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The Tornado is a middle-grade friendship novel about bullying from Jake Burt, the author of Greetings from Witness Protection! Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village The Tornado is a middle-grade friendship novel about bullying from Jake Burt, the author of Greetings from Witness Protection! Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village Green Elementary has ever seen. Since third grade, Parker has tormented Bell, who’s spent two long years devising a finely tuned system that keeps him out of Parker’s way. Sure, it means that Bell can’t get a drink when he wants to, can’t play with his best friend on the playground, and can’t tell his parents about his day, but at least he’s safe. Until Daelynn Gower touches down in his classroom like a tornado. Bell’s not sure why the new girl, with her rainbow hair, wild clothes, and strange habits, is drawn to him, but he knows one thing--she means trouble. It’s bad enough that she disrupts Bell’s secret system, but when Daelynn becomes the bully’s new target, Bell is forced to make an impossible decision: Finally stand up to Parker. . . Or join him.


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The Tornado is a middle-grade friendship novel about bullying from Jake Burt, the author of Greetings from Witness Protection! Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village The Tornado is a middle-grade friendship novel about bullying from Jake Burt, the author of Greetings from Witness Protection! Bell Kirby is an expert at systems, whether he’s designing the world’s most elaborate habitat for his pet chinchilla, re-creating Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest inventions in his garage, or avoiding Parker Hellickson, the most diabolical bully Village Green Elementary has ever seen. Since third grade, Parker has tormented Bell, who’s spent two long years devising a finely tuned system that keeps him out of Parker’s way. Sure, it means that Bell can’t get a drink when he wants to, can’t play with his best friend on the playground, and can’t tell his parents about his day, but at least he’s safe. Until Daelynn Gower touches down in his classroom like a tornado. Bell’s not sure why the new girl, with her rainbow hair, wild clothes, and strange habits, is drawn to him, but he knows one thing--she means trouble. It’s bad enough that she disrupts Bell’s secret system, but when Daelynn becomes the bully’s new target, Bell is forced to make an impossible decision: Finally stand up to Parker. . . Or join him.

30 review for The Tornado

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    "As for you, my fine friend, you're a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You're confusing courage with wisdom." -- The Wizard of Oz, to the Cowardly Lion (1939 film version) A charming and amiable little novel that deserves some comparison to (and takes a bit of inspiration from) the classic The Wizard of Oz, Jake Burt's The Tornado is my introduction to the author's work. The story features Jo "As for you, my fine friend, you're a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You're confusing courage with wisdom." -- The Wizard of Oz, to the Cowardly Lion (1939 film version) A charming and amiable little novel that deserves some comparison to (and takes a bit of inspiration from) the classic The Wizard of Oz, Jake Burt's The Tornado is my introduction to the author's work. The story features Joseph 'Bell' Kirby, a fifth-grade student in suburban Ohio who loves engineering and sketching. (He is the kind of kid that STEM club is made for.) An only child, Bell lives a quiet life with his cool mom - as his dad is currently deployed overseas in the military - but has had one big stressor in his life for the last two years. That would be bully Parker Hellickson. Doesn't that name just sound very sneer-worthy? Oh, and sadistic Parker is the son of the school's clueless principal. Thus far Bell has devised all sorts of tricks and plans to avoid Parker as best as possible, but we know change must enter his life to preserve his sanity. That would be the pleasant transfer student Daelynn Gower, she of the tri-colored hair and red Chuck Taylor sneakers (ruby slippers, anyone?), a formerly home-schooled girl who just arrived from a farm out west. Daelynn - because she fully and firmly marches to the beat of her own drum - becomes a target of Parker. Soon Bell - along with his dependable friends Timmy and Tam - form an Oz-like quartet with Daelynn to end Parker's ways. For those of us who have survived some rough times in our childhood years at school - whether it was bullying or just nasty, thoughtless classmates who you'd occasionally wish would be struck by lightning - The Tornado was a nice reminder about 'finding your tribe' and sticking by your friends.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jake Burt

