Most helpful critical review
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Horrible Message, A Total Waste
on October 1, 2012
I am writing this from the perspective of a parent of a 4th grader. This 85+ page book was required reading for all rising 4th graders in the weeks before school began. There was no direction given to the children, just that they needed to read it and be prepared to talk about it.
So I bought it.
What a shame.
All I can say is that I found absolutely nothing redeaming about this book. No lesson I want to teach my child, no "silver lining" in the stories. Basically it's about a nice boy who now that he's in 4th grade, feels the pressure to do things he knows in his heart aren't right, but he wants the attention of a girl and a "friend" so he goes ahead with his friend pressuring him to do "bad". What could be so bad, you ask? How about stealing food from kids in the lunchroom, laughing at kids having a difficult time, ignoring former teachers you liked but now it's considered babyish to return a smile to. The book was a constant reminder of how NOT to behave; it was incredibly difficult to find the message of "Good always wins."
So lots of bad behavior, gets the girl, then it ends with the friend getting caught, being FORCED by his mom to apologize to the boy for making him do bad things, then ending a page later with no real ending other than a disbelief this book actually got a publisher.
I know people will say that it's a good message, to show that bad behavior isn't good and that you should stay true to your heart and do good things. So why did we need to hear the 85% percent of the book showing bad behavior? The whole school acts like they care not at all about each other, do not need to be nice to each other, and basically only look out for themselves. And why is the ONLY lesson coming through that you will need to change your way IF YOU GET CAUGHT BY YOUR MOTHER, not if your conscience pulls you back?
Why do authors think the only way to appeal to children is to talk about bad behavior? Is that the best we can do for our kids? For 9-10 year olds? Come on. It could have been so much better.