Book Review: Don't Squeal Unless It's A Big Deal: A Tale of Tattletales

Author: Jeanie Franz Ransom
Illustrator: Jackie Urbanovic
Interest Level: Ages 5-8

About This Book: It all started when Jessica trit-trotted up to Mrs. McNeal's desk... "Peter pulled my pigtail!" And soon..."Rachel took my marker!" "Frankie called sookie a fat sow!" "Justin ripped my paper!" !" "Can anyone tell me what squealing is?" Mrs. McNeal shouted, waving her cowbell.

Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal helps kids figure out the difference between Big Deals that need telling and kid-sized problems that kids can work out themselves, With a note to teachers and parents about why children squeal and how to help them deal on their own. -from the book jacket

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Tattling. Let me define it for you.....behavior by children that will send teachers and parents over the edge to the land of unhappiness and complete insanity. Tattling has been around forever. How am I an expert on this? Because I used to tattle on my sisters when I was a kid. Why did I tattle? Oh, I SO loved getting the attention (look Mom, I know the rules!), liked being bossy at times, and it was also a nice revenge move on my sisters.  I know. Shameful. And now the revenge has been turned on me. I work with about four hundred K-5 students and yep.....they sure can tattle! So being the proactive lady I am....I have scoured the EARTH for SOLID books on tattling. I say solid because I am not a fan of books that make kids feel bad for tattling. Not cool. Don't Squeal Unless It's a Big Deal is definitely a favorite. I work really hard on helping students see the difference between small problems ("Laura looked at me!") and big problems ("Laura punched me!"). Hint: make sure to incorporate lessons on how to problem solve with tattling lessons. If they truly don't know how to solve a problem - then of course they'll tattle! I seriously notice a decrease in tattling when the kids feel educated and AWARE of their behavior. And of course I have a blast with this lesson when I use my trusty pig puppets. The kids love coming up and using the puppets to figure out how not to sweat the small stuff.

A Link to This Book:


  1. I have read that one before! Good lesson for Kindergarten students---I will have to borrow it for the library and read it at the beginning of the year! Thanks for the reminder!


  2. great for kindies. sometimes I change up the words a little bit and include phrases I am hearing in the classroom. Don't be afraid to "make it your own."