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*Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully* by Julianne Moore, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Also by Julianne Moore:

Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever

Freckleface Strawberry
Also illustrated by LeUyen Pham:

A Piece of Cake

The Best Birthday Party Ever


All Fall Down

Bedtime for Mommy

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters

Freckleface Strawberry

Freckleface Strawberry: Best Friends Forever

Akimbo and the Crocodile Man

Stinky Stern Forever: A Jackson Friends Book
Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully
by Julianne Moore, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Ages 4-8 40 pages Bloomsbury USA April 2009 Hardcover    

When Freckleface Strawberry sees rain, she knows she’ll have to play indoors. Fun games like tetherball, skipping, and four square are replaced by the dreaded game of dodgeball. Just the word makes her cringe - she equates dodgeball with pain. When her school plays dodgeball, she hears THWACKs, THWOCKs and THUNKs mixed with EEEKs and AAARGHHHs.

When Windy Pants Patrick throws that ball, he hits his target. His aim is so precise and so fast that he can make hats fly off heads and glasses come loose from behind ears. To avoid this terrifying ball, Freckleface Strawberry has a monstrous plan that involves hopping and singing and acting. When there is a group of children in front of her, this plan works great. But as soon as Freckleface Strawberry’s classmates are all eliminated from the game, nothing stands between her and Windy Pants Patrick - except the ball he is throwing her way.

Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully touches on themes of fear and forgiveness. Instead of avoiding dodgeball because she’s scared, Freckleface Strawberry uses her imagination to boost her confidence and build up her courage. Mimicking a monster, she prepares herself for the dodgeball game with Windy Pants Patrick. Despite her preparations though, Freckleface Strawberry becomes the last person in the game. Young readers may think they know what’s going to happen at the end of the game, but the author adds a surprise. Neither dodgeball nor the bully are as bad as we were lead to believe.

Besides her baby brother, Freckleface Strawberry is the only child with freckles in this book. They cover her face, her arms and her legs. She may be recognized for her red hair and freckles, but it’s her forgiving nature, playfulness, and her to build friendships that make her so wonderful.

The illustrations are rendered in Japanese brush pen and digitally colored. Although the book begins with an illustration of Freckleface Strawberry at home, most of the story takes place in the school or the schoolyard. Many children appear in the book, helping to set the scene, but the red dodgeball (and the sounds it elicits) and towering Windy Pants Patrick keep our attention. A monster does appear in this book as well, but he’s not scary. He has no claws, he’s missing a few teeth, and he’s purple, plump, and polka-dotted. He adds a gentleness to the story, as do the light yellows, pinks and blues used for the backgrounds.

Once you’ve seen a dodgeball coming at you and felt it bounce off your body, you don’t forget. I think many children would agree with Freckleface Strawberry and pick skipping or tetherball over dodgeball any day.

Julianne Moore has appeared in many movies including Benny and Joon, The Forgotten, and Far From Heaven. Involved with several literacy and children’s organizations, Julianne lives in New York with her family. Freckleface Strawberry (2007) was her first book for children.

LeUyen Pham is a graduate of Art Center College and the illustrator of both Freckleface Strawberry books, along with many other children’s books including Sweet Briar Goes to School, Twenty-One Elephants, and Once Around the Sun. LeUyen lives in California.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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