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The Recess Queen

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  2,218 Ratings  ·  363 Reviews
Oh, would that all bullying problems could be solved so easily! Mean Jean is the reigning Recess Queen, pushing and smooshing, hammering and slammering the other kids whenever they cross her. And then one day a puny new girl shows up on the playground and catches Mean Jean completely off-guard. Not only is little Katie Sue not the least bit intimidated by the bully, she ac ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 1st 2002 by Scholastic Press (first published January 1st 2002)
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NS- Sarah
Nov 15, 2009 NS- Sarah rated it it was amazing
I simply love this story about Mean Jean the Recess Queen! There is a bully and her name is Mean Jean. It is known by all kids that when on the playground, "Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced." But there world is forever changed when a new students arrives by the name of Katie Sue. Katie Sue isn't aware of these unspoken rules so she starts kicking, bouncing, swinging and playing on the playground. When Mean Jean threa ...more
Tom Bochnak
Mar 05, 2015 Tom Bochnak rated it it was amazing
This is a shocking book only because it handles bullying in a new, unique way. I imagine there are A LOT of books about bullies in picture books, and there's a good reason for that. However, they usually just fall flat on their face with their message. This book approaches the issue in a unique way because Katie Sue stood up to her bully with kindness instead of violence.

The book would also be easy to read for beginning readers because there's a lot of repetition. The onomatopoeias might be har
(NS) Panagiota Angelos
The Recess Queen is a story about a bully named Mean Jean that terrorizes kids on the playground. When it comes to recess time, nobody messes with Mean Jean. “Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.” But things change when a new student arrives named Katie Sue. When the recess bell rings, Katie Sue does as she pleases. She didn’t know about Mean Jean and “her rules.” When Mean Jean confronts Katie Sue, she does something none of the other kids have done before…s ...more
NSAndrew Liebergen
Oct 29, 2009 NSAndrew Liebergen rated it it was amazing
The Recess Queen is an interesting story about a bully and a small new kid. This is a great book for discussions on teasing and bullying. A topic much needed in schools today. The students have an opportunity to discuss what really defines a bully. I also think that a teacher could use the book to discuss Mean Jean’s feelings and why she acts the way she does. I think this book demonstrates a great lesson in positive attitude and not judging a book by its cover.
On another note, I cannot describ
Aug 30, 2015 Susan rated it did not like it
Shelves: no-no-no, 2015, storybook
Oh boo-hoo the poor, hard-done-by bully... wait what?!?

The book implies that Jean is a bully because no one will play with her. The reality is more likely that no one will play with her because she is a bully.

The author seems to buy into the myth that bullies are hard-done-by individuals with poor self esteem. That might be true in a few cases. From what I have read, however, bullies are often bullies because they have a huge sense of entitlement and an unhealthy over estimation of their own 'g
Alyssa Cool
The Recess Queen is a very bright picture book that follows a bossy elementary school student around the playground at recess. The recess queen plows through all of the students on the playground as if she does not care. All of the students on the playground are scared of the recess queen and no one stands up to her. One day there’s a new kid at school, and she confidently stands up to the recess queen not knowing she has a reputation. In the end relationships form and the playground is peaceful ...more
Feb 27, 2017 Hannah rated it liked it
Nobody questions Mean Jean the Recess Queen! Find out what happens when a new girl joins the class on the playground.
(Sometimes, the pictures are almost more entertaining than the story.)
Cassandra Collins
Feb 01, 2015 Cassandra Collins rated it liked it
The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill is about a elementary student named Mean Jean. Mean Jean frightens the other children so that they will not play until she plays. Then comes a little girl named Katie Sue. Katie Sue doesn't listen to Mean Jean's rules and plays anyway. Mean Jean is angered by this until Katie Sue asks her to play together. From then on Mean Jean got along with the other kids.