    It's good, yo. It's good, yo.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Confession time, I LOVE Jake Burt's writing. I fell in love with Greetings from Witness Protection back when it first was available on NetGalley, made an utter fool of myself that year at BEA, waiting to be first in line to meet the author, then walking down the length of the Javitt's Center in NYC, holding the book over my head and loudly proclaiming that this was the best book of the year and if you wanted to get a signed copy by the author, he was at table 4 right now. I wasn't wrong. I start Confession time, I LOVE Jake Burt's writing. I fell in love with Greetings from Witness Protection back when it first was available on NetGalley, made an utter fool of myself that year at BEA, waiting to be first in line to meet the author, then walking down the length of the Javitt's Center in NYC, holding the book over my head and loudly proclaiming that this was the best book of the year and if you wanted to get a signed copy by the author, he was at table 4 right now. I wasn't wrong. I started this year off with a re-read of Greetings and fell in love all over again. I teared up at the end, again and just held it close to my chest tightly, loving the book. So I wanted my next full-sized book read of this year to be his newest The Tornado. I waited and waited to read it, because 1) I knew I was going to need my next fix of his writing and was putting it off until I couldn't anymore and 2) it's about bullying. I know his writing is realistic and believable and I was scared. I was bullied MERCILESSLY in middle school and I was worried this book would hit too close to home for me. WHOOOO BOY did it take me back. From about page 3, I was shaking, my heart was racing and further into the book I was tearing up and one scene made me almost wet myself I was that scared for the MC Bell. So yeah, this book hit me in the feels like (wait for it) a TORNADO!! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.) Cheesy jokes aside, this book was DEEP. Yes, it did get better, though I did get rage-y in places and wanted to drop kick the bully and his father, but it had ups and downs and the ENTIRE time it felt REAL. Like this is something that can, did and does still, happen throughout schools across America. It's a SUPER important read, right up there with Wonder in how it deals with bullying, specifically from the bullied child's POV. This book, while amazing, wasn't Greetings, but it doesn't have to be. It stands strongly on it's own merits. Will I re-read this every year as I plan to do with Greetings? Probably not, my heart can't take the stress, but will I recommend it and suggest it to customers in my store and buy it in hard cover and paperback for myself and get it as gifts for my friends' kids? Darn Tootin! 5, be prepared for the feels this book brings, stars! Highly recommended! (Also highly recommended are his other books, he is SUCH an amazing talent it isn't even funny.) My thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    Thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC of this book. This is my favorite book by Jake Burt. It's a thoughtful look at bullying, and the impact on its targets, while is also has strong engineering (designing and building) content and will appeal to readers who see the world in a systemic way. Bell Kirby loves systems, and he's created an elaborate schedule and a routine to avoid Parker Hellickson. Parker has bullied Bell for two years, but Parker's dad is also the school principal and at Thank you to the author and publisher for an ARC of this book. This is my favorite book by Jake Burt. It's a thoughtful look at bullying, and the impact on its targets, while is also has strong engineering (designing and building) content and will appeal to readers who see the world in a systemic way. Bell Kirby loves systems, and he's created an elaborate schedule and a routine to avoid Parker Hellickson. Parker has bullied Bell for two years, but Parker's dad is also the school principal and attempts to speak to Mr. Hellickson about his son have fallen on deaf ears. When Daelynn Gower starts at Village Green Elementary and accidentally becomes Parker's new target, Bell is relieved. He can finally stop looking over his shoulder...until Parker tries to befriend him. Bell can no longer go under Parker's radar, but is he ready to join Parker, or can he find the courage to stand up to him. Jake is a Gr. 5 teacher, and the authenticity of the kids, their projects, and interactions rings true to life. I enjoyed the open communication that Bell had with his parents, and particularly liked the inclusion of text messages between Bell and his dad, who is stationed in Germany, but still an actively involved parent. I liked that several reactions to bullying (avoidance, befriending, confronting, telling an adult) are included and discussed. Bell excels at systematic thinking, and his ability to construct and deconstruct things is not something I've seen often in books. Teachers will love the strong STEM content, while kids will enjoy seeing the way his mind works. I also really appreciate that the conclusion was realistic and left room for discussion about what happens after the story. I think this would be an excellent classroom read aloud.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Thomas

