written by Tracey Campbell Pearson
illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson
Farrar Straus and Giroux
$15.00There are bullies everywhere, but don’t you hate it when you find them in your own back yard? Once at the grocery store checkout as I waited patiently, grasping a bunch of broccoli, a woman pushed her overflowing cart right in front of me. Every day on my 20 mile commute to school, there are cars that bully their way into the line exiting the highway. Can’t they see the 50 cars waiting, patiently? HOW RUDE! That’s what Myrtle would say and I fully agree with her. “RUDE! RUDE! RUDE!” These are the bullies in my back yard.When Frances moved in, Myrtle found a bully in her back yard, too. Frances was downright mean and Myrtle was downright scared. Snakes and monsters and mean songs would scare me, too. No one deserves to be bullied. So, when Aunt Tizzy told Myrtle of the nasty lions she met in Africa and their mean lion roars, Myrtle got to thinking. She grabbed her brother’s hand and set off to face her fears. She felt bigger! She felt stronger! And, she was ready to stand up for herself . . . a very liberating feeling! I think I’ll take a lesson from Myrtle. Just wait . . . the next time someone tries to push her overflowing grocery cart in front of me, I’ll just bop her on the head . . . with my broccoli. Well . . . maybe not.
Tracey Campbell Pearson hit on a very timely topic . . . one that visits and revisits children in every age and at every stage. It seems, unfortunately, that there will always be bullies. I remember them when I was a child. Definitely, not fun! Ms. Pearson’s whimsical illustrations add a welcome lightness to a serious problem. Young readers will gain confidence as Myrtle did, as they realize that they are not alone in the “BULLY” world and they CAN do something about it.
This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group
“Frances was Myrtle’s neighbor,” said Philippe.
“Myrtle and her baby brother didn’t like their new neighbor,” said Tony.
“That’s because she was mean,” said Philippe.
“Myrtle had a good life until Frances came,” said Marta.
“Then every time Myrtle went outside,” said Juan, “Frances played a trick on her.”
Tony shook his head. “Frances sure does mean stuff,” he said.
“Like she was making monsters and singing bad songs,” said Sarit.
“And,” said Becky, rolling her eyes, “she put rubber snakes on the ground.”
“And, she put gum on Myrtle’s brother’s ball,” said Lucy. “Then it stuck to his nose!”
“She was really like a bad kid,” said Sarit.
“I wonder why Frances was so mean?” asked Katie-Erin.
“She was a bully!” said Pritka.
“I think Frances was mean,” said Anya, “because she wanted people to pay attention to her.”
“Maybe she had a bad life,” said Marta.
“Or, maybe she was just jealous of Myrtle,” said Sarit, “because she had a good life.”
“Frances wasn’t born mean,” said Juan. “It’s not somebody’s instinct to be mean. It’s their choice.”
“Well, Myrtle was feeling really sad,” said Sarit.
“And, she was very, very, scared,” said Marta.
“It’s actually not your choice to be scared,” said Anya.
Sarit agreed. “Yeah!” she said. “It comes up to you. You don’t know you’re going to be scared.”
“So Myrtle’s parents called her Aunt Tizzy,” said Marta.
“Myrtle’s aunt was very brave and intelligent. She told Myrtle that she wouldn’t even let a lion scare her,” said Sarit.
“And she made Myrtle laugh,” said Jake.
“That’s right,” said Juan. “Then Myrtle realized that if her Aunt Tizzy wouldn’t let lions keep her away from the jungle, Myrtle wasn’t going to let Frances keep her away from having fun.”
“Myrtle really faced her fears,” said Marta. “She stood up for herself and said, ‘HOW RUDE!’
And her life came up great again.”
“But, I wonder if Frances learned her lesson?” asked Kurtis.
“Well, if Frances is mean,” said Philippe, “she won’t get the right respect.”
“Yeah, she’ll be ignored by everybody,” said Kurtis.
“But, I mean . . . come on . . .” said Juan. “Nobody can live without friends!”
YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 1)
Bullying comes in many different forms and they are all hurtful. Teasing and calling names are two of the most common forms of bullying for young children, and most children can recall at least one incident where he or she has been a victim of bullying.
Have children identify as many bullying actions as they can think of. Then record them on a class list.
1. Calling Names
3. Hitting – Kicking
Next, have children suggest ways to overcome bullies and record these answers on a class list, as well.
1. Tell an adult – A Parent, Teacher, Lunchroom Aide
2. Stand up for themselves – Tell the bully to stop.
3. Ignore the bully – Walk away.
Then, have the children suggest reasons why someone might act like a bully. Again, record the answers on a class list.
1. Looking for attention
2. Making themselves feel more important
3. Feeling insecure themselves
Last, split children into small groups and have them conduct their own discussions. Roam around the room to eavesdrop to be sure that each group understands the concept.
YOU BIG, BULLY Health (Part 2)
Have children volunteers role-play a variety of bullying situations. To get more real reactions, you might prefer the children to use puppets for the role-play.
Bully Role-Play Situations
1. Gabe takes Mike’s pencil and won’t give it back. He threatens to tell the teacher on Mike about something that Mike didn’t even do.
2. Maura tells Ginny she won’t be her friend if Ginny won’t go to the store with her, even though Ginny will get in trouble with her mom.
AN EMOTIONAL LOOK AT BULLYING: from A to Z Health
Make a list from A to Z of as many bully-related feelings as possible – both from the bully’s point of view and the victim’s point of view. After the list is made, have children decide which feeling/emotion belongs to which character.
Angry…………..bully or victim
Disturbed………bully or victim
(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)
Sort It – Bullying http://www.sortit.org.uk/bullying.htm#you
We Can Work It Out! http://members.aol.com/pforpeace/WorkItOut/color.htm
What Kids Say about Bullying
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