For ages 4-8. This story relates the painful and embarrassing aftermath of name-calling and bullying from the perspective of the bully. JJ Jax has been tormenting an overweight boy named Patrick, calling him Pig-Pen and Porky, to the point that Patrick is now afraid to go to school. Learning of his son's behaviour, J J's father lectures him to stop bullying Patrick. When that approach fails, Mr Jax tries another tack and shares an experience he had as a youthful bully and the consequences he recently faced as a result of his actions. Touched by his father's words, J J reaches out to Patrick in a school arm-wrestling contest and experiences the 'alley oops' moment of empowerment and self-esteem that comes from doing the right thing. Snappy dialogue highlights the harmful, lasting effects of bullying and the importance of finding common ground toward conflict resolution. Believable contemporary illustrations bring the story to life with expressive body language.
Janice Levy teaches writing at Hofstra University. She lives in Merrick, New York.