    Jake did a fantastic job of truly engaging you with Bell’s emotions towards a sneaky bully and how he created all of these alternative arrangements to ensure that his interaction with Parker never transpired. Then a new girl moves in and has the potential to be Parker’s new target, but what Bell realizes is that he actually wants to be friends with her; not allow her to be sabotaged by the principals son... Bell and his closest guy friends have to learn to use their voice until it’s finally hear Jake did a fantastic job of truly engaging you with Bell’s emotions towards a sneaky bully and how he created all of these alternative arrangements to ensure that his interaction with Parker never transpired. Then a new girl moves in and has the potential to be Parker’s new target, but what Bell realizes is that he actually wants to be friends with her; not allow her to be sabotaged by the principals son... Bell and his closest guy friends have to learn to use their voice until it’s finally heard. It’s all understandable especially when it comes to a frequent bully who happens to be the principals son. I love how Bell has to learn to be brave and that speaking up would eventually make the difference that is much needed, even if he’s been trying for years. It’s such a real life situation that Jake portrays here. I remember being in middle school and situations being so bad with girl drama and nobody believing my word because teachers were friends with their parents as was our principal. Those were some of the hardest years of my life which then led to me eventually moving- much like what Bell’s life could have been if he had left his school. Thank you, Jake. This is one I can’t wait to book talk with my students.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    The Tornado by Jake Burt is a GREAT story about bullying in Middle School. The story is not preachy or overwhelming with its message. The book was well written and I thought just the right length. There is nothing like the unexpected changing the status quo of a situation. Bell Kirby has been tormented by Parker Hellickson ever since he accidentally broke his toe before a big soccer game. Parker is so good at bullying that he never gets caught and even when he does, his dad is the principal. Bell The Tornado by Jake Burt is a GREAT story about bullying in Middle School. The story is not preachy or overwhelming with its message. The book was well written and I thought just the right length. There is nothing like the unexpected changing the status quo of a situation. Bell Kirby has been tormented by Parker Hellickson ever since he accidentally broke his toe before a big soccer game. Parker is so good at bullying that he never gets caught and even when he does, his dad is the principal. Bell has put together a whole system about how to avoid Parker until the new girl Daelynn Gower moves into his school. Suddenly Bell does not need to hide anymore when Parker starts to focus on her. Meanwhile, Daelynn gets sadder and sadder and everything Bell does to help her seems to make it worse. Until it is time to stand up! The Tornado is a good read by Jake Burt. The lesson, the characters and the plot line are ideal for an early Middle School reader. It is a book that I am going to recommend to students.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Bell has spent the last few years avoiding the school bully, Parker, but in order to cope, Bell has developed an elaborate system which revolves around his and Parker's schedules along with maps of the school so Bell can avoid crossing paths with Parker. For the most part, it helps, but with the arrival of Daelynn in the class, Parker redirects his sadism towards her. The plot moves forward at a fast pace while painting the atmosphere of an elementary school, and the interests of a fifth grader. Bell has spent the last few years avoiding the school bully, Parker, but in order to cope, Bell has developed an elaborate system which revolves around his and Parker's schedules along with maps of the school so Bell can avoid crossing paths with Parker. For the most part, it helps, but with the arrival of Daelynn in the class, Parker redirects his sadism towards her. The plot moves forward at a fast pace while painting the atmosphere of an elementary school, and the interests of a fifth grader. You loved some characters, and you despised some. Each of the students' voices has a distinct tone which gives them individuality. The teachers seem oblivious, but they were afraid, too. You soon realize the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and since bullies prey on the loner, there is safety in numbers, whether it be parents or students.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    Burt is a good writer. But his books are getting more conventional, and the characters in this one are more types than people. Daelynn in particular is the manic pixie dream girl who is the vehicle for the boy eventually doing the right thing (in the end, Bell explicitly says his motivation was to “protect” her.) It felt unfair that she had to play bystander during the big climax. The relentless bullying that makes up much of the book wasn’t pleasant. The whole thing actually felt old-fashioned Burt is a good writer. But his books are getting more conventional, and the characters in this one are more types than people. Daelynn in particular is the manic pixie dream girl who is the vehicle for the boy eventually doing the right thing (in the end, Bell explicitly says his motivation was to “protect” her.) It felt unfair that she had to play bystander during the big climax. The relentless bullying that makes up much of the book wasn’t pleasant. The whole thing actually felt old-fashioned to me—the extent and viciousness of the protagonists’ suffering and the destructiveness and mayhem of their payback felt like something from a couple decades ago (the 80s maybe?) rather than 2019.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is the kind of excellence I have come to expect from Jake Burt. Almost (but not quite) as good as Greetings from Witness Protection. Seems to have been written for a slightly younger audience. The author's note at the end was 5 star. This is the kind of excellence I have come to expect from Jake Burt. Almost (but not quite) as good as Greetings from Witness Protection. Seems to have been written for a slightly younger audience. The author's note at the end was 5 star.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    Okay, it is not a pleasure to read what the school bully does to others, especially Bell. Bell works out a system to avoid the bully as much as possible, but still at times, he is being picked on. Complaints from him and his parents are discussed with the principal, but guess what, the principal is the bully's father and since there is no proof, the bullying goes on. That is, till the new girl becomes the target. And there the story begins, with Bell needing to make some choices. I could not put Okay, it is not a pleasure to read what the school bully does to others, especially Bell. Bell works out a system to avoid the bully as much as possible, but still at times, he is being picked on. Complaints from him and his parents are discussed with the principal, but guess what, the principal is the bully's father and since there is no proof, the bullying goes on. That is, till the new girl becomes the target. And there the story begins, with Bell needing to make some choices. I could not put this book down and do recommend it. It is for middle school children but as an adult I found it interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Bell Kirby is an expert at surviving school. His nemesis, Parker Hellickson, not only holds a grudge for a past trangression, but is the principal's son, so has systematically tortured Bell for years without consequence. Bell knows how to avoid Parker, so when a new girl, Daelynn, arrives and throws off his system, he is worried that Parker will start to give him a hard time again. Bell tries to avoid Daelynn, but he is also intrigued by her fearlessness at expressing he E ARC from Edelweiss Plus Bell Kirby is an expert at surviving school. His nemesis, Parker Hellickson, not only holds a grudge for a past trangression, but is the principal's son, so has systematically tortured Bell for years without consequence. Bell knows how to avoid Parker, so when a new girl, Daelynn, arrives and throws off his system, he is worried that Parker will start to give him a hard time again. Bell tries to avoid Daelynn, but he is also intrigued by her fearlessness at expressing her true self. Bell, in addition to being bullied by Parker, has many interests that put him in the "geek/nerd"category, and is very conscious of this, as is his supportive mother who has had to face off with the principal about Parker's behavior. When Mr. Randolph launches a Creator Contest that involves recreating one of daVinci's designs using only technology that would have been available during his time, Bell and his friends Timmy and Tam end up with a tank. With the help of his mother, who has welding equipment and a lot of engineering know how, and with encouragement by text from his father who is stationed in Germany, Bell's projects goes pretty well. Parker, however, is still a inescapable force in his life. While Daelynn becomes his new target, and Bell actually gets involved in Parker's float for a parade, it's still a very uneasy truce, and one which Bell is not able to feel good about. Strengths: I loved the message that "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem". Bell does not wish Daelynn ill, but he is so desperate to escape Parker's notice that he's willing to let her be the target instead. The fact that he is able to hang out with Parker was interesting as well, and his mother's reluctance was great! The engineering/STEM focus of the Creator Club was very fun as well, and the description of Cincinnati chili took me back to living in that city. Weaknesses: Purely personal: my father was a principal, and I can't imagine any principal (like Barnett's Principal Barkin from The Terrible Two) letting a child get away with bullying. If anything, a principal's child is less likely to get away with things, but that doesn't make for a good story. Also, I am very wary of books that encourage middle grade readers to be themselves. Daelynn should be able to have colored hair and expressive clothes, but the reality is that other children are not always nice to people who are different. This should not be, but it is. What I really think: I loved Burt's Right Hook of Devin Velma and Greetings From Witness Protection, but this one struck me as a bit more elementary school oriented, so I am debating.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Henrichs

