Chapter 1 Summary

Mrs. Olinski is often asked how she chose the members of her sixth-grade Academic Team at Epiphany Middle School in upstate New York. She does not know the answer until Bowl Day is over and the work of the four children, who call themselves The Souls, is finished. The Souls accomplish the amazing feat of making it to the finals, even though they are in the youngest class competing. Noah Gershom is the first student chosen by Mrs. Olinski for the team.

Noah Writes a B & B Letter

During the summer before his sixth-grade year, while his parents are on a cruise, Noah is sent to stay with his paternal grandparents in Century Village, a retirement facility in Florida which is like "a theme park for old people." During Noah's visit, two of the facility's residents, Margaret Draper and Izzy Diamondstein, get married. Noah, by his own rather smug admission, is "a wonderful help" in making sure that the festivities go smoothly.

Noah learns calligraphy in order to help with the invitations. Things are going well in that particular aspect of the preparations until a cat belonging to Tillie Nachman, the woman in charge, walks through some spilled ink and leaves "cat's paws" on five of the cards. Tillie initially is upset because there are no extras, but Noah comes up with the brilliant idea of offering a surprise gift at the wedding to each of the recipients of the "cat's paw" invitations. He will figure out what the gifts will be later.

On the day of the wedding, Noah is "in great demand," delivering items to the venue in the new red wagon his Grandpa has bought for him. Unfortunately, during the transporting of the wedding cake, Allan Diamondstein, Izzy's son and best man, trips on the wagon handle, upsetting the cake and hurting his ankle. Allan, who is going through a divorce and is "the most nervous human being [Noah has] ever seen in [his] life," is taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Noah...

(The entire section is 735 words.)