Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball: A Review and Giveaway

Congratulations to Joyce Hostetter who won ANY GOOD THING from last week's blog.

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REVIEW

This week I have a short book (just under 100 pages) that would be perfect for the 2-4th grade boy who either a) loves baseball or b) is struggling with being bullied.

In Buddies, Bullies, and Baseball, author Phyllis J. Perry authentically portrays the problems that Jack, a fifth grader and avid baseball fan, encounters at school every day. 

Here's the opening paragraph:
"I squeezed my eyes together as tight as I could, praying that when I opened them again, the two distant figures that I saw leaning against the fence wouldn't be there. But I knew better." (p.1)
From that point on, Jack is confronted with Steve and his sidekick, Cliff, who harass him every day. He chooses not to tell his friends or his parents about how they tease him, take his lunch, and how he doesn't stick up for himself.
I didn't want Dad to know I was a coward. I was afraid he'd be so disappointed in me if he found out that I was letting Steve bully me, and that I didn't even try to stand up for myself. And nothing could be worse than disappointing my dad. p. 10-11
Jack tries several different ways to avoid Steve and Cliff, but avoidance doesn't work and he ends up more disappointed in himself for not speaking up. At the same time, he is appointed to help out a new student, Hans from Germany, who helps him see the situation differently. 

When Jack finally speaks his mind to the bullies it's over something that matters to him even more than his own reputation--his beloved baseball glove that his uncle gave him. 

At the end of the book the reader discovers what many adults know: young bullies often see bullying in their families or are victims themselves. 

When Jack finally confides in his parents that he didn't want to be a tattletale or disappoint his parents, his mother's response is one I wish all parents in this situation would echo:
"I probably wouldn't know what was best to do about it either," Mom said, "But I'd never think you were a coward for avoiding a fight with two bullies." (p.77)
One of my favorite lines is when Jack prepares himself to come face to face with Steve and Cliff. "...I wasn't really scared. It was funny, but I was over that. Part of being scared is not knowing what to do." (p. 80). Jack also helps a boy younger than himself confront his fears. That is a sweet demonstration of Jack passing along what he has learned.

This would make a great elementary school classroom read. The book's (unfortunately) current topic makes it accessible to older reluctant readers also. 


GIVEAWAY


I'm giving away my copy of this book. Leave me a comment (with your name and email address if you are new to my blog) and I'll enter your name. Share this on social media (and tell me what you do) and I'll add your name a second time to the proverbial hat. Giveaway ends January 18. 

22 comments:

Linda Phillips said...

This sounds like a good anti-bully book that I would love to have on hand. Thanks for the great review, Carol.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'll start the list with you, Linda!

Unknown said...

Timely for kids and for me on the writer’s side, as I finish up my middle grade tale of a 6th grade girl, who is also being bullied and does not want to tell her parents. Love his mother’s response when he finally tells her!

Danielle H. said...

This topic is one that unfortunately will always be front and center as, like the author showed her readers, bullying is cyclical and passed on too often. It takes inner strength, not muscles, to overcome this. Putting this tough topic together with a sport is brilliant. Thanks for the post--I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/190275011657/buddies-bullies-and-baseball-a-review-and

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for sharing, Danielle. You're in twice.

Carol Baldwin said...

Anonymous--Who are you?? Please leave your name and email address!

Sandra Warren said...

Carol,
This book sounds like a GREAT read for GIRLS also! 1) Girls like Baseball. 2) Girls are bullied often in more subtle ways than boys, and 3) This book seems to give the reader, via the character, a strategy for dealing with bullies, something Girls need to know. They might not do exactly what the character does but through the character, they are showed that they need a plan.

Great review as usual!

Carol Baldwin said...

You are absolutely right, Sandra, that this would be a good book for girls too. It's just I don't find enough boy books to rave about, so I was glad to highlight this one. You're in the running!

Debbie Allmand said...

I have a nine year old great nephew that hates to read. But this sounds like something he might would like. He was bullied as a kindergartner.

Rosi said...

I love baseball and hate bullies. This sounds good to me. And it's a quick read, so that is a bonus. Thanks for the heads up.

JoyceHostetter said...

He would love this book, Debbie. If you don't win it, I hope you'll get it for him.

Carol Baldwin said...

The last comment was from me, Debbie. I hadn't signed out of our other gmail account!

Carol Baldwin said...

Rosi, you would LOVE this book. Your name is in the hat!

Grannyjo said...

Sounds great! I shared with all my friends on Facebook and I hope they read the review and comment.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Jo Lynn. I thought one of your grandsons would like this. I'll add your name twice.

Carol Gwin Nelson said...

This sounds like a great way to help kids learn to address bullying. Thanks for the review!

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in Carol!

Unknown said...

Hi Carol, This sounds like a great story to bring into a classroom and discuss witht the students. Thanks for sharing-
The email you have is incorrect. That is my granson's email address.
I hope you are writing and enjoying being in your new home!
Sheri Levy

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for posting your comment, Sheri. Please email me with your appropriate address. I can always find you on FB if you win.

Phyllis J. Perry said...

As the author of BUDDIES, BULLIES, & BASEBALL, my hope was that young people would enjoy reading it, and in some cases, realize that they aren't helpless in a bullying situation. Parents and teachers might use it as a springboard to a discussion on how to help
prevent bullying and how to effectively deal with it when it occurs. Unfortunately, I
think bullying is currently very common and it is also very hurtful.

Phyllis J. Perry
www.phyllisjperry.com

Carol Baldwin said...

Well, you can tell by my review, Phyllis, that I thought you did an excellent job. I hope lots of my readers get this book! Thanks for stopping by.

Phyllis J. Perry said...

And thank you for your great review, your blog, and your enthusiasm and encouragement for all things literary!

Phyllis J. Perry

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