    I picked up my ARC copy of Jake Burt's The Tornado around the time I had read a lot of children's books about being twins and grieving over deceased family members so I immediately appreciated that this book was about neither of those things. It is about bullying and while that too, is becoming somewhat of a common trope in children's literature, it feels fresh and different in Jake Burt's hands, partly because Bell is such a unique character and partly because Burt is so talented (read Greeting I picked up my ARC copy of Jake Burt's The Tornado around the time I had read a lot of children's books about being twins and grieving over deceased family members so I immediately appreciated that this book was about neither of those things. It is about bullying and while that too, is becoming somewhat of a common trope in children's literature, it feels fresh and different in Jake Burt's hands, partly because Bell is such a unique character and partly because Burt is so talented (read Greetings from Witness Protection and The Right Hook of Devin Velma and you won't be disappointed.) The Tornado felt very realistic, in its portrayal of bullying. Incidents like flat-tires in the hallway, non-accidental drinking fountain bump ins, and notes passed in class are treated with all the seriousness they deserve in the hallways and classrooms of a middle school. The ease with which Bell slips into a bystander role when Daelynn becomes Parker's target is all too common in school relationships. I really liked the dynamic between Bell and his good friend Tam and the bully Parker, as Tam is friendly with both. Parker's antics take an emotional toll on Daelynn and Burt accomplishes this without the text feeling didactic. I think Bell is a character that is under-represented in children's books and I think many middle grade readers will find him easy to relate to and understand. And with such an eye-catching cover, one of my favorites in recent memory, I think this book will by picked up by lots of kids!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    The Tornado by Jake Burt, 243 pages. Feiwell and Friends (Macmillan), 2019. $17. Content: G BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Bell Kirby loves drawing schematics and flow charts. Ever since he became the target of the school bully, Bell has created schematics for staying out of his path. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work, and Parker, the principal’s son, gets off scot-free. When a new girl shows up in Bell’s class, diverting attention away from him, he must make a choice The Tornado by Jake Burt, 243 pages. Feiwell and Friends (Macmillan), 2019. $17. Content: G BUYING ADVISORY: EL – OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Bell Kirby loves drawing schematics and flow charts. Ever since he became the target of the school bully, Bell has created schematics for staying out of his path. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work, and Parker, the principal’s son, gets off scot-free. When a new girl shows up in Bell’s class, diverting attention away from him, he must make a choice to passively let her be the new target or stand up for what’s right and continue to be harassed. It’s amazing how much of middle school behavior is dictated by the desire to stay off a bully’s radar. Do you stand up for what’s right or do you stay quiet to save your own skin? This is the conflict Burt writes about. It’s mostly effective, but bogged down with an unrealistic portrayal of the school principal who behaves counter to the way they do in the real world. I appreciated the strong STEM theme with the Creator Club and its enthusiastic teacher sponsor, but it could have been more exciting. The ending doesn’t have the strong bully take-down I would have liked. Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, MLIS https://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Hnatiuk

