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16 November 2011

Review: EllRay Jakes is NOT a Chicken! by Sally Warner

EllRay Jakes is NOT a Chicken! by Sally Warner was an interesting book for me to read.  The idea that EllRay, the smallest boy in his class, is bullied by his much larger classmate is one that many kids can relate to.  It is also a easy beginning chapter book.  However, I had a really hard time getting in to (into?) it and didn't really like it.

Here is the summary from Goodreads:

"Buk, buk, book," Jared whispers, but loud enough for everyone to hear. Eight-year-old EllRay Jakes is sick of getting picked on. But every time he tries to defend himself against class bully Jared Matthews, EllRay is the one who winds up in trouble. It's just not fair! Then his dad offers him a deal: If EllRay can stay out of trouble for a week, they'll go to Disneyland! So now EllRay has a lot to prove - he's not a troublemaker, and he's not a chicken.
This humorous and true-to-life story kicks off the EllRay Jakes series, which is just right for boys (and girls!) who are beginning to read chapter books.

Like I said, the idea of the book was one that many kids can relate to, getting bullied for something that is out of your control (in EllRay's case, his size), but the way that the bullying was resolved just didn't seem "real" to  me; I don't see many kids ultimately solving the problem like EllRay (and his parents) did.  It seemed like the author, while well intended, was trying to think like a child to solve the problem, but really just gave a nice, adult solution.

That being said, I can see children enjoying the book.  It will probably appeal more to children in urban or suburban settings, rather than my rural kids as they would have more connections to the book---a major part of the book is the family going to Disneyland (world?)----many of the students in my school haven't been to the next biggest town, let alone a theme park the scope and size of Disney.

The words in the book were easy to read, but when I did a quick search for the reading level, I couldn't find it.  The closest I could find was Ms. Warner's other series about EllRay's classmate Emma, and those ranged from upper 3rd grade level to mid-4th.  So, kind of easy, but not as easy as I would have hoped.

All in all, it was just an ok book.  

*This book was nominated for a Cybils Award in the early chapter books category.  All opinions contained in this review are mine and not of the committee.  This book was nominated by Deb Nance at Readerbuzz*

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