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by Virginia Kroll & illustrated by Nancy Cote

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8075-2998-2
Publisher: Whitman

The Way I Act series makes no bones about its mission: character development, with special emphasis on moments of understanding, of connecting the dots. In Kroll’s easy, tactful story—illustrated by Cote with sympathetic clarity—that moment comes when empathy enters the stage. Young Nicholas has a crotchety neighbor, Mr. Robinson, who complains endlessly about Nicholas’s dog, the loud music emanating from Nicholas’s house and Nicholas’s soccer ball trespassing in his garden. Nicholas’s dad explains: Mr. Robinson is miserable because his wife is in a nursing home and a bad back keeps him in pain. Sadness plus pain can often equal grumpiness, he says. Nicholas experiences the equation in action when he sprains his ankle. Hurt ankle plus no soccer equals pain, and sadness equals a grumpy Nicholas. Voilà, a feeling of empathy washes over Nicholas and he begins to treat Mr. Robinson differently. Naturally, there’s a reciprocal and the lesson is complete. A spoonful of sugar pleasantly offered. (Picture book. 6-8)