A victim of vicious bullying transforms into the school hero in McMahon’s children’s story.
Thoughtful and kind, Manny McMoose has fallen into the familiar trap of too little exercise and too many snacks. His girth makes him an easy target for the bullies at school. When new kid “Billy the Bully” arrives on the scene, Manny’s life takes a turn for the worse. Endless taunting both at school and online leads to feelings of helplessness and depression. With the prompting of a caring teacher, Manny finds an outlet for his gifts by volunteering with the school’s special needs students. As he develops strong, trusting friendships, he finally finds his voice. Written entirely in rhyming verse, this timely work is well-suited for students. Its poetic nature helps to relieve some of the tension surrounding this important subject, although some of the language—“Hey McGeek, you goofy, gay lard. / Wipe up the drool from that stupid retard!”—seems inappropriate for the book’s targeted elementary audience. Manny’s climactic confrontation with Billy is a pivotal moment. Here, Manny transforms from victim to champion by showing Billy the error of his ways, speaking with a firm confidence that should help to inspire youngsters. The author presents both sides of bullying and shows kids ways to break its cycle. The piece also gives voice to Billy and highlights the fact that bullies are often victims themselves who usually endure some form of intimidation or abuse at home.
A lyrical tale that combats bullying through compassion and teaches children how to become heroes instead of victims.