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Summary: David is a new student at school. Niron and Vesna are trying to help David and be a friend, but he doesn't want the attention. When Niron and David are alone, David reluctantly tells him about a mean soccer coach. Niron helps him find an adult who will listen. This is a picture book about bullying and the importance of finding an adult to talk to.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 7
Reading Level: 1.4
Age of Child: Read by a 7-year-old girl
Young Reader Reaction: My daughter was immediately drawn in by the pictures, particularly David's expressions. We were surprised by how easily she read the book. She read it before we did, and had already picked out her "favorite part."
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a valuable story with an important message for kids. As an adult, you begin to feel the tension and wonder where it's going, particularly when David tells Niron not to talk about his sore arm. I expected the bully to be a parent and the subject to be child abuse, but this was a non-family member. It may be a minor point, but I liked the idea that you can talk to anyone who works at school (in this case the janitor). This is a book you will want to read before you share it with your child.
Pros: Kids will connect with the characters in this story and understand the importance of being persistent in telling an adult about bullies.
Cons: In sharing this book with children, you need to be prepared to talk about secrets, bullying, and abuse. The bully is both verbally and physically abusive, so you will need to be prepared to discuss these things.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This book presents a lesson we must (unfortunately) help our children understand. Rhyme makes it accessible to young children without being scary.
Educational Themes: This book effectively presents the elements of bullying, the signals that someone is a victim, and the right way for a child (and adult) to solve the problem.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 1.4
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, bullies, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: April 2009
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