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EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken Hardcover – May 12, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

-Warner is a dead-on observer of playground politics, and has a great ear for dialogue.+ -School Library Journal

About the Author

Sally Warner (www.sallywarner.com) has published more than twenty novels for young readers, including the Emma and EllRay Jakes series. She lives in Altadena, California with her husband and their not-so-miniature dachshund, Rocky. 
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Series: EllRay Jakes (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (May 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067006243X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670062430
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book to my two 6 year olds because it was on the 2012-2013 Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice for K-3. I would NOT recommend this book to other parents of young children. I should preface by saying that my children enjoyed the book and want to read the sequel. However, I was quite disappointed in the book, and in particular, its treatment of gender and of bullying.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Quiz time. Place your books under your desks and bring out your #2 pencils. Everyone ready? All right. Reach back into your brain cells and please name for me all the great contemporary early chapter books that you can think of that star male African-American protagonists. Heck, let's make it even more interesting than that. Name me such a book but NOT any of Sharon Draper's Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs or any of Ann Cameron's Julian books. You have thirty seconds . . . go.

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,
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 7 year old loves this book. He thinks it's funny and really gets the sarcastic main character. He and I talk about strategies to use in bullying situations and whether Ellray's strategy was a good one. It's provided some great discussion points with my little guy. I like it a lot!
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Format: Hardcover
Eight year-old Lancelot Raymond, better known as EllRay, is eager to prove that despite his small size, he is not a chicken. When he's bullied by some boys at school, rather than alerting his parents or other authority figures, he decides to "take it like a man" and suffer alone.

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.
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