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ENEMY PIE

Author: Derek Munson

Illustrator: Tarah Calahan King

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Publisher: Chronicle Books, ½2000

Material: hard cover

Summary: Why did Jeremy Ross have to move to our neighborhood? Right after he moved in, Jeremy invited other kids to his trampoline party, but not our hero. That makes Jeremy Ross his enemy. He decides to do something about it, and asks an expert for help: Dad! Dad won't share the top secret recipe for enemy pie, but he does tell him how it works: you have to spend the whole day with your enemy. By the end of the day, Jeremy is no longer the enemy, but there is a new worry: what happens if he eats the pie? This picture book offers kids a lesson in judging others.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, early reader

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 7; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter heard this during story time at school and immediately brought it home to share. We have read this book together (sometimes us, sometimes as partners) nearly every day for a week. She loves the story and enjoys the humorous illustrations.

Adult Reader Reaction: We were as wowed by the book as our daughter. It is a clever, refreshing take on friendship and judging people. The narrator and Jeremy are cute, and the illustrations dish up some humor, too. We also liked the dad-and-son elements of the story. Kids need to know they can go to dad, too.

Pros: Humor and a clever story combine for a great book about perception, problem solving, friendship, and personal relationships.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a book that will come in handy throughout your child's preschool and early elementary years. It's a nice reminder for parents, too, that there are clever ways to deal with hurt feelings and "enemies."

If You Liked This Book, Try: MOLLY AND THE SWORD   CHULITA THE BLIND CAT   RABBIT COOKS UP A CUNNING PLAN

Educational Themes: There is lots to explore with this simple story. There is friendship, the risks of judging people, secrets (what would have happened if Jeremy saw the Enemy list?), and problem solving. The conflict between the two is the young boy's perception. You don't get the sense that Jeremy purposefully did something to get himself named an enemy. Kids are easily hurt by things that aren't done on purpose (like not being invited to a party), and this story helps them understand that life isn't always about them.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, feelings, friendship, family

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2009

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