OMG. One of my co-workers showed me this brilliant book. Although I haven’t read it to my kids yet, I think it’s a wonderful story, one whose deeper message is presented with a good dose of comedy- making the very serious subject of bullying more digestable, and understandable on a basic level. This one will make an entertaining read-aloud as well.
Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger opens with an adult bull telling a younger bull to “GO AWAY!” The young bull, hurt and lonely, shouts insults when his peers ask him to play. The insults are very G-rated, such as “slowpoke” (to a turtle) and “you stink!” (to a skunk); each time he volleys one he gets bigger on the page until he can barely fit into the story…soon, just his feet fit. Finally, when a goat calls him out (“Bully!” he bleats) he ditches his tough, mean persona and agrees to play, following his friends out past the fence into an open field. The font size follows the emotion- big as the bully’s anger heats up, and smaller when he realizes what he’s doing.
Laura Vaccaro Seeger is an award-winning author from New York who also wrote the books First the Egg, Green, What If? and the Dog and Bear books. For Bully, she has used a stick dipped in ink to illustrate the book, and drawn cartoon-like characters whom you immediately care for. She has made this story both simple and complex, while addressing an intense subject.
I recommend sharing books on bullying with your preschoolers, kindergarteners and early elementary school age kids. Here are some recommendations (I’ll mention a few here but check out Little Parachutes for more titles:
Bully by Patricia Pollaco
The Bad-Tempered Ladybug by Eric Carle
Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney
The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others by Sornson and Dismondy
Leave Me Alone: A Tale of What Happens When You Stand Up to a Bully by Kes Gray
You’re Mean, Lily Jean! by Frieda Wishinsky
as well as these titles.