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May 03, 2012
Meet eight-year-old Ellray Jakes. Ellray is the shortest student in his grade 3 class, but he has a “big personality” and lots of determination and spirit. Lately, though, he hasn’t been having an easy time. The biggest kid in the class, Jared, and his best friend Stanley, have been bullying him on the playground and in the classroom when the teacher’s back is turned. They are determined to get Ellray into trouble – the more, the better – and often, they are successful. But now Ellray is resolved to stay out of trouble, no matter what. Why? His dad has promised that the family will visit Disneyland if Ellray behaves himself at school. It isn’t easy. Ellray hasn’t told his parents or his teacher about the bullying, knowing that if he did, the situation would likely worsen. And just when it’s so important for Ellray to behave himself, it seems that Jared is more set than ever to instigate trouble for which Ellray will be blamed. When things are resolved – in a satisfactory but surprising way, Ellray learns that there has been a reason for Jared’s behaviour, for which Ellray has been partially responsible. Ellray Jakes is Not a Chicken provides an interesting “take” on the issue of bullying. It’s one book in a new series (about Ellray) that would appeal to children – especially boys – who are just beginning to read chapter books.