    Thank you to author Jake Burt and the publisher Feiwel and Friends who passed along an ARC to our #bookportage group. Jake Burt is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for students (and me). I was thrilled to receive an ARC of his latest novel The Tornado and devoured it. You can tell that Mr. Burt teaches - his sense of humour and the realism of classrooms from the passing notes to how a school day looks to the inclusion of STEM activities will connect with kids today. Bell Kirby is a grade Thank you to author Jake Burt and the publisher Feiwel and Friends who passed along an ARC to our #bookportage group. Jake Burt is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for students (and me). I was thrilled to receive an ARC of his latest novel The Tornado and devoured it. You can tell that Mr. Burt teaches - his sense of humour and the realism of classrooms from the passing notes to how a school day looks to the inclusion of STEM activities will connect with kids today. Bell Kirby is a grade five student who loves and lives by systems - partially due to his interests, partially because both of his parents are engineers in the army, but mainly to avoid his bully Parker Hellickson. For two years Parker, the principal's son has been tormenting Bell without any consequences. Thus, Bell relies on his highly evolved systems sketched and written down in his notebook to avoid any possible Parker situation. This changes when new student Daelynn Gower with her rainbow hair and unique style joins Bells fifth grade class and Bell is asked to help her on her first day of school. Bell discovers that they may have more in common than he wants and when an unfortunate incident at lunch causes Parker to shift his attention to her rather than Bell, the tables are turned. Now Bell, no longer the focus of Parker's bullying can walk to class without worrying about being tripped or ridiculed- but at what cost? And this is where Burt is at his best - he has set up such a realistic situation that we know Bell has to decide. Will he be like so many of his classmates and be a bystander allowing Daelynn to suffer, or will he somehow find the courage to stand up to Parker and model what others should have done for him? This is not just a story of bullying but also of bystanders, family relationships and what it means to be a friend. In addition to the main plot line of bullying and bystanders, Burt shares the family dynamics of being part of a military family. Parker’s dad is in Germany and they communicate via texts and the government army service chat and the bond is realistic and strong. There is a puzzle to be solved, which is more than just a puzzle and the ups and downs of having a parent away. There is the frustration of Bell’s parents who have been unable to help Bell with the bullying and are considering homeschooling all of which add to the dynamics of the plot and will connect with kids. Kids will identify with the story, how it unfolds and recognize themselves and others with an all too similar situation. This is a story that would be a great read aloud and prompt discussions about power, bystanders and bullying and one I would use if I was a classroom teacher. A definite purchase for school and classroom libraries - put your preorder in friends the release date Oct 1.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.6 Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever seen someone else being bullied? Bell Kirby is very familiar with this. Parker Hellickson has bullied Bell so severely that Bell's parents have talked about homeschooling him, but except for Parker, Bell loves school. He has friends and he has Creator Club, a group in which he can channel all of his creative inventions. But Bell's notebook is his greatest creation - it holds all of his strategic plans on how to get Interest Level: 5-8; Reading Level: 5.6 Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever seen someone else being bullied? Bell Kirby is very familiar with this. Parker Hellickson has bullied Bell so severely that Bell's parents have talked about homeschooling him, but except for Parker, Bell loves school. He has friends and he has Creator Club, a group in which he can channel all of his creative inventions. But Bell's notebook is his greatest creation - it holds all of his strategic plans on how to get from one class to another without crossing paths with Parker. He has routes for every situation and contingencies in case of something unusual. Bell was doing alright through fifth grade, that is until Daelynn came blowing into into his class. Daelynn has been homeschooled her whole life but because they had to move, she now has to go to public school. Daelynn is nothing like Bell has ever seen. She wears loud, crazy clothes and spiked, colored hair. Bell's plan is completely blown when his teacher makes him show Daelynn how to get to music class. Daelynn has Parker's attention and is also drawing his attention to Bell. Bell has to shut this down and get back to his original plans. But when Daelynn accidentally makes an enemy of Parker, he now has a new target, and Parker's bullying is brutal. Throw in the fact that Parker's father is the principal, he can get away with anything without getting into trouble. Bell is happy that Parker's attention is on someone else, that is until Bell can't take it anymore. He has got to find a way to stop Parker, but how? Does Bell risk himself for some new girl? And now that Parker thinks Bell is against Daelynn also, does Bell partake in the bullying? Read this amazing story of friendship, endurance, and standing up for yourself and others. Jake Burt has a hit with this one! He pulls you into Bell's life and you feel like you are standing right beside him, through all of his ups and downs, his strategic planning, his ability to become invisible, and his loyalty. I wanted so bad to punch Parker in the gut because bullies shouldn't win, yet Parker always seemed to end up on top. I love these characters so much and the friendships that form are unbreakable. This is a must read story for everyone! Follow me: Blog - Blazer Tales - https://blazertales.com/ Facebook - Laurie’s Library Place - https://www.facebook.com/LauriesLibra... Instagram - laurieslibrary - https://www.instagram.com/laurieslibr... Twitter - @laurieevans27 https://twitter.com/laurieevans27?lan... Goodreads - Laurie Purser - https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1... Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/auburngirl2... YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulD... Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurie-ev...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This one is a 3.5 for me, and it's clearly an important one for late elementary and middle graders and their parents and teachers to read. Because it shows so clearly how bullies operate, often staying beneath the radar, and what it is to be like to be the bullied child as well as the bystander. But most of all, it describes vividly the lengths someone may go to avoid being bullied, even standing quietly by while the bully's attention is someone else and remaining thankful that at least he/she i This one is a 3.5 for me, and it's clearly an important one for late elementary and middle graders and their parents and teachers to read. Because it shows so clearly how bullies operate, often staying beneath the radar, and what it is to be like to be the bullied child as well as the bystander. But most of all, it describes vividly the lengths someone may go to avoid being bullied, even standing quietly by while the bully's attention is someone else and remaining thankful that at least he/she isn't picking on them. Fifth grader Bell Kirby was once friends with Parker Hellickson, the son of Village Green Elementary. But Parker has a long memory, and ever since Bell accidentally hurt Parker, he's had it in for his classmate, taunting him verbally, insulting his parents, and causing him bodily harm. Although Bell and his mother have filed complaints, nothing has been done, and Bell takes matters in his own hands, mapping out elaborate paths and plans for ways to avoid Parker as he moves from class to class. But when Daelynn Gower moves from Oregon and catches Parker's eyes as the perfect victim, Bell is relieved at first and then pleased to be invited back into Parker's life and no longer be bullied. Eventually, of course, he realizes that this is cowardly, and he and his friends step up and do the right thing. Readers will enjoy meeting all these characters and find Bell's interest in systems and the Leonard0 da Vinci-inspired tank to be pretty cool. And the way he and his friends use it to stand up against Parker and finally be heard is worth reading the whole book to reach. It's also worth noting that both of Bell's parents are in the military with his father stationed overseas. Let's hear it for supportive parents who steer that offspring to do the right thing even when it's the easy thing to do.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    What does it take to avoid the school bully? Fifth grader and innovative thinker, Bell Kirby, has an elaborate plan that works, until the day Daelynn Gower, the new student with rainbow hair and crazy attire, arrives. Back in 4th grade, former friends, Bell and Parker Hellickson (the principal’s son), had a falling out over a hallway water fountain and a chipped tooth. After that incident, Parker became a diabolical bully and Bell became his favorite victim. In the present time, Bell created a n What does it take to avoid the school bully? Fifth grader and innovative thinker, Bell Kirby, has an elaborate plan that works, until the day Daelynn Gower, the new student with rainbow hair and crazy attire, arrives. Back in 4th grade, former friends, Bell and Parker Hellickson (the principal’s son), had a falling out over a hallway water fountain and a chipped tooth. After that incident, Parker became a diabolical bully and Bell became his favorite victim. In the present time, Bell created a notebook full of systems and solutions for every possible encounter, and was able to mostly avoid Parker (and Mr. Hellickson). Until now. When Daelynn becomes the new target, Bell must either step up and do something, or let it go and revel in the relief that Parker has finally decided to leave him alone. It seems like an easy choice, but it proves more difficult than Bell thought. Plus, Bell finds out during Creator Club that more kids have more stories to share about Parker and his “accidental antics.” The Tornado, by Jake Burt, is a book about bullying that is true-to-life, from the victim/bully mentality of kids all the way down to adults who say there is “zero tolerance,” but don’t act on their words. This book should be read aloud, discussed, and shared widely; it is important and timely. Put this book on your radar. Be prepared for this middle-grade must-read in October 2019. (Thank you for the ARC, Mr. Burt and Feiwel and Friends Publishing)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katie Reilley

