Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Alley Oops

By Janice Levy
Illustrated by C B Decker

     I need to begin by admitting that I don't like books designed to teach kids a moral lesson. And I really don't like books that have a parent lecture the main character on morality. Since both things happen in Alley Oops, I must dislike it, right? Well, no, not this time. I read this book to my five year old. She's on the young end of the target age and she's never been bullied. She was riveted by the story. She asked for it over and over. And she asked a lot of questions. We were able to talk about bullying and the need to be kind to kids, so even (or perhaps especially) in the very youngest reader -- this book accomplishes its mission. Also, the illustrations are lively and should catch the eye of a school-aged reader and if you can get kids to read it, you can probably get them to think about bullying in new ways.

    Alley Oops is the story of a popular boy who picks on a new classmate for being fat. Since the new classmate is very big and very strong, in addition to being fat, I was impressed that the shrimpy main character had the courage to tease him but I think that was a good choice, also. The targets of bullying are often the meek, not just the weak. It was interesting to see bullying addressed from the viewpoint of the bully. I was a little sad to see that what really ended the bullying was having the victim prove himself cool enough not to be victimized, but I guess that's realistic, too. Lectures from parents don't solve as much as we'd like. Sometimes bullying doesn't end until the both the victim and the bully change. This book will definitely be another tool in the job of helping bullies and victims change.

The Book

Flashlight Press
Spring 2005
Picture Book [Age Level: Ages 5 - 9]
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2005
© 2005