King of the Playground written by Phyllis Renolds Naylor and illustrated by Nola Langner Malone
Antibullying picture book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers an imprint of Simon and Schuster
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Kevin is hopeful. Each day he heads to the playground, wanting to go down the slide but knowing that if Sammy is there, he won’t be allowed to do so.
“You can’t come!” Sammy said. “I’m King of the Playground!” And he told Kevin what he would do if he saw him on the slide.
Disappointed, Kevin returns home and confides in his dad. His dad listens to the threat that Sammy has made and he encourages Kevin to ask himself, “And what would you be doing while Sammy was tying you up? Just sitting there?”
The following day, Kevin tries again and, again, Sammy is at the playground. When Kevin wants to use one of the swings, Sammy announces,
“You can’t play here!” yelled Sammy, running over. “I’m King of the Swings.” And he told Kevin what he would do if he saw him on the swings.
Once again Kevin shares his problem with his dad and once again his dad challenges him to problem solve.
Kevin’s dad’s approach to bullying is perfect. He remains calm, he doesn’t intervene, he encourages Kevin to think logically and he empowers Kevin to solve the bullying problem himself.
With Dad’s guidance, Kevin realizes that there may be a different way to deal with Sammy and his threats. On his next visit to the playground, Kevin is just a little bit braver. He uses his imagination to counter Sammy’s threats and together the boys find middle ground.
Recommended for children aged four years and up.