The Recess Queen
The Recess Queen

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Annotation: Mean Jean is the biggest bully on the school playground until a new girl arrives and challenges Jean's status as the Recess Queen.
Catalog Number: #249875
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition Date: 2002
Illustrator: Huliska-Beith, Laura,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-439-20637-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-03566-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-439-20637-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-03566-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2001020841
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Mean Jean is the playground bully (she pushed kids and smooshed kids, / lollapalooshed kids, / hammered em, slammered em, / kitz and kajammer em). No one can stand up to her, until new kid Katie Sue arrives. Freckled, bespectacled, pig-tailed Katie Sue asks the bully to jump rope and be her friend (I like ice cream / I like tea, / I want Jean to / jump with me!), and everything changes. OK, kids know that schoolyard power games aren't that easily solved, but they'll enjoy seeing the bully as needy, and they will recognize how everything can suddenly shift. The physicalness of the words makes the wild nonsense rhyme great for reading aloud and joining in, and the brilliantly colored, computer-generated art captures the yelling playground mayhem that's both scary and wonderful.
Horn Book
Mean Jean rules the schoolyard until a feisty, diminutive newcomer, Katie Sue, invites her to help break in a new jump rope, and the bully learns that being a tyrant is overrated. Though the rhyme is irregular, the language in this manic democracy lesson is lively ("she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em, / lollapaloosh 'em"), and Huliska-Beith uses acrylics and collage to capture the power struggles from appropriately lofty perspectives.
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)
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.)

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.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (Fri Mar 01 00:00:00 CST 2002)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (Thu Aug 01 00:00:00 CDT 2002)
Kirkus Reviews
National Council For Social Studies Notable Children's Trade
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Word Count: 552
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 55842 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.6 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q27676

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.


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