Tag Archives: Mrs. P

Bremerton 5-year-old’s story about bullying featured on Mrs. P website

Ivy Exum, 5, of Bremerton joins the ranks of published authors with “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Hotdog,” a story about getting the best on bullies … with kindness. A video based on the story was posted Monday to Mrs. P’s Magic Library, a website of free audio and video literature for children.

Exum, with help from her parents, submitted the original story to Mrs. P’s Be a Famous Writer Contest. Don’t know about Mrs. P? Neither did I, but if you’ve ever watched the Drew Carey Show, you’ll recognize Mrs. P (actress Kathy Kinney) from her role as Mimi Bobeck.

Mrs. P is a hoot. With her overstuffed chair, cozy fireplace and imitation Irish brogue, she’s like an updated version of Mrs. Doubtfire … but with flaming red hair … like Ms. Frizzle of the “Magic Schoolbus” series.

Like Robin Williams’ Mrs. Doubtfire and Ms. Frizzle, the exuberant, fictional science teacher with magic powers, Mrs. P is on a mission to reach out directly to kids. The focus of Mrs. P’s Magic Library, is to get children excited about reading. The website is “a treasure chest of audio and video goodies.”

Contest organizers called Exum’s story “a funny, quirky take on a serious subject.” Although “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Hotdog” was not a grand prize winner, it caught the eye of the website’s producers, who felt it had an important message and should be produced as a video, said Dana Plautz, co-president of Mrs. P Enterprises LLC, launched in 2008. Mrs. P’s production offices are located in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California.

In “The Peanut Butter and Jelly Hotdog,” a little girl feels hurt when a bully makes fun of her peanut butter and jelly in a hotdog roll. The next day everyone in the cafeteria shows up with a peanut butter and jelly hotdog. Then it’s the bully who feels left out until the kids share with him.

“Adults can talk around a problem for years and never reach a conclusion,” said Kinney. “But this 5-year-old kid came up with a short, simple story that cuts to the core and says the best way to deal with a bully is with humor and love. How great is that?”

Ivy’s mom Katie Exum said the story was inspired by a concoction Katie made for her daughter one day when she ran out of bread (although if you google the term, you’ll see it’s not an entirely original recipe). Ivy and her dad, Nathan, have been making up stories about Michelle, the heroine of the tale, and Ogre, her friend, for a couple of years. Ivy dictated the story and Katie typed it out for her. Ivy has a 2-year-old brother, Sawyer.

Kinney hopes the video about Ivy’s story will be used as a resource for parents, teachers and kids to open a dialogue about bullying.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10 percent are bullied on a regular basis.

The academy has documented that when communities and schools implement programs specifically targeting aggression toward others, bullying and delinquency markedly decline. Studies of one bullying prevention program found a 45 percent decrease in bullying incidents four years in, along with a significant decrease in reports of student involvement in delinquency, theft, vandalism and school behavior.

MrsP.com in 2010 received more than 1,000 entries from children ages 4 to 13 from 26 states for its second annual “Be A Famous Writer Contest.” Five finalists were selected in each of two age categories: 4 to 8 and 9 to 13.

The judges included best-selling author Meg Cabot (“The Princess Diaries”), Jim Davis, creator of Garfield the cat comic strip, and Danny Kallis, creator of the Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”

Each winner received a bound copy of their illustrated story, as well as gift certificates to Powell’s Books, official sponsor of the writing contest.