    Thank you to the author & publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group. Bell is a fifth grader who lives and relies on systems. He’s designed an amazing habitat for his pet chinchilla, belongs to the Creator Club and recreates one of da Vinci’s greatest inventions, and has devised an elaborate playbook that allows him to stay away from the school’s biggest bully, Parker Hellickson. For two excruciating years, Parker has been tormenting Bell. But every time Bell tries to get help, Thank you to the author & publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group. Bell is a fifth grader who lives and relies on systems. He’s designed an amazing habitat for his pet chinchilla, belongs to the Creator Club and recreates one of da Vinci’s greatest inventions, and has devised an elaborate playbook that allows him to stay away from the school’s biggest bully, Parker Hellickson. For two excruciating years, Parker has been tormenting Bell. But every time Bell tries to get help, the principal (Parker’s DAD), tells Bell he’s overreacting or misinterpreting the situation. Enter Daelynn, a former homeschooled kid who’s moved from Portland to Cincinnati. Due to a lunchroom mishap, Parker has decided that she’s his newest target, and Bell feels some relief. But after watching Parker treat Daelynn like he’s been treated these past two years, Bell has to make a decision: be like Parker or stand up to his tormenting. There are so many things to like in this middle grade novel. The military tie in (Bell’s Dad is stationed in Germany & they chat via text message set up by the Army); strong engineering content (design & build); and puzzles all add to the storyline. A powerful story about bullying, power and bystanders that belongs in every middle grade library when it publishes 10/1/19.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    First, off, bullying is literally one of the worst things that anyone can do, be a part of, etc. Bullying is the lowest of the low and makes me sick to just think about it and those who partake. With that being said, I liked Burt's novel The Tornado, but I felt it was a little predictable and a bit on the overexcited, fake teaching side of things. The one teacher who was so cool and with it was a college professor who was just chilling with elementary kids? The principal was sort of a jerk (well First, off, bullying is literally one of the worst things that anyone can do, be a part of, etc. Bullying is the lowest of the low and makes me sick to just think about it and those who partake. With that being said, I liked Burt's novel The Tornado, but I felt it was a little predictable and a bit on the overexcited, fake teaching side of things. The one teacher who was so cool and with it was a college professor who was just chilling with elementary kids? The principal was sort of a jerk (well, really a jerk) and that is unfortunate because from my experience (20 years of teaching) most principals give the kid the benefit regardless of their relationship. Bell was an enjoyable character/protagonist and as a reader you really wanted him to come out on top. His characteristics were endearing, but there was part of me that just wanted him to shake loose, and he does, sort of. Timmy is the real winner. A funny sidekick who is sarcastic and obviously more situationally aware than some of the other characters. Daelynn added the antithesis that Bell needed to be the full-blown character that he becomes. So, there were some tropes to deal with, but the anti-bullying message is sound and well pointed out... I just wish that some of the tropes of YA and real-life could have been avoided, but such is the way of the kids novel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Fantastic middle grade novel by Jake Burt (Greetings from Witness Protection!) that celebrates the power of creativity and friendship. Bell Kirby is a creative genius at Village Green Elementary School, he is also the victim of a deplorable bully, Parker Hellickson. The problem is Parker's father is the principal and can't believe his boy could ever be so evil. Things seem to get a little better for Bell when a new student, Daelynn Gower moves to Village Green. Her unique style quickly draws the Fantastic middle grade novel by Jake Burt (Greetings from Witness Protection!) that celebrates the power of creativity and friendship. Bell Kirby is a creative genius at Village Green Elementary School, he is also the victim of a deplorable bully, Parker Hellickson. The problem is Parker's father is the principal and can't believe his boy could ever be so evil. Things seem to get a little better for Bell when a new student, Daelynn Gower moves to Village Green. Her unique style quickly draws the attention of Parker who shifts his target of bullying toward her. Bell is faced with a classic dilemma, does he stay quiet, uninvolved, and safe or does he help Daelynn? As he grapples with this problem he realizes he's not the only one who has been victimized by Parker and a creative solution to the situation begins to take shape. Jake Burt is an incredible writer who gives readers compelling characters and plot that pull you in and make it hard to stop reading. I read this in one afternoon and loved it. Releases Oct. 1, but I would preorder this one, you'll want it for a read aloud that will invite powerful discussions about kindness and friendships. Don't forget to read the author's notes in the back, you'll appreciate Jake even more.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Tucker

