________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 14 . . . . March 18, 2005

cover Peer Pressure: Deal With It Without Losing Your Cool.

Elaine Slavens. Illustrated by Ben Shannon.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2004.
32 pp, pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 1-55028-815-6.

Subject Headings:
Peer pressure-Juvenile literature.
Peer pressure in children-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

cover Competition: Deal With It From Start to Finish.

Mireille Messier. Illustrated by Steven Murray.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2004.
32 pp, pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 1-55028-832-6.

Subject Heading:
Competition (Psychology) in children-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

cover Fighting: Deal With It Without Coming to Blows.

Elaine Slavens. Illustrated by Steven Murray.
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2004.
32 pp, pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 1-55028-791-5.

Subject Headings:
Fighting (Psychology)-Juvenile literature.
Conflict management-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

 

excerpt:

It's sometimes hard to understand how people can react so differently to the same situation, especially if you've never felt that way yourself. A pop quiz in your science class could simply be a groaner for you, but for the kid at the next desk it could trigger stomach pains and cold sweats. A 3 to 0 score in your badminton match could mean disappointment to you, but a crushing defeat to your teammate. Sometimes, what we do and say can actually make things worse for a person who's struggling. By paying attention to how different people react to competition, you also have the power to help them handle it in a healthier way! (From Competition.)

Identical in format and layout, these three titles, part of the "Deal With It" series, are designed to make young people aware of the reasons for peer pressure, competition and fighting and their own behaviours and to provide some skills to help them cope in real life situations. Information is presented by way of short articles, quizzes, FAQs, cartoon strips and a list of do's and don'ts. Various scenarios related to the book's topic give readers opportunities to problem-solve and to practise what they would say if they were faced with a similar situation. A section of each book explains what the witness of the featured behaviour can do to assist the person(s) with the problem. All of the titles include a mini table of contents (hardly worth providing) as well as a list of helplines and organizations, web sites and books, both fiction and non-fiction, for further information and help.

     In Peer Pressure, the author talks about both positive and negative peer pressure and its sources, its consequences and effects on others and how to recognize traits in oneself that might lead to putting pressure on friends. Slavens also offers suggestions for some basic things to do when feeling pressured and different ways of saying "no" to one's peers. Readers will be somewhat surprised to find that adults, too, often succumb to peer pressure from the media, their friends and neighbours.

     Very similar to the first title, Competition explains what competition is both in its positive and negative connotations and how to deal with it in a healthy way. The consequences of cheating on tests and in sports are discussed along with the effects of extreme competition on one's physical and mental health.

     Physical fighting is the topic of Fighting. The book gives a list of common anger triggers- jealousy, paranoia, rejection, criticism, to name a few -- and ways to deal with fighting. Readers will learn to recognize body cues that indicate an impending loss of control -- increased heart rate, tense muscles, gritting teeth, for instance -- and strategies to calm down. Alternatives to fighting are provided along with suggestions for witnesses of fights so that no one gets hurt.

     Text is simple and uses the popular language of tweens and young teens. Short sections and a good variety of presentation formats will keep the reader's attention, while sound advice, sample scenarios and suggestions for altering behaviour, without sounding preachy, will give young people plenty of ideas for gaining control of their own behaviours. The illustrations are fairly basic, neither detracting from nor particularly enhancing the text.

Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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