Alley Oops relates the painful and embarrassing aftermath of name-calling and bullying from
the novel perspective of the bully.
J.J. Jax has been tormenting an overweight boy named Patrick, calling him Pig-Pen and
Porky, and now Patrick is afraid to go to school. When Mr. Jax finds out, he tells J.J. a
story about when he was a bully, and how sorry he feels now. He explains about the two
dogs inside us, one bad and one good, that fight all the time. “Which dog wins?” J.J. asks.
“The one you feed the most,” Mr. Jax answers.
Touched by his father’s words, J.J. bikes over to Patrick’s house to talk things over, and is
surprised to discover how much he and Patrick have in common: they both think getting
yelled at is better than being lectured, they both have little sisters who never get in trouble,
and they both love the sport of arm-wrestling. Patrick even has an official arm-wrestling
Patrick may be big, but he is also quite strong and an avid arm-wrestler. Trounced at the
table, J.J. is impressed with Patrick’s “hammer hand” and decides to become his manager!
The boys’ shared interest in arm-wrestling becomes the conduit for resolution and budding
Bullying is a worldwide problem with negative lifelong consequences – for the bully as well
as the victim. Nearly everyone knows a bully, has been bullied, or has bullied someone.
Alley Oops is a story about hurt and anger, empathy and hope, resilience and ingenuity. It’s
about actions and consequences. And finally, it’s about that “alley oops!” moment when a
child experiences the empowerment and self-esteem that come from doing the right thing.
Hardcover, 32 full color pages, ages 5-9,
Spring 2005, ISBN 9780972922548
Praise for Alley Oops
"...The watercolor cartoons are lively and have contemporary details. ...the book may be useful to help initiate discussion on this
important topic." Jennifer Ralston, School Library Journal
Included in Publishers Weekly’s Bullying Resources: A Selected Listing (Oct 22, 2012), part of an Anti-Bullying feature.
From Dr. Laura Schlessinger:
"This one is good for you to buy if you are the parent of a bully! Yes! This is a bully-friendly book… to give to bullies - which is a novel
approach in the anti-bullying campaign - a book for offenders. It’s fun. It’s well done. It’s macho, in a sweet way. So if you have a kid,
and you get reports that you want to deny or blame on the other kid, if your kid says mean things...like this kid, J.J., …this book
discusses the harmful lasting effects of being bullied and the importance of discovering common ground. It’s cute. And it’s the first book
I've found that is for bullies. It’s fun to read, and hopefully will touch them. If you are a grandparent or you are a teacher, this would be a
cool book to read to that kid who’s just tickling the edge of being a little monster, and it’s very sweet."
From The Horn Book Guide
After J.J.'s dad scolds him for teasing an overweight boy named Patrick, J.J. confronts Patrick about tattling. The two end up bonding over a
mutual passion for wrestling--and irritation with parental lectures.
Cited as a source for Learning about Respectfulness from a Picture Book Character in Bright Beginnings for Boys: Engaging
Young Boys in Active Literacy by Debby Zambo and William G. Brozo, published by the International Reading Association
(January 2009). The IRA calls Bright Beginnings an "essential resource on getting young boys hooked on reading at an early age" and
has made it an IRA Book Club Selection for January 2009. "It was a pleasure to use Alley Oops in our book because it contained
important content for boys," said Debby Zambo, author and educator. To learn more about Bright Beginnings for Boys, click here. For
a free download of the first chapter from the IRA , including the mention of Alley Oops, click here.
Featured in Curriculum Connections Winter 2005: Using Children's Literature to Address Bullying, and included in the ADL's
Annotated Bibliography of Children's Fiction on Bullying
"a little gem...[that] will empower your children to wrestle with big choices and take a look at their own actions and reactions."
Barbara Gruener, Counselor at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, TX, and writer of a guidance webpage on academicplanet.com
"Very highly recommended." Midwest Book Review
"...love of this sport ...bonds these pre-teens and provides the opportunity for Jonathan Jax to start feeding his good dog more
often." Kelly Roque, Children's Literature
"J.J. makes a wise decision and to his surprise, ends up being good friends with Patrick." Jennifer Lee, Nashville Parent Magazine
"'Alley Oops' is important, and can help bullies understand the impact of their hurtful behavior." Lee Littlewood, Kid's Home
Library, Copley News Service
"Are you being bullied? Are you a bully? If you've answered yes to either of these questions, the book Alley Oops is one that is a
must." Mary M. Alward, Suite101.com
"...I don't like books designed to teach kids a moral lesson. And I really don't like books that have a parent lecture the main
character on morality. Since both things happen in Alley Oops, I must dislike it, right? Well, no, not this time." Jan Fields,
"With snappy dialogue & marvelous pictures... Alley Oops... needs to be read, again and again." Rebecca Brown, RebeccaReads
"Alley Oops illustrates bullying from the bully's perspective. It highlights a positive outlook and the importance to resolving the
bullying conflict and how everyone can be a winner in the end...Find out how this wonderful story turns out." Cheryl McCann,
"Unique drawings go perfectly in this story setting." Lisa D'Angelo, Book Review Cafe
"Playground bullies and aggressive behavior are frequently addressed in today's parenting magazines. Author Janice Levy offers
a completely new take on the subject... I highly recommend her book, "Alley Oops", for its insight, educational value, and
straightforward treatment of an age-old problem." Christine Hohlbaum, Blether.com
Featured on Practically Paradise, a top blog on School Library Journal.com. Diane Chen blogged: "Make sure you have this in your
collection.... I particularly like the humorous approach the author uses to communicate between the generations. You'll recognize
A Picture Book of the Day on the 6 Traits blog by Anastasia Suen.
"Alley Oops takes a novel approach in the anti-bullying campaign... providing a book for offenders. It can help bullies
understand the impact of their hurtful behavior and the need to change their ways." Tom McIntyre, Ph.D., author of THE
BEHAVIOR SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS: How to Make Good Choices and Stay Out of Trouble, and professor of special
education at Hunter College, NY, www.behavioradvisor.com
"Arm wrestling is a sport that just about everyone has participated in at one point in their lives. Alley Oops is
a fun and progressive story and we will enjoy reading it to our children. What an excellent way to teach
virtues!" Allen and Carolyn Fisher, the only husband and wife World Champions in the history of the sport of Arm
REVIEWS BY KIDS
Review by Kaya, age 10 on WhatsGoodToDo.com
Alley Oops is about a boy called JJ who is asked by his dad to make friends with the new boy at school Patrick Montgomery. JJ doesn't
want to as Patrick is really fat and sweats a lot! After talking it turns out that JJ and Patrick like to play pranks and have both got into
trouble at school for throwing pizza. Patrick tells JJ that his uncle Muscles Max is an arm wrestler and that he takes Patrick to the
matches, Patrick has his own arm wrestling move called the Alley Oops and JJ becomes his manager and calls patrick Hammer Hand
Man and they both end up being really good friends. I like this book as it shows that everyone doesn't have to look or be the same to be
good friends. The pictures made this book really fun to read.
Read full reviews here
AWARDS & HONORS
* New Mexico Land of Enchantment Picture Narrative Book Award nominee 2010-11
* A Delaware Diamonds Award nominee 2007-8
* A Storytelling World Award Honor Book 2006
|Picture Books That Explore and Illuminate
Peek inside by clicking the cover
Language rights sold: Chinese