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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review: Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet - How to Deal With Bullies

Author: Catherine DePino
Illustrated by Bonnie Matthews and
Charles Beyl
Interest Level: Ages 6-11ish

From the Book Jacket: Gus nudged his friend. "Want to meet someone with blue cheese breath and stinky feet? Hey, Blue Cheese Breath, give me your homework so I can copy it." I looked into Gus's mean green eyes...

Steve has to do something about Gus. But what? He doesn't know how to make Gus leave him alone. He's afraid to ask for help. And he's afraid things will get worse if he tells. When his parents find out anyway, Steve is surprised to feel relieved. And when they help him come up with a plan to send Gus on his way, he knows he can do it. The next time Gus tries to bully "Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet," he is in for a big surprise!

Why I Wrote This Book: From the Author: I wanted kids to know that they could do something about bullying and that they are not powerless and alone. The title shows how kids can make up silly, senseless names to hurt other kids. The plan to help kids deal with bullies is something every child can try. It’s important to remember that every bullying episode needs an individual plan geared to that event. This plan is a starting point that every child can use. Check out all of Catherine's books at her website

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Okay, DO NOT be thrown off by the title of this book. And yes, when I read the name to the students they also give me an incredulous look. I actually like that they are confused by the title. Because what starts as an incredulous look quickly turns into looks of rapt attention. As we dive into the story, the students are right with me. The main character, Steve, is a representation of what I see a lot of children doing - hiding that they are being harassed or bullied. Steve hides this pain from his parents. "What's wrong? Mom asked. Nothing, I said." Eventually a teacher becomes aware of the bullying and steps in by alerting Steve's parents. They empower him with 'The Plan.' They brainstorm, role play, and come up with a list of strategies that Steve can do to deal with the bully. My favorite part is when Steve's dad talks about 'Power Words'. Good stuff. Just like Steve, I see a lot of kids getting targeted and harassed. If you are a parent, teacher or counselor use Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet as a tool to give kids the life skills needed to deal with bullying. You'll appreciate having this book on your shelf.


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