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BULLY by Judith Caseley


by Judith Caseley & illustrated by Judith Caseley

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 30th, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-17867-7
Publisher: Greenwillow

Returning to the characters from Field Day Friday (2000), Caseley offers some sensible advice about handling a bully. Mickey and Jack used to be friends, but Jack has taken to bullying of late. He crunches Mickey's fingers on the jungle gym and says, "Ask me if I care." He grabs Mickey's cookies at lunch and then laughs in his face. Mickey’s father counsels him to stand tall and use brave words like "I don't like that!" But Jack is a shade too big and more than a shade too belligerent for that tack. His mother suggests that Mickey try being nice to Jack, calling to Mickey's attention that Jack's mother just had a baby. "When you were born, your sister didn't like it. She wheeled you down the street and tried to give you to a neighbor." That helps Mickey put some perspective on the situation and though Jack continues his wanton attacks, Mickey tries some kindness. It does the trick, that and coming to Jack's side when others tease him over his new set of braces. More often than not bullies are way too menacing to pull the confrontational tactics recommended by Mickey's father, so ladling on the kindness is a better idea. Perhaps best of all is the simple notion of talking with your parents about the problem, halving the trouble right there. Caseley's flat, vaguely primitive art seems simple at first, but it is filled with the details of ordinary life at home and school and lends just the right air of authenticity to the story. (Picture book. 4-7)