Elbert’s Bad Word

Review of Elbert’s Bad Word by: Audrey Wood April 26, 2010

Some days I feel like I have a hard time brushing that bad behavior monster off of my shoulder. I just feel like giving in to conduct that I know is wrong but is so tempting. Maybe I feel rotten. Maybe somebody just made fun of me or something I spent a long time picking out to wear that day. Maybe I had a terrible time sleeping the night before, and now I’m just crabby. Whatever the reason, I find it harder on some days to not give in to the temptation of having inappropriate behavior. I’m a teacher. So that would be saying something to one of my students in a nasty voice or not being patient or just generally grumping around. I’m also a Mom. At home, my bad behavior is sometimes yelling at my sons or saying grumpy things to my husband, blaming my dog, Pearl for stuff she can’t even help doing (like eating my shoes-ugh!)

In this book, the bad behavior monster is an actual monster that sits on a little boy’s shoulder. He tempts the boy to copy some undesirable behavior. At a fancy garden party, Elbert sees some very unflattering behavior from an adult, blurting out a bad word. The word actually morphs into a small storm cloud, “ugly and covered with dark, bristly hairs.” Elbert stuffs the prickly creature into his back pocket. The word later turns itself into a gnat (as these monsters do to make things more convenient) and flies into Elbert’s mouth. Some very funny antics follow, but then, you may have guessed, Elbert lets that gnat out in its original form again as a bad word, shouted no less, as can easily happen in frustrating situations.
I won’t spoil any more of this great book for you. I’ll let you find the ending and the lessons in it on your own. You can find Elbert’s Bad Word now in the media center. I love it so much that I just donated it to our library! Check it out, and if you see me in the hall, tell me how you liked it, using nice words, of course.
Your Friend, Ms. Kelly (PreK)

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