Tough Boris

by Mem Fox

Other authorsKathryn Brown (Illustrator)
Paper Book, 1994


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Call number



San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1994.


Although he is a very tough pirate, Boris von der Borch cries when his parrots dies.

Local notes


Media reviews

Courtney E. Mahr
This is an excellent Mem Fox book. It is a good resource to talk about ones feelings and emotions. It is also a great example for repetition and word choice.

User reviews

LibraryThing member biblio_girl
Tough Boris is a big, mean, scary like all pirates. But when his parrot dies he gets emotional and cries.
LibraryThing member JillSmith23
The theme of this book deals with emotions. This picture book shows how it's okay to cry and be sad sometimes. This is a relatable book for children, especially if they are experiencing the death of a pet or family member.
LibraryThing member medebrielle
Tough Boris is about a pirate, a tough pirate. The book has a pattern; it starts with “he was massive” “all pirates are massive”. Then he was “scruffy” “all pirates are scruffy”. “He was greedy” … “ All pirates are greedy.” It describes Tough Boris pirate as scary,
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massive, big, mean, etc. But then it mentions that Tough Boris’s parents died, and he cried. Then it said all pirates cry and so did Tough Boris. I must admit I did not see this coming. I guess this would be a good book to read if some one in the class loses a family member and is showing unnatural signs of grief.
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LibraryThing member Jenlovely
Boris is a pirate and he is tough-all pirates are tough. This story goes on to tell about Boris and how strong, greedy, and fearless he is. All good qualities of a pirate. But when he faces the sadness of losing his pet parrot he cries just like anyone would. This is a simple but sweet tale showing
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that everyone has emotions including people with a tough exterior. I enjoyed the basic nature of the story with the pictures revealing the true thoughts of the characters.
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LibraryThing member rebecca401
A great read-aloud for early elementary children who will notice the pattern and can join in on the end of the sentences. There's a non-too-subtle lesson about what it means to be tough and whether or not that means that one can cry. Careful, though, because there's a whole other story to be read
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just by looking at the pictures!
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LibraryThing member ktextor
This story is about a pirate named Boris. Throughout the book it gives descriptions on how pirates act and what they are like but turns out there is a surprise because Boris's parrot dies and when it does we find out that pirates also cry, so even when we saw they he could be mean and tough and
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massive he has feelings too and he was sad when he lost his pet.
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LibraryThing member DanielleSt
Nice children's story that emphasizes all of the stereotypical character traits of a pirate, and then, after his parrot dies, he cries. Mem Fox tells children it's ok to be tough and sensitive at the same time.
LibraryThing member GayWard
A boy lives on a pirate ship, the captains pirate dies and they all cry.
LibraryThing member szanes
A wonderfully simple tale with rhythm and repetitive wording that helps the story flow to a satisfying conclusion. A great story to share when showing that everyone has emotions and can express them, even adults. Deals with the death of a pet and shared emotion.
LibraryThing member E.OB
Tough Boris isn't so tough. He is just like many other pirates dealing with a lot of different emotions including mad, mean, and sad. Towards the end of the book Boris' beloved parrot dies which makes him very sad and he cries. This book has a lot of repetition and is predictable. It is short but
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has great illustrations, and storyline. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member RachelPeterson
Tough Boris is about a pirate who seems scruff, tough and mean! Towards the end of the story we find that Tough Boris has emotions just like the rest of us. We all feel sad, mad, or angry. Tough Boris cries when his beloved pet parrot dies, making him very sad. This book has a lot of repetition and
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is predictable. I would read this to early elementary students.
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LibraryThing member EmilyPhilips
Tough Boris explores the life of a pirate whose emotions seem tough until the very end when he cries over his parrot. This book is great for teaching because it lets the reader know that it is okay to have a variety of emotions, no matter how tough he/she wants to be seen! This book is suitable for
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the younger elementary grades.
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LibraryThing member Emily_Cobenais
Tough Boris is about a pirate that everyone thinks is like any other typical pirate, but is he really as tough as he seems? The book shows that just because someone looks a certain way it does not mean that this is true. This book is intended for early elementary grades.
LibraryThing member JennaScott
Boris is a mean, greedy pirate or so people think. When a little boy goes onto the ship, he sees that Boris and his crew are not what he had expected.
LibraryThing member amcnutt
Boris von der Borch is a mean, greedy old pirate--tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? When a young boy sneaks onto Boris's ship, he discovers that Boris and his mates aren't quite what he expected. This book is intended for the younger elementary grade levels. It could
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be used to talk about emotions and how we feel. Feelings are very important to talk about in the lower elementary grade levels.
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LibraryThing member AlyshaKnandel
This book is about a pirate who everyone things is mean and scary. One day Boris sneaks on this ship and he discovers that the pirate and his crew members are nice, normal people.
LibraryThing member Crystal.Axelson
This a great predictable book. It helps to teach children that people may not always be as they seem and that you should never judge a book by its cover.
LibraryThing member HelenDiekoff
Tough Boris is a story about a pirate who seems all rough and tough, but ends up not being as tough as he seems. This book shows children that everyone is not always the way they seem. It is intended for early elementary grades.
LibraryThing member kaylekatzung
This book is about a pirate that is deemed mean and scruffy by society. When a little boy sneaks onto Boris' ship, he realizes that Boris and his crew members are just normal people like the rest of us, and that they arent so mean after all. I would read this book to elementary students when
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talking about emotions.
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LibraryThing member PatrickRiegert
The theme of "Tough Boris" is that it is never a bad thing to cry. I liked it because it was somewhat unexpected and it sends out a good message. I would say this book is appropriate for first or second graders.
LibraryThing member dchaikin
Boris is tough, scruffy and scary, like all pirates. But he shows a gentle side when finds a stowaway boy and later when his parrot dies. What makes this book interesting is that the text just talks about Boris in generalities. The pictures reflect the text, but they also tell a story that is
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almost independent of the text.

