Author: Virginia Fleming
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Publisher: Putnam and Grosset Group
Publisher’s Intended Audience: Ages 4-8
Summary: Christy lives across the road from a boy named Eddie Lee who has Downs Syndrome. Her mother has always told her to be nice to him because he is different. One afternoon, Eddie Lee follows Christy and her friend Jim Bud to the pond after they tell him to go away. When Jim Bud finds no frog eggs and lilies that cannot be picked, Eddie Lee leads Christy to a beautiful place she has never seen with frogs’ eggs and beautiful lilies within reach.
Literary elements at work in the story: The theme and characterization in this story are key literary elements. The theme of friendship resonates through the story both in the friendship of Christy with Eddie Lee as she realizes that he is not the nuisance she thought he was. The author characterizes Christy and Jim Bud to realistically represent the way that many children react to someone who has a disability.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: This book focuses not on any of these perspectives, but on the perspective of the labels and stereotypes that are often given to children with disabilities. Eddie Lee is at first labeled a nuisance and a “dummy.” He shows that these labels are inaccurate with his understanding of and appreciation for nature.
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-13, Psalm 139:13-14, Romans 12:4-8
- God has a special plan for each of God’s beloved children.
- Each of us has been fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
- We do not all have the same function as members of the body of Christ.
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for early elementary children – Ages 5-7):
- At the beginning of the story, why does Christy refer to Eddie as a “mistake?” How does her attitude change by the end of the story?
- Describe Eddie Lee?
- What does Eddie Lee show readers when he tells Jim Bud that he is not a dog in response to Jim Bud’s command to “get”?
- Why does Christy leave Jim Bud sitting on the bank to follow Eddie Lee?
- Why did the illustrator choose to create the image of Christy and Eddie Lee reflected in the water? What can that picture teach us?
- What does Eddie Lee mean when he says on the next to last page that he likes Christy “anyway”?
- Why does Eddie Lee believe that what is in the heart is what counts?
Prepared by Marcia A. Rauch, MACE, Entering cohort – 2006.
Be Good to Eddie Lee by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.