Benny Shark Goes to Friend School
Benny Shark Goes to Friend School
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Annotation: Benny Shark is a bully who tries to bully his way to friendship. He goes to Friend School to learn the rules of friendship.
Catalog Number: #139773
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: Montijo, Rhode,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-477-82803-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-477-82803-8
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Benny the bull shark is a bully without any friends. When Benny demands friendship from Janice Jellyfish, the wise invertebrate takes him to Friend School. Watercolor, pen-and-ink, and digital cartoons show well-meaning Benny's humorous misunderstanding of rules such as "#2: a friend always tells the truth" ("My, Janice, you are an ugly jellyfish"). The slight friendship primer ends on a sweet note at graduation.
Kirkus Reviews
When "Be my buddy, or I'll bust your bones!" doesn't work for Benny, who is the classic shark cliché of a villain's villain, he takes Janice Jellyfish's words of wisdom to heart and attends Friend School.Ollie Octopus is the teacher, and he begins with Rule No. 1: "A friend is a good listener." Unsurprisingly, no one wants to practice with Benny, so he butts in on the shrimps' conversation about their favorite food and is reminded to listen first. Surprisingly, he manages to keep to himself the fact that shrimp is his favorite food. Rule No. 2 is "A friend always tells the truth," but though Ollie tells Benny that "My, Janice, you're an ugly jellyfish" is impolite, he doesn't really explain what exactly this rule entails. Benny flat-out breaks the fourth rule and the spirit of the third—about taking turns and sharing—with no consequences. The final rule addresses good sportsmanship, and Benny finally sees the light when he refuses to take the easy win in a race and helps Janice out of a pickle instead, thereby earning his first friend. Ollie promptly declares an A-plus for Benny, and he graduates the next day (despite not really having learned all the rules) while practicing one final rule about keeping promises. Montijo's watercolor, pen-and-ink, and digital illustrations are reminiscent of television cartoons, and characters' expressions are over-the-top clichéd villain and victims. Solid rules; one wishes they were better learned and more consistently rewarded, though. (Picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
Benny Shark, a snarling bull shark, is all but friendless, thanks to his aggressive, bullying tendencies. So Janice Jellyfish urges him to join her at Friend School, where teacher Ollie Octopus shares six rules for making friends. But Benny has trouble getting it quite right. -You are an ugly jellyfish,- he tells Janice in an attempt to follow rule #2, -A friend always tells the truth.- He also misses the boat on sharing (-Ten for me and one half for each of you-), but an opportunity to save Janice lets Benny redeem himself and better understand what it means to have (and be) a good friend. Readers who come on strong like Benny may take Reed-s (Fireman Fred) light friendship lessons to heart, but it-s the shark-s bad behavior, captured in Montijo-s (the Gum Girl series) bold and thickly outlined cartoons, that makes the biggest impact. Ages 3-7. (July)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Benny Shark has a big problemhe's a big bully. And everything about Benny is writ large. Benny's actions and emotions are overwhelming, the images of underwater antics are rendered in close-up even though they're simple digital comics, and the big speech balloons make it seem like every word Benny utters is shouted. Benny the shark is a meanie, using his bull shark stature to push other fish around, until Janice Jellyfish decides to set him straight by taking him to Friend School, a place where one learns to be exactly what the name implies. Arriving at Friend School, Benny is presented with a series of rules and challengesbe a good listener, tell the truth, share, take turns, and be a good sport. In the end, Janice's unflagging kindness to the reluctant Benny proves incentive enough for him to truly learn his lesson. The (literal) chalkboard lessons, and Benny's snarky responses to them, are good fodder for classroom discussions on following rules and respecting classmates, and an interesting, if imperfect, examination of following the letter, versus the spirit, of the rules set for a child's social environment. VERDICT Benny Shark's antics will provide an interesting, if slightly on the nose, way to teach young children about classroom social expectations. A strong choice for most picture book collections.Emilia Packard, Austin, TX
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (8/1/17)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

Benny the bull shark is a big bully. He even tries to bully his way to friendship, but no one wants to be friends with him! Then Janice the jellyfish tells Benny about Friend School, where he can learn the rules of friendship. Will Benny finally learn what it takes to be a true friend? Full color.

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