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Kateri O'Leary and the Computer Mouse

Kateri O'Leary and the Computer Mouse

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Kateri O'Leary and the Computer Mouse

129 pages
1 hour
Nov 13, 2019


When a fortune teller predicts change, eleven-year-old Kateri is not surprised. She's already grappling with a new home, a new school, and a bully named Clive. Her red hair, freckles and rhyming name make her stick out like a sore thumb. Will a major mouse mix-up make matters worse, or help Kateri fit in? Only time will tell…and time is running out!  

Nov 13, 2019

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Kateri O'Leary and the Computer Mouse - Shirley Martin

Chapter 1

Kateri O’Leary tossed and turned. Her stomach churned. Her mind was spinning out of control.

Yikes she thought. This is not good! Sitting up she turned on the bedside lamp to peer at her clock.

2 a.m.!

Murphy! she whispered, Murph! Are you awake? He stared up from his cozy nest on her pillow, pink nose twitching, eyes alert. His expression seemed to say, Well I wasn’t awake, but thanks to you I am now!

Here I go again she thought. Once again, I’m talking to a mouse.

I can’t sleep Murph! I need my sleep! Tomorrow I have to go back to that stupid school! I hate it here! Do you hate it here?

Murphy’s beady black eyes gazed up into her teary blue ones.

I have nobody else to talk to Murph! Dad spends all day going back and forth on the ferry. He’s exhausted when he gets home. And I can’t talk to Mom. Back at home I had Zoe and Jenn. I miss my friends SO MUCH!

Murphy’s nose wrinkled.

The kids at school all hang out together. Nobody wants to be friends with me. I hate it here! And that Clive guy. He’s really mean!

Murphy’s whiskers quivered.


Well, there’s one girl, Sarah. She smiled at me once. She kinda reminds me of Zoe…except she’s really short… but she has curly brown hair. Just like Zoe’s, she sighed.

Murphy licked one paw as Kateri said, Actually, she smiled at me twice! May-be she’ll talk to me tomorrow. And the good news is, tomorrow is Friday. If I can make it through tomorrow, I’ve survived the first week.

Murphy curled into a furry grey ball. Kateri flicked out the light, snuggling beside him.

Pleasant dreams Murph, she said.

Chapter 2

Kateri rolled onto her side, hiding under the puffy blue quilt, but the noise persisted.

Kateri O’Leary, her mother sang from down the hall, Kateri O’Leary, it’s time to get up!

Flinging the quilt to the floor, Kateri pushed her auburn hair back from her face to stare at Murphy. Why can’t she just call me by my first name? she asked. Why does she have to call out my whole name, and why did she give me a rhyming name in the first place? Murphy gazed up at her. His pert nose wiggled, his whiskers jiggled, but as usual he had nothing to say.

I know, said Kateri, I’m complaining again. But the kids at school keep making fun of my name. Isn’t it bad enough that I get teased about my hair? I’m so tired of being called Carrot Top…and don’t they know that the tops of carrots are green, not red!? That crazy Clive calls me Freckle Face, and says I have mud sprinkled on my nose. And he and his weird friends chase me at recess yelling Kateri O’Leary at the top of their lungs.

Murphy stared at her. Oh Murph, groaned Kateri, nobody cares but you!

She had told these kids that at her old school her nickname was Kat. But Clive, the ringleader, had promptly turned that into Scaredy Kat, so her once beloved nickname was now just more ammunition.

Kateri O’Leary, her mother sang again, you’re going to be late for school! Tucking Murphy into his cage on the windowsill, Kateri quickly pulled on stretchy jeans, a green and purple striped t-shirt and matching socks. Heading into the hall, she turned back to grab her fake fur purple vest. I’m already different so I might as well wear what I like she thought.

Morning Mom, she said.

Her mom stopped clacking away on her old typewriter. Good, I’m glad you’re finally up. Don’t mind me. I have to finish this article. The editor at the Haven Harbour Herald said he might publish it. She giggled. Haven Harbour Herald…try saying that three times, fast!

Kateri nodded, trying to show interest.

I wish we could afford to buy a laptop, her mom continued. This is taking forever! She went back to pounding the keys, her forehead creased, wisps of grey blonde hair escaping her loose bun.

Mum at typewriter

Yanking a brush through her tangled hair, Kateri perched at the kitchen counter. After slurping two spoonfuls of yogurt and gagging on half a mushy banana, she grabbed her backpack and stuck her feet into green suede boots.

Have a great day at school! her mom glanced up to say.

Oh yeah, like that will ever happen Kateri thought. Sure, thanks Mom, she said, throwing her a kiss as she dashed out the door.

Halfway down the stairs, she screeched to a halt at the sound of her name. Kateri, come back! You forgot your mouse! her mom called.

What? she asked.

There was a notice in your school forms. It says you’re supposed to take your mouse to school today.

Oh, okay. I thought bring your pet day was next week. Kateri dashed back to her room and tucked Murphy into her vest pocket, telling him, It’s our lucky day, Murph. We get to go to school together! At least for today I’ll have a friend!

Chapter 3

Puffing and panting, Kateri tore through the main door of Haven Harbour Elementary. Sneaking past the principal’s office, she hurried to her classroom. She slid onto her chair just as the second bell rang. Phew, that was close she thought. Patting her pocket, she was relieved to feel Murphy’s round little shape.

There were no friendly glances from her new classmates. Neither Sarah nor her twin brother Sam even bothered to look at her. Clive stuck out his tongue. Kateri quickly turned away. Yuck! she thought.

At least Madame Bonnechance gave her a welcoming nod. Her new fifth grade teacher was short and round with sparkling eyes and wiry grey hair. She travelled around the classroom at warp speed, talking a mile a minute.

Now class, she announced in her crisp French accent, Mr. Gigabyte wants you to go directly to the computer lab. Don’t forget that some of you were asked to bring your own mouse. Now off you go, class, vite vite…I mean quick quick!

Patting her pocket to make sure Murphy was still on board, Kateri trailed her classmates to the computer lab. That’s weird, she thought. If it’s pet

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