Friday, May 29, 2009

Review: Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully

Summary: Freckleface Strawberry loves her school’s Early Bird program because it means extra time on the playground—except when it rains. On rainy days Early Birds have playtime indoors . . . and that usually means facing the school bully Windy Pants Patrick in a hairy, scary game of dodgeball. Ignoring Patrick seems the safest thing to do, but when all the other kids get struck out, Freckleface Strawberry is forced to confront him alone. Can she beat him at his own game without lifting a finger? Funny and inspiring, this is an all-too-familiar problem with a clever solution that kids, families, and teachers will find easy to relate to. -- Bloomsbury

When the opportunity came up to participate in a book blog tour for FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY AND THE DODGEBALL BULLY by Julianne Moore and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, I jumped at the chance. I had heard good things about the first book in the Freckleface Strawberry series, and I figured it would be a book that my four year son would enjoy. He actually did like this book and we've read it a few times already. He really thought it was cool when we were at Barnes and Noble last week, and the book was featured on a big display right in front of the store.

The author of this book is a name that most of you will recognize -- Julianne Moore. Yes, it's that Julianne Moore, the four-time Academy Award nominee. I have been a big fan of hers ever since she was on As the World Turns much earlier in her acting career. (I am desperately hoping that I will get to meet her at BEA this week!) Like many people who read lots of picture books, Ms. Moore is a mother of young children; and I thought it was evident that she understands children and what types of books they like. While I was familiar with Ms. Moore's acting and writing careers, I was amazed to learn just how much charity work she does. She is a U.S. Ambassador for Save the Children, and she is also a member of Reach Out and Read, a children's literary organization dedicated to educating parents on the importance of reading tot heir children.

FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY AND THE DODGEBALL BULLY is just an adorable book! My son thought it was hilarious, and I liked it a lot too. The character of Freckleface Strawberry is based on Ms. Moore and her children and actually was her nickname when she was a child. In this book, the seven-year-old Freckleface Strawberry encounters a bully during a game of dodgeball. She manages to find her own special way to deal with this problem that kids will certainly appreciate!

I can't recommend this book enough! Freckleface Strawberry is such a memorable character, and I think kids will just love her. As I read this book to my son, I found myself laughing quite a bit -- both at the story and his reaction to it. I especially thought it was hilarious when the reader learns why Freckleface Strawberry doesn't like dodgeball -- the sound effects alone were just too funny.

Not only did my son and I like the story, but I also thought the illustrations by LeUyen Pham were fantastic. The pictures are bright and colorful, and I especially enjoyed the facial expressions on the characters. I loved that each page had a lot going on -- loads of pictures and limited text -- because it definitely kept my son's attention while I read the story. He says that he liked all of the pictures; but being a normal four year old, he really liked the purple monster.

As a mother, I really appreciated the messages in this book. I think most school age children can relate to being afraid of things like dodgeball and a bully. In this book, Freckleface Strawberry showed that it is normal to be scared, but she also shows that there are ways to handle your fears. I also like that Freckleface Strawberry learned that anticipating the fear was much worse than when it actually happened. That's something that I try to tell my children all the time, but I think seeing a character in a book realize this might actually have a deeper impression on them. I also liked how the story ended -- the bully gained respect for Freckleface Strawberry and they began to play together.

If you want to learn more about FRECKLEFACE STRAWBERRY AND THE DODGEBALL BULLY as well as Ms. Moore, make sure you check out the Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tour announcement page. In addition, there is a Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully activity kit that you can download here. To order your very own copy, click here.

Make sure you take a look at the video where Ms. Moore talks about balancing work and family! If you'd like to see some more videos, click here.

A big thanks to Promo 101 Virtual Book Tours for selecting me to be part of this tour.


Nikki Leigh said...

Thank you so much for participating in the tour and for sharing your thoughts -- and your son's :) So many things to love about this book and its been fun learning more about the woman behind the book.

Nikki Leigh

Ti said...

My daughter loves Freckleface Strawberry but we haven't seen this one yet. Putting it on the bday list.