Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends by Phyllis Cafaro

The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends by Phyllis Cafaro, illustrated by Mada Design, Inc.

Rating: 3.5 stars

I started worrying about bullying two years ago, when Lorelei started school.  Preschool.  She was 3 1/2 years old, and she knew what a bully was, and to tell the teacher if she thought someone was being a bully on the playground.  Sure, the might-makes-right idea will always exist everywhere from my daughter's playground to global politics, but...we parents and educators can and should do all we can do to prevent it.  The consequences are so very horrific when we do not.

Enter The Legend of Captain McFinn and Friends, the first of a series of books created to teach important lessons of life, including the value of being a friend rather than a bully.  The books are heavy-handed in teachable sentences, but worthy of discussion in any classroom or home.  There's a ton of information at, including stuffed animals of the main characters, the bullying prevention program S.H.A.R.K. patrol, downloads for teachers and parents, and a whole lot more.

The story: McFinn is a big, strong shark and the leader of a gang of fish that torment a nicer group of fish in the first story.  Things are going swimmingly for McFinn and he's enjoying being nasty and mean-spirited until he gets into trouble and the nice fish have to rescue him.  In a flash he realizes what a jerk he's been, and changes his ways.  Mean McFinn becomes Captain McFinn, the protector of the reef and a friend to all.

I like the book because kids can put themselves in the shoes--or fins?--of each side: the nice fish who get bullied, and the bully who needs help.  They all swim happily ever after, to the next books that teach other important life lessons.

The publisher of this series was kind enough to mail me the three books and a CD, and I'm happy to give them away to be appreciated and used again and again.  I would love the collection to go to a school, but I'll leave that up to the winner.  To be included in the raffle, just add a comment below and a way to contact you should your name be The Chosen One.  Thanks for playing (and good luck)!

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