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Capture the Flag
by
Kate Messner


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What You Need to Know:
• This is an interesting take on the bullying issue.
• This is almost a wordless book, which allows the reader to do a whole range of things with this story;
   there are endless possibilities really.
• This story begs to be read aloud.
• The illustrations are deceptively simple, conveying a large range of emotions.
Sweet Book Summary:
This book was recommended to me by our terrific children's librarian in town. We were looking for some off-the-beaten-path bully stories for our bully list (see left hand column). This is a great choice for younger kids. The story is simple, the snake is slithering around sneaking up on friends and hissing at them, scaring the heck out of them. This delights the snake until he sneaks up on a duck and accidentally eats it! Then, the only noise the snake can make is a quack. All the other snakes think this is hilarous, which depresses the snake. Then the duck pops out of the snake and flies away with all his friends. The snake's final insult is when the duck comes back unseen, sneaks behind the snake and scares any stray hisses right out of him. This poor snake really gets his comeuppance.

Because of its almost total lack of words, this book really allows the reader to be in the driver's seat. You can manipulate the story as you see fit, to work in whatever your situation happens to be. The story can be beneficial in so many ways. It can just be used as the entertaining story that it is. It can also be used to warn a bully in the making, giving a young prankster concrete evidence that jokes can hurt. It also can be used to empower a young child to understand what a bully is and how to stand up for him/herself. Finally, it would make a great read-aloud to a group, allowing much discussion about community and kindness.
Author: Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey Illustrator: Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey Published: 2006, 32 pages
Themes: Animals, Fairy Tales, Adventure
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Are there any times when joking around is appropriate and just fun, rather than bullying?
• The duck returns to bully the snake. Should he have behaved that way?
• What lesson should the duck have learned from his own experience of being bullied?
• Is revenge ever justified?
• Do you know anyone in your life who behaves like the snake?
• If so, how do you deal with that person?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain, Trevor Romain
Stand Up For Yourself and Your Friends, Patti Kelley Criswell
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound
 

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