Grade 2-4-A fourth grader looks back over his years in school and his early experiences as a "bully magnet." Even as a preschooler, Jake was the perfect victim-medium sized, moderately smart, and not inclined to tattle to the authorities. He relates how, in second grade, he came up against a SuperBully, Link Baxter, who taunted him on the bus, ruined his schoolwork, and generally made his life miserable. When the boys were paired up to do a Thanksgiving project, Jake was forced to do all the research. As it turned out, however, the SuperBully was a talented model maker and sometimes forgot to be mean when he was involved in creative work. Then, moments before their class presentation, Jake discovered that Link was terrified of public speaking. Although briefly tempted to take revenge, he instead agreed to let Link be a silent participant while he gave the oral presentation. While the tone of the book is light and humorous, it is a realistic look at a common problem. There is no instant change of heart, although the two adversaries end with a reluctant respect for one another. More important is the peace theme-Jake recognizes that "behind- [every] bully face, there's another face. A real face." For a slightly younger audience than the author's Frindle (S & S, 1996), this title is a must for character-education and conflict-resolution programs and will have strong appeal to transitional readers.
Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.