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"I'm going to be famous," says Arlo Moore, as he sets out to break the banana-eating record (17 bananas in less than 2 minutes) in The Guinness Book of World Records.​
I'm Going to be Famous

He has three weeks to practice before the big day. And he’s not alone. His sister Kerry and two of their friends decide to join him. They want to break three more world records.

>Eating 3 lemons in 15.2 seconds

>Eating 3 pounds, 6 ounces of ice cream in 50.04 seconds

>Spitting melon seeds 65 feet, 4 inches

Soon, all four kids are practicing like mad. Family members and students place bets. Will Arlo and his friends make The Guinness Book of World Records? And will they survive the disapproval of their parents and the school principal in the meantime

Children’s’ choice award nominations in Tennessee, Florida, and Indiana

Trumpet Book Club selection

Published in the U.K., New Zealand, and the Netherlands

Book on tape

“Fast paced” . . . furiously funny . . . built-in appeal”  -Booklist

“Amusing” . . . thoughtful”  -School Library Journal


This was my first book. I began writing it in 1982 while teaching fifth grade at Oceanlake School in the little coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon.

One of my students was looking through The Guinness Book of World Records, trying to find a record he could break. It got me thinking about what record I might try to break if I were in fifth grade. I found the banana record — 17 bananas in two minutes, or one banana every seven seconds — and actually tried it, with one banana, anyway. It was a very interesting experience. (Hint: do not cram the entire banana in your mouth at one time!)

After I recovered from the indigestion, my imagination really got going. I used the little notebook I carry to jot down plot and character ideas I got from observing the kids in my class. I wrote, and rewrote, and rewrote, until I finally broke my own record — 31 consecutive years without writing a novel — by actually doing it!

Chapter One

“I’ve made up my mind.” -Arlo Moore

The big pine tree in my backyard is easy to climb. From near the top I can see over the houses of Seagrove, Oregon, and down the hill to the Pacific Ocean. There’s a forked limb up in the tree that makes a perfect place to sit. From it I can throw pine cones at my pesty nine-year-old sister, Kerry. I can listen to the fog buoy at the end of the jetty, too, or watch for whale spouts, or just sit and think. That’s where I am now-up in the big pine, just sitting and thinking.

Today is the last Saturday before school starts in Seagrove. Monday is Labor Day. On Tuesday I begin the fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary School. Me, Arlo Moore, going back to school already. Summer will be over, and just because it’s the day after Labor Day. That’s a lot to think about.

But that’s later. Right now it’s still Saturday, and it’s still summer. The sun is shining, sister Kerry is nowhere to be seen, the ocean is calm and blue, and I’ve got my copy of the Guinness Book of World Records with me. That’s a lot to think about, too. My favorite book of all time is the Guinness Book of World Records. There are people listed in it who have done all sorts of incredible things like sleeping on nails, walking three thousand miles on stilts, yodeling for over ten hours, or eating lots of bananas really fast.

I love to eat bananas -anytime, anywhere, any way I can. That’s why I’ve read about the world record for eating bananas so many times that I’ve got it memorized: a man named Dr. Ronald L. Alkana ate seventeen bananas in only two minutes. He did it at the University of California in Irvine on December 7, 1973. That was before I was born, and it’s still the world record. I think about that a lot, especially when I’m up in the big pine.

But yesterday I had a new thought. It was one of those thoughts that stuck its nose into my business just like my dog Porkchop does when he’s looking for a bone. “Arlo,” this thought said to me, “you could eat seventeen bananas in less than two minutes. You should be in the Guinness Book of World Records instead of Dr. Ronald L. Alkana.”

Well, at first that thought just sat in my brain like my dog Porkchop does on the back porch, not moving a muscle. But today I’ve been giving that thought some serious consideration. I’ve turned it over in my mind a couple of times. I’ve looked at it very carefully. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I’ve made a decision: I could break that record. I could be in the Guinness Book of World Records and it would be wonderful. I’d be on TV. They’d make a movie about my life. I’d be rich. I’d ride in a big, fancy car. My fans would follow me everywhere.

“Hey, Arlo.”

I can hear it now, fans calling my name.

“Arlo, it’s me, Kerry.”

Fame, riches, my name in lights…wow.

“Arlo, listen to me.”

The world-famous banana-eater, that’s me, Arlo Moore.

“Arlo Moore!”

“Huh? What?” I ask, looking down at one of the last people in the world I want to see.

“Come down out of that tree,” sister Kerry orders. “Mom says it’s your turn to mow the lawn. You’ve got to clean up your room, too.”

Yep, I’ve made up my mind. The time has come for me to take action. My path in life is now set. Look out, here comes Arlo Moore, banana-eating champion of the world.

I’m going to be famous.