Book Reviews: Lets Be Enemies and Enemy Pie

Lets Be Enemies
Author: Janice May Udry
Illustrated by Maurice Sendak
Interest Level: Ages 3-7

Description from the Book Jacket: James used to be my friend. But today he is my enemy. James and John are best friends - or at least they used to be. They shared pretzels, umbrellas, and even chicken pox. Now James always wants to be boss, and John doesn't want to be friends anymore. But when he goes to James' house to tell him so, something unexpected happens.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Recently my five year old nephew got into a pushing and shoving match with a fellow classmate. When my sister picked him up after school he told her about his "fight" with absolute honesty and remorse. He then pointed to a boy in the parking lot who was standing with his mother and said, "That's him." To her astonishment, he marched over to his "enemy" and gave him a big hug. He then declared, "But now we are friends, Mom." I smiled when I heard this story. I was thinking about what compelled my nephew to go in for the hug and be apologetic. And it's because my sister has taught him reconciliation skills. These are skills I work heavily on with students. I started reading Lets Be Enemies to the K-1 grades last year. Friendship and conflict resolution go hand in hand. Guess what - kids will clash. But it's how they reconcile and forgive that matters most. I love teaching kids the art of the apology. PS. This is a tiny book. But so cute. First time I read it I kind of giggled at the way their problem escalates and becomes bigger and bigger - isn't that always the way it happens?

Enemy Pie
Author: Derek Munson
Illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

Description from the Book website: It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became Enemy Number One. Luckily, Dad has a surefire way to get rid of enemies-Enemy Pie. But one of the secret ingredients is spending an entire day with the enemy!

In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning a best enemy into a best friend. With charming illustrations that bring to life the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in friendship.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This one continues to be a crowd pleaser with the students. The first few years I read Enemy Pie I kept it light and fluffy and danced around the topic of being a good friend. I can finally say after years of reading it, I've now mastered the real message in the book - you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar. Sometimes I wonder what happened to just good ol' fashioned kindness. I ask the kids during the story to look around at one another and ask themselves -  Who would I want to serve a slice of enemy pie to? Who do I need to get to know better? Because maybe if I got to know them better they may actually turn out to be my friend. And of course I love stories using adults as positive role models. This book has a good principal to it.


  1. Sounds like these are two books some adults could stand to read as well :) Great post! I love your choices of books -always inspiring!

  2. Could not agree more....especially since the kids learn it from us!

  3. Enemy Pie is a great book!! I read it last year to 3rd graders and as closing activity we made individual "recipes: for Friendship!! Thanks for posting!