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I Repeat, Don't Cheat!

Simon and Schuster
Ill. by Arthur Howard

I Repeat, Don't Cheat!

(Hardcover ISBN 9781416971672)

Jessica and Lizzie are best friends. They do everything together, from playing at recess to drawing pictures. But Jessica has a big new worry when Lizzie starts copying off her spelling tests. What should Jessica do?


Loyalty is the theme in this lively picture book by the creators of Bullies Never Win (2009). Jessica is a worrywart, and her latest source of anxiety is her best friend, Lizzie, who copies Jessica’s spelling words and lies to the teacher. Should Jessica say something to Lizzie, to the teacher, or to Mom and Dad? If she tells, her friend will be mad. If she keeps quiet, she will feel dishonest and angry. The bold, cartoon-style scenarios in pen, ink, and watercolor are uncluttered and keep the focus on Jessica, at first fuming in the classroom until, finally, she explodes, and the teacher talks to her about what helping means. Of course, the friends make up, and Lizzie apologizes and draws her friend a picture labeled “Bes frens 4 ever.” The happy ending about forgiveness will spark as much discussion as the conflict will: neither is easy, and both words and pictures capture the complexity of the situation, to which there is no neat resolution. – Booklist

When her best friend copies from her paper during a spelling test, worrywart Jessica does not know where to turn. She doesn't want to betray Lizzie and lose her friendship by telling their teacher. Then at recess, Lizzie is dishonest in a game of tag. When Jessica writes a poem that Lizzie is praised for, she finds it difficult to hide her feelings. The situation comes to a head when Lizzie takes advantage of her once again and Jessica loses her temper. When their teacher intervenes, the truth comes out. Lizzie apologizes for her behavior and renews her friendship with Jessica. The situation that Jessica faces is a real one that children grapple with on a regular basis. The struggle to find a solution that is fair but does not hurt others is difficult, but the ability to be true to oneself is a hard lesson to learn. The examples in this book are excellent and will encourage discussion and problem solving for similar situations. The writing is a little stiff, and the text is purposeful, but it will reach a wide audience. Howard's engaging cartoon artwork and liberal use of white space help to lighten the message. His large-headed figures convey a plethora of expressions and attitudes with a minimum of line. – School Library Journal


This brightly illustrated picture book is a good choice for young readers struggling with issues of friendship and honesty. Jessica and Lizzie are best friends, but that does not prevent Lizzie from taking advantage of Jessica at school, especially when it comes to spelling tests. Jessica is a worrier, and she wonders what might happen if Lizzie keeps lying about spelling as well as other things, like telling Mr. Martin that the poem Jessica wrote is actually Lizzie’s. Jessica worries herself sick over Lizzie’s behavior, then really gets upset at school the next day when Lizzie continues to lie and then tries to blame Jessica for not sharing. The truth comes out, but Jessica and Lizzie both find out that friendship can survive anger and that honesty between friends really is the best policy. The illustrations are a vivid pen and ink with watercolor and add a great deal of visual support to the text. This is a book that deals with a tough childhood issue with sensitivity and clarify. – Children’s Literature

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