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Summary: RJ is having a tough week. First he gets in trouble when he and Sam decide to walk home instead of riding the school bus. Then there was that incident using Dad's computer - without permission. Worst of all, he ruined Grandma's birthday when he decided he was hungry and wanted chocolate cake for a snack. With the help of his dad and the principal at school, RJ learns about saying "I'm sorry" and the importance of asking permission. The main theme of the story is about learning a proper apology, but it also helps kids recognize their impulses.
Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 11
Interest Level: 5 to 10
Reading Level: 3.1
Age of Child: Read by an 11-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: After reading Soda Pop Head, our daughter was begging for all of the Julia Cook books we had in the house. You could see that she was clearly uncomfortable with some of the scenarios, as well as the guides for asking permission and saying I'm sorry.
Adult Reader Reaction: The author nailed three of the most common "temptations" for kids when they don't think to ask for permission, don't want to ask for permission, or are just tempted. Time Out (R.J.'s consequence) will resonate more with younger readers, but older readers will appreciate the help offered by R.J.'s dad and the school principal.
Pros: Realistic events will resonate with kids and give parents an opportunity to talk about asking permission and saying you're sorry.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. You'll be using this with your preschooler and again with your elementary-aged student.
Educational Themes: Stop in the middle of each scene to ask your child how they would feel or what they would do. R.J's dilemmas are a great way to get the conversation started, and the ready-made guides on how to ask for permission and say you're sorry help, too.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, growing up, family
Date(s) Reviewed: July 2013
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.