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“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.”
Summary: Emily loves to chase her Frisbee on the Boston Commons. This time, though, Emily's mistress threw it too far...and into the jowls of Spike, who ran off with it. Just as Emily was about to catch Spike, her Frisbee falls into the storm drain. When he decides to include Emily in his next game, the Frisbee is quickly forgotten. But being Spikes new-best-friend wasn't as much fun as Emily thought. Would Emily have the courage to be her own dog? This is a story about bullying that offers kids a chance to
Type of Reading: family reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Age of Child: Started reading with 5-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: Our child asked us to re-read the book immediately after the first time. The second time through, s/he focused on "talking" to Spike to tell him he was behaving badly. There were several times where s/he would look at the pages and explore the book, without us reading it.
Adult Reader Reaction: We like the historical information about Boston and the Freedom Trail in the front- and back-pages of the book. The story is so universal, though, that it could be set anywhere. The story moves along well, and offers a discussion of bullying that younger kids can understand. We like that the text draws out that Emily was a bullying victim, too; not just because she lost a toy, but because she was lured into being someone she wasn't.
Pros: This is a picture book story about bullying that kids can understand and appreciate even if they aren't reading yet. The illustrations are excellent, as are the prepared questions for parents and teachers to use.
Cons: The illustrations are terrific, except for Cotton. Although the front blurb talks about her "sadness" her expression looks just as happy in the middle as it does at the end.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a nice story, and you will likely read it several times. Still, it is not one that meets the personal-library-forever test.
Educational Themes: The value of the story itself is bullying. The questions at the end are handy to have to talk about the story (i.e., gauge comprehension) and start new discussions. The front- and end-papers offer detailed information about Boston's Freedom Trail that could lead to other activities.
Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, picture book, life lessons