Animal allies drive off a bully in this unconvincing British import.
Responding to the inquiries of a solicitous fly, frog, robin, cat, rabbit, cow, pig and magpie, a downcast lad explains that “My problem is a giant / So big he blocks the sun, / Who teases me and bullies me / Every day for fun.” In Wildish’s splashy, textured outdoor scenes, the bully, when he shows up, is indeed a mountainous, shadowy, red-eyed, scary giant who will seem to most children more like an adult than your average punk. The multimedia illustrations here are undeniably effective, conjuring a hugely out-of-proportion, looming figure surrounded by violent splashes of red—but in response to the animals’ concerted “LEAVE HIM ALONE!” it just turns without a word and walks away. “I never saw him after that / And I know I never will,” concludes the young narrator, with conspicuous naïveté. Would that it were so easy to escape abuse.
It’s always good to have a support group, but even very young readers are likely to wonder whether it’ll be around for the next encounter. (Picture book. 6-8)