    #The Tornado #Net Galley Bell Kirby is a very typical middle school boy. He is smart, interested in building systems, not very athletic. He comes from a very supportive. He is doing okay in life, that is now that his “system” for avoiding Parker Hillickson is working! Parker is the school bully and even worse, his father is the school’s principal. That is until the new girl, Daelyn, comes to class – like a tornado! ! ! And Parker has a new object for his mean pranks. Problem for Bell, should he ig #The Tornado #Net Galley Bell Kirby is a very typical middle school boy. He is smart, interested in building systems, not very athletic. He comes from a very supportive. He is doing okay in life, that is now that his “system” for avoiding Parker Hillickson is working! Parker is the school bully and even worse, his father is the school’s principal. That is until the new girl, Daelyn, comes to class – like a tornado! ! ! And Parker has a new object for his mean pranks. Problem for Bell, should he ignore what is happening and just be thankful that he doesn’t have to put up with Parker or should he stand up for Daelyn and put himself back in Parker’s path? I very much enjoyed reading this book. I would like to see more books from Jake Burt. The characters were easily relatable. The theme was unfortunately all too realistic. And the outcome, although not foreseeable, was delightful! And hey, a few days suspension was worth it. Not to mention that the lesson learned, was a lesson that everyone reading this book could use in their life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Crouch

    Thank you to MacMillan Kids School & Library for sharing an ARC with Collabookation. I loved this book for it's refreshing take on bullying ~ yes, the main character is the bullied, but very early in the book a new girl, Daelynn, arrives. She has crazy hair, wild clothes, two different colored eyes, and she's been homeschooled her whole life. She quickly becomes the bully's new focus. Should be good enough for Bell, because at least now he doesn't have to plan his every move throughout the school Thank you to MacMillan Kids School & Library for sharing an ARC with Collabookation. I loved this book for it's refreshing take on bullying ~ yes, the main character is the bullied, but very early in the book a new girl, Daelynn, arrives. She has crazy hair, wild clothes, two different colored eyes, and she's been homeschooled her whole life. She quickly becomes the bully's new focus. Should be good enough for Bell, because at least now he doesn't have to plan his every move throughout the school to avoid Parker. But Bell's conscious won't allow him to step back and watch another kid get targeted and harassed. I really loved how Burt showed how easy it is to be a bystander. Even kids other than Bell aren't (initially) ready to rock the boat because they don't want Parker to refocus on them. I think that this part of the social dynamic of schools needs more kidlit highlighting how to gather up one's courage and help others who need it. Excited to share this with students. It will be a fantastic conversation starter.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jaymie

    [I received an electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.] Another great story from Jake Burt! I enjoyed this slightly different take on a bullying story - what happens when the bully moves on to a new target? What responsibility does the old target have to the new one? Is it enough to bask in his freedom? Or should he stand up for her the way it would have been nice to have someone stick up for him? The characters in this are deli [I received an electronic review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.] Another great story from Jake Burt! I enjoyed this slightly different take on a bullying story - what happens when the bully moves on to a new target? What responsibility does the old target have to the new one? Is it enough to bask in his freedom? Or should he stand up for her the way it would have been nice to have someone stick up for him? The characters in this are delightful and unique - I loved Bell's passion for systems and engineering and all the ways that was evidenced throughout the book. This would be fantastic for a read aloud or for a book group - this is a meaty story with lots to discuss. Fans of Burt's previous books should not miss this one. And readers new to this author should be sure to check out his whole collection - Greetings from Witness Protection is my favorite. (Older Middle Grade)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen McKenna

    An amazing example of what it means to be an upstander! I really connected with Bell's voice and his systems. The Creator Club at the school was such a wonderful example of the maker movement and could be a great connection for readers to maker projects. The characters were complex; they all had different relationships with each other even though they are connected through Parker's bullying. I found the layers and uniqueness of each person really powerful, but also how they come together to make An amazing example of what it means to be an upstander! I really connected with Bell's voice and his systems. The Creator Club at the school was such a wonderful example of the maker movement and could be a great connection for readers to maker projects. The characters were complex; they all had different relationships with each other even though they are connected through Parker's bullying. I found the layers and uniqueness of each person really powerful, but also how they come together to make change. I appreciated that the characters are in 5th grade. This is a book that can reach the younger middle grade students and give them the perspective of how to handle the difficulties of bullying, while also reaching the older ones in the midst of these struggles. Bell's messages with his dad (deployed) added another layer and a another format for interest to the story. #LitReviewCrew

