Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Enemy Pie

Enemy Pie was written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King.  It was published by Chronicle Books in 2000. 

                Enemy Pie is one of my all-time favorite books.  As an interventionist, I don’t have the opportunity to read aloud to my students very often, and it is something I miss the most about being a classroom teacher.  It made me very happy to be able to read this book aloud to my Saturday Academy students. It brought back so many memories of all of my previous classes.

                Enemy Pie is a book about a young boy who doesn’t like the new kid in the neighborhood, Jeremy Ross. When Jeremy moved in, he had a trampoline party, and everyone in the neighborhood was invited except one.  Because of that, he deemed Jeremy his best enemy.  He didn’t want anything to do with him.  When his father suggested they make an Enemy Pie for Jeremy, he was intrigued.  His dad tells him, “Enemy Pie is the fastest known way to get rid of enemies.” So his son wonders what will be included in it.  He tries to bring his father worms and weeds to include in the pie, but his father tells him that the worms and weeds are not needed.  He tells him what he needs to do to make this plan work is spend the day with his enemy.  He must pretend to like him and play with him all day long.

                The worried look on the young boy’s face is comical.  He has no idea how he is going to put up with Jeremy for a whole day when Jeremy is the only one listed on his enemy list.  He doesn’t understand how spending a day with his enemy will help, but he goes to his house anyway.  Jeremy is surprised when he shows up, but agrees to play.  They rode bikes, jumped on the trampoline, ate lunch and then went back to the young boy’s house.  They played in the tree house until dinner time.

                After dinner, dad was ready to serve the pie.  The narrator was worried because he had realized that Jeremy wasn’t so bad after all and he wanted to be friends with him. He tried to tell his father not to serve the pie – “’Dad. I said. ‘it sure is nice having a new friend in the neighborhood.’ I was trying to get his attention and trying to tell him that Jeremy Ross was no longer my enemy.  But dad only smiled and nodded. I think he thought I was just pretending.” But dad did serve the pie, and of course, nothing was wrong with it.

                As you can probably tell from the other posts I have written, friendship and treating others well is an important theme in my life.  When I read a good book about it, I want to share it with everyone.  Although Enemy Pie is a popular book, if I am sharing a new book with just one person, it is worth it.  The message is incredibly important, and the pictures are engaging, which will help to keep the students’ attention as it is read.  The characters are over exaggerated and have very large heads in proportion to their bodies, but it allows for the emotions of the characters to be caught beautifully. The pages are all in warm, inviting colors and depict a normal neighborhood, typical to where you would find young kids playing in a suburb.  The illustrator showed emotion through the illustrations, having many tense moments on the left hand side: when Jeremy wants to go up to the tree house and the narrator is afraid that Jeremy will see his “enemy list”, when dad is calling up to the tree house to get them and they are ignoring him, and when the young friend is worried that Jeremy will eat poisonous pie. 
                Like I said, I have always enjoyed this book.  I think that the author and illustrator worked well together to depict the relationship that so many students have – an enemy without really knowing why.  Many kids don’t like someone “just because.” They never get to know them to find out if they would have fun together.  This book would be a great conversation starter with those kids.  It is a reminder to give people a chance before you determine that you don’t want them in your life.
                Enemy Pie has an official website, which includes lesson plans that can be done with the book, news and announcements and an opportunity to ask for a school visit.  You can find the official Enemy Pie website by clicking here  Caught your interest? To find out where you can get this book, click here.

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