Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Pain and the Great One Chapter Books

Friend or Fiend? with the Pain & the Great One
by Judy Blume
illustrated by James Stevenson
Random House, May 12, 2009
review copy received at IRA-Phoenix
best for grades 2-4

How did I miss this new(er) series by Judy Blume? This is the fourth one!

There's lots to love about this book. It starts with a one paragraph introduction of each of the characters (The Pain -- Jake the first grade brother, and The Great One -- Abigail the third grade sister). 

Each chapter can stand alone as a short story -- great for guided reading groups, literature circles, or mentor texts. But some of the chapters are linked in fun ways, like the ones in this book that featured Fluzzy the cat in some way. (There's even a chapter from the point of view of Fluzzy!)

The chapters are sometimes told from the point of view of The Pain, and sometimes from the point of view of The Great One. You can tell by the picture at the beginning of the chapter. 

Problems and solutions are very clear in these short chapter-stories. There is sibling rivalry, mean cousins who make siblings grateful, conflicts between friends, the embarrassment of mistakes made in public (at school), mean neighborhood children who bring the best out in The Great One, and a chocolate ice cream cone that winds up smushed on The Pain's forehead that actually solves more problems than it causes!

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