Alley Oops relates the painful and embarrassing aftermath of name-calling and bullying from the novel perspective of the bully.
J.J. Jax has been tormenting an overweight boy named Patrick, calling him Pig-Pen and Porky, and now Patrick is afraid to go to school. When Mr. Jax finds out, he tells J.J. a story about when he was a bully, and how sorry he feels now. He explains about the two dogs inside us, one bad and one good, that fight all the time. “Which dog wins?” J.J. asks. “The one you feed the most,” Mr. Jax answers.
Touched by his father’s words, J.J. bikes over to Patrick’s house to talk things over and is surprised to discover how much he and Patrick have in common: they both think getting yelled at is better than being lectured, they both have little sisters who never get in trouble, and they both love the sport of arm-wrestling. Patrick even has an official arm-wrestling table.
Patrick may be big, but he is also quite strong and an avid arm-wrestler. Trounced at the table, J.J. is impressed with Patrick’s “hammer hand” and decides to become his manager! The boys’ shared interest in arm-wrestling becomes the conduit for resolution and budding friendship.
Bullying is a worldwide problem with negative lifelong consequences – for the bully as well as the victim. Nearly everyone knows a bully, has been bullied, or has bullied someone. Alley Oops is a story about hurt and anger, empathy and hope, resilience and ingenuity. It’s about actions and consequences. And finally, it’s about that “alley oops!” moment when a child experiences the empowerment and self-esteem that come from doing the right thing.
Hard cover (Picture book)
Age range 5 - 9
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