Surviving Brick Johnson

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Overview

Alex is running for his life. After making fun of the notorious bully Brick Johnson, he’s now convinced that Brick is out to get him. There is only one way to survive Brick Johnson—take karate lessons and become a powerful sensei. But after Brick shows up in karate class and treats Alex with respect, Alex’s picture of him begins to change. How can Brick be a bully and a nice guy at the same time?

Accompanied by Dan Yaccarino’s humorous illustrations, this funny, fast-paced story...

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Overview

Alex is running for his life. After making fun of the notorious bully Brick Johnson, he’s now convinced that Brick is out to get him. There is only one way to survive Brick Johnson—take karate lessons and become a powerful sensei. But after Brick shows up in karate class and treats Alex with respect, Alex’s picture of him begins to change. How can Brick be a bully and a nice guy at the same time?

Accompanied by Dan Yaccarino’s humorous illustrations, this funny, fast-paced story challenges readers to explore the way we think about people—and to break down the stereotypes that may prevent us from finding true friendship.

Afraid of getting maimed for making fun of Brick, the husky new kid in his fifth-grade class, Nick decides that even his baseball collection will not protect him so he signs up for karate class, despite his little brother's reassurances that Brick is not a bully.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Readers will be attracted by the short length and humor...and will receive an important and painless message about the nature of respect and friendship." School Library Journal

"Myers has a high-spirited effervescence that pumps life ino the well-worn trope of the perceived bully being wrongly feared." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"witty dialogue and snappy one-liners" Booklist, ALA

Children's Literature
Alex made fun of Brick Johnson in the lunchroom by doing an imitation. Brick saw him and came over and said, "At my other school, a boy did an imitation of me and..." He was interrupted by the coach and Alex's imagination moves into a fever pitch. He believes that Brick will do him bodily harm. The story involves his subsequent avoidance of Brick, enrollment in a Karate class, and sharing his fear and baseball card hobby with his younger brother Bob. There are some amusing incidents, the baseball cards will interest young boys, a normal family and siblings who get along, and the final resolution without violence make this a very different and very pleasant story. The text is liberally sprinkled with Yaccarino's black-and-white gouache illustrations. A good choice for reluctant readers. 2000, Clarion, $15.00. Ages 8 to 10. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Fifth-grader Alex is showing off, making fun of Brick, the new, tough-looking kid at school. Unfortunately, Brick overhears. His ominous response-"At my other school a boy did an imitation of me and-"-is interrupted, but Alex can imagine any number of gruesome conclusions. Certain that his classmate is out to get him, he signs up for karate lessons. Alex's frantic efforts to avoid the boy add a touch of slapstick to the story. However, he gradually notices that his adversary has some unexpected interests. He volunteers as a guest reader in the first-grade class and, like Alex, collects baseball cards. Finally, Brick shows up at karate class as Alex's sparring partner. Simple black-and-gray gouache paintings appear throughout the book. Readers will be attracted by the short length and humor of this story and will receive an important and painless message about the nature of respect and friendship.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Myers (Guinea Pigs Don't Talk, not reviewed, etc.) brings unusual insight to a perennial children's book topic. Having rashly done a rude imitation of hulking classmate Brick Johnson in front of the entire lunchroom, pipsqueak Alex is sure that his days are numbered. Despite little brother Bob's insistence that Brick, who has volunteered to read stories to his first-grade class, is a nice guy, Alex makes strenuous efforts to avoid any encounter-most of which, to his consternation, seem to have the opposite effect. Casting about for any lifeline, Alex even enrolls in karate class, where the teacher's talk of respecting others seems less useful than a well-practiced round kick. Until, that is, he suddenly finds himself facing Brick as a sparring partner. Astonishingly, rather than punching out Alex's lights, Brick bows, setting the stage for a conversation that makes it clear that the threat was entirely a product of Alex's imagination. In fact, the two turn out to share an enthusiasm for baseball card collecting that by the end puts them well on the way toward friendship. Brick's apparent unawareness of Alex's angst doesn't quite ring true, but Myers's suggestion that hostilities often hinge on misunderstanding or incidents blown out of proportion is well taken. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395980316
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Myers comes from a writing family: both her mother, Betsy Byars, and her sister, Betsy Duffey, write children's books. Laurie's two previous books for Clarion are EARTHQUAKE IN THE THIRD GRADE and GUINEA PIGS DON'T TALK. She lives in Augusta, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2002

    Reba- a fifth grader- October 6th,2002

    I liked this book because it was suspenseful. I would recommend it.

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