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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Kraken's Rules for Making Friends by Brittany R. Jacobs

AR Level: Not Yet Available
AR Points:Not Yet Available
AR Quiz Number:Not Yet Available
Page Count: 40 pages

I always find it interesting when a specific animal begins to trend in children's books (or even in memes and pop culture for that matter). For example, at present it feels like sloths and narwals are kind of having a moment. They pop up everywhere... t-shirts, books, television, etc. Along side narwals and sloths, it feels like squids are trending right now as well.

Exhibit A: The Kraken's Rules for Making Friends. In this fictional tale, a kraken (aka giant squid) doesn't understand why it does not have any friends, or why everyone seems terrified of it. It questions itself and proactively tries to make changes to become more appealing. In the end, our outcast cephalopod hero ends up with a buddy after all.

From the start, the illustrations had my attention. The deep dark blues contrast with the bright red of the kraken, which drew me in. I love how our "scary" kraken is actually pretty cute, and his/her desire for friendship is something I think that most kids can understand and relate to. What I like about the resolution of the story is, Kraken didn't end up with a whole school of friends, but instead just one. It feels more realistic to me, and if I were reading a book to a child that was having a hard time fitting in, I think it sends the believable message that you really tend to make friends slowly, not everyone is going to love you at once. It is a start, and the kraken has to work hard for it.

As a little side note, I also like how the shark ends up being a lovable good guy in this book. Being typically demonized much like the big bad wolf, children are taught to fear and hate sharks. While respect is needed for any wild animal, I like it when books help challenge tropes that are ultimately harmful to a species.

Now, as previously mentioned at the top of this post, squids are having a moment and another fantastic example of such is Giant Squid by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann. Take a moment and check out my post on the book here:

These two books side by side would be a great lesson starter for getting your students to see the difference between Fiction and NonFiction books.

For more information about The Kraken's Rules for Making Friends, you can check out the web site below....
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