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Just Kidding Hardcover – April 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-5–This companion to My Secret Bully (Tricycle, 2005) addresses the topic of teasing. D.J. is tired of Vince's mean-spirited comments at school. Vince knows which buttons to push, using the I was just kidding defense when he goes too far. Unsure how to handle the situation, D.J. talks with his father and his teacher and learns a few strategies to help him deal with putdowns. Most importantly, he realizes that he isn't the problem and that he hasn't done anything to deserve Vince's taunts. This frank and plausible story will help youngsters to distinguish between good-natured teasing and the destructive variety, empowering them by providing options they can use when faced with bullying. Realistic acrylic paintings beautifully capture the text's mood and action. Gustavson is adept at revealing the subtle emotions of his characters, and both D.J. and Vince will strike a familiar chord with readers. A foreword by a bullying-prevention consultant outlines four points that educators and parents need to impart to victims of this behavior. Also provided are conversation starters for further discussion, a list of pertinent organizations and Web sites, and suggested reading for both adults and children. This useful resource is an important addition to school and public libraries.–Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. Waiting to be chosen for a pickup game of basketball, D. J. hears Vince challenge Cody to a game of Rock Paper Scissors: "Loser gets D. J." It's not the first time Vince has crossed the line, but D. J. can't figure out how to respond. With a helpful suggestion from his dad and support from a teacher, D. J. begins to handle his problem. The story offers a realistic portrayal of a bully who uses words in hurtful ways but avoids punishment. It also offers hope that children can break the pattern, at least if the adults around them are aware of the problem, competent to deal with it, and supportive of the children involved. The book concludes with a list of "Teasing Dos and Don'ts" for kids. In addition, a detailed foreword offers suggestions to parents and teachers trying to help children in this situation. The well-composed illustrations, apparently acrylic paintings, offer sensitive portrayals of children in realistic settings. Pair this with Becky Ray McCain's Nobody Knew What to Do (2001). Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582461635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582461632
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for both the home and the classroom. The story itself is realistic and poignant and makes the distinction between "tattling" and "reporting." When D.J. is teased unmercifully by Vince, D.J.'s life becomes miserable and he begins to feel like a "loser." Fortunately, he finds support from both his family and his teacher, and they help him develop some coping skills which not only enable him to deal constructively with the bully but also enable him to support his friends when they are the objects of the bully's attacks. The Foreward by Stan Davis, founder of [...] provides a valuable overview of the issue of bullying as well as suggestions about how to help family members deal with the problem. This is a valuable resource for both the home and the classroom. Highly Recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Trudy Ludwig is a genius and understands the deleterious effect of teasing and peer cruelty and bullying. Bullying is not limited to children. In some cases, teachers, bosses and co-workers have also been involved in bullying tactics. Many companies provide handbooks of unacceptable behavior, among which is often included "blocking somebody's path; verbal or physical coercion of any person on these premises or during the usual course of business...zero tolerance policy."

D.J., a tween (8-12 years) faces his nemesis Vince, who hounds, heckles and harasses him. Whenever D.J. complains that Vince is verbally drawing blood, the latter gives him the stock comment of he's just kidding and can't D.J. take a joke. I have known adults do this to children and believe me, that does NOT engender good feelings nor teach humor. When adults do this to children, it makes children feel like they have no recourse and that "sense of humor" means endure somebody having fun at their expense. It teaches deceit, e.g. going along and pretending to find it funny; avoiding dressing downs and questioning the existence of their OWN senses of humor when all the while resentment and erosion of esteem is building.

However, peer teasing escalates to physical violence as is shown in this story. Vince steps up his verbal abuse of D.J. and humiliates him in front of their teammates. That is bad enough, but when he starts hitting D.J. on the bus, D.J. knows he has to take his concerns to someone who can help.

D.J.'s dad gives him bad advice when he says D.J. can't fight back verbally or physically to Vince. We all know that ignoring bullies often steps up their harassment campaign. Luckily, the boy's father takes D.J.'s concerns to his teacher, who wisely includes the school counselor.
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Format: Hardcover
In Just Kidding, author Trudy Ludwig addresses the painful topic of teasing and peer exclusion.

How does a child handle teasing when the laughter stops and hurt feelings begin? This is exactly what D.J. must face when his friend Vince takes teasing too far. First it begins with Vince calling D.J. a loser, but then escalates the teasing by making fun of D.J. in front of their soccer teammates. The final straw comeswhen Vince moves from verbal taunting to physical harassment on the school bus. Feeling angry and frustrated, D.J. turns to his dad for help.

With coaching from his dad and brother, D.J. learns to diffuse Vince's attacks with humor and non-rebuttal. His dad reminds him that, "You can't say or do anything mean back to the teaser." But when those skills don't work, D.J.'s dad addresses the problem with his teacher, which ultimately causes Vince to meet with the school counselor in order to address the problem of bullying his classmates.

As a mother I've seen and heard the taunts that children use against one another. Too many times I've heard parents tell their crying child to "deal with it" or to "just ignore whoever is bothering you", but that advice doesn't lend itself to resolving the issue at hand. In fact, more times than not, children who tease, only increase their taunts when they're ignored.

As parents and educators, it is important that we listen to the children in our lives and step in to protect them when others are abusive and purposefully hurtful. There is never an excuse for bullying and our children should not be taught to ignore or tolerate this behavior from others.

If you want an excellent book that addresses this sticky topic, I highly recommend Just Kidding.
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Format: Hardcover
As a mother of four boys (ages 6 - 14), I rejoiced in discovering the book Just Kidding! Whether it is at school, home, or in the community, Trudy Ludwig has accurately addressed the challenging and sometimes hurtful relationships that our children inevitably experience. Whether a child is teased, bullied, or simply the subject of a joke, the book shows him or her that they are not alone and gives practical strategies to turn a bad situation around. It so skillfully teaches parents and other adults what they can do to help children through these all-too-common circumstances. It is enlightening to realize that so many of the things that we (adults) are in the habit of saying in response to a child asking for help are actually adding to the growing problem of bullying and relational aggression! Every home and classroom would benefit from embracing the concepts and putting the strategies into practice. A real treasure!
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