Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: John Paul Padilla
Illustrator: Victor Ramon Mojica
Publisher: Padilla Goldworks
Author John Paul Padilla states in his children’s book, Johnny Big-Ears, The Feel-Good Friend, “… it’s okay to be just how we are” in dealing with young children who are teased or bullied, especially those going to school for the first time.
This over-sized paperback book includes forty pages with the front cover drawing depicting the top part of a very curly black haired boy. The back cover has a paragraph about the book and a paragraph about the author with a photograph. There is no profanity or scary scenes except for some bullying. Illustrator Victor Ramon Mojica draws big, colorful and detailed illustrations corresponding to the storyline but sometimes the words are hard to read as they overlap artwork. At the end of the story, there is a question guide for teachers and parents along with an art page for children to color, showing how they view themselves.
In this multiple award winning tome that is geared toward ages five to nine years old, young Johnny Big-Ears, called so by his family due to his large ears, is excited to go to his first day in kindergarten. His mother cuts his curly hair and buys him nice new clothes. When he arrives in the classroom, he meets his new teacher, Mrs. Wrinkles. After working on his ABCs and coloring, the class goes out to recess where two boys make fun of Johnny’s big ears and call him names. Fighting back tears, he walks away, remembering what his mother told him. Without telling the teacher, he starts kicking a ball and meets a new friend named Charlie Freckles. With both boys enjoying soccer, they quickly become fast friends when they both talk about being made fun of and being bullied.
After school, Johnny’s mom picks him up and he tells her how his day went, including how he met a new friend. He tells her of being bullied and how he ignored the cruel words and walked away. His mother tells him how proud she is of him and how he is so special and unique, and treats him to pizza.
With the named persons being displayed and in red print and all unnamed having faceless silhouettes, the author reiterates that each child is special and valued, no matter how they look. Having the art project of the child coloring a design of themselves at the end of the book establishes and encourages individualism and uniqueness. Although it is not determined if a child should inform a teacher of bullying, this is a great book to build a child’s self-esteem and self-worth.
Follow Here To Purchase Johnny Big-Ears: The Feel-Good Friend(Mom's Choice Award Recipient)