Better Than You

by Trudy Ludwig (Author) Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Jake's bragging is really starting to get to his neighbor Tyler. Tyler can't show Jake a basketball move, a school assignment, or a new toy without Jake saying he can do better. Tyler starts to wonder: Is something wrong with him? Is he really such a loser? Is Jake really better than him at everything? Or is Jake the one with the problem? With the help of his uncle Kevin, Tyler begins to understand that Jake's bragging has nothing to do with Tyler's own abilities and that puffing yourself up leaves little room for friends.
Select format:

School Library Journal

Gr 1-3--Focusing on a subject not often written about for children, Ludwig's story may be helpful to youngsters dealing with braggarts. Tyler and Jake are friends, but lately Jake boasts that he can do everything better than Tyler. Tyler doesn't feel good about himself when he's around Jake and wonders why he should even try to get better at basketball or math, for instance, as Jake is always going to best him. When Tyler opens up to his uncle and explains why he's so unhappy, Uncle Kevin explains that some people are like puffer fish that make themselves look bigger than they really are; this can sometimes backfire as the larger they get, the more they push people away. That Tyler talks to an adult and then finds a friend with whom he can share and learn new skills are positive and satisfying elements to the story. Well-executed paintings are appealing and portray the characters' emotions clearly. The book offers information for adults, including a foreword, an author's note, questions for discussion, and a recommended reading list.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2011:
"...anyone suffering the oxygen-depleting windbaggery of the neighborhood boaster will find solace here."
Trudy Ludwig
TRUDY LUDWIG is a nationally acclaimed speaker and an award-winning author of numerous children's books, including The Invisible Boy, a School Library Journal Best Picture Books Selection and a recommended back-to-school book by USA Today and Scholastic Teacher. Her books and presentations focus on promoting kids' social-emotional learning skills and help empower them to be kinder, more compassionate, and inclusive in their social world. Trudy has collaborated with leading experts and organizations, including Sesame Workshop, the International Bullying Prevention Association, Committee for Children, and

KATHRYN OTOSHI is an award-winning author/illustrator, best known for her character-building number/color book series: One, Zero, and Two. She is also the co-author of Beautiful Hands, a book about possibilities and reaching your dreams. She travels across the country to encourage children to develop strong character traits and to help readers and teachers find creative methods to engage and connect with their students through the power of reading, art, and literature. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2011
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039050 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emotions & Feelings
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV039230 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Bullying
Library of Congress categories
Interpersonal relations
Pride and vanity
Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up)
Approved 2012 - 2012

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!