“The Legend of Slappy McDougall” by Nathaniel Sojourner Turner

“The Legend of Slappy McDougall” by Nathaniel Sojourner Turner 175 263 Reader Views Kids

The Legend of Slappy McDougall

Nathaniel Sojourner Turner
Big Grin Publishing LLC (2019)
ISBN: 978-1733084307
Reviewed by Lydia (age 9) and Mom for Reader Views Kids (06/23)

“The Legend of Slappy McDougall: The Boy with the Bugle” by Nathaniel Sojourner Turner is a story about being brave around bullies or people who think you can’t do something because this gives you a chance to prove them wrong! The story begins by introducing the main character, Slappy McDougall, a boy who loves carrying his bugle wherever he goes; he will take it to school, the store, in his house – anywhere! One day at school, a bully says that he doesn’t think Slappy can play or do anything with his bugle, so why does he carry it around? Slappy tells him to be ready on Friday after school, and he’ll show him what he can do with his bugle. Friday comes, and Slappy blows everyone away with what he can do, and the bully doesn’t bother Slappy anymore about his bugle.

Slappy is talented; I think that people, especially kids, are when they can play an instrument because I know how difficult that can be. I liked reading how brave Slappy was with the bully; he could have gotten scared and run away, but he knew what he could do and did it great. I liked that there are pictures throughout the story that are colorful. I like that the story is easy to understand, and most of the words I understood, but there are some words that I didn’t know and had to learn. I think kids who read this book will enjoy it if they are in kindergarten up to middle school, reading by themselves or with someone else.  

Note from Mom: “The Legend of Slappy McDougall: The Boy with the Bugle” is an empowering story for kids and a welcome reminder to adults who might have forgotten what it is like during childhood.  Perhaps also a reminder for the adults who were bullies back in their younger years. The children will learn that it is okay to be different- to like things that could be different from others, as long as they are respectful. They may gain insight into ways of being brave that they hadn’t thought of before.

The adults could use the story as a conversation starter for themselves and the children to whom they are reading. Kids and adults may learn something new in the form of a bugle as an instrument! The story is simple for children to understand but enough for them to remember in the future. The fact that the author portrayed Slappy as African American and mentions his grandfather having served in the military during WWII provides inclusivity to ethnic and cultural populations that don’t tend to receive as much recognition as called for. 

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