The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Chapter 13 Summary
I Meet Winnie's Evil Twin Brother, the Wool Pooh
- Byron, Joey, and Kenny are headed out for a swim.
- As they leave the house, Grandma warns them not to go to Collier's Landing because a little boy got caught in a whirlpool there and drowned.
- Kenny wants to go to Collier's Landing anyway.
- Joey is nervous. She always follows the rules. Plus, she doesn't want to get lost in the water.
- Byron tells Joey that the boy was caught by the Wool Pooh. He says that Wool Pooh is Winnie-the-Pooh's evil twin—he hides underwater and snatches little kids.
- Then he takes Joey and heads for the public swimming area. Hold on, Byron is heading away from trouble? Byron?
- Kenny is just as baffled as we are. Plus, he wants to go see where the boy drowned.
- But Byron says they should listen to Grandma. Since when does Byron listen to grownups?
- Kenny argues with him and then decides to go to Collier's Landing alone.
- As he walks, Kenny thinks about the Wool Pooh. He's pretty sure Byron was making that up, but it still has him a little nervous.
- When he gets to Collier's Landing, the water looks beautiful, dark blue and cool.
- But there's a sign that says, "WARNING! DANGER! NO SWIMMING! SIX LIFES BEEN LOST HERE! BAD DROP OFF!" Yikes, that sounds serious. Better turn around, Kenny.
- Kenny studies the water for any signs of the Wool Pooh. Then he looks around to see if Byron followed him.
- Finally, he comes to the conclusion that the Wool Pooh is fake and Joe Collier put that sign up because he didn't want to share his lake.
- Kenny-the-narrator reflects that big trouble seems to happen slowly, with a lot of little warnings and chances to turn back. Yup, sounds about right.
- Kenny's first warning was when even Byron didn't come with him.
- The second warning was when he couldn't get his shoelaces untied to go swimming.
- But Kenny ignores all the warnings and gets in the water.
- He starts trying to catch some of the fish hanging around in the shallow water.
- Then he notices a turtle out in the deeper water. He takes a few more steps out and makes a grab for it.
- And suddenly, the bottom of the lake is gone.
- This must be that drop off the sign mentioned.
- Kenny's not worried though. The shore is still close so he'll just kick his way back.
- He kicks and kicks, but he doesn't seem to be moving.
- Then his head starts to go under.
- Now Kenny is scared.
- Really scared.
- The water seems to be pulling Kenny away from shore.
- His head goes under again, and this time, Kenny sees the Wool Pooh swim up out of the deep water. He's big and gray and has square fingers and toes. The Wool Pooh grabs Kenny's leg and starts pulling him down. Kenny kicks and fights, but he keeps going down.
- Wait, so, there really is a Wool Pooh?
- Kenny is starting to get dizzy. He's running out of air.
- Then Kenny sees Joey in the water looking just like the angel Mrs. Davidson gave her. Hold on, Joey's in the water dressed like an angel?
- The Joey-angel points up and Kenny figures she's telling him to swim up one more time.
- Kenny figures it can't be a good sign that he's hallucinating angels.
- He swims hard and makes it to the surface for a few deep breaths before getting pulled down again.
- This time while he's under, he sees Byron in the water.
- Kenny thinks the Wool Pooh is letting him see all his family before he dies.
- He's wrong, though; Byron is real. Byron starts fighting the Wool Pooh until finally he lets go, and Byron drags Kenny back to shore.
- When Kenny finally quits coughing and throwing up, Byron hugs him and kisses his head and cries. Kenny can't believe that Byron is crying over him.
- Aw, Byron, you really do love your brother, don't you?
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