- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 505 KB
- Print Length: 142 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing (6 Jun. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00D91LYIY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#2,019,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #8055 in Kindle Store > Books > Children's eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Fantasy & Magic > Sword & Sorcery
- #16094 in Books > Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
- #37163 in Books > Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > General
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Karmack Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Sully goes back and forth with Karmack, and tries to convince Karmack that his behaviors and actions are just practical jokes on others. That’s what Sully keeps telling himself, but Karmack is still the karmic balancer and does his job.
The dialogue between Sully and Karmack is quite humorous, and Karmack warns Sully that one of his friends’ skyscrapers is about to fall. Being a good friend, Sully does everything he can to stop his friends from doing bad things, but eventually the skyscraper comes falling down. Sully knows there is a way to cheat his own skyscraper down, and he’s trying to figure out how to do that.
Even though Sully is turning himself around, maturing, and keeping his nose clean, when a mustache appears on a sentimental photo in his teacher’s drawer and halts the fifth grade field trip, everyone thinks it’s Sully whose done it…and for revenge. Sully makes a choice that changes his fate and his karma.
Sully goes through a lot of personal growth throughout his fifth grade year. He discovers it’s not always fun and games when you’re bullying others. He also discovers the power of love and attraction. He doesn’t know why he likes this one particular girl, but she always makes him smile and do good things.
This is a great book to read for younger, elementary-aged children. It is interesting to see the turn-around in Sully throughout the year, and how he tries to help others and cheat down his own skyscraper by doing good things.
One of the things I appreciate is the way bullying is described and discussed. Chapter 1 dives into the story with the three bullies chasing after a "squealer" (i.e., someone who "told" on Sully). When Sully finally catches up to him, he pins him to the ground, but leaves him unharmed, "just knowing he scared the living daylights out of the kid was enough for Sully." There are many different types of bullying described in the story including intimidation, playing pranks, insults, and physical acts of violence. Karmack also explains what bullying is and why it is wrong. Karmack makes it very clear, for example, that a trick or prank still hurts even if you don't intend to cause harm. What is more important to consider are the consequences of your actions, regardless of your intentions. Agreed!
One thing that is particularly interesting is Sully's explanation for his bullying. He describes how everybody looks up to him and that he has a reputation to uphold as "the Big Cheese". He has come to believe that this is done through bullying, but both Karmack and his teacher point out that he, in fact, can become a respected leader by using different methods. I love this reframing of "bullying" as "leadership" and I have heard this argument before. So, essentially when there is a child at school who engages in bullying behaviour, this child can be encouraged to build on those same personality traits and lead by good example instead.
The author has clearly spent a great deal of time thinking through what the transformation of a bully into a positive role model would look like. It is clear from the start that Sully is perceived as a "leader", but he rules through fear. But, as he learns about his fate and the fate of his friends if he continues to hurt the people around him, he attempts to control Karmack (literally tying him up!). He then begins to show concern for and try to protect his friends Breeze and Gonzo when he learns that one more negative act will topple their skyscrapers (i.e., their bad deeds will catch up with them and cause a very negative consequence). By the end of the book, he selflessly takes the blame for something he didn't do so that all of his friends can go on a field trip. Is this realistic? Maybe, maybe not, but it's hopeful - and I like THAT!
When the character of Karmack is introduced, we learn that he is a "karmic balancer" for the three boys. Karmack is a very interesting character as he is portrayed as very "child-like" in his appearance (i.e., his short stature) and his speech (i.e., he speaks like a toddler). I think this allowed the author to simplify the messages in the book about "karma". So, essentially, if any of the boys do something bad, Karmack does something similar back to them. I loved how the character of Karmack was framed as a very compassionate being - he was truly concerned about his charges and often felt sad and worried that he would not be able to balance them before their skyscraper falls over. By the way, he couldn't...
A word about karma... I have always taught my children about the concept of karma using the actual word. I imagine that there may be some parents (or some people in general) that do not believe in karma. I have a bit of a bias, because I agree wholeheartedly with much of what is said about karma in the book. I also thought it was genius to include an Indian school girl who could add to the discussion of karma. I do want to encourage people to not overlook the book if they don't believe in karma because I think the discussions of how our actions hurt other people are valid regardless of what you believe in and this is the main lesson that Sully learns in the book.
My Bottom Line:
Karmack is a well-written, middle grade book tackling the difficult topic of bullying from the perspective of the bully. The character development is absolutely brilliant as the reader witnesses the transformation of Sully from an aggressive, angry bully to a positive role model and respected leader among his peers. While the concept of karma is not for everyone, I found myself agreeing with the main message of how our actions have consequences, intended or otherwise. I would recommend this book to middle grade classrooms as a great book to generate discussion around bullying. Ages 7+
* I was given this book free-of-charge by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Karmack is a captivating pre-teen fantasy and author J.C. Whyte has created a strong cast of characters that are well developed and quite likable. As the story progresses, the suspense builds to a delightful outcome that is sure to keep readers anticipating Whyte's next round of literary treasures. We look forward to seeing more from this author.