. He had to do it, though.

The whole Afternoon Center was watching.

"Stand back." He made swimming motions with his arms. "I need room."

Mitchell's sister, Angel, shook her head. "We're going to need an ambulance," she told Ramon.

"I'm right here," Ramon said. "Don't worry."

Charlie wanted to tell Angel to be quiet. But she remembered his last invention.

The Breathe-Underwater Box.

He'd nearly drowned.

Charlie wiggled his toes in the Flying Feet. Larry's sneakers were a lot bigger than his feet.

He hoped they'd stay on.

"Go, go, go, go," Mitchell and Habib yelled.

"Stop, stop," Angel said.

Charlie took a look at the handball wall.

He took five steps back. Then he began to run.

He could see Angel. Her hands covered her eyes.

The wall was in front of him.

He took a giant step. Up. The sneaker stuck to the wall.

It was going to work!

Charlie, the greatest inventor in the Center.

His foot slipped out of the sneaker.

"Bonk!" he heard Mitchell yell.

Charlie hit the ground.

"I knew it," Angel said. "Call the ambulance."

Ramon helped him up. "He's all right. I have him."

What Charlie had was ten sore toes.

Larry's WISHBONE shirt was ripped.

Worse than all that, his invention had failed.


Under the Cover