This books carries a great message to younger kids. Bullying is in issue present in elementary school, a
Oct 26, 2009 Bernice rated it really liked it
Friendship is the true meaning behind this story. The social context in this story revolves around a little girl named Jean that is the big bully at the school. No one dares stand up to her, especially on the playground - that is until a new student comes to school. Usually Mean Jean is the first to do everything during recess. Unaware of "Mean Jean" and her ways, the new girl Ruth Sue comes to school and breaks all of her rules. Mean Jean is ready to fight Ruth Sue, but after marching up to her ...more
Tori Webster
Sep 13, 2015 Tori Webster rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
"The Recess Queen" is a book filled with rhyming and rhythm that empowers children to be kind to others, even when they don't seem so kind.
This book could be used to teach about author's craft, specifically how the author uses a rhythm to tell the story as well as repetition. It would also be a good book to use for character education as the new student (Katie Sue) chooses to be kind to "Mean Jean" and gets her to play with her towards the end of the story. This story shows how being kind to oth
Jaclyn Giordano
Feb 21, 2010 Jaclyn Giordano rated it liked it
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and Laura Hulisk-Beith is a picture book intended for readers in preschool through grade three. I gave it three stars. “Mean Jean always got her way. Until one day…” Mean Jean was queen of the elementary school yard, always bossing kids around, never one with any friends. The new girl in school, quiet Katie Sue, gets the best of Mean Jean, as Katie Sue is the first, the best, the new one in charge on the playground. Mean Jean reacts to Katie Sue’s invitation t ...more
Mary-Vaughan Spruill
Nov 16, 2015 Mary-Vaughan Spruill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wow-books
"The Recess Queen" tells the story of Mean Jean and how she is a bully during recess. All the other children are scared of Mean Jean and never want to play with her; then, Katie Sue, a new girl comes to school. Katie Sue continues to ask Mean Jean to play with her at recess, finally, Mean Jean is not so mean anymore. She finally has a friend and does not bully her classmates anymore. This book is a WOW book to me, because I love that Mean Jean finds a friend and is no longer mean. This story wou ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Joshua rated it really liked it
this book is to show you that sometimes poeple can change and some poeple can not.this book is about a kid that is the recess queen and she does not let anyone kick untill she kicks. she does not let kids swing untill she swings. everything changed untill a new girl came to her school .this girl did not know the queens rules. when she heared the bell ring she ran like lightnig. she was faster then the recess queen. the rcess queen ran after her to tell her about the rules and when the recess que ...more
Reading Level: K-3rd grade
Mean Jean, the recess queen is the playground bully at school. Told in fun rhyming poetic form, "she'd push em and smoosh em, lollapaloosh em," it looks at the reason she bullies and one new girl's actions that change that. I loved the illustrations - so fun and a perfect complement to the fun text. It takes the issue of bullying and presents a possible solution for young children in a really fun way! You could use this in the classroom and create your own rhyming class
Sep 17, 2015 Madi rated it liked it
This book made me laugh, and I loved that about it. I thought that this Queen Jean character was going to be mean the whole time but the way the book ended was just adorable. I think any book for children needs to have great illustrations to catch the eye for the students, just like this book.
Nov 13, 2014 haley rated it it was amazing
Wow, I actually read this ten years ago. I was in 1st grade then. I'll be a junior in high school in the fall. Wow, that's really weird to think. Time flies.
I think I will reread this, for nostalgic purposes.
Aug 11, 2009 Janet rated it really liked it
This book would be great to instruct on bullies in the classroom. I liked the way it handled the issue without labeling the children.
Nov 07, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing
nice book!
Aug 15, 2014 Laurie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2017 Taylor rated it liked it
Mean Jean the Recess Queen dominates the schoolyard. Nobody swung, kicked or bounced until Mean Jean swung, kicked, or bounced. All the other kids were so afraid of her they would not even talk, only listen to her orders. Although when Katie Sue arrives at school, things change. Katie Sue swung, kicked, and bounced before Mean Jean and will not allow herself to be pushed around by the Recess Queen. Katie Sue asked Mean Jean to play with her eventually which is something no one had ever dared to ...more
Hye Won
Jul 18, 2017 Hye Won rated it really liked it
This is a good book to talk about the topic of bullying in social justice education. The result was actually different from how I expected. When Katie Sue resisted Mean Jean's mean behaviors, I thought that Mean Jean would get upset more and acted like more mean and bully girl, but she was actually surprised that someone truly asked her to play together. So, I can see that even the people who act like boss and powerful sometimes wish someone could suggest them to join or do something together.
McKenzie McIlrath
May 10, 2017 McKenzie McIlrath rated it it was amazing
This book was about "Mean Jean" who was the recess queen, kids were scared of her and didn't play until she played. Then a new girl comes to school and makes "Mean jean" a little less mean.
I enjoyed this book, the words were fun and would keep children interested and the pictures were very bright and colorful.
Jun 17, 2017 Mindy rated it liked it
This is a cute story about a girl that defeats a recess bully with kindness. While that may be a naive take on the subject, I can see this being a beneficial story for kindergarten students who are new to the recess concept.
Dec 03, 2016 Cora rated it really liked it
Great book to teach the little ones that they can reach out to someone, even if it takes courage to do so.
Hannah Julsrud
Jan 28, 2015 Hannah Julsrud rated it it was amazing
Mean Jean ran the whole class with her black ponytail and mischievous smile, and recess was her favorite. She really was the queen of recess, and whatever she said went, no questions asked. If someone didn't want to play by Mean Jean's rules, they were simply squashed. The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill is a fun story about a quirky little girl who pays no mind to Mean Jean's ridiculous recess rules, confusing and infuriating her. Little Katie Sue, a quirky little redhead, joins the class and si ...more
Andria Davis
May 11, 2017 Andria Davis rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a little girl that is a bully at recess until a new girl comes to school and gets her to play with her on the playground.

