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Author: Julia Cook

Illustrator: Allison Valentine

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: National Center for Youth Issues, 2011

Material: paperback

Summary: Life isn't fair ... and whenever something unfair happens, Lester pops his top. He explodes so often that the kids in his class have a song and a name: Soda Pop Head. In just one day he's been to the principal's office, sent to his room for grabbing his sister, and yelled at his teacher for losing his homework. Luckily Dad has a plan to help. This picture book covers anger - and controlling anger - in a way that kids understand.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 10

Reading Level: 2.4

Age of Child: Read by a 10-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: "Mom, do you have any more of these Julia Cook books?" Our daughter dove into the stories and spent a long time exploring the imagery. Lester's explosive personality resonated with her, and she picked up on the fact that its not just kids who find life unfair.

Adult Reader Reaction: The imagery is great ... and so is Lester's solution. The "Push / Pull / Dangle" is easy to remember and discreet to do! The author did a fabulous job creating three scenes where kids are likely to loose their cool: the cafeteria, the classroom, and at home with a sibling.

Pros: Great illustrations and a practical solution make this a fun, educational read for kids.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a book you'll read with your preschooler and then pull off the shelf for your third grader, too.


Educational Themes: The theme of the book is anger management. Kids can get the message just by listening to the story, but it would make a great prop for talking about anger and other ways to deal with situations like these.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at Book Expo America. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, emotions, growing up, school

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2012

Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found at the time of this review. See reader feedback at and


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