Enemy Pie by Derek Munson and Illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson tells the story of a young boy who quickly makes a new neighborhood arrival, Jeremy Ross, his “#1 Enemy.” Unable to deal with his angry emotions about this new kid, the narrator goes to his dad to ask for advice on how to deal with enemies. His dad tells him about Enemy Pie, which only works in getting rid of your enemy if you are nice to the enemy the day he eats it.
The narrator spends the day with Jeremy while his dad bakes the pie, but the narrator quickly realizes that his #1 enemy is not as bad as originally supposed. So when it comes time for Jeremy to eat the enemy pie, the narrator yells at him to stop, only to realize that his dad is also enjoying the pie. As it turns out, the enemy pie works: the narrator loses an enemy by making a friend.
Dealing with Strong Emotions in a Healthy Way
Children feel emotions more strongly than adults because they don’t yet have the tools and experience to deal with anger, jealousy, or hatred in a healthy way. Enemy Pie both sympathizes with this dilemma and offers several ways to handle uncontrolled emotions without resorting to violent revenge (which many of us fantasize about, even through adulthood).
Giving People a Second Chance
It’s easy to lash out at people when you are mad at them. Therefore, one of the most important lessons for kids to learn is that you should always promote a more positive experience with people you are angry at, like the narrator does with Jeremy.
Recommended Target Audience
Preschoolers (and their parents) are the perfect Enemy Pie readers. The story and simple illustrations work together to tell a linear story about making friends with you worst enemy. In addition, the fact that preschoolers still need adults to read books to them is not a hassle to the parent, because Enemy Pie features the father as an influential character. While the book’s main lesson is to teach kids to deal with strong emotions in a safe way, it also teaches parents not to belittle their kid’s emotions and instead help them find healthy solutions to their problems.