WORST BEST FRIEND
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The Worst Best Friend
Written by  Alexis O’Neill
Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

Publisher: Scholastic Press
ISBN-10: 0545010233
ISBN-13: 978-0545010238
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and lesson plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski


A best friend is someone special. He is someone you can always count on. She is someone you can share your most private secrets with and know that they are safe. Your best friend is the person who is always there for you, no matter how bad things may be. So when your best friend finds another best friend, he or she becomes your worst, best friend. That’s what happened to Mike in Alexis O’Neill’s new book entitled, The Worst Best Friend.

Mike and Conrad did everything together. It was Mike and Conrad, Conrad and Mike all the time. They loved to read together. They had lunch together and played all sorts of games together. They were inseparable friends until the new kid came to school. Then the equation changed. Then it was Conrad and Victor! Mike was left out -- alone and unhappy.

It’s happened to me. I bet it’s happened to you, too.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Mike and Conrad were best friends,” said Mikaela.

“These two best friends do everything together,” said Jewel. “They eat. They play.”

“They even made up a handshake,” said Danae.

“Then one day, suddenly, this new kid, Victor, came in and took Conrad away from Mike,” said Jewel.

“If a new kid came and my best friend started to play with him and he didn’t play with me, I would be really mad or sad or disappointed,” said Mark.

Abby agreed. “Mike was sad,” she said.

Jewel nodded. She seemed to know all about this kind of thing. “The ‘best friend thing’ with Mike and Conrad was special to Mike,” said Jewel. “But when Victor came walking along, Conrad was so impressed with the medals and how cool he was; he didn’t see what his personality was.”

“Right!” said Mark. “Mike felt very upset.”

“Victor liked to brag and showoff,” continued Jewel.

“Victor was always bragging,” said Johnny.

“Mike didn’t do any of that stuff. He was nice,” said Jewel.

“I think that Mike was very nice,” said Danae.

“Yeah,” said Jewel.  “He didn’t brag. He cared about what people thought and felt.”

“It’s kind of weird why somebody would like somebody who’s bragging and showing off all his stuff,” said Timmy.

“I don’t think that Mike should be friends with Conrad,” said Brayden. “He blew it! If I were Mike, I wouldn’t trust him at all.”  He sighed and shook his head. “You never know!”

“I would give him one more chance,” said Callie. “But if he blew it again, I wouldn’t give him any more chances.”

But, some people say, “Please, please give me one more chance,” said Brayden. “But it just goes on and on.”

“I wouldn’t like anyone that did that because what if they did it again and again,” said Abby. “It would get annoying.”

“Right!” said Callie. “And let’s just say if you had a best friend and she dropped you . . . “

“Like a hot potato,” interjected Brayden.

“You would feel hurt,” said Callie.

“Victor dumped both the people who invited him in and made him feel good in the class,” said Abby.

“He was a nasty kid,” said Callie.

“I don’t know what Conrad saw in Victor,” said Jewel.
“He is just a big bully.”

“I wouldn’t like him,” said Rena.

“Victor is not a best, best friend,” said Jewel. “He is the worst, worst friend.”

“Well, I wouldn’t drop my best, best friend,” said Danae.

“But, at the end Mike and Conrad were best, best friends again,” said Rena with a smile.

“I think the lesson is that you should never leave your best friend,” said Timmy.

Everyone agreed!

TEACHER TALK

A Friend is . . .: Language Arts/Reading/ Social Studies

What makes a good friend? Is it sharing a peanut butter sandwich or letting her be first in line? Is it helping him with his homework or giving him the biggest part of the doughnut your mom put in your lunch? My best friend makes me laugh and laugh – usually over nothing. Sometimes it hurts, but it feels so good to laugh with her. Good friends are special. They care for you. And, they are always there!

1.    Ask your class to think about what makes a good friend.
2.    Then have them finish this statement.  “A friend is someone who ________”
3.    Record all suggestions on chart paper.

       Ex.:
            A friend is someone who
shares her peanut butter sandwich.
            A friend is someone who
always sits next to me at lunch.
            A friend is someone who
keeps my secrets.

4.    List the following qualities on the board.
5.    Kind     Honest     Trustworthy     Loyal
       Fair       Helpful    Respectful
6.    Discuss the meaning of each quality.
7.    Then have the children match each A friend is someone who statement with a
       friendship quality.

       Ex.:
           Kind
           A friend is someone who shares her peanut butter sandwich.
           Loyal
           A friend is someone who always sits next to me at lunch.
           Trustworthy
           A friend is someone who keeps my secrets.


Friendship Garden: Language Arts/Reading/ Social Studies

Watch the friendships grow in your classroom as children ponder the qualities of a
good friend.

1.    Write the names of each classmate on a slip of paper and place in a basket.
2.    Have each child draw a name. Keep it a secret.
3.    Next each child should write five things that he or she likes about his or her
       new best friend.

       Ex.:
            Rena makes me laugh even when I am sad.
            Timmy lets me borrow his crayons.
            Brayden plays addition flash cards with me at  
            free choice time.

4.    Type each child’s work into the computer and give him or her a copy.
5.    Have him or her cut out each strip and set aside.
6.    Then give each child a round flower center about 2” in diameter and five petals each
       about 5” to 6” long. (Daisy or sunflower patterns are easy to make.)
7.    Next have the children write their new best friend’s name on the flower center.
8.    Then they may cut out each of the five qualities and glue one onto each petal.
9.    Have children glue the petals onto the flower center.
10.  Add a stem.
11.  Display flowers on the wall in the hallway or
       on a bulletin board in the classroom.

SUGGESTED WEBSITES:
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Kids’ Health – Topics – Friendship
A to Z Kids Stuff Friendship: Getting Aquainted & Friends
Teaching Guide: Being Friends for grades K-5

SUGGESTED BOOKS:

The Recess Queen written by Alexis O'Neill, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
Peach and Blue written by Sarah S. Kilborne, paintings by Steve Johnson with Lou Fancher
Three Cheers for Tacky written by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Frog and Toad Are Friends written by Arnold Lobel
The New Kid by Larry Dane Brimmer, Illustrated by Christine Tripp
My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
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