Susan Rowan Masters
Author and Playwright

Libby Bloom


Libby Bloom wishes she could be as smart and talented as her practically perfect sister. But Libby's only talent seems to be embarassing herself. So she's horrified when, after causing a scene during chorus, she's switched to band class. Even worse, Mr. Cheney, the band teacher, assigns her to play the tuba -- not exactly a low-profile instrument! Lessons with the perceptive Mr. Cheney, however, are about more than just music. Soon Libby learns that she can do something well -- something that might even help save her school.

Clumsy but determined, Libby Bloom is a character whose hilarious embarassments, wishes, and triumphs readers will recognize all too well. Beata Szpura's funky illustrations add to the humor of the story of one unforgettable fourth-grader.

A teaching guide is available.


It's funny how a dumb thing like a burp could change a person's life, Libby later decided. All it took was one measly burp to set off a whole chain of events.

If that burp hadn't happened when it did, and if Mr. Cheney hadn't been looking for someone to join band, and if a bunch of other disasters hadn't happened along the way, she would have stayed forever regular ol' Libby Bloom, still singing her heart out in chorus. Instead, she ended up becoming a local celebrity.

It all started fourth period exactly one week before Lincoln School chorus was to put on the fall concert. As usual, Mr. Walinsky was waving his arms in Libby's direction.

"Not so loud...softer... softer!" Mr. Walinsky shouted above the strains of "O Beautiful This Land."

But the notes were too high, and unless Libby pushed the words out extra hard, her voice sagged. Of course, she didn't want Mr. Walinsky to accuse her of singing off key on purpose again. So over everyone else, she sang, "Above rolling hills and mighty mountains the starry skies..."

Charlotte Whippo, who sat directly in front of Libby, stuck her fingers in her ears and scrunched up her tiny nose.

Libby pretended not to notice as she strained out the words, "O beautiful, O beautiful this land..."

As everyone paused for Charlotte to sing her solo, Libby burped. She tried covering it up with her hand, but that didn't help much. "Oh," she said in a tiny voice, "excuse me." She felt her face turning red.

Except for her friend Ralph Corbet, all the boys were rolling in their chairs, guffawing.

Above the laughter rose Charlotte's voice, "She did it on purpose."

"I did n--"

"She's going to ruin our fall concert, Mr. Walinsky."

"But I--"

"Just because I was chosen to sing the--."

"Read my lips!" yelled Libby, shaking her music book at Charlotte. "I don't give a rat's ear." The book flew out of her hand. It sailed past Charlotte and hit Mr. Walinsky. Ten million freckles on Mr. Walinsky's balding head suddenly turned flaming red. "Go to the office," he demanded, pointing at the door.