My almost-four-year-old seemed to enjoy it. I had give her hints before she realized there was a story in the pictures.
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LibraryThing member conuly
This book is simple enough for two-year-olds, but complex enough for much older children, or even adults.

The trick is that the words (only a sentence or so per page, and mostly of the format "Boris was ADJECTIVE. All pirates are ADJECTIVE") only barely sketch out the story - the rest is in the
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illustrations, or else has to be guessed at.

At the end of the book, we find that when Boris' parrot died "He cried and cried. All pirates cry. And so do I", a line that echoes in the mind.

And that's it. We don't dwell on the subject - it just ends, much like things happen in real life.

Don't pass this one by.
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LibraryThing member MadeleinePemberton
Tough Boris is about a strong pirate who travels via ship and lives the typical life of a pirate in all ways. That is, until the end of the book when Boris shows his soft side because his beloved parrot dies. I enjoyed this book for its humorous illustrations and use of good vocabulary (i.e.
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massive). I think this book would be appropriate for Grades K-3 while teaching themes related to expectations vs reality (stereotyping) or when discussing emotions (including grief).
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LibraryThing member rekrumrie
This book shows all about the pirate life of Boris and how tough he really is in his daily life through words, but is contradicted with the pictures shown. In the end, Boris' parrot dies, and his sensitive side is shown through him crying for his friend. This book is great for teaching vocabulary,
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and has a lot of emotions for kids. I would use this book for all ages because it can relate to all ages.
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LibraryThing member ChengYenLee
It can be a very interactive book, because the book is designed for students to repeat the last few words what teacher just read. This book is about what people typically think about the pirate, but not all pirate act or behave what we normally think.
I like the repetitive content and it also gives
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children have the prediction of what is the next line. It can be a book to take about stereotype or use in multi- cultural lessons.
Pirate is an interesting character to talk in the class. For me I will use to address that we should not judge a book before you open it.
This book would fit well between K-4th grade.
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Original publication date


Physical description

26 cm


0152896120 / 9780152896126


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