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Don't Laugh at Me (Reading Rainbow Book) Hardcover – July 23, 2002

58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Songwriters Seskin and Shamblin laudably sound a call for tolerance in this picture-book adaptation of a heartfelt tune that inspired, and has become the anthem for, a rapidly expanding educational program within an organization called Operation Respect (founded by Yarrow, of Peter, Paul & Mary). The text/lyrics focus on the ridicule suffered by a boy with glasses, a girl who wears braces and a wheelchair-bound child, among others, ultimately uniting the voices of the bullied in the verse "Don't laugh at me./ Don't call me names./ Don't get your pleasure from my pain./ In God's eyes we're all the same." Though the book's worthy message will likely strike a universal chord, young readers may be confused by the overly figurative sentiment "I'm fat, I'm thin,/ I'm short, I'm tall,/ I'm deaf, I'm blind./ Hey, aren't we all?" In earth-toned mixed-media artwork that blends watercolor, acrylics, wallpaper and other materials, Dibley (Tub Boo Boo) exaggerates the distinguishing features of his stylized characters, further bringing home the book's theme. His compositions use muted colors and crowd scenes to set off the ostracized subject; the boy "chosen last" on the playground becomes a shadowy outline under a basketball hoop as smiling kids crowd the foreground; a kid "slower than the others in my class" peers out of a sea of raised hands. A CD recording of the country-flavored song is included. Ages 6-12.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-Starting as a song encouraging kindness to others, the tune has now become the anthem of the "Don't Laugh at Me Program" founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary. However, what works beautifully in a song is quite different in a book and should be shared with care. It is easy to discuss not laughing at difference if the differences aren't in your classroom. It is easier to sing about being fat, thin, short, etc., but breezing through this book without discussion would be foolish and the discussion could be volatile. Dibley's mixed-media artwork exaggerates the features of a boy with glasses and big ears; a girl with braces complete with headgear and a wisp of a body; a dark, slouching figure with no face "who's always chosen last"; a pencil chewing, chapped-lipped, uneven-eyed slow kid; a street beggar no one sees; and a kid in a wheelchair with a crash helmet. The last two lines-"I'm fat, I'm thin, I'm short, I'm tall,/I'm deaf, I'm blind. Hey, aren't we all?"-drive home the message with a slam dunk. The words "Help stop bullying-buy this book & CD of the song!" appear on the cover. If only it were so easy.
Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Series: Reading Rainbow Book
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press; Har/Com edition (July 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582460582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582460581
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Solomon on January 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I used the accompanying CD to read-aloud the book and my first grade students were immediately drawn in and enthralled with both the book and the music. The least sensitive child in my class who is the first to call other students names was listening with a peaceful and loving expression of compassion and serenity on his face. Listening to the song launched some wonderful discussions when I asked students to recall and share about their feelings when someone called them names, and then to recall and share about their feelings when they called someone else names. I was overwhelmed when one of my students realized and shared that the reason that she called people names was because she was angry with them. We were able to use this as a springboard for conflict resolution and ways to share our feelings without hurting someone else's.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Bosworth on February 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I recently bought this book for my three grandchildren. It was an instant hit as it taught them about the pain caused by laughing at people. It is a must read for children as well as adults. We all forget how hard it is to be the square peg in the round hole and little reminders like this book keep us compassionate, tolerant, and kinder.
The CD that came with the book was an added surprise that I found to be heartwarming.
I highly recommend this book, especially when used in a classroom.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I first heard the song "Don't laugh at me" through Challenge Day, and the impact of the song on the young people present was huge. I was delighted to find that there was a book version of this uplifting message. The fact that the lyric-writer uses words that stereotype in his message is not an indictment of those who may [or may not] fit that category - it's an indictment of those who name-call and stereotype. My 5 year old understands the deeper meaning of the song/book in a way that, sadly, many adults fail to. If we listen to our children, they will tell us what we need to know, that teasing and name calling is wrong and they are counting on us to intervene. That's the true intention of this darling book. As a "secular" parent, I am not at all turned off by the suggestion that "in God's eyes we're all the same/someday we'll all have perfect wings." It can simply be an analogy that each of us perfect in the eyes of any loving parent or friend.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sharyn Friedman on September 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found this book by accident and am very happy I did. My 10 year old daughter read this and loved it. I have since shared it with many friends and professionals. There are so many other books about bullying and teasing available, but this one is so beautiful in its' simplicity. The message is loud and clear. This should be a mainstay in every school library.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JetPak on September 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one fun book and should be of a little help to kids that feel alienated. And, who hasn't felt that way at least once in their lives?
The illustrations liven up each page and keep you interested all the way through the book.
Very pleasurable!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Johnson on July 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
FYI Mentions God as the reason to treat people well. I was disappointed by this since our family's value system does not rely on religious messaging. As a result, this book is confusing to my preschooler.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is recomended for all ages. I think that this book teaches everyone a vauble lesson. Laughing and making fun of someone is not nice to do. but, some people do it anyway. It makes you think twice about your words and actions toward other people who are different than you. Nobody would like it if it happened to them. So i think that this is a great book that everyone needs to read. Everyone who does read this book will enjoy it a lot. So i hope you will read and enjoy this book Don't Laugh At Me!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan S. Puckhaber on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for teaching tolerance and kindness to children, and adults! The CD is super too!
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