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King of the Playground
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PreS-Gr 2-- Sammy, self-proclaimed ``King of the Playground,'' will not let Kevin play on the swings, slide, or monkey bars. Fortunately, Kevin's father, who believes that words are stronger than fists, subtly suggests ways to best the bully, and a friendship between the two boys begins. There are several admirable touches here: the relationship between son and father (shown making soup, washing the car, digging in the garden--no mother is mentioned); the typical reactions of the boys to one another; and the father's humor and gentleness. Malone's pictures are reminiscent of Lillian Hoban's illustrations for Miriam Cohen's ``First Grade'' stories (Greenwillow), with their subdued colors, rumpled T-shirts, and heads just a little too large for the bodies. Kevin, the creatures of his imagination, and Sammy could belong to the same class. A warm, comforting story with a smart solution to a childhood problem. --Suzanne Wolfe, formerly at Shady Side Academy Junior School, Pittsburgh

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