The Recess Queen

The Recess Queen

4.5 14
by Alexis O'Neill, Alexis O'Neil, Laura Huliska-Beith
     
 

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A fresh & original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, & parents & teachers will appreciate the story's deft handling of conflict resolution (which happens w/o adult intervention)

Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different.
Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung.
Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.
Nobody bounced until

Overview


A fresh & original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, & parents & teachers will appreciate the story's deft handling of conflict resolution (which happens w/o adult intervention)

Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different.
Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung.
Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.
Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced.
If kids ever crossed her, she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em kitz and kajammer 'em.
Until a new kid came to school!
With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Positing that bullies only act that way because they're lonely, O'Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers ("she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em/ lollapaloosh 'em, / hammer 'em, slammer 'em/ kitz and kajammer 'em . . ."), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, "How DID you get to be so bossy?" and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith's (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text's informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily her than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue's engaging, fizzy exuberance.
--Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 15th, 2001

A schoolyard bully is enlightened by the new kid in class in this lively story about the power of kindness and friendship. "Mean jean was Recess Queen/ and nobody said any different," the tale begins. Each day at recess, Mean Jean blasts through the playground--and her cowering classmates--so that she can kick, swing and bounce before anyone else. No one dare cross her path: "She'd push 'cm and smoosh 'em, lollapaloosh 'em." But when tiny Katie Sue, a new student, arrives, all bets are off. Unaware of the playground hierarchy, the new girl enthusiastically kicks, swings and bounces before the Recess Queen gets the chance. Her role usurped, Mean jean moves toward a meltdown, until Katie Sue makes her an offer she finds difficult to refuse: an invitation to play together. O'Neill's (Loud Emily) text brims with fun-to-say phrases that fit a rollicking rhythm, and her assessment of recess dynamics feels authentic. Huliska-Beith's. (The Book of Bad Ideas) memorable Jean busts out of the pages, all sneer, bluster and freckles. Swirling perspectives in the gouache-and-collage artwork provide a sense of movement and largesse. And humorous details, such as steam coming from Mean Jean's ears, or her bouncing another child like a ball, playfully convey the underlying drama of the situation.
--Publishers Weekly, Jan. 21st 2001

Mean Jean is the recess queen. No one dares touch a ball, swing a bat, or slip down the slide until she says so. Until, that is, the day that Katie Sue shows up at school. Told in a rollicking rhyme, the story offers a lighthearted look at a serious topic in schools and on playgrounds everywhere-the bully. Katie Sue puts Mean Jean in her place in a surprisingly easy way-simply by being too new to know any better. In a nice twist, when confronted by Mean Jean, instead of backing away, the newcomer invites her to play. Thus she is transformed into a likable character at the end of the story, now surrounded by friends on the blacktop rather than foes. Both the text and the art are smart, sassy, and energetic. Rendered in collage and acrylics in vibrant shades of fuchsia, lime green, and azure blue, the illustrations showcase Mean Jean as an over-the-top cartoon character who is frenetic and effervescent. The text effectively dips, swirls, and slants around the action of the art, further marrying the two. This queen would make a perfect pair with another infamous female tyrant, the title character in Barbara Bottner's Bootsie Barker Bites (Putnam, 1992).--School Library Journal, March 2002

Mean Jean the Recess queen is really a bully: “Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced." That is, not until the arrival of teeny new girl Katie Sue, who doesn't scare easy. When Mean jean tries to set the record straight, “Katie Sue talked back! Just as sassy as could be, she said 'How DID you get so bossy?" Mean Jean chas

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Bullies, by nature, are an unforgettable lot, usually distinguished by their unreasoning tyranny over the classroom or jungle gym. If you've encountered one -- well, then you know. Author Alexis O'Neill shines her spotlight on one particular tormentor in the playground set: Jean is her name, and being mean is her game. This outstanding picture book sheds new light on the mysterious bully and what can happen when a new kid shows no fear.

Mean Jean is the Recess Queen. No one dares cross the raven-haired intimidator. If they do, she'll surely "hammer 'em, slammer 'em, kitz and kajammer 'em." Illustrator Laura Huliska-Beith shows Jean running amok in the yard, putting classmates in headlocks and chasing down do-gooders, all with a scowly smirk on her freckled face. That is, until a new kid comes to school. The petite Katie Sue looks like a meek little thing -- until she hits the playground. Full of spunk and sass, Katie Sue dares to swing before Mean Jean swings and kick before Mean Jean kicks. The fuming Jean grabs Katie Sue to set her straight. But to everyone's surprise, Katie Sue talks back. "How did you get so bossy?" she asks boldly, before quickly grabbing the ball and bouncing away. The playground is hushed as Mean Jean pursues her new enemy, ready to pounce. But then Katie Sue quickly does the unthinkable -- she asks Jean to jump rope with her. Amazingly, Jean does just that. The girls jump high and fast, and the cheering students know they will be forever bully free.

