What goes up . . . comes down on Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow's roof! Will a rogue NASA satellite crush her house before Robyn can set things right?
Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow (yes, that's actually her name) has a target on her roof. Well, not a real one, but everything seems to land there: paper airplanes, lost kites, socks, cats, and once even a skydiver! In the town of Calliope, Robyn and her magnet roof are famous--for being weird. That wasn't such a big deal . . . until now!
A rogue NASA satellite is falling out of orbit and is going to hit Earth. NASA says it will probably land in the ocean, but Robyn knows better--that satellite is headed for her roof. To make matters worse, Robyn discovers that she doesn't just have a fairy middle name. When her class reads A Midsummer Night's Dream, she learns that Robin Goodfellow is a fairy! Which means if the satellite flattens her, everyone will laugh at her name in the news stories. Robyn realizes what she needs to do: find her long-lost dad so he can help her change her name and protect her from the satellite!
Both surprising and relatable, this middle-grade novel will have readers wishing they could move to the small town of Calliope, laugh with the larger-than-life characters, and race against the clock to save Robyn from NASA's mistake.
An Excerpt fromWhat Goes Up
When my bare foot touched the rickety boards of our front step, a man’s voice came from somewhere high above me.
“Hello down there!”
I squealed and held up my hands in a classic self-defense position. “Identify yourself!”
Things landed on our house all the time: balls, kites, and even our neighbor’s giant tree. None of those things had ever talked to me.
“I’m real sorry to bother you, little girl, but I could use some help.”
“I’m not a little girl. I’m practically twelve,” I said, my heart thumping hard. “If you’re trying to break into our house, you should know I invented the art of Focus Pocus, and I have a black belt.” The truth was, my best friend had invented it, but I’d been there and helped by surviving the first-ever Focus Pocus Doom Glare. It wouldn’t do much to stop a determined burglar, but it might confuse him a little.
“I have no idea what Focus Pocus is, and I’m not trying to steal anything. I’m a bit lost. If you would call nine-one-one, I’d be very grateful,” he said.
Since a thief wouldn’t ask for 911, my heart settled a bit. I pushed my glasses back on my nose, shaded my eyes, and squinted upward. There, dangling by his harness from my grandma’s rooster weather vane, was an embarrassed-looking skydiver.
“Could you throw down a Frisbee or two while you’re up there?” I asked.
He looked at his swinging feet. “Not without falling.”
There were probably toys on that roof from when Grandma was a kid. I could have made a fortune selling them on the school black market if I could’ve gotten them down. But Grandma was terrible with heights, and Mom couldn’t be trusted with a ladder. The treasure was so close, but there was no way for me to get my hands on it.
Half an hour later, the fire department was trampling all over Grandma’s roses. They used to grow in neat rows beside the path until she felt sorry for them and set them free. Now they straggled everywhere in random tangles.
Chief Watson marched over to greet me. On the way, his boot caught in one of the drooped-over rosebushes. His arms flailed and his helmet slipped sideways, but he stayed upright and managed a smile. Thanks to my strict Focus Pocus training, I kept my cool and didn’t giggle, but it was a close one.
“How goes life beneath the magnet roof, Robyn?” he asked, winking at me. We were practically friends, since he had been to our house more often than the mailman.
“It’s okay, except for skydivers and nosy neighbors,” I said.
Chief Watson’s eyes twitched toward Mrs. Cuthbert’s house. Since Mrs. Cuthbert thought she was a special undercover operative for the FBI, she would for sure be peering through her binoculars at us. If anyone even looked in her direction, she’d take that as an invitation to come and run things. In other towns, people probably called the police to report neighbors like meddlesome Mrs. Cuthbert. In Calliope, you left your neighbors alone, because chances were if they moved, you’d end up with someone way odder. I wasn’t sure there could be anyone worse than Mrs. Cuthbert.
The chief patted the pom-pom of hair in the ponytail on top of my head. “Hang in there, kiddo.”
Grandma arrived home in the middle of all the fuss, carrying a paper bag filled with groceries.
“Watch where you put those ladders, Davy Watson!” Grandma growled as she elbowed her way through the small crowd of busybodies gathered at our front gate. Chief Watson saluted her as she hurried by, but she didn’t even stop to wave.
Grandma took my arm and herded me through the front door and into the room that used to be our living room but now was a fairy-themed party room. These days we watched TV in the kitchen, and Mom hosted parties in her homemade Fairy Wonderland. Papier-mâché forest critters peered out at us from behind giant toadstools and fake weeping willows with gauzy leaves.
They had taken Mom months to make. She still painted over the animals’ eyes sometimes, trying to get them to look focused.
Today she sat cross-legged on the low party table she had painted to look like a rock with ivy vines. She was turning paper napkins into small folded fairies. “Ooh, the fire department is here,” she said, placing her latest fairy in a basket with dozens of others.
“Did you hear the news, Mary?” Grandma whispered to Mom, like it was a big secret.
“News? Not if I can help it. Too depressing.” Mom unfolded herself from the table and stretched out her back. “I should go and supervise the firefighters.” She tapped my shoulder with her wand, leaving sparkles all over my T‑shirt.
“Hush,” Grandma said. “NASA said one of their satellites has gone rogue and will crash back to Earth sometime soon. A month at most, they reckon.”
Mom shrugged. “So?”
A little shiver wriggled through me. Satellites were a lot bigger and heavier than skydivers or kites. Even a roof that was used to things landing on it might struggle with an out-of-control satellite.
Grandma and I looked through the window at the firefighters lowering the skydiver to the ground. Everyone ducked to avoid a Frisbee he knocked loose, as it looped the loop on its way down.
“Oh, the magnet roof. I see,” Mom said. “Don’t let that worry you. I doubt it can attract satellites.”
Grandma sniffed. “Why shouldn’t it land here? This is as good as any other house.”
Sometimes when Mom and Grandma said “I love you,” it came out sounding like an argument. Truth was, they only argued for the fun of it. They agreed on most everything, and I could tell that neither of them took this problem seriously.
“Maybe we should move,” I said.
Mom waggled her very realistic-looking fairy wings at me. My mother wore fairy wings and a tutu every day, even to pick me up from school. Lucky for me, there were stranger moms in Calliope. Well, as strange, anyway.
“I’ve got ten kids coming in the morning,” Mom said. “We’d never find another house with space for parties. I can’t move the Fairy Wonderland.”
She had a point. The animals and trees would be pretty hard to fit in a moving van.
Mom half skipped, half danced outside to wave her wand at the firefighters as they packed up the fire truck.
“I was born in this house, and it’ll take more than a satellite to get rid of me,” Grandma said. “This old house can stand up to anything. Your mom and I have rebuilt all the damaged parts over the years. It’s solid as they come.”
That didn’t help at all. While Grandma was great at building things, Mom was another story. We still used a spice rack she had put together. It had come with instructions even I could understand, but instead of keeping her jars of herbs and spices neat and tidy, it flung them out into the kitchen like tiny out-of-control satellites.
We were doomed.