The Great Snowball Escapade
by J.D. Holiday
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Growing up can be difficult enough for kids today but falling prey to a bully’s wiles makes it even harder as Wilhelmina Brooks finds out when her cousin, Bud comes to live with her. Bud’s amusement is at the expense of the others. Wilhelmina, who prefers begin called Wil, takes the brunt of his escapades as he insults her friends, takes ownership of her old sled and becomes the class terror in her second grade class. Even worse, he ruined her Christmas vacation by putting gum in her hair, taking her new sharpener and just being plain old MEAN! What can she do when her mother insists that she has to be nice to him, looks away from his pranks that are not funny and ignores the fact that he is angry at his present situation and more? Poor Wil! Is she going to survive living with Bud? Will he ever learn his lesson or will he become the terror of the second grade and the entire neighborhood? Author J.D. Holiday brings to light the issue of bullying and harassing other kids in her outstanding chapter book: “The Great Snowball Escape.”
To escape means to want to get away from it all. You might want to go on a vacation, trip or just take a walk to clear your head. But, poor Wil, wants to escape her house, her school and her life just to get away from Bud, her mean cousin whose pastime is picking on kids smaller and weaker than him and creating havoc in the second grade and more.
Snow days are every kids dream. A day off from school to play outside, building a snowman and even better throw snowfalls or snowball fights are every kids and even adults idea of fun. But, when Wil and her friends decide to build a snowman in front of her house, what happens disrupts everything and she gets sent to her room as once again she and Bud cannot work or play together.
Wil’s mother wants her to understand that Bud is going through a difficult time and needs understanding. But, how much can she endure and will she have to take before someone realizes that she is only 7 years old and cannot be expected to understand or withstand everything her cousin dishes out. So, when her mother insists they make peanut better cookies together, will they succeed or will they get into a flour and sugar throwing war? Will they be able to work together and finally go outside to play? This reviewer will not divulge that secret to you. You are going to have to read the book yourself.
But, what happens when one bully meets another bully? Who wins or who backs down? While sledding down the huge hill where her friends were, they encounter Drew and his mean dog. Drew thinks that he has the better of Bud and Wil and wants Bud’s sled. What happens next will definitely surprise the reader and one bully might learn a serious lesson from another and two cousins just might become friends.
But, there is more. On the way home Bud and Wil encounter her friends who are gathered around Suzy whose cat, Mimi is missing. Added to that someone destroyed his or her snowman and everyone thinks it was Bud. Just how this story ends and if they find Mimi will not only endear you more to Wil, but will teach children a lesson in loyalty, trust and friendship that every kid needs to understand and learn. Will they get the cat back? Who gets blamed and who really did take it? Who destroyed the snowman? Will Bud and Wil ever see eye to eye and become friends? Author J.D. Holiday has created two characters that are not so different. Wil just wants to be understood and have her mother understand that having Bud stay with her caused some major changes in her life. Bud, just feels like an outcast and might be using his outbursts, and pranks to get attention and tries to get sent home to live with his Dad. Both Bud and Wil need the adults to understand them. Wil’s mother makes one statement that I feel says it all: Treat people the way you want to be treated. Now, if everyone did that maybe there would be no wars, fights or hate in the world. Just what positive things can come out of snowdays: Read this great children’s book and learn for yourself as Wil and Bud teach not only themselves but adults so really important lessons in friendship, understanding, communication and teamwork. This is definitely a FIVE SNOWMAN BOOK! Let’s hope the author brings Wil and Bud and her friends back in another novel.
This book should be in every school library, guidance counselor’s office, public library, police youth groups, public libraries and of course my own.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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