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Tornado was just what I needed this week. It's a hugely fun, creative read that feels like a scavenger hunt for things I like, from quirky, creative kids to Leonardo da Vinci's tank to an awesome engineer who is giving Mrs. Murry and Molly Weasley a run for their money on my "favorite MG moms" list. It's also a very real book about the stressors of being a schoolkid, and while Burt ensures that his bully is multidimensional (and even offers breadcrumbs as to how bullies' worst impulses get e The Tornado was just what I needed this week. It's a hugely fun, creative read that feels like a scavenger hunt for things I like, from quirky, creative kids to Leonardo da Vinci's tank to an awesome engineer who is giving Mrs. Murry and Molly Weasley a run for their money on my "favorite MG moms" list. It's also a very real book about the stressors of being a schoolkid, and while Burt ensures that his bully is multidimensional (and even offers breadcrumbs as to how bullies' worst impulses get enabled) he doesn't offer any apologia or "empathize with your bully" boundary-blurring. Instead, his characters all try different coping mechanisms with mixed results, slowly coming together to build a bridge from problem to solution in a lovely echo of the puzzle Bell Kirby's dad sends him on the very first page. Highly recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim Pet

    A young adult novel about friendships and handling bullies that was inspiring and every kid and adult can relate in some way or another. The advice given to Bell by his dad regarding how to handle a bully and when to know a bully has won is inspirational and spot on. The actions and mistakes made by the characters are human and led to growth in so many ways. I’ve finished the book and continue to think about these characters and the story line, which doesn’t always happen. As a teacher, I was fis A young adult novel about friendships and handling bullies that was inspiring and every kid and adult can relate in some way or another. The advice given to Bell by his dad regarding how to handle a bully and when to know a bully has won is inspirational and spot on. The actions and mistakes made by the characters are human and led to growth in so many ways. I’ve finished the book and continue to think about these characters and the story line, which doesn’t always happen. As a teacher, I was fist pumping the Creator Club, it’s excellent challenge, and the mention of a Fab Lab in the acknowledgments. Every kid should have access to these chances at creativity and fabrication, and I’ve gotten some ideas on how to improve my Fab Lab as well, so thank-you!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    As a huge Jake Burt fan, his third middle-grade novel, THE TORNADO, did not disappoint. The protagonist, Bell Kirby, is a survivor of relentless bullying by his classmate Parker Hellickson--a boy who happens to be the principal's son. Because of this, Kirby will do anything to fly below the radar, including crafting an elaborate book of "systems" to escape Parker's attention. And then Daelynn Gower, a former homeschooled, Wizard of Oz-loving iconoclast enters the scene. Will Kirby stand up for D As a huge Jake Burt fan, his third middle-grade novel, THE TORNADO, did not disappoint. The protagonist, Bell Kirby, is a survivor of relentless bullying by his classmate Parker Hellickson--a boy who happens to be the principal's son. Because of this, Kirby will do anything to fly below the radar, including crafting an elaborate book of "systems" to escape Parker's attention. And then Daelynn Gower, a former homeschooled, Wizard of Oz-loving iconoclast enters the scene. Will Kirby stand up for Daelynn when Parker chooses her as his new victim? Or will he keep his head down, in order not to get swept up in the tornado that is middle school? A wise, warm, and beautifully written book. It's funny too! Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    H

    There's nothing wrong with this book - Bell is a likable kid in a bad situation - who is so relieved to be out from under the relentless teasing of the class bully (who happens to be the principal's son) - that he stands by while a new student becomes the target. I think I'm just over the bullying stories. And some of the situations - I really doubt that two parents would allow their child to come home day after day injured and not take the situation up with a superintendent or do something abou There's nothing wrong with this book - Bell is a likable kid in a bad situation - who is so relieved to be out from under the relentless teasing of the class bully (who happens to be the principal's son) - that he stands by while a new student becomes the target. I think I'm just over the bullying stories. And some of the situations - I really doubt that two parents would allow their child to come home day after day injured and not take the situation up with a superintendent or do something about it when a child is as bullied as Bell is for THREE years.... I think it only encourages kids feeling like they can't go to adults. I don't know, I guess this book was just at the wrong time for me, because it's a fine middle grade read. Best for grades 4-6.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mrs.

    I received a complimentary copy of Tornado from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This novel was a complete and wonderful surprise! I loved the fascinating depth of characters, which were mainly elementary students who had bully issues. It would seem that this book would be juvenile then, however, it was anything but that! Bell, the main character and his amusing friends align to attempt to save a new, uniquely dressed, and previously homeschooled victim, Daelynn I received a complimentary copy of Tornado from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This novel was a complete and wonderful surprise! I loved the fascinating depth of characters, which were mainly elementary students who had bully issues. It would seem that this book would be juvenile then, however, it was anything but that! Bell, the main character and his amusing friends align to attempt to save a new, uniquely dressed, and previously homeschooled victim, Daelynn, from a similar fate. Great book! I can't wait to read more from Jake Burt!! Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I found this to be a highly engaging book that deals accurately with the issue of bullying that many students experience. The well-rounded cast of characters including the new girl, the son of the school principal, a deployed military parent, and others, touched on the many different circumstances that children may face. With so much going on with these characters, it is a fast-paced read that does not slow from start to finish. I will recommend that we add this to our reading curriculum and, at I found this to be a highly engaging book that deals accurately with the issue of bullying that many students experience. The well-rounded cast of characters including the new girl, the son of the school principal, a deployed military parent, and others, touched on the many different circumstances that children may face. With so much going on with these characters, it is a fast-paced read that does not slow from start to finish. I will recommend that we add this to our reading curriculum and, at the very least, will absolutely be adding it to my classroom library and recommending the school library do the same. *ARC provided by Netgalley

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