Leave Me Alone by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish
|Leave Me Alone by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A story about bullying and what can happen if your friends stand up for you. Although I applaud the subject matter I didn't feel that it worked very well in this particular book.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 32||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013
A young boy sits in a field, and to every advance by the animal friends around him he declares Leave me alone. He finally explains that his problems are too big for anyone to help him with because his problem is a giant who bullies and teases him. When the bully appears the animals gather together and tell him to leave the boy alone.
Bullying is a difficult topic for children of any age. I applaud any story that encourages children to speak up about their problems, to tell people what's wrong and why they're feeling so sad, but I'm afraid that I struggled with this book somewhat. Firstly, I wasn't sure of the age range this book would suit. The subject matter isn't really ideal for your typical three year old picture book reader, which is the age range I'd have guessed at from the cover image. It's quite dark, and I don't think many toddlers are subjected to any serious bullying issues amongst their peers. But for older children, in the lower primary years who perhaps might need the message in a story like this I felt that the text was too babyish because of the rhymes, some of which felt quite awkward to me. So although it would be an interesting book to raise discussions about teasing and bullying amongst infant school children, I'm not sure if it would be something they'd want to pick up and read themselves.
The artwork is nicely done with large, colourful, full page pictures, but again I felt they were styled for a younger audience, apart from the bully himself who, when he makes an appearance, is portrayed as a huge, hulking figure, more like a grown up than the big child I'd expected, with rather disturbing red eyes. I have to say, I'm not sure that I actually believed that all the animal friends standing up and saying Leave him alone would actually have deterred such an enormous bully, nor did I believe the upbeat ending in which the boy says I never saw him after that and I know I never will.
I read the story with my five year old and afterwards we talked about the book to see if she'd understood. She was quite clear about what had happened, and she enjoyed the repetition of Leave me alone but it doesn't seem like a book we'll return to. If you do have a younger child who is struggling with teasing and bullying then this would be worth a look, but otherwise I'd recommend it as one you might prefer to borrow rather than to buy.
Another story that deals with bullying is Uugghh! by Claudia Boldt.
You can read more book reviews or buy Leave Me Alone by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Leave Me Alone by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish at Amazon.com.
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