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EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken Hardcover – May 12, 2011
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First gender: Throughout the book EllRay makes sweeping statements about "girls do this, but boys don't" or the reverse. There is never any attempt to disprove these statements or show the similarities between boys and girls. It was so glaring that my 6 year old son finally said, "I don't like that he keeps saying, girls are like this, boys are like that."
The second issue is how bullying was treated. EllRay is bullied throughout the book, but never comes up with a good resolution. Although the teachers and parents suspect it, he never tells them. He keeps it a secret throughout the book, and never enlists adult help. In the end, the resolution is that there is a fight, broken up by other kids (kind of) and then the parents take EllRay and the bully to Disneyland together. There is never the message that he should talk to grownups about what is happening, or that grownups can be helpful in such situations. Not every book has to have a moral, but you'd hope not to read young children that have messages you DON"T want to teach them.
Now if you're anything like me, the above quiz is near impossible. You're either going to try to justify full-length chapter books like The Toothpaste Millionaire as early chapter books (it ain't) or you'll try to bring up books that have historical characters like Eric Kimmel's Louie Armstrong in A Horn for Louis. While we've seen a nice and healthy (if still insufficient) increase in early chapter books starring black girls (Sunny, Dyamonde Daniel, Sassy, ...Read more ›
There were a number of things that I liked about this novel. Lots of interesting details about EllRay and his family made this early middle-grade realistic fiction novel feel very well developed. EllRay likes Mondays and he likes making lists. He doesn't understand girls. His younger sister is named Alfleta, meaning "beautiful elf" in Saxon, but goes by Alfie for short. His geology professor father seems caring but stern. While the adults can't seem to figure out what's going on, they can tell that things aren't quite right. Being promised a trip to Disneyland if he can have an "incident-free" week at school encourages EllRay to keep things under wraps more than ever. My heart broke for this poor kid, who felt such pressure, at such a young age. I liked that this was a "boy" book, featuring a relatively happy African-American family.
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book wholeheartedly, as I did have some problems with it. While I loved the cover, I was very disappointed by the interior illustrations. In them, EllRay looks bug-eyed and two-dimensional. The ending of the book left much to be desired. As things grow to a head between EllRay and bullies Jared and Stanley, EllRay finally takes matters into his own hands, meeting Jared for a fistfight. This manages to clear the air, but both boys are disappointed when it's revealed that their parents have conspired to send them to Disneyland... where they'll be forced to hang out together.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I ordered several Ellray Jakes books, and I was excited to get books with a black protagonist for my son, but upon receiving them, I see that they are full of really negative... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I recommend this book to everyone.IT IS NOT BAD IT IS AWESOME TO.
YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK.AS ONE. Great.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. I loved this book an can't wait to read more!Published on December 30, 2012 by Drew Wilkinson
This mid-level chapter book has a likeable African-American boy as its main character. The story of being bullied feels authentic and readers will root for EllRay. Read morePublished on December 27, 2011 by Shan