I gave this book five stars because the storyline is good, it teaches a valuable lesson, that if you don't let someone bully you or push you around, you can make friends. I also enjoy the illustrations and the fact that there are rhyming words, there are funny nonsense words, and a lot of different sounds explored through the writing.

(Contemporary Realisti
Nicole Fiene
Jan 27, 2015 Nicole Fiene rated it it was amazing
The first thing I noticed when reading The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill was the text. Not only are the words energetic and fun for kids of all ages, but the way they are written is like the author wants you to read them like a song or a poem. When reading the text, the words flow so smoothly together that you barely realize how quickly you are moving through the story. Throughout the book the author also uses repetition of words and phrases. The reader can see a lot of the same fun words and p ...more
Mar 23, 2016 Spencer rated it it was amazing
Executive Summary: The Recess Queen is written by Alexis O’Neill and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. Everyone can relate to this story, as we’ve all been kids at one point in our lives. Even today, we still face issues surrounding dealing with conflict and how to resolve issues that arise in everyday situations as young adults. In this story, the author introduces “Mean Jean” as the main character, who declares herself to be the recess queen. Nobody challenged Mean Jean and her powerful, dic ...more
Kaitlyn Ramirez
Jan 23, 2015 Kaitlyn Ramirez rated it really liked it

Kaitlyn Ramirez
The Recess Queen
By: Alexis O’ Neill
The recess queen is about a young school girl named Mean Jean who bullies anyone who stands in her way on the playground. No one gets to do anything until Mean Jean does it first. As mean jean goes about bullying her friends on the playground, one day an unfamiliar face came to the playground. A new student named Katie Sue, she was not afraid of mean jean no matter how much she tried to bully her. In fact Katie sue did the opposite she became fr
Alex Valenzuela
Feb 01, 2015 Alex Valenzuela rated it really liked it
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neil is a cute story about a playground bully and the quirky little redhead who changes things up. Mean Jean, as everyone calls her, is the self-proclaimed Recess Queen. Nobody swings, kicks, or bounces until Mean Jean does and that’s just the way it goes. One day a new kid, oblivious to the playground monarchy that’s been set up, arrives on the scene. Redheaded Katie Sue arrives with her crazy braids and big glasses and swings, kicks, and bounces all before Mean Jea ...more
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Alexis O'Neill grew up in Boston and Wakefield, Massachusetts. She earned a Ph.D. in Teacher Education from Syracuse University. She teaches writing for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and was a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) in the Central-Coastal region of California.
She has also been educator and consultant for a number of musea: Erie
More about Alexis O'Neill...

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