I have raised my two young boys (who I usually refer to as my young Padawans) to be respectful and quiet when in hospitals and libraries. They are to use their indoor voices or fear death. When I heard them YELLING in a bookstore two days ago, I couldn’t give them the death stare fast enough. But they weren’t looking at me. They were looking at the newest addition to the Jedi Academy series by Jeffrey Brown–The Phantom Bully. I started yelling with them! IT–the end of the middle school years–wasn’t supposed to be on shelves for another two weeks. We had to fight for who would read it first.
Brown has created another fun filled adventure for Roan and his gang of young Padawans. Cronah and his gang of bullies has ganged up on Roan to torture him in his last year. They take his backpack and fill it with horrible food and damage weeks of his homework, along with other mean antics to keep him fearing for his passing of middle school. Roan also gets to officially call Gaiana his girlfriend. The comic book pages, along with Brown’s amazing ability to draw, and the ability to capture Yoda-ize is truly remarkable. I will now start the series again and read them more slowly as I had to pass this along to my own Padawans.
In the Classroom:
The Phantom Bully is a perfect read for the middle grades. It is a book to put in the hands of a cautious reader because of its structure. It has both journal entries (similar to that of Diary of a Wimpy Kid,) but offers comic strip and newspaper reading as well.
As Roan progresses through his third year in middle school, his schedule is full of teachers and expectations. True to life his schedule is (Using Yoda-ize!) All students have a favorite class, teacher or time of day. The first question a relative may ask a young person is, “What is your favorite subject?” The reader can truly understand the middle school years through Roan’s thoughts, conversations and physical interactions. Roan has relationships with his peers as well as a plethora of adults throughout his day. Have your students “describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described” ( CCSS.ELA-Literacy. RL.5.6.) When correlating the point of view you can also have your students explain how the series of events (especially with the phantom bullying that occurs) fit together to provide the overall structure of the book (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.5.)
The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown (Scholastic, Inc. | 9780545621267 | June 30, 2015)