Book Review: Zippy the Runner

ZippyTitle: Zippy the Runner

Author: JiYu Kim

Illustrator: JeongHyeon Seon

Publisher: Norwood House Press

Year: 2015

Pages: 29

[Disclaimer: I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my fair an unbiased review of this book. I was in no way compensated for my review and I was not required to write a positive review of the book. ]

I teach special education at a small elementary school. I have been teaching special education for 4 years now as a second career. It is not easy work–I work with students who have emotional/behavioral disorders. The students keep my on my toes and on the go. They have more energy than is typically necessary for a human, but that is all part of the fun of the work.

Another aspect of these students' lives that is perplexing is their willingness to give up easily on tasks they deem too difficult. Typically their default mode is: "I can't." It is terribly frustrating for me as a teacher because I see in them the ability to do anything they set their minds to doing–even if it requires more processing time to do so. Yet within in them there is a chicane of some sort or another that convinces them they cannot. Thus a large part of every day is spent working to show them that they can, in fact, accomplish something and that what matters is not, always, success, but effort. We constantly use the word 'try' in my classroom because, as I tell the kids, you do not know if you can or cannot until you try. 

To this end, I believe Zippy the Runner would be a helpful book. Zippy, the main character, has to press on and on, keep practicing, keep running–keep trying. What I like best is that at the end of the book Zippy has no yet succeeded, but neither has Zippy quit trying. This, in my opinion, is what is key to this story.

I also like the artwork very much. I believe the illustrator did a brilliant job composing art for the pages–even though what I saw on the digital version didn't render very well on my Adobe Digital Editions (I didn't even download this to my NOOK so I'm not sure how it rendered on that device.) Still, I loved what I saw. And if the truth must be told, I will say that if a children's book as good artwork, it will usually fly with kids–and with me. I love the illustrations.

The end of the book features a Reader's Theater idea which can be found here and some curriculum ideas for using the book in the classroom. The reader's theater is a bit short, but may be helpful in lower grades. The curriculum idea is a fun little art project that the students will likely enjoy as well.

This is a book I will incorporate into my classroom and one that I think my students will enjoy. I enjoyed very much and I will look forward to reading more from this author and, perhaps, from Norwood Press House books in the MySELF Bookshelf Series.

5/5 stars

The information below is from the Norwood Press House website I have linked to above.

Grade level: K-2
Dewey: E
Subject: Fiction, Social and Emotional Learning, Optimism, Self-Worth
Accelerated Reader Reading Level: 2.5
Accelerated Reader Quiz #: 168500
Lexile Level: 470L

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