The simple premise behind this irresistible tale will intrigue youngsters with its affirmative ending. Sure, it may be hard to find this scenario in real life, but we need a little idealism in picture books now and again. This awesome story is matched with exuberant acrylic illustrations and collage. Colors are bright and eclectic, a lot like the characters in this rollicking tale. Facial expressions are wonderfully drawn to elicit the intense emotions of every child, whether scared, happy, anxious, or angry. With this playful look at a familiar school-age plague, Alexis O'Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith have created an amusing exposé of the lonely truth behind the one and only Recess Queen. (Amy Barkat)

Publishers Weekly
A schoolyard bully is enlightened by the new kid in class in this lively story about the power of kindness and friendship. "Mean Jean was Recess Queen/ and nobody said any different," the tale begins. Each day at recess, Mean Jean blasts through the playground and her cowering classmates so that she can kick, swing and bounce before anyone else. No one dare cross her path: "She'd push 'em and smoosh 'em, lollapaloosh 'em." But when tiny Katie Sue, a new student, arrives, all bets are off. Unaware of the playground hierarchy, the new girl enthusiastically kicks, swings and bounces before the Recess Queen gets the chance. Her role usurped, Mean Jean moves toward a meltdown, until Katie Sue makes her an offer she finds difficult to refuse: an invitation to play together. O'Neill's (Loud Emily) text brims with fun-to-say phrases that fit a rollicking rhythm, and her assessment of recess dynamics feels authentic. Huliska-Beith's (The Book of Bad Ideas) memorable Jean busts out of the pages, all sneer, bluster and freckles. Swirling perspectives in the gouache-and-collage artwork provide a sense of movement and largesse. And humorous details, such as steam coming from Mean Jean's ears, or her bouncing another child like a ball, playfully convey the underlying drama of the situation. Ages 3-7. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Mean Jean the Recess Queen is the playground bully. All of the school children are fearful of Mean Jean and nobody ever questions her leadership. That is, until Katie Sue comes to school. Katie Sue is a small child with a big smile and lots of courage. When the recess bell rings, Katie bravely and unknowingly does all of the things that Mean Jean forbids. Mean Jean is very angered by this and she attempts to set the record straight. Unphased, Katie Sue pulls out a jump rope and asks Mean Jean to play with her. All of the other kids stare in disbelief. Apparently, none of the other children had ever asked Mean Jean to play with them. Katie Sue is blissfully ignorant. Will her innocence and determination win Mean Jean over? Will the playground ever be a place where children can happily and peacefully play? Told entirely in rhyme, young children will surely enjoy the heart-warming and encouraging story just as much as they enjoy the colorful acrylic and collage illustrations. 2002, Scholastic Press, $15.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Mean Jean is the recess queen. No one dares touch a ball, swing a bat, or slip down the slide until she says so. Until, that is, the day that Katie Sue shows up at school. Told in a rollicking rhyme, the story offers a lighthearted look at a serious topic in schools and on playgrounds everywhere-the bully. Katie Sue puts Mean Jean in her place in a surprisingly easy way-simply by being too new to know any better. In a nice twist, when confronted by Mean Jean, instead of backing away, the newcomer invites her to play. Thus she is transformed into a likable character at the end of the story, now surrounded by friends on the blacktop rather than foes. Both the text and the art are smart, sassy, and energetic. Rendered in collage and acrylics in vibrant shades of fuchsia, lime green, and azure blue, the illustrations showcase Mean Jean as an over-the-top cartoon character who is frenetic and effervescent. The text effectively dips, swirls, and slants around the action of the art, further marrying the two. This queen would make a perfect pair with another infamous female tyrant, the title character in Barbara Bottner's Bootsie Barker Bites (Putnam, 1992).-Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Positing that bullies only act that way because they're lonely, O'Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers ("she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em, / lollapaloosh 'em, / hammer 'em, slammer 'em, / kitz and kajammer 'em . . ."), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, "How DID you get to be so bossy?" and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith's (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text's informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue's engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439206372
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
8,961
Product dimensions:
9.38(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD450L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


ALEXIS O’NEILL's all-time favorite game at recess was kickball. She also loved kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, and red rover, but she wasn't fond of dodge ball (ouch!). Alexis is grateful for the loyal, true-blue friends she has in her life. She lives in Southern California with her best, best friend (who has never ever been her worst best friend)--her husband, David, a computer wiz who makes her laugh.

LAURA Huliska-Beith was an enthusiastic “hopper” in the schoolyard, where she was often found playing hopscotch and jumping rope. A not-so-big kid, and now a not-so-big grown up, Laura lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her four best, best friends (yes, she believes you can have four best, best friends): her husband Jeff, and their three dogs Roxy, Chloe, and Jake.

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Recess Queen 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book to my class and they loved it. It is a great way to teach others about bullying. It is also a way to teach students that bullies can be made into friends. Sometimes the reason they are so mean is that they may not know how to make friends. I love the new girl who doesn't give in to Mean Jean, but instead invites her to jump rope. Wow, if we could all do that!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my little boy who was a bit bossy on the playground. Now, I read it to him...because he is the one being bossed around by little bullies in 'big' school. The words are fun to read...and it's a great story for kiddos about getting along with others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book for my daughter, who had no interest in it. She took it to school and her teacher read it, all the kids loved it, as do she & I. With words like "skippity", who could not like it? My daughter reads it over and over, and asks her dad & I to read it to her for our inflections. We love it! Write on Alexis O'Neill!
TracyOS More than 1 year ago
My son is almost 4 and he loves books. He loves this book because of the sing-songy kind of rhyming words. And it's a fun, brightly illustrated book as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny story with a message, the kids love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great story to teach young students (K-2) about Bullying. It leads beautifully into a classroom discussion. The illustrations and the text are wonderfully done so children are poised on the ends of their seats!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I use this book to teach kindness to my preschool bunch, they love the illustrations and rhyming words. I highly recommend it!
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