Cover image for Surviving Brick Johnson
Surviving Brick Johnson
Myers, Laurie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
74 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Afraid of getting maimed for making fun of Brick, the husky new kid in his fifth-grade class, Nick decides that even his baseball collection will not protect him so he signs up for karate class, despite his little brother's reassurances that Brick is not a bully.
Reading Level:
410 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.5 1.0 43744.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.6 4 Quiz: 24704 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Alex is running for his life. After making fun of the notorious bully Brick Johnson, he's now convinced that Brick is out to get him. There is only one way to survive Brick Johnson--take karate lessons and become a powerful sensei. But after Brick shows up in karate class and treats Alex with respect, Alex's picture of him begins to change. How can Brick be a bully and a nice guy at the same time?

Accompanied by Dan Yaccarino's humorous illustrations, this funny, fast-paced story challenges readers to explore the way we think about people--and to break down the stereotypes that may prevent us from finding true friendship.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Fifth-grader Alex believes he has run afoul of the new kid, Brick Johnson, whose name says it all. Brick is a lot taller and bigger than the other kids in the class, and in Alex's mind, he's a terrifying bully. To protect himself, Alex decides to sign up for karate classes, and when Brick also signs up, Alex fears the worst. As the novel unfolds, however, Alex learns Brick is not what he thought: Would a class bully spend part of his time reading stories to first-graders, using funny voices for added effect? What's going on? The message is obvious, but Johnson lightens things up with frequently witty dialogue and snappy one-liners. There are also some cheerful cartoon illustrations contributed by Dan Yaccarino. --Todd Morning

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-Alex, a fifth grader participating in a lunchtime impressions contest, gets caught imitating the new kid, Brick Johnson, in this short novel by Laurie Myers (Clarion, 2000). Brick looks like a brick-he's big, broad, and seems threatening. For the rest of this brief novel, Alex strategizes on how to escape the beating he feels he is sure to receive from this seemingly scary kid whom he had mocked. He enters a karate class, so does Brick. He tries hiding in the library, guess who is there? Maybe Alex can draw strength from his collection of baseball cards, taking on the traits of his heroes, such as amazing speed, power, and courage? It doesn't work. Meanwhile, in a parallel story, Alex's little brother is dealing with a little girl who likes to spit on him. In increasingly comical episodes, the boys try to deal with their perceived bullies. Alex's brother knows Brick, who voluntarily reads stories to his kindergarten class and loves baseball cards. It becomes clearer to Alex once the haze of fear begins to fade that although Brick may appear threatening on the surface, he's actually a good guy, and even a comedian! Learning not to judge on appearance and trying to understand people's reasons for their actions are the underlying themes in this entertaining novel. Joel Leffert narrates in an expressive yet not intrusive tone. He doesn't attempt to use different voices for the characters, but instead uses inflection to tell the story. His diction is wonderfully clear and the pacing is fine. This ALA Notable Book is recommended for reluctant readers, and for those who have (or think they have) been bullied.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.