Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
|Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: A simple, yet powerful story about bullying and friendship, as told by a group of farmyard animals.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 40||Date: February 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
He's a bit of a... well, a bully, really. The farm animals want to play with him, but he just calls them names. He proceeds to insult each one until a brave little goat stands up to him and calls HIM a bully. How will Bully react to that?
Bully is a beautifully illustrated picture book which tells a powerful story in a very simple way. The word-count is minimal and some pages don't have any dialogue at all, making the book perfect for those just learning to read. The story is told in pictures, which are bright, bold and colourful and designed to catch the eye.
Before the book begins properly, the reader gets an insight into why Bully behaves the way he does. In the first picture we see him being told to Go away! by a bigger bull. This is why he goes on to be abusive toward the smaller animals. As Bully gets worse, he grows and grows and puffs up until he can no longer fit on the page. This is a memorable way to illustrate how intimidating a bully can appear to others.
Luckily, the story has a happy ending. Bully realises how the others see him and he is able to shrink back down to normal size and join his friends. Adults may find this 'No consequences' approach unsatisfactory, but as a parent, I can relate to how easily children can put things behind them and move on. My own son ended up becoming best friends with a boy who had previously bullied him, so I do think the ending is realistic, as well as giving a positive outcome for all concerned.
Bully is an ideal book for broaching a potentially sensitive subject with even the youngest children. It can provide a basis for some in-depth discussions as parents and children examine the behaviour of the characters in the story and analyse why they acted the way that they did. I also think it makes a good 'social story' for kids with learning difficulties such as autism, who may have trouble developing social skills. The simplicity of the story and use of illustrations ensures that the message comes across clearly.
This is a brilliant picture book for sharing and a 'must-read' for youngsters starting school. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.
Picture books are a perfect way to help young children learn about friendship. If you enjoyed this book, you may enjoy Friends by Michael Foreman, a tale of a most unlikely friendship between two creatures.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger at Amazon.com.
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