Book Review: Flabbersmashed About You

Author: Rachel Vail
Illustrated by Yumi Heo
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Publisher: Readers first met Katie Honors in Rachel and Yumi's Sometimes I'm Bombaloo and Jibberwillies at Night. Now Katie is back as she deals with feeling "flabbersmashed" by her best friend, who suddenly wants to be friends with another kid. We've all been flabbersmashed by a friend--left out of an activity or secret, left to feel sorry for ourselves, or move on. Will Katie ever stop feeling left out?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This will be a helpful read for K-2 students as the year gets rolling and friendship problems start surfacing. There is nothing worse than a tear stained face coming up to me and telling me how they've been "dumped" by their good buddy. In the book, Katie describes this as feeling "flabbersmashed." This word is an introduction to all sorts of emotions kids feel when they are left standing alone. Friendship security is a big deal out on the playground. I want to teach the kids to be secure in a different way. The dependence on one friend for their ultimate happiness can lead to constantly feeling "flabbersmashed." Not a good way to go through your school day. So glad to have this in my library. I will bet you anything that a student is going to come up to me on the playground and tell me they are feeling flabbersmashed!

There is something minor about the book I'd like to point out that had me a little concerned. When two of the characters are playing they talk about "killing the bad guys." I'm really careful with what I teach the kids. We have a zero tolerance for violent language at my school - even if it's just play fighting. So there are a couple of ways I might go with this. 1) I might just change the words 2) I might use this as a teaching opportunity about using these words. I'm not sure yet which way I'm going to go. I just know I don't want to send the kids mixed signals about the expectations of safe language out on the playground. Just wanted to point this out to other educators. It's still a great story and is going to help solve some major problems.

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