Book Review: Don’t Judge a Lizard By His Scales {The Principle Gang Series}

by Cate on October 15, 2014

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Bullying is a hot button of a topic these days. It’s so much more than what it was years ago when we were in school. And it’s become much worse because of the many different avenues that children can bully or be bullied. While the advancement of technology is generally hailed as a good thing, it also bring about more ways to spread negativity.

Years ago, kids would settle their disagreements outside on the playground after school. Or torment each other in the school hallways. Shove kids into lockers. Steal their lunch.

But after school, aside from random prank calls, it was done. A brief respite until the next school day.

One hopes.

But these days, with Instagram and Facebook and Vine and ask.fm and all the other ways kids can connect with other kids … well, there is no escaping it.

And it’s unfortunate that it’s a problem that has become so out of hand that there is an entire month dedicated to bullying awareness (October).

And all moms want to do is protect our kids. And keep them little.

So we have many conversations about it. How to treat people. How to respond if someone isn’t treating you or your friends properly. How and when things need to be escalated.

I am a huge proponent on giving kids the space they need to try and work problems out amongst themselves. They need to tools and opportunity to do this so they can function in the world on their own … for those times when I can’t swoop in and save the day. Sometimes kids are able to work it out amongst themselves and move on. Sometimes parents have to intervene.

But it’s always a topic we talk about. Open door policy and all. I want it to be clear that I am here for my kids, and their friends, however needed. It’s a sobering topic, and something that, as a parent, you have to carefully balance on that line between being fully involved in your child’s life and yet not being a helicopter parent. The line between letting them work things out on their own, and knowing when to step in.

A delicate balancing act and certainly a topic that we need to be all over. It’s one of those topics that you wish you didn’t have to talk about, but you have to.

The Dugi Group Publishers sent me two new children’s books to check out on this very topic, Don’t Judge a Lizard By Its Scales and Wizard Lizard Rides the Subway, and Madeline and I read them together last night.

The first one, Don’t Judge a Lizard By Its Scales, is a cute story about Danny the Wizard Lizard and how he became friends with Bli the Fly. It was an unusual friendship, and one approached with trepidation from Bli’s mom because lizards are, of course, prone to eating flies. The story showed how Danny was different than other lizards and that he accepted Bli and her family for who she was; so much so that he defended her and her mom when they were out together and a group of lizards started giving them a hard time. It’s a simple way to remind kids that everyone is different, and that sometimes your allies come in unlikely packaging.

The story is colorfully illustrated throughout and it was the perfect length for bedtime. The only thing we didn’t care for was that every time Danny was referred to, it was by the full Danny the Wizard Lizard, and the same thing for Bli. I would suspect it was to drive home point that one was the lizard and one was the fly, but after the twentieth-some time of saying it, it got to be a bit much. The story is perfect for kindergarten thru second grade, and was simple, but not so simple that it talked down to the reader. Madeline listened throughout the entire story, and was fully engaged. In the back of the book, there are takeaway questions for the child, and another set for the parent, encouraging more conversation about the topic discussed in the book.

The second book in The Principle Gang Series is Wizard Lizard Rides the Subway and it is about the adventures that Danny and Bli have as they head into New York City to share their anti-bullying messages with kids from local schools there. Another short and sweet story that is told in a very relatable, age-appropriate manner.

Bullying is a topic I have written about before, and I’m sure I’ll write about again. In the meantime, if you happen to be dealing with a bullying situation yourself, there are some easy-to-implement tips I shared in this post.

Hungry for more children’s book reviews?
The Kissing Hand is a favorite classic.
If I Could Keep You Little is one of my favorites, and a great reminder on how quickly this time goes.
A Bad Case of Stripes is a run, lively, colorful story that your kids will love.
The Potato Chip Champ is a book that